Tuesday, December 22

The Christmas Spirit

I'm having a hard time getting into the "Christmas Spirit" this year. The tree went up Thanksgiving weekend, I'm finished buying 80% of the gifts we'll give, we've had hot cocoa, we've looked at lights, we've been singing Christmas songs ad nauseum.
What I'm missing isn't the things we do, but the way we're "supposed" to feel.

Last year's Christmastime was exceptional. It was a bad year. It was bad year that followed a bad year. My dad died in August. While I was on vacation. Then Jeremy's dad died. Three days later. While I was five months pregnant. Then I had a baby six days before Christmas, and was still expected to get out and about and show off my SIX DAY OLD BABY to all the germy-sneezy-coughing-loving family members. All I wanted to do was nurse and sleep. I didn't eat, I didn't shower, I didn't do any worthwhile parenting when I came to my older kids. Last Christmas was rough.

So, I'm at a loss as to why this Christmas is just... not happening for me. I have three beautiful, healthy children. I have a husband who dotes on me and spoils me and is my best friend. I have good friends, and I have a good extended family. (Don't confuse "good" with "not crazy," though. They're crazy. Both sides. All sides.)
I feel like there are things keeping me from diving in whole-heartedly this Christmas. My brother has a child that he has chosen not to know, which means, by extension my mother and I can't know the child. There is a situation within my husband's family that is causing a rift, creating "sides." My mother and step-father are struggling on a one-and-sometimes-one half-income. I have been in a very rare, and usually short, funk for several weeks now.

I'm just not feeling it this year. The only time I feel truly Filled With Joy is when I am at home, surrounded by my babies, sitting by my husband. We play games together, cook meals together, brush teeth together. If this is some sort of (temporary!) attachment  phase, if I'm being co-dependent on my husband and children for happiness..... what better high is there? (And really, oh really, that's another blog post altogether!)



But then, I remember the whole "true meaning of Christmas" bit. It's about Jesus. It's about the Word made flesh. It's about the Most High choosing to become the most lowly. It's about the Christchild's birth... but His birth and life was only meant to facilitate His death. So that we might live. The celebration of Christmas --the birth of the Savior-- is really only an introduction of, and a prelude to, Easter --the resurrection of the Savior.

We are deep into the Advent season, a time to prepare for the coming King, and I haven't prepared a thing. I haven't opened my heart and cleared out past hurt and anger to prepare myself for truly forgiving my father- someone who never asked for forgiveness. I haven't prepared myself for what possible changes are in store within my extended family. I haven't even prepared a single sugar cookie.


I want to reevaluate myself this Christmas. I want to experience the joy, the "thrill of hope." I don't want to sit passively, angrily, lazily, stubbornly aside and let this opportunity for new growth pass me by.

I'm going to make a list, and make sure to check it more than twice, of changes I want to make, tangible and intangible things I want to discard, and positive, joyful additions I want to make in my life.


And... we'll see how it goes.

Monday, December 21

Yes'sir, that's my baby!


My baby is a year old. 366 days now.
I could get all gooey sentimental, and I probably will, but for now I'll just post some pictures of her wonderful birthday party.


Tuesday, December 15

How much death is too much death?

Today, during a rare quiet moment, I found The Girl in her room. She was sitting in the small green rocker that I use to nurse The Baby. She was holding her Tinkerbell and wearing a sad face. I asked her what was up, and she said, "Tinkerbell died, so hers Mommy is sad." Upon further investigation I found out that Tinkerbell had died "from a gun that shotted her". So The Girl, being a good fairy mother, put on her sad face and was holding a vigil for the fallen pixie.
All kids play death, right? Little boys shoot and shank and blow up things. Little girls... well, do little girls play death?

Ordinarily pretend play doesn't bother me. I encourage lots of dress up. We have had makeshift fire stations, business offices, veterinarian clinics, castles, teepees, and enchanted forests rule and ruin our home. Both of my big B's have very vivid, and incredibly detailed imaginations. Which is great. Which I love.

But I've put a restriction on playing dead lately. Why? Why would I hinder any amount of inventive play?

Because we've had 6 dead people in less than 3 years. (None of them, by the way, were "shotted" to death.) My kids have lost 2 great-grandfathers, an aunt, a great-grandmother, and both grandfathers (not to mention 2 beloved dogs).  They were close with all but one of these people who have since gone on. They also know that they have a baby cousin in heaven, and that she went before we had a chance to meet her.

