Saturday, January 31, 2009

New Addition?



So, this morning, Scott left for work as usual. Not thirty minutes went by and the phone rang. It was Scott, and he had found a dog on the side of the interstate this morning. He spotted him laying off to the side and could see that he was alive. So he turned around and went to check him out. As soon as Scott pulled over to check on him, the dog stood up and wagged his tail. He was obviously happy to see someone. Scott put him in the back of his truck and carried him to work.


It's just not everyday you see a dog on the interstate. Well, not alive anyways. So then we were faced with the decision of what to do with him. He didn't appear to be hurt or malnourished. But there he was in the back of my husband's truck, and we had to do something with him.


I was not about to send him to a shelter. I think we all know that shelters are full to the brim right now. And I just thought the best thing to do would be to get him to a vet and have him checked out. And then we could give him a chance.


He has heart worms. It's just devastating to me. And what makes it even more difficult is that he is so sweet and good with the kids. And I think he has been mistreated a little. I yelled out the back door at David, and the dog just cowered down. I can't stand the thought of a dog being mistreated.


So, we have to decide to keep him or surrender him to a shelter. The vet knows of a private shelter that would take him that has a no-kill policy. Or, we can have him treated for heart worms and keep him. But that has a hefty price tag. Hefty. And I already paid today to have him checked out and vaccinated. Oh, and he needs to be neutered as well.


But the kids have already named him - Buddy. And did I mention how sweet he is? Even the vet said, "You could get him treated and he would make a great dog." But I so wasn't planning on investing in a dog right now.


Oh, dear.

Friday, January 30, 2009

One Quick Funny

I was just at Publix picking up a few last minute items for this weekend. As I was looking through the produce area, I noticed this guy just kinda walking around looking a little anxious like he was waiting on something. Did I mention that he was somewhat attractive? Not that I noticed or anything. I was just saying that if I had noticed, I might have considered him to be easy on the eyes.

Anyway - I got in the mammoth line to check out. Seems everyone in our little town needed to pick up a few things this afternoon. And I notice the guy again, and he's getting into the 10 items or less aisle - you know, the one that we mothers never get to go in seeing as we never have that little of anything in our carts. So, I look to see what he's carrying because I'm just nosey like that. You would never believe - a clear container filled with red rose petals and a jar of cheese dip.

Hmmmm.

Wonder what he's got going on tonight?? Whatever it is, I promise it will look a lot different than what's going on at my house.

My Little Girl



The day I found out I was having a little girl, I was terrified. Terrified, I tell you. I was expecting it to be a boy - even had a boy name picked out. Jacob. But when the lady holding the transducer told me it was a girl, I was incredibly confused and kept asking how she could tell. I just didn't see the proof, and I certainly had not prepared myself for the news that I was having a girl.

Most women long for a girl. Why was I so scared? I think with a boy, there is less pressure. Sure, I feel obligated to teach respect, discipline, morals, and standards for living. But with a boy, I could never show him exactly what he should be as a husband or a man. But a girl...

Did I mention I was terrified? I take this parenting thing seriously, much more seriously than the average modern mom. Some may not realize that, especially if the only idea of me comes from my entries here. In this spot of the world, I am satirical, witty, and dry often mixed with touches of what seem to be bitterness and resentment and aggravation. This place is just an outlet for those feelings, and that is not the bulk of what resides in my soul. As I stared at that black and white print out of what would grow to be my little girl, my soul filled to the brim with not only sheer terror but hope, happiness, laughter, brightness, and goodness.

I am so grateful for my little girl. She is a challenge every moment of every day. She is demanding. She is high maintenance. She whines and scream and shrieks. However, when she laughs, it fills the room. I can think of no other sound I would rather hear than her laughter. She has such a precious mothering instinct, and I love to see it demonstrated toward her brother, her daddy, and even her little dolls. She loves life with no limits. She dances and doesn't care what she looks like while doing it. She sings even though she can't carry a tune.

She is everything I wish I could still be. Untouched. Unscarred. She hasn't been effected by this world. And I just want to keep her that way as long as I can. I don't ever want her to worry what other people are saying or thinking. I want her to just be who she was put here to be - all the sassiness and spitfire included. She makes me want to return to a place in my soul that I haven't visited in so long - my real self. The self inside that is just content and happy in the moment even if surrounded by doubt and fear. The place inside that isn't afraid to sing along to song even if you don't know all the words. The person inside who isn't worried about what her stomach looks like while she is sitting in a chair in her bathing suit. Just that pure place inside that just says, "This is who I am, and that's okay." That is what my baby girl reminds me to work toward every single day.

All the struggles with her are worth it. Every frustrating day when I just can't wait to put her to bed are worth their weight in platinum. Because, I can say with certainty that at some point of every day with my sweet girl, she reminds me of pure happiness and gives me hope that it is still in all of us. All we have to do is pull it back up.

