Monday, October 29, 2007

If Ma Ain't Happy...

It's 1.15am and why am I still awake?

I've been sewing a few Bori Buddies that have been ordered. I've had real orders! From non-family/friends! My friend Sarah sent a picture of them with her husband to work and two of his co-workers ordered some. It's hard to get spare time these days to do anything, so I've been sewing since 7.30 when I put Fifi to bed. My neck's a bit cramped, but I've made progress. I've kept myself amused by watching Scrubs Season 6 on my laptop while working.

Fifi has been giving me a rough few days. Two more teeth came through this week, totaling eight, so that probably explains some of it. She's also been throwing up a lot today so perhaps a wee tummyache has added to her (and my) misery. At any rate, I've been at my wit's end for a few days now. It's a good thing that little gal is so darn cute, let me tell you. She woke around 12, and when I went upstairs to soothe her back down, my heart just melted when I cuddled my tiny little bundle, all twisted up in the covers, her tiny hands grasping my fingers, her body all warm and baby-soft. I love her more than words can express. All my weariness drained away as I kissed her soft hair and held her pudgy fingers.

It's only two weeks before Fifi and I leave for America. I am so excited, I can hardly stand it. I've started thinking carefully about what to pack. I always pack uncarefully and end up with loads of clothes that don't match. A mistake I intend to avoid this time - which I believe is doable, since I think the weather in Arkansas will be comparable to the weather here, you know, in the summer. So, you know, I actually have clothes in my wardrobe that will be season-appropriate, unlike when I visit Arkansas in the summer and have to pull out of storage all my arbitrary articles of hot-weather clothing that haven't been worn in years and don't match and don't even really fit...

The idea of having a real Thanksgiving again, after three years of celebrating Thanksgiving here, in my own way, with a small group of non-Americans, is kind of surreal. I realised today that there would be turkey. And stuffing. And dressing. And pumpkin pie. And iced tea. I don't think I even know what iced tea tastes like anymore!

And speaking of food, today, I made jam. Plum jam. It was surprisingly easier than I expected. Tomorrow, I will make grape jam. If I can be bothered with the stirring for twelve hours thing again. I imagine grape jam will take less time?

And with that, my old boy wants me to come to bed - what a role reversal! - so I'm offski. See you Arkansans in a few days. That is, if I survive the eight hour flight with my semi-walking, crawling, teething, demanding infant.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Busy Busy

I apologise, as always, for the lack of updating. The reasons are partially enumerated below:

1. Fifi is crawling (as of just right now).
2. Fifi is pulling herself up onto furniture and trying to walk around it.
3. Fifi is standing unaided by herself (as of yesterday).
4. Fifi is bonking her head on everything (like just now, for instance, on the computer chair).
5. I am busy making all my Christmas presents.
6. I am busy making Devon's 25 Christmas cards.
7. I am busy making Jamie's 70 Thank You cards.
8. I am busy making various cards to sell individually.
9. I am busy making toys to sell individually.
10. I have become dedicated to keeping my house reasonably tidy at all times, which involves lots of time at the kitchen sink and pushing a hoover (to keep our new living room rug beautiful).


So there you have it. I'm too busy to blog. I'm a rotten blogger.

So, in lieu of blogging, have a look at Fifi's first shoe shopping experience!





Thursday, October 18, 2007

God Is In the Junk Mail

Lately I've been doing a lot of praying. I've been praying a lot about trusting in God, believing He will do what He promises, believing we will always be taken care of. I feel like I've gotten a lot of reminders from Him that He is faithful and He will provide. At the Prayer Meeting, we sang Great Is Thy Faithfulness, which really spoke to me. Following the Prayer Meeting, on the way home, I was listening to Keith Green and the words 'Walk by faith, not by sight' also really hit home. I've been feeling so good lately, so encouraged, but I still worry. This morning I prayed a very stupid but honest prayer, telling God that I fully put our family in Your hands, but I don't know what I'll do if it turns out You aren't real...

Today, I got dishwasher tablets in the mail*. I think God sent them.


*Read six paragraphs down.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Neither Poverty Nor Riches

Proverbs 30:7-9
Two things I asked of You,
Do not refuse me before I die:
Keep deception and lies far from me,
Give me neither poverty nor riches;
Feed me with the food that is my portion,
That I not be full and deny You and say, "Who is the LORD?"
Or that I not be in want and steal,
And profane the name of my God.


