What the kids need to know…

Ok. Confession. I got an iPad for uni and I started taking it into work because our office computer is decrepit. I was working over lunch, and switched from my work e-mail to twitter and saw a link to the latest Kid President video on SoulPancake. This time of year is the busiest for people coming for counselling after termination and miscarriage, and it does get you feeling kinda blue. This video just gave me a little bit of hope and lifted my spirits…

Last week my friend came to visit my Senior Section to tell them about a charitable organisation she volunteers with. And she brought with her one Jambino* . He spent half the meeting chewing on my finger and an ice cold flannel (teething is rubbish) and the other half asleep with his face smooshed against me. The first night I met him and held him last summer I had him semi-awake lying flat on my lap and I told him everything that he needed to learn about. You know…important stuff like Jesus, being a Hearts fan, knowing Gibbs’ rules and how his father is totally wrong about Starbucks brownies. Oh, and cartwheeling on beaches…

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Welcome to the world Miles (and PS to Kid President Robby Novak, I don’t know about being an uncle, but I know that being an Auntie totally rocks!!)

*don’t worry, it’s another one of my nicknames! he has a real name that suits him well that his parents put on his birth certificate. Jambino means ‘wee jambo in the making’ in the Laura Anne baby name dictionary and is only used for blogging purposes. Just like Miss Sweetroot, Elastaboy, Mr Teapot, Mini Kahuna and Princess Monkey. And bump yet to be nicknamed…

Friendships are worth more than chocolate & flowers

Chocolate and flowers seems to be the theme of this last week. My friend – a pastor in Zambia – wished me a Happy birthday and Lord’s blessing over me. But you know what I realised? I’m already blessed. It’s nice to get chocolate eggs and to come home to find a bunch of pretty flowers on your doorstep, but the friendships I have mean much, much more to me.

Saturday afternoon was a blessed time. Sure, it wasn’t so great that Mr Teapot threw up all over himself and the sofa just as his parents were leaving the house (though I am sincerely glad that it happened BEFORE they left…and I rather calmly went upstairs to get him a clean outfit while they disposed of the pukey things!!). But my favourite moments were sitting round the kitchen table eating apple talking about Easter and the days they were born and playing with Cars 2 play-dough. Elastatoddler sitting on my lap with his Spanish/French workbook from school and asking me to show him how to count in French and Spanish. (And me being seriously thankful we had a workbook. Because I’ve forgotten pretty much all my French and Spanish!!)

Perhaps the funniest part was while trying to put clean clothes on Mr Teapot and Elastatoddler appeared with a gift bag and card.

On the envelope it said ‘Laurie’.

He pointed to it and said “It says Laurie, but that’s really your second name“.

What’s my first name then?” I asked him

Auntie.” he replied quite matter of factly, looking at me like I was very silly for not knowing what my ‘first’ name is.

You’re Auntie Laurie. Auntie is your first name, and Laurie is your second name”  he told me.

And he is right. That’s why I don’t mind changing pooey nappies and wiping poopy bottoms. It’s why I feel proud when I’m told ‘Auntie Laurie I need the toilet‘ after the little accident that had happened earlier in the afternoon. It’s why I don’t get phased by them crying/shrieking when they don’t get their way (though a deep breath to remain calm and pray for one’s ears may sometimes be required). It’s why I have shoes covered in red and blue play dough. It’s why I smile when I see their joy at the simple fun of making someone ‘disappear’ by throwing a towel over them or when 2 brothers play together taking turns with their favourite toys (as opposed to fighting because they don’t want to share). It’s why I don’t leave until I know they are ok when they run and leap face first into a toy fire station and bust their lip and chin just as I’m about to leave the house with an ‘¡Adios Auntie Laurie!’

It’s also why I believe my parenting friends just may be superheroes for doing these things all day, every day for years and years.

Every time I spend time with these boys, I wonder what they’ll grow to be and do in the world, and I think how lucky I am that my friends let me be part of their lives and even trust me to take care of them (for a few hours at a time)!

Curiosity may get me in trouble from my friends…

One thing is for sure, I think I’m discovering why there are so many ‘Mommy bloggers’ out there in the blogosphere. Kids sure provide you with much to write and think about. Sorry to say that not much to blog from last weekend when Mr Teapot turned 2 – but check out my friend’s creation for the event (totally homebaked from scratch!). The best part was the fact that it was chocolate cake inside.

The only downside – my jeans got literally ‘caked’ with Thomas. And I didn’t notice until I went to put my jeans on to go to church on Sunday morning. Ha ha!