We've had a lot, a LOT, of dead lately. We've had more where/how/why/when/who discussions about heaven than any 5 and 3 year olds should have. The Boy was not even 3 when all the dying began.

Death has been an ongoing conversation in our family, and really, I'm sick of it. So, I'm imposed sanctions on the dead play.


I know, I know, the kids have their own ways of wading through, of processing the heavy load of information. Play is good, play is contemplation, play is expression.

In our house we don't play dead, and we don't kill. They kids, even at their tender ages, already know about the brevity of life and the finality of death.


And I just wonder... am I doing more harm than help? It's not that we've put Death in a jar in the shelf above the refrigerator never to be mentioned again. We talk Death. We've talked Death, well, to death. We just don't play death.

Monday, October 19

I wasn't gonna, but now I gotta

After many days and some weeks of being stuck in a house with three small sick children, my mother whirled into town (because whirling is just about the only way she does anything), and my husband took me out on a real kid-less date.


I had been looking forward to seeing Where the Wild Things Are for over a year. At first, I forbade my husband from going to see the Wild Things with me.

My husband is a smart, strong, solid man. He was built on strong, solid foundations. I was built on shaky ground at best. "Solid" is not written anywhere in my history. I've always been a dreamer, while my husband has always been a profound realist. Plainly, he has about 1/8 the imagination I do. But it's a good thing. It's how we work.

I knew immediately he would not like or appreciate or have anything good to say about a movie based on a book that centers around a little kid's imagination. (Turns out I was right, but that came later)

When I was a kid, a forest very well could have grown in my room, and I could easily have sailed in and out of weeks and almost over a year. My copy of Where the Wild Things Are was worn and bent and loved only slightly less than Quick as a Cricket, and slightly more than Goodnight Moon. I related to Max. He got fed up with his old-lady mother one night, and imagined himself right onto an island filled with larger-than-life creatures, of whom he made himself king.

GQ had an interview with Spike Jonze that made me even more anxious to see the film version. I had heard that the book's author Maurice Sendak had turned down several attempts to adapt the book into a movie. Then he met Jonze.

As Sendak would later describe: “He was the strangest little bird I’d ever seen.
He had fluttered into the world of the studios, and could he not be swatted dead, I knew he would manage. I had total faith in him.”


Then I read a line that made such sense, like it was an idea that had been just waiting around, circling overhead until someone finally verbalized it:

“It just hit me that wild things could be wild emotions,” says Jonze. “It was that simple of an idea. And all of a sudden, it seemed infinite where I could go from there.”


Of course the wild things are wild emotions! Are there any emotions of a 9 year old child that aren't wild? So, Jonze hooked up with Dave Eggers and they set out to write the story of young Max and his wild things.


I'll try not to write any spoilers from the movie here. I read a blog post from a friend who spoiled the movie, and summarized it well. Don't read it if you don't want to know specifics about the movie! But, do read it if you've seen it, because she's mostly right on.

There were, for me, a few let-downs in the film. A few unexplainable, what the? moments. There was plenty of heartbreak. In fact, the entire movie left me feeling heavy. But there was beauty and laughter. The wild things represented wild incomprehensible emotions, and they were pretty much perfect. I connected even more with the on-screen, fleshed-out Max than I did with the two-dimensional book Max. The movie was dark and heart wrenching. But I loved it in spite of, or, possibly, because of the dark and twistyness of it all.

As expected, my husband hated it. More accurately, he whispered "this sucks" at least 3 times in the first 20 minutes, then proceeded to take a nap. I will say that he couldn't even remember reading the book as a child, much less cherishing it the way I did. And I will say that as a child of divorce, I could clearly see why Max resonated with me, and not with my husband. And, I will also say that I was a very dramatic child to begin with, and distinctly remember times of utter joy that immediately gave way to inconsolable despair. (One might say I'm still a wee bit dramatic. But, you know, whatever.) And, I will say that not every grown-up-child-of-divorce -has had a hard road; and not every grown-up-from-a-shiny-happy-family is always shiny and happy; and someone doesn't have to have had concurrent wild emotions as a child to identify with a fictional child. Anyway.
I loved it. I "got" it, for the most part anyway. I could see parallels in Max's real life and in the monsters on the island. I got that Jonze and Eggers were leading us into this huge allegorical theme. While I loved it and my husband hated it, the couple that went with us ended up feeling merely, "meh" about the movie.

