Last weekend P and I did some gardening together. We finally got word that we will be staying in the same location next year, so I celebrated by going and buying some plants as I hadn't wanted to plant anything if we were going to need to move again in less than a year.
We bought the potting mix, dolomite lime and fertiliser and P helped scoop it into the pots. Great fun and quite therapeutic to be sitting in the warm sun handling dirt!
Then we planted some herbs, some veggies (spring onions and beetroot for this time of year) and watered them.
It was a really lovely activity to do together, and each morning P looks out the window to see how her plants are growing. Which in turn reminds me to water them!
A tip for next time: place the pots where you want them to be kept before putting in the soil. It's a lot heavier afterwards!
Two weeks ago, I booked E in for her 18 month check up and chicken pox vaccination. The day before, she came down with a cold, and PH came down with shingles. Thankfully for him, the shingles was just a re-occurrence of the chicken pox he had as a child (it lies dormant in some people and will re-emerge along a nerve - for him it just was along the top half of the left side of his face).
I took E to her appointment and mentioned to the doctor that PH had shingles. She felt that because E was sick, she should not have her immunisation at this stage but be careful not to let her have any direct contact with PH's sores (naturally!).
This week, E has finally seemed to recover from her cold, so I booked her in for her immunisation tomorrow.
And today? She has spots. Very suspicious, rapidly spreading spots.
Oh, well. At least it's not life threatening. And she seems happy enough at this stage, despite the spots.
This post is written to encourage all those wonderful Sunday School teachers out there. Children really do listen and remember what you teach them!
P is only 3 1/2. This term at Sunday School, they have been learning about Moses. The other day, she was drawing pictures, and this is one that she drew (I didn't tell her what to draw, she just decided to do that herself).
When I asked her what the picture was about, she said:
- This (in green) is Moses climbing up the mountain
- This (in brown) is Moses with the two tablets, he was very angry and he throws the tablets down and broke them into pieces (the little brown bits)
- This (in red) is all the little pieces, he puts them in the water (blue) and they have to drink it.
Can you guess which part of the Moses story the last bit is referring to?
I've been trying to read more books this year, a mixture of fiction and non-fiction. One of the most recent books I've read is "Caleb's Crossing" by Geraldine Brooks. I've read a few of her books now, other's being "People of the Book" and "March", which won the Pulitzer Prize in 2006.
What I love about all her books is that they always make me think. She is rare in that she writes a lot about religion and people's beliefs, often in a challenging, but not demeaning, way. I don't often agree with what I think are her views on religion, but I love the way that her writing challenges me to understand what other's believe and to think about what I believe.
"Caleb's Crossing" is no different. It's set in Martha's Vineyard (an island in Cape Cod, out from Boston) in 1665 and is written from the character of Bethia, a minister/missionary daughter who longs to be able to study the classics and have an education open to the men of her world. She makes friends with a local Indian boy (Caleb), who is given the opportunities she is denied.
Throughout the book there is the underlying theme of rights to education and also the natural clash of English religious beliefs with the local Indian beliefs. These are strong themes, yet treated in a gentle way without being overly "preachy" (for want of a better word!).
I think it would be a great book to read and discuss with friends. I think I'll suggest it to my book club (which is made up of military wives). I like discussing religion and beliefs with others, but often find it hard to know how to bring it up in a way that isn't weird or doesn't feel confronting to others. This book naturally leads to discussions on what people believe, and on the impact that has on the way our lives are lived. It's not a Christian book by any standard, but raises some really interesting themes that are not often discussed in our culture.
image from http://geraldinebrooks.com/the-books/calebs-crossing/
P loves wearing skirts, even in the middle of winter. Thankfully she's also happy to wear tights or leggings with them! I promised her a few weeks ago that I would make her another skirt to wear, and finally got around to it this week.
I based the pattern on two skirts she already has and just guessed the measurements. This is for a four year old, but it is fairly loose fitting and has elastic waist that can be tightened or loosened, so could easily be adjusted for other ages. It cost less than $10 in materials.
It has elastic at the waist and a ruffle when the hem is sewn, so it's pretty quick and easy to make.
Here's how I made it. Please note that I used an overlocker/serger quite a bit. If you don't have access to one of these, then I've put the alternatives in red.
1. You will need 1/2 metre of fabric (with a width of 115cm). I used fine corded material as the skirt can then be worn on it's own in summer, or with leggings or tights in winter.
You will also need at least 50cm of 2cm wide elastic and thread to match the material.
2. Fold the fabric in half (so the raw edges are at the ends, not together) Cut out the four pieces:
(A) cut 26cm of fabric (whole width) - you will end up with a rectangle of 26cm x 115cm
(B) cut 2cm of fabric (whole width) - you will end up with a long thin strip of 2cm x 115cm
NOTE = if you don't have an overlocker/serger, you will need to make this 2.5cm wide
(C) cut 13cm of fabric, fold out and cut width of 64cm - you will end with a rectangle of 13cm x 64cm
(D) with the left over piece of material from (C) (ie. the piece that is 13cm x 59cm) cut out 2cm strip (OR 2.5cm if you don't have an overlocker) - you will end up with a rectangle of 2cm x 59cm.
