Friday, July 30

pure Bliss

Today is my niece Bliss's seventh birthday, and she's spending it in Heaven, just as she has spent every birthday before.

Jeremy's middle sister, Katie delivered Bliss but never got to hear her cry. She held Bliss, but never got to peer into her eyes.


When we were still in the newish phase of dating, Jeremy told me Bliss's story over the phone one night, and I- already in love with him and his family- couldn't contain the tears.
At our wedding, there was a mini-bouquet that would have been well suited for another flowergirl, and a candle in her honor atop our welcoming table.
My mother-in-law has ten grandbabies here, and one ever-present yet just out of reach grandgirl who is already Home.

Our family, together, has experienced so much death in such a short time, but one of the most painful happened before I ever joined the family. To not have been there for the woman I call my sister, to not have seen the precious face of my niece, it wrenches my heart. I miss her without ever having known her. I regret that I don't get the opportunity to be her aunt, here on earth.


For some people, it's easier to let the memories of lost loved ones fade until they are so gossamer thin that to recall them would break the spell.
But for Katie, for Jeremy, for their mother, for our family, we keep Bliss's name on our lips. Katie and her husband tell their children about their sister who surely watches them from above. We honor Bliss by remembering her.

So last month when I learned about Mamie's Poppy Plates, I knew instantly I would buy one for Katie, in honor of her first child. A purchased donation from Mamie's Poppy Plates provides a blank plate to the bereaved families at St. Vincent's Hospital in Little Rock. The hospital staff will stamp the baby's handprints and footprints and record birth stats, which will be painted onto the plate, then finished at Firefly Studio and presented to the parents.

There are many ways to remember the ones we've loved and lost, but one of the best ways is to provide comfort, however small, to others who grieving. Now, another set of parents will be blessed with a tangible memory of their precious child, in honor of Bliss.





To purchase one of Mamie's Poppy Plates for donation, visit their Poppy Seed Blog and find the link on the left-hand side.










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Thursday, July 29

I'm published!

Dear Ladies and That One Gentleman Who Reads My Blog,
I am more than pleased, in fact, I'm tickled pink to announce that I am the new Community Editor for Little Rock Family Magazine!
Through sheer coincidnce and circumstance, I met (and really enjoyed) editor Jennifer Pyron about a year ago. This month she asked me to contribute, and then asked me to join the team full time!
I am not exactly a journalistic writer (talking about my kids' bowel habits doesn't translate well when reporting), but I am thrilled to begin this new lesson in learning. The community editor gig will also afford me the opportunity to get to know my town a little better; the people, the events, the passion, the toad sucking.


My debut article is in the August Back-to-School issue. I share the secret of where to find the best fudge in the county, and which restaurants offer kids-eat-free nights (5 nights a week!).

The cover girl is the PR Director for the Easter Seals of Arkansas, who knows firsthand the benefits of therapy that Easter Seals can provide.
My friend Natalie Ghidotti is quoted in an article about iMoms; better (and easier) parenting through technology.

My favorite piece is written by a literacy coach from the North Little Rock school system on how to start a family book club.
Reading to my kids has always been a high priority of mine, but now that The Boy can read on his own and The Girl is sounding out small words, I've been thinking of ways to read with them. A family book club is a great way to connect with your kids, foster good reading habits, and provide conversation starters.

The August issue is on stands now, and the digital edition will be online at http://www.littlerockfamily.com/ soon!






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Sunday, July 25

a borrowed truth

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I got this image from my girl Kat. It's like her tumblr finds all the available awesome and collects it just for me to ooh and ahh over.

To be clear: Kat got it here, and before that it was here.






i love it.












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Monday, July 19

I like to eat things.

“I’m not even hungry, but I want to EAT SOMETHING.”


I texted that to Jeremy just now, and as soon as I hit ‘send’ I had an epiphany: I am an eater.

That sounds like the worst epiphany ever, but I realized that I eat when I’m bored, I eat when I’m happy, I eat when I’m sad, I eat when my kids do, I eat during movies, I eat just for the crunch of food in my mouth.

Which may explain how I’ve come to be 20 pounds heavier than I was on the day I delivered my first child.
Which was 30 pounds heavier than the day I discovered I was pregnant with my first child.
I was actually really proud of those 30 pregnancy pounds. Everyone swore that looking from the back, you couldn’t even tell I was pregnant. And they said that even when I wasn’t suffering from progesterone madness. But that was healthy heavy, and this, now, is not.