However, last night was one of those nights that I had one of those potentially corrupting children moments. Several of them in fact, complete with a classic BK style malteser moment. It all began as me & Miss Sweetroot were watching a DVD of her dance show from a couple of years ago. We’re talking about the dances, and the dance teachers we’ve had. Then out of the blue she just asks:

“Do you have a job?”

I of course answer “Yes

This is of course followed up by the key question: “What do you do for your job?”

Panic sets in. This is my friend’s only just turned 7 year old daughter. I’m pretty sure they have not had ‘the talk’ with her at this point in her life. I’m definitely sure the subject of people getting pregnant when they don’t want to be pregnant has never been talked about because she has only known pregnancy as something to be celebrated and excited about. I’m now wishing I’d become a teacher. Teacher would be an acceptable self explanatory answer to this question that my friend’s daughter would already know about. Pregnancy counsellor and teacher of sex education? Even amongst adults in the pub this answer can be quite the conversation shocker.

I think my answer was quite honest (and hopefully not going to get me killed by her parents!)

Well, I help people who are pregnant, and some Mummies whose babies went to heaven while they were still in their Mummy’s tummy before they got to be born“.

At this point I’m praying that this will be acceptable answer for her.

It seems to be.

She tells me of someone she knows whose baby went to heaven while it was in their tummy. But then she asks me the toughest question of all:

Why does God let the babies go to heaven before they get to be born?

Thankfully my truthful answer of “I don’t know” is acceptable. (Phew. Because I really don’t know.)

Later I take her up to bed and I read her a bible story (Jonah and the big fish), and she reads me a story (Chip & Wilf’s Arctic Adventure). We’ll skip the part where I had to climb up to her bunk bed and in the process caught my scarf with my leg, almost knocked myself out and fell in ungracefully into a pile of stuffed toys. We chat to God together for friends we know on holiday (prompting a question about whether they have sharks in Morocco in case our friend gets his arm bitten off while surfing like Bethany Hamilton).

I’ve no sooner gone downstairs, when I hear little creaks and footsteps outside the living room. I’m reading ‘Father Fiction‘ by Donald Miller.

What is that book about?

It’s about people who grew up without having Daddies” I say.

“How does that happen?” she asks.

And let’s just say that for the next 20 minutes we have lots of chats about half-siblings, step siblings, step parents, how some people’s Daddys might go away by choice and others don’t, and whether the Mummy of mine she’s met before is my ‘real Mummy’ and how I have lots of brothers and a sister but we don’t have the same parents.

Thankfully, when my friends came home and I told them these stories, they did laugh. And they told me that when she starts asking how babies are made, they are going to tell her to ask me instead.

I really hope my friends are joking. (You are kidding, right?!)

Anyway. All this to say that I’m back in the business of corrupting children. Or trying not to corrupt them. These conversations are definitely up there with the time when Miss S asked me about why I had two earrings in each of my ears.

And I now realise I’m officially getting too old to try and climb onto bunk beds.

:)

 

Cupcakes & Miracle Babies

Yes, in 2010 I became a bit of a cupcake baking addict. And yes, after the amazing support that Bliss gave a friend of mine when her baby boy was born premature in 2009, we hoped that we could do Cake-A-Difference to give something back to them.

We were however thwarted when Mr Teapot decided to kick his birthdate from January to February.

This year though none of us have babies in our tummies (unless my friends have news they’ve yet to share with me) and we’re hoping that we can kick some cupcake baking ass, and raise money for Bliss in the process!

Pray we would be able to make time to organise, and that people would open their doors to let us sell some cupcakes to them at churches or workplaces or Mums & Toddlers groups etc.

And while we’re on the topic of premature babies, let me remind you of another miracle baby who is turning 3 on Saturday. Once again people all over the world will be wearing Pink & Brown in honour of Gwyneth Rose Lawrenson.

Flower of Scotland Friday: Scottish Summerwear

My lovely friends just got back from helping out with the Church of Scotland’s largest parish (in terms of geography) in North West of Scotland for a couple of months. Well, they got these in one of the wee islands they were ministering in, and I just think it’s hilarious that we had BumpII (gotta come up with a better nickname) wearing them in the glorious Scottish sunshine yesterday.

Elastatoddler calls them ‘[insert real name of BumpII]‘s knitted wellies

Love it. Only in Scotland, right?