Happy Birthday, Baby Girl!!


Thursday, January 29, 2009

Daily Happenings

So much going on, but really nothing at all, if that makes any sense. Just day to day stuff.

David has really been struggling in school with talking since returning from the Christmas break. I don't know if it is really that big of a deal or not, but I am just tired of him only getting two stickers a week on his conduct folder. In kindergarten and first grade, he got smiley faces, and the teachers would give a warning before actually marking a conduct folder. This year, his teacher doesn't give warnings (according to David, and I do believe him because some of the stuff he that causes him to not get a sticker just seems so minute). If you talk out of turn or disrupt in any way, you have lost your chance for a sticker that day. The first semester of the year, he averaged three to four stickers a week, but he never had a week with five. However, his conduct grade was perfect on his report card, so I figure that on a daily basis his teacher is very strict but keeps a fair overall look at conduct. But since Christmas, David has struggled with controlling himself. It is so hard to get onto a good kid for talking during reading time or being too loud in the lunch room. It's not like he is hitting other children or talking back to his teacher. But, as I explained to him, learning to follow the rules and control your behavior is one of the most important things he can learn right now. And I was honest enough to tell him that it is incredibly difficult to control yourself, and that it is certainly a concept some adults have never learned to master. He is working on it, and I know he is trying hard. And I am encouraging him with a little incentive - when he gets a total of ten stickers, I'll take him to Books-A-Million. That's one of his favorite things to do, so consider him motivated.

I was preparing Madalyn's lunch for school today, which has become more difficult since our preschool outlawed peanut butter and all peanut products. Not that Madalyn begs for a PB&J, but it sure is an easy lunch to throw together in the morning. So, it is hard for me to think of things that she will eat. This morning I went with the chicken nugget option, which just seems so incredibly gross to me but they all love it, so whatever. As I was sealing the package up to put it back in the freezer, I read the back of the bag. "Recipe Suggestions" was printed there on the package, and I had to read on. It listed two recipes - one for Kickin' Ketchup and the other for a Tangy Apricot Sauce. And I pause to wonder if the dear people at Tyson even realized that the women who are nuking chicken nuggets for their children are probably not the demographic of folks who are actually going to prepare their own dipping sauces. Just a thought for them.

So, I bought my first bra today, and I had one of those epiphany moments. Bra shopping is like bathing suit shopping or trying on jeans. You go into the little room, poorly lit by fluorescents, with at least ten different options, and you are considered lucky if you walk back out with even one thing that works. In other words, it is no easier to find C cups that fit appropriately and feel good at the same time as it is to find little tiny A cups. There just happen to be more options out there on the racks thus giving the false hope to people like me that bra shopping is easier for certain sizes when in actuality it is easy for NONE.

Isn't my life fascinating? Tune in this weekend for a tribute to my baby girl, who, coincidentally, is no baby at all and will be turning FOUR on Saturday. That just seems so old to me - four. Where does the time go??

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Fashion Meltdown

Isn't four (a few days from turning four counts as four) too young to be crying over a dress??!!??

I think it is. Especially when you are in the middle of Belk and the whole world can hear the four-year-old screaming and crying, "But I want to buy dat dress!!!!"

Dat dress was like a little Easter dress (why yes, it is freezing out, but we already have the spring attire out in full force). And had it not been just too down right dressy of a dress, I would have bought it to save myself the argument that ensued. It just looked too much like a flower girl dress to me - something you might see in a wedding or for a first communion (and we are not Catholic). So I explained that, indeed, it is a spectacular dress, but we would not be purchasing it today.

Oh, dear. I don't think she has ever acted this way before. We have had public outbursts, but nothing of this caliber. Tears. Screams. It was true emotion, not just an "I'm a stubborn toddler" tantrum. I mean, she just really wanted the dress. I almost feel bad for not buying it. But not quite.

I may not do a dress this year for Easter, though. I am thinking something a little more casual. Now, don't gasp in horror at the thought of a casual Easter. It just doesn't make sense any more. Church used to be so dressy, you know. And I know some people are still horrified at wearing jeans to church, but I relish the thought. I never really have understood the big deal about looking so fancy for church on Sunday morning. And besides, on Easter Sunday, we come straight home and eat and play in the yard. Instead of changing from fancy Easter dress to play clothes, let's just find something in the middle and wear it all day. But Madalyn doesn't understand this. And she just doesn't get why I am not intending on buying an off white dress with sheer overlay and sparkly things on the bodice. But I am not. She can't even keep the cheap JC Penny clothes I buy her clean much less an off white dress.

So, hopefully on her birthday when she opens the box with the High School Musical tee shirt and the little hooded sweatshirt I bought her, that pretty little sparkly dress will become a faint memory. Hopefully.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Notes of thankfulness...

I haven't done a thankful post in a while - it feels like forever. Not that I haven't been thankful.

