Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Hump Day

We started off this week pretty rough. Monday was pretty blah. Probably because Jackson woke 3 times Sunday night, and then decided to scream starting at 5:40am until I got him at 6:50am. Screaming doesn't usually start my day off well.

Monday afternoon was a downer too. It was just one of those days when I needed time to myself, but naptime ended early and I was so frustrated to have to stop my Alone Time and start being Mommy again. I called Dan at work, crying like a weenie for being so needy and weak. Then I loaded the kids up for a walk. Although it was a teeny bit chilly, the walk did wonders for my attitude. I prayed and walked, and all I could hear was, "Shhh..." as the wind rustled the tree leaves. I told God my frustrations and heard, "Shhh..." over and over. It was kind of like my mom used to do, just holding me and shushing me when I was hurt. (Oh, what I wouldn't give to hear Mom's voice now, or have one of those confidence-building conversations with Dad.)

After our walk we came home and played with the twin neighbors, and my friend Sheryl commiserated with me. The mother of twins felt sorry for me. Yikes! She's always so good at listening to me. She went through double what I'm going through, and she survived. So I can too!

Tuesday was better, mostly because the kids slept through the night. And free ice cream from Ben & Jerry's also helped too. After naptime, another walk with a different neighbor who has four kids (that includes a set of twins too). It helped to commiserate and hear her frustrations. And after walking, more playing with neighbors. Jackson's playtime on our street is getting a little better, since it seems he's not trying to eat every single landscaping rock he picks up. Now he just likes to get the rocks and carry them around. I can handle that for now. When Dan got home, I corralled the kids on the street and we planted two tree seedlings that we got for Earth Day last week. It always feels good to start something new!

Today is Hump Day, and we had a good morning. We met my mom's group at the local rec center, and went swimming. Jackson soaked me with his joyful splashes, and Katie did so well in the water. I can't wait for our neighborhood pool to open, because she's going to enjoy herself so much! After swimming, we had a good lunch with friends and headed home just in time for nap.

I decided to be productive during naptime today. I figured it would take a load off my shoulders. I cleaned the bathroom windows, swept and mopped, and went through piles of paperwork. And, yes, it makes me feel much better! The best part is I got through my "chores" and the kids are still napping, so I am having some Alone Time and a chance to blog.

And, even better, tomorrow the kids go to Parents Day Out. But I've saved the best for last! On Sunday, Dan and I leave for Vegas with our friends Beth and Sean. Yeah, baby! Now that it's getting closer, I feel like I can finally look forward to it. For the past few months, I haven't really been thinking about it much because it just seemed so far away. But now it's so close, and I am really going to have to start thinking about what to pack!

Happy Hump Day!

Monday, April 28, 2008

I've Been Tagged

I'm quickly learning that the World of Blogs is so much bigger than I ever expected! My friend Danielle is the reason I started my blog. I love reading her Extraordinary Mommy blog, and was inspired to start my own blog as a way to chronicle my life, and my family's life.

Now Danielle has tagged me. I have no idea what that means, but apparently it's something cool bloggy people do. And maybe I'm cool too because my cool bloggy friend Danielle picked me. Yay! I feel like I'm back in middle school getting picked for teams in volleyball, and breathing a sigh of relief that I wasn't the last one standing.

So, apparently here's what I'm supposed to do when I'm tagged:
1. Link to the person who tagged you.
2. Post the rules on your blog.
3. Write six random things about yourself.
4. Tag six random people at the end of your post by linking to their blogs.
5. Let each person know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their website.
6. Let your tagger know when your entry is up. (That means when I finish this post, I'm supposed to let Danielle know by making a comment on her blog, so she knows to come read mine.)

Six Random Things about Me
1. My childhood nickname is Poozie, courtesy of my sister Mary. There are maybe 3 people still alive who are allowed to call me that. Anyone else who uses it just plain freaks me out, because I'm so used to hearing it come from my brother, mother or father's mouth. And since they are all dead, it's weird to hear it from anyone else.
2. My first job was at White Water, a water amusement park in Georgia (where I grew up). My last job was selling health insurance. In between, I was a TV news producer, copy center lackey, Desk Assistant in a dorm, print coordinator for a ministry, and financial advisor's assistant. And so far, I've been fired once - from the ministry. Can you believe it?! Ha!
3. I have trichotillomania. Have fun Googling that! Anyone have a good idea on how to get over it?
4. I used to write lots and lots of poetry throughout my middle, high school and college years. But when I met my soul mate, I think all of that angst and fuel just kind of died off. Now I get to live my poetry every day, instead of trying to force it into rhyme on paper. Lucky me!
5. I love Chick-fil-A, creme brulee, singing loudly in the car, Dan, foot rubs, loyal friends, honesty, making things with my own hands, reading, Jackson's belly laughs, Heavenly Hash ice cream, Snickers, Grand Lido Braco, using parentheses, lamb chops, laughing, a good church choir, Katie's kisses, and spooning with Dan. My pet peeves are misplaced apostrophes, annoying little noises, people who over-analyze everything, and rude drivers.
6. I was Vice President of my senior class in high school. Dan says I was probably like Tracy Flick in the movie Election. I hate to admit it, but he's right. Thank God I've mellowed a bit with age. (If you know me now, you'd never think I was mellow. But that just shows you how uptight I was way back when.)