So all the anticipation, all the waiting, all the teeny tingles of excitement were pretty much worth it. And that was that. I didn't need to read any more reviews or making-of's. I hadn't planned on exploring the movie any further; I was (for the most part) satisfied.


And then my friend posted a link on her Twitter about critic-haters. (Because really, it's all about my Twitter these days, isn't it?) And then I read a short (hater) review. And then I had to write this (dang long) post. Because, OK, it's within your rights to NOT want to see a movie, and then go about not seeing it. But you can't really review and/or critique a movie YOU HAVEN'T EVEN SEEN!

So here, blow-by-blow (because I hear some short people waking up from naps) are my answers to this ridiculous article:

"the movie Where The Wild Things Are isn't for the kids the book was written for."


Isn't it though? Isn't it for me? For my mother? For the grown-up kids that have been reading and rereading the book since its publication in 1963? From every promo or trailer I've seen, the film isn't exactly being marketed as a "kid-friendly romp" or "the best semi-animated kid's movie all year" and it's certainly not being lauded as "best comedy of 2009."

And I certainly don't want the monsters Max meets on his imagined voyage to have
back stories


I can't help but wonder if Mr. Sendak envisioned back stories for his monsters. I've yet to hear any author (kid-lit or otherwise) say "I intentionally wrote flat, lifeless, one-dimensional characters. Boring is better!" At the risk of sounding like a whiny teenager, um, HELLO? These monsters live on an island? They make a little boy their king? You don't think they have ISSUES? They don't deserve a little HISTORY?

The monsters are wild sketches of imagination. That is all he and they should be. When movies fill in the outlines of stories like these with details, they push out our own individually imagined renderings


Here is where I'd say, "Hey friend, tell me what YOU thought about this book. What did you get out of it? What if these monsters are metaphors for all the big scary things a kid has to face these days?" And here is where you'd answer me, with your own individually imagined renderings. And I'd either think, hey that sounds good, or, hey, you sound like a buffoon. Your "version" of Max's psyche and the meaning of the monsters would not have to alter my own version.

Maybe the trailer... "was all we ever needed of a real Max on screen. It intrigues without overanswering. Unlike the movie."



And this is the loudest point I'd like to make: the mover certainly doesn't overanswer. In fact, in ways, it absolutely underanswers. There is no finality, no real closure, and the end of Max's island time is abrupt... just. like. in. the. book. He decides to go home, and then he does.

Yes, the monsters in the movie have names. They have reactions to situations. They have history, they have more than just terrible eyes and terrible teeth. But nothing in the movie takes away anything from the book. I feel like they are stand-alone depictions of the same story.

And now, they both land in the "This is really good" column of my life.

That's all. No really, that's all.

Wednesday, October 14

Wordless Wednesday: The whole of my heart




The four chambers of my heart; without one, I couldn't make it on my own.





Tuesday, October 13

It started with a tweet.

From @SavannahB "Stay-at-home-moms are young, dumb, poor and foreign. Good to know the company I keep. http://bit.ly/Rrbjb" 2:28 PM Oct 2nd


A Twitter friend and real-life sweet hearted bad-a (I'm looking at you, Ernie) posted a link that lit a fire under my little tweetin' behind. (And spurred an incredibly cathartic blog post some weeks later.)



The WaPo posted an article on October 1st debunking the "opt-out revolution."
Haven't heard of the "opt-out" controversy? Yes you have. It is part of the ongoing, forever-and-ever-amen "debate" among women, childless or child full, about whether tis nobler to stay home and raise your own children (possibly derailing your own career and/or sense of self), or forge ahead through the glass ceiling (possibly missing out on the best years of life- both yours and your child's).
"The notion of an opt-out revolution took shape in 2003, when New York Times
writer Lisa Belkin coined the term to describe the choices made by a group of
high-achieving Princeton women who left the fast track after they had children."


The article also says that new statistics "show that stay-at-home mothers tend to be younger and less educated, with lower family incomes. They are more likely than other mothers to be Hispanic or foreign-born."

