I realized this year that I really dropped the ball where poor Eliana is concerned. She gets spoiled yes, but I don't often do activities with her. She's just my little companion. This winter I have been trying to do a few more crafty fun things with her because she really enjoys them! And before I blink three times, she'll be in preschool. Double sniff!
On Tuesday afternoon, while the boys were wrestling in the living room, I grabbed some snow (of which we have plenty!) from outside and put in in a big container, handed Eliana her mittens and a few measuring cups and containers and just let her play! After a little bit, I added a few drops of blue food coloring and later some red (which made for a very strange gray-ish purple color!). She mixed and scooped and made some snow cookies!
We had actually just finished making real cookies together, hence the apron:) She was my faithful little chef helper and we whipped up a batch of snickerdoodles. Yum!
There is another craft I have had my eye on for a few weeks. It's called many things: a Time-Out Bottle, Mind Bottle, Calming Bottle, etc. I finally got the remaining ingredients today and we tried it out! Apparently this was all the rage a couple years ago on Pinterest. I am obviously behind the times:)
I got the tall bottles (with the orange drink) from the dollar store. The label was so easy to rip off but it left one long strip of stickiness on both. I tried lemons, vinegar and scrubbing and they only seemed to get stickier. I don't make a habit of having Goo Gone or whatever it is lying around so I did a little research and then I found Homemade Goo Remover. Seriously, try this stuff!! I whipped up a quick batch and in 4 minutes, the stickiness was completely gone! Wow.
So after I solved our sticky dilemma, Eliana and I made our first Calming Bottle with her color choice of purple:) Here it is settled at the bottom.
We added purple, pink and silver glitter!
Curious little face in the backround:)
And here it is shaken up! The point of the bottles is to shake them up and hand them to your child (or a stressed adult:) and they watch the glitter fall as they calm down. You can use them in time-out or just at a time where you need them to calm down and refocus.
She loves the colors!
Unfortunately, the purple on was too thick (I added too much glue) and it was taking to long to settle so she lost interest. I made another batch in a jar and it was much better!
This afternoon, Eliana and Baby Anna went to a "baseball game." I thought they were going to watch but apparently Baby Anna was going to play! She is a very talented baby.
Aw, look, a little Cubs fan. That should make a Grandma-Great happy!
"NO MORE PICTURES!" she was growling at me! But who can resist a messy-haired, purple glasses wearing, adorable three year old?
Here are the two final products of today's experiment! Notice the blue bottle is shorter and leans to the right? Ah yes, that would be where I made a very silly, thoughtless mistake and poured WAY too hot of water into the bottle and shrunk it. Hmm.
And all shaken! They may not be as perfect as all the Pinterest-y perfect people but they are still pretty!
Maybe some of this new-found resolve to do crafts with Eliana or quilt again or busy myself is just distraction. Okay, let's be honest, it is. It is helping me to stay busy and keep my mind off of things. It's my down-time moments that are the hardest for me. The quiet moments without little interrupting voices. The idle times when my brain has time to think. While washing dishes or taking a shower or driving somewhere.
They really aren't my favorite moments right now because although I spend much of them praying, I also spend most of them with a heavy sadness that I can't shake. I am really battling my loss of hope right now. I heard a song on the radio today by a peppy Christian artist and she was jamming away about how God was like lotion on her face (or something weird like that) and that she would be totally fine no matter what came her way, etc.
And here I am in a place, that I am ashamed and heartbroken to admit, where I thought she must not have experienced heartbreak herself. Because I don't feel okay right now. I don't feel filled up, even though I am crying out to be filled right now. I feel a little empty and it's very hard to think of hoping again. I'm in one of those places where you wonder, even while you're trying not to wonder, why things seem to work out so easily for some people? And why it's so hard for other people to catch a break sometimes. And you start to wonder if God will ever bless you or fulfill the desires of your heart.
Or even more, were we crazy to have come and done all of this and can God really ever use it? Or does He want to?
My Grandma, in all of her love and wisdom, always reminds me never to envy other people who seem to have a picture perfect life. Because you never know what's really going on behind closed doors or what they may have to face in the future.
It's true and honestly 99% of the time I don't envy anyone else and truly feel very very happy for all of our friends and family who seem to be having prayers answered left and right and are in a good place right now. It's that crappy 1% of the time where I feel hurt and disappointed and I wonder if maybe God forgot about us or maybe we didn't do something right.
Yes, I know my theology is crap in all of this. Theology doesn't really play a huge part when your emotions are taking over. And my emotions are kind of a roller coaster at the moment!
The good thing is, this disappointment, coupled with some days off of school, have pushed me to just enjoy time with my kids and stay busy and focused on them. I have had some really good times with them in the past week. Playing Legos (and cleaning them up!), making cookies, watching movies, talking and just being together. I'm often too harried and tired and dreading the bewitching dinner hour to really focus on the boys and enjoy them. Or too busy fitting in all my errands on Tuesdays with Eliana; my one day with just her and a car.
It has felt really good to listen to their stories, hang around them and be lazy and busy all together and to pour myself into them right now. I am so incredibly thankful for my sweet-hearted Samuel, who tells me in great detail about every book he reads (he is really into Hardy Boys right now!) and who loves to joke with us and do his magic tricks on us.
And for my fuzzy-haired Zakkai with his "owl-brow" as we call it; for his love in figuring out how things work and his earnest little face when he wants to tell us all about his new discoveries and for his newfound love for reading "Magic Tree House" books and how proud he is!
And for Eliana, with her happy, dimpled smile that shows us how very securely loved she is. For her little mommy-ness that cares so gently (with a few exceptions!) for her babies, esp Baby Anna, and her love of all things pink and purple; her need to be hugged and held, and how she loves to be a helper.
And for my Ben; who I now know I can face anything in life with. We've had some really, really dark days together these past 8 years and some truly amazing moments and he is, without a doubt, my best friend in the whole world.
I think of these things and I can see God in them, even when I am not sure what He's doing with the rest of our life. It's all about perspective.