I am so thankful for Erika. She really is my best friend. Of course, my husband is my best friend, but that's just a different dynamic. I think we all understand that. And, honestly, Erika is the only person in the world that knows the good, the bad, and the ugly (and the even uglier) and still chooses to be there for me. You know, family is not a choice, but friendship is. And there are no amount of miles that could ever come between me and my Erika. We have maintained this crazy friendship through it all, and I am so blessed to have someone to listen, to challenge me, to laugh at me, to make me laugh, to lift me up, to tell me it's all going to be okay, to remind me of who I am deep inside, to remind me of how stupid I was when I was a teenager - I could go on forever. Point being, I cut off a lot of my friendships in my early twenties because of some idiot guy. But I was never stupid enough to cut off my dearest friend, and I am so grateful our friendship endured the test of time (and one very unhealthy relationship).

I am so very thankful my husband has a job. A few weeks ago, I learned that the man across the street lost his job back before Christmas. We don't know them well, but they have a daughter a couple of years older than David, and we talk to her from time to time when she is outside. I know from what she told me that he had several interviews lined up and that two of them were out of state. But, wow. I know things are tough for everyone right now, but they would be much tougher if there were actually no money coming in at all. None. And just yesterday I found out that an old friend of ours lost his job on Friday. Three kids to feed, and now he is out of a job. I just can't imagine. And I certainly don't want to know firsthand. So, despite the long hours and stress and recently lower paychecks, I am so grateful my husband has a job to go to every day and a paycheck coming in every month.

I am so grateful for our little preschool. I know this must sound like such a silly thing to be thankful for, but I absolutely love our preschool. David attended this same preschool for two years, and Madalyn has been there since she was 18 months old. I feel like my child is safe there, and I know she is learning so much from socialization to letters and numbers (which she calls them all "nummers") and Bible lessons. I have loved every teacher, which is rare to have had two kids there. You would think by now I might have come across one I didn't like, but I haven't. It is just such a great place, and I am so thankful that five years ago I got David in from the waiting list.

I love doing these posts. They always make me feel better no matter what is going on in my life. Maybe I should do them every day. Heck - maybe I should do them three times a day. That's a thought.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Run, Erika, Run!!!!

So, I don't know how many of you know this, but Erika, my dearest and oldest friend in the world, is running a half marathon on Sunday. That's 13.1 miles, people.


I am jealous. Green with envy. See, when I had the bright idea I'd like to become a runner, I convinced Erika she should do it, too. She and a group of her girlfriends got together and have been training for the half. And here I am, so not a runner. And there she is - the person I had to convince to do it - running 13.1 miles.


I am so proud of her. She started from the ground up. And I know how that feels - to start from not being able to run three consecutive steps and work your way up is beyond difficult. She hasn't succumb to weakness, like me. I am just a sissy and don't want to hurt all the time. And that's all running ever did for me was make me hurt. But Erika has stayed the course and now will finish her goal on Sunday. Sunday morning, as a matter of fact. Very early on Sunday morning. Oh, and by the way, that was another reason me and running didn't get along very well. The whole morning thing just didn't work for me either.


All this being said - you go girl!! On Sunday morning, you lace those shoes up just right and know that I will think about you when I wake up and hope that you lived to tell the story!!


Seriously, good luck to you, Erika! Run like the wind. And then hit the Michelob Ultra stand on the way out wearing your medal and your race shirt. You are gonna be so proud at the finish line!!!

One Week

It's amazing what a week can do. Last week this time, I think I may have just gotten my dose of relaxation in my veins and was being wheeled into an operating room. I was really second guessing my decision that morning. A huge wave of uncertainty rolled over me as I waited and waited and waited for the process to begin. I felt guilty and selfish. I thought about the money and how it could have helped so many others or been applied to our ever growing household debt. I thought about my mother and how selfish it was of me to want more when she had lost so much. I thought about my kids and how I wouldn't be able to be my normal mommy self for a couple of weeks. I thought about my daughter and how this decision might effect her self esteem (I thought about that all along, actually. It was just much stronger that morning.)

And then, I went to sleep. And I woke up, which is always good after surgery. And at around 11:00 that morning, the doctor came to my room to check everything out and make sure I was doing okay. And the minute I saw his handy-work, it was worth it. The guilt went away. The worry and the fear of how my personal decision would effect other people disappeared. And I remembered that I had never really treated myself to anything. Don't really even buy myself clothes that often. And I knew that this would do something for me inside that nothing else could. I was no longer looking down at a fifteen-year-old girl's chest with thirty-year-old child bearing hips. It all matches now.

Yesterday I went for a post-op visit. The plastic surgical dressing, which closely resembled saran wrap and smelled awful, was finally removed. The healing process has really been great. Not nearly as bad as I had imagined. There's not a lot of pain involved but rather just pressure and swelling. The worst part for me is that I am unable to do all the things that matter most in my day to day - vacuuming (I am so OCD about vacuuming), making up my bed (I can't really pull or push), picking up all the things that get strewn about. But I am dealing with it. But honestly, I think I will try to vacuum upstairs today. To not have vacuumed in over a week for me is a big deal. I normally vacuum two or three times a week - sometimes more. But I have been good about just sitting back and accepting the imperfections around here.

