Tuesday, February 23

Mommy. Blogger.

I really wanted a nap today. I realize this is a ridiculous and slightly irritating way to begin a blog post, but there, I said it.

I really wanted a nap, and I was laying in bed, switching between Twitter and my Google Reader on the BlackBerry, when I decide that I did not need to nap today (despite it being Back to Normal Day #2 and I’m really tired and sore), but that I needed to blog.

Because somebody on twitter said I was a mommy blogger. And mommy bloggers blog, am I right? About being mommies, right? But, they’re other things too, right? Like smart, funny recovering academics. And editors of magazines. And she's-got-it-together businesswomen. And widely loved/loathed loudmouths. And women who start their own companies. And real writers. And local television personalities. And the one that I pretty much want to be like in every way. They’re not just Mommies Who Blog, right? They’re Fully Functioning Adult Women Who Contribute to Society, too, right?

But, am I?

I read a blog post written by one of my tweeps that stopped me in my tracks. Because, different situations, different syntax, and? I could have been me. Kellit writes this:

Sometimes I'm not sure who I am. I can look back and see who I was. Where I've grown. And where I faltered. Hindsight truly is the gift of the wise..... Every morning, I dress up. I play the part of a mature, educated, confident woman. But when I look in the mirror, all I see are the freckles.

Who am I?
That's me! Even the part about the freckles!
I know that introspection and confusion and self-doubt are all part of Growing Up. And I know that, grown up as I may seem to my son, and to some friends at church, and the PTO lady who thinks I can man the popcorn machine by myself, I'm not reeeeally done growing. (Insert my mother's barely perceptible nod and soft, "Oh, Savannah." here.)
Of course I'm not done yet, I'm only 26-and-a-half. (Yes, the half counts. And for anyone interested in my height, I am five-foot-three-and-a-quarter.)
My own self-doubt stems from lack of experience. There are plenty who would say that being married, owning a home, having 3 children are all pretty good indicators of being a Grown Up, and give me license to say that I've had "Life Experiences."
But I haven't, really. I haven't traveled the world on my own like some of my friends. I haven't finished college. I haven't had a job for more than one entire year. I haven't DONE some of the things I wanted to do.
This isn't to say that my life isn't full, or that I don't appreciate the path that brought me here... it's just that sometimes I don't recognize where/who I am today in comparison to where/who I thought I'd be by now.
My Life Experience really began when I found out I was pregnant at 19. That pretty much ended my plans for world travel (ok, not WORLD travel, but Memphis/Dallas/New Orleans/Atlanta/New York/South Carolina travel.)
I quickly went from (mostly) carefree college sophomore fun time gal to (mostly) responisble cautious informed dedicated mother-to-be.
And just 14 months after I became a mother, I became someone's wife.
And just 6 months after that, I became a pregnant stay-at-home-mom.
And just 16 months after that, I became a mother-of-two.
And just 28 months after that, I became a very tired, very haggard, very cranky, very pushed-pulled-and-tromped upon mother-of-three.
Again- each step has blessed my soul more than I every imagined possible, but my soles (the ones on my feet. See what i did there?) are a different story. They're wore out.
I just don't know how, in less than 6 years I went from knowing exactly who I was, what I wanted to do in life, and how I would get there... to I Knew Nothing Then, And Only Slightly More Now.
Yes, I grew up. Quickly. But I am still growing.
My friend Kerri, a fellow mommy-blogger, wrote this and it hit me in the heart:
I know this parenting thing is a temp gig. We get Monkey Boy for the better part of a couple of decades and then he’s on his own. If we do it right he calls us once a week to check in and we never have to bail him out of jail or put him in rehab. ...My time will be up, and he’ll be off conquering the world, and I’ll be left waiting for his weekly phone call.

This is why I’ve continued a career, tried to keep my marriage intact and kept interests that don’t concern him. I know that I can’t only be a mom or my life really will end when he’s gone.
I don't do that. All of my time is invested, wrapped up, intertwined in the health and happiness of everyone else.

I am still figuring out Who I Am and What I Want to Be. I just don't have the luxury anymore of screwing up only myself along the way. Now I have a husband and three kids who are affected by every move I make- or don't make.

