April 26, 2012 § Leave a comment
We painted pillowcases today!
We used paints in tubes with spongey bits at the end, I’m not quite sure what kind of paint it is AND I’m not quite sure yet whether I want to fix the colours or whether I’m going to quietly hope that they wash out over the course of the next few months. Or at least tone down the garishness!!
We started by putting a sheet of card into the pillowcase. I opened up a few empty cereal packets and used that card. Folded over the excess edges and taped them down on the other side.
I found a colouring book of Messy Boy’s and copied a few designs out of it onto the pillowcases, figuring that whatever happened paint-wise at least there would be some kind of guide to colouring.
At it was Messy Boy is showing that he can be very deliberate about where he paints, if he is given a guide. I told him that it didn’t matter where he put the paint, or what colour went where, and that it was entirely up to him – but it had to be deliberate and not just scribbling with the paints. He really thought about it! The paints that we used needed a bit of squeezing to get enough paint through to paint onto cotton and he’s not yet got the stamina to keep squeezing so I helped out quite a bit but we did have fun.
There were a couple of traumatic moments when I painted something the wrong colour and it sparked off an almost complete meltdown. Even apologising and asking what I could do to make things better didn’t help – we had to move on to a new pillowcase and start over. Once we’d got through that pillowcase I was able to go back to the first and carry on painting, following Messy Boy’s instructions on where to put the colours.
He is still going through a phase of loving blue (and black, and to be honest I’m quite glad there wasn’t a black in this set of paints otherwise my pillowcases would have been black and blue only!), so I confess to suggesting different colours for different bits of the pictures.
Which he agreed to.
And then added blue.
So here are our garish monstrocities: I think I will give them a hot wash once they are completely dry and set in a half-hearted attempt to fix the colours, and then hope that they gradually fade!! Who knows, even if the colours come out the sharpie drawings will still be there and we can simply colour it all in again and again 🙂
April 25, 2012 § 1 Comment
Mum sent me this. It was so good I had to share it!
On the first day, God created the dog and said, “Sit all day by the door of your house and bark at anyone who comes in or walks past. For this, I will give you a life span of twenty years.”
The dog said, “That’s a long time to be barking. How about only ten years and I’ll give you back the other ten?”
And God saw it was good.
On the second day, God created the monkey and said, “Entertain people, do tricks, and make them laugh. For this, I’ll give you a twenty-year life span.”
The monkey said, “Monkey tricks for twenty years? That’s a pretty long time to perform. How about I give you back ten like the dog did?”
And God, again saw it was good.
On the third day, God created the cow and said, “You must go into the field with the farmer all day long and suffer under the sun, have calves and give milk to support the farmer’s family. For this, I will give you a life span of sixty years.”
The cow said, “That’s kind of a tough life you want me to live for sixty years. How about twenty and I’ll give back the other forty?”
And God agreed it was good.
On the fourth day, God created humans and said, “Eat, sleep, play, marry and enjoy your life. For this, I’ll give you twenty years.”
But the human said, “Only twenty years? Could you possibly give me my twenty, the forty the cow gave back, the ten the monkey gave back, and the ten the dog gave back; that makes eighty, okay?”
“Okay,” said God, “You asked for it.”
So that is why for our first twenty years, we eat, sleep, play and enjoy ourselves. For the next forty years, we slave in the sun to support our family. For the next ten years, we do monkey tricks to entertain the grandchildren. And for the last ten years, we sit on the front porch and bark at everyone.
Life has now been explained to you.
There is no need to thank me for this valuable information. I’m doing it as a public service. If you are looking for me, I will be on the front porch.
April 23, 2012 § 4 Comments
I’ve been thinking a lot about this. Last autumn our church’s week of prayer seemed to focus on us being called to “find our place” – to find where we fitted, within the Church body more specifically, but to prayerfully figure out what our calling was for this season. For some people that would mean getting out of a place they weren’t meant to be in, and for others it would mean getting involved with something different.
I struggled with this a lot. Not with the concept, but with figuring out where I fitted. The last month or two though it has finally got through to me that actually, I’m right where I’m meant to be!
“Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.” Proverbs 22:6
My mission field is my children! That is my ministry, and it is a full-time ministry too. And as soon as I realised and accepted that, the calling to being a full-time, work-at-home mum suddenly became far more… well, acceptable! I don’t mind sitting in crèche on a Sunday morning with Messy Baby while Messy Dad gets to listen to the preach. Messy Baby needs me with him, he wants to play, I get to chat to other mums in a similar position; and Messy Dad is getting better at relaying the salient points of the morning message! And, I don’t mind not getting out to a midweek small group meeting, I’d rather one half of us was able to commit fully and I’d rather it be Messy Dad. I get to “do Church” during the week in other ways.
I don’t want to resent the time I’m spending with my children. I am fortunate, blessed, that I have been released into this calling by my husband: he has blessed the decision for me to be a stay-at-home mum instead of returning to paid employment, and although it means we struggle a lot financially we both believe that the investment we are making into our children is worth far more than our financial struggles.
A friend sent me the link to this blog post the other day and it came at just the right time. I want to spend as much time as I can investing in my children: bringing them up to be God-followers, rather than simply obedient. If my children can see the reason for my faith, and choose the same; if they can love themselves and love others the same; if they can think for themselves, understand and accept consequences, and not be afraid of making difficult decisions or going against the flow – I will be one massively blessed mama in the years to come.
Even if Messy Boy insists on being a biker, homeschooling himself through college, and going on mission to Nicaragua.
For now though, I count myself among the mums of those fountain-dancing children who are already learning to and being released into charting their own course. Messy Boy certainly is. And as much as it exasperates me, it also challenges me and is massively rewarding in equal measure. I mess up lots. But he is quick to forgive, and is teaching me to be quick and unconditional in my forgiveness too. Jesus said that we should forgive “seventy times seven” – really, meaning that no matter how many times you are hurt you should still forgive. Messy Boy knows this instinctively. He’s a good teacher – and I’m a slow learner!
April 20, 2012 § 2 Comments
April 17, 2012 § Leave a comment
“Saturate me with your grace, Lord. Be the patience that I need today.”
I knew it wasn’t going to be easy but I think I must have had my spare brain in when I decided that starting a work-at-home-mum business just as Baby was hitting four months old and Boy was doing the usual child thing of running on fresh air and love and crashing out before dinnertime and being hungry all night meaning parents are getting barely any sleep was possibly a good idea.
It IS a good idea. My spare brain is actually quite intuitive and in tune with God I think. (It was that brain that got me married to Messy Dad, after all!) It’s just my regular brain tends to get a little lost in the logistics and day-to-day struggles and can get a little grumpy as a result. Especially after a night like last night. My four and a half month old Baby sleeps like a dream at night. Wakes a couple times for milk and then goes back to sleep. My three and a half year old Boy didn’t have any dinner before begging to go to bed, and so was unable to stay asleep because by midnight he was hungry and until we pretty much bullied him into going to sleep (in as un-aggressive a way as possible) at four-ish none of us got much sleep. We are all running on empty a bit today.
Most of Boy’s upsets seem to manifest physically in a tummyache so it can be quite hard to figure out exactly what’s going on, and therefore what the most useful thing to do to fix the problem is. His answer to everything, predictably, is to come for a booby cuddle but as much as that helps him psychologically sometimes there needs to be something else. If we’d not been quite so tired and frazzled last night I might have taken him down for a bowl of cereal or something but tiredness and frazzledness won. This morning he went downstairs with daddy who gave him breakfast and went off to work leaving Boy watching television – a fairly normal occurrence, a habit that started during pregnancy when I needed that extra bit of space to come round slowly in the mornings. A couple hours later he came up begging for milk and after much discussion it turned out he was lonely – he was all by himself, and it hurt in his tummy.
I’m reluctant to wean him, still. I’d much rather he came to that decision by himself. The same as him moving back into his own room and his own bed – not that that stands much chance at the moment as his room has become a halfway house between the loft and the rest of the house! I don’t want him to view his booby cuddles as a crutch, a fix-it mechanism. What I REALLY don’t want is for him to start making excuses to have beebee (although as I said earlier, it’s helpful to know what the reason is, because then I can find him something to eat or drink or some medicine or extra comfort or just a chat if needed as well). I’d rather simply be available, and let him grow up at his own (frighteningly fast sometimes) rate.
