This past weekend my mom came to visit, which is always a joy to my heart. Seeing her car pull in the drive, letting the dog run out to meet her, putting Zuzu in some cute little outfit Mom bought her...it's such a blessing. My mom is called Grand by the kiddos in our family...and even I am beginning to refer to her that way more and more often.
Zuzu and her Grand at Christmastime
On Sunday, we were able to have one of our Deacons and his wife, Mary, over for lunch, so that they could meet my mom (Dad unfortunately couldn't come this trip). I adore them both, for they are true kindred spirits. I love her especially because she is so affirming. She is the kind of friend I want to strive to be to others - whenever we talk, she leaves me feeling stronger and better than before. She does this especially by affirming me in my vocation - she constantly tells me, "you are tending to what is eternal" while affectionately stroking my little bald baby's head.
This past Sunday, I lamented that Tom often worked long hours and doesn't have an 'official' day off - especially since he plays funerals, and they can be scheduled any day of the week. The Deacon (a jolly man by nature) looked at me sternly and said "that should change. Never forget he is only capable of doing what he is doing because you are here, being the heart and home. You make what he does worth it."
Kristin and I at Christmastime...I apparently have a Christmas theme.
These two strands of thought of oft-repeated in their interactions with Mr. Oram and I, young parents and newlyweds as we still are. I know these words well up from their hearts, because it is woven into their consciousness; it is their life's work, having raised (still raising...) eight children themselves. But these affirmations, these words of encouragement, are so vital, so important. The Book speaks often of the need to encourage one another, to speak words only of truth and goodness to your brothers - and heck, it's even one of the five love languages! But I forget. I forget too often.
I forget that we were given the ability to speak so that we could tell the Good News. I was given my tongue not to complain, to vent, to list my many needs that I feel aren't being met or my dissatisfaction with how I am not getting what I deserve. I have been given this ability to communicate that I might bring to others comfort, truth, kindness, affirmation. It's a good reminder here at the beginning of Holy Week to set this before my eyes: Christ didn't die so that I could use my gifts as I wish. He died to show me that only by pouring myself out in service and love will I ever live in a manner befitting a child of God.
May I ever remember this, evenespecially if another saleslady at Dillards tells me "that's a cute dress, but not for you."
Joining Jen and the crew for more discussion of my life...but since I'm kind of bummed this week, you get seven pictures of the baby to balance it out. Cause if pictures of Zuzu do not cheer you up...there's no hope!
I am sorely neglecting you, poor little blog! Forgive me. In the midst of working, mothering, trying to keep a handle on the house...I seem to have very little time to sit down and write.
Headbands are the reason I love having a girl...!!
I have really struggled this week. The house feels like it's a constant CONSTANT mess, I know I have dropped the ball on several things at work, and there are some personal issues that are weighing heavily on my heart. It's felt very...lonely...this week, around here. I wish my family or more friends lived closer - like down the block closer, not have to get in the car to see them-type-close.
Zuzu, doing some reading of her children's Bible...
In the midst of this holy season, and in light of holy week fast approaching, I hope everyone who is attending services takes time to appreciate all the hard work that goes into running a parish. You might want to critique the music, decor, substance/length of the homily, the way communion is done, or the way the Eucharistic ministers are dressed...but I hope you'll realize that it's a place largely run by volunteers or underpaid staff, who make sure you have a place to go where you can be fed. It's a huge sacrifice for most of these people and usually, all they hear are complaints!!
Zuzu...crawling on the floor at work. Gross, I know - blame Auntie Jen.
(this is her picture too)
This week as I was delving into previously unknown realms of self-pity, I got a call from a lady suffering from an unimaginable situation - hard stuff. I just melted hearing her start to cry and tell me why she needed help. I was able to get her what she needed, but felt so profoundly silly for being so distraught about my wee little inconveniences.
We took her to the beach again...she's outgrown her swimsuit!!
But lookin' cute with Daddy...
I am super grateful for getting to visit some friends and their brand-new baby tonight. Maybe the best thing about the whole night? Zuzu deciding she was going to try her first solids....
sweet and sour shrimp.
My mother-in-law brought me this when she came to visit - SO. MUCH. FUN!!!
MY MOM IS COMING THIS WEEKEND. In case it's not obvious enough, j'adore mon maman! When she's here everything feels so much better.
I love this face - the oooh face. She's made it since she was born.
In more baby news, my niece Katie had her chunky monkey little girl this week! We are all happy to welcome this wee one to the family. Please pray for my niece's recovery - it was QUITE the labor and of course, having a first-time mama to a wee newborn can be overwhelming.
Zuzu cut her first TOOTH. and her second. Exciting times!! I can't believe she's getting so big. She's been practicing sitting up as well, which makes me just want to fall down sobbing. How is she growing so fast?? I'm still begging for another - which I've been doing for going on two months now.
My baby in pearls...
I appreciate well-meaning baby sleep advice, but it also makes me laugh. "don't nurse her to sleep" or "make noise during the day, you don't want your baby to need quiet to sleep" are all good points, but they don't help my cranky teething baby get to sleep. So yeah, I'm sitting on my couch eating cold pasta because I don't want the microwave to wake her up - and for right now, that's what's working for us!
