Does it ever feel like 'bad' things in life pile up? Sometimes they seem to all gang up on you and hit you at once...
Two nights ago, I received a call from an Aunt about one of my Grandpa's. I knew he was dealing with cancer, but evidently he has become much worse and they are expecting him to die any day now.
Last night, while I was teaching piano, suddenly my husband runs up the stairs and asks 'How long have we not had hot water?'. I said I hadn't been aware we were without hot water. It turns out, he had just been downstairs to see the basement flooding with water from the water heater, and he was wondering how long it had been pouring out. The plumber showed up and said we needed a new water heater, and it would cost him $1400 plus tax to do it. We don't have $1400. We don't even have $400 right now, so we will be without hot water until we can find a cheaper alternative or can come up with $1400.
While we were waiting for the plumber last night, Brian got a call about his Grandpa saying that he had just received news of a potentially life-threatening health concern. Nothing confirmed in this regard, but it's a scary situation for the family nonetheless.
Top all of this off with the fact that my Dad remains in his bed at the hospital, unable to really communicate with us and unable to do really anything, including eat real food. The doctors have advised us that he should have a feeding tube 'installed' directly into his stomach, and that we should discuss our 'wishes' about resuscitation, etc.
Someone told me that bad things always happen in three's, and although the water heater isn't nearly as big a deal as the other three things, it still seems to tip the scales in the 'too many bad things happening' direction.
I realize I'm late for Toddle Along Tuesday, but I'm going to do this post anyway...
When we named Celia (not her real name), I wanted something classic and maybe old-fashioned, but not too trendy. I adore names like Olivia, Sophia and Emma, but they have become quite common lately, and I didn't want her to be one of six 'Olivia's' in any given class. This may not be the issue it was when I was a kid with Amanda's and Michael's and Steve's, but it was still something I wanted to avoid.
Years before I was pregnant, I had a pregnant friend who used this method for 'trying out' names on people to see what they thought - because she didn't want to tell people what the baby's name was going to be, she created a list that looked somewhat like this...
1. Michael Adam
2. Adam Michael
3. Mark Adam
4. Mark Jason
5. Jason Mark
(She knew it was a boy)
The idea being that her favourite names were incorporated in this list, or that the single name they had already chosen was included in this list, but they could show the list to people - and get thoughts, opinions, and reactions - without giving away what the name actually was.
When I did this, it didn't work out as well as I'd hoped. Before showing the list, I told people frankly that I liked each and every name on the list - each name had already passed our first 'phase' of name choosing - and that I didn't really want to hear if people liked or disliked the names.
What I did want to hear was the sort of thing I may have missed in choosing the name...
"Did you know the initials would say... "
"Did you know the name 'Adolf' was once the name of a pretty famous not-so-great guy?"
What I did end up hearing was what everyone's favourite name was on the list - which initially, wasn't the name we had chosen. I also didn't hear a thing about initials until after Celia was born when at least three people walked in and said "Did you know her initials are..."
That information would have been nice earlier... not that we really cared, and it certainly wasn't worth changing her name for.
Anyway, I don't know if we'll do the same with this one. I'm finding it difficult to find names that I like that 'go with' Celia's name, and also names that I like as much as her name... and boys names seem absolutely impossible to me, I can't even think of one!
I love Amy Grant. I have loved her since I was 9 years old, when I was given 'House of Love' on cassette as a Christmas gift. As a self-proclaimed atheist at the time, I had no idea of Amy's Christian music background, and as I desperately tried to make her fill my 'Mom-shaped-hole', I gathered up every recording of hers I could find. God spoke to me through her music, and I came back to a passionate faith in Him - guided largely by Amy's music.
I will admit that my 'love' for her was often more of an obsession when I was an adolescent, and my desperate need for a female role-model in my life made me imagine a connection to her that for obvious reasons was not there. I've grown up a bit now, however, and although I don't obsessively wait for every album release, I still buy them all eventually.
