Tuesday, July 24, 2012

I guess this is what happens when I'm sad about not being pregnant

Can I just say that since finding out I'm not pregnant, my house has never been cleaner?  I'm generally a very cluttered, pile-y person.  I can live in a fair amount of chaos.  I always say that one of the assets of our marriage is that the Husband and I have a relatively equal tolerance for messiness.  It takes awhile for either of us to hit the breaking point when it comes to the lack of organization and cleanliness that plagues our house.  Although I will say that I tend to hit the wall about a day before Eric does which, ahem, isn't usually very pretty.  It usually involves flailing hands and tears and statements like, "Our house is a disaster! I can't function if something doesn't change, but I don't even know where to start!"  At which point my award-winning Husband steps in and says, "I'll clean the kitchen, you go lie down."  That is one good man.  And a smart one who has learned that the fervor with which I am cleaning is generally equal to the amount of anger he will encounter when he realizes that I've hit my breaking point.  I'm not saying it's fair, I'm just saying it's true.

ANYWAY.

My house has been cleaner in the last two weeks than it has been...well...ever.  I mean consistently cleaner.  We often go on binge cleaning sprees you know when we have friends over or home studies and the like.  But the cleanliness usually lasts all of 36 hours before toddlers and sloppy parents and big hairy drooling dogs muck things up again.  But the last 14 days, I have miraculously managed to pick up the house every night, keep the kitchen 80% clean, and scrub the bathtub - thrice!  A bonafide miracle, right there, folks.  I HATE cleaning the bathtub.  CAPITAL LETTERS!

Anyway again...

I think what happened is that when I thought I was pregnant, I started to plan in my head how I wanted to use the rooms in our house.  We have three bedrooms and no basement so we store things wherever they fit - closets, the garage, under beds, behind the door, etc.  I go back and forth about whether I think it will work to have our kids share a room.  Lila is such an extrovert I fear having another body in her room would encourage her already lengthy conversations with herself to kick into overdrive if she had someone else to converse with and she would never sleep.  The kid takes over an hour to talk it out as it is!  And if Lila's not sleeping, it stands to reason that our other child wouldn't be sleeping either.  On the other hand, we also don't have a lot of storage space, so the third bedroom is a sort of playroom/office/basement/lesson supply closet right now.  There would be a lot we would have to find a new home for (read "throw away" which wouldn't necessarily be all bad) if that room was dedicated to another child.

Boy, I'm in a rambling mood tonight.  I'm going to hit my "anyway" quota.  As I was saying...

Once I found out that I wasn't pregnant, I switched gears - I think it was sort of burning off the premature nesting instincts that my overzealous thought-I-was-pregnant mind had kicked into high gear.  So all that energy I was hoping to put into nursery design or redesign, I threw full force into reorganizing our play room (/office/basement/lesson supply closet).  Also, I've been reading a lot of YHL so maybe I got the DIY bug.  If rearranging and organizing count as a DIY project.

My goal was to make the play room feel a little more intentional and less like a catch-all for Lila's toys and my lesson materials.

Here's what it looked like last year.  I took these pictures for our home study last fall.
You're admiring Lila's play kitchen, aren't you?  Well you should, because Lila's Papa built that kitchen for my sister-in-law when she was little and it has been gussied up for each granddaughter over the years.  I was more excited about it than Lila was I think.  She loves it, though.

And while we're talking about Papa's woodworking skills, he also built Lila that rocking horse for her first birthday.  I think I probably need to just do a whole post showcasing the awesome things he has built her.
Those pictures definitely don't show that room at its worst by any means, but they kind of show how the room started out as a pretty blah room that pretty much resembled a giant closet filled with a spoiled kid's toys.

And now, a year (and golly, a lot more toys) later:
The blue quilt on the right is covering one of the many storage bins that live in that room.  I figured it might as well be put to use holding the suitcase that stores Lila's dress up clothes.

We adopted that rug when it was leftover from our garage sale - it was donated by Eric's parents so we know where it's been otherwise I probably would have been too grossed out to bring it in our house.  It fits the room much better than the tiny rug we had in there before.

