Wednesday, January 30, 2008
A friend of ours just loaned us one of those wonderful seats called a Bumpo. It seems that Adelaide just loves to be sitting up as of a few days ago. So, we plopped her in the little blue chair and brought her into the kitchen. Eli's first response was, "Adelaide's driving!"
Elias has been such a wonderful two year old of late. Today we were in the house again all day long because it was so cold (-30 with windchill)that schools were closed. He wanders around the house entertaining himself by singing, "I've been working on the railroad" and other toddler top hits. I have just noticed that Elias has begun to be a source of great fascination for Addie. She looks up at him and giggles. Now he tries to make her laugh by holding her hands and singing with her. Who would have known that a 4 month old and a two year old could play together? It sure makes it somehow bearable to be inside for those long days of involuntarily retreat.
Speaking of retreat, Adelaide and I are going to get out of dodge and go to the monastery on Saturday. This will be her first "official" silent retreat. She's looking forward to some quiet time after all of the hard work she has undergone since her birth. She's also contemplating Lent. She may give up her third nap and take on solid foods. We'll see..no need to brag about her Lenten devotions over the internet. In any case, she's looking forward to her time with the Rev. Mother :)
Thursday, January 24, 2008
You know it's Wisconsin when
1) You wake-up and get excited to see the temperature above 0
2) your husband is excited because he does not have to shovel
3) your children have runny noses
4) those runny noses freeze on the way to the car
5) the car doors do NOT open because they are frozen shut
6) the icicles hanging off your house are so long that they almost decapitate you when opening the front doors
7) the mailman complains about the cold
8) cars are being stolen while people leave them to warm-up
9)you'd rather stay inside ALL day than bundle up your baby and toddler
10) you'd rather stay inside ALL day and read and reread the same books and play the same games and listen to the same music than go out into the tundra
I have been inside with cabin fever for the last day and a half. I'm probably so pale that I glow in the dark. I also am so dry that my skin feels like sandpaper on sale at Ace hardware. The days are long and tiring, but good. The good news of today is that I had an article published online in a new journal called the younger women clergy project. The website is www.youngwomenclergy.org It's nice to see something in print and it helps reaffirm that motherhood, and staying cloistered inside, is not my only vocation.
Monday, January 21, 2008
Sunday, January 20, 2008
Here I am two months ago dressed for Sunday
So, I have not needed an alarm clock for the past six months of my life--if not more. Usually, Elias was a personal alarm up until Adelaide was born. Now I wake-up according to her needs for feedings. These days she wants to have her breakfast between seven and eight in the morning--quite respectable, I think.
In any case, last night I set my alarm for six in the morning in anticipation that I might need to not only shower and eat breakfast, but also pump before I left to serve as a supply priest at a local parish. In addition, I knew it might take my car a few minutes to warm up as it was projected to be -14 this morning. I had laid out my vestments, my prayer book, my sermon, my pump and my purse on the dining room table. I even asked Adam to set his watch just in case my alarm did not go off.
I was having some intense dreams about tenure and about tenure track jobs when I opened my eyes only to see the clock glaring at me--it was 6:40 am and I needed to leave the house at 7. The first words out of my mouth were not holy ones--but they at least included the word, "Holy" in them. I jumped in the shower only washing my hair and had to blowdry because I knew it would literally freeze if I did not. I bumped around in the dark until I was dressed minus buttoning up my shirt. I thrust Addie on me for about five minutes, and then dropped her back in the bassinet. I was out the door by 7:05 and my car read it was -11. I tell you that was one cold car ride.
Being in church again was wonderful. I preached and presided at both services. I felt good about the sermon and was reminded, and renewed, by a morning in which I did not wipe a runny nose or wipe spit off anyone's face. I was able to make a few liturgical decisions, which got my mind thinking more carefully about worship. Finally, one of the best part of my days was an autistic boy who helped serve as an acolyte. He carried an unlit torch, for obvious reasons, and was very interested in me. He rocked back and forth as I celebrated the Eucharist and helped me with the ceremonial hand washing. What a joy to see all the kinds of people of God in this parish. What a joy to celebrate with them. What a joy to drive home in quiet without having to sing, "I've been working on the railroad."
Friday, January 18, 2008
Tongue in cheek, of course. My sweet, Addie, showed us a new sign of her temperament last night. She cried, hard, for close to an hour. I was stuffing that pacifier in her mouth. I was nursing her and trying a bottle. I swung her in her carseat and rocked her in her bassinet. Meanwhile, our 91 year old neighbor was here for dinner. As her shrieks got more intense, I could still hear Henry downstairs regaling Adam with stories from the turn of the century--the 19th that is! Adam said that Henry remarked that his father was born in 1885. Yes, that sure was a long time ago. I was just amazed that Henry chose to stay here while we had our crying jag.
I think I will post a happy picture of Adelaide so she doesn't ruin her reputation. But so much for baptism making you good:)
I think I will post a happy picture of Adelaide so she doesn't ruin her reputation. But so much for baptism making you good:)
Monday, January 14, 2008
It was a wonderful day. Yet, there was nothing about the day that was terribly quiet or reflective. Instead, the baptism was most like it might have been on the river Jordan. It was filled with the noises of people--mostly young ones. It was crowded on the shores for those waiting for John the Baptizer. We were close to 50 parents and godparent pushed around the font. The onlookers squeezed next to each other. So, did the parishioners at St. Andrew's. It was full capacity and you might have thought it was Christmas Eve except all the greens had been removed a week ago.
There were six families presenting people on this Feast Day. Adelaide wore the same gown that my brother, Brad, wore. I wore that gown after he did. Brad's son, Alexander, was the next to don the gown and Elias followed five years later. Adelaide looked beautiful in it and wore the sweet, cross pin from her godmother. Addie was great through the baptism although she looked a tad befuddled after the chrism. Eli behaved because Bibi had the foresight to provide a lollipop during the liturgy. We celebrated with cake and other food in the afternoon and Adelaide even managed to put her newly baptized foot into the cake!