It was sooooo great to all the family yesterday, and got lots of BumpII cuddles, as well as playing some football and building a railway track with my fabulous godson who is living up to his nickname with his new ability to do forward rolls all by himself.  We think he may have a swallowed a duracell bunny at some point too… :)

Top Ten Ways to get your baby weight to stay

I don’t have much to say today. Except that we’ve reverted back from nice summer to our usual non-existent summer…

…and I’m not too happy about it. (For those of you who work in Fahrenheit…the above pic translates to…)

An American on twitter responded to my posting of the above screen shot by saying: Wow that’s cold what’s the normal temperature in the middle of the summer there?

Bless his American cotton socks… :) Because let’s face it…this IS the normal mid-summer weather in Scotland!

Anyway, I was MOST cheered up on an otherwise dreich day by the posts on my lovely American who lived in Scotland friend, Caroline (who is well aware of the sucky Scottish weather as she has experienced it firsthand) announcing some very special news today….she’s preggers with baby Collie number 2!!!!!! :D

It’s been a while since she did one of her ‘Top Ten’ posts, and this one about the top ten ways to make sure you never shift your baby weight made me giggle.

I’m worried by the lack of digestive biscuits, jam, cream & scones in South Africa….how is she going to cope through this pregnancy?! ;)

Love you muchly Caroline – Congratulations to the Collie Family!!

PS If you’d like to see the guest ‘Top Ten’ I did for Caroline a while ago, you can check it out here. Unless you are called Lynn and you work as a Children & Families Pastor. Then you really shouldn’t read it.

My heart is all over the place!

What a day! It started with me, sitting in bed watching the results of the General Election come in until 2.30 a.m. when I realised I needed to sleep, and as I popped my mac away and so on, I thought ‘I bet Bringonthejoy is going to have her baby tonight’.

At 8.30 a.m. I get a phone call, and it is Mr Soul Surfer himself asking if I got his messages. I realise my inbox is full and flashing at me. ‘Have you got a new baby?‘ I ask…and yes! He and BOTJ do! Hip hip hooray!!! There is telling of stories, wondering about election results and much rejoicing at the knowledge that Bambino has finally arrived, and we realise that on the day he was born, we didn’t have a Prime Minister.

Oh, and quote of the year so far: Miss S to her Daddy on the discovery that her baby brother has been born: ‘Does he have a beard?‘ I love the mind and logic of kiddles – Of course Daddy has a beard, he’s a boy, so surely if Daddy has a beard, brother has a beard too?

I find out the election results, and worry deeply for my country, though glad that the local candidate I voted for is the one who has been voted in to represent us in Westminter. However, the election results map is concerning…and I wonder what this will mean when it comes to our own Scottish Parlimamentary elections – will people be more inspired to vote for a party that will push through independence knowing that a party that the majority of Scotland doesn’t want is pretty much in power now?

(from BBC website)

And there is the cupcake making for our local charity’s thanksgiving service tomorrow. Not to mention the last minutes texts and e-mails to the only other Scottish Partner in the ‘big charity’ as we have our Scottish conference tomorrow. We’ve got two lovely ladies flying up from London to speak, not to mention folks involved or looking to start up pregnancy crisis centres from all over Scotland.

It’s exciting.

But it’s also a lot of responsibility…

So now it’s almost Midnight…I’m remembering things I’ve forgotten to do. I’m praying all goes well, and thankful the volcano ash is moving in the other direction now so people have been able to get here.

I feel I’ve been very neglectful of my blogging duties, but hoping after this weekend I’ll be able to chill as things will hopefully be a lot less crazy and stressful.

Plus, I want time to visit my friends and steal some baby cuddles. :) Oh and, see how Elastatoddler’s rugby skills are coming along.

What will we do with our second chance?

Heal my heart and make it clean.

Open up my eyes to the things unseen.

Show me how to love like you have loved me.

Break my heart for what breaks yours,

Everything I am for your Kingdom’s cause,

As I walk from earth into eternity…”

from Hosanna – Brooke Fraser

“It seems to me that if you or I must choose between two courses of thought or action, we should remember our dying and try so to live that our death brings no pleasure on the world.”

-John Steinbeck

On Sunday I spent the afternoon in a bit of daze really. It was raining (the clocks went forward on Saturday night, so I’m glad we’re starting the ‘British summer’ the way it probably will go on…). I watched an episode of Underbelly. I text to see if anyone was going to church. Ruth said she was, we agreed to meet each other there. Saves us the embarrassment of looking like friendless losers if we stick together! ;) (NB – Ruth totally rocks & is not a friendless loser, I just thought I should clarify. But going to a big church and sitting on your own is just ever so slightly depressing)

It was tough to sing the songs…so much about God giving life, and to be honest it was just making me think of Eva. It was making me think of another blog friend who had tweeted to ask me to pray for her friend who because of pre-eclampsia had just given birth at 28 weeks gestation and her baby girl was now fighting for life in the Neo-Natal Intensive Care Unit.