Rearranging the play room also included rearranging Lila's room a bit, too.  I moved her bookshelf from her room into her play room where it now houses puzzles, her instruments, and overflow books in bins.  (You can see it in the photo above.)  It's a much more practical use of the shelf because I needed something to wrangle all that stuff and the bookshelf wasn't really doing it's job.  I guess toddlers just can't be expected to keep books upright with their spines facing out.  Lila recognizes her books by the cover, not by the title on the spine, so they always ended up piled on the shelves haphazardly.  That is, if she wasn't doing this:
Was she ever really that little?
All of it drove me a little nuts.  Advice to new moms planning a nursery - skip the bookshelf.  Go with a basket or something easier to access.  Something like these:

I put those little carpet circles for furniture legs on the four corners of the baskets so that they wouldn't scratch up the floor if they get dragged around (drug around?).
Her books now live in these wire baskets.  I found them at Homegoods and it was love at first sight.  They're much more accessible than the bookshelf and even if the books are just thrown in there, they at least look like they're put away.  Plus I love them.  The fact that you can search through the books from the top and see them from the sides is awesome, but it was really the label slot that sealed the deal.  I saw them and I grabbed them off the shelf quickly as though someone was going to try to snatch them out of my hands.  I seriously had this two-year-old moment in my head where I felt myself looking around suspiciously at the other customers and saying, "Mine!"  Something might be wrong with me.

The other major change to Lila's room is that I moved her easel into her room where her bookshelf used to live.  It was more of a practical need than anything else.  There just wasn't room for it in her play room once I moved the bookshelf in there.  But the fun thing is she has taken a renewed interest in it now that it's in a new place.  She even dragged her little chair in there and sits at the easel scribbling away exclaiming, "Now green!  Now blue!  Now PURPLE!"  Then she points enthusiastically at an orange scribbled blob and says, "Look, Mommy! I draw you!"  Awwww. 

I love the way her drawing has changed over the last year or so.  One of my favorite parts of her play room is the two framed drawings of Lila's.  When she first really started coloring at about 18 months, she would reach her hand up as high as she could on the paper and make these really intentional lines all the way down diagonally.  I loved how focused and deliberate she was with her strokes.  I just recently saved a cut out of her newest technique (intense scribbling) and hope to frame it as soon as the budget allows.  I love the idea of framing examples of her drawings from different stages.



And while we're talking playroom decor, my favorite new addition to the playroom is this print Little Sister got me for my birthday that's now hanging over Lila's little refrigerator.
I love the fun teal frame contrasting the neutral print.  Thank you, Target.  $9.99
The room is starting to come together.  And one thing I realized in it all is that we have way too much stuff.  It's definitely still a work in progress and some major purging needs to be done.  I'm such a hoarder in the "I might need/use/want/miss/sell this someday" sense that I have a hard time getting rid of stuff simply for the sake of simplifying.  Oh, boy.  A psychology major could write a thesis on this post, probably.

Let's see:
- coping with sadness by distraction?
- hoarding tendencies?
- compulsive messiness?
- having pretend shouting matches with fellow customers over wire baskets?

And you! If you made it all the way through this post, I applaud your ability to procrastinate the things that you really should be doing right now.  Like reorganizing your kid's playroom.

Oh, Lord.  I need help.

Good thing He's good for it.

A story

Lila told me this story yesterday and I was so glad I had my computer nearby.  I just started typing, word-for-word, what she was saying and guess what? It's hilarious.  (You should know, Franny is our dog.)


Franny was going through a cave and she fell down off the boat and I can’t get her in the water and she splashed in the water and she said, “Get me out of da pool!” she said.  And I can’t get her and she stay in the pool and she didn’t have a boat here.  And she had a new boat, but I had a new boat, too. Oh I’m sorry!  The boat came to the cave and Franny came to another cave.  She came to a pink cave! And she go to a purple cave! And she go to a pink cave! And she go to an orange cave! And a pink cave and purple cave. And she saw toys in the caves.  She had one chocolate.  And she go in her own boat.  

The end.

I smell a Pulitzer.