I am scared of Madalyn, though. We just told the kids I had a female surgery. They were really quite careful for the first few days, but Madalyn has quickly forgotten and has begun to flail herself around and jump on me again. I keep my guard up at all times around her. All I need is her to elbow me in my chest. It would put me to my knees, I promise.

Anyway. I am doing great and feeling great. And I am thankful for all the thoughts and prayers and words of encouragement. And I am throwing away all the A cups today.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

My Little Run-Away

Yesterday, on the way home from pre-school, Madalyn engaged me in a frightening conversation. She had in her hand a bean - literally, a little dried lima bean they had been doing some art project with at school. Apparently, she had swiped it either off the floor or from the table and thought it was something of great meaning and value. It was also top secret.

"Don't tell Mrs. Jemmifer."

Now, before we get confused here at the beginning, her teacher's name is not Jemmifer, rather it is Jennifer. But, as I think I have discussed before, Madalyn just picks whatever consonant seems right to her and uses it. And Mrs. Jennifer gets so tickled by it, and I must confess, I do too. It sounds so cute.

"If you tell Mrs. Jemmifer, I am just gonna leave you and go stay at DJ's house."

Okay - first thing. DJ is this little boy in her class that she has been absolutely enamored with from the first day of school. He is, as Madalyn says, "brown." She came home one day from school telling me she wanted to look like DJ, and for several minutes I couldn't understand what she meant. I finally concluded that she was talking about her skin. She kept rubbing her little arm and saying, "I wanna be like DJ." She thinks he is the neatest thing in the world. She just really likes him. As Mrs. Jemmifer was putting her in the car the other day, Madalyn announced that she and DJ were dating. This has become a big word in her vocabulary lately, and I am not sure why. Dating. What the heck does she know about dating? So I asked her if DJ is her boyfriend, and she responded, "No, silly. He is just my friend. We are just dating." So I needed to know her definition of dating, and she told me that they just eat together.

Phew. No need to get her the gynecologist any time soon. Not much harm in eating.

Anywho - Rewind back to the part where my almost four year old daughter threatens to run away with the boy she is dating if I tell her secret to Mrs. Jemmifer. It scared me. I literally fast forwarded in my mind to the age of seventeen. Suppose I have just told her she can't leave the house in that skirt, or maybe she has to be home by 11:00 pm. I can just hear her threats then. I mean, these little statements, even at the young age of four, are definitely her way of letting me know who she is. And she means business.

She is so much like my husband in personality. She wants to throw the first punch. She comes out of the gate fighting. She will not be told what to do. She sets the rules. It has made disciplining her such a challenge. She is so rebellious that you just have to let her mess up and then punish accordingly. Nothing like my sweet hearted David whom you can threaten and avoid certain mistakes that way.

Just two days ago, I confiscated the Barbie Diamond Castle and all Barbie paraphernalia because I caught her on my computer just clicking away. She had already been warned that day. She has been told several times to stay off my computer, especially since the day she somehow changed all the names of my icons on my desktop to numbers. ALL OF THEM. When Scott asked the tech guy at work to help us figure out how to change them back, he laughed and said in all his years, he had never encountered that issue. So, when I see her on my keyboard, I am terrified at what she might be screwing up. She was so mad at me about her castle. She cried and screamed. But I told her that she had played with my stuff when she shouldn't have, and now I was going to take her stuff from her. We'll see how well the punishment effects her behavior.

I am worried about my little baby girl. I want so desperately to have the great relationship I had with my mother. We talked about everything, and she is still one of my closest friends. But me and Madalyn, well, I just don't know. It is work. Hard work. But I am willing to keep at it 'cause we have a long road ahead!!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Thank You, Mr. President

I know he leaves the office covered in controversy and with an incredibly low approval rating, but we all need to stop and say a prayer of thanks for George W. and his service, sacrifice and dedication to our fine country over the past eight years.

What a sacrifice it is to become a public servant at any level. To loose all sense of privacy. To have your parenting skills and past mistakes broadcast in HD for all the world to see. To hear constant criticism of your every move and decision. To know that any comment you make must be painstakingly calculated down to each comma and preposition. I feel that in my lifetime, I will never see another President handle it with such dignity and grace. He has faced many struggles during his term, and though we may not all agree with every decision made, I feel it safe to say that he has done what he believed to be right and noble, giving our country's safety first priority.

And his dear wife - the epitome of a Lady - has been a blessing, as well. In a world filled with strife and separation between husband and wife, she has stood tall as a wonderful example of not only a First Lady, but of a wife of noble character indeed.

