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Thursday, February 21, 2019

Urban Dove

I was standing in the kitchen cooking lunch at the stove, looking out the window at my terrace. Two pigeons came and landed down next to a roti.

I don't know why, it irritates us, but our neighbors throw rotis out that land on our terrace. We live on the first floor (second floor to Americans, but the ground floor is a parking garage, so lowest floor) of an apartment tower. Only the first floor has large terraces, all the above floors have smaller balconies overlooking ours, and they drop things down every single day. Some of it is innocent and I get it-- cloths pins that slipped from a finger, laundry that the wind blew off the line. But then there's things like rotis that is just why??

Anyway, two pigeons were attracted to the abandoned roti and landed on my balcony. Through the glass door overlooking the terrace my daughter spied them. "Look Mommy! Birds! Oh, their necks are BLUE!" she marveled.

I looked at their necks, seeing how they have irridescent feathers much like the beloved peacocks that are the national birds of India. But these aren't peacocks, they're pigeons.

And suddenly I was checking to make sure the food wouldn't burn and running to get something to write with...

Photo by kalpesh patel on Unsplash

If he weren't so common
We'd marvel at his turquoise iridescence
Now purple! Now blue! Now green!
Light dancing over his plumed collar
And his soft gray cassock
Subtle and rich at once darkening into
The tools of aviation
If a pair chose our balcony to house their
Cherished new generation
We would watch with quiet awe and feel blessed
We'd hear their cries of trilling coos
And praise the gentleness of doves
But he is common
So we cry, rat with wings!
Nuisance! Pest!
We install spikes so he has no place to rest
Cursing his beauty
And wondering why the world is so ugly
The more abundant the beauty the Lord graces
The world the less we see
The problem is not that the world is ugly
But the myth that value springs from scarcity
If the city pigeon went the way of his cousin
The passenger
Our descendants would wail they wished they'd lived
At a time they were so common as to be despised

Thursday, February 14, 2019

The Real Story of Valentine's Day

In the 3rd century, Emperor Claudius decided single men made better soldiers and outlawed marriage.

But marriage was created by God, not man. After all, in Genesis God said it is not right for man to be alone and in Ephesians it's discussed that marriage was given as a symbol for God's love for His people (Christ and the Church.) So a priest named Valentine defied the law and married couples in secret.

When the authorities found out, Valentine was put to death.

St. Valentine's day celebrates the sanctity of marriage, which is the foundation of family and thus it's a celebration that can include all, married and unmarried.

So let's not let the corporate interests deceive us. I mean, I love chocolates. But Valentine's day isn't about dating or anything superficial. Let's remember what Valentine's Day was meant to represent, lean into the marriages in our lives, celebrate with the family that came about through those marriages, and look hopefully into the future for those who are not yet married and would like to be one day. And for us Christians, may we remember we are part of the Bride that with the Spirit says "Come!"

Saturday, August 25, 2018

6 Illnesses in 7 Weeks

Yeah, so that title is referring to me. The rest of the family has also been sick but me the worst by far. Dreamer second worst, I think still breastfeeding is giving Rider a boost and me a disadvantage immune system wise. Ryan's immune system is pretty strong but he's not stayed 100% either.

I first got sick the first week of July. Horrible fever and diarrhea and body ache and the whole viral nine yards. Everyone else was okay.

Then like a week later I got a cold. Dreamer got sick too. Rider and Ryan stayed well.

Third illness I got vomiting and diarrhea. Rider got diarrhea but no vomiting. Dreamer got vomiting but no diarrhea. 

Then I got another cold. Rider got it. Then Ryan got a cold and diarrhea which led me to believe that he'd still been fighting off the last illness and winning until this cold came and made his immune system army fight on two fronts and they both lost the battle at the same time.

Then I got another diarrhea illness a week and a half later. And then, as that is going away, I succumb to another head cold. And now Dreamer has it and is throwing up. I'm hoping just from mucus on an empty stomach but...

