Thursday, August 27, 2009

Making Plans

Tonight we are taking Jack to the fair. I have very minimal expectations (all the better to exceed them) for how the evening will go, but there are three things that I really have my heart set on:

1. Taking Jack through all the animal barns.
2. Watch the Lumberjack Show. Especially the log rolling.
3. Eat cotton candy.

I have been thinking about cotton candy all day.

My mouth started craving sugary goodness around noon and I have tried to satisfy my taste buds with other sweet things (nectarine, cantaloupe, pistachio ice cream) but nothing was exactly right.

I can just imagine that moment when the first frothy pink bite touches my tongue... oh heaven!

I can also imagine the mess that Jack is going to make because one of us is going to give into him and let him try it.

Don't worry. I've packed my camera to capture it all. I shall regal you with tales from our adventure soon. Very soon.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Between Me and God

"He tends his flock like a shepherd:
He gathers the lambs in his arms
and carries them close to his heart;
he gently leads those who have young."

Isaiah 40:11

That is what I need at this moment.

Gentle leading.

I have been trying to push myself. To lead myself. But not gently. With guilt or with pride, or even with anger some days.

But my leading is erratic. I take long detours. I am not well planned. I try to show myself the way and I get lost.

And tired.
And sad.
And confused.

But here is the light. I KNOW that shepherd. I am part of his flock.

And I have young!

So I get to be led gently. I get to follow someone who knows what the heck is going on!

And someone who has compassion on me in this season of my life.

I don't have to do the packing. I don't have to make the plans. I don't have to schedule a babysitter.

This trip is one that is all taken care of.

I get to follow the gracious leader.

Do you hear that?

It is a sigh of relief.

It is me setting down everything that I packed "just in case" and realizing that all the things that I need have already been taken care of.

The other great thing about gentle leading is that it implies that I am still going somewhere.

Mothering a toddler sometimes feels quite restrictive. Choices seem limited and most days I spend more time doing things that "empty my tank" than things that fill it. Sometimes I just feel stuck, like I've ground to a halt as a woman, as a wife, as a person in general.

But not so!

If I am being led (or more correctly, if I am following) that means that I am on the move. Somewhere. Anywhere. I don't know where. But I know that I'm not stuck. I'm not frozen. I'm not paralyzed.

Oh Lord! Thank you for your grace. Thank you for your compassion. Thank you for taking a life that has begun to feel lifeless and breathing your strength into it. You truly are a glorious God.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

And LAME-O Was Her Name-O

Earlier today a sweet church woman, whom I really respect, stopped by to drop something off for me. I invited her up, even though my house was trashed. My house is always trashed. No matter how many times I feel like I've tidied the same thing, it still looks trashed. Just part of the mommy life I guess.

I've mostly come to terms with it.

But after this sweet, together, proper lady left I realized that right there, in the middle of my living room floor, just feet from where we were sitting and talking, was my zebra print bra. It must have been pulled from the pile of laundry by little hands attracted to the bright pink lining and bold pattern.

Can you see my shame.

Honestly, I only have that bra, in that print, because it fit so beautifully and the only other color option in my size was nude, and I already have flesh colored undergarments.

Well, and who doesn't want a little fun in the top drawer of their dresser? But I promise I don't make a habit of animal prints or trashy bloomers.

So now that lovely church lady has seen my wild underwear. There is no erasing that sight from here eyes.

There is no longer anything secret about my life.


Side Note:
Have I told you my most
embarrassing moment?
Probably not since this blog was born
after the awful incident.
Some day I'm sure I will share,
but tonight I am already living in too
much self-pity and shame
to bear another
mortifying revelation.


Today is Andy's birthday.

Happy Birthday you wonderful man!

The highlight of every birthday for Andy is Dairy Queen ice cream cake. I have to special order it because he likes each slice of the cake to have a different candy topping.

It really is a pretty sight and DQ cakes are far superior to Baskin Robins. And it makes him so happy, so I play along and order one every year.

We just came home from having dinner (I tried my hand at homemade french onion soup and it turned out pretty fabulous... I've been having kitchen success lately and am eager to tell you about them soon!) and cake at his parent's house.

Our downstairs neighbor often has had his door open on these hot days and because Jack is so interested in him we have struck up a casual relationship.

I know I haven't told you about this neighbor yet,
but what you need to know for now is that
he is quite (as in very) large,
always half naked,
smells very strongly of cigarette smoke,
and on two occasions has asked
to borrow money from us.
Despite all these strikes against him,
Jack greets him with a smile every day.
Andy and I have learned his name
and are slowing gathering pieces of his story.
This is a good thing.

As we were walking in I was carrying the remainder of the ice cream cake (five pieces). I whispered to Andy, asking if I should offer them some cake. I thought he said, "Sure, there isn't much left."

So as we walked in I offered it, thinking I would put three pieces (for him and his two roommates) on a plate and put the other two pieces in the freezer for Andy to enjoy later.