The faster he’s growing up, the more he needs to keep reminding himself that I’m his constant in this rapidly changing world of his. And his way of doing that, of making sure I concentrate on him and he on me, is a booby cuddle.
I am praying (seriously) that it’s not for that much longer.
…. that said …
I don’t want to push him to grow up before he is ready.
April 11, 2012 § Leave a comment
Imagine yourself as a huge tree in the centre of your family. You are strong, stable and calm. Your children sometimes need to come to you in joy and excitement, sometimes in sadness, sometimes in rage. They may dance round you, collapse at your roots sobbing, or beat on your trunk with their fists. In each case your job is the same, to be a strong, safe, presence, who isn’t buffeted or knocked over by their feelings. Your branches give them shelter and love, and a safe place to be in the intensity of their feelings, whatever they are.
I wish I could remember where I read this. But I had been thinking about it yesterday, and had to go and dig it out from where I’d saved it. I love the analogy. I painted this bump today for a friend – been looking forward to it for weeks!
Thought I’d note down the meanings behind the different elements of the picture:
The Tree: well, you already know that bit. (That bit is for mama.)
A Lion: the Lion of Judah, strong, protective, safe. (That bit is for Boo and for Baby!)
Radical Roots: Because you can’t be radical without being firmly rooted. (For mama, and for Baby.)
A Butterfly: Because they are pretty, and you know that the fluttering of a butterfly’s wings on this side of the world can precipitate a tornado on the other side of the world….. (Who knows who this bit is for!)
April 7, 2012 § 1 Comment
Oh my gosh. I’ve been tagged. Thankyou, thesinglecrunch!! So the game is like a joke chain letter, you write some jokes and then tag some other bloggers….
Anyway. My mum sends me jokes sporadically. She gets them from friends and cousins of hers. Most of them are un-reprintable, as funny as they are, but here are some I enjoyed enough to send on to friends!
Happy IVGLDSW Day!
Today is International Very Good Looking, Damn Smart Woman’s Day, so please send this message to someone you think fits this description. Please do not send it back to me as I have already received it from a Very Good Looking, Damn Smart Woman! And remember this motto to live by: Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, wine in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming “WOO HOO what a ride!”
Have a wonderful day!
To the Girls!!
Inside every older person is a younger person — wondering what the hell happened.
– Cora Harvey Armstrong
Inside me lives a skinny woman crying to get out. But I can usually shut her up with cookies.
The hardest years in life are those between ten and seventy.
– Helen Hayes (at 73)
I refuse to think of them as chin hairs. I think of them as stray eyebrows.
– Janette Barber
Thirty-five is when you finally get your head together and your body starts falling apart.
– Caryn Leschen
If you can’t be a good example — then you’ll just have to be a horrible warning.
Nobody can make you feel inferior without your permission.
– Eleanor Roosevelt
When life hands you lemons, ask for tequila and salt and call me over!
And here’s the joke I was looking for… (sent from my mum’s Australian cousin)
THE AUSTRALIAN APPROACH
A young Aussie lad moved to London and went to Harrod’s looking for a job.
The manager asked ‘Do you have any sales experience?’
The young man answered, ‘Yeah, I was a salesman back home in Dubbo.’
The manager liked the Aussie so he gave him the job.
His first day was challenging and busy, but he got through it.
After the store was locked up, the manager came down and asked, ‘OK, so how many sales did you make today?’
The Aussie said, ‘One!’
The manager groaned and continued, ‘Just one? Our sales people average 20 or 30 sales a day.
‘How much was the sale for?’
The manager choked and exclaimed £124,237.64!! What the hell did you sell him?’
‘Well, first I sold him a small fish hook, then some sinkers and then I sold him a new fishing rod.’
‘Then I asked him where he was going fishing and he said down at the coast, so I told him he would need a boat, so we went down to the boat department and I sold him that twin-engine Power Cat.’
‘Then he said he didn’t think his Honda Civic would pull the boat, so I took him down to car sales and I sold him the 4×4.
The manager, incredulous, said, ‘You mean to tell me…a guy came in here to buy a fish hook and you sold him a boat and a 4×4?’
‘No, no, no… he came in here to buy a box of tampons for his girlfriend and I said…
“Well, since your weekend’s stuffed, you might as well go fishing”.’