So, I’ve stopped eating.

No, I haven’t developed a mid-life case of anorexia quarter-life crisis; I’ve just stopped eating all the time. And I’ve stopped eating processed sugars. And I’ve stopped eating carby, delicious starches. And I started stopping it all around 10:30 last night.

For the next few weeks my diet will consist of these:
chicken breasts, white fish, shrimp…
cucumber, spinach, lettuce, tomatoes…
strawberries, grapefruit, apples, lemon juice…
and water…
in various combinations, enhanced by various herbs and spices.

Because me? I’m all or nothing. I have no middle ground; I swing wildly from excess to deprivation. I am joyful or despondent. I have some sort of head disorder.
In any case, for lunch today I had lemon garlic shrimp (which I somehow screwed up, chef that I am not) in a bed of spinach. It was supposed to be a salad. It didn’t quite achieve. For dessert I had four large and in charge strawberries.
(photo from arkansas.com)

And I’m not. even. hungry.
I’ve never been a breakfast eater, and though I know it’s the most important meal of the blah blah blah, it is easiest for me to ignore it. I still wasn’t hungry this morning, but by 11:30 I decided I better feed myself something. I ate slowly (as slowly as possible when one is masticating all up on some seriously chewy shrimps), and tried to enjoy my healthful meal. The strawberries saved my much-disputed sanity.

It was the post-meal craving to be crunching that allowed my revelation-- I have been eating way too much for way too long.

Having given myself a very strict diet (and plenty of H2O) I am aware of what I am, or more precisely, what I am not eating. I want to be more conscious of the way I treat my body, and in the process, hope to reduce the mass of said body. You know, treating my body like a temple, and all that jazz. Glorifying God in not just my words, but with my whole physical being. Appreciating what I’ve been given, instead of stuffing it with harmful, but oh… so tasty… chow.

After a few weeks of this, my own personal cleansing, I’ll slowly add back in whole grains and raw sugars, but not in the capacity I once consumed.



And, most heartbreakingly, no more Dr. Pepper. I can’t start again just to stop one more time.

We all just barely survived my caffeine withdrawal.









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Wednesday, July 14

Word-less Wednesday: Farmers Market Fun

Yesterday morning I peeked out the window and found a bright, sunny day waiting for me. After about an hour and wrangling the Bees, we were all ready to head out for a full day o' fun. As we opened the garage door, we were greeted with a very pleasant... rain.
Being the brave and fearless Bees we are, no drizzle could deter us from our two goals: food and excitement.

Our first stop of the day was downtown Toad Suck, at our local Farmers Market.
Last year, around this time, the Farmers Market consisted of three folding card tables with a few varieties of veggies. This year the market has grown into a new location and around 10 tents of local agri-heroes selling their wares.






We came home loaded down with goodies: two kinds (three pounds!) of tomatoes, blueberry jam, fresh-off-the-tree apples, and a watermelon that weighed more than The Baby.

Rain? What rain?



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Sunday, July 11

A Manniversary- A Paper Date

Four years ago today something incredible, yet inconsequential, happened. My husband adopted my son.

It was an incredible morning, because Jeremy had been waiting to finalize the adoption since the moment we got married- he wanted to make it legal and unbreakable.
It was an inconsequential moment, because Jeremy had been Pooter's Daddy for well over a year already- we were just getting some papers.


When Jeremy and I met, The Boy was 9 months old. When we got married, he was 13 months old. Jeremy wanted to make The Boy an official "B" right away, but Arkansas law mandates that a couple be married for one year before a spouse adopts a child.

Just over one year after we all stood under a tree at the courthouse as Jeremy and I got married, we sat together inside that courthouse and we answered some questions, and we filed some documents.


Each year on 7-11, Jeremy and The Boy do something special. It is not always a big event; but it is a tradition Jeremy began with purpose, and plans to carry on into infinity. It is important to Jeremy that they celebrate their man-niversary together on the date, but that throughout the year it is just another day on the list of days; birthdays, holidays, the paper date, anniversaries.