Whether or not I finish school.
Whether or not I ever learn to cook.
Whether or not I set the example in my marriage and in my role as Mommy that I want to set.
I have these, what Meredith Grey calls, Dark and Twisty moments. I am not so self-absorbed to think I am alone in these Dark and Twisty times. Everyone has moments of doubt, moments of self-loathing. I know in my heart they are times of spiritual attack, the Enemy wheedling himself into my psyche to convince me I'm of no use to anyone. And most often, I pray (and cry and whine and cry and write) my way out of the dark place. But I come out on the other side still Not Knowing.
I don't know much about who I am as a person. Who Savannah is. (Oh my. I see this going a meta-emo-rambly place, adn that's not where I meant to head.)
I just know what role I play, what hat I wear, what shoes I fill:
And I know what I do:
I parent
I read
I breastfeed
I nurture
I nap
I discipline
I sew
I encourage
I write
I support
But which of these roles, which of these activities make up who I am?

Monday, February 22

He got me juice

The thing about my husband is, he is an excellent gift-giver. Like, really good. Our first Christmas together he gave me my wedding band (we didn't have money for it when we got married). (I gave him a vacuum cleaner.)(For his birthday this year, I gave him a steam cleaner.)(I'm not as good as he is when it comes to presents) For my birthday two years ago he gave me a real DSLR camera. The exact one I'd been craving for... a very long time. The next year he gave me the lenses I'd been after. Christmas before last, he bought me a laptop, and a Flip cam in anticipation of our little Bunny.

But it's not always the BIG things that he gives me that mean the most.

The month before we got married, he gave me a mulit-slot picture frame already filled with pictures of our little family.
When my Ladybug was a few weeks old, and Jeremy was working the night shift, he came home around 2 in the morning, giddy because he bought me something. It was a Boppy. I was (deliriously tired and) thrilled. He was so proud that he'd gotten me something I didn't even know I wanted.
When I was pregnant with the Bunny, he bought me a new pillow, simply because he knew how uncomfortable I was and wanted to remedy that.
Often, he will bring me some little something- chocolate, a new pen, a warm drink, the Brita water pitcher I'd been eyeing- just because he loves me.

He doesn't hold my hand in public very often. He opens almost every door for me. We never kiss when people can see. He doesn't make jokes at my expense. He gets irritated when I leave the house for more than a few hours. He always puts the toilet seat down.

There are so many routines, nuances, and complicated mechanisms of our relationship- just like any other marriage.

I had surgery the Friday  before Valentine's Day. I knew I wouldn't be able to get him anything, so I asked my mom to pick up the thing I wanted to give him (a waffle maker, because his died).(Cleaning and cooking appliances, these are the things I present to my husband. Pillows and diamonds- that's what he gives me) I did manage to pick out a card, fill in the blanks with words of my undying love, and prop it up where he'd see it.

He saw it too early. He always sees/figures out/spoils his gifts from me.... early. He is an accomplished secret-keeper. I, suck.

Anyway, he opened his card and thanked me for it, I had surgery, my mom hid his gift under my side of the bed, and I managed to actually surprise him last Sunday with a present.

But he didn't get me anything.


Not a present, not a card, no chocolate. Nothing.

I pointed that out once, and only once, and he haha'd about it and mumbled something about how he'd make it up to me later. One week later, and still, nothing.

I worked myself into a funk last night about other things, and then began stewing about the fact that he doesn't love me like he used to (oh LORD do I get dramatic- in my own head- when I go to the dark and funky place), or he would have given me SOMETHING by now. It's Valentine's Day for crap's sake!

But then.
Then I remembered how he was so nervous and yelly, and nervous and making me laugh, and nervous but too tough to admit it before I went into surgery.

I remembered that he was standing beside my bed, stroking my hand, when I woke up- and had been watching over me the whole time.

I remembered that he called my Momma to drive up, because he knew she couldn't stand not to be here but she wouldn't interfere.

I remembered that he was diligent about keeping my ice chips fresh.

I remembered that, after my Momma went home, he spent the entire (extended!) weekend with our babies, keeping them happy, keeping them quiet.

I remembered that even when my mother came back to help, he still refilled my glass, made sure I had the remote, a book, and the heating pad turned on.

He bought all the groceries, washed every load of laundry, served every meal, gave every bath, read every book, wiped every nose/butt.... did everything he normally does, but without a single lifted hand of mine, for 9 days.

At night he would crawl into bed beside me, exhausted, and ask how I felt. He would tell me all about his day at work, then his evening at home. He would tell me about my babies, and do immitations of each of their funny habits.