I was just sitting in my kitchen, listening to a collection of music on shuffle play, and 'Somewhere Down the Road' by Amy started playing. Considering everything going on with my Dad lately, I felt it was so appropriate...
Somewhere Down the Road
So much pain and no good reason why
You've cried until the tears run dry
And nothing here can make you understand
The one thing that you held so dear
Is slipping from your hands
And you say
Why, why, why
Does it go this way
Why, why, why
And all I can say is
Somewhere down the road
There'll be answers to the questions
Somewhere down the road
Though we cannot see it now
Somewhere down the road
You will find mighty arms reaching for you
And they will hold the answers at the end of the road
I was talking to my Uncle last night, who is also a Christian, about the fact that my Dad (who was not a believer before) has started to give us reason to believe he has come to a faith in Jesus Christ after everything (because my Dad is no longer speaking, he is unable to tell us this for sure).
I voiced my confusion about what God was doing - it seemed to me as though my Dad would give such an incredible ministry if he could only talk about how and why he has come to faith (if he in fact has), and I don't understand why he would not get a chance to do this. If it is not to God's glory, then why would God do this?
I understand the naivete of this question - I know that I can't determine how and when something is to 'the Glory of God', but I felt confused nonetheless.
My Uncle responded by saying what a testament it was to God's incredible love for us - in this case, particularly my Dad - that He would go to such lengths to bring my Dad to Him when it might never result in Dad's personal story being told to anyone. That God would love him so much, that it was worth bringing my Dad through all of this to be with God, even if His message was never shared through it.
There are a few people in my family (grown-ups, even) who are picky eaters. Really picky eaters. Honestly, my Grandpa still refuses to eat anything with onions in it. And my Grandma tells stories about my uncle and how he would sit at the table refusing to eat until bedtime. He hasn't really grown out of his picky-ness either...
When I was pregnant with Celia, I could eat anything. I was vaguely nauseous occasionally, but it didn't really have any effect on what foods I found appetizing. There were, however, a number of foods that I had never enjoyed before that I all of a sudden craved - like ribs and chicken wings (I had never before liked eating meat directly off the bone). And as I could have predicted, my daughter eats everything and anything. She even likes a degree of spice that I have only recently worked myself up to.
This next child, I don't think will be the same.
I think I am carrying my picky eater.
In this pregnancy, every bit of nauseousness is directly related to food. Looking at food. Smelling food. I have had to pick onions out of soups because the thought of eating them made me want to puke. Foods I used to love I simply can't stomach anymore. There was one day I took some leftovers out of the fridge and had to run to the bathroom to throw up because I just couldn't handle the smell that I had enjoyed only the day before.
I am not excited about this. I have this theory that if you simply expect a child to eat everything, they will. I may be wrong on this count. But I still don't intend to indulge this child's picky-ness. At least not when it can no longer make me physically ill...
I'm going to fight with this one, I can see it already...
After nearly three months of 'no-poo'ing my hair (baking soda wash, cider vinegar rinse), I gave up and started shampooing my hair again.
I really wanted to make it work, but I think there may have been a precise formula that I was too lazy to follow or something, and my hair gradually started feeling worse - more greasy - and looking that way too. With all of my running around to get to the hospital and everything I have been doing lately, I didn't have the energy to figure out how to do this properly.
I'm back to conventional methods of hair care, and currently using an old L'oreal Kids bottle that I found in my drawer (because I still don't really want to spend money on this...). Does anyone know of any really great hair-care products that are either not overly expensive or really worth the money?
I really would like to brag about my geeky daughter and how much she loves to read and draw and play the piano. All of these things are true...
And she really does love all of these things.
But it seems that lately her favourite activity is talking on the phone...
Seriously, she will wander around with the phone on her ear and babble at it for what seems like hours! She will even slowly pace around the living room with one hand on the coffee table (because she isn't walking on her own quite yet).
Finally one day this weekend, my husband went on an obsessive search for our camera. In the meantime, I started learning how to use his DSLR, and I'll post some pictures from that soon, but it was really sad not to have our little Canon to bring along when we left the house, etc.
