Daddypotamus here. We’re approaching the final 2-3 weeks of pregnancy, and the reality of baby #2 is starting to set in. A flurry of activity and the challenge of relieving stress in full effect. In case you’re new here or haven’t read about our family vision, here’s the rundown on why we’re in such a tizzy:
First, we’re trying to sell our house. We signed a contract last week, but after the inspection on Saturday, the buyer has called for a meeting. No major problems were found, it’s just an older house and well, that means some things are old. Secondly, Heather is pregnant. She’s not just pregnant, she’s crunchy / attachment parenting pregnant. That means very few shortcuts with Katie (child #1). So there’s a very pregnant Mommypotamus carrying a very active Babypotamus, a very talkative Katiepotamus, nap times, surprise meeting with our buyer tonight, meal planning, blogging, shopping, cooking, and I don’t even WANT to know what else.
1. Will we sell this house before the baby is born?
This gets more complicated, to be sure. We’re doing a home birth, as I’m sure you expected. Until we signed the contract last week we weren’t sure what our potential closing date would be. Would we be mid-move when the baby decided to come? We hoped not.
Fortunately, our closing date ensures that we will be here several weeks past Heather’s due date. Unfortunately, there is a possibility that it might not work out with this buyer. If our house goes back on the market that means we are back in the house showing circus: Getting calls from realtors at random times requesting to show our house with anywhere from half an hour to a couple hours notice to re-clean the house and abandon ship while caring for a newborn and a toddler. Not fun. Hopefully it won’t happen that way.
2. How will we fit the baby stuff back into this house?
When Katie was born, Gigi lived in her own house. And this house was more cramped than it is now because of all the baby stuff we’ve since moved into storage. Thinking rocking chair / glider…. changing table… diapers… diaper bags… baby toys… strollers… where ARE we going to put all this stuff? We were two adults welcoming one baby into the world in a cramped house. Now we’re three adults, a toddler, and two cats welcoming baby #2 possibly into the same house. My home office may be going bye bye.
3. Getting all the baby stuff out of storage.
It’s not JUST baby stuff in storage. It’s Gigi’s whole house worth of furniture. Yeah… wee!
4. Selling the house and moving with a newborn? Is that possible? Or sane?
We’re set on selling this house. There’s a REASON why we’ve put ourselves through this untimely mess. With all the creative stuff Heather and Gigi are doing preparing meals each week, this kitchen is way too small. We need more play space. More room for a second bed in the master. And, of course, there’s the whole desperate heart-longing for chickens and goats. BAAAAA! You compleeeeeeete me! Sorry. Where was I?
Oh. Yes. Selling this house. Something’s gotta give.Read More »
Does this sound familiar?
We share the same goal in trying to be patient. I also want to be present, not just surviving but thriving in every season of life. Oh, and on a fun note, it is a major goal to document my children’s lives by keeping a memory box with odd and random tidbits and keepsakes, along with blogging about the day-to-day for them to one day read.
If it does, it’s probably because your name is Whittney H. and your comment #34 (where you explain in detail the contents of your memory box so I can copy you) is the winning number. This is your season, isn’t it. Not one but TWO miraculous birth stories and two GORGEOUS children. What will you do next? Congratulations!
For those of you that didn’t win, I have another contest coming up this week!!! I didn’t plan to have them this close together but the next prize is valued at $120 and I have to give it away quickly. You’ll see why soon ; – )
Today is my birthday. Since most of you will feel obligated to be nice to me, I’d like to use this period of amnesty to make some confessions:
You thought I was weird already? Oh well!Read More »
That’s what Daddypotamus said yesterday as we talked through the events of the last two weeks. Since you have the internet (and are therefore not living under a rock), I know you’ve heard about the U.S. “housing crisis.”
We had too, but it was nothing more than a conceptual problem until we put our house on the market. We got an offer almost immediately, but turned it down in hopes of getting something better. After months of showings without offers, reality had sufficiently slapped us in the face. We developed a painfully clear understanding of what it meant that 30% of our competition were foreclosures priced way below market value.
Two weeks ago we got a verbal offer. It was so insulting I couldn’t decide whether to laugh or cry. We threw out a ludicrous counter offer just to see what would happen. Surprisingly, they responded and inched up over the next two weeks.
Throughout the negotiations I felt violated. It may sound silly, but I did. They manipulated, they insulted us, they asked for more than was reasonable . . . and then asked for more (Can we throw in our refrigerator?? Seriously???).
These people knew I was pregnant. They were trying to use it to their advantage to pressure us, but in the end it backfired on them. Because you know what happens when you make a full-term pregnant woman angry? Something. It could be one of many things, but something is gonna happen.
Since they never submitted a formal offer and we weren’t bound to anything, I called a woman that had seen our house a few weeks before. She was the person I “saw” in this house. Her sister and nephew live in our neighborhood (ya’ll know how I feel about having family nearby) and she was just the spunkiest, sweetest lady I’d met in a long time.