And, now, here are my tags. You're it!
Catrina's Thoughts My former coworker Catrina is the first person I ever knew with a blog.
IKEA Hacker I love IKEA, and this blog!
The "Blog" of "Unnecessary" Quotation Marks I just stumbled across this blog, and it makes me laugh because I have lots of punctuational pet peeves, even though I make the mistakes myself sometimes.
Homemade by Jill I love her necktie onesie and want to make one now too. Reading her blog reminds me I need to post some of my crafty projects too.
People Reading This blog appeals to my voyeuristic tendencies. I like to hear what people are reading and why.
Angry Chicken This blog is my favorite for crafty ideas. I don't know the writer (Amy), and I'm pretty sure her blog is way too big for her to play the tag game, but I'm going to tag her anyway because I just like to read her stuff.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Skippity Doo Dah

We just got back from Target. Man, I love Target! There's a whole summer gear section that I could have spent $100 in, easily.

Anyway, that's not the point. On the way into Target, I was holding Katie's hand while Dan held Jackson in his arms. Katie no longer walks. I swear the girl skips everywhere. And, of course, she was skipping into Target.

I had a thought that maybe I should start skipping everywhere too. I could go on a skipping diet, and think how much weight I'd lose. Have you tried skipping lately? Forget spinning or the elliptical machine. Skipping would give me license to eat anything I want. The amount of energy it requires would burn off lots and lots of fat.

And I'm thinking skipping would add to the happiness in my world. Could you ever be sad while skipping? I don't think so.

Friday, April 25, 2008

I'm a Parrothead!

Yay! It's official! I attended my first Jimmy Buffett concert, and had a BLAST! See us in the photo? Jimmy Buffett is on the TV screen above my right shoulder. The concert is truly a phenomenon. Tons of people come from all over to hear the great Jimmy sing, and party in the parking lot. The only time I've ever seen anything close to this was the tailgating for a Kansas City Chiefs football game. But people at a Buffett concert are so much nicer. We made friends with our parking lot neighbors, and got to know lots of other people waiting in their cars in the traffic after the concert.
I love that Jimmy Buffett sang his classics, plus some other great songs like "Brown-Eyed Girl" by Van Morrison. Unfortunately, Dan and Sean were getting drinks for us, so I didn't get to dance with my hooney for that song, or for "Cheeseburger in Paradise." But I did get to dance with my friend Beth, and it was fun just standing in our barefeet on the lawn, waving our arms and dancing.
The highlight of the night was singing "Fins" with the other ten thousand (or God knows how many) people there. It was a sight to behold: the stage lights turned on the crowd as we all raised our arms and made fin shapes above our heads, and turned the fins to the left and then to the right. Oh, what fun! I can't wait to see Buffett again!
Now I need to update my Bucket List scrapbook. Who knows what I'll do next. Maybe I'll post my list on my blog, and let y'all decide for me. Yeah, right!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

My Bucket List

I have a list of Things To Do Before I Die. If you know me, this comes as no surprise because I am a list person. I make lists of everything.

I am now going to start calling it my Bucket List. Ever since that movie came out, I heard about the plot and I like the Bucket List phrase much better - things I'm going to do before I kick the bucket.

I started my Bucket List in college. I made Dan start one too, and he came up with a few good ones. We still have the lists, and are working on them slowly. Dan has 15 things to do on his list (13 are already crossed off) and I have 51 things to do (17 are crossed off). I've now turned our lists into a pretty cute scrapbook too. We have photos of ourselves fulfilling each of our dreams, and I have the lists posted in the scrapbook too.

And guess what?! I have "Go to a Jimmy Buffett" concert on my list, and I get to cross it off today! Our friend Sean mentioned going to the concert back in March, and I said YES!!! So he found us some tickets on eBay, and we are going tonight. It's a bit rainy here in St. Louis today, but I really don't care. I am just thrilled to be going. The kids are going to Grandma's house, and we are packing a blender in the back of the car. Sean is driving so Beth, Dan and I can enjoy ourselves, and we definitely plan on it.

So tomorrow, when I'm feeling up to it (ha, ha), I will post about crossing the 18th thing off my list. Only fifty more to go.

Here I come, Jimmy!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


Just had to post this photo. The Flowering Crab tree outside my bathroom window is in full glory this week. The sunlight hits the blossoms and turns my bathroom pink. It's beautiful! I put Jackson in the bathtub (where he plays with his toys while I shower), and took a photo of it. I kind of had to. Like Shug Avery says in The Color Purple, "I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don't notice it." I had to notice this gorgeous tree, and I'm thankful for the beauty that God gives me every day.

Monday, April 21, 2008


Sometimes I get so caught up in my little life. It's so easy for me to live in my narrow, small world. I get frustrated with my kids one second, and I've blogged about that! And then all of a sudden I'm inspired by them and something sweet they've done. I blog about that too. My life ebbs and flows with the tide of this little family sea. A bad day for me is when I've been up three times with Jackson and two times with Katie, and then it's cold and rainy that day and I have an ear infection. Boo hoo for me. So sad, right?