I bristled immediately. Young. Dumb. Poor. Foreign. Technically, I'm three-quarters of that statistical pie.
I'm 26. I have three kids. I had them in rapid succession. I had the first when I was 20. I'm young.
I graduated high school. I went to college for a year. I took a year off. I got pregnant. I have yet to return. I'm dumb.
My husband's job is about six notches above factory work. He earns (much)less than 50K a year. He is our sole source of income. I'm poor.
Foreign; not so much. I've got the WASP thing going for me. Except, I'm more of a WIP (white Irish Protestant)


I got all kinds of irritated.

I love being a young mother! I'm putting in my time, and when my last baby leaves the house (Lord willin'), I'll be 43! When my dad was 43, I (his firstborn) was 12. By the time I'm over the hill, I'll have already done the bulk of my child rearing. I'll be packing their bags, giving them the Roots and Wings and Call Your Mother and Wear Condoms speech.

I admit to falling squarely in the center of the "uneducated" quadrant. I excelled in elem/jr high, and coasted through high school. I never studied; I never had to. I would have done the same my freshman year of college, if I hadn't been drunk or napping most of the time. I screwed up royally. I worked my butt off the next year in order to pay for what was supposed to have been the next year of school, only to get myself knocked up. But to me, "uneducated" pretty much equals PWT.
I know, uneducated does not mean stooopid. Uneducated means I'm without a diploma. But, what I lack in formal education, sister I make up for in Life Experience. There are few baby-related subjects on which I'm not an expert. I know my way around a power tool. I can whip up a mean cheese dip. Uh-huh. That's right.
I love to read. I love to think. I love to debate, to listen, to learn. I am not uneducated; I just don't have my degree in anything but Wife Being and Diaper Changing. And that's fine. For now.

And the poor thing? Well. I'll just let that be. Because we aren't poor. We live in a cozy, comfortable, filled-with-love cookie cutter house in a cookie cutter neighborhood. We drive two (fairly)new cars; both paid off. Our children are never without food. Or books. Or toilet paper. I might have to wait a few paychecks before buying a much needed new bra, but... it's part of the price my husband and I have chosen to pay in order for me to be the one who raises our kids.


So yeah, I bristled. I got irritated. Because, I want to be above the statistics. I want them not apply. I want to be home; teaching and preaching to my kids. I want to be the one who kisses boo-boos and wipes booties. I want to know exactly what they put in their mouths, and how long they (pretend to) take naps. I want to know what is being said to them, and what they say in response. I don't want a piece of paper at the end of every day saying, "The Bunny had a great day!" I want to rest in the knowledge that her day was great. (Or that it was crappy, she cried all day, she threw peas everywhere and she smeared diaper doo on her crib sheets.)

But, I'm not above the statistics. For me, there is truth in saying,
"For many women who stay home, low earnings and high child-care costs are
part of the decision, she said. "Women with less education and fewer job
opportunities were always more likely to withdraw or not be in the labor
force."

...because, yes; what I could make (remember, I'm uneducated) against what I'd pay in child-care would not make one working day worth it. Not to me. Not to my husband, and not to our kids.


So I'm home. Young. Dumb. And Poor. And loving every exhausting, exhilarating, pee-stained, kiss-filled day.









*disclaimer!*
Because it is so easy to fall into the "who's the better mom?" trap; I'll say it now.... I have huge respect and am in big-time awe of working mothers. I can barely keep my ship upright, I can't imagine how I'd navigate the treacherous waters (pitiful metaphor alert) of working full time out of the house, and coming home to continue full time work. Mothers, working or at home, don't get time off. We don't get paid nurses' wages, or chauffeur's tips. We don't receive praise for number of cupcakes baked. We don't do it to make ourselves look better (OK, maybe some women do). We do it out of sheer, stifling, break-your-heart-it's-so-breathtakingly-beautiful love.

Winds of Change

I've taken on what I can only assume will be a very laborous task of moving all of my old xanga.com posts (from Feb 2006-Jan 2009!) over to wordpress.com. When I have that done, I'll use blurb.com and (hopefully) make one real live book per year of blogging.

Shew.

I was a blogger before I knew it was cool to blog. I've been going through that old xanga blog. I started when I was 2 months pregnant with my Ladybug. Three years and two kids later; oh how my life has changed.

I stopped blogging after The Bunny was born, not because I had nothing left to say, but because I had no time in which to say it. Even writing that, I feel like a whiner. "Oh, I'm so busy. Oh, these three kids take up all of my time." I have a mom-friend who is 44 and has ten kids. TEN. KIDS. Her oldest is a few months younger than me. Her youngest is a few months younger than my Bunny. SHE is the busy one, not me.