At Prayer Meeting on Tuesday night, this was the passage the opening message was based on. It really spoke to me. I've been thinking a lot since then about asking God to give neither poverty nor riches. It seems sort of obvious that we shouldn't ask for riches, though it's also very hard to ask God not to give them to us. However, I think I often feel I can't ask God to save me from poverty either, as if that's asking too much. I feel like I deserve nothing and to ask God to keep me from poverty is like ignoring the poverty all over the world; it's like saying, 'I know 92% of the world's population is poor, but please don't make me poor'. But it's interesting here how Agur asks for neither riches nor poverty. His reasoning is wise; riches will make him forget God, but poverty could cause him to steal and curse God. He does not desire for either to happen. It's gotten me thinking.

We are far from poor right now. We are nowhere near living in poverty. But we aren't rich, by a Western definition, either. We have to watch every penny now that we're on only one wage. But there was something freeing about asking God to keep us from 'poverty', so that we don't steal. And by steal, I'm not talking about knicking a pie from the market or anything; there are many ways one can steal. It's so easy to devise plans of getting extra money - 'tweaking' tax returns, signing on to the dole when you have no intention of finding a new job, not declaring your full tips, adding a few hours to your time sheet. These are the things that can become tempting, at least for me, but they are stealing.

Yet, it's difficult to ask God not to give riches. I think I often think, 'I won't pray for riches, but if God wants to give them to me, I'll take it!' To actually ask to be kept from becoming rich is quite difficult. But I know how money is, and when you have enough of it, you truly do tend to forget God. With loads of money, you don't have to depend on God for everything. When you are watching every penny you have, you find you must trust God constantly for your daily bread. It's not a bad place to be. Uncomfortable, yes, but we aren't called to be comfortable. We're called to be humble.

If God gives you riches, this isn't bad. But it's a place of huge responsibility. I realise now that I really am not ready for that responsibility. When we were living on two wages, we spent money left and right. Even now I find it difficult to spend nothing. So, though it isn't easy, I'm trying to be thankful that I do not have riches. I'm trying to trust God to meet all my needs. And I'm very thankful that I'm not living in true poverty.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

B-Rad

Back home I had a friend, Bradley. He was a pretty good friend, though we drifted apart towards the end of my living there. He got famous, by the way.

Sometimes he drove us nuts; sometimes he was the coolest friend a person could have. He slept on our porch. He drank our apple cidar. He dominated conversation.

I just found some videos of him on YouTube. He really is a cute kid.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Time Sharing

Sometimes I love the SAHM life, with all my volunteer projects/aspirations, home business ideas, hobbies, mother-and-baby groups and, of course, Fifi-time. Then on other days, it all seems too much. Today it seems too much.

First and foremost, my priority is Fifi. She's great, she's the light of my life, but she's a lot of work. Right now she has a cold (the downside of no longer exclusively breastfeeding!), so she's not sleeping well at night, and she's miserable during the day. So, as much as I love my Fifi-time, sometimes it's just really hard. My second priority is my house. Soon Scott will be (crossing fingers) working his part-time job on top of his full-time job, and the house will rightfully be completely my duty. I think this is more than fair, but with my more than full-time Fifi-ing, housework is hard to keep up. I've been doing a lot better lately with staying home more, which I think has been really good for us both, but the housework continues to pile up (the perfect example being the laundry, which is literally piling up). But it's my job, and I'm happy to do it.

Of next but lesser importance, I'd personally consider my volunteering. Scott might think my home businesses should be of next importance, but I just can't help but see my work with breastfeeding support being a higher priority. I care so passionately about breastfeeding and believe so deeply in it, that I want to do every bit I can to see other mums succeed. We live in a crazy culture where breastfeeding is not the norm, and those of us who know how to do it have a responsibility to those who are just starting out, in my opinion. So my breastfeeding support group on Thursdays and La Leche League once a month are really important to me. Also very important to me is the work of Baby Milk Action, which I'd like to get more involved with. But the more 'lactivist' I get, the more weighed down I get with the hugeness of it all. And on days like today, I wonder if I'm taking on too much.

Then there is my business ventures. For now, that is limited to Lori Borealis and the clerical work I do for a company called Sportscovers. Sportscovers was really an answered prayer for us, as it gives us a bit of money each month for a really easy, if not unbelievably time-consuming and boring, job. And Lori Borealis is a great idea but is also time-consuming and requires a lot more dedication than just transcribing reports like I do for Sportscovers. I'm in the process of finishing my business plan to present to a panel with the Business Gateway for a couple of grants. Getting those grants will be so great, but the time I need to put in for it at times seems massive. It's totally worth the money, of course, but where do I find the extra time that seems so rare?