Someday The Boy will go through the requisite teen-anger-drama, but he will know we have always been truthful with him. Someday The Boy will do the math and realize what "adoption" really means in his life, but for now, he knows that his daddy chose him.


(at the courthouse: Jeremy, Pooter, me, and a soon-to-be-born Ladybug)


After the judge excused Jeremy and then me from the witness stand, having made certain this was what all parties wanted, he said some nice words about the happy occasion, and asked Jeremy again if he was sure he wanted to adopt Pooter. Jeremy did not answer with the customary, "Yes, sir," but instead he said, "Absolutely."
The judge may have rapped his gavel on the bench, or I may have made that part up, but one thing I remember clearly is the voice of my barely-2-years-old son asking loudly, "Is it all done, Daddy?"

His father answered, "Yes, baby, it is done."






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Thursday, July 8

What's in a (nick)name?

I read a blog post from Instead of the Dishes last week, was was surprised to see my own site mentioned. She was talking about the use of nicknames in blogs, and wasn't sure if Ladybug was what I'd really called my child. I guess with MoonUnit Zappa and Audio Science Clayton, and Kal-El Coppola Cage, anything goes nowadays when naming your spawn.

I have a passle of family-related sites filling up my RSS feed (the "mommy blogger" moniker is starting to wear on my nerves, and I have more than one daddy blogger on my list), among authors and literary agents and "frugalistas" (another new pet peeve... the "-ista") and cooking blogs.

Several of the blogs that mention children use nicknames for the short people, and some even have nicknames for their spouses. Others have their full names, and the names of their kiddos, right there in the open for any pedophile or identity thief or random neighborhood peeping-tom to find.
(Does that give you an inkling of why my kids go by aliases here?)


Actually, my kids go by several names here, and on my Twitter, and also in real life.
Because all of their names begin with the letter B (which was cute when we had only two Bees, but then when the third B surprised us, we couldn't bear to leave her out of the B tradition, so we found yet another suitable B name. Even though I still think 3-of-a-kind is a little corny. Duggars we are not.), my kids often go by their rank, agewise.


B1
B1 is most often The Boy, but is also known as Pooter.
His nickname is kinda self-evident. When he was just a few days old, he would wake himself up from naps by tooting. Big, long, loud, fog-hornlike man toots. So, I christened him Pooter, and as he grew in receptive and expressive language, it became interchangable with his given name.
Except, only his daddy and I are allowed to call him that. Not his sisters, not his Menga (my mother), not his Nana or Granny or cousins. I don't know when that law was passed, but it stands to this day.
The only other nickname he's been given was by his Aunt Kris, before she passed away. His middle name starts with W, and Aunt Kris called him BW or B-Dub almost all the time. He doesn't remember much about her, and The Girl was only 9 months old when Aunt Kris died, but the one thing The Boy loves and remembers is that his Aunt Kris gave him his own shiny new name.
Pooter's sisters call him Bubby. His name is not complicated, but it's hard for a toddler to pronounce. When his first sister was learning to talk, she jumbled his name something awful, so we just settled on Bubby. Because my husband would croak if he had a "Bubba" living in his house. We're Arkansan, but we're not hillbilly.


B2
B2 is The Girl, but also answers to Ladybug.
In fact, she answers to Ladybug, Sissy, Sis, 'Bug, and Beegle-bug, which is how she first pronounced Ladybug.
Well, she also goes by Princess (from her daddy, natch), Sweet Face (from me), and one cousin used to call her Broccoli, which, the way he said it, kind of rhymed with her real name.
I was the one who first called her Ladybug. When we brought her home from the hospital and I changed bucketloads of breastfed-baby poo, I was shocked every time I opened a diaper and found baby lady bits. It was like I couldn't even believe she was a girl, after two years of being sprinkled by her brother's man parts. So, every time I laid her on the changing table, I'd say, "Hello, lady" to her little furious self. I figured she was too young to be called a lady, so I added the -bug part. And it stuck.
Plus, she had reeeeally cute dragonfly, butterfly, and ladybug bedding.
Now we're trying to teach her to dress and act with modesty and tact and decorum, because that's "what Ladies do," as opposed to Trashy Girls. She makes it known that she "is a Lady!.... BUG!" We're working on it.