Yes, I am Republican. But, I do believe Barack Obama is an incredible man. And Michelle Obama will step into her role gracefully as well. And I pray for them all, their children especially, as they embark on a new journey. One I know I couldn't handle from any of the angles. My only hope for this country is that he will be able to bring about a unity of spirit in our country unlike any we have been able to experience before. And that he can make some difference in this crazy economy to help lighten the burden all Americans are feeling at this time. And that he will listen to Republican advice he might get... okay, I have carried it too far.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Nothing compared to...

This little cosmetic surgery is NOTHING compared to delivering an 8 pound 14 ounce bouncing baby boy. NOTHING. It is also nothing compared to the little outpatient jaw surgery I had about a year and a half ago. For me, this has been a lot easier than I thought it would be.

Yes, I am sore. But the biggest pain for me is the itching from the saran wrap like stuff they have me wrapped in. Today I will try to only use ibuprofen for the pain and soreness. I don't like the side effects of the pain meds - dryness and dopiness and (how can I put this delicately??) not being able to go to the bathroom.

Anyway - I just wanted to post that I had a great experience. I am so impressed with my doctor. He has an incredible bedside manner and he just genuinely seems to want the best for his patients. He requires that you stay the night in the hospital. He gives you a ton of antibiotics. I just really like him. And the nurses were awesome in the hospital. I just really have had a good experience. Really good.

The only thing that will make it any better will be having my bowels move. Hopefully soon. Real soon. Hopefully today.

Will post later on my thoughts and feelings. But so far, I am feeling great all the way around.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The post I have been avoiding...

So, I have something to share with the class. That's what I feel like, anyway - like I have been caught leaning over to whisper something in my best friend's ear in class and the teacher is making me share it with everyone.


So, here goes: I am having cosmetic breast surgery on Friday.


Phew. I said, or typed it, or whatever.


I don't know what philosophy any of my avid readers take on this matter. And I'll be blatantly honest - I don't really care. This is a decision that has been seven years in the making. Literally - seven years. Because what I didn't know the day I delivered my son is that the tissue that filled that C cup bra so nicely would quickly disappear. It was almost like a punishment for not using them for their intended purpose - you know, to feed your child. And I swear that the moment I delivered David, they began to shrink by the minute. When I got pregnant with Madalyn, I thought surely the pathetic things would grow a little. No such luck. Not at all. My milk never even came in with her. Told you I was being punished by the mammary glands. And then my attempt at being a runner - well, you can only imagine. Just when I thought they couldn't get any smaller, they did.


So, after much inward debate and thought and yes, even prayer (though I am sure that might sound funny to some, I did pray about it and still do), I decided to have them fixed. It has been a source of anxiety for me, I won't lie. Why does it seem different to me than when Erika had her reduction or when someone else I know had a tummy tuck? It is really no different, but it just seems less acceptable to have something added than something taken away. I guess I have been so nervous about how others would perceive me for having my boobs done. But I finally gave into the fact that it doesn't really matter what anyone else thinks about what I do. It matters how I feel in my skin and my clothes. I should not make any decision in my life based on what other people might say or think about me.


So, that's the deal. My size eight frame is finally going to have the proportionate breast size. I will not look like Pamela Anderson (neither breasts or body). I believe I will look like most women my age that have had two children. I will actually have breasts. I am so excited to not have to comb through the racks of B and C cup bras looking for the stray A cup somewhere in the mix. I am looking forward to destroying my leopard print water bra (yes - I wear a bra filled with some sort of fluid to make me look like I have boobs). In fact, I am looking forward to destroying all of my bras. I am thinking of having a bra-burning in our fire pit. Liberating.


So, to all who are reading, I will be out of commission for several days. Tomorrow will be busy with blood work and a marking appointment. And then I will need some time to clear the brain of fog from medication. Then I will post about how I am feeling and what I think.


On Friday morning, just say a little prayer for me please. If you feel uncomfortable, you don't have to mention the actual terms boobs or breasts in your prayer. Just pray for a safe surgery and the doctors looking over me.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

I almost forgot to be thankful...

I didn't really forget to be thankful. Since deciding to be more grateful, I have been thinking constantly about things I am thankful for. Seems like everything I do I am finding blessings. Even in the most mundane of tasks or the most challenging moments. It has really helped my attitude this past week - an attitude that needed some adjusting, I'll openly admit. So, here goes...

I am so grateful for my home. Not for its size or location. Not for its amenities or appearance. But I am truly grateful that I have a warm place to protect me and my family from the elements outside. It is cold outside. Very cold. And it will only get colder this week. And I cannot imagine not having a warm bed to lay in at the end of a long day. When I see a homeless person (and they seem to be abundant in Birmingham), I always wonder what their story is. How did they become without a home? How does it feel to not have a place to call your own? A favorite chair, a favorite coffee cup, a warm bed to snuggle in for sleep. I know that so many fall into that position due to bad choices, but I am so grateful to not fall into that category. Just truly grateful. My home is a place of comfort and safety. Just the other night, David called me back into his room after turning off the light to go to sleep. His little mind had begun to wander, and he was thinking of someone coming into the house to rob us. It felt so good to be able to tell him that he is perfectly safe in our home. Perfectly safe and warm and taken care of. I am so grateful for my home.