After searching in all of the obvious places, and some of the less-obvious places, as well as cleaning out the car and a few other places in the meantime :), we sat down together and tried to brainstorm. As we sat in the kitchen, I glanced over at the microwave stand and asked 'Have you looked under there?'. Brian peeked underneath, and exclaimed 'THERE it is!!!'.
We need to find a place for it that Celia can't reach...
Unfortunately not many pictures had been taken since the last time I'd uploaded to my computer, but there were a few recent ones that I'd forgotten about.
They were of Celia sitting at her high chair with a few globs of yogurt 'finger paint' in front of her. This prompted me to look at the pictures of previous 'finger painting' times, to compare...
Back in August of 2011 - Celia was 8 months old...
Extremely focused on her work...
Then we tried it again in October of 2011... When she was 10 months old...
She was a little less into painting, and a little more into eating...
And then again at the end of February, 2012... She is 14.5 months old.
Seriously, Mom, just give me a spoon... yogurt is for eating!
I'm afraid to try with real finger paint at any time... she'll just eat it!
It's been a long week, and I still don't have any idea what the next few weeks will look like where my Dad is concerned. He is still in the hospital, and not much improved since he arrived there over a week ago. My aunt was here for the weekend, and I was able to spend some time with her as well as the rest of my family - at the hospital and at home, supporting my Dad and each other.
Poor Celia spent so much time out in her stroller and not able to crawl around and play, that I've decided to stay home today and let her have a 'normal' day instead of trying to find a ride to the hospital again. My mom has the day off today, so at least my Dad won't be alone.
And try to get back to blogging, even though it's hard to think about anything besides my Dad at the moment, I'll give it a try...
Thanks for all of your prayers and support for me and my family during this time.
I've been a bit flaky with posting lately - between teaching piano, going to doctors appointments, trying to keep my house at least somewhat in order, look after my daughter and spend as much time as possible at the hospital with my Dad, I haven't had a lot of time to sit down at my computer...
Last week, the 'Toddle Along Tuesday' post was about traits you hoped your child did (or did not) inherit from you. Since my Dad has been on my mind constantly lately, I started thinking about the traits I inherited from him. I am proud of these things - even the ones that are not always flattering, and I hope that my daughter inherits them also...
1. Educating Yourself - Always.
My Dad taught me to read when I was 3. Really and truly, I could read full-length books before I entered kindergarten - there's a University study out there somewhere on me to prove it. My Dad never attended post-secondary, but always voiced that he wished he could go back - as an adult, when he understood the importance of learning, and had developed a passion for learning that he lacked in his earlier years. He was extremely self-educated, though. Although he had mild dyslexia, and had trouble reading, I remember him reading constantly. He learned how to build guitars and other musical instruments by reading books. When he watched tv, he watched documentaries and how-to videos. He spent all of his spare time learning. Recently I've discovered the same desire in myself. I've had to admit to myself that I rarely enjoy watching a movie - because it doesn't get anything accomplished. I'd really rather do laundry, or do some writing, or play the piano - because these things are productive - than watch a movie. Even when I'm watching a movie, I enjoy it much more if my hands are doing something at the same time... It's annoying for my movie-loving husband, but I'm ok with it. It's a good trait, and when it comes to my children - the desire to learn and 'do' will always bring more success than sitting around and waiting for things to happen for them.
2. Attention to detail
This sort of goes along with the first one. My Dad builds (or used to, anyway) musical instruments, which requires a lot of dexterity and patience. My Dad is not the most graceful person, and he sometimes makes a lot of mistakes when he's building, but he will always go back and fix it.
I remember my Dad learning specific songs on the guitar or banjo, and he would spend hours playing certain riffs over and over, making sure his fingers learned how to move exactly as they needed to. Sometimes I feel as though I could use more of this particular persistence to perfect things, but I also look back at things I have done - projects I have completed and songs I have learned - and realize there must be some of that in me after all.
