Wednesday, May 26, 2010

My Kids Rock!

Judith and Gideon giving Ruthie a ride on the rocking chair.

I love Judith's question towards the end of the video. Where does she come up with this stuff?

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Thoughts, Please! About Our Generation...

There's something that has been on my mind for a while, and I'm still thinking about it, but would like to hear other people's input.

I've noticed, in talking to my peers, that often our parents have a hard time letting us, their adult kids, "go". They mean well, and it's nice that they want to help, but it seems hard for them to accept that we are adults, and in charge of our own lives now. It's not a horrible thing, but I wonder if this is relatively new? Am I wrong in thinking that a couple generations ago, this wasn't the case? I know a lot of things have changed in the last 2-3 generations.

Is it because our generation is more independent-minded than in the past? And that we don't grow up and stay in the same community our whole lives anymore? Some grandparents have a less active role in their grandkids lives for a variety of reasons, so they try to get whatever control and influence they can?

Is it because there is so much new, and often conflicting, information out there about parenting? What was done a generation or two ago is no longer acceptable, which could be hard for them to accept. There is also a wide range of current "acceptable" parenting styles, and opinions on these styles. A few generations ago, I don't think parenting choices caused this much of a headache. You just did what you did, and it was generally the same thing your parents did. So it's understandable that our parents could be a little hurt or offended that we do things differently than they did, even though we are basing our decisions on research, and not meaning to be hurtful through our decisions. We do it because we think that is the best for our kids, we are not resentful about the way we were raised.

Is it because our parents were the first to have access to birth control, and therefore having children was a choice, something they did for themselves, as opposed to something that just happened as a result of marriage? In the past people had kids because that's just what people did, it was expected, and maybe even was considered a contribution to society and the future. Obviously this is no longer true, today having children is a serious and profound decision, and not necessarily right for everyone. This is the point I have been contemplating the most. Our parents, in general (everyone has their own individual story, of course) were able to have children for their own fulfillment, and had a lot of control over their family size (and many other aspects of family life). So when we grow up and move away, there is a huge void there, their source of fulfillment is gone.

Is it because the world wasn't as "safe" when we grew up as in past generations, so our parents were more involved in our lives, overlooking and controlling much more than past generations? Having fewer kids makes it easier to micro-manage as well. I find with myself, the more kids I have, the more "free-range" I become. In the past, when families were bigger, it was just impossible to be involved with every aspect of your childrens' lives. Also, we have so many modern conveniences today, that we actually have enough "free time" to spend with our kids that past generations didn't have.

Is it because we have been "protected" and "coddled" so much our whole lives that we are afraid/refuse to be responsible for ourselves, and thus look to our parents/the government/other people to take care of us and our kids? Our whole culture in general has been trying to pawn off any personal responsibility since World War 2 it seems.

Is it a mix of all of these reasons? Other things I haven't thought of yet?

These are just some thoughts that have been running through my head, I'm not trying to come to any solid conclusions. And I'm NOT complaining, just observing, and thinking out loud. Maybe I am totally off in thinking that this is a relatively new concept. But I would love to hear your thoughts on this too! Do you think it is different for young parents today who are starting out vs when our grandparents were new parents? Obviously it's different in many ways, but I'm thinking as far as how much, and in what ways, grandparents are involved in the raising of their grandkids, and how easily/readily they can "let go" of control over their adult children. Also, what other reasons could there be for these changes? Do you think it's a positive or nagative change, or simply just humanity evolving with our circumstanes in life?

Thanks! I look forward to hearing from you.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Simple Woman's Day Book - Week 9

So, I've kind of forgotten about this. Let's try it again...

Outside my window... It's beautiful! It has been rainy for the last week or so, now everything is wonderfully green!

I am thinking... That carpets were the worst idea ever.

I am thankful for... My dishwasher.

I am wearing... Pj pants and black t-shirt. OMG, exact same outfit as last time I posted this!

I am remembering... How much I love age 2. Seriously. I find 3.5+ to be much harder. 2 is just cute and fun. I loved Judith's age 2, and Gideon's is proving to be fun too! Ah, the cuteness! Even the tantrums are cute.

I am going... To enjoy visiting with my Mom and Grandma this week!

I am currently reading... A Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Donald Miller.

I am hoping... That this week is nice so we can go and do some fun things.

On my mind... How pointless it is trying to get the house in perfect shape, and how dirty our carpets still look despite being shampooed.

Noticing that... Ruthie is growing up way too quickly. In my head she's still 2-3 months, so I'm always amazed at how good she is with her hands and stuff. Then I realize, oh yeah, she's almost 6 months. 6 MONTHS?!?!

Pondering these words... "People who live good stories are too busy to write about them." ~Donald Miller

From the kitchen... Cleanliness. Sweet, sweet, temporary cleanliness.

