Category Archives: mom & wife

Culture shock. Again.

Just when I think that maybe twelve years is enough to give me an exemption from culture shock, another layer of it comes.

And really, I know better.

Every few months I hear a phrase I’ve never heard, understand a pop culture reference that previously went over my head, or am baffled by something I see on an Aussie TV program and I’m struck with a tiny little bout of culture shock, which fades as quickly as it landed.

This morning it happened while singing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.

You guys, the motions are different here. *gasp*

What?? Seriously?

Yup, for real.

Instead of flicking their entire hands from clinched fists to fingers extended like blinking lights, they extend all ten fingers wide and make them wiggle tiny little wiggles. (Like I would make to demonstrate rain.) The movements are small and delicate… kind of like twinkling stars. 

Imagine that.

And maybe this is a little thing, but it kind of spun me out.

I realized that the songs I’ve been singing to my littles at home will be taught differently at kindy or preschool or when they’re watching Playschool on the telly. Sometimes it’s the motions that are a bit different, and sometimes the tune actually varies!

I’ve seen this before but kind-of brushed it off, thinking that the person I saw or heard must not know the song properly. But now it’s starting to sink in that they do know the song properly… just differently to me.

As silly as it sounds it’s sent me into culture shock all over again.

Different is not wrong, it’s just different” is my motto when it comes to all things culture-shock-ish, but it doesn’t mean I don’t like it my way better. (Just keepin’ it real here, friends.)

Anyway, I will continue to teach my kids the American version of things (it’s called the “trunk” of the car, not the “boot”) and their dad and everyone else around them can go all Australian on them I guess. Cuz even if my littles are Aussie, and end up doing everything the Aussie way, at least maybe they can understand a tiny bit of their American heritage too. Even if it is just the way we sing I’m a Little Teapot.

STOP.

 

Q for you: Do you experience culture shock in your own family? Maybe you and your partner aren’t from different nations but you might have very different family backgrounds or life experiences. How do you meld two worlds into one?

 

Love,
A

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The present I almost got but didn’t (but might still)

Sometimes, you have no idea what you’d like for Christmas except things that aren’t really in the “Christmas gift” category:

  • a new car (ours is bursting at the seems)
  • a new microwave (we’re on the edge of our seat waiting for our current one to blow up)
  • new chair covers (we have toddlers)
  • a new phone (that doesn’t randomly turn off multiple times every day)
  • or, uh, LASIK eye surgery (so I never have to worry about putting my contacts in the wrong eyes ever again)

But you know those things won’t fit in your stocking (or the budget) and so you say something along the lines of, I don’t want or need anything. Just surprise me.

And then you’re out running an errand for something completely unrelated and you see it – the perfect gift at the perfect sale price andyouhavetohaveit.

So you snap a phone pic and you tell your husband about it, and make sure he knows to hurry because they only have three left….

Only to hear a few days later that he did hurry, but it was too good a gift at too great a price and so now there’s three other happy ladies this Christmas. (And just maybe he didn’t hurry quite enough.)

And he sends you a photo of another one that’s currently in stock, but even though it’s more expensive it’s not as pretty and you say, no thank you… I just liked that other one.

Of course by this time you’re wishing you would have just bought the too-good-to-be-true present yourself when you found it and had given it to your husband for him to give back to you. (But you know that takes some of the fun out of it for him and it’s not really the point of gift-giving and the whole spirit-of-Christmas thing, so… There’s that.)

And yet by now you’re borderline obsessed with the present you’re not going to get and so you google it and come up empty.

Until you find something similar on ebay, which leads you to something even more similar, which leads you to it.

And it’s nearly the same price so you do a happy dance and forward your husband the link and say things like, you’ll never believe what I just found and yeah, I still really want this thing if it’s okay and want me to just go ahead buy it for you for me?

STOP.

 

Q for you: Do you put in requests for Christmas (or birthdays)? Why or why not?

 

Love,
A


For the love of shopping malls

I used to think malls are for shopping – shoes, clothes, handbags.

I now understand malls are for moms.

A few days ago I had a one hour window with a mile-long list of errands.

With two littles to buckle in and out of car seats and pack into a stroller or shopping cart, an hour is nothing.

But I managed to get to the post office, the bank, the pharmacy, the grocery store, one other quick errand, and a stop at the mini-jeep for a two-minute pretend ride with Levi. And I did it all within the space of an hour.

To say I was thrilled is an understatement.

I floated out of there feeling like superwoman.

We tore around that mall like it was nobody’s business. I swear it was made for me, and women like me, to make a dent in our lists while not completely losing our sanity.

My days of browsing for belts and earrings are few and far between these days… but words cannot express how awesome it is to send mail, pick up milk, and fill a prescription all in one building.

Hooray for the mall. It may not be beautiful or inspiring, but is sure is practical.

STOP.

 

Q for you: Have your “must have” components for a good mall changed since becoming an adult? (Or a parent?)

 

Love,
A

 

Click Clink Five | Five minutes a day, unedited.