(note: this is not the final cut pieces, just part way through, don't use image as a guide)
2. Overlock all the raw edges (zig-zag all raw edges of pieces A and C)
3. Long stitch the top edge of A, about 1/2 cm from the edge. Long stitch again, this time about 3/4 cm from the edge. Gather the material by gently pulling the top two threads gradually move the gathers so they are all along the top edge of the fabric until this edge now measures 64cm in width.
4. Pin the top edge of A and the bottom edge of C together, right sides facing (they should be the same width now A has been gathered). Sew together using normal length straight stitch about 3/4cm or 1cm from edge. Fold out so you can now see the right side of both pieces.
5. Fold this material so the side edges are together (right side facing). Sew together using straight stitch. You now have the body of the skirt.
6. Ruffle. Sew the two 2cm strips together on one edge so you now have a very long, thin 2cm strip. (If no overlocker, fold both the long edges over 1/4cm, iron and sew with a zigzag, so you have two long zigzags down the long edges). Sew the other edge (right side together) so you have a long loop. Then sew long stitch down the middle of the piece (all 170+cm of it!). Gently pull on the top threads to create a gather until the fabric measures 115cm.
7. Fold hem (bottom edge of A) up 3 cm and iron. Pin ruffle on front part of skirt about 2.5 cm from the folded edge. Attach using straight stitch. This will also sew down the hem of the skirt (hooray, no hand hemming!!)
8. Fold top edge of C over 1/2cm, iron. Then fold again, but this time over 2.5cm. Iron. Sew straight stitch, close to the folded edge (ie. about 2.25cm from the top edge of the skirt), leaving about 3cm un-sewn to provide a gap for threading the elastic through.
9. Thread elastic through the gap and around the waist. Measure against the child you are making it for, and sew elastic together at a comfortable width. Then sew the last 3cm of the gap (from #8). You may want to do sew some vertical lines down the elastic to keep it from folding over when it's worn.
10. Take a photo of your model wearing her new skirt!
In the darkest days after E's birth, in the middle of postpartum anxiety, I found it hard to understand what God was doing. I would beg God for sleep, but then would have another night of insomnia. I would pour out my anxieties to him, yet not feel the peace I thought would come. I wondered if God was punishing me, or if I had done something 'wrong'.
But looking back, I can see God's gentle, gracious, loving hand all the way through.
His kindness in my husband being in a job where, for the first time in three or more years, he was able to be home by 4.30pm each day, and where he was not required to be away from home for weeks or months.
His providence in allowing the Bible devotions I was reading at just that time be on Psalms, which helped me to turn to God in my distress and cry out to Him. And which was about all I could take in in my extreme tiredness. It was perfect and provided me with shafts of hope in my otherwise foggy days.
His mercy in surrounding me with friends who not only prayed for me, but cooked meals for us long after the first few weeks, who took P on play dates with their kids so I could try and rest, or could get to doctors appointments.
His love in giving me a baby, who, despite all my fears, is actually a great sleeper and (after the first two months) was really easy going.
His graciousness in providing direction on where to get help when I most needed it, and in providing a doctor who actually knew what to prescribe to help me get better again.
Light in my darkness, balm to my soul. My saviour, once and for all.
A few weeks ago, P and I made some Chelsea Buns together.
It was fun. And yummy.
But I must say, there are just some things that don't taste equal to the effort required to make them. These were like that. It was a fun activity to do together and all, but the end product for the effort expended, should have been awesome.
And it wasn't. It was yum. But not awesome.
Next time, I'm just going to stick to choc-chip cookies. Or gingerbread men.
E has been sick this week. Coughing a lot and up every hour or so overnight. I'm pretty tired, but mentally healthy and actually relaxed and happy, despite the tiredness. Enjoying my three year old's chatter despite the difficulty concentrating on what she is saying to me. Loving the early morning snuggles and smiles, despite wanting more sleep.
I've been pondering why I find the newborn stage so difficult, when I'm fine with ongoing sickness and the sleep deprivation it causes.
Perhaps it's that the sickness stage doesn't last as long as the newborn stage. Though in January/February we had a run of sickness-travelling-teething-sickness-timezone adjustment-new house adjustment-more sickness that lasted a good two months. And I was fine I was okay.
Perhaps it's the hormones that come with the newborn stage. Quite likely.
Perhaps it's that newborns are oh-so-small and needy and I feel so responsible for their health and life.
Perhaps it was just the effect of recovering from a traumatic birth.
Perhaps it's that newborns cry so much more and with less definable or explainable reasons.
Perhaps it's the abrupt change from stability to another new life to look after.
Perhaps it's just me.
Or, perhaps it doesn't really matter, after all. I'm thankful to be happy, to be enjoying my family, despite the lack of sleep, the coughing and crying and grizzling. I'm glad to be well.
If you're going through PPD or a related illness, I want you to know something. Not only can you be healthy again, but you can also cope with the stresses of life again and be okay. Don't be scared that you'll never cope with stress or life changes again. You can, and you can surprise yourself by how well you do it.
If you've linked to this blog from the interview over at The Fountainside, welcome!
I write about a few different things (generally without much organisation or structure!), but if you're wanting to find out more about my journey through postpartum anxiety, or resources I've found helpful, then click on the label 'PPD'.