Around the house... A disaster waiting to un-happen.

One of my favorite things... Snuggling with Ruthie at night as she plays with my hair.

From my picture journal... How cute is this?

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Thoughts From a Disenchanted Homemaker

Oh man, I am so tired. Exhausted. I haven't been online very much lately, I've just been busy trying to get things done around the house. And trying to get things done is really frustrating. Everything always takes a million years longer than I think it will. Then when I do finally get something done, it's undone almost immediately. This is why I find it futile to actually try most of the time. Whenever I am at the computer I always have that annoying nagging voice in my head telling me that everything would be better and I'd get so much more done if I wasn't on the computer, but that is a big fat lie. Remember the time I went 46 days without the internet? Yeah, still couldn't keep up with everything. And I tried so hard! The house was never perfect. The dishes went undone. I didn't spend as much time with the kids as I'd hoped. I was busy on my feet from the moment I got up until I passed out exhausted at the end of the day. And to top it off I felt lonely and disconnected. At least now when that nagging voice starts on me, I have evidence to say HA! YOU'RE WRONG.

Obviously it would be a problem if all I did all day was sit at the computer, but that's impossible. I do obviously have responsibilities that I have to maintain, and I do. Sometimes I just do the bare minimum, because I know no one cares, and honestly neither do I. Maybe that makes me a bad mom/wife. Really, I'm just a bad housekeeper, I always have been, and for now I'm ok with that. In the end this doesn't matter. My relationships do. Obviously I will do what I need to do at home to get by, like make meals, do my weekly clean, keep up with laundry and the dishwasher (those things right there are a full-time job!). I do need to get a handle on the clutter, and could be a little more motivated to tidy up, but it's not urgent.

To be perfectly honest, I have no desire for a perfectly clean house. I feel uncomfortable in houses where everything is in order, especially when kids live there. I know for some women that's just their thing, and it comes naturally to them (P.S. I hate you, haha), and they care a lot about it and get a lot of satisfaction out of having a nice house. Good for them, seriously. Sometimes I wish I had a better heart to serve my family that way. Like, it's not like I don't serve my family, I DO hold everything together here, and it IS a lot of work. And I like to think that I'm a great cook, and I spoil my family with good food. But for some reason, I like things to get really dirty before I clean them. I guess I just like watching the transformation. I like taking something that is nasty and making it clean. I don't like maintenance cleaning, where is the fun in that? And I hate picking up after other people all the time. So for the most part I just don't.

What I am most guilty of, though, is letting the pots and pans pile up (thank God for my dishwasher who does the rest!). It's not uncommon for me to not do the dishes for a week or more at a time. It's not even that I don't want to, because honestly I HATE that my counters are covered in dirty dishes. But it's my least favourite thing to do. Really, I usually spend at least an hour making supper, do I really want to just turn around and wash all of those dishes? No. I want to sit and eat and then relax for an hour before taking on the impossible task which is bedtime. Then, once that's done, I'm kind of tired from the day, and would rather hang out with Dave and watch Start Trek or a movie, or go online, or fold laundry, or go to bed. I can't seem to figure out a good time of day to do dishes. I guess there's never a good time. It's my least favourite thing to do, so it always gets pushed to the bottom of my list, and of course I never get time to actually finish my to do lists.

Often I end up just washing the dishes as I need them. I do always rinse out my pots & pans before leaving them on the counter, so they're not gross or growing things, but they still look awful, taking up all of my precious counter space. I really want to start making bread, but I haven't because I never have the space. Then when I do take an afternoon and do up the dishes, by the time I'm done, there's no time for making bread or anything. And by the time I do have time, the kitchen is a mess again... In our old place the kitchen wasn't big enough for 2 people, so Dave never had to help (and it's not like he would do the dishes himself!). But now it's plenty big. Even if he could dry them for me, it would be a huge help! It's so annoying having to wash a sink full, then dry it and put it away so I can wash more. Plus I tend to get distracted by other urgencies, so then later when I finally get back to it, the water is cold and yucky. It would be great if we could get into a routine where we just did them together every night or something. We could have some "couple" time at the same time. I think it's a great idea! Hopefully Dave will agree. I know it will be hard when he goes back to work and is tired, but hey, I'm always tired, I just don't have a choice!

So, all that just to say I've been really busy lately working hard on house stuff, and it seems really futile. I think for some women, homemaking is just their thing, and they can rock it, and that's awesome. I really respect that and look up to them. But I don't think that is really what I was meant to do. I do think I was meant to be a mother, and taking care of the house is just a necessary evil that goes with it. Only when I resist this evil, it doesn't flee. Maybe some day I will get the hang of it. Probably just in time for us to take off to another country again, or maybe we will be able to buy a bus and live in it and travel North America. That would be awesome! Or move to a country where most of the living is done outside.