Recently I've gotten an itch again. The only way to scratch it is to write. My husband oh so lovingly reminded me last night that I've picked up and put down more "hobbies" in our 4 years of marriage than most people do in one adult lifetime.

"Remember that knittting you did for a minute?"
"Yes, I made a darling worm scarf."

"Well, what about the sewing?"
"I made Ladybug a super cute pillowcase dress. And a year before that, I made her a dress out of one of your old shirts."

"And what about your photography business?"
"Well, YOU were the one who wanted it to become a business. I just like taking pictures. And, technically, I've never stopped taking pictures."

And then he hit me (very softly) where it hurt: "What about your book? You started it TWO SUMMERS AGO."

To which I had no answer. Because he was right. The book that lives in my head is fantastic. It may not be Jennifer Weiner, and it is certainly not John Irving, but it is pretty dang good. And I have been writing it for two or three years now- in my head. The trick is finding time (are you whining again!?) to sit down and map it out, give it life, and do it justice.

Honestly, between taking/picking up Pooter from school, playing with Ladybug, cleaning the house, and dealing with a baby Bunny, I don't have that much time to sit down and meditate on the story my heart needs to tell.

But! I want to fix all of the above. I want to be like my friend Anna, and get my bootay in gear. I want a clean, decluttered house. I want clean, decluttered children. I want a clean, decluttered mind. I want to write a clean decluttered book.

And I want to reconnect with my bloggy roots. I am no Dooce, but I'm tippy-toeing back to knock on blog's door.
Here I am!

Thursday, August 20

"But I ain't got all the provisions aboard yet!"

...that is a line from one of my favorite Broadway musicals, Roger Miller's Huck Finn adventure, "Big River."

And that's also how I felt about my firstborn son going off into the world. You would think, having him for five years, that I'd realize this day was bound to come. And I suppose, mentally, I knew it was- but emotionally I was not ready.

Pooter, on the other hand, was chompin' at the bit to start school. One of the (only) downsides to being a SAHM and keeping my babies underfoot is that (other than cousins, Sunday school, and AWANAS) they don't get much social interaction. Oh, except for ChickFilA. I think B-dub was ready to do some more exploring of his universe, away from our home.

For the last 4 years, Jeremy and I had been assuming that our kids would somehow, someway be attending Christian School. After all, we have lots of family and friends who go there, and we had both started our scholastic careers at private, Christian schools. I have nothing against public schools, I graduated from a great, above-average pub school. But I know how crucial the Christian, biblical foundation is, and I was hoping he would get that foundation too.
Now, "assuming" does not equate "planning." We had saved no money, and I "assumed" it would just show up. Because, after all, why would God NOT want one of His children to be immersed in His Word in every school subject? Wouldn't He just.... provide?
So last May we went to Parent Night at CS, paid our deposit/registration, and began our summer. Only, it was ME who wanted so desperately, who prayed so much, for him to be there. Jeremy told me time and time again that logistically we couldn't send him to a private (ahem, superexpensive) school. And then if we did, what about the two girls who would all too soon follow him?
I ignored my husband- something I knew better than to do. I ignored the man that God provided to guide me and my children thought this life. Basically, I ignored God. I kept on assuming and hoping and wishing there would be a way.

But, there wasn't. I finally surrendered, relented, accepted. He would not be a "Christian School Kid," as one of his cousins called it. I apologized to both my husband and my Father for being a headstrong, self-assured jerk. I enrolled him in the school that is 1.6 miles away from our house. It was dingy. It was cobwebby. I was not pleased. I made it known that I was not pleased. Then I shut up and got out of God's way, apologized again, and got down to the business of preparing myself to send my baby on his way.

I spent the summer watching my son. He has always been ahead of the curve in both brains and heart. He is so compassionate, so tenderhearted, I worried that he would be a doormat kind of kid. But then, I'd seen him tell a kid to STEP OFF when that kid threatened his sister. I'd seen him wrastlin' around with his cousins. He can take care of himself.
So I watched, and I paid attention to what I was paying attention to. I spent a little more time with him, focusing on his heart, mind, and spirit. I encouraged him, disciplined him, prayed over him. Daily.