So, like I said I called her . . . and sold the house right from under the other buyers feet! Do I feel bad about this? Nope.
When I was in the corporate world we had this guy come in and do a seminar on teamwork. He divided us into groups to play a game called “Get The Most Points.” The objective was, obviously, to get the most points and win.
Is this two faces or a vase? Like many things it’s a matter of perception. The game was called “Get The Most Points,” not stop the other teams from getting points. Not “Make Sure Everyone Else Wallows In Misery and Lack So You Can Upgrade Your Lifestyle.”
Ironically, the best strategy would have been for each team to work together to achieve the highest number. But peoples perception is that in order to win someone has to lose, and no one saw the other possibility (except me, and I was too chicken to speak up).
After the president of the company led his team to victory (because who would be more skilled at crushing opponents and rising to the top than him?), the teamwork coach pointed out the obvious fact I had seen earlier. We tried to thwart each other’s success because we inherently believed that would lead to more success for us. Not only is that untrue, the OPPOSITE is actually the case.
That day in the boardroom changed my life. By keeping silent I had contributed to a culture of intimidation and exploitation, and that needed to change. I began looking for win-win situations. I buy my cloth diapers from a local momma who gives me a great price. Win-win.
I buy my meat from local ranchers that use environmentally friendly methods. I win because the food is more nutrient dense, the rancher wins because he doesn’t have to pay middle man costs. The environment wins because no chemicals were used and less gas is needed to ship locally. The local economy gets a boost, which is good for me! Win-Win-Win-Win!!!
I want to engage in as many win-win transactions as I can in my life. What made me so angry about the first potential buyers I mentioned is that I felt cornered into that old system of exploitation. That’s not how I want to live my life.
I’m happy to say we ARE selling our house to the woman I’d envisioned here. The contract was finalized last night. Although we are only breaking even (or maybe taking a slight loss), we love this woman because she is helping us get to where we need to be, and she loves us because we are giving her a fantastic deal. No one had to lose their dignity. No one had to feel powerless.
Ten seconds after we finalized the contract Katie gave her yet another hug and kiss and then we prayed over her. We prayed that her move would go perfectly with nothing broken or missing and that she would be blessed here, in this house where we have spent all our married life and where two of are children were/will be born. It was a gift to both of us.
The night ended with me promising to email her my blueberry muffin recipe, which I served the night before. (Of course I couldn’t direct her here! Can you imagine her reading this about herself???) She reciprocated by inviting us back to our former home if our children ever want to see where they entered the world.
It was a big win-win moment for me. In the words of Michael Buble:
It’s a new dawn
It’s a new day
It’s a new life
And I’m feeling goooooood
Wouldn’t you like YOUR business and life transactions to end with warm hearts, good results, and blessings all around? If we stopped always trying to get the “best deal” at the expense of the other, how much better might our lives be? I love good deals and I’m not about to stop. I buy used items off of Craigslist when possible, which puts money in regular peoples pockets and keeps perfectly good stuff out of landfills. It doesn’t take tons of money to start making win-win transactions, only a little forethought.
Confession: I planned our last family vacation around a health food store. Our family was desperately in need of some time to restore body and spirit, and that doesn’t happen when we eat junk.
Well-nourished bodies + sleep + beach time = happy familyRead More »
When I am down on the floor playing “dress up dah-wees (dollies)” with Katie I sometimes find myself trying to subliminally imprint the experience on her. Remember, this moment, Katie. Forget about all the time I spend cooking, cleaning, on the computer and running errands. Remember THIS. Pleeeeeaaaaaase.
The truth is, though, I spend much less time dressing dollies than I do keeping my home. Statistically the odds are not in my favor. At least that’s what I used to think. According to Drs. Les and Lesley Parrott, though . . .
I have thousands of memories of my parents. Some are mundane, others are painful, sweet and/or hilarious. I have memories I know they went to great lengths to create, like trips to Disney World and the Caribbean. Despite their intentions, what really stands out is who they were, not what they did. Even in the most perfectly orchestrated Kodak moment, I most vividly recall my fathers reserved emotions and my mothers warmth.
In The Parent You Want To Be, Les and Leslie Parrot challenge parents to shift their focus from trying to “make memories” to intentionally becoming memorable. The goal is more than immortalizing ourselves in our children’s eyes. I’m sure we would all like that, but the idea of this book is that who our kids become is not accidental.
Can you think of a time when your child totally embarrassed you by doing something they learned by watching YOU? I have. Though it’s no fun, I try to think of it as a needed reminder that my child is learning how to “be” in the world from me.
Your traits matter because your child is watching you more closely than you know. A haunting reminder of just how powerful we are as parental role models is found in the Harry Chapiun classic “Cat’s in the Cradle.” Written in 1974, this song depicts the tale of a father with his newborn son. The first time we hear the chorus, the dad is saying:
And he was talking ‘fore I knew it, and as he grew,
He’d say, “I’m gonna be like you, Dad.
