Friday, October 21, 2011

The Flavor of Autumn



With crisp air and changing leaves outside, our apartment smells of cinnamon and cloves as we simmer down apples picked during our annual trip to the orchard.  Homemade apple butter tops my list of favorite autumn flavors.  But I'm no food snob: candy corn ranks right after the pumpkin trifecta (pumpkin chocolate chip cookies, pumpkin pie, and pumpkin bread). 

What food do you savor every autumn?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

On Waking A Sleeping Infant

In the words of TS Eliot:

"Do I dare
Disturb the universe?
In a minute there is time
For decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse."

(From "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" Lines 45-49)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Crafting a Better Me

With the onset of motherhood a piece of me feared losing myself between the soiled diapers and the endearing expressions produced by Ramlet.  One thing the best mamas I've observed have in common is they continue a personal identity while adding mothering to their talents.  A quilter shouldn't give up design, a music lover their groovy mixes.

While waiting out early pregnancy's morning sickness (aka all-day nausea/dizziness/etc), I developed a plan of action for my months before Ramlet's arrival.  Some of the items were practical, like finding a new place to live and moving.  Some goals involved art and creations I worried would never materialize with a newborn's incessant schedule.

Counted Cross-Stitch: more tedious than morning sickness.
My month-by-month action plan blossomed larger than essential tasks and tardy creative intentions. I began considering motherhood an opportunity for me to become more of who I am by crafting a better me.  So I pried myself away from the gripping "your growing body/baby" books to reread the entire Bible.  I wanted a refresher on what I believe, on the hope I want to pass on to Ramlet.  I jazzed up this ambitious goal by reading The Message translation supplemented by my trusty pocket NIV.

Do not be deceived.  The smaller book is much, much longer.  Sneaky tiny font.
As I crossed off items on the pre-baby action plan, I realized crafting a better me doesn't end with the Ramlet's birth.  For better or worse, being a mom is being a closely scrutinized example for a child.  And I don't want my child to be chronically late, to use sloppy language, or to slack on developing his talents.

I'm going to fail, often, but I'm not going to let that be a deterrent from trying.  So I'm going to respect other people's time by being on time.  Instead of being lazy with my words I'm going to use precise language (for example: "I hate poopy diapers" when I mean "Poopy diapers stink!").  And, yes, I'm writing every day--even when I only find time to scribble down a few notes.  Someday I may want to finish that novel or simply remember the first time Ramlet hugged me back.

Have you ever used a major life transition to craft a better you?

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Confessions of a List-Maker Gone Maternal

Have I mentioned how much I love to organize with notebooks?  I'm guessing my love of lists permeates this blog.  Many scratched down blogpost ideas involve lists.  It's probably a good thing I don't write all of these blogposts--boredom would underwhelm.

Just before Ramlet was born, I reached the point of needing to replace my primary list notebook.  I knew then my list-making days were about to change.

Non-variety: the consistency of life.
My lists these days are short.  I usually only write a one-page weekly list as opposed to pushing myself to accomplish as much five days out of seven.  And, really, my high priority goals are as follows:

1.  Make the bed.  It gives a day, no matter what hours you're keeping, rhythm.
2.  Take a shower.  Refreshing and relaxing ... and surprisingly hard to plan with a newborn's whimsical schedule.
3.  Do a load of laundry.  Between breastfeeding, cloth diapers, and general infant behavior, laundry piles up quickly.
4.  Get out of the house.  Sitting on the porch: not good enough.  Checking the mail: borderline.  Taking out the trash and recycling: technically accurate, but void of spirit.  Strolling Ramlet around the neighborhood or running an errand (gasp) alone when Husband's watching Ramlet: ideal.
5.  Write something.

#5 is one of three personal objectives I determined will make me a better parent for Ramlet.  The other two?  Well, hopefully, I'll get the chance to share those thoughts before this week is out.  Right now I need to go check on the baby.

Anyone notice the irony of me writing about my overuse of lists and then using one in the same entry?  It's an organizational method I can't avoid.  How do you stay organized?