We bought school supplies. Jeremy actually jumped ahead of me. He and the boy came home from a WalMart trip last month with a few boxes of crayons and kleenex. We bought 2 extra of each of the items from his school supply list, to give to his teacher in case a student had none. We bought him a rest mat. I sewed him a sheet, blanket and pillow, a la my own Menga for my own kindergarten nap mat.

He went to kindergarten camp. He made a friend. He impressed the teachers. "Did you know he could read??" one asked me. "Yes ma'am, he has been for about a year now. He writes his name, but refuses to use lowercase letters." He's a capital-letter kind of kid.

We picked out his clothes for the first three days. We bought (way too much) food to pack his lunch. We prayed and prayed.Though all of this, I was still secretly a leeeeettle bit angry and hurt that God hadn't provided a way for him to go to Christian School. Wasn't I planning for his future? Wasn't I protecting him, putting him in the world, but not letting him be of it? Wasn't I a good enough parent?
And yet, through all of this, there were small encouragements- for me. My nephew had been to the school Pooter would be going to. My sister said she loved the teachers. My mother met several School District teachers at an ESL conference, and they all raved about the school. Loved it.

After kindergarten camp, I had a small tug at my heart. I knew who his teacher would be. I don't presume to say "God spoke to me," but there it was, I knew. The teacher class lists wouldn't be posted until the following week, but I began praying for his teacher- for real, on my knees praying for her. Praying for him. Praying for me. I was still nursing a wound, but it was healing more quickly than I anticipated.
Sho' nuff, I got a call last Friday afternoon from the mother of Pooter's new friend, and she confirmed what the Spirit had already whispered to me- Mrs. J would be Poot's teacher.

Tuesday night we went to "officially" meet Mrs. J, and see his classroom. He. Loved. It.
He was thrilled. He found dominoes. He found his very own name on his very own desk. There were TWO bathrooms RIGHT IN THE CLASS!! He gave his teacher a small gift that his Menga set up for her. I included a note, saying it was from Pooter's grandmother who was also a teacher. Mrs. J was tickled to be getting a present, I think.

We had a sweet family night Tuesday, and put the kids in bed much later than we should have. Jeremy was so kind and supportive of my crazy weepy I-can't-believe-mah-babee's-going-to-school self. He might have gotten a little sentimental himself, but don't tell him I said so.
I packed Pooter's backpack and a superawesome lunch. We prayed. He prayed. He was excited beyond belief.
For the last week he had been asking me if I would be sad without him around. The truth was "yes, unbearably miserable," but I simply said I would miss him, but knew he would be having a blast in kindergarten. Finally, he asked me again as I was tucking him in, and I replied "Yes, I will be sad. But I will also be holding you in my heart when you are at school."

For his first day of school, Pooter's daddy took off a day of work. Jeremy wanted to drop him off and pick him up. He was there the day The Boy took his first steps, he wanted to be there for this next step. It went so smoothly.
As I had long suspected, Pooter ran off to play and make friends. I had to beg him back to me for one last kiss. Aaaand, I forgot his superawesome lunch. Ha! Jeremy and I stopped by the boohoo breakfast, picked up some baby-Wampus Cat tea towels and headed home.
That was that.

At the end of the day we picked him up directly from his classroom, and he was a changed boy. We immediately saw how exhausted and elated he was. He made it, his first day of kindergarten. It took a few hours of decompressing before we got any really good scoop. I took a nap. My nerves and emotions overcame me, so I blocked out the world (once I had my baby safely back in my nest).
Then I got a phone call. And a voicemail. "Hi, Mrs. B. This is Mrs. J. Your boy had a wonderful first day, I'm very excited to have him in my class this year. I loved the present you guys sent! I was wondering, who is B's grandmother that is a teacher in Hot Springs? I used to teach at *an elementary school* down there. If you get a chance, call me back."
It was the SAME school MY MOTHER taught at for over a decade! I immediately called Mrs J back. She knew my mom!! She loved my mom! She taught down the hall from my mom for four years! She explained that her husband (who, did I mention, runs with the same running group as my sister-in-law?) had a job in Hot Springs for a few years, and then they'd moved back Here. She graduated from Here. Naturally at this point in the conversation I started name-dropping."Well, if you went to Here, then you must have had my husband's Grandmother" She did, and she loved her! Her father worked with my grandmother-in-law.
We were so connected.


