— 1 —
Happy 4th (or, er… 5th) of July! We took our little guys to see their first fireworks on Wednesday evening and last night we set off our own itty-bitty-baby version in our driveway. Their reactions? Our 3-year-old said it was “bery sary,” but our 21-month old was all squeals and pointing and screaming “Mommy! Daddy!” in delight.
— 2 —
We’re now a week into our 14-year-old German friend, Nina’s visit with us and… poor, patient girl. It can’t be much fun for a teenager to spend her vacation in a house with two toddler boys.
For her sake, I want us to be out and about doing things. But that’s very hard for us. For one, we’re super late risers. Our boys don’t wake up until 8 or 9 (or 10!) o’clock. Which makes it difficult to get out of the house before 11am. For another, I guess I’m the sort who is easily intimidated by outings with little ones. Fun mothers bring their children to library story hours, concerts in parks, petting zoos, children’s museums, etc. Boring mothers like me bring their children to… the grocery store. And say things like, “We’re going to the store, boys! Isn’t that exciting?!” (The worst part of it is that my poor, deprived children actually think the grocery store is exciting. They’re all like, “Yay! Grocery shopping! I’m out in public!”)
Anyway, in the first six days Nina was here with us, we went to a train museum (which is super cool and fascinating… to a 3-year-old boy), the mall, one restaurant, three local playgrounds, the barber shop, and yes, of course – the grocery store. The poor thing told me on Monday that “Today was a really good day!” even though it began with one child having a major pull-the-car-to-the-side-of-the-road meltdown, the other throwing up in the car, and both causing a ruckus over breakfast in a restaurant. I’m sure we were saved by the trip to the mall: you can’t really go wrong taking a 14-year-old-girl there, even when your primary objective is buying toddler shoes.
We’ve started to redeem ourselves in the past day-and-a-half with fireworks, a cool small-city 4th of July celebration that included outdoor concerts and yummy food, and then more fireworks at home. God-willing, we can complete our redemption with some pool time, more 4th of July celebrations, and hopefully another day trip. But really, I think we’ll get there by handing her off to my wonderful mother, who will take poor Nina to the beach for a couple of days. Whew! I’m so glad Mom is able to take her! (This hermit of a mommy was almost getting twitchy thinking about the logistics — and the sand! and sunscreen! and sweat! — involved in taking two small boys to the beach for a day.)
— 3 —
Nina, though, has been such a good sport. Within a day of arriving, she dove right in to changing diapers, washing grubby little hands, putting shoes on wiggly little feet, and even dumping out potties! Go, brave and helpful Nina!
The boys have quickly fallen in love with her. In fact, I don’t think it took our 3-year-old more than a few hours to say his first, “I wuv you, Nina.”
— 4 —
Moving on, kinda sorta, from our houseguest, I just wanted to acknowledge that this blog is falling waaay by the wayside these days. In part because (even if the above results don’t point to it) I am indeed occupied with my hosting responsibilities. And with preparing for a 9-day, 4-airline ticket, 3-suitcase, 2-carseat, 1-double-stroller, 1-porta crib, 1-inflatable toddler bed “vacation” to visit my husband’s family in Minnesota. (By the way, Walshes: the quotes in “vacation” have nothing to do with you, dear ones. They have everything to do with the logistics and the stuff.)
In the past week or so, I’ve gotten part-way through blog posts on authority, abortion, media bias, and mortality. Fun stuff, hm? But between the above and the below, I think they’re all going to have to wait for now. August: I can’t wait to sit down and rest with you awhile.
— 5 —
Sometimes I go through phases where my mind is so cluttered and unsettled that I become all dreary-like and unproductive. And then of course the lack of productivity leads to mounting messes and tasks, which leads to intimidation at tackling them, which leads to more dreariness…
And then other times I just go about living my life, like it’s no big deal.
How is that? How is it sometimes so easy to just do, go, progress, and other times you feel like you’re wading through thigh-high mud?
After three weeks in a row of thinking “I’m in a funk,” I now realize that I’m “stuck in the mud.” I hate these phases. Wallow, wallow. Any suggestions on how to get out of them? How do I jump-start myself back into a peaceful(ish), productive(ish) rhythm of life? Of course I have some ideas of my own: The answers that keep floating to the surface of my mind are (1) pray and (2) sleep. But… can you tell I haven’t yet run with these? Sigh…
— 6 —
Since I can’t get it together enough to write a thought-provoking post for you, the least I can do is share some links I’ve been loving in the past few weeks:
These tips on flying with little ones. I especially love numbers 9 and 10, but I don’t know how she can swing the no-stroller thing in number 7. When I’m out in public places filled with lots of people, I like my boys to be strapped in to something. That goes double or triple for the high-stress situation of trying to get all four of us through an airport and onto our flight.
This call to stop labeling each other and start listening to each other.
Michael Gerson on Pope Francis: “Whatever your view of Christianity, the example of Jesus remains one of history’s most surprising constants. A man who never wrote a word, who spent three years teaching in an obscure corner of a vanished empire, still stirs the deepest longings of the human heart. When we see his image even partially reflected in another human being, it appeals beyond every political division. When we see his image even partially reflected in the church he founded, true authority returns.”
— 7 —
See this little guy?
He has been so cuddly lately. I don’t know what it is all-of-a-sudden (hmm… maybe I do… maybe it’s having another set of helping hands in the house), but he seems to really be relishing his moments with me these days. He burrows his little face into my neck and chest, holds on tight, and does not want to let go. He picks up my arms and wraps them around himself while he’s sitting on my lap. He insists he wants me rather than his daddy (which is unusual for him). He even needed (many, long) hugs from me while he was eating lunch the other day. Like, every few bites. There have been times when this clingy behavior would have really gotten to me, made me feel trapped. But not right now. Right now I am soaking it up. He sat with me while we watched fireworks the other night and I just wrapped my arms tightly around him, enjoying the weight of his sweet little self on my lap. There’s nothing better.
And his big brother?
He’s been watching out for me. He handed me my coffee the other day, saying, “I fought you were going to need it.” And then: “I yike to help people.” Oh, how I love this child.