Perspective, Elizabeth. Gotta get some.

Well... I just did. My sister called me today and told me about a story that 60 Minutes did on one of her and her husband's best friends, Brendan O'Connor, and his Green Beret unit. (That's him and his wife Meg in the photo, with Mary and Wally.) The 60 Minutes report aired last night, but I didn't get a chance to see it. So I watched it online just now and realized I have no earthly clue what sacrifice truly means. (You can go watch it if you like:

I know I posted last week about how grateful I am to our nation's military, but I just have to say it again: thank you. Thank you over and over.

In my myopic little world, it's easy for me to forget that our country is at war right now. My life revolves around diapers and naps and always needing to buy milk and bananas. I spend my extra time reading blogs about sewing projects and my friends' spending habits and all the other little silly things of life. Now I stop to think there are people out there right now, sacrificing their lives just so their comrades can go back home to their families.

There are no words. Just thanks, and prayers to keep them safe.

Going Public

So, I haven't officially gone public with my blog yet. I've told about seven people so far, and it turns out that someone else randomly found me after my post about the soldier's funeral last week. So I guess eight people know about it now. (How are you eight doing? Ha, ha...)

I have no idea why I'm afraid to go public. (Oops... almost typed "pubic." That's funny!) I have to admit I'm a little nervous. What if people don't like what I write? Because putting something heartfelt out there for people to read is kind of like asking them to truthfully tell you if your butt is big. I know it is, but I just want you to humor me and assure me it's not. But if someone out in the public doesn't know me, they aren't going to be kind and gentle like the eight of you. (Well, make that seven... my sister can be pretty snippy with me. Right, Mary?! Just yanking your chain.)

And there's also the issue of hurting someone's feelings. I have certain friends that might get annoyed if I write something like, "We had so-and-so over for dinner." Because if those people weren't invited, they would get offended. But I'm not writing this blog for them - I'm writing it to keep a record of my life and my family's life. And I think I'd also like to use this blog as a way to practice and hone my writing because (and this is scary to put out there because you might hold me to it!) one day I think I might like to write for a living. Maybe write in a magazine or write a column or maybe I'll go crazy and even write a book. Of course, that's WAY down the road when the kids are older. God knows I can barely even write this blog and still keep my house from going insane. I only get them to nap for an hour, y'all! Time is precious!

So, for now, I am slowly telling people about my blog. One person at a time. Because why write if no one's reading it? (Am I really that vain? Ouch.)

I was about ready to send out a mass email to my address book and announce it, but Dan cautioned me to wait a bit and let it all settle. He's right, as usual. Gotta get my butt ready for everyone to judge and tell me just how big it truly is.

Please be nice.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Thank You God, For:

I feel pretty crappy and sick today, so I need to offer up some thanks - and hopefully lift my spirits. Thank you God, for:
Flowers on my bedside table
12 hours of sleep
Hot water on my skin
Sweet kids
My strong husband
Katie: "I'm not feeling very good either. I'm okay, I just need a little more attention."
Jackson just said, "Hi, Duh-dee. Duuuh-deeee." (First sentence! Hi Daddy!)

Friday, April 18, 2008

Ear Infection

When I woke up (because of the earthquake) this morning, and then again later when it was truly time to get up, my head was in pain. My whole neck felt like it had a huge crick in it, and my lymph node was swollen and painful to the touch. I had pressure in my eyes, sinuses, throat and ear.

I went to the doctor and found out I have an ear infection. Ugh. I used to get them A LOT as a kid. So much that I have permanent scarring (and some hearing loss) in my ear. But it's been so long since I've had one, and I forgot how painful they can be. My entire left shoulder, neck, and left side of my head just ache. Even my collarbone hurts! It feels like I've strained something. Thank God for antibiotics. One hour after starting my Z-Pack, I already felt less pressure.

I don't think I am sympathetic enough to kids who have ear infections. I'll remember this next time. Ouch!


I was awakened early this morning by my husband having a seizure. I swear that's what it was. Except he started talking, asking me what's going on. Even in my groggy state of mind, I knew that people can't talk when they're seizing. So my next thought was that it must be one of those baby crib vibrators going off - the kind you can clip to a crib and gyrate baby to sleep. Except I don't sleep in a crib, and there was no vibrator when I went to sleep. And I could hear other things in my bedroom vibrating, not just my four-poster. So I stumbled out of bed and clumsily walked over to the wall, to see why the mirror was shaking. In the dark. Like I could see anything anyway! But it made sense to me. That's when Dan said, "Earthquake."

I said, "No." Because that just didn't make sense. Seizures make more sense. I went to the bathroom to try to wake up, and heard one of Jackson's toys rattling. I climbed back in bed, and Dan said he was going to go investigate what had happened. I just mumbled, "Okay" and fell back asleep. When Dan came back to bed, he told me there had been an earthquake. Turns out it was a 5.2 on the Richter scale. Wow.

I've never felt an earthquake, and it's pretty weird and disconcerting. Wobbly and rhythmic. All day I've been wondering how the house looked from outside while it was shaking, or maybe what our neighborhood pool looked like, or the trees. I wish it had been during the day so I could observe what happens during a (thankfully mild and not very destructive) earthquake.