Sigh. We are not doing well. My house is practically disintegrating around us because the second I exert myself I get sick again so the laundry and dishes and everything are piling up. Ryan's pretty much exhausted his sick days.

And you know what? I *think* that's the order these illnesses came in, but I'm not even sure because it's all been such a blur. I saw a doctor once during either illness one or two, I don't even remember which one. He advised I get off my metformin (which I take for PCOS) until I'm better which means I've basically been off it for a long time now so it'll be rough getting back on because metformin has harsh side effects when you are starting it. Not looking forward to that. We are suspecting that I may have deficiencies making me vulnerable so I'm getting vitamins and probiotics. And yeah, I'll probably eventually go in for a blood test or something. Thinking to check my thyroid. But I think I'll wait for a few weeks after the vitamins. If I'm still getting sick this easily I'll do a full panel of whatever seems necessary. If I'm doing better I'll probably just check my thyroid to be safe (my mother had thyroid cancer in her thirties so I'm always worried it's my thyroid.)

Blehhhh... Hoping for relief soon.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

We Homeschool Now!

"One... two... three... four...," the four three year old children began counting as they cheerfully hopped down the stone, outdoor staircase. A smile came to my face. I looked to my left and my right, finding answering smiles in the grandmother and mother who were with me.

"This is homeschooling," one of them said contentedly to me.

We were at a park, letting the kids run around while the adults talked logistics. My daughter and her new friends held hands, played tag, picked flowers (which we had to tell them to stop, it's a park), chased ladybugs and collected leaves. It was wonderful.

This was one of the weekly meetings of our local homeschooling group.

That's one of the big changes I have been planning to tell you about, we are officially homeschooling now!

Dreamer turned four in May but we have been meeting often with other homeschooling families since January.  That might seem young to declare oneself a homeschooling family, since in many places school starts later. In our region of India the vast majority of children are in school at three. At latest perhaps by four. So we've been dealing with "where does she go to school?" questions for us on a weekly basis for well over a year. It began earlier than that, in fact, since people seek admissions into good schools far in advance, so I think I first dealt with this question when she around two.

But now a lot of her peers in America are also starting 4 year old kindergarten! On labor day I'll be doing a sort of "back to school" post about our plans for this year and next week I'll be talking about looking at philosophies and curriculum. This post is more an overview of how we got here! 

I fell in love with homeschooling years ago, in college. I realized that the majority of my close college friends, strong women who I admired, had been homeschooled. Finding out that this educational choice, which is rare in the overall population, was something more than half of the friends I was attracted to in college had in common made me pause and then research fervently. Before I graduated I had firmly fallen in love with the educational philosophy and homeschooling my own kids some day was a dream.

This was years before I met Ryan or had Dreamer, of course.

When Ryan and I met online and were talking I mentioned my passion. He was neither enthusiastic nor did he write it off immediately. He had literally never considered the possibility and of course we had years to discuss it.

And we did, off and on.

When Dreamer was two I brought it up and we both at least agreed we definitely didn't plan on putting her in school at three. Ryan and I both started school at five and found forcing small children to be in a classroom all day at such a young age to be ludicrous. I took this as we'd made a decision to keep her home while she was three, and when admissions season for when she was four would roll around again we'd decide once more which way to go. I thought we were taking it year by year.

Then in January 2017, a few months after we'd decided to keep her home at three, a school bus in our city caught on fire. Blessedly, the children all were able to be rescued. But I read the new story to Ryan and said, "That's something parents choosing a school wouldn't think to ask, whether the school buses had received proper maintenance."

Ryan's head jerked up.

"Why are you are worrying about choosing a school? I thought we were homeschooling!"

"What? I thought we hadn't officially decided. I mean, for this year, yes..."

"You don't want to homeschool now?! I thought this was what you wanted!"

"It is!"

So yes, basically we've been officially decided since January 2017. We are very much of the philosophy that kids shouldn't be pressured at this age and sort of have been "unschooling" for now... But more on that next week! 