And then, after we hung up, it hit me. God had provided all along. He had set me up, I had walked through fear, He sent small peices of peace, and I grasped to them. He had this planned all along.
I was overcome with a missing-my-father-in-law feeling. Oh man, did he love the Sovereignty of God. He woudl have laughed at me. He would have patted me on the back. He probably would have pulled out three or four books to show me on the particular subject.

The entire experience has been a lesson in trust. Trusting my 5 years of dutiful parenting. Trusting my husband's level-headedness. Trusting in my eternal Provider. Trusting that He has only good in store for those who love and obey Him. Not only "easy," but only good.

The last two nights Jeremy and I have kneeled at the side of our public-school-kid's bed, praying to our merciful and mighty Saviour. Begging forgiveness, begging guidance, effusing praise, pouring out thanksgiving before the One whose provisions are perfect.

All aboard.....It's guaranteed to be a great ride.

Thursday, July 23

ugh.

Who is the worst blogger ever? It's me! It's ME!

Man, I need to get better at this.

Sunday, June 21

YOU ARE HERE

A more apt title for the way I'm feeling now (because everything to me is either a title, a chapter, or a lyric) is "Where Am I?" or even "Where Do I Go Now?"

I have been a faithful blogger (over on xanga) really since before I knew anything about "blogging." It was like a journal to me, except easier because I type a grillion times faster than I write.
I starting blogging when I was pregnant with Kid Number Two, and was a constant blogger until Kid Number Three arrived. Six months ago. And then I quit. I don't mean I tapered off and then stopped. I mean I had no time, had no energy, had no inclination... quit.
Sometimes I felt like I had so much going on in my head and my heart that I just need to blog it all out, but then I napped instead.

I don't know if my world is catching up with me or if I'm slowing down, or turning a corner, or crossing a bridge or any other sort of cliched travel analogy.... but I'm pretty sure I'm coming to a fork in the road. Oops, there's another one.


I am at a place right now, literally RIGHT NOW tonight, that I want to start making more of myself, my family, my home, my time, and my faith than what I have been doing. I've let myself allow six months to go by just coasting through my life, living on the frayed-out edges, and allowing both fear and laziness to control my thoughts and actions. Fear, because I was terrified (and, as it turns out, partly-rightly so) of having three kids. Of not knowing how to handle them, how to love them, how to enjoy them, how to rear them, how to get them all out in public by myself. And laziness, because it's easier to stay home and become complacent in my life instead of going out and enjoying the world with my kids. At home I can be in my pj's at 4 in the afternoon and no one has seen or cared. At home my kids can run around without underwear, because, dang it, that's the way they like it. At home, we can eat breakfast at 10 and lunch at 1.

None of this is exactly cohesive, but it is working. It is a catharsis. It is me pushing myself to stop being such a whiny butt..... but that's a different post.

I stumbled across a blog tonight that I just fell in love with, and now I see why. I read one of her old entries about the 3x rule: if you are hit upside the head with something three times, chances are you ought to check it out.

My sweet, patient Lord has been hitting me upside my head for far too long, but only in the last weeks have I started prying my eyes open, peeking through my fingers, looking out at the world and thinking I could go on and obey Him.

I gotta quit whining.
I gotta clean my house.
I gotta learn how to cook.
I gotta give Jeremy the respect he's earned.
I gotta FINISH the books I've started writing.
I gotta practice my craft, my photography.
I gotta hold myself accountable.
I gotta be present for my children.
I gotta conquer fear.
I gotta listen.
I gotta obey.
I gotta do.

This is where I am tonight. I am here.




If you're reading this, gosh I'm sorry. I know it is nothing but a ramblin'. But I think I'm starting out again.

I think I'll be around more often. More..... present.

Wednesday, May 27

My dear B's,

Your mother is in remiss. She has serious procrastination issues.

I gotta apologize to you guys. Someday, years from now, when you are having fits of nostalgia (which I'm sure you will, because you are after all, my children), you will have zero proof of life from December 2008-May 2009. Few pictures (none printed out), few blog posts. I blame the baby!

Every day you each do something new and cute and funny and exciting. There's this new thing, Twitter, and I send short, funny messages there to remind myself of all that you guys do.