Thank God for my hero of a husband. Anytime there's a big storm or nature's wrath lets loose, he gets out of bed to investigate the possibility of a tornado or an earthquake. I blissfully and groggily drift back to sleep, knowing he's fighting the danger for me. I trust that he'll protect me (and wake me!) if it gets too serious. Thanks, sugar!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Bedside Table Gifts

Last night I went up to bed and found the Mini Doodle (as opposed to the Magna Doodle) on my bedside table. Katie wrote "Mommy is sweet" on it, and put it there for me to see when I got home from a meeting. My heart filled with love for my thoughtful, kind little girl.

She does things like this for me and Dan on a regular basis. He even had a mini shrine by his side of the bed. Over a period of time, Katie had been leaving him things like one of her favorite stuffed animals, a princess snow globe, a favorite book, a photo of herself, plus numerous drawings and trinkets. Sometimes she'll earn a quarter or a dime for doing something around the house, and I'll tell her to go put it in her piggy bank. Every so often, I'll find it on my bedside table instead. She has such a generous heart, and is so eager to please us. I am such a lucky mommy!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Our Fun So Far

At breakfast I asked Katie, "If you could do any fun thing today, what would you do?" She exclaimed, "Go to a park!" Luckily, I had already planned a park outing with friends for this beautiful sunny day. So one fun thing was crossed off the list!

On the drive home, I made Katie and Jackson laugh in the car by playing peekaboo and quacking. Number two: check!

I read If You Give a Pig a Party to Katie before naptime. The book mentions a pillow fight. I sat right up in bed and started a pillow fight with Katie. Fun, fun! Number three: check!

And I came straight downstairs after putting the kids down for naptime and made a big fort in the living room. I got our king size bedspread out of the closet, and used our kitchen chairs, the ottoman, pillow, and some strategic clothespins to make a pretty cool fort. It even has a front door and a back door. I can't wait for Katie to get up from her nap and come check it out. I'll try and post a photo of it later. Number four: check!

So far, so good. I think I've livened up the day a bit. Yeehaw!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

We Need More Fun

I happened upon a Love and Logic class tonight, and I'm so glad I did. My friend Beth and I had a board meeting at church, where the L&L class was also being held. When our meeting was over, we crashed the class and listened to the speaker. She had some great ideas for helping kids make their own choices, delayed consequences, modeling good behavior for our kids, and using "enforceable statements."

I've been to an L&L seminar before and read two of the books by Jim Fay & Dr. Charles Fay. I love their style, but I guess I've forgotten some of their ideas. I've gotten a bit rusty, so it was good to be reminded of some of the concepts.

One of the topics struck a chord with me. The speaker suggested scheduling a block of time each day (even if it's for only 10 minutes) to have fun and one-on-one time with your child. I realized Katie and I haven't had lots of no-holds-barred fun lately. It seems we're running from one task to another, and don't have time for crazy laughs and pure fun.

So I think I'm going to work on that. Maybe we'll play Uno more often. Maybe I'll color some pictures with her. Have a Play-doh session. Chase her around the house. Build a fort. Turn on our favorite music (loudly) and dance with her. And maybe, just maybe, I'll let her decide for me! I'll let you know how it goes.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Compassionate Americans

Be forewarned: this is going to be a long post. I'm on a soapbox today.

Last night, I wrapped up the weekend with a soak in the tub and got to bed early. It was exactly what I needed. Maybe another time I'll blog about my wonderful tub ritual. But not today. The kids slept all night (thank you, God!) and we left the house around 10:15 this morning. Just two streets away is a Baptist church. As we approached, the road was lined with hundreds of American flags. There were two fire trucks parked near the entrance with a huge flag suspended between them, plus lots of police cars and dozens of motorcycles with flags on them.

I have to admit that I have journalism degree, but I have stopped watching local TV news because it all became too fake to me when I was in the business. So I am embarrassed to say I had no idea why all these flags and people were at the church. I stopped and asked a police officer, and he told me it's for the funeral of Col. Stephen Scott who was killed in Iraq. I was saddened, and then so proud of all the people who were there to show their gratitude to Col. Scott.

We started to drive away, and a few hundred feet down the road, I saw them. Yep, THEM. Those people who have been protesting soldiers' funerals and all kinds of public events. Most of their signs are totally dumb and don't really resonate with me. But one of them did - and I have to say I can't even repeat it here. Suffice it to say the sign was about dead soldiers. I had one of those moments where I think my mind went completely out of my body and I was irate. That's the lamest word to describe how I felt! I was already teary-eyed, and then I saw them and anger flooded me instead. How dare someone actually protest a funeral. A funeral, for God's sake! I don't care who the person is - your worst enemy, ex-husband, or a tyrannic leader. I don't think it's EVER appropriate to protest a funeral. You protest a funeral by not going. Right?
I looped around and drove through the church parking lot and went to where all the motorcycle bikers were standing. I thanked them for supporting the soldier and his family, especially when people like them were protesting. They said, "Oh, the protesters are here already? Don't let 'em bother you." The biker went on to explain they are with the Patriot Guard Riders and they come to funerals to show their support of soldiers and their ultimate sacrifice. He said they also escort soldiers home from the airport when they return from duty. How cool is that! I asked if they do anything about them and he said they stand with big flags in front of them and block those awful signs when the family arrives for the funeral. I was so grateful to hear that. What a great group of people - and most of them are veterans themselves. Check out their website at