Monday, July 16, 2012

Bedtime sweetness.

When I put Lila to bed last night, I went through the normal singing and rocking routine, talked to Jesus, and asked two questions that I've been asking her lately just before I put her to bed. "Who's my favorite?" I asked. "Lila," she replied. "If I could be anything in the world, what would I be?" I asked. "Your daddy," she replied, repeating what I tell her. Then I kissed her forehead and said "I love being your daddy," and set her down. As I was walking out of the room I heard a faint and wheezy "I love being your Lila." Best night ever.

Friday, July 13, 2012

no baby

**WARNING: In the following post I say the word a** and also talk about fertility stuff so if that makes you uncomfortable, then maybe you should re-read Lila's post about how to get what you want instead.  It's a much more fun read anyway.  This one's kind of a downer, but it's how I'm feeling today.**

I'm sad.  I really thought I was pregnant this month.  I felt nauseous, exhausted, had headaches, and (I know this will mean nothing to most of you who don't chart your fertility cycles) I had this weird little dip in my temperatures that, when googled, assured me was an "implantation dip."  Turns out the Internet is not a reasonable substitute for a home pregnancy test.  Which I also used.  Two of them.  And when they were negative, I just thought I was testing too early.  I wasn't ready to give up hope.

When we were trying to get pregnant with Lila, it took us five months.  I know that's not a long time, but it's longer than I thought it would take and it's longer than it took most of my friends to get pregnant.  So when we decided to try to get pregnant this time, I prepped myself for another five month trial.  Well, this was our fifth month.

I knew I was more disappointed than usual, but I didn't realize just how deep that disappointment went until this afternoon at Chick-fil-a when the manager (who, to be fair, seemed very frazzled by the craziness of "Dress Like a Cow, Get Free Chicken" day) made me cry.  She was irritable with me when I questioned why we weren't given the full meal free.  Turns out our cow costumes - which we printed from the Chick-fil-a website - were only cow "starter kits" and therefore only earned us a free entree, not the full meal.  Which is fine, I just thought it worth the ask.  She acted like I was trying to scam the good people of Chick-fil-a out of their free meals with my half-assed cow costume.

I could feel the tears coming and I felt like I reverted back to 5th grade when I was made to sit on the bleachers in the lunch room for talking when I hadn't been talking.  The injustice of the punishment brought me to tears then and my shame and embarrassment was only heightened when the lunch lady accused me of crying crocodile tears.  At the time, I had no idea what that meant, but I knew from her tone it wasn't a compliment.

So here I am, sitting in an insanely chaotic environment (picture 100 people - men, women and children - dressed up as cows and terrified, screaming children because grown men wearing cow noses and ears are just a little scary), crying about having to pay for the french fries and drinks that I wouldn't have ordered had I known my cow costume wasn't up to par. (Okay, I still would have ordered the Dr. Pepper because, duh! it's Dr. Pepper and I love it.)  And as I feel my eyes burning, my brain is telling me, "This is not a good reason to cry.  Why are you crying?"

And that's when it hit me that I wasn't crying because the manager was snippy with me.  I was crying because I wasn't pregnant.  I hadn't really allowed myself the permission to grieve the baby that I thought I had growing in me.  The baby I thought was a boy.  The baby the Husband and I had started talking about names for.  The baby that never existed except in my heart.

And to be honest, I feel really silly that I put that much thought into something that never was.  I feel silly to be grieving the loss of something that I never had.  I feel like five months of trying is not long enough to deserve those emotions.

But they're there.  And yes, they're amplified by the other hormones surging through my body, but they're real emotions nonetheless.  And I think I need to give them the permission to be what they are.

So I'm going to drink my Dr. Pepper and eat some dark chocolate raisinets and look at pictures of this cute girl who, with her mouth full of grapes told me, "Don't cry, Mommy.  Daddy will give you a grape, too!"

I'm grateful for this peanut and her world in which problems are solved by sharing your grapes.

But I'm also just really sad.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

such as these

Lila has a little Bible that my Grandma gave her.  It has sweet little illustrations and page-long versions of Bible stories.  