Now, there is also the other business thing that I've been so mysterious about. I can say now that I have been offered a franchise, conditionally, for TinyTalk, a baby signing company. This is what I interviewed for in London. It is offered conditionally in that they want to first see me get a bit more experience with signing with Fifi (or other babies) before I begin my own classes, which is fair enough. If and when this thing gets started, it will take precedence over my breastfeeding support projects, as it will be a serious investment and a serious job. I really, really look forward to it and am really enthusiastic about it. It's one job that doesn't seem too much on days like this. It rather feels like a breath of fresh air - imagine seeing all those chubby hands doing signs for the first time and all those ecstatic mums who have seen their work pay off! Ahh.

But then, with all these things competing for my time (and it always comes back to Fifi, as she is what this is all about, she is the reason I don't work outside the home), where do I find time for me? I have so many hobbies and interests: reading, sewing, painting, theology, not to mention those long-forgotten interests of writing poetry and running. The time to do these things is incredibly limited. I've been working on my second sock alien for over four weeks now! That's the kind of project that used to take a couple of hours, tops. And I still have so many Christmas presents I want to make. It doesn't seem to matter that I started sewing for Christmas in August. It's October, and I'm nowhere close to finished. Time is so precious these days. Especially days like today.

I know it will all work itself out in the end. I know that I will learn to prioritise correctly, and everything will fall into place. I've already let many things go in order to keep what is most important to me. Like I mentioned before, staying in more often has been a big help. Not spending money has been a great boost to my soul, too. Cleaning the kitchen yesterday and tidying the living room today and having dinner on the table at a reasonable hour make me feel like I'm doing my bit. Seeing Fifi make huge leaps and bounds, seeing her always smiling, hearing everyone's comments on what a good baby she is, reminds me that I'm doing my best as a mother. Days like today may make me feel tired and overstretched, but I know that being a wife and mother, and a child of God, are the big things in life, and those are the things that I feel good about. The other things are simply other things.

I feel pretty good about my life.

And on that note, Fifi is stirring, and I'm smelling what might be a rather 'fresh' nappy... some jobs just don't have a punch-out card, do they? I suppose they are the most rewarding ones, though.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

London Calling

I am aware that my not blogging in several days means little to any of you, but this time I have an excuse for my absence, as I've been in London for three days.

Fifi and I packed our bags and headed down Wednesday morning. From Greenock to our destination, we took four (or was it five?) different trains. It wasn't too bad, though. Fifi was a wonderful passenger and kept me very busy. However, trying to maneuver a buggy on the tube in London is certainly not on my list of Best Challenges Ever. Londoners in general are not very helpful.

David, of David and Sheena, met me at London Euston and accompanied us to their home. Very wonderful folks, they are by the way. I've met very few people as hospitable as they. That night we ate delicious stir fry with Bruce and PJ, their American houseguests. That was Wednesday.

Thursday was The Interview. I will not discuss it, lest I jinx it (or rather toot my own horn about how well it went just to find out on Monday that they did not think it went so well and force me to tell you that I am a dumb loser). Let's just say I made it back from Guildford on the tube/trains all by myself with a buggy in tow and did not die or get lost or mugged.

Thursday night, we ate delicious lamb, made by the fabulous Sheena (well, she didn't make the lamb, God did, but she prepared it). That was Thursday.

OKAY. On to the good stuff. On Friday, Sheena took me and Fifi into the city centre, and we had a great time. We went on the London Eye (pictures here), which, by the way, is awesome if you have a kid and a pram because you totally get to skip the queue. No more than two minutes into it, Fifi slipped and busted her lip. It was awful, and I felt like a terrible mum. Poor thing.

Following that, and a quick lunch, Sheena took us over the Westminster Bridge to Trafalgar Square, where she left us to go pick up her wee'en from school. This is where the real adventure began; I cannot read maps. In fact, let me just make you a visual of what my afternoon was like.



It took me a full hour to get to the British Museum.

Anyway, I finally made it to the Museum, and it was fantastic. I didn't have nearly the amount of time I hoped to have (I was afraid I'd get lost again on my way to King's Cross for my train home), but I saw quite a lot and loved it. The Chinese Terracotta Army is there right now, so Scott and I are going to try to go back down to London before the exhibit closes in April so we can see it.

After the museum, I headed on to the train station, keeping an eye open for a cheap place to get dinner. I found nothing except a Quaker Meeting House which had a bookshop and cafe. I went in there, perused lots of Quaker books and left, as the cafe only had limited sandwiches by that time of day. Finally, at King's Cross I found a Burger King (bleh) and decided to make do. We made our train on time, which was a painfully long five and a half hours long with no changes. Fifi again was very good, but very curious and squirmy and tiring. Here's a nice little video to leave you with.

Traveling By Train (With A Monkey) from superlori on Vimeo.


My conclusion? I like London to visit, but I would never, ever want to live there. I like Scottish people. They help mums with prams get onto trains. And up here, we don't think £1000 rent a month for a two bedroom flat is a bargain.