When we were on our way home, we passed by the church and the funeral was just ending. I parked in the lot and put Jackson in the stroller, and Katie and I walked over to where the procession was starting. We stood under the flag that was suspended between the fire trucks, and watched the bikers roar past, escorting the hearse. Firefighters were lined up below the flag and saluting the procession (see photo), and all their lights were turned on and flashing in one last salute. Katie asked lots of questions about why the soldier died, and I tried to answer them as best as I could. She then told me, "I'm going to be a soldier one day." Oh, baby. That would make me the proudest and most terrified mommy in the world.

I am so lucky to be an American, and to live in a place where people like them can stand out on a street corner and make others feel like crap. Yes, I've visited the website for them now, and their belief is that God is punishing America, just like he punished Pharoah and Egypt. They believe "God is Your Enemy." Seriously?! All I can do is shake my head in disbelief.

If I accomplish nothing else as a mother, here's the one thing I want my kids to learn: compassion. I want them to know that protesting a funeral is never a good idea. You don't kick someone (especially a grieving family) when they are down, no matter what your beliefs are. Remember the Golden Rule.

I want to say thank you to our military, past and present. The ones who have fought for our freedom and the freedom of those who aren't even American. And thank you to firefighters and policemen, and those who work for something bigger than themselves. Don't we live in a great country?

"Dear Lord, Lest I continue my complacent way, help me to remember that somewhere, somehow out there a man died for me today. As long as there be war, I then must ask and answer, 'Am I worth dying for?'" (Eleanor Roosevelt's Wartime Prayer)

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Stormy Seas

It's been a rough weekend and last few days. Jackson's had an on-again, off-again fever. He was up six times last night, and Katie was up four times. Needy children. Frustrated parents. What more can I say?

Earlier today, I jotted down a few words to describe my inner turmoil: Cranky. Trapped. Conditional love. Frustrated. Spent. Consumed. Angry. Afraid. Ashamed. Guilty. Hormonal. Panicky. Smothered. Crusty. Exhausted. Overwhelmed. Selfish. Alone. Weary. Sour. Overwhelmed. Fractured. Empty. Unraveling. Irritable. Ugh.

It was just one of those days when I woke already tired, knowing my gas tank is running empty. I think Dan woke the same today too. After all, he spent 3 hours in Katie's bed - and now his back is paying for it. We aren't much help to each other.

I tried to make the day turn out better than it started, even making our weekly Sunday Waffles. It didn't help; I was still grumpy. In the shower, I sang Elton John's "I Guess That's Why They Call It the Blues" to myself. Especially the first lines, "Don't wish it away. Don't look at it like it's forever. Between you and me, I can honestly say that things can only get better." Still didn't help too much. I knew I needed to get to church, and hoped that I'd find a balm for my soul.

I can't say that church turned my day completely around, but I was able to grab a few life preservers to help me sail these stormy seas. One of them was the pastor's call to step out of the boat of life, and walk on the water with Jesus. Have faith. That's when the thoughts of fear came to my mind. What am I afraid of? Not sure. But the word fear popped right into my head and wiggled around a bit. Fear of failing? Fear of loneliness? Fear of being so unlovable that I push everyone in my life away from me? I think those are all true for me.

The other life preserver was when the praise band sang one of my favorite Casting Crowns song, called "The Voice of Truth." How I needed to hear that song! I actually had a hard time not crying openly while we sang the song. (I told you I was hormonal!) The verses say:
"Oh, what I would do to have the kind of faith it takes
To climb out of this boat I'm in onto the crashing waves.
To step out of my comfort zone into the realm of the unknown
Where Jesus is, and He's holding out His hand.
But the waves are calling out my name and they laugh at me,
Reminding me of all the times I've tried before and failed.
The waves they keep on telling me time and time again,
'Boy, you'll never win, you'll never win.'
But the Voice of Truth tells me a different story.
The Voice of Truth says, 'Do not be afraid!'
And the Voice of Truth says, 'This is for My glory.'
Out of all the voices calling out to me,
I will choose to listen and believe the Voice of Truth."

I am glad the day is almost over, and I get a chance to start again tomorrow. To put distance between the grumpies of this weekend. To try and get a little closer to "right." To step out of the boat and have faith.

The silver lining? Katie just ran down the stairs naked, streaking through the house screaming, "Naked girl!" And then a squeaky-clean Bubbers was handed off to me, snuggled in his jammies. His face broke into a smile when he saw me. Now he's banging a pot lid, and so proud of the sounds he's making.

Yes, Scarlett, tomorrow is another day.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

No More Nursing!

It's official! I'm done nursing. My body can go back to being mine, and will be for the rest of my life. No more making babies, no more sustaining babies. I am officially leaving the childbearing years and entering the child-rearing years! God help me...