Saturday, April 28, 2018

My Son is One

I keep repeating that, appreciating the rhyme as the truth of it still seems incredible.

Part of the celebration was his first haircut! 

We had a small birthday party that was really a "play date with cupcakes" but which went off well. Pizza, watermelon and cupcakes (boxed mix with my mom's recipe for buttercream frosting.)

I am making it my mission to go back and back blog the months I've missed posting Rider's first year before another month goes by. Publicly announcing that. Let's see if that works to keep me on task.

He's been walking and talking since nine months. He can say hi, dane oo (thank you, used when we hand him something), Dada (for Daddy) , Mummy (for Mommy), Yaya (Ryan's mom), and just this week Ahma (for Grandmama, my mom). He has been climbing on and off furniture for at least two months.

He was a cute coo/squeak that means "yes" and most of how he communicates is pointing with his whole hand in the direction of what he wants (water, food, a toy, a person) and making a complaining noise, then if you ask him which he wants he'll make the happy coo. Like let's say he's pointing at the table that has a banana and a water bottle on it. "Do you want food?" I point to the banana. Unhappy noise. "You want water?" Point to the water. Happy noise.

He loves books and will listen to picture books happily. He laughed at the funny part of a book I was reading to Dreamer the other day. She then asked me to read it again, and again he laughed in the right spot, revealing he doesn't just like books as a concept but can follow the plot lines.

He also pays attention to TV and videos. Which at that age Dreamer did not, she just ignored it, so we need to be careful about that.

He is extremely playful and initiates games like peekaboo and others of his own imagining. He is always ready for a laugh and even blows raspberries on MY belly. He gives kisses and hugs too.

We are still breastfeeding. Which sadly with my hormones means I've gained a ton. I seem to barely gain at all in pregnancy, be lower than conception at about 2 months and then gain  gain gain. Now that he's a year old I plan on being more intentional about getting my weight in control since I won't be so worried about supply.

He and his sister are best friends. In the morning whoever wakes up first wants to wake up the other. Reminds me of Anna and Elsa at the beginning of Frozen. He is finally getting big enough to be able to play with Genevieve. That is she's played with him for a while, things like peekaboo or blowing raspberries. However now he can keep up and play games like tag and tries to play with blocks and stuff.

Happy birthday my beloved son! God chose to give you to us and we are supremely thankful!! I am looking forward to more of you.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

My Three Year Old Is Not Starving

Just because my daughter is hungry, it doesn't mean I'm not feeding her.

This morning we started with the middle of a piece of toast. The middle because she doesn't like crusts (which she calls "peels", proving this is some weird inborn little kid preference, and not learned!) Then she had a bowl of cereal with milk. Kelloggs Fruit Magic Muesli, which is the only muesli (aka granola) we can buy in the store she can eat since she is allergic to nuts. She finished it, then abandoned her bowl and the baby grabbed her spoon and hit the bowl so hard it cracked in two. Seriously.

After throwing the bowl out safely, I responded to more whining about being hungry from Dreamer by giving her a banana. She ate like 3/4 of it. Then less than an hour later she begged for French toast.

After eating the middle of three pieces of French toast, she is currently eating an orange. It is not yet noon.

But I promise you if you asked her right now she'd say she's hungry and "starving". I get these looks, especially from "aunties" and I know they think she's withering away. She's not. She almost always acts like this whenever we go out, especially if she sees anyone eating anything. Unless of course you spend a lot of time and care on it-- then she'll eat one bite and be full.

Three year olds.

At a restaurant, probably telling her grandfather how starving she is. 

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Ten Months

So this past month was a HUGE one for Rider!

it's almost impossible to get a still shot of him these days!

I ended my last monthly update saying that he'd be walking before ten months... I was right!

He took his first step at nine months, one week. I wasn't surprised, but I am impressed, I admit it.

What I didn't expect is that just two weeks later, he'd say his first word!


I have a walking talking toddler... and he's just turned ten months!


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