Sunday, July 29, 2012

My husband is MacGyver

Don't judge... we lock our kids in their room.  It's the safest way to keep Blaise contained for nap time and night time and to ensure that he sleeps.  I wish we had some fancy childproof lock for doing this, but alas, we are simple people and merely reversed the door knob.  Last night, we're all in the boys room reading before bed time.  I realize that their dirty clothes are still on the floor, so I grab them and go to open the door to throw them out into the hallway.  Locked.  The door is locked from the outside and all 4 of us are inside, with nothing but the usual accessories present in a kids bedroom!  Options:
1.  climb out the window and then re-enter the house.  The main problem with this option is that they boys have super tiny 1950's windows.  Not sure any of us could fit out.  And even if we did get out, I am 100% certain that both doors to the house are locked, so we'd have to hope for a random unlocked window somewhere to come back in. 
2. Use a coat hanger to undo the door lock.  John tried this, but the lock won.  It's not a simple push button lock, it turns, and the coat hanger was just too wide to make the turn needed.
3.  Take off the entire door knob.  Luckily for us, the two screws that hold on the knob were on our side.  Of course the difficulty is that we don't just have a Phillips head screwdriver lying around in the kids room!  Nor do we have much that is small and sharp.  I suggest yelling out the window to ask a neighbor for a screw driver, but John finds that option just too embarrassing.  So he begins to scan the room for something to use.  Finally he spots it... he takes down a picture off the wall, pulls out the nail and very slowly manages to unscrew the door knob using the nail head.  Free at last! 
Certainly the oddest bedtime fiasco we've ever had!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

God's Gentle Leading

If you haven't read my post "Meant to Be", go there first and then read on.

This past weekend we left the kids with my parents and once again made the drive up to South Bend.  We drove through the night Thursday night, took a short nap Friday morning and then embarked on another house hunting bonanza.  Between Friday and Saturday we saw 23 houses, bringing our grand total to 40.  (Not to mention the hundred plus that we ruled out online without ever seeing).  Our real estate agent confirmed our thoughts that we had truly seen all that South Bend has to offer in our price range.

So Saturday night was depressing.  We drove and walked around the neighborhoods of our "top choices".  Nothing clicked.  What would we do?  Settle for a less than ideal house?  Go home empty handed and be homeless in a month?

While we were driving back to the house we were staying in, I suddenly got a thought - we should drive back by a house we had seen 6 weeks ago on our first visit.   When we pulled up, immediately there was a difference - shutters had been added, so a house that previously had no curb appeal suddenly seemed much more friendly and welcoming.  We called our real estate agent and let him know that we wanted to visit it in the morning.

Sunday morning when we walked in, we immediately were greeted with beautiful new kitchen and dining room floors.  What a difference!  As we walked around, it really started to feel like home.  There was a space for the piano, the large kitchen and dining area meshes perfectly with our love of cooking, and the basement could easily become a large playroom for the kids and a guest bedroom with just the addition of some carpet and paint.

Our real estate agent commented that my thought to come back here must have been a "God thing".  Maybe serendipity or divine inspiration?  I like to think of it as God's gentle leading.  Those little prompts he gives us.  It's why we need to "be still and know that I am God" - allowing God to whisper his guidance and love into our lives.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

It's a . . .

Back in February, I was asked by a friend over email if I was hoping for a girl or a boy. Here's my response to her:

"I actually don't think I'm hoping for one gender or the other. When we first tell people we are expecting again, most tell us something about how they hope it is a girl this time. So I usually respond that I hope it's a boy because we already have all the stuff. But really, I just say that because I hate buying into this stereotype that boys and girls are so different and that you must have some of each to have a complete family."

But here we are in April and I can officially say, "IT'S A GIRL!". So I want to confirm that I hate all these stereotypes about how different boys and girls are! I have no intention of dressing my little girl in all pink frilly things. And unless its a super special occasion, she will not be wearing dresses or bows in her hair! Kids are kids. They need to wear comfortable clothes so they can get out there and explore the world.

(Just my two cents. And know that I don't judge you if your little girl always has a bow in her hair. So don't judge me for dressing mine "like a boy"!)

Friday, March 23, 2012

A bad break-up

I'm still pretty sad about us not getting the house. I know it might seem silly to most people, but its not silly to me. My husband made an analogy that's just perfect in my opinion - he compared losing the house to a break-up. I'll go a little more specific than that - it feels to me like losing your first love when you didn't even see it coming. And similarly to a break-up, the best thing to do would probably be to get back out there. But of course, we can't because we live 650 miles away. So for now, I'm stuck "online dating" with the the internet profiles of houses.

Now I don't only want to take the negative aspect of the analogy. Like any break-up, there usually is a silver lining. For us, it's that we've opened up some new possibilities. We're willing to consider houses that need complete kitchen make-overs and even ones that need bathroom make-overs so long as it has more than one bathroom! I've also applied for a live-in position as a residence hall director at a local college. That would kill two birds with one stone - we'd get a place to live and I'd have a job (because, to be perfectly honest, the idea of being a full-time stay-at-home-mom still freaks me out!).



Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Meant to be

We recently went on a whirlwind house-hunting trip. After doing hours of searching online, I narrowed down 200 or so potential houses to 17 that we would see over two days. Despite all my detailed combing through pictures, Google street view and Bing bird's eye view, we had many houses that were immediate no's. Most were just too small or too outdated. But we found one that was great. We knew that they were expecting another offer on the house, so we wrote a strong, clean offer. We even offered more money than our real estate agent suggested! But the next day they said no. Took the other offer and didn't even give us a chance to counter! I was (and still am) heartbroken.

Since then, I've had a lot of people say things along the lines of, "it just wasn't meant to be - God has something better in store for you". While on the outside these seems like perfectly nice statements, I have an issue with it theologically. "It just wasn't meant to be" and "everything happens for a reason", implies that God completely controls everything. If you truly believe that, then I see no way for you not to believe that God also causes bad things to happen. I have a friend who lost a baby to SIDS. Was that God? I have a nephew who suffers daily from a rare disease. Did God cause that? No! I don't believe that.

What I do believe is that God can help bring good out of all situations. He gives those mothers strength to make it through each day. He gives that boy little joys throughout his pain. And I'm sure that in a few month's time, we'll be settled in a new home and we'll be happy with it. Some will say it was "meant to be". And maybe they're right - maybe God did deliberately put that roadblock in our path to lead us in another direction. But maybe God is just gently helping us to move on.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Pro-???

It's strange... for as long as I can remember, I've not had a strong leaning one way or the other in terms of pro-life or pro-choice. I didn't like the idea of abortion, but I could be OK with a woman making her own decision. If pressed, I would have probably even said that I was pro-choice. But recently that has all changed. It's changed because it has become much more personal. A friend of mine told me that she was pregnant and wanted to have an abortion. Immediately, I knew that I had to be the pro-life support for her. That was what she was asking for (not overtly, but clearly why she told me as opposed to others in her life). I counseled her as best I could, took her to a pregnancy resource center for more counseling and was there with her when they did a sonogram and showed her the little baby's beating heart.

Through it all, I held to the pro-life line, promoting adoption. And as I argued that line, I realized that I truly am pro-life. Though I could understand her reasoning and why she thought an abortion was best, I could not bring myself to accept that any reason was enough to end this baby's life. And yes, I believe that 5 week old, 3 millimeter, embryo is a baby. I saw its heart beat. I cannot figure out how to justify not call a beating heart life. And I am heartbroken now as I realize that that life was ended today.


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Postpartum & Patience

I suppose one way to overcome postpartum depression is to become antepartum once again! It's crazy how much control hormones have over our brains. All it takes is a little baby growing inside of me for my brain chemistry to even out again. One thing I have learned from this abrupt change is that my depression was worse than I realized. I feel "normal" again. This is certainly a wake-up-call for me that medicine and/or talk therapy may be a worth-while approach if this happens again.

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That first paragraph was written back in December when we first learned of the pregnancy. But I didn't feel comfortable sharing until we made it through the first trimester. So here we are in mid-February. Looking back at my thoughts in December, I am so glad that I had a period of "normal". That feeling was quickly replaced by nausea and fatigue! In my previous pregnancies, these symptoms lasted until about week 16, so I still have a month more of this! AHHH!!! And then still another month after that to learn if our little baby is a boy or a girl! I'm ready now!

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I'm ready for a lot of things now... ready for this school year to be done, ready for my husband to hear back about all his applications, ready for us to decide on a school, ready to resign, ready to find a new house or apartment.... the list goes on. Right now so much just feels unsettled. We know change is coming, but it's not here, yet! Oh, to have patience!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

kslats

The web address for this blog begins kslats*... which comes from my name, sort of. You see, I got this right around the time I was getting married, around the time my name would change. But, you see, names don't change automatically. You have to submit the proper paperwork and call EVERYONE who uses your name for things. This all seemed like a lot of work that summer of 2008 when I was also busy moving to a new city and starting a new job. So I just didn't.

A few months later, this fact came up in casual conversation with some friends. They were appalled that I had not taken care of the name switch yet. This got me thinking, why was it so important that my husband and I share the same last name? I couldn't really come up with any compelling reasons for me. Sure, it shows a cohesiveness, the two becoming one. But he and I are one. I don't need to change my name to make that true. It's true because of how I live each day.

We've been married for nearly 4 years now, and I'm still using my maiden name. I've begun to think about it again, since soon we will be moving and I will be a stay-at-home-mom. I could justify it (at least somewhat) to outsiders before by simply using my legal name in my professional life but being OK to be called by my married name in my personal life. But soon my professional life will be on hold... what then?

I probably won't change a thing. I like that it makes people in our conservative, christian circles feel uncomfortable. That uncomfortableness makes people think about what they believe and why they believe it. I want the married women I come in contact with to consider why they changed their names. It should mean something. It should mean something much more than just bowing to societal conventions.

The one thing I probably will change is the web address for this blog. I'm just not sure what to change it to, yet!

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*Note: the blog address was switched to engineeringmotherhood.com in February of 2013