And all this because my brother-in-law returned from Iraq. See, the last time I finished nursing, my mom got sick and died. I know it's a silly link to make, and a large jump in logic for me to say I stopped nursing and as a result, Mom died. So that's not what I'm saying! But I am being a little superstitious in thinking that I shouldn't stop nursing Jackson until all my family is safe and accounted for. So since my brother-in-law wasn't scheduled to return from Iraq until about two weeks after Jackson's first birthday, I just decided to continue for those last two weeks - just in case.

I told my sister this, and she thinks I'm wacko. Of course. I talked to her a few days ago and asked her to please call me when her husband returned, but she refused. The nerve! :) She has this rule that two weeks before and two weeks after any deployment, her family of four holes up at home and doesn't talk to anyone and doesn't really go anywhere. So when I asked her to just call and confirm his physical return, she said no. I asked nicely, saying all I need is a quick 10 second phone call to say, "Hello. He's back. Goodbye." She again said no, and that my boobs will be the last thing on her mind when her husband returns. I called her a name. She still said no. I told her I'd blog about her witchy self. She said, "Blog away." Ugh. What a weenie! Sisters can be so exasperating.

We were out this afternoon and evening, at a birthday party and then a much-needed dinner at our friends' house. When we got home, there was a message on the machine. It was my sister. She said, "He's home. You can stop nursing. Goodbye." Yay! Glad to know I've been given the all-clear to reclaim my girls for myself! And even happier to know that our family hero has returned, safe and sound.

The bummer is I can't call my sister back to thank her, because she wouldn't answer anyway. I still have 13 days until she grants the public access to her family. I guess I'll have to send her a link to my blog. So thanks, Mary! You're still a weenie, but I love you anyway.

Friday, April 11, 2008

A Day in the Life

Since life just feels like it's getting ready to change, I thought I'd blog about a typical day in our house. Here's what usually happens:
Jackson wakes around 6:30 or 7:00, and I hit the ground running. I take him downstairs and nurse him (although I think today was the last time!) while checking the weather and the Today Show, and then feed him blueberry yogurt (his favorite). He hates getting his diaper changed, so I wait until he's done eating to do that. I try to postpone the screaming for as long as I can. Sometimes we get to go downstairs and he plays while I do about 20 minutes on the elliptical machine, although I must admit I haven't done that in two weeks because we had some basement flooding and I've been waiting for the carpet to dry out.
Around 7:45 I shower while Jackson plays with toys in the (empty) bathtub adjacent to the shower. Jackson goes down for his first nap at 8:15, just as I can hear Katie calling me to come get her. She wakes sometime around 7:30, but knows she can't get out of bed until the clock says 8:00. And I'm so mean - I've actually changed her clock so it's 15 minutes slow. Tsk, tsk!
I go into Katie's room and lay with her and have pillow talk and cuddle time. We get her dressed, do her hair, and head downstairs for breakfast. She usually eats yogurt (Moo Cups from Aldi) and either a banana or cereal. I usually eat Cheerios and one piece of peanut butter toast.
After breakfast, Katie has craft time and colors to her heart's content. She might also play with her LeapPad. I pack lunches for the day and check email.
Around 9:30, Jackson wakes. I send Katie up to talk to him in his room while I put our lunchbox and diaper bag in the car. Most days we have an activity scheduled at 10am, such as a playgroup or a storytime or a visit to the park. We eat lunch at 11:15 or 11:30, then head back home around 12:30.
Around 1:00, Jackson goes down for his second nap. Katie meets me in her room and we cuddle and read some books together, then she has quiet time in her room until Jackson wakes up around 2:30 or 3:00.
This is when the day gets hard and starts to drag! We have snacktime, then I'm always at a loss for what to do to entertain the kids. Now that the weather is nicer, I like to take them for a walk and then meet our neighbors outside to play. (There are 10 kids on our cul-de-sac who are age six or younger, not to mention the other 14 who are age ten or older!) We play outside for at least an hour or more, until Daddy comes home. (Hallelujah!)
We have dinner around 6:00, and then Daddy gives baths around 7:00. Katie gets to watch one 30 minute show (she usually picks Clifford, Curious George, Little Einsteins or Word World). We used to also play a family game like Uno before Katie's bedtime, but now that Jackson is mobile, it's hard to spread the game pieces out on the floor and keep him away from them. So Katie watches her show and Jackson plays with Daddy or me, or his collection of balls. After the show, Jackson goes to bed between 7:50 and 8:00, and Katie goes to bed at 8:00.
After the kids are in bed, Dan and I collapse from exhaustion and drop into a deep sleep. Ha! Just kidding... I wish. Usually we'll spend the next two hours finishing laundry or ironing (Dan does it, not me! I refuse.) or surfing the Internet or watching TV (Lost or Survivor or The Office, to name a few faves) or sometimes we might go up to bed early and read. Or whatever.
So there's my thrilling life, in a nutshell! Is it awful to admit I live for naptimes and bedtime? I do truly love my kids, but they are just so over the top sometimes that I can't even think straight. So when they sleep, I can breathe and get stuff done. I like to craft and get into the creative zone, and I look forward to my "alone time" so I can do that.
I mentioned feeling like life is getting ready to change. I know it will change dramatically in some ways, and slightly in other ways. Slightly in ways like today, when Jackson is pretty much done nursing. Dramatically in ways like a few months from now, when Katie will start Kindergarten. No more of this "can't get up until 8:00" stuff. The bus comes at 7:30, so our whole morning will shift. And I'm sure by then Jackson will have dropped his morning nap, and who knows when I'll be able to take a shower!
Such is life with two little ones in the house. Kate Gosselin from "Jon and Kate Plus 8" put it best when she said, "Every day is painfully the same but vastly different." Amen, sister!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Thank You, God For:

Golden brown curls
Snuggle time in the LoveSac
"Look at me, Mommy!"
Squawky babies
Listening to "Brown Eyed Girl" with my brown-eyed girl
"You're the most precious mommy."
A husband who believes in me
"I drew this for you."
Presents left on my bedside table
A quiet house
Peace in my heart

Six Golden Coins by Martin Buxbaum

Within a hidden pocket of
A baby’s tiny soul
God’s hand reached in and gently placed
Six coins made of gold.
“I give to each some gold,” said He
And he who does not spend
Will find that only lead remains
Upon his journey’s end.”
I passed the years in childhood
In laughter, love and fun
When I stepped across to manhood
I heard Him saying, “One.”
In pale moonlight I held her close
Her eyes were deepest blue
My heart beat out, “I love her, God!”
He smiled, and answered, “Two.”
One night she whispered, “Yes,” that she
Would be a wife to me
My heart sang to the heavens
And His pleasant voice said “Three.”
Our first child brought me happiness
I’d never known before
And as I knelt to thank Him
I heard Him whisper “Four.”
Years passed and then my grandchild
Made an old heart come alive
And warm His voice that murmured
“That was coin number Five.”
When I spend the last He gave me
It’s then I know I’ll see
The Kingdom of the One who gave
Those precious gifts to me.

I can't mention my dad (see my previous post) without including his favorite poem, "Six Golden Coins" by Martin Buxbaum.

I used this poem to tell him I was pregnant with Katie. I gave Dad a gossamer bag that held six golden coins (those Sacajewa dollars) and a copy of the poem. When I returned home from that visit, he sent me a letter saying, "You are wonderful! Your news has made 'an old heart come alive.' Thank you! Every child is special and every grandchild somehow fills a 'hidden pocket.' You have made mine heavy with joy and abiding happiness." Dad and Maureen (my stepmother) were at the hospital when Katie was born. Dad held her for the first time, then handed her back to me with that same gossamer bag tucked into Katie's blanket.

I also tucked a copy of the poem in his coat pocket as he lay in his casket. And every time I visit his grave, I tuck another gold coin into the ground around his headstone.

When Jackson was born, my sister was in the operating room. I put one of Dad's golden coins (from the gossamer bag) into a special coin charm holder, and my sister pinned it to her scrubs. So, in a way, Dad was there for the delivery too. On the way home from the hospital with Jackson, my sweet husband turned on Dad's CD in the car, and we listened to him read "Six Golden Coins."

I decided to name my blog after this poem. We are all given a precious gift at birth, and all have the ability to "spend" that gift as we grow and learn, laugh, cry, and love. I pray that the way I choose to spend my coins is pleasing to God, and makes the best use of what He gave me.

See also: Like Father, Like Daughter

Casey at the Bat

In the car today, Katie asked, "Mommy, can we listen to 'Casey at the Bat?'" Oh, sugar! Of course we can!

She is referring to a recording that we have on CD that my dad made (we call him Steeley), sometime back in the '80s. He loved to read - what should I call them? - graphic poems. Poems that were stories and had rhythm and inflection. I think his very favorite was "Casey at the Bat," but he also loved "The Cremation of Sam McGee," "I Am America," "The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere," "Pershing at the Front," and poems by Robert Frost and Martin Buxbaum. And, man, was he good at it!

Of course when I was younger I thought he was a dork for reading these poems. And even worse? He recorded himself doing it! I was so embarrassed. But now that I'm oh-so-older and wise (ha!), that embarrassment has turned into pride and gratitude. Now that he's gone, I am so thankful that my children can hear him on his CD. He had the most unique voice, deep and gruff. He told me once that he used to scare little kids with his voice, which made him sad.

As I was driving today, my heart overflowed as I heard my dad and my daughter recite these words together:
"Then from 5,000 throats and more there rose a lusty yell;
It rumbled through the valley, it rattled in the dell;
It knocked upon the mountain and recoiled upon the flat,
For Casey, mighty Casey, was advancing to the bat."

Thank you, Dad.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

You're Gonna Miss This

I flew out of the house with Katie tonight, the very second that Dan walked in the door. Katie had squashed her head between two doors (hard to imagine, isn't it?) and Jackson was mad that I was so rude as to place him on the ground while I put the stroller away. He was screaming very loudly to express his discontent. Ouch!

Dan walked in the door and I left to go to the store, and Katie asked nicely if she could come with me. I said yes, and we escaped. On the way home, the song "You're Gonna Miss This" by Trace Adkins was on the radio. It's a beautiful song that I've listened to often already on my iPod. But tonight the words really hit home to me. "You're gonna miss this, you're gonna want this back. You're gonna wish these days hadn't gone by so fast."