And he bought me crackers and Gatorade and Sprite and not one, but three bottles of my favorite cranberry/blackberry juice, because he did not want me to be without.

He didn't buy me a card with someone else's sentiment inside, he didn't buy my a tennis bracelet, but he did- and does, daily- everything in his power to make me comfortable, happy, and secure in the knowledge that my needs come before his, and he will never stop trying to make me laugh.

He got me juice for Valentine's Day.


Thursday, February 18

Things I Love Thursday: Surgery Edition!

Ok, so having never done a Things I Love Thursday, starting off with a "Surgery Edition!" may not be the best option, but things have been a little slow around here.

I had surgery last Friday. In the event a person of the male persuasion passes by my blog, I'll not go into details. I had a TVH. Only click it if you really wanna know.

So, I had surgery Friday, went home Saturday, and have spent the majority of the last 6 days in bed.

There are the things I'm loving today:

Pretty new Lauren by Ralph Lauren robe my stepmother gave me pre-surgery

Bath & Body Works Midnight Pomegranate- everything in that flavor is luscious.

Finding a sample size Bumble & bumble shampoo at Wal-Mart to pack in toiletry bag

OPI's I'm Not Really a Waitress. It's my go-to nail color, and has been on my toes every time I've checked into a hospital.

Upon being given my wedding rings pre-surg, my hubby remarked how dingy they looked. Unbeknownst to me, he later went out and bought jewelry cleaner and shined 'em right up for me. He loves me.

800 thread count damask sheets... because if I've got to spend all my time here, might as well be comfy.

Netflix. 'Nuff said.

Chicken'n'dumplins from Slims. Mmm, mmm, good.

My mothers: Vickie (Jeremy's mom, on far left) and Darla (my mom, right, by my hubs) Because they've helped tremendously during my recovery. Also, my momma drove up here earlier than she planned, because she couldn't stand not to.

My church family at Four Winds, and my sweet friend Heather because they have covered me in prayer, and filled my family up with delicious food.

My friends (in-real-life, and online only!) on twitter, who have also been praying for me, who entertain, engage, and inform me.

And last but nevah, nevah least: my super fine and fantastic, handsome and helpful, witty and wonderful husband. Be forewarned, very soon I will be writing an ooey-gooey post extolling his virtues and going on and on about the innumerable great things about him and all the immeasurable ways I love him.
He's awesome.


Wednesday, February 17

Cleanse and Clean

Late last night, somewhere around the fuzzy borders of drug-induced sleep, my Lent finally came to me. Everyone always talks about what you "give up" for Lent, but you can also add something to your life. I suppose, if you are economical with your time, talents, and abilities, you automatically give up something when you incorporate something else. Buy new clothes? Donate old ones. New kid toys? Give away old ones. New toaster? Freecycle the old one.

But I am not disciplined in the art of simplicity- and it is an art form. My sister-in-law was the Queen of Simple. She had what she needed, she didn't pack things away for Later, she didn't lust after new and shiny, she loved all things Neat and Tidy. There are days upon days that I think about and miss my sister, and wish I could have gotten advice from her on the art of simple, while there was still time for her to give it.

No, I'm a Keeper. I keep my babies' clothes, especially ones we've had pictures taken in (and that includes everything from pajamas to mismatched playclothes to ruffly Easter dresses). I keep my own clothes, hoping I'll fit into them again, come Someday. I keep scraps of fabric, ribbon, buttons, cardboard, rocks in case my kids and I want to do some extravagant art project (we NEED those things!). I even have, in my collection of Things Kept, an old metal colander, complete with rusted and hole-y mesh, simply because it was one of the things my mother gave me when I ventured off to my first apartment.

I keep.

So, when Ash Wednesday rolls around, I am first in line to "give up" something that isn't quite as precious as it should be in order for Lent to properly serve its purpose in my heart. I'll give up four-Dr.-Peppers-a-day-but-that-means-I-can-still-have-three. I'll give up white chocolate macadamia cookies, but that means I can still have chocolate chip. I'll give up thinking mean things about people I'm angry with, but only if they don't reeeeally make me angry.  I'm a Lenten flunky when it comes to the giving up.

I don't fail Lent every year, some years I've come up with really good things, but the past few years I've been floundering, trying to reach some magnificent, life-changing goal, and I've come up short because I'm just too busy/tired/angry to really put my heart in it.

 I'm tired of being so busy/tired/angry that I shut out a really great opportunity to reconnect with the King of my heart.