And my heart was breaking.

I can’t take any more people I’m praying for dying God…

And then it was open mic. I started feeling sick and shaking. A sure fire sign that I needed to say something. So I did. I shared about the wonderful people I’d met through this crazy blogging journey.

What I didn’t realise, was that they would then ask people to gather round the people that shared and pray for them. How could I have been so dumb to have forgotten that they do this?!

And so people did before I managed to escape to pray for somebody else (rats!)

Well, that was it. I lost it. One of our pastors was praying, and I just lost it. There were tears, snot….yeah, a great night to have put on mascara. Fantastic. I turned to someone who I knew they would know why I was crying, and all I got out was, “all I can think of is Eva”

And it’s true. It’s a weird place to be grieving and feeling this strong sense of loss for someone that I’ve not actually ever met in person. And you know, she is not the first person I’ve prayed for connected with social networking that has died. There was Gavin in November, and Jess in January.

I guess though that Eva shared so much of herself with us, that you couldn’t help but read her poems, see her photos, videos and not know her heart. And I knew that she, like me was to have her 26th birthday this week, which perhaps has made this death closer to home somehow.

We were born days apart….the whole of Canada and the Atlantic Ocean between us.

She accomplished more in (almost) 26 years than most people do in a much longer lifetime.

I was walking through the rain and wind today, and I couldn’t help but think of her family and friends. And Eva’s never ceasing campaigning, her creativity in raising awareness for Cystic Fibrosis and Organ Donation.

I couldn’t help but pray “You know God, I know one day I’m going to die, somewhere, somehow….but please let it be in a way that my death brings others life?”

Morbid thoughts, I know. But it’s true. And now I feel spurred on more than ever to life as fully as possible. And somehow, do my bit to continue the legacy that Eva (& many others) have left us.

And since this is ‘Holy Week’ – isn’t that something Jesus was all about? Isn’t that what we celebrate at Easter….His death so we might have life?

We saw what Eva did with her second chance.

What are we going to do with ours?

Contrasts

I’ve had an incredible weekend.

After smallgroup reunion, I headed through the rugby traffic over to Carrie & Andy’s.

Elastatoddler showed me his brand new little brother. Elastatoddler is already such a loving big brother. I just held him or had him lying, resting on my legs as he slept (& farted…a lot!) and gazed in wonder and his masses of soft hair, skin, that baby smell, long but tiny fingers and remembered the day I first met his big brother.

Before that I had spent the afternoon with a friend who has her second child growing inside of her (known as Bambino)

I remember the weird ‘shock’ that came over me when Elastababy was born. His birth had been so excitedly anticipated, by his family and by me. I was ecstatic to meet him, and to be known to him as ‘Auntie Laurie’ despite the fact I’m not a blood relative is a privilege. But afterwards I went into a daze, and it took me a while to realise that the shock was … he was a wanted, planned baby.

And I wasn’t used to that.

There is something about babies. Their innocence, their tiny little features, their helplessness, the ‘everyday’ miracle of pregnancy and childbirth.

Today I talked excitedly of the future birth of my friends’ second child, and sat in awe of my friends’ barely-2-day-old son as he slept (and farted) in my arms.

Tomorrow I go to work where people will be talking of terminating their pregnancies or have done in the past and can no longer stand to be around babies. None of that happiness or joy will surround pregnancy and childbirth like it does for my friends.

Can you see the contrast?

Struck down by love

Well, it’s 1.30 a.m., I have to leave the house in 7 hours to get to a music practice, so of course tonight would be an ‘insomnia’ one! I like to consider it my inner student who is like ‘hello?! it’s Saturday night! You should be partying the night away right now

Anyway, it’s a lil bit irritating because I’m so excited for tomorrow and I want to be awake and ready for it!! There’s music practice, more Pete Greig (praying he doesn’t repeat one of the anecdotes he shared with us at Powerpoint on Friday night…lets just say for my emetophobic readers…you wouldn’t want to hear it!), then a smallgroup reunion (hurrah! and yes BOTJ I made pasta stuff, not sure if it’s turned out ok though…) and then…….I’m going to meet the sorta monster sized newborn that is BumpTwo (gotta come up with a better nickname!).

Basically I’m going to get baby cuddles (and hopefully some Elastatoddler cuddles too) in exchange for some of my homemade cupcakes. Oh yeah.

So in honour of this future meeting, here we have another video from Central Christian Church on the subject of love…mainly showing this one today because well…yeah, the older guy and the baby? That’ll be me tomorrow. :)