My beloved and I share the same birthday. In fact, our birthday has a lot of strange coincidences involved in it. But today, we celebrate my 29th and his 37th. Because we are trying to keep things frugal and simple, we decided to skip any extravagant gifts or dinners out. We are happy to have each other and Naomi. That will do us just fine.
I have been working on my knitting. I just started teaching myself last year. I had been working on a knit scarf for him since last year. Most of it was done while I was pregnant and/or breastfeeding this past year. I finally got it completed today. It’s on 10mm needles (I used the wrong size) and while it is very thin width-wise, it’s actually very thick and warm. I cannot wait to see Michael model it for me.
I also wanted to attempt a cake. I can bake bread in no time flat. C ookies aren’t much trouble either. But cakes have always seemed a little daunting to me. However, growing up, my mom made a delicious peanut butter cake for us on occasion that I thought would be perfect to share today. So I sorted through numerous recipes and chose this one (by the way, the post before the cake recipe is worth the read!). It was a work in progress all day. Every time Naomi went for a nap, I worked on it. When she went for her big nap in the morning, I got all the ingredients ready, so when she woke up, I could run the mixer and put it together quickly. I also got the frosting done. During her second nap, I was able to put the cake together. I baked them in two square pans, instead of one big cake pan. This made them a little thinner, but it made a double layer cake. I can’t wait to try it. I’ll post a review of it after supper.
Supper itself is a pot of beef and rice that I have also had going throughout the day. Once Michael comes home, we’ll have a good meal, a slice of cake, and spend our evening playing with our baby girl and relaxing. I am anticipating a lovely, simple birthday.
Little Sheep’s Favorite ToysAt this point, we haven’t spent a dime on Little Sheep’s toys. The majority of them have been gifts or aquired secondhand off Freecycle. But to our surprise, Little Sheep has been born with a love for the simple and the frugal.
These are her favorite toys. Simple household objects that entertain her for as long as she can hold them in her hands.
We didn’t really realize how simple a baby toy could be until she was old enough to sit in her high chair. Once she was able to do that comfortably, we tried several things to keep her entertained while I cooked/cleaned in the kitchen. But what surprised me was how fascinated she was at the sight of a set of metal measuring spoons I was using one day. These quickly became her favorite rattle. I realized that all the plastic junk toys we’d collected couldn’t hold a candle to a good bunch of regular kitchen utensils.
Her first favorite is the wooden spoons. She loves to chew on them and bang them against her high chair, and listen to the smacking sound it makes. She also likes it when we pile the plastic pudding and yogurt cups into pyramids and then she swings her spoon awkwardly into them, causing a giggling crash.
Her other favorite is the wrapper from a package of crackers. I know it is never ever ever a good idea to let a child play with plastic bags, at the risk of suffication. However, the plastic here is stiff, too big to swallow, sand crinkly and makes the best crumpling sound. It does not tear easily and maintains its crinkle for a long time. I trimmed off the ragged edges with a pair of scissors and let her crumple it in her hands. It also holds up to washing frequently without tearing or damage, so it can be cleanes easily. As soon as it starts to look like it might break down, I replace it with a new wrapper. This has been quite entertaining to watch. As soon as she starts cutting teeth, however, this one is gone.
The net is from a bag of avacados. Itis fun to put stuff in and let her explore how to get it out, such as face cloths, small toys, clean cloth wipes and even little feet. I love the puzzled look on her face trying to figure it out.
A clean dish towel serves as a great way to play “Find the Baby”. I simply drape it over her head, and then start calling her name in a sing-song voice, wondering where my baby went. I can usually put an item or two away before she finds her way out.
But the best toy is, as always, Mommy and Daddy. Especially playing Peekabo, grabbing little feet, making funny faces or telling stories with lots of big hand gestures.
I never had an interest in Thanksgiving. I’m not a big fan of turkey and don’t really pay a lot of attention to the historical significance of this particular holiday. But yesterday, I received an email from my friend Sandy. She wrote “Have a great thankgiving weekend. It’s been a year to give thanks for in many ways!:)”
So I thought I’d take a minute to reflect on all that I am thankful for this year, and think about what might possibly come my way. So, I am thankful for (in no particular order):
- the Trinitarian God, the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, who are equal but different, and are an integral part of our lives in every aspect. Without God, I would be nothing. He is so great, gracious and merciful. He has so much to teach me.
- my beautiful baby girl,Naomi, who came into this world over four months ago and has been an incredible eye-opening experience. I love her (and Papa Sheppard) more than anything in this world.