Last night (because, I'm a procrastinator y'all), it dawned on me; the simple, yet profound way I can use Lent to get my feet back on the path I intend to follow.

Cleanse and Clean.

Those words, technically, mean pretty much the same thing. But their connotations, their nuances, mean something different to me.

Here's my plan (and the requisite backstory, 'cause that's how I do):

I grew up in a wonderful church, in a denomination I dearly loved. I never had an on-my-knees-Jesus-will-you-be-my-Lord-and-Savior moment, I just grew up believing. While my particular church/denomination was all about some routine, some tradition, we weren't big on Bible study. I don't remember ever going through the Word, book by book, in an actual study. Sure, we memorized verses in Sunday School, we heard the big stories in Vacation Bible School, but I never went any further than surface-deep in my Bible, until a few years ago.

I took my first Bible study, called Motherwise, with a friend of mine at her church. It was a great way to ease into studying- it incorporated tips on parenting, side-by-side with study. I loved it. Then I took its companion class, Freedom for Mothers. Loved it s'more. Then, Jeremy and I had the opportunity to take a parenting/Bible study class together, called Growing Kids God's Way. Through these classes, I learned more about myself as a woman, a daughter of the Lord, a wife, and a mother. My first real, it's-not-about-you-it's-about-Him study was Beth Moore's 12 week intensive run through the book of Daniel.
And that is when I really felt the power of the original Love Letter. Oh, I could go on and on about that study, but that's not my point.

During those 12 weeks, I was faithful about reading Scripture, soaking it in and learning from it, because I was being held accountable. But after those three months, I slipped away from daily reading until I got to the point where my Bible would only make an appearance on Sunday mornings- if I remembered to grab it.  

And I want to change that. Each week, I wonder to myself if this is the week I do the Things I Want to Do. Or if it's the week that I at least begin.

So, this Lenten season is when I start. No more wondering, no more I'm too busying, no more I'm so dang tireding.

I will cleanse.
I will cleanse my heart and soul. I will do it daily. I will spend a minimum of 40 minutes a day in the Word. I know the powerful impact that being in the Word has on my life. I have a different attitude, I see things in a different light. I am refueled, refilled, rejuvenated, rewarded. My heart is recaptured, reignited, revived, and full of rejoicing. That prefix, that "re-," means "back or again." I will lead myself back to a place I want to be, I will allow myself to be cleansed again through the reading of God's Holy Word.

And also.

Anyone, anyone, who truly knows me, knows that I am terrible at house-keeping. Lots of times, people equate being a stay-at-home-mom with being a house-keeper. But I'm not. My job is my children. Even my husband will correct someone when they wrongly assume that my B's aren't my #1 priority. Their wellbeing, their health, their hearts, their developing brains- that is my occupation. I'm in charge of that. It is an incredible burden, but one that fosters amazing outcomes.
And then there's my house.
In reality, Jeremy is a better cook than I am. He, being the baby, learned quite literally at his mother's knee. My mother didn't cook. Jeremy is better at the nitty gritty cleaning of the house, again, something he learned from his momma. My momma's mop was always dusty.

I'm no good at it, I don't care too much about it, and I flat-out don't like it.
But Jeremy is good, he does cares, and he loves it- he thrives in a clean home. 

I have possibly the most undemanding husband of all time.
All he asks for are clean clothes, a "picked up" house, and that once I year I clean the bathrooms. (Yeah, he does it the rest of the time. With toothbrushes. He's a Marine. He can't help it.) He asks for so little, and he is so happy when I do those few things for him.
And yet I still can't, or won't, or haven't yet done these things. But, now, I will.

I will clean.

I will spend at least 40 minutes each day seriously cleaning. I mean in addition to the never ending laundry/dishes/kid toys routine. I will spend a dedicated 40 minutes "blessing my house" as a certain FlyLady might say.

In blessing my house, I will bless my husband.

In blessing my husband, I bless our marriage.

In blessing our marriage, I bless our children.

In blessing my children and husband and home, I bless the One who provided them to me in the first place.

I haven't started anything that is monumental, or unattainable. I may stumble, I may falter, but I won't quit. I hope to continue past the next month and a half, begin a habit of study, and of service. To fill myself up in God's Word, in order to cleanse, to flush out the bad parts. To provide a fresh, orderly home for the man I love, to boost both his spirit and our marriage.

40 and 40 in 40.

I will cleanse, and I will clean.