Lately I've been getting so tired of our culture. As a mom I feel like I'm expected to strive for the American dream. Like if I have any other ideas, it's negligent towards my children. But since when do cars and big (clean) houses and toys mean anything? It's easy to get caught up in the superficial things. I honestly hate it all. Maybe that's part of my problem with cleaning, I hate this culture so I am rebelling against it in my own way.

I find I honestly identify better with poor people (probably because I am kind of poor too, although I never "feel" poor because I know in reality I am very rich compared to the rest of the world, and I never take that for granted). I feel much more comfortable in a redneck's house than in the suburbs. I'd rather live around dead animals and junk than a clean house and a fake smile. I think I just like messy people (physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritally, etc). And I honestly am one, myself. If I walk into someone's house and it's a mess, I actually feel really comfortable, and like I can trust them. Like they might be able to understand and accept me. Creative people tend to be messy. I like messy.

So, there is my deep, philisophical thought for the day. And my excuse du jour for being a lousy housekeeper (although lately I have honestly been trying to not allow myself any excuses!). I know a lot of you hear me on this, so I want you to know that you're not alone. And that it's ok that you're on facebook right now instead of washing the dishes, ha!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Ruthie's Raspberries

Judith and Ruthie were being silly before bed tonight. By the end we were all covered in spit... But FYI, I was not making any of the noises in the background, those were all Judith!

I'm so happy that my girls get along so well, I hope they always do. <3

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Goodbye Snow, Hello Garden!

Sorry that I have continued to suck at blogging consistently. I blame the sunshine, and fresh air, and all around wonderfulness that is Spring!

We have been busy having fun outside, and have started to plant our garden! Well, our "garden" consists of 2 flower beds at the front of the house that only get partial sun, so we planted some wildflowers there (I hope they grow!), and some potted veggies in the back yard (it made more sense to me to do it that way instead of digging up the back yard, since we are renting, and it seemed like a lot of work, plus then I don't have to worry about weeding!). So far we have planted parsley, dill, lavender, cucumbers, and tomatoes. We have yet to plant peas, carrots, garlic chives, onions, and rosemary. I just need to get more pots. Anyone know where to get cheap pots? I have already cleaned out our local Dollarama. And I have been watching at garage sales...

Here are a few pics of the kids, enjoying the sunshine!

And our "gardens".

Yay for warm weather!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Happy Births

It's no secret that I am a fan of birth stories and videos. Even when I watch certain TLC shows that infuriate me, I still end up crying when the baby is born. Being a witness to the miracle of birth is always an honour to me. Our culture can try to screw with it all it wants, but it's still a miracle. I know that sometimes things happen, and I thank God for the technology we have that does save lives. I also know that many women have wonderful, empowering births with assistance or surgery. I have no problem with women who want drugs or interventions, as long as they get what they need to feel safe, are respected and have a positive experience, and have a healthy baby. Personally, I am moved by every birth, and every story is valid and captivating to me.

But there is something overwhelmingly beautiful when you get to witness birth unfold naturally, as the mother is able to listen to her body, and trust triumphs over fear. I can't even begin right now to explain the depths of emotion a birthing mother goes through, the extreme vulnerability that can empower or destroy her. The passage into motherhood occurs on every level of being. It is such a sacred time, whether medicalized or not. But for those of us who have been fortunate enough to experience birth naturally and joyfully, we know nothing compares. I truly wish that every woman who wanted to, could have a birth like this.

Here are a few videos that have moved me recently.

This one was incredibly fast! The father had just left briefly to let the midwives in and get some towels (I think I read that in the comments before they were disabled). The poor mama was kind of in shock though! It just shows that labour isn't always long and hard. (Click the links)

Here's another quick, beautiful birth (warning: boobs. Although if you're into birth, it's obviously not a big deal.).

And finally, this one is long, but worth watching. It's a hospital birth, but you'd never know it. It shows how calm and gentle birth can be, and also how skilled and professional the midwives are, while also being respectful and not causing a scene or making the mother fearful.

You can also find tons of other great home birth videos by clicking the links after these videos. It's truly incredible what women are capable of.

Ruthie's birth was a lot like these. Honestly, one of my biggest regrets ever was not getting her birth on video. It would have been great to share it with the world.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Judith Making Ruthie Laugh

Sorry that I have been MIA yet again. SOME day I will get back on the posting-consistently bandwagon. You know, when life calms down and gets easy again, haha.

Anyway, here is a cute video we took a couple weeks ago. We took it on the iMac webcam, that's my excuse for looking like a dork staring at the camera, I was actually watching it on the screen.