B3
B3 is The Baby, but more often than not in real life, she is The Bunny. She has no big nickname backstory. I did some digging around on my old blog just now, and found that on August 20, 2008, exactly four months before she was born, I bestowed her nickname upon her. This is what I posted that day:

It fits, and actually, I can dig up a lot of history of bunnies in our family:

Jeremy's first gift to The Girl was a white Precious Moments bunny that says "Now I lay me down to sleep...."

The Boy's crib sheet, comforter and bumper pads featured the Nutbrown Hares from "Guess How Much I Love You"

My very own Momma called me Thumper when I was in her belly.

 
So, from the time she was a'thumpin in my tummy, she was not just any bunny, but The Bunny. Occasionally I call her by delicious food names: Punkin' Bread, Muffinhead, Peaches, Porkchop... the list really goes on. But mostly, she's The Bunny.
 



And my husband, well, he's nicknameless. When I met him, everyone called him by his last name, which is a good, strong, manly kind of last name, but which will not be mentioned on the interwebs. I suppose I could call him The Marine, or The Lawnmower Man, or The Super Awesome Fantastic Husband and Father... but while those are all true, they are also weird, or kind of long. So, just like I'm Savannah B, he is Jeremy B.
 
 
 
Do you use nicknames for your kids/spouse/friends/family, or do you just let it all hang out online, Social Security number and all?
 
 
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Wednesday, July 7

Uncomfortability

(It's my blog. I can make up words if I want to.)

There are places where I feel comfortable, no matter what.
My church, because it is filled with the most loving, accepting, Spirit-filled people I've ever met.
My best friend's couch, because she is a psychologist, which means she helps me through some of my crap and she calls me out on some of my other crap, and sometimes her couch is where I just belong.
The library, because it is my quiet place, an anonymous place, a place full of quiet possibility.

Then there are other places that make me itchy and jumpy.
My step-mother's house, because it was once my father's house, but all traces of him are nearly gone and have been replaced with "Tuscan" decor.
Wal-Mart, because, well, it's Wal-Mart.
The post office, the doctor's office, Forever 21, the hippy coffee shop. In those places I feel too quiet, too loud, too chubby, and too inauthentically poseur-ish.


I had a really bad night at work last night. I've only had this waiting tables gig for about five weeks, working two nights a week. Having been out of the public workforce for almost five years, it's been a stretch for me- emotionally, physically, time-management wise, and comfort -wise. It's nothing hard, and it's nothing horrible, it's just different from what I've been doing the last half-decade.
I work with a bunch of kids... people who are only 5 or 6 or 7 or 8 years younger than me, but are lightyears behind me in terms of Life Experience. They are young, they are mean, they are terribly unclassy. But then, I may or may not have acted just. like. them. when I was 18. Except the mean part, I've never been mean.

Anyway, I began writing this post just to vent my frustration, but then I got all deep and introspective and deleted it all and started over.
I realized it was more of a comfort issue than anything else.

I am not comfortable being me these days. It has more to do with being an unhealthy weight than being an ugly weight. It has more to do with choosing to spend time with my kids than choosing to spend time on my hair. These are things I can choose to do something about, or I can whine about them on my blog. Clearly, I've made my choice. For now.


Before I had kids, before I got married, I was never a person who hated or feared change. I was a child of divorce; change was a part of my life. I went on adventures, I traveled alone. I was brave. I had no comfort zone.

Something in me has, well, changed.

Now my adventures are premeditated and snack-packed. Now any travelling I do involves carseats and pacis and books on tape. Now I am only brave when there is blood gushing out of my daughter's head, or when my son goes away to camp, or my baby has filled up another diaper. (And I dare anyone to tell me that changing an up-the-back poo doesn't require bravery!)


I feel better when I'm comfortable. When I'm unchallenged. When I'm at a stasis.

But who wants to live life that way? Comfortable is good, but complacent isn't. Unchallenged is fine, but why run through life unoposed, only winning when there isn't a threat of defeat?

So, I'm not going to let the toddlers I work with ruffle my (beautiful, unkempt) feathers. I'm not going to remain, and complain about being, unhealthy. I'm not going to go adventureless for the sake of saving myself a little time and trouble.

I could easily climb up on my kitchen table, jab my finger in the air, and make an "As God as mah witness..." statement here, but I won't. I could say "from now on..." but I'm not going to.

