Friday, May 13, 2011

Saving Bath Time

Isaiah has been hating the bath lately. I mean, total melt-down, everyone's miserable, really hating it! It's weird because he used to love the bath, so I'm not sure what happened, but I was determined to do something! (Side note: We had already tried a lot of stuff hoping to return bath time to the happy days gone by!)

I had seen directions for making your own bath crayons in Super Baby Food that I had wanted to try. I thought maybe Isaiah would enjoy helping to make them, plus they wouldn't have all that junk I can't even pronounce like the ones you buy in the store. So, we gave it a try. Isaiah was super excited about the idea and couldn't wait to do it once I told him.
Basically, you use soap flakes or grate mild bar soap. I didn't know where to find soap flakes, so we grated bars of Ivory soap. The directions say to add one tablespoon of hot water slowly to 1/4 cup of soap flakes. It was hard to stir, so I stirred while Isaiah put in the water and food coloring. Asking a toddler to pour something in slowly is a little worthless, but he was enjoying our project. We put it into sections of an ice cube tray and let it dry. At some point a couple days later we popped it out to let the bottom dry better as well.
Isaiah told everyone who came over about our bath crayons and showed them off. As you can see from the picture, they weren't pretty! Unfortunately, their function was about as poor as they look. They were fun to try but not very effective at writing/drawing in the bath. Maybe more food coloring next time? They get slimy pretty quickly, too.

So, the bath crayons were not terribly successful, and I still have a ziploc bag of grated soap, but the experience was fun, and Isaiah actually got excited about bath time to use them. It didn't entirely save bath time, though, and the funny random thing that seems to have come to the rescue, at least for now, is a song I pulled out on a whim from Sesame Street. In the Puddle Jumping episode open, Baby Bear sings a song about singing in the shower. I have been married long enough to a man who makes up songs or changes the words constantly, so I made a little spontaneous adaptation for the bath, and he thought it was the greatest thing on the planet. So far, all we have to do if the fussing starts is start to sing the song, and we're golden!

Also, Isaiah has grown resistant to veggies at times, but he asked for thirds the other night because of the Veggies Revolt episode and kept going, "Crunch. Healthy." I have to admit that I am less than thrilled about Isaiah watching much TV, but I have to admit Sesame Street has come through for us lately! Thanks, PBS!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Lessons on Grace

Both boys are actually napping, so I probably should be as well, but here I am jotting down my thoughts instead. I received a message the other day from a former student, and as I started thinking about it, I realized that she is now the same age I was when I was teaching her! It really struck me that I have now been in Los Angeles for 11 years! Today I find myself thinking about how very different my life is now than when I moved here.

I drove out to Los Angeles in the summer of 2000. I knew no one out here. I moved into an apartment by myself in South Central and started my job teaching middle school math there. John has described his first impressions when he saw me come in to his small group with my nose ring and toting my djembe on my back and my hippie clothes.

Today I am in one of three pairs of black work-out type pants that are the extent of pants that fit me right now, staying home full-time with my two boys, making dinner.

I moved here to determined to save the world and today feel pleased at having made dinner.

Life is challenging in new ways now, and it has stretched me a lot! It is not, in many ways, as comfortable for me as my early days in LA. I would have been pretty terrified, in fact, if you had told me at that time that this is what my life would be like right now. But, besides the most obvious reasons that I am so thankful for my life now--a wonderful husband and two beautiful, amazing boys--I feel like I am starting to understand grace.

Speaking of life being different, it is now two days later that I'm actually able to finish this post!

I used to get a lot of awe from people when I told them what I did and where I lived, and I have to admit that I liked that. I have been a really driven person for as long as I can remember, and I needed to be doing something that felt important and hardcore. Don't get me wrong; I loved what I did. But, I needed it. I have felt good at a lot of things in this life, but "good" never seemed enough. I was always striving to be PERFECT--the perfect student, the perfect teacher, the perfect Christian, the perfect person. I have struggled to come to terms with the reality that, not only does that not exist, it treats Christ's sacrifice on the cross as if it means nothing!

As I made dinner Monday, that old voice came into my head to think how pathetic it was that I was feeling successful for having made dinner one day. What a different measuring stick than what I used to have! But, then I felt such a peace. I didn't need to accomplish something, even this little thing, to have more value or to be a good mom or wife or prove anything to myself or someone else. I just had the chance to extend something of myself to try to bless my husband and my family with a show of affection for them. I could embrace the joy of something so seemingly insignificant because MY significance wasn't wrapped up in it or in feeling the weight to do more.

My life isn't glamorous these days, but I have a loving husband who honors me and our family and extends grace to me in so many ways, a toddler who is curious and fun and smart and compassionate, and a baby boy who is healthy and beautiful. It is a valuable way to spend my life, and I am thankful. And, most of all, I am thankful for God's grace that I can finally realize (and at least some days remember and embrace!) that whether I do seemingly big or small things or even feel that I have nothing at all to give and am utterly failing at life, I am a beloved daughter of the King.

Things have changed. And grace has changed me!

I struggle with it daily, but I'm thankful for the glimpses of His grace and moments to experience it!