What actually happened was that they said SURE! and took the whole cake box. There was no graceful way to stop them and take the two pieces we wanted. Oh dear. So I just smiled and wished them a good night and proceeded up our stairs to put Jack to bed.

As we walked up the stairs I saw smoke coming from Andy's ears.

Oh no! What have I done?

"You gave them all of it?!"

I tried to explain that I didn't have time to figure out how to keep the two for us. What I discovered a few minutes later was that when I asked Andy if I should share, he had said, "No, there isn't much left."

Oh no. Ohno ohno ohno.

In a mumbly voice I heard him lament, "I only got one piece!"

There is absolutely NO way to redeem this birthday fiasco. I can say sorry. I can explain the misunderstanding. I can promise more cake another day. But nothing, nothing will bring back that cake, of which Andy only got one piece. On his own birthday.

That is a sad, sad story.

And Honey, I really am so sorry. Don't worry, I'll get your more cake soon.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

That's My Cue

I've never been strict about nap and bed times with Jack.

It might be because I'm not super regimented anyway, but it might also be that his cues for needing sleep are so obvious that I've never had to question when he needs rest and when he doesn't.

I thought you might like a virtual glimpse of some of my favorite cues that Jack needs a nap.

THE CLASSIC: eye rubbing, yawning, head shaking... other cutesy baby-like signals that mean, "Oh! I'm getting sleepy."

THE MANIC: This one involves wildly running from every corner of the house, usually laughing in a shrill, slightly crazy, fashion. His movements get really fast and he doesn't stay in one place very long.

THE CLUMSY: This one often works in conjunction with The Manic. Jack starts to trip over things or run into walls and then get up and laugh it off, only to stumble just a few steps later.

THE CRANKY: Usually involves wanting to be picked up but not wanting to stay picked up, some sort of physical outburst and general unpleasantness.

THE NAUGHTY: My least favorite (but it makes it the easiest to put him in his crib). Not to be confused with Cranky. Sometimes when Jack needs a nap he lets me know by going around the house and touching every single thing (over and over and over again) that he knows is off limits. If I find myself saying, "No! Don't touch that!" forty-five times in a row, I usually move the little fingers into their little bed.

THE SILLY: This one is the newest and, in my opinion, the cutest. This is when anything I do is just hysterical. We can be sitting on the couch and I just open my mouth and all of a sudden Jack is in a fit of giggles. Oh, you can't even believe the sweet sound of real, true, delighted laughter coming from that little boy. I usually drag this one out as long as I can. When he stops laughing and starts staring into space, I know we're done.

THE OBVIOUS: This one is pretty cute too. And it makes it an easy decision to switch into sleeping mode. Jack will be playing and having a grand ol' time, when all of a sudden I look over and he is laying motionless on the floor. Eyes open, toy in hand, but totally still. Yep. When a 16 month old boy chooses to lay still, you know he needs a nap.

I feel pretty lucky that Jack is such a good communicator about when he needs rest. It sure makes it easy to have people babysit or to tell when it will be a two nap day instead of one. Just one of Jack's many fine qualities - of which I am trying to remind myself of as he proceeds to drive me crazy this week.

Any advice on making it through the food throwing/hair pulling/hitting/saying "no" a million times/climbing on the table/trowing the phone in the toilet/running out the back door and down a flight of stairs while my back was turned for half a second phase?


Sunday, August 9, 2009

Things I Am Thankful For

  • A gracious, patient, faithful God.
  • A husband who listens to me when I am processing life and still loves me even when I sound nuts.
  • Friends who check in on me after several pathetic blog posts and ask, "Are you doing okay?"
To all of you who have wondered,
the answer is yes
I really am okay.
The prospect of two babies
of my own
is a little scary.
I think I forgot for a few weeks
how much God loves me
and how in control he is.
Forgive my blog meltdowns.
And know that you will probably see more.
But I'm hormonal and gaining weight
like crazy.
That warrants a meltdown
once in a while.

  • A pastor who is a gifted speaker and a man who listens to God.
  • Meeting new people who are willing to share their story.
  • Drive thru food.
  • A baby who goes to bed easily.
  • A zoo membership.
  • Family nearby.
  • C.S. Lewis
  • My sister who is just as excited for fall as I am.
  • My other sister who says thing like this.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Real Life

Do you ever wonder about the real lives of your blogger friends?

Not the charming stories they tell you or the quippy remarks they make about small incidents in their lives.

No, I mean their REAL lives.

Well, if you have ever wondered, let me give you a glimpse at the less than glimmering moments of my last two real days.

Wake up and prepare to host a second toddler all day. 8-5.

Don't bother with a shower or even real clothes. Andy's sweats and the t-shirt I wore to bed are good enough.

Welcome baby #2 and reassure mom that I adore her child and am delighted to have him again.

Hear Andy open the door. Also hear rustling of plastic bag... did he bring me something? Yes he did! An iced chai and a cinnamon roll! Yay! I love this man!