This is also part of the first two... My Dad has an almost unending amount of patience. Actually, I don't think I can recall a time when he really ran out of patience. He had patience for himself when he was working on things, and he had patience with me when he taught me how to build with him, or when he was struggling through a particularly difficult book. He didn't give up, for anything.
I hope I have inherited this also, although sometimes I don't think so...
I almost never remember my Dad yelling at me. When he was angry with me, we would 'discuss' things. He has a bizarre ability to remain calm in almost any situation.
I was in a car accident when I was a teenager, and my then-boyfriend voiced his disappointment later at how calm I seemed, when he was hoping to comfort me but I really didn't seem to need it. Internally I was panicking, but I guess that didn't come across. When I called my Dad later that day to inform him of what had happened, the tone of his voice didn't waver. I heard a very calm and collected 'ok....ok....ok' as I explained to him that I was alright, but had been in an accident. My Mom told me later that she could see the look in his eyes and knew something was very wrong - but he was able to keep it together for me.
This has served me well over the years, as nothing can shake me. Sometimes I almost wish I could lose it - throw a huge, angry fit just to let off steam - but I know too well that it wouldn't really make me feel better, and I'm just not that kind of person.
5. The ability to laugh at himself.
My Dad never failed to embarrass me in a public place. Remember Mr.Bean? I hated that show. I hated that show, because so many of those situations had happened to my Dad when I was with him, hoping that no one I knew would walk by and see us. We were entering (or exiting?) a parkade once, and he had gotten his ticket and the arm should have lifted to let him drive pass, but for some reason it didn't. I don't know how long he waited, but there were people behind him so he got the brain wave to drive around the arm (we had a small car, he figured he'd see if it fit... or something... I don't actually have any clue what he was thinking...) and as he was trying to maneuver the car around the arm, it lifted and then lowered again - directly into the driver window. I have no idea how... I just remember how embarrassing it was as Dad tried to drive the car forward and backward in an attempt to free us from the parkade arm... I actually don't remember how we got out of there, but I was mortified - I remember that.
But Dad was never embarrassed. And you could always bring up the story later and he would laugh. There was nothing you couldn't bring up, actually. Once (when he actually did get really angry...) he started throwing apples in the house. (That's what was easily accessible, I think...). Mom jokes about how she was cleaning up applesauce for weeks afterward, and Dad laughs too. It doesn't bother him to bring it up - it's funny, why not laugh.
I think I'm this way too - mostly, anyway. And I hope my kids can always laugh at themselves also. Nothing is so serious in life, it's better to be able to laugh.
I'm sure I could think of more, but it's a pretty long post already, so I'll be done here. I just wanted to talk about my Dad a bit... Thanks!
I have likely mentioned this before at one time or another, but I am petrified of wind. Of all kinds of storms to endure (on the prairies), none scare me more than a wind storm.
It is 12:20 am and as I was lying in bed tonight, hearing the wind moaning outside, I knew I wouldn't be able to sleep until it was over, so I thought I'd get up and do something... and here I am.
When I was a child, my Dad helped to instill a fear of wind (and, well, just about everything) in me. At the start of any storm, he would instruct me to remain in the basement - preferably in the tub or under the stairs - until the storm was over. I rarely listened, but I grew to have an excessive and unhealthy fear of wind. It has actually only been in the last few years that I've learned that dangerous winds are really not that common in our area of the world... but it scares me still.
Having a child in the house doesn't help. I could run downstairs and cocoon myself in the bathtub, but it would seem a little ridiculous to pack up my children and run downstairs at the first sign of wind... It also would only ensure that they would inherit the same fears.
So, although there is nothing at all I could do if the wind chose to 'blow my house down', I sit here as though on guard, trying to protect my family.
It's humbling, now that I'm thinking about it, to know how little in control I really am when it comes to so many things about my family. I can't stop the giant tree in our yard from falling into our daughter's bedroom. Even if I stood over her crib, I couldn't stop it... And yes, my head 'goes there' - all the time. It is only God who is in control of all things, and I think sometimes He allows storms like this to terrify me to remind me that I am not in control. He is in control.
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?"
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