Groaning in the cold, dark

I lay in bed and the world around me is silent except for the sounds of life, resting.

A few feet away I hear tiny baby breaths and sighs. Next to me I hear heavy and rythmic husband breaths and sighs. And through the open internal door to the next room I hear toddler breaths and sighs.

We share rooms and a heater between the four of us.

Everyone sleeps but me.

Moments later baby stirs. I lay still, barely breathing, hoping he will not wake.

He rolls over. Back asleep.

I sigh with relief just as he stirs again, this time waking with an abrupt cry.

It sounds angry.

After eight months I wonder when he will ever sleep through the night. Except for a few nights he regularly wakes up all throughout the night. Sometimes every two hours, leaving me with four or five or sometimes six hours of sleep, usually broken into several chunks.

I groan and move, not wanting to face the cold night air.

No one said parenting would be easy.

I pull him into bed with me and nurse, nurse, nurse. Wondering how long I can continue on interrupted sleep (and insomnia in between).

I remember that mothers all over the world and all throughout time have done as I’m doing.

Strength.

The days are long but the years are short so I don’t want to waste this time being anxious about the dark hours.

And yet I’m so tired. So, so tired.

I remind myself that this time last year I was about to find out that his life might not be what we thought or expected. And now him being here with us, just like he is – healthy, perfect – is a miracle. Surely I can find the grace for one more night.

And perhaps tomorrow night too.

But my goodness, I’m so tired.

STOP.

 

Q for you: How do you cope with less-than-ideal seasons of sleep?

 

Love,
A

 

Click Clink Five | Five minutes a day, unedited


Would you pay someone to potty train your kid?

A friend of mine posted on her facebook about services she heard of where they will potty train your kid for you. The cost ranges from $400 for a week to $700 an hour. (What??!)

I think this is tragic.

Potty training is such a personal process and achievement for our littles.

They trust us to help them learn. They need our encouragement. They look to us for affirmation. They deserve our respect.

As parents it’s our role to guide them through this personal transition.

I don’t have a problem with other close adults helping (grandma, etc.), but to hire a service to come in and do it for us like we’d hire out our lawn maintenance or housecleaning? (I’d totally pay for a cleaner if I could afford it!)

But contracting out potty training?

Wrong. I just think it’s seriously wrong.

I understand that many parents are daunted by the task (I was one of them), but that doesn’t justify delegating it out to a stranger.

Imagine how the child must feel to have a stranger come in and direct this personal of rite of passage. (So disrespectful.)

We hire trainers for our dogs perhaps, but not for our small children.

Potty training, manners, character, life skills – all of this should be taught first, and foremost in the home by the parents. (And reinforced elsewhere like church, day care, school, therapy, or whatever.)

Let’s not abdicate our role as parents, even when it’s inconvenient or hard.

Geeze.

 

STOP.

 

Q for you: Come on parents, tell me you’re with me on this one. Would you ever hire someone to potty train your kids if money weren’t an issue?

 

Love,
A

 

Click Clink Five | Five minutes a day, unedited


What a woman wants in a man

Strong and gentle.

I love this quick phone snap that I captured of my husband and youngest son from this afternoon. It represents so much of what I love about Ryan as he does a handy-man job around the house while simultaneously wearing our son.

The handy-man component: strong, resourceful, smart, innovative, capable, able to provide, always looking after us, holding things together, creative, dependable, faithful.

And the baby-wearing component: gentle, sensitive, sweet, humble, loving, caring, tender, servant-hearted, coaching, cheering, embracing, kind.

Of all the things a woman could want in a man, of all the things a child could want in a father, I’m pretty sure this simple photo represents the best of it.

I love him so.

STOP.

 

Q for you: What do you want in a man?

 

Love,
A

 

Click Clink Five | Five minutes a day, unedited


I love my Oregon

“Absence makes the heart grow fonder.” We’ve heard this cliche spoken a million times. Usually in regards to relationships.

But it’s also true of places.

We’re gearing up for a trip to Oregon in two-and-a-half weeks (what?? so soon??!) and my heart is about to explode with excitement about it.

I’ve lived overseas for most of my adult life.

I moved out when I was 17. Took off for Europe when I was 18. Returned to Oregon at 19. Left for Asia at 22. And have been living in Australia since 23.

In the 18ish years I’ve been living on my own, only 4ish of them were actually in Oregon.

But in my mind, Oregon (Central Oregon actually) is this near-perfect place that I always can’t wait to get back to. (Yes, having my family and church and “old” friends there definitely contribute to that.)

I realize that some of my perception has grown out of a longing and homesickness for the familiar, but still, there’s this awareness of just how incredible my little mountain “town” really is.

An awareness that certainly wasn’t there until I “grew up” and moved away.

And I know it’s real because I go back there and it does not disappoint.

It really is that awesome.

Who knows if I’ll ever live there again.

I might live the rest of my days in Australia. Or not.

But I know one thing for certain, my heart is big enough to have two homes (not including my real one in heaven).