I am so grateful I still have three living grandparents. I mean, how many thirty-two year old women still have three living grandparents. Though they are all declining at a rapid pace, there is still so much to learn from them. And I love to see how happy my children make them. Saturday, I made the venture to Montgomery to "visit the old people." I don't mean that in a derogatory way, but that's just what I say to my mom, and we always get a chuckle out of it. It is always an adventure to visit both places in a day - my paternal grandmother and maternal grandparents. But I do it, and the main reason is because of the joy on their faces when they see my kids. It makes for a long day, the conversation is often confusing, and I often get asked the same questions five times. But I know there will come a day when I won't have the option and my kids won't have the advantage of being around people who love them in that way. What a blessing.

I am grateful for the gift of prayer. It is something that I don't always take advantage of. I go through phases of my life where I am less connected to God. I go through phases where I don't feel as able to pray. But I am focusing more lately on the fact that God accepts me just where I am and that he wants to hear my voice. I find myself praying in moments I never dreamed I would. Trying to keep an open dialogue. Because I am discovering more and more everyday that I can't really make it through the day without talking to God. That I shouldn't make it through the day without talking to him. And I do believe it is giving me more strength. It is helping me be a better wife, which is always a challenge for me. And a better mother. I am a slow and gradual work in progress. If you played a fast-motion recording of my change (you know, like they would on a documentary about building a bridge where you can see in lightening speed the progression of the construction), you still may not be able to see much progression. But there is progress being made. And I am constantly praying for more.

Monday, January 12, 2009

I just need some space...

I have this issue with my children. Well, mainly with Madalyn, but David does it some as well. I have absolutely no personal space. No privacy. Even in the most delicate of moments, none allowed. I know it is a part of motherhood, but I am just feeling a little claustrophobic lately. As I type, Madalyn is leaning on me with her bowl of dry Special K, crunching in my ear and dropping crumbs on my leg. Of course, I love the fact she wants to be near me. It is sweet, and I recognize there will be a day that I long for her to lean on my arm again as I try to type. However...

I would love to take a bath without either one of my children coming in the bathroom. I have always excused Madalyn because of her age and sex, but she is about to turn four, and I feel she is old enough to understand that there are certain times I need to be left alone. Don't get me wrong; David is no better. At seven, he still doesn't hesitate to enter the private sanctum and ask me a question while I am in the tub or on the pot. Granted, he is of the age of reasoning, and he has a better understanding of privacy. But there are times when the need to tell me something overcomes the knowledge that mama doesn't want to be seen naked in the tub.

I feel like the battle is reaching an all time height. Madalyn is a stubborn child. Not really strong willed, just genuinely the truest embodiment of stubborn. If I tell her to leave me alone, she is back within seconds to try another angle. If she comes into the bathroom with a specific request (in this morning's case it was to put on a necklace) and I ask her to wait until I am out and dressed, she is back within a minute right beside the tub asking if I am out yet. Obviously, she can see that I am not out, and that only makes me more angry and aggravated. Part of the problem is that I take baths mostly, and I guess they feel since I am out in the open that I am ready available for conversation and counsel. But I have never done well shaving in the shower, and I am one who has to shave every day. So I am not taking a leisurely bath but a bath of necessity.

It makes no difference if I am in the shower, though. Then Madalyn stands outside the shower door asking me questions. Mainly she giggles and asks, "Can you see me, Mama? Can you see me now?" I make it no secret to anyone who will listen that my biggest battle with my children is my own battle with patience. I try as hard as I can to maintain my composure, and these little day to day instances drive me to the edge of insanity and make me want to climb on top of my roof in perfect suburbia and scream at the top of my lungs, "TWO CHILDREN AVAILABLE!!!! FREE FOR THE TAKING!!!! YOU WILL NEVER FEEL LONELY AGAIN BECAUSE THEY WILL NEVER LEAVE YOU ALONE!!!!!!"

But, I don't. I somehow keep it all inside. Every now and then, I do lose my cool and yell for them to leave me alone. And then I feel guilty for raising my voice. What's a mother to do? This vicious cycle...

So, I really don't know when I will be able to take a bath with having to assist Madalyn in putting on her Sleeping Beauty dress. Or when I will be able to take a crap without discussing with David what he did at recess that day. Or when I will be able to change my Kotex Ultra Thin without having to watch Madalyn do her cheerleader jump for the twentieth straight time. But at some point in my life, I guess my private activities will become private again. But perhaps by then I might have grandchildren.

Friday, January 9, 2009

On a completely SUPERFICIAL note...