Gorgeous weather and a baby that can hang out in a bumbo = the return of my green thumb. Although my first trimester effectively killed many things, I've been proud to find a few things still standing. So I'm back to dithering around out there, in between wiping up spit-up and such...also I love to nurse on my front porch. Be warned if you ever thought of stopping by and don't want to catch a glimpse of the girls.
I am falling deeper into the world of crunchy moms. I now use cloth wipes and Zuzu has a (from what I can tell, completely useless) amber teething necklace. Hooray! How long till I can stop shaving or caring what I look like? Soon?
We have a humongo water leak apparently - somewhere beneath our driveway. So we're getting a new driveway after our plumbing issues are fixed, which is cool, because sometimes the holes in our driveway look like this:
Sorry I'm not that important, but y'know what is - omgee, NEW POPE. In my opinion, he's pretty cool, y'know, seeing as the Holy Spirit chose him an' all. I know it means a lot to the Spanish habla-ing folk out there, so felicitaciones, y'all.
Zuzu turns one in 7 months. I dropped the ball on the baptism party. Any great ideas for the first birthday??
How long till I can start homeschooling? Never content with doing several things poorly when I can do many things even worse, I'm just lookin' for another project...
Last night around 3am, Zuzu was being rather restless. She kept fidgeting about in bed and wouldn't be comforted. At first concerned, I was beginning to get really annoyed when...explosive diaper exploded all over the place. Let me say this here and now - I adore cosleeping. I think it exemplifies not only my laziness (I don't even have to get up!), but also my efficiency (baby can eat and I can sleep all at the same time). Last night I discovered a big downside - besides never touching my husband, sleeping in contorted position, and getting smacked in the face when she's dreaming robustly. I discovered that explosive diaper in the night means she dirties her diaper, her onesie, my pjs, the bedsheets, the water proof pad underneath...neccesitating a change of all of the above. And as everyone knows, there is no better way to wake a baby up than change her! So then it was 3am party time...party time.
So here I am, at work, at what is actually an hour earlier according to my internal clock. I am decidedly grumpy, and frazzled. Forget prayer! I'm just trying to stifle my inner monologue of curses.
Today is also the first day of the Conclave.
I feel ready. I want a new pope. I need a little good news, a pick me up, a promise, some hope. I need to have a Holy Father again, someone who I know will be wrestling with the world's problems, so that I'm free to, y'know, wrestle with poop-covered sheets. I need to be able to think of the windows of the papal apartments glowing late at night, thinking that he is awake and praying for me and my family and the world.
I know if you're not Catholic, you probably think I'm crazy. But there is something about having a (spiritual) Father that comforts a daughter, and allows her to be a mother to her own children.
So happy Conclave, happy Tuesday - lets get a Holy Father, folks, cause Lord knows, I need 'im.
Joining Jen and the gang for more endless talk about my life in seven short segments...I know you're thrilled!
As I sat down to write this, having finally gotten no-nap baby to nap in her big girl crib, the nebulizer fell off the couch and CRASHED onto the tile floor. Thank goodness she didn't wake up. My neighbors would have seen a nebulizer flying out the front windows with tinkling glass and a string of vulgarities trailing along behind...
"Mrs. Oram, why do you have a nebulizer?"Well, Zuzu has RSV and is on a nebulizer, getting breathing treatments four times a day (theoretically...I am bad at making her do them - they're treatments with salt air, can't we just go to the beach?). This fact causes me to think two thoughts: why didn't my pediatrician catch this four weeks ago, and why can my child handle shots better than soft air being wafted into her face?
My version of a nebulizer...(photo by Jen)
Tom's parents come tomorrow! This is both awesome, because I can't wait to see them, and frustrating, because the elves that clean my house are on strike. They've been on strike for quite sometime, actually...darn house elves. Maybe Tom gave them his socks by accident.
There may or may not be a box of bedragled looking Christmas decorations skulking in the corner of my living room. May be. I'm not saying anything definitive, but if I were, I would be doing so to make you feel better about your life. No matter what is going on, I'll bet your Christmas decorations are at least stored someplace that's not visible from your entryway.
Today's excitement included larger-than-life bugs, a normal occurrence here in swamp land, aka Southwest Florida. I washed some sleeping bags that had been left in the garage. I get them out of the dryer and flip out on my bed to fold, while Zuzu is blissfully playing in her bassinet, next to said-bed. Out of the sleeping bag scurries a HUMONGOUS roach. HUGE I TELL YOU. I did battle with it and won, protecting my child and home against these horrific invaders, but my mind was really thinking: how did it survive the washer?? It's common knowledge in Florida that if you leave ANYTHING outside (the garage totally counts), you are asking for it to: a) mold, and b) become insect-infested. That's why I washed those sleeping bags! But now...I think I should throw them out. Opinions?
Zuzu always burps when she wakes up. I have a universal hatred for bodily noises, but she makes it look so cute.