- My wonderful husband, Michael, who has proven himself to be different and better than any other man I know countless times over. I cannot imagine being with anyone else.
- my mother and step-dad, the new grandparents, and their ability to laugh off my naivety and foolishness throughout my pregnancy and the beginnings of my journey through motherhood
- the wonderful birth experience I had — painful, but wonderful
- my work partner, who has since moved away, but who made my experience working while I was pregnant so much easier and was so supportive
- Sandy and her husband, and their beautiful baby girl
- my best friend, D, away in Alberta, and her gorgeous family. D has had three kids of her own, and is always able to answer my questions, or able to direct me in the right path.
- my friend Bri, who is so crafty and capable, and makes the cutest cloth diapers!
- Michael’s parents, who dote over Naomi like she is the only baby alive!
- this wonderful city I live in — clean, open-minded, helpful to its citizens, and conscious of both the environment and the financial state
- our warm home and kitchen full of food
- the Internet, which acts as my brain on many occasions
- those who inspire me every day — Shane Claiborne, Mother Theresa, my grandmother, Frank, and many people I see on the streets who give me ideas, whom I might never meet again.
- my dad, who looks down on us from Heaven
- the many people out there who follow and support our way of life — attachment parenting, conscious consumerism, minimalism, environmentally thoughtful, organic consumption
- my marriage, built on a loving and compassionate rock we call Christ, and maintained with an attitude of respect, honour and love.
- my husband’s ability to provide for us and keep us well fed and our heads above water financially. He has medical issues that make working difficult for him, yet he gets up every morning and does it to the best of his abilities to provide and keep us safe and healthy.
I’m a Christian. I don’t ascribe to any one denomination or another, but that’s for another post. Suffice it to say, I believe in God. And I am completely assured that God has a twisted and delightful sense of humor. Here’s my latest escapade.
Several weeks ago, I signed up to a Mom and Baby group on Facebook within my home town. I am rarely on Facebook, so I never really paid much attention to it, and promptly forgot it completely.
I started receiving emails from someone named E. Now, I don’t know any E’s in real life, so I didn’t pay much attention to her messages, until this past Tuesday. I looked into it and realized all this time that her messages had been invites to this Mom and Baby group I’d joined! Not only that, but they were having their regular get-together that very day.
Well, Naomi and I got all together and went there. When we got there, we met with another mom and baby, a little girl just a week older than Naomi. They invited us to meet with them in a separate part of town for a free baby massage put on by a parent center, which happened every Thursday.
Well, that Thursday (yesterday), Naomi and I were running late. We got ready, hopped into the car and took off. We arrived 15 minutes late for class. And Naomi was ravenous, and demanded we eat right now! So before we went into the class, we nursed in the car for about 10 minutes.
As we were getting out of the car, already nearly half an hour late, a silver SUV pulled up beside us. I was shocked to see my friend Sandy, a woman I’d met two years ago, waving and yelling at me excitedly. “Don’t go anywhere,” she yelled, “I have to talk to you!” I was shocked to see her there, much less her husband. She works, as does he, and neither of them live or work even close to this part of town we were in. Why were they here?
Sandy leaped out of her SUV and rushed over excitedly. Now, Sandy is a massage therapist, so I asked her if she was the one putting on the baby massage class. And she said, “No, I’m here to pick up my daughter. We’re adopting a baby. Right now. Today!”
Now, a little background. Sandy and her husband have been trying for what seems like millennia to either have or adopt a baby. They’ve had their hearts broken numerous times and I am sure they were coming to the end of their rope. Last Friday (only 7 days before), they were contacted and told that they had been selected to adopt a little girl. They even got to pick out her name. They hadn’t told anyone about it, so that no one got excited. But they’d finally been picked and were being given a baby.
Sandy and I are both active Catholics, and I was so honored and excited to be there when she received her gorgeous little red-haired angel. She’s 20 days old and an absolute gem.
Now… how weird is that?
I sign up for a Facebook group. Through it I meet another mom and baby, who invite me across town on a particular day to attend a class. And when I get there, with everything against me timing-wise, I get to be part of a very special event for my friend. Had anything changed — Naomi not wanting to nurse, us getting there on time, our new friend not inviting us to the class, me not checking that email or not going to the mom and baby group — we wouldn’t have been there at that exact time to see something so wonderful take place.
See what I mean when I say God has a twisted and delightful sense of humor?