I am drained to the max with all these serious posts lately. So, how about a completely superficial post about some of my favorite things???

Has this not been the best week of television? I have been in TV heaven with all the new episodes airing. And I think we all deserve a little fresh entertainment after this month long break from all our shows. Is there anyone else out there that will actually admit they watched the Rock of Love III airing on Sunday? I did, and it was the most disgusting thing I have ever seen in my life. Literally. I don't even want to talk about it. I cannot believe I watched it or that I actually am looking forward to seeing the next show. What is it about that show that keeps me coming back for more? It is repulsive, morally degrading, disgusting, and simply unbelievable. Yet I want to watch it. What is wrong with me?

Desperate Housewives was awesome. Edie is coming back around to her strong self. And she is either about to be killed by her weirdo husband who talks to dead people or she's about to break through the web of deceit he has spun. Either way, it will be fun to watch it. And the whole Lynette plot with the twins is amazing right now. But Gabby - I was really hoping they would allow her character to deepen a little outside the need for material things. But no such luck, I suppose. It was great though.

Brothers and Sisters - I don't know how many of you watch this show. My neighbor is the one who really got me into it. And I like it, I do. But they went a little too far for me in the ending of the show this time. The gay uncle is holding the little baby girl (who is really not his niece but actually his biological child through sperm donation because his brother was infertile) and talking to her and says something along the lines of, "...one day when you become interested in boys... or girls." Okay. Let's don't do that, please. I have kinda gotten over the whole gay thing on TV. They are on nearly every show, and though I don't agree with the lifestyle nor understand it, I totally get that it is a part of our modern society. But let's don't actually start trying to convert the little children. I just didn't care for that.

Hello - The Bachelor!! Has to be the best reality show since the original Real World. I mean, it just doesn't get any better than The Bachelor. There are some good girls on there this time around. No one seems exceedingly crazy or too trashy. He just seems a little too good to be true. I didn't particularly care for him on The Bachelorette, but I am glad to see a more down to earth, true to life bachelor. It will be a good season.

And I saved the best for last. Grey's. I love that show. LOVE IT. It was great last night. Awesome. Lexy (is it Lexi?) and McSteamy - great combo. Derek and Meredith seem to be doing great. Christina finally put Army crazy doctor guy in his place. I just hope that Christina and Meredith can work out their problems, you know. They have to. I don't know what to think about Izzy. She is loosing it with the whole Denny thing. But Bailey - she has quickly become my favorite character. Truly flawed. But she realizes her faults and seems to self-correct. I love her. And the little boy who is now on the transplant list - I am interested to see how his story line plays out.

Okay - it's official. I watch way too much television. And I talk about like it's real.

Love and Marriage

"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails."

Oh, boy. Love. Marriage. I am really struggling these days. I am really struggling. Me. I feel like my skin is too tight. Maybe my insides are too big. I just feel like I don't fit anymore. Is it my age? Is it this particular phase of marriage - the nine year mark - that is just one of those times? Is it my fault or his fault or both or neither or all of the above? Why is marriage so hard? Why is being an adult so hard?

I used to keep the above passage from 1 Corinthians above my sink in the kitchen. It was my New Year's resolution one year to try to live by this scripture. I don't remember how successful I was in that year, but obviously whatever strides I made quickly disappeared. Oh, I just think you reach these plateaus in your life where you look around and realize you have lost sight of so many things. I have lost my faith in God - well, not completely, but rather I have drifted away from it. I have lost faith in marriage - again, not completely, because I am still digging in my heels and working hard to improve myself and the way I communicate and the way I respond in my marriage. I have just lost this sense of joy and peace that I used to have. And I think I know the reason - I currently have no scriptures above my sink. None.

I know my posts are so vague and confusing when I speak about my spirituality and marriage and struggles within. But I can't get into specifics here, and I don't feel like that's important. This is just me venting basically. Putting down some thoughts so I don't forget. Putting my feelings and goals out there for a minute sense of accountability. Because I do want things to be different. I want to look different. I want to feel different. But that's a hard task.

I am working on loving better - real love, without limits and restrictions. I am working on forgiveness. I am working on patience. I am working on trust and hope as well. I am working on a major inner overhaul. And it is exhausting right now. But I am just gonna keep on working until I am satisfied with myself.

This could take a while.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Today, I am thankful for...

Today, I am most grateful for the sunshine. My goodness, I didn't realize how bad I needed to see the sun! I know we need the rain, but when you have so many days of bleak skies and rain, it takes a toll on your spirit. This morning, when those first rays peeked through the clouds, I wanted to turn a cartwheel. Only, I have never known how to do a cartwheel, so that wouldn't work. I have just enjoyed the sunny day today. And my soul has as well.