I've spent so much of my kids' lives just wishing and waiting for the next stage to begin. I rarely slow down and think about what we've already passed and what they've accomplished. Right now I'm wishing that Jackson would just get through the "put everything in my mouth" stage so I can let him play outside more safely. But I don't stop to think how he's advanced so much past some of those other "annoying" stages. I don't have to carry him a sling all day long anymore. I don't have to get up every 2 or 3 or 4 hours and nurse. I don't have to rock him all the way into a dead sleep at night. I don't have to get bottles ready or rice cereal or baby food in jars. And when he wants something, he can pick himself up and walk over to it - hallelujah! No more laying on the floor trying to roll over.

And while I don't quite miss these days just yet, I already know what I'll miss about right now: I'll miss being able to pick Jackson up and hold his little body in my arms. One day he'll be the bigger one, holding me! I'll miss pillow talk with Katie in the mornings, when Jackson's down for his nap and Katie calls me into her room and we start the day with, "Good morning, I love you, we're going to have a great day," say a little prayer, and talk about what we're going to do that day. I'm going to miss Jackson wobbling over to greet me at the door when I return from an escape trip out of the house. One day he'll run instead of wobbling, and then one day I'll be lucky just to get "Hey, Mom!"

"These are some good times, so take a good look around. You may not know it now, but you're gonna miss this..." (Trace Adkins)

Monday, April 7, 2008

Monday Nights

It's Monday night, which means I'm a "single parent." It's Dan's one night out a week, when he goes to play volleyball at his old elementary school. Since I'm a stay-at-home mom and LIVE for the moment Daddy comes home each night, his Monday night "out" makes for a very long Monday and Tuesday. I don't know how other moms do it round-the-clock without anyone else to help them. Mondays are all the taste of single parenthood that I want. I can't imagine being a military spouse and trying to raise my kids for months (or a year!) at a time, knowing there's no one else but me. My sister Mary does it, and I am in awe of her for it. Of course now she has no sympathy for me when I whine and complain about being alone. But she says she wouldn't know what to do with a husband who is around all the time. He'd drive her crazy.

On Monday nights, every once in a while it is kind of nice not having to worry about making a big dinner. And sometimes it's nice being able to put the kids to bed and have an hour or two to myself, without feeling guilty (that I'm on the computer, or making tomorrow's lunches, or any of the other things that I do which take away time from my marriage). But that one little hour or two after the kids' bedtime, before Dan gets home, is not worth it most Mondays! I miss Dan, and miss spending time with him and the kids when he gets home. Besides, he usually gets home late (10:00) and he's still wired from a good workout and not at all ready for bed. And since I hate going to bed without him, that means we're both pretty tired on Tuesdays. Ugh.

We had a great weekend, and Dan rocked the grill for the first time this season. He made awesome steaks, baked potatoes and broccoli. Our friends Beth and Sean and their boys Ryan and Liam came over to play outside in the sunny spring weather, and then had dinner with us - and brought yummy bread and to-die-for brownies with them. It was a great day, except for the part where Dan tore out some drywall in the garage and saw our termite damage (see the photo).

Yep, termites. At Christmas last year, we moved the grandfather clock in the dining room and saw some paint chipping off the wall in kind of a water-damage-looking-way. So we checked that same spot in the garage (which butts up against the dining room) and saw two small mud tunnels. Long story short, we have termites on that side of the house. We had it inspected and confirmed in January, and now need to get some other bids for termite treatment. I'm learning way more about termites than I ever wanted to know! And, man, the treatment is expensive. Yikes.

Tonight as I was getting Jackson ready for bed, I got a good look at his face in the light and noticed he must have three or four big dings on his face. He might even be getting a black eye. Poor guy! Learning to walk takes its toll on the wobbly boy! While Katie played with a friend after her Movie Night showing of "The Incredibles," I let Jackson run around in a diaper only. I love doing that, and letting all his squishy nakedness hang out. Thunder thighs are so cute on babies, not so much on mommies.

Happy Monday night. Glad it's over, and Daddy will be home to me soon.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

First Post

This is my first blog post. Never done it before, and kind of nervous how it'll all turn out. Why am I doing this? I'm looking for a quick way to chronicle my life, and one day I might even invite my friends, family and husband to read this. But for now, I'm going to keep it to myself until I see how often I can update and find out if I really have anything to say.

Right now, my son is upstairs napping and my daughter and husband are out buying steaks to grill in this beautiful spring weather. I am looking out my window at a bright red cardinal eating buds off our pink Flowering Cherry tree. Spring has finally arrived, after an incredibly long winter. My son just turned one, and I feel like a survivor for making it through the painfully slow-moving first year. The green grass and tree buds are a sight for sore eyes, and they give me such hope and faith that life is moving on and joyful days are on their way!

My friend Tammy came over this morning to take family photos, and I can't wait to see them. Then after naptime, we are meeting an old friend of mine (from way back in elementary school) while she is in town visiting family. I named my daughter after her, and I can't wait to see her and catch up.

Life is good, and we are so blessed to have each other to enjoy it with!


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