You know I’m going to be like you.”
But by the end of the tune, which has followed their relationship through the boy’s tenth birthday, his college years, and finally the father’s retirement, the chorus is bittersweet. It seems the son, who has moved away and started his own family, picked up the one quality his father hoped he wouldn’t pass along – the quality of being too busy for relationships. The father has called his son to see if the two of them can get together. “I’d love to, Dad, if I could find the time,” answers his son. In the final chorus, the father’s words ring true:
And as I hung up the phone, it occurred to me,
He’d grown up just like me.
My boy was just like me.
“A child is not a vase to be filled, but a fire to be lit.” ~Francois Rabelais
When you think of your son or daughter as an adult, what do you see? Do you hope they’ll be insightful, authentic, or visionary? If you’re anything like I was, you might think these traits are too conceptual to model in everyday life. This book changed my mind.*
My children will be grown before I get the hang of the traits I’ve selected (I picked patience as one of my traits). In the spirit of authenticity (hmmm. . . is that another one?), I admit that I fail daily. But having something to aim for has helped me make small changes. I return again and again to this book when I am discouraged or lost when it comes to parenting. While this book doesn’t tell me how to gracefully pry my tantruming two year-old off of Barnes and Nobles’ floor, it reminds me why I endure public humiliation, sleep deprivation, and a myriad of other discomforts.*Note: The Parent You Want To Be was written by Christians so it has some themes in it that may not interest everyone. However, I believe the vast majority of the book would appeal to any parent. Read More »
On campus was hanging out in the coed drinking soda and watching movies, my college roommate was installing our cappuccino maker while the voice of her favorite Italian tenor serenaded our entire wing. I’m tempted to rummage through storage and find a pic to post here, because you would not believe this unassuming 90 pound blonde was really a spitfire with brains.
It was funny, really, to watch people encounter her. Her open expression and elegant gestures were disarming, but this girl dominated class debates and left bewildered students wondering what hit them. By our junior year she was working downtown in an $800 designer suit.
I . . . was a waitress.
While we took most of the same classes and made the same grades, our lives could not have been more different. She had vision. She knew how to make life happen. I didn’t.
Toward the end of our college careers (I believe it was the semester she was interning as a lobbyist in Washington), I began slowly trying to figure out what to do with my life. A patron of our school had just donated $1M so that students could take the Johnson-O’Conner Aptitude Test for free, so I signed up.
The tests were crazy. I left the 3-D puzzle about 90% unfinished (which is why I’m not an architect) and failed to identify most of the “what’s different about this picture” elements (not a detective, either). However, the nonsensical words that flashed up on the screen like indecipherable alien advertising was a cake walk. I was fluent in gibberish within the hour.
At my post-assessment conference I got some of the most important and damaging information I have ever received. On the one hand, I was good with words and ideas. “Go into teaching or marketing,” the guy tells me. “You’ll be really good at it.” Awesome!!! Then he adds, “But teach at the college level. You’re not cut out for working with young kids.“
That my career as a mother flashed before my eyes and then died a slow, bloody death. After seeing all the sacrifices my mom made to care for my sis and I as a single parent I already had my doubts about whether I wanted children. But to think that I would be so lousy that they wouldn’t want me . . . why bother?
That was how I felt for years. I obsessed over every late period, terrified that I was pregnant. Then out of the blue a desire more powerful than my selfishness and insecurity awoke within. Children means being on-call all the time, I said to myself. It means giving your life to people that will become teenagers and tell you how uncool you are and then foregoing the beach house to help them pay for college. No fun, I said.
But you want to and you know it, replied the voice deep within. And I did. So we did. And here she is:
And she has been such an incredible gift, we got a little greedy (that’s baby #2 below).
I’ll bet you can rattle off a list of women you know that are “natural born mothers.” Nurturers filled with patience and insight into how little hearts and minds work. I’m not on anyone’s list when it comes to that, not even my own.
There are things I’m not cut out for and I’m okay with that most of the time. But motherhood? It’s too worth it. Remember the movie Rudy? It’s the one about that little guy that wanted to play football at Notre Dame. Most of the time I feel like the Rudy of motherhood. We probably ALL do at some point.
Even when the playing field is level, like it was when my roommate and I made the same grades, personal vision and purpose make all the difference in how things turn out. That’s why one of my all-time favorite parenting books is not a book about techniques or telling you what kind of children to raise. It’s a book about gaining a vision for your family. It’s about becoming the traits you want to see in your children.
Whether you are a natural mom or playing catch-up like me, this book has something for you, so come back tomorrow.
Please tell me: How do you inspire yourself when you’re not feeling the “motherhood groove?”Read More »
Enjoy the rest of your weekend!Read More »