Pooter- you just turned FIVE! You are so grown, and still so small. I could write a book (and I plan to!) on you. I've never even heard of a boy so small and so smart. Sometimes you conversate like a 12 year old. You think, you reason, you learn. Every. Single. Day. I am so proud of you, and I am NOT looking forward to sending you off to begin your academic career this fall. I want you to stay home with me for, oh, 5 more years. But, I think we'd make each other crazy, you are so much like me. There are times we curl up in bed or on the couch together to read, and my heart melts, I am so thankful for my firstborn.

Ladybug- you are almost 3, and you think you're almost 13. Everything with you is pink. "I love'a da pink!" I want you to know, I did not instill this pinkness in you. I wanted you to be purple. Your room is purple. Your crib bedding was purple. I put you in purple clothes. You did not wear lace. You were not a frou-frou baby..... But you are a pink, lacey, frou-frou, girlie girl princess if ever one has roamed the earth in plastic high-heels. You are the funniest kid I've ever met. Seriously. You are a comedienne for sure. You are so full of joy, and you bring joy to our family. There are times you put your nose on mine and wiggle with all your might. You make me laugh with my whole heart.

Bunny- my sweet Bunny baby. Every day you surprise me more and more with your personality. You laugh at your sister and Daddy. You smile across your face when you see your brother. Each morning you grin at me from your bed beside mine, and my whole day starts out right. I had a hunch that you'd be my laid-back babe (because, really, after your siblings, didn't I deserve one calm child?), and so far you are. You are becoming so interested in the world, grabbing at everything you can reach, trying so hard to sit up on your own. You've never liked laying in your bouncy seat or in the car seat. You want to be UP, surveying all around you. There are times I hold you, and you just mold into my arms so warm and soft and chubby, like you've always been there.

My B's, you make my life wonderful. You make me laugh, you make me dance, you make me accountable. I love you babies!
~Mommy

Tuesday, May 26

More to come....

video

seriously- i write blog posts all day in my head, then when the RARE moment comes that I get to actually sit and focus on writing them down.... they've disappeared!

soon, and very soon...

Wednesday, May 13

Pooter on tv...

(be sure you turn the volume up as much as you can!)

video

...sorta.

We visited the Arkansas Museum of Discovery in Little Rock, instead of Toad Suck'n it up in the rain.

They have a cool (and OLD!) green-screen/camera to simulate a newsroom studio.

B1 did NOT have a teleprompter, and was ad-libbing this whole scene.

I have told Jeremy on numerous occasions that that kid needs to be in commercials or movies. Here is further proof.

Tuesday, May 12

Mother's Day Love

So, my husband always gets me the most perfect presents. Christmas, Valentines, Anniversary, Birthday, Random Day.... he's on it.
And he gets me things I've forgotten I wanted.

During one pregnancy he came home with a pillow. Because I'd been complaining about mine... but would have never thought to buy one.

For the Bunny's birth he got me a flipcam. I'd never even heard of it, but now it goes wherever I go to capture whatever needs to be captured.


Right after Ladybug was born, he bought me a Boppy.


Our first Christmas? A diamond wedding ring.



The man knows me inside and out. He loves surprising me (but hates surprises). He is an excelente' gift giver. Oh... and each gift almost always comes with chocolate!

So this Mother's Day I wasn't expecting much, as we are pretty strapped for cash right now. Saturday night the kids handed me their card; signed by all three. It was sweet, and Bryton wrote "I love you". I cried. He should not be old enough to write anything, let alone a sentence.


Sunday morning Jeremy gave me a kiss and said, "Happy Mother's Day." I told him I couldn't be a mother without him... in so many ways. Then he handed me a card that he picked out and wrote in (I teared up again) and then he gave me my gift:






Yeah that's right: Spacebags!!

For like 2 years, every time I'd pass them in WalMart I comment on how cool/fun it would be to store all our soft STUFF in them. But... I've never bought one.


When I saw the box I just got so tickled, and fell in love with my husband a little more. I didn't expect anything, but got something I'd forgotten I wanted. Jeremy NEVER forgets.


So we tried it. And now, I'm sold. I should do the infomercial.


We packed 3 sets of king-size sheets (plus pillowcases!) into one, and a matress cover & comforter in another!



Now I'm hunting all over the house to see what I can pack into the remaining 3 or 4 bags!









I am so happy to be a Mommy, and so happy with God's choice for my partner in parenting.

Thursday, April 30

Numero Uno

So I have had a Xanga since I was pregnant with Ladybug...... But it seems that I'm "subscribed" to so many blogspot girls, that I might as well hop on board.

So here I am, world!