I love my Oregon. I can’t wait to introduce the newest Booker boy to her goodness, and my other Booker boys to the glories of her summer.

Two-and-a-half weeks and counting…

until I’ll be home.

STOP.

 

Q for you: Have you experienced the “absence makes the heart grow fonder” phenomenon in regards to a person or a place?

 

Love,
A

 

Click Clink Five | Five minutes a day, unedited


A fifteen hour work day. Again.

At 10:00pm tonight I had finally finished with unpacking the groceries, putting away the clean dishes, loading the dirty ones in the dishwasher, finishing the laundry, and giving a quick wipe of the kitchen sink and counters.

That’s a fifteen hour work day right there. And that’s not including checking or responding to emails or anything ‘admin’ related. (Or personal stuff – like writing here on my wee blog!)

I’m not saying that to complain (though sometimes I desperately want to complain about it).

I’m saying it because I used to think it really sucked when I had to work late – until 6:00 or 7:00pm.

And now here I am at 10:00pm and I’m just now sitting down alone for the first time today. (When your job is like mine you work through your “lunch break” on a daily basis.)

The thought of sitting down in the evenings and zoning out in front of the telly is very appealing, but even that seems hard to come by these days.

I’m not sure why it’s taken me almost 2.5 years, but I think I’m just now figuring out how different my life really is since having kids.

I’m just now figuring out that I actually can’t compare it to “life before” when it comes to work hours and down time or else I just get depressed!

I wouldn’t trade my job if I could. Really.

But it is hard, and tiring, and consuming.

I have days (like yesterday) when I’m ready to call up a day care centre and see how much it costs to send the kids there. Seriously.

While at the same time I know what an absolute privilege it is that I’m able to stay home with my kids. (Something not every mom who desires to is able to do.)

I’m blessed. Tired, and blessed.

(And for the record, I know that everyone has days they want to quit their job. Being a SAHM isn’t any different – I realize that.)

Anyway.

Tomorrow morning I will get up and start all over again.

Rejoice!

STOP.

 

Q for you: Are you a SAHM? If so, are you deliberate about “clocking off” at a certain hour? Or do you find yourself pulling lots of late nights like me? How do you build in margin??

 

Love,
A

 

Click Clink Five | Five minutes a day, unedited


Like a wave

It caught me by surprise.

He climbed up onto the side bar of the swing set yelling, “Watch, mommy!” over and over again.

I’ve heard that phrase many times before.

But this time it came from a little boy with striped socks, a zippered hoodie dotted with robots, too-long hair covering part of his eyes, and green “big boy undies” peeking out the top of his just-too-short-jeans.

Like a wave it hit me – my baby is not my baby anymore.

This is not my first “moment” in motherhood. Nor will it be my last.

But today in that 4:00 shadow where my son enjoyed his freedom to climb and jump and be his funny, brave, amazing self… I realized the one who made me a mom is a boy I must get to know all over again.

I’m so proud of him. And yet I want to hold on to him just the way he is. Right now.

Dang. I love him so much it hurts.

STOP.

 

Q for you: When’s the last time you wanted to freeze time?

 

Love,
A

 

Click Clink Five | Five minutes a day, unedited


We’re contending for the remote control while they’re contending for their lives

Mothers Day is in two days.

What an awesome holiday it is.

Hallmark holiday? Well, maybe. But I think it’s so important to take time to honor the amazing mothers in our lives. (Hi mom! *waving* Love you!)

I realized that although readers of my other blog are well aware of Bloggers for Birth Kits, I should probably post here too since some of my readers are different.

So here’s the deal:

In rural Papua New Guinea the rate of women dying in childbirth is one in seven.

Shocking statistic, I know.

But think about it as more than a number. Think about it in terms of faces.

How many moms do you know that are pregnant? How many do you know that have just given birth in the last year?

Divide that number by seven and then think again.

Ouch.

I know.

The good news is there’s a way to prevent many of these deaths through the distribution (and use) of clean birth kits. In the developing world the leading cause of maternal death is infection, and the kits provide things like soap and plastic gloves and a few other basic supplies that can help create a cleaner birth environment.

And the other good news is that these kits only cost about $2-3 to make. (Seriously.)

I’ve posted all about it here.

To date we’ve raised 3176 kits so far in the last two weeks. An amazing response.

Because the thing is, women love helping women. (And some men love helping women too!)

And every mother knows the love of a mama to her baby.

And no mother can fathom not living through the welcoming of that baby into the world.

So this Mothers Day, as you’re enjoying your breakfast in bed (hopefully!), I urge you to also think of the women in PNG and elsewhere that are contending for their lives (and their babies’ lives) as we contend for the remote control.

If you’re a mom, happy Mothers Day to you for Sunday. If you’re not, well then, happy Mothers Day to your mom.

STOP.

 

Q for you: Would you be alive today if you’d given birth in a developing nation? Would your mother??

 

Love,
A

p.s. The photo is of a package of birth kits I received today from a mom in America. Yay. Thank you. 🙂

 

Click Clink Five | Five minutes a day, unedited