Wednesday, February 10

Will You Go Halfway?

I certainly have my own take on this issue, and plan to post about it soon. But for now, please take a minute to read what my friend Amy wrote about Jimmy Wayne, his walk halfway across America to give voice to the voiceless, and the battle that underlies every woman's daily life as a mother.

The REAL Mommy War, by Amy Bradley-Hole

I had the privilege of spending a little time this past week with Jimmy Wayne. Jimmy is a country singer who started the Meet Me Halfway campaign on January 1. What's it all about? Well, he's walking halfway across the country -- from Nashville to Phoenix -- to raise awareness about the issues surrounding homeless kids and teens who are about to age out of the foster care system. These kids are shoved into adulthood completely unprepared. They often have little education, few life skills and even fewer job skills. They've been abused, neglected and discarded all their lives, and then they're thrust into a very tough world with no safety net and no support.

Jimmy knows about these kids' lives, and wants to help them, because he was once just like them. He lived in abusive homes. He was in and out of the system. He was even homeless. I won't go into the details of his stories -- some of them are public, and anyone who can use a search engine can find out more. If you'd really like to know more about his background, in his own words, and also hear stories about his journey since he set off on his walk, I'd encourage you to visit his Ustream channel. He's been broadcasting live from the road and archiving his videos there. Start at the beginning and watch all the way through.

Fair warning -- you will need tissues. Like, a go-to-Costco-and-buy-in-bulk amount of tissues. His stories are graphic, uncomfortable and heart-wrenching. His conversations with the kids he meets, as they discuss their fears and apprehensions and histories, will make you want to scoop up your own children and squeeze them to bits. My favorite part is when he gets on his soapbox and becomes a real advocate for these kids, asking the tough questions that they often can't.

But I think what gets to me the most is when he talks about his mom. I can't relate to much of his life, but I can definitely relate to being a mother. Let's face it -- most of the problems he encountered when he was young, and a lot of the problems that troubled kids everywhere are dealing with, are brought on by mothers. And the relationship Jimmy had with his mother, though on the mend, was certainly broken for many years.

Women are always so concerned about preserving and perfecting relationships. I am no different. I have learned, though, that relationship failures are inevitable. I've failed my friends. I've failed my parents. I've failed my husband. I've failed bosses. Some of those failures have been tougher than others, but I (not always my relationships, but me, personally) have managed to survive them all.

But the one relationship failure I don't think I could handle would be failing my children. I don't think I could leave them alone for days on end. I don't think I'd ever fail to feed them. I don't think I could put them in a home with a man who's abusive and toxic. I don't think I could ever run away from them. I just don't think I could be that mom and fail my children.

But notice I said "think." Honestly, I'm not secure enough to say "I could never." I've desperately wanted to run away before. I've put my needs ahead of my boys' needs a thousand times. I've felt completely alone, terribly depressed, and utterly unwilling to care for my children for another second. Every day, I'm holding on by a (sometimes tenuous and slippery) thread.

You see, I think being a mother is like being a soldier. Raising children means going out onto the battlefield every day and engaging in hand-to-hand combat. Us moms are fighting so many enemies -- our partners, our lack of a partner, the media, our jobs, our joblessness, our expectations, our pasts and our personal demons. We're all waging this war every day, and unfortunately, some of us are losing.

Some are losing because they don't have the necessary equipment. They don't have a safe place to retreat to at the end of a long day in the trenches. They don't have food and basic supplies. They don't have the education and skills it takes to understand the logistics of the war. They are easy to identify, and, quite frankly, they're easy to help, if we just pool our resources and time. Most of us have a little extra we can share.

But some are losing because they don't have any support. They got cut off from the rest of the troops, left alone to fend for themselves. Or maybe they're right in the thick of things, right in front of us, but we don't see them. Instead, we stumble off the battlefield at night, and fall into base camp, where our support troops have a warm meal waiting for us and a tent already pitched. We find a bit of comfort and begin to bandage our wounds. We may take a moment to send an email to loved ones. But war is ugly, and soon enough the trauma of that day's battle begins to worm it's way to the front of our minds. We react by lashing out. We lash out at our fellow warriors for not breast feeding enough, or for breast feeding too much. We snicker about those who stay at home and raise their kids, and trash the ones who don't. We make fun of the uniform some of the others wear, or criticize how their bodies look. We question who's looking after their kids while they're away.