Each story has a question at the end like, "How many of each animal did Noah put in the ark?"  The first page is, of course, about the Creation Story.  God created the Heavens and the Earth.  God created all the birds and fish, all the trees and plants, the waters and the sky.  And God created Adam and Eve.  The question at the end is, "Who made Adam?"  This is really the only question Lila can get right so far.  The others are too complex - require reading comprehension skills that are too advanced for her.  But she knows that first one, "GOD!" she hollers with certainty.

That question has sparked other questions recently.  "Who made Mommy?  Who made Daddy?  Who made Franny?  Who made Lila?"

God, God, God and God. 

She will randomly ask me throughout the day, "Mommy, who made so-and-so?"  

"God made so-and-so."  

"Oh."

She's usually satisfied by that answer.  But the other day, we were sitting on our front porch and she asked me, "Mommy, who made Jaden?" (The little girl across the street.) And I answered, "God made Jaden."

She looked at me and I could tell she was thinking hard about something.  And then she asked me:

"Mommy?  Who made God?"

Two and a half.  She's two and a half.  I was not expecting to have to answer these sorts of theological questions this early!  I started to fret that this might be the beginning of a toddler's version of a crisis of faith.  These are the sort of questions that you just have to believe the answer to because something in your spirit says it's true.  I took a deep breath and began,

"No one made God!  He just is.  He's always been here and he'll never go away.  He makes everything, but no one makes him.  He's God!"

Long pause...

"Oh," she said.  And then, not two seconds later, "Can I swing?"

Phew.  Child-like faith, right there, Folks.

The other night I was putting Lila to bed and apparently forgot to say, "Amen" after our prayer.  My observant (and bossy) first born corrected me so I added, "A-men!" to our prayer.  Then this conversation happened:

Lila: What does "Amen" mean?
Me: It means, "Let it be so." It's what we say at the end of our prayers.
Lila: Oh.  What does Jesus mean?
Me: That's his name.  Jesus is the Son of God.  He is a man who came to earth to save us.  
Lila: Yeah, and Jesus loves his sheep.
Me: What?
Lila: Jesus loves his sheep.
Me: Jesus loves his sheep?
Lila: Yeah.
Me: How do you know that? Who told you that?
Lila: And his sheep are his sheep.
Me: His sheep are his sheep?
Lila: Yeah.  His sheep are his sheep are his sheep.
Me: Hmm.  That's right.

Really, truly, I don't know where she heard all that business about Jesus loving his sheep, but she's right.  It's possible she overheard it at church or in a book.  Or it's possible that Jesus told her.  After all, I do pray each night that Jesus would speak to her in her dreams and teach her about himself.  I'm not going to be hyper-spiritual and say that for sure Jesus told her that, but it does seem like where Jesus might start in his lessons to his little disciple.

"You Are Mine, the first thing I want you to know is that I love my sheep. Do you know what that means?  It means I love YOU, my Little Lamb!"

I love the thought of Jesus teaching Lila true things while she sleeps.  I love the thought of the Shepherd's words and love settling into a deep place in her heart.  I love the thought of Jesus using Lila to remind me of true things.  Like Jesus loves his sheep.

"Do you know what that means, Kelsey?  It means I love YOU, my Little Lamb."

Sometimes I just need to be reminded of that.  Even if it's the first lesson from the first class of Following Jesus 101.  Sometimes I get so caught up in the more complicated theology that I forget the basics.  It's like how in school I could solve the super complicated algebraic problems and yet still had to count on my fingers to add.  Okay, so I still do that, so what?

And although my little girl is far from perfect (FAR), there is something in her that all children have that we lose as we grow up.  It's that ability to take Jesus at his word and not let our circumstances, our experiences, our thoughts and opinions cloud the Truth.  It's the reason that Jesus said his Kingdom is for children "such as these."

Children don't need proof.  They just believe it because they trust the person who said it.  Lila believes me when I say that no one made God or that Santa lives in the North Pole or that there aren't any more cookies (although given those three examples, two out of the three aren't true so maybe she shouldn't!).  And she believe Jesus when he says he loves his sheep.  It's not about the believability of the thing.  It's about the believability and trustworthiness of the Person telling you the thing is true.