Uneventful day. Well, in terms of grown up events. Baby #2 has the runs, there is the usual hitting, crying, saying "NO!" a million times. The major accomplishment of the day was Jack eating a real lunch (not just graham crackers or fishy crackers and a banana) including ALL of his vegetables. I was thrilled about that (there is no sarcasm in that statement, it I really was so excited that I squealed).

Both babies take a mid-afternoon nap and I decide to join them.

Wake up at 4:50, ten minutes before mum is supposed to arrive. Check my phone. Three new texts!

Mum says traffic is horrible and she missed the first bus. She will be at least 45 minutes late.

Bummer. That means I won't be able to go cheer Andy on at softball tonight.

Andy is home and both babes wake. Andy rummages around the fridge and asks if the steak in there is for dinner tonight.

I answer in the affirmative. A few moments later I realize that he is asking me if I will make dinner NOW instead of after his games. Ug. I hate telling him no and if he is hungry I feel like I'm not doing my job well, but I have two babies who just woke up and need attention and only 30 minutes before he has to leave.

I hand Andy a baby and scurry into the kitchen to see what I can make happen in 28 minutes and counting.

Hair flying everywhere. Getting sweaty. How does Rachel Ray do it?

Both babies in the kitchen and unhappy. What is Andy doing? He was supposed to entertain the kids while I cook.

Andy emerges from the bedroom in his softball uniform. I ask him to change baby #2's diaper. Don't hear a response and prepare to do it myself. I won't send my charge home with soiled pants!

Andy intercepts the diaper and sets to work. I hear him open it up and groan. Expecting a full one I peek around the corner. I see nothing. Andy calls me closer... "Honey! Look at this! It is gross!" I've seen a million gross diapers. I'm sure it is nothing. I walk over. And laugh. It is one little dot... really no bigger than my pinky nail... and he asks me to wipe it! Seriously?


I rush back into the kitchen and try and pull the meal together. I know Andy won't have time to eat it, but I offer to send it in a tupperware so he can eat it on the road (his friend was driving). As I'm pulling things off burners and mashing the potatoes and bouncing Jack on one hip Andy comes in to say he has to go. He's going to leave without his food?!


Andy leaves four minutes later with food in hand. Most of it. He refused the potatoes saying he didn't want to eat them in the car. I wish I had known that before I started making them. Both of us are still steaming.

Baby #2 gets picked up.

Send Andy text apology and explain why I got so worked up. Receive apology back. All is right with the world.

Put Jack to bed.

Tidy up.

Collapse on the couch.

Andy comes home.

More apologies.

Take a shower.

Go to bed.


Usual wake up routine.

Highlight of the morning is story time with Jack. We curl up on the couch. He brings me a book, I read it, and when we finish he crawls off my lap, finds the next book of interest, brings it to me and crawls back in my lap. Ah!

Receive text message from Andy asking if it is okay if he watches the fights at a friends house.

Start to cry.

I hate telling Andy no! He works so hard, I want him to have a chance to play. But I work so hard too. When do I get to play?

Consider sending back a text message that explains that I don't feel like I can handle another (three for the week) night of putting Jack to bed by myself and spending the evening in isolation. Instead stick with the simplest answer, "I would rather you didn't"

Text tumbleweeds roll.

Know that I have not sent the answer he was hoping for. The night is going to be lame at home anyway if he wishes he were at the fights. Try to come up with a plan that will give me some relief and still let him go.

Send a second text message offering to send him off the the fights with well wishes in exchange for and extra $X0 (dollar amounts have asked to remain unidentified) and a few hours of solo shopping time BEFORE the fights.

Andy replies: "DEAL!"

Shoot! I should have asked for more money!

Exchange several phone calls with Lizzie, trying to coordinate an outing for the morning.

Hurriedly throw on some make up and tame my hair, not with a shower, but with bobby pins. Dress Jack and set off with Lizzie and Jack for a few late-summer yard sales.

Acquire four brightly colored and uniquely shaped vases for a quarter each.

Return home from sales and hang out with Lizzie while Dane and Jack play and Jason grocery shops.

Take Jack upstairs and put him down for a nap.

Crawl into bed and pick up the Chronicles of Narnia. I wonder how many times I have read these stories.

Hear Andy come home. Pop out of bed, brush my teeth, grab my cash and all but run out the door.

Grocery shopping is last on my list before going back home, so I choose two stores that always have something and are near my desired grocery location.

Find a pair of earrings I love... but nothing else. Not even anything worth trying on. The line is ridiculous and not worth standing in for a pair of earrings.

Try second store. Nothing. How disappointing.

Consider crying but don't. Not worth it.

Less than an hour and I've exhausted my options for shopping (in this location). But I'm right next door to the grocery store so I give up my dream of a carefree afternoon and get back to mommy work.

Wander the aisles. Forget things. Wander back down the aisles.

Grab the juice we like and watch helplessly as two extra jugs come with the one I grabbed. One is safe and the other is spilling all over the floor and is splashed all over my leg.

Look around for an employee to notify, but don't see anyone. So I walk away. Well, it probably looked like I walked away