While we're so busy cutting others down, we fail, or perhaps choose not, to see those horribly wounded women who will not make it through the night. They will not survive this war. And when they break, they will leave behind their children.

They'll leave behind sons like Zack, a kid who went to a high school where I worked. His mom tried to commit suicide just after his 17th birthday, during his senior year. Other faculty and I fought for months to literally "hide" him from the authorities so that he wouldn't get lost in the system at such a crucial time in his life. During those days, he started painting to express himself, and he never stopped. Now he shows in galleries out west.

They'll leave behind sons like Joseph, whose family kicked him out at a fairly young age because he had severe Tourette's Syndrome. He often survived by raiding the trash outside local restaurants, until he one day convinced a kind restaurant owner that even a kid who seemed to have little control over his flailing arms could be a chef. It seemed the only time his hands were steady was when he was holding a knife, and he eventually became a damn fine Garde Manger at the fancy hotel where I worked.

And they'll leave behind sons like Jimmy Wayne.

They'll leave behind kids who will struggle, but who can do so much. Kids who, given the right resources, can succeed, despite having dealt with failure all their lives. Sure, you can say their moms failed them by not being strong enough, not asking for help, not fighting just a little bit harder. But we, by not acknowledging their mothers' struggles, have most certainly failed them, too.

So let's start paying a little more attention to our fellow soldiers, OK? And in the meantime, I challenge you to start helping these left-behind children right now. I challenge you to donate to Jimmy's MMH Foundation. Every time you write a blog post about how rotten your life is, click that link. Every time you comment on someone's blog about some hot-button motherhood issue, click that link. Every time you're sitting around with some other moms, gossiping about how so-and-so raises her children, click that link.

We may not be able to put ourselves in these kids' or these women's shoes. We may not be able to walk across the country. But we can start fighting smarter, and we can do a better job of supporting struggling soldiers. This battle's too important for us to leave anyone behind, ladies.

Children's lives are at stake.

Saturday, February 6

Mix Tape Love

Ooh, the mix tape. Those two words conjure up images, for me at least, of sitting on the floor of my bedroom, 14 years old, pressing PLAY + RECORD when the radio plays my mostfavoritesongever, and then again when my nextmostfavoritesongever comes on.

I admit, I made more than a few unrequited-love-songs tapes in my teen years. I was even the recipient of a mix tape, later, when it wasn't a tape, but a newfangled cd. I can't even remember what was on the disc I was given, except that I wondered why he'd chosen to add Shaggy's "It Wasn't Me."

Where is all this mix tape nostalgia coming from, you ask? Well, the cd player in my MomUV crapped out the same week I realized I have only 6 of about 75 cds uploaded to my computer. So, I sat down and started ripping.

Disc 1: Simply titled, "John Mayer" written in a college boy's scrawling letters. I remember this frat boy, I begged him to burn me a cd by this new guy I'd heard at that year's Memphis in May Beale Street Music Festival. Year: 2002

Disc 2: "Soft Dave," a compilation of all the slow and easy Dave Matthews Band songs that was to be played during my labor & delivery with B Number One. (It wasn't played, because I left it at home, only to endure a 54 hour labor completely music-less) Year: 2004

Disc 3: "Pat Green," while there are ample Pat songs, there are also additions from the Black Crowes, Ray Charles, and Cross Canadian Ragweed. Stolen, or, um, obtained, from a friend during a weekend trip to see her in Fayetteville. Year: 2001

Disc 4: Jason Mraz, "Mr. A-Z," given to me by BFF a few weeks before we had a girls' night out to see Mraz in concert fall. Year: 2009

Disc 5: "J's Mix for Sis," a true mix-tape-cd my brother made for me. Featuring lots of acoustic John Mayer (the best way to listen, in my opinion), some Jack Johnson, Ben Harper, Van Morrison, one Hall & Oates tune to throw you off, Jimmy Eat World, Maroon 5, the Beatles, Cake, and Relient K. Year: 2006

And I'm just getting started. Disc 6 is one of the coolest wedding guest gifts I've ever seen. My friends Mollee and Nathan made a mix of Hers, His, and Ours songs including Ella Fitzgerald, The Killers, Norah Jones, Jamie Cullum, David Crowder Band, and Louis Armstrong.

It was Disc 6 that got me thinking about a blog post....

If I were to make a mix tape of all the songs that remind me of my husband, a Hers, His, and Ours compilation of our own, what would I add?

To be certain:
+ Walking in Memphis, Marc Cohn (because a weekend trip to Memphis is the first and only getaway we've ever had as a couple, sans kids)
+ Must Have Done Something Right, Relient K (because with lyrics like "I know that it's so cliche to tell you that everyday I spend with you is the new best day of my life" it is so fun and funny and true)
+ God Bless the Broken Road, Rascal Flatts (because I fell in love with that song long before it got way overplayed, and really, what couple doesn't have a broken road story?)
We Got Love *and* I Am Your Man, Ryan Shaw (because those songs both make me swoon, and so does my husband)
+ Welcome Table, an old gospel song recorded by Dan Zanes (because there isn't an old gospel song that my Baptist-bred hubby doesn't know by heart)
+ Mustang Sally, Wilson Pickett (because we dance to a street performance in Memphis)
+ Summer Lovin', from Grease (because he and his best friends wife karaoke'd this at our wedding, and we can't hear it without remembering that superfun night)
+ Ain't No Other Man, Christina Aguilera (because there ain't no other man, and it was the ringtone when he called me for the loooongest time)
+ I Can't Help Loving You, Ray Charles (because Ray was one of the first date movies we watched together, and my hubs sang all through the film)
+ At Last, Etta James (because he sang this, and lots of Sinatra to our first baby girl the night she was born)
+ Ain't to Proud to Bed, the Temptations (because he, all kinds of goofy, serenaded me with this once, and we still sing it to each other occasionally)
+ Rad Moves, Backyardigans (because that man knows every word of every song on every kid cd we have, and he's not afraid to jam with his babies)
+ Be Thou My Vision,
+ Holy, Holy, Holy,
+ Great is Thy Faithfullness
+ How Great Thou Art, all standard hymns we both love (because I love standing next to him in church and hearing his voice sing praises to our God)

Oh, there are lots more, and of course now that I sit down, I can't think of them. I think I'll make a running list of "our songs".

What's on your list?


Tuesday, February 2

Going Barefoot.....

I'm so so so excited.

I've officially been a Work-at-Home Mom for about 3 hours, and already I know why people who sell a good product are passionate about it!

Last week as I was feverishly googling children's book publishers, I came across Barefoot Books, an independent publisher based in the UK and Cambridge, Mass. They have one flagship store in Cambridge and one boutique store on the second floor of swoon-at-the-mere-mention-of-it F.A.O. Schwarz in New York City.

(Here is where I mention for the umpteenth time that I've never been to NYC and have long dreamed of going to NYC and am kind of obsessed with NYC and won't somebody please take me to NYC)


So, I found and subsequently fell in love with Barefoot Books. I call myself a writer, but couldn't come up with any better summary than what they've already got:

Explore. Imagine. Create. Connect. Give Back. That’s what Barefoot Books is all about. It’s exploring other cultures, our planet, ourselves. It’s making time for make-believe and letting imaginations run wild and free. Most of all, it’s about using the power of stories to nourish the creative spark in everyone and strengthen connections with family, the global community, and the earth.

This company was started by two mothers who wanted to expand their children's worldview through books.

(And here is where I stop to mention that I was raised by a hippy. A Christian hippy. A Jesus-loving, God-fearing, Love-One-Another, Help-Those-in-Need, Good-Steward-to-this-One-Planet-We've-Been-Given hippy. And it turns out this particular apple didn't fall far from the pesticide-free tree.)


So I explored the Barefoot Books site some more (and did proper Google searches to see what kind of innnernet dirt I could find), and fell a little bit in love with the books, games, puzzles, CDs, puppets and pretty much everything else they offer.

Being that they're pretty heavy on the hippy, I discovered they've partnered with Eco-Libris, a company who promotes "sustainable reading." They also offer a selection of books with a portion of the profits going to Books for Africa: "a simple name for an organization with a simple mission. We collect, sort, ship, and distribute books to children in Africa. Our goal: to end the book famine in Africa."

I immediately wanted to buy almost every book I saw.
Like this one.

And this one.

And this one.

And this one, too.

They also have puppets and blocks and puzzles and flash cards and.... and... and!

After lots of oohing and ahhing, I realized that there was an opportunity at hand. I could sell these books! I have friends who sell Premier jewelry, Scentsy candles, Mary Kay Cosmetics.... but I don't know anyone who sells kid books! I. Was. Hooked.

But Jeremy wasn't. And still isn't. He is more logical, more rational, more level-headed than his dear darling wife. But I'm working on him.

We make a good team because I am the impulsive dreamer and he is the practical planner. He asked questions I wouldn't have thought of, and we're working out a business plan. Sort of.

(And, truthfully, there were some books that I wasn't all that impressed with. I won't be buying the book about goddesses, or the one focusing on magical faeries. I won't be buying the one about the Indian festivities. It is not that I want to shelter my kids from other cultures and religions-- in fact, exploration is something I will encourage as they get older-- but I want my children to remain rooted in biblical Truth and doctrine.)

But for now I am so excited about this new opportunity. I have set up an "online marketplace" that you can browse through and buy directly from. Or, you can wait until I really get my (free-range)ducks in a row, and host a viewing party, or come to one shindig that I throw!

**oh! and be sure to click on the banner at the top and the button at the right side of my blog to take you straight to my little book stall!

I'm so excited! Check it all out!!


Monday, February 1

See, what had happend was....

I don't even know where to begin this post.

Every day when I pick him up from school, and then again around the dinner table, Pooter gets grilled on his day at school.

How was your day, honey?
Did you have to change your card?
Who did you play with?
What was the best part of your day?
Did you learn anything new?
What activity did you do today?

I know kids, and boys especially, are infamous for the monosyllabic answers when confronted with questions About Their Day. But Pooter has always been a super-expressive child, so when he says, "Good," I just can't take it.

I want to know what book he checked out from the library.
I want to know if that little girl he loves still loves him back.
I want to know that he is eating all of the lunch that I send.
I want to know if he is ignoring the mean kid who made fun of him for dancing in line.
I want to know it all.

Rarely, and most often when I am not pushing him, Pooter gives us fantastic glimpses into his day. His eyes wander, and his speech pattern becomes more rhythmic, and he begins to recount some adventure from that day.

We were treated with such a story last week. I wish I'd written it down right then (that is probably #3 on my list if Things I Wish- that I would be better about writing things down immediately), but I don't think I've forgotten much.

As is routine, Pooter's daddy asked him how his day was. Poot danced around the subject for a while, before he firmly placed his palms on the dinner table and began his tale:

Poot: "Well. There is one boy who was mean to me."
Dad: "What? Who is this mean boy?"
Poot: "He's a 7 year old, but he's in Kindergarten, like me."
Mom: "Well, what did he do that was mean?"
Poot: "He punched me. A lot of times."
Mom: "He punched you?!"
Poot (more animated): "Yes! He punched my stomach, and my ear, and my underarms!"
Mom: (chokes on and possibly spews iced tea) (tries so hard not to laugh, and fails)
Dad: "He punches your underarms!!"
Poot: "Yes! Him and his brother!"
Mom: "His brother punches you too?"
Poot: "Yes!! His brother looks just like him! AND he punches me!"
Dad: "How old is his brother? Is it a twin brother?"
Poot: "Um... YES! Yes, it is his twin brother. And he punches me!!"
Mom: "Are there any teachers around during this punching? Like, do they see you being punched?"
Poot: (both exasperated and excited) "Yes! They see these two brothers, and they are punching me, and the teachers don't do anything to stop it!"
Mom: (still really cracking up at the idea of a kid bully punching my son in the armpit)
Dad: "Well, what do you think you can say to these, um, twins to make them not punch you?"
Poot: "Please don't punch me in my ear and armpit. Or step on my feet."
Mom: "They step on your feet too??"
Poot: "Sometimes they do."
Dad: "Well, you just make sure a teacher sees them doing this, and that a teacher makes them stop, because I'd hate to come to your school and beat up some kids."
Poot: "Well, I think I just won't play with them any more."
Mom: "That's a really good idea. Now, go put your pajamas on, please."
Dad: (after Pooter's walked away) "I didn't believe a word of it."
Mom: "Me neither."

Later as we rehashed the scene, I was cracking up all over again. I know my boy. If I had for even one second believed that some kid, let alone two, was beating up on my son, I'd been in momma-bear mode. But, I know my son has an amazing imagination. And I know he is a great storyteller. And I know he has a tendency to insert things he's read/seen/heard into his real life. We could have stopped his story, lectured him (for the gonzillianth, and nowhere near final, time) on telling the truth, we could have reminded him of his school's policy on bullying, we could have ignored it completely, but we just enjoyed it. We let him tell his tale. We will correct him another day.

Jeremy said that the whole time he was expecting Pooter to say, "Yeah... That's the ticket!"