Which begs the question, "Is Jesus trustworthy?"

And my friends, if you can say yes to that question, it means you are his sheep.  And if you are his sheep, it means he loves YOU, Little Lamb.

"I tell you the truth, whoever does not receive the Kingdom of God like a child will not enter it."

the story of a stolen iphone

Okay, so like I said before, this story isn't really all that important to me anymore, but since I said I'd share the story of how my phone was stolen, who stole it and how we know and yet can't get it back, here you go.  I wanted to wait to post the details while we exhausted our options because of the very slight possibility that the guy who had/has my phone might find my blog through my phone.

Anyway, here's what happened:

Around lunch time on June 16, there were several families shopping our garage sale.  There was one person who stood out to me for some reason.  He just didn't fit the description of the other men who had visited our sale over the weekend.  I remember mentally chastising myself for making a snap judgement about him based on what he was wearing, his tattoos, his haircut, etc.  (As it turns out, he totally deserved my snap judgement!)  He and his wife looked around a bit and then he asked about the popsicles we were selling.  He said he wanted four so I went to grab them from the deep freeze in our garage.  I asked what flavor he wanted and he said it didn't matter.  I remember thinking he seemed like he was in a hurry to leave, but I chalked it up to the fact that his son was throwing a fit at the time.  

Soon after he left, I noticed my phone missing.  Eric called it and it had been turned off.  I had just checked the time on it a few minutes earlier so I knew it was on.  We frantically searched the tables, inside the house, called it over and over again, but we just had this feeling that it had been stolen.  When we talked it through, we both felt like the most likely scenario was that the guy had asked about the popsicles to distract me and snatched it when I went to grab them from the freezer.  

Eric was able to turn on a family locator service that our provider has so that you can track phones on your family plan, but it only works if the phone is turned on, which it wasn't.  We had our provider put the phone on lockdown so that whoever had it wouldn't be able to use the internet or phone/text capabilities, but we could still track it if it was turned on.  Then we filed a police report.  We checked the tracker vigilantly and eventually, around 11:00pm it came on.  In Kansas City, KS.  There was our proof that it had been stolen.  But the locator was only giving us a general location with an accuracy of a mile radius.

We called the police to update the report, confirming that it was stolen and somewhere in Kansas City, Kansas but they told us that unless they had an exact address they couldn't just go banging on everyone's door asking about a stolen phone.  So we just watched that little blue circle pulse on the map, knowing that the thief was holding my phone, checking it out, looking through it.  It was this strange emotion of satisfaction, knowing where it was and that it had been stolen, but also fear and frustration - I hated the idea of him perhaps looking at pictures of Lila, reading my text messages and emails.  I wracked my brain to remember what information might be on there that I wouldn't want to be in the wrong hands.  Finally, the tracker wasn't able to locate the phone anymore which meant it had been turned off again.

The next morning, Eric checked the tracker again and the phone was back on, but this time with a more exact location.  In fact, it gave him an address.  Eric called the police and they said they would meet him at the house.  A woman came to the door and the police told her they were investigating an iPhone stolen in Overland Park.  She said, "We were garage saleing in Overland Park yesterday, but I don't know anything about an iPhone."  She went inside to ask her husband.  When she came back out, her story had conveniently changed, "Actually, we never made it to Overland Park."  Right.  Too bad for her, she had some unrelated outstanding warrants so the police arrested her for those warrants.  Then the husband came to the door and guess who it was.  Popsicle guy.

I know.  I know!  Eric sent me this email (because, remember I didn't have a phone):

So at that point, I thought, I'm getting my phone back!!!!!!  

But I was wrong.  The guy wouldn't fess up and when Eric called the phone, they couldn't hear it ring.  But as soon as they left, the phone was turned off.  Interesting, right?  But the officers said that they couldn't get a search warrant for something as small as an iPhone even though they, too were "sure it's in there."   Oh, and the kicker was that at one point the woman said, "We don't know anything about a pink iPhone."  Except that Eric hadn't even told the police that there was a pink case on my phone - only that it was a white iPhone.  So the evidence is that of all the houses in the KC metro area, the tracker for my phone indicated that house and the woman who answered the door admitted to garage saleing in Overland Park and knew my phone was in a pink case, AND her husband was the guy we suspected all along.  