I am so grateful for my mom's clear scan. It has been almost three years clear of cancer for my mother. Last week, we (me and the kids) rode with my mom to the Kirkland Clinic to be with her for a scan (I can't remember if it was a PET or CT - whichever it was, it was to check for signs of cancer). She had to be injected and she is always afraid she'll pass out and not be able to drive herself out of there. So we were just there for the just in case. She told me yesterday that she had received word that all looks good. There are some areas in her spine, but they are consistent with degeneration, and she has had that issue for many years. So all looks good for now. And all I can do is pray that her good health continues for many years to come.

I am so grateful that the kids went back to school. I do love my kids. With all my heart. However, they have so much energy and need to be entertained and challenged in ways that I fall short. It has been nice the past two days to have a little reprieve from them after a long Christmas break.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Worms

Not that I have anything against them in particular, I would just like to state, for the record, that I don't care for worms. Of any kind, shape, color, or texture. I do remember a time when I was very young and my grandparents lived on Lake Jordan that I would roll over rocks and look for worms. I would even pick them up and collect them in cups or boxes for my grandparents to fish with. This was something we all did, us cousins, while at the lake visiting the grandparents. But times have changed, and I am no longer fascinated with the fact that you can roll over a rock and see a few worms emerge in their nasty state of being from the soil.

All this leads to the following fact: It has rained A LOT lately, and our Polaris cleaning robot thing for the pool needs a new part, and there are probably a thousand tiny worms in the bottom of the pool. Here's the deal about worms in the pool - they are immersed in water, which commonly leads to any substance becoming gooey and slimy and gross. Only thing is that worms are already all of those things without being submersed in water for long periods of time, so you can only imagine the state they find themselves in after living in the pool for a few days. Not pretty. And I will tell you it looks much nastier than watching them emerge from underneath that rock at Lake Jordan so many years ago.

Point being, I will have to vacuum them all out of the pool probably tomorrow when all this rain subsides. And then I will have to empty that basket full of blown up, nasty worms I have vacuumed up. So disgusting.

Did I mention that I really am not fond of worms?

I just tried to take pictures of the pool so you could understand the magnitude of the issue. My camera is dead, so I will try to get a couple later and post. I am sure you will all be waiting on the edge of your seats.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

New Attitude

I have been in a dark place lately (in case no one could tell). Partly, I guess, from just not feeling well for so long. But mostly, I think, because I have been an ungrateful, selfish, bratty child. I have completely lost sight in how fortunate I am and focused solely on the negative parts of my life. Yes - I am alone most of the time. But I do have a husband who loves me and is really doing his best to provide for his family. No - my husband is not everything I dreamed he'd be. He is emotionally unavailable, grumpy and snappy, and completely clueless about what really makes me happy. But he has changed so much for the better since the day I first laid eyes on him and is working hard to figure me out.

Something moved me on the news the other day. The coverage was about this deal going on in the Gaza Strip, which I don't even pretend to understand, and the piece showed a woman in the streets fainting. The warning sirens had just gone off to let them know a bomb was about to be dropped, and she fell in fear. I have never known that feeling. I venture to say I never will. And there I sat on my couch next to my husband in our safe home with food to eat and warm blanket covering me. It was then that I thought to myself, "I need to be more grateful."

So in this new year, I want to devote a day - maybe two - a week to write some posts about things for which I am grateful. And this will not be done to impress anyone but rather to remind me that my life is slam full of things to be thankful for. Full. To the brim.

Let's start today, shall we?

I am grateful for our fine country. It is not perfect. It is not everything it should be. But we are a free people. We make our own decisions, we worship the way we see fit, and we have plentiful resources. And no matter how things may seem, I believe that, as a country, our people will always come together in times of need for the good of humankind.

I am grateful for Kleenex. This sounds so stupid, I know, but think about a world with no Kleenex. I have blown through three big boxes in the past month. What would I have done without tissues? Would I have to constantly reuse and wash handkerchiefs? There are not enough in the world, I promise. And who exactly invented the Kleenex? I am so grateful for the invention. It is a simple, mundane thing, the face tissue, but if we didn't have them, life would be different. Maybe not every day, but it would make a difference in your life. I think I will do some research on the history of Kleenex. If I find anything interesting, I will report back.

I am so very grateful that I am feeling better. As I said last week, I feel that there is a purpose behind tough times. There are always lessons to be learned form any circumstance in life. I still haven't figured this one out. And though I wasn't on death's door, I really felt bad for a month and a half. Like I just couldn't get back on my feet. In the past couple of days, I have finally gotten my strength back. I have gotten some good rest. I can breathe again through both nostrils. And I thank God for making me better and ask that he help me understand the valuable lessons I can gleam from feeling so bad. Hmmm... like maybe you need to work on self control and not yell at your kids because you are frustrated and not feeling well. It could be something like that.

Okay. That's it for today. I know I will do one a week. And as you can see, they won't be about anything fancy. I am not really a fancy person. I just want to begin to focus on the little things in my day to day life that matter. Some will be deep, some not. But they will all be genuine.