Wednesday, July 27, 2011

on ants, babies, and why it's all worth it

I woke up yesterday to an ant colony parked right inside (yes, inside) my front door. Hundreds of teensy tiny ants, parading in and out of a small crack (or two, or three) in our threshold. Wonderful, I mused, trying to eradicate the ants while Charlie asked for the "Keeeeessss! Keeeeeessss! KEEEEEEESSSS!" (keys), over and over again. A quick search on the internet told me that white vinegar is a natural ant killer -- and since I don't want Charlie playing around in toxic spray that will kill both ants and small children... I grabbed the vinegar from the pantry and went to work. The all-knowing internet also hinted that black pepper makes ants scatter, so I used up half a bottle. Let me tell you, between the pepper and the vinegar, my living room smells fantastic.

I came home today to another colony of ants, right back where they were... they wagged their microscopic antennae at me, as if to say, "Don't believe everything the internet tells you." Not to be defeated, I swept the floor, shook out the rugs, laid out a fresh supply of vinegar/black pepper ant killer... and now I sit and wait, until Marty comes home to show me where the toxic ant-and-small-child killer spray is.

Until then, anyone else have any natural remedies for getting rid of ants? I had them earlier in the summer, running around my kitchen, and we used the ant spray then (with great success, I should add!), because we don't use our back door very often, and there was little danger of tracking the stuff all over the house.

Since this is such a random post, I suppose I should continue...

It's been a crazy past couple of weeks. On top of the normal things I do every day (you know... watch Charlie play on the floor by himself while I pop chocolates and catch up on InTouch), we've been prepping for our church's vacation bible school, which is happening this week. My assignment this year has been to run around with forty Jr. Highers, teaching them about Jesus and trying not to get hit by nerf darts. We did wheelbarrow races on day #1, and I won't tell you how sore I am. (It's pathetic, really. I told my younger brother how badly my back was hurting me, and he told me that I'm old and out of shape.) Essentially, I run around with a bunch of kids in the morning, and then nap with Charlie in the afternoons. (Someone at church today told me they don't feel bad for me. I think they're absolutely right on that one.)

To keep the randomness flowing...

Charlie is going to be 18 months this Monday, and of course, the inevitable questions are here: "When's the next one coming?" So, in honor of everyone who is concerned with how far apart we'll be spacing our children (assuming that we're even able to have more children -- ever think of that?), I did a search on the internet today (again, trusty Google to the rescue), and found a whole heap of bloggers with varying opinions on how many children to have, how far apart to space them, etc. etc. etc.

One blogger passionately defended her choice to only have one child (while admitting that a deep fear of hers is that something would happen to her little girl, leaving her with... nothing). Another person wrote about trying for baby #2... not because she wanted another child, but because she wanted her son to have the sibling she never had. Someone else brilliantly defended her choice to mother five children. I even found a "Christian" advice column where a young mother, age 22, has four children and just found out she is expecting her fifth -- she wrote in, asking what to do in her situation. (The columnist's advice, essentially? "Give your husband a vasectomy for his birthday." Yikes.)

Psalm 127 tells us that children are a gift from the Lord. And yet, lots of other voices are telling me the opposite.

Many people ominously warned me, before Charlie arrived, "Enjoy your peace and quiet now. It's gonna be over, real soon." Or, "Get everything done NOW, before your baby comes, because you won't get ANYTHING done for the next FIFTEEN YEARS. BAHAHAHAHA."

(Ok, fine. I added the "bahahaha" part, but you get the idea.)

I recently came across an article on that outlines 15 things to do before you have kids (and offers an attractive photo of a bawling 1-year-old at the top of the article -- hey, see, doesn't that make you want to have a whiny, insufferable child now?!). At the other end of the spectrum (and analyzing The Nest's sentiments perfectly, I think), my friend Katie Newman recently drew my attention to a beautifully-written article at entitled "Motherhood Is a Calling (and Where Your Children Rank)." It's interesting food-for-thought: one article tells us what to spend our time on before babies come, and the other asserts that babies are exactly what we (married people) should be spending our time on.

I've got my own thoughts on the matter, but to be honest, I feel like I've bared my soul to the internet enough for one day. (After all, Google now knows that I'm interested both in how to kill ants and how far apart my children should be spaced. That should give their data-gatherers something to chew on.)

To wrap it all up: I keep running into a friend all this week at church. (He runs this fascinating website -- I definitely recommend it.) Josh and his wife are foster parents. I don't know the specific ins and outs of their story, but right now, they have four children under the age of seven... including two 6-month olds. Amazing. Every single time I run into that family, they inspire me. I'm reminded of why we do what we do.

It's not just about me. My schedule. My travel aspirations. My educational dreams. My hobbies. My "bucket list." Sure, some days I act like it... But in the end, if it really is all about me, then this life just isn't worth living.

Monday, July 4, 2011

DIY fireworks

Truth: the Fourth of July is my favorite holiday. It's all of the GREATEST things in this world, crammed into one incredible day: ice cream, watermelon, SUMMER, fireworks, cookouts with friends/family, sparklers, and a huge celebration of freedom in what is -- without a doubt -- the absolute greatest country on the planet.

But, like all other things in my life, the Fourth of July changed for me when Charlie was born. Last year, he was five months old -- too little for fireworks -- and we were your typical first-time parents with a fussy, out-of-sorts infant: stressed, and very, very tired.

Fast-forward to a year ago, on the evening of the 4th, around 9pm. We'd just rocked the baby to sleep after an hour or two of fussiness, and picture this: I was dramatically pacing the house, frustrated that we couldn't see fireworks, upset that things just weren't the same!!!!!! {cue sappy violin music.}

Marty, my sweet husband, walked outside for a minute... and came running back in.

"Fireworks!" he said, and ran back out the door.

It turned out that we could see the neighboring town's fireworks from our roof... and so, Marty grabbed a ladder, I grabbed the baby monitor, and we climbed up for a bird's eye view of some of the prettiest fireworks I'd ever seen. Afterwards, I did a minor freak-out about almost falling off the roof, and we watched the fireflies light up our yard. With a 5-month-old sleeping underneath the roof we were sitting on, it was just about as picture-perfect as things could be.

And so, this year, we put Charlie to bed, climbed up onto the roof, and watched the fireworks. I freaked out {again} about the possibility of falling off the roof {do I sound like a wimp? well, mmm, I can be, if heights or spiders are involved...}, and the fireflies still danced in the front yard, and we held hands, and in the silence {peppered with the sounds of exploding bottle rockets across the neighborhood, of course...}, in my head, I thanked God for freedom.

Freedom from oppression.
Freedom of religion.
Freedom of speech.

Freedom worth climbing up on a roof, just to celebrate it ;)

Happy Fourth of July!