So we know who stole it, when he stole it, how he stole it and where he lives, but we can't do anything about it.  And that, my friends is INFURIATING if I let myself go there.  The whole situation totally offends my sense of justice.

We did send the guy a letter along with a prepaid envelope asking him to please just mail it back to us, but no dice.  Either he got rid of it once he figured out that we knew who and where he was, or he's waiting us out to try to sell it.  We assume he figured out that having it on was a bad idea and as of the last time we checked, it hadn't been on since the police paid him a visit and his wife was thrown in jail for the night.  There's still a small part of me that hopes I'll get it back some day.  My sister and her hubby had their computers stolen a few years ago and the police miraculously recovered them months and months later when they turned up at a pawn shop in what Jess called, "hilarious condition."  I'm not really sure what that means, but if my phone ever ended up back in my hands, my mind could rest at ease knowing some some dude in KCK wasn't holding onto my personal information and photos.  I might even find it hilarious.

So, there you have it.  The case of the stolen iPhone.  Solved if not resolved.  The End doesn't quite seem appropriate since, as you'll remember, the story isn't over.  I think we should go with the hopeful to be continued...

Saturday, July 7, 2012

How to Get What You Want by Lila Kautzi

Lesson 1: Using Prayer as a Manipulative Weapon

When your parents are trying to get you to eat something you don't want to eat, try this subtle approach:

"Dear Jesus, Please don't let Daddy put the orange in my mouth.  Thank you, Jesus. Amen."

Thursday, July 5, 2012

4th of July

Happy 4th of July everyone!  This was our first year really celebrating the 4th with Lila and we had a blast despite the crazy heat.  Mostly because we stayed inside all day until it was time to watch fireworks.

Lila's first 4th of July we spent in Manhattan with our best buds.  She was seven months old and mostly oblivious.  She just kind of looked around with wide-eyed exhaustion.
Sadly, this is the best picture I have from that 4th of July.
Last year, we were boring parents and decided to just put her to bed and we growled at the loud bangs and booms that threatened to wake our toddler up.

But this year we decided to go for it.  She can handle a late night here or there.  (Or rather, I can handle adjusting her bedtime routine a bit here or there.  I used to be so paranoid about breaking our rhythm because of all of our nap time battles.)

We had dinner with some friends and then met the Husband's family at their spot in their neighborhood.  Lila loved it.  I was a little nervous that she would be freaked out, but she did great!
My niece, Emma in the background on the left is saying, "So BRIGHT!" to my flash.  That face is classic.

Fingers in the mouth = a little unsure about this whole thing

I wrote down several of my favorite quotes of the night:

- There's one! There's one! There's one! There's one!
- Hi, fireworks! Hi!
- *Gasp* They're gonna get us!
- I don't like dat noise!
- See dat one?  See it, RJ? (RJ is her three-year-old cousin) It's weally big!
- The fireworks are flying!
- I want to go up in da sky.
- Can I fly?
- Hold on to me!  They're gonna get me!

And then, after the finale,
- AGAIN!

So, I think it was a hit!  Hooray for America's birthday!

Oh, yes. And Happy 3rd Anniversary of being our doggie, Francy-pants.  I guess I'll forgive you for breathing your hot, stinky dog breath on me the whole night.  You're a good dog.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Mommies can be so mean sometimes...

*Someone* was offended that Mommy would want privacy while going to the bathroom this morning.



Also, that same Someone peed on my bed this morning which is why our mattress is bare in these photos.  I've got to get that kid potty-trained.*

*Does anyone have any tips for the last 10 yards of the potty training marathon?  She can hold it, tell me when she has to go, and enjoys sitting on the potty, but seems unable to go on command - even if she really has to go badly.  It's like there's a brain block when it comes to the conscious effort of going in the potty.  I welcome any advice!