As godfather, Tim, would say, "Here's to living wet, Adelaide!"
Thursday, January 10, 2008
We now are trying to keep up with the networks; we had our very own kid swap. Clare and Nora came over from 4-7 while Mom and Dad went out to a movie. We did lots of reading books, singing, and, of course, playing with baby Adelaide. The highlight of the evening was the hot dogs and beans for three hungry munchkins as well as Nora and Clare deciding if Elias has a bath then they should as well. We couldn't fit all three in the tub, so we took shifts by gender. The night was an argument for having lots of kids because it was just a matter of economy of scale. What's three baths instead of one when you've already drawn the water? What's three plates instead of one when you have already cooked? And what's a messy house at the end of the night when it's always messy at the end of the day?
What a great swap and payback was a night out tonight for Eli and Addie's parents. This was much more fun than the networks make it look.
Tuesday, January 8, 2008
I have been thinking about Adelaide's upcoming baptism on Sunday. She will be claimed as a child of God in a real and tangible way for all the world to see. I think I'm a huge fan of infant baptism for lots of reasons. The most important reason, however, is that Adelaide has to do nothing to be baptized. She does not have to earn God's grace. God's grace just is. How wonderful to acknowledge that grace with an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual gift.
I also appreciate infant baptism because of the claims it makes on the community around us. Instead of adult baptism, which places the emphasis on an individual's personal decision, infant baptism says that faith is about a community, not an individual. That community, of course, is the church. So, Addie's parents and brother and grandparents and Godparents, and the whole gathered community of faith will promise to raise her in the church--with God's help.
Finally,I have been thinking baptism is the beginning of an acknowledgement that our children are gifts from God. In the baptismal rite, the parent hands the child over to the priest and then the priest receives her. At that point, the priest baptizes her into the Trinity and from there the parent has begun the process of letting go. In a book I am reading about parenting and faith, the author writes that much of what we do as parents is bless and sendoff. She calls this anticipatory grief. I think that Addie's baptism is the beginning of anticipatory grief. It is the start of letting go and understanding that there is evil in the world and that I can't change that. And no matter how hard I try to parent well--I will fall short. But God's grace is everpresent.
As for washing her from sin, well, it needs to be done. Not because of sins of omission or commission...crying too loudly or spitting up too often. No, she is washed from SIN with a capital S. That is sin that separates us from God and that is just recognizing that as a human being she will be a sinner. After all, she will at some point lie, use fossil fuels, covet someone else's clothes, etc. This is just a reality of being human and when she is washed on Sunday God will promise to work towards bringing her into right relationship with God her whole life long.
So, we pray for Adelaide Christie as she is brought into full fellowship with the saints and angels and the company of heaven just as her brother was on April 30, 2006.
Wednesday, January 2, 2008
Well, the fourth trimester has come to an official close. Adelaide is now three months old. I have noticed in reflecting on her first three months that this little baby has not been raised much by books. With the first child, I was constantly seeing if he could clutch a rattle or sleep every two hours or socially smile at the right developmental moment. (By the way, what is an asocial smile?) But with her, I have only consulted Weisbluth once and the Sears' encyclopedia when she had the stomach flu. All in all, it has been a wonderful three months.
To date, she smiles and occasionally laughs. She can clutch objects. She can roll over front to back and back to front. She also can endure her brother's "help" when he tries to rock her or put her NUK in her mouth. Adam has coined her our non-anxious presence. This is clergy jargon; in clinical pastoral education we all had to be non-anxious around the needy people we dealt with. We find Adelaide non-anxious because she probably only cries about 5-10 minutes a day and is willing to just go with the flow. Thanks be to God for our little girl who is growing up way too fast!
Tuesday, January 1, 2008
Clara informed us that one of the best things about having a new sister is that she can now have a girls' club. She and Simone will now be the founding members and, of course, her mommy. However, Adelaide and Bibi and I can join as well.
Clara is an incredible help to have around. I truly recommend having a five year old girl before having infants. During her quiet time she sat next to a blanket with the babies and played with them. When she got bored, she was willing to fetch diapers and burp cloths. I hope for my sister-in-law's sake, that the novelty does not wear off.
The boys were quite busy reinforcing their membership in the boys' club of which Clara has been excluded. They are very close in both age and companionship. Now they have added one more boy to their brood and they still seem to overpower the girls' club.
Here they are having built some incredible ships on Christmas Day.
Undoubtedly, the best Christmas presents came long before Epiphany in the Wilcox and Kradel households. Adelaide arrived in October and her wonderful, new cousins arrived on December 23rd. Here is a picture of Bibi cradling sweet Simone. She and Addie are about two months apart and they enjoyed getting to know each other between feedings, spit-ups, and diaper changes. Both Adelaide and Simone looked wonderful in their new Christmas digs from Hanna Anderson. (pictures to follow.)
Christmas Day was certainly a pajama day. If you can imagine 7 children under 7, three of whom needed lots of attention, and four others who were dying to open presents, you could see why none of us got dressed until about 5pm. If I had known I would have spent most of my visit dressed in PJ's I would have cut out the black boots and the cashmere sweater from my suitcase.
Sweet Yonas was either clinging to his mom, eating at the table, or exploring the downstairs of his new house. He taught Elias how to drink from a big kid's cup and Eli taught him how to make lattes in the pretend kitchen. I think they will make a fine pair.
The kids were getting so impatient to open their presents so they began to dance a jig. As my mom said we had a Christmas of joy and peace. LOTS of joy and very little peace!