I'm going to take baby steps. I'll stretch myself a little further, if not every day, at least every week. I'll expand my comfort zone... again. And I won't whine about it as much, because of this:








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Monday, July 5

of fireworks and flesh wounds

(warning: there's a little blood, but no guts in the following photos)
(also, the pics are really crappy because they were taken on my Blackberry and my husband's non-Blackberry)
(and, of course there are pictures of the blood-but-no-guts, because, well, that's what we do. We take pictures when our kids are writhing in pain.)


Happy 5th of July!
For a really good read about the Fourth, and Independence, and how Jesus fits in with both, go read my friend Sarah's blog post right here.

Our holiday was lovely and fun and uneventful... until Jeremy's cousin brought The Girl to me, all weepin' and wailin'.

We were at my mother-in-law's house for our customary cookout. There were about 35 folks there, and since we all sort of parent each other's children, I took solace inside the house (where the a/c and the watermelon waited), while the menfolk and the less-wilty women were outside watching the kids.

That's when my Girl got in a fight with the swingset and lost.
Apparently it had gone up, and missed her, and came back down, and got her.

After I calmed her down and she went back about her playing business, she came up to me for a hug and I noticed a POOL OF BLOOD on her noggin.

Being the super mom I am, I swallowed a scream and led her to the bathroom to clean her head and found a short but deep GASH at her crown.

bloody gash

Here's the silver lining (because you must always have one): my husband's uncle is a family practice doctor. And he lives next door to my mother-in-law. And he has keys to his clinic. And he is a fantastic uncle.

Jeremy took The Bunny, Pooter, and a nephew to see fireworks, because the rest of the family was already on their way. Also, I think maybe he wasn't ready to handle seeing his baby girl in such pain.
Men. Such weenies.
When we drove the half-mile to his office, Dr. Uncle told The Girl that what he was about to do would HURT, but then it would NOT hurt. He gave her a little lesson on telling the truth, and trust, and promised her that he would never lie to her and that she could trust him for-evah.

brave waiting Ladybug
Then.

Then. He pulled out this HUGE needle (with some kind of -caine to numb up her head) and instructed me to HOLD HER STILL. She screamed something awful, and these huge alligator tears rolled down her flushed cheeks. And then the horrible part was done.

When the somethingcaine worked it's magic, and Dr. Uncle started poking at her head, she said it tickled.

I was an idiot and (while trying to be a super mom and keep her calm and distract her) I kept asking her yes or no questions. Like, "You were so brave, weren't you?" and "Aren't you so glad we had your Baby with us?" and "Isn't Uncle Doctor doing a great job?" and every time I would ask, she'd nod or shake her head. And every time I'd freak out a little, what with the sewing up of my child's head and all.

I'm such a dope sometimes.

all stitched up

And then it really was over. Two perfect teensy stitches. Though, to me, two may as well have been twenty. She was super still, and really calm, and that made my tummy hurt even worse- that my sweet little almost-four-year-old girl was being so Big and Brave (-er than me.)

The worst part of the whole thing (other than, you know, the sewing on her scalp) was that after we were done, she fell to pieces over missing the big fireworks show. So what's a super mom to do?

I stopped at a gas station and bought her candy at 9:45 p.m.



So far, she's handled it like any tough girly-girl would. She's shown anyone willing to look, and she's requested that next time she get pink stitches instead of black.

The Girl and her aggressor


Today she went back and tackled her tormentor. There was not one iota of fear in that girl.

She makes me so proud.




 
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Thursday, July 1

Ladybug's brand new 'do!!

She wanted me to wrap up her "long hairs" just like I do mine.


They were all so excited for her haircut day!
(See the superawesome Toad Suck Daze t-shirts? They were supergenerously provided by the supercool folks at http://www.thechamberlife.com/, who do a supergreat job of supporting businesses in our supertown!)

She's ready for the snip!

 April the fabulous, at The Jordan Bailey Group
(Fun fact about April- the first time she did my hair I was about 13 months pregnant with The Girl. Almost 4 years later, she's cutting my baby's hair!)


She was so still the whole time. She didn't fuss once, she never whined. She was born for a beauty salon.


When the scissors came out, she needed a little support from Daddy.


Checking it out for the first time!




And today we'll mail off her goldilocks, and within a few weeks we'll get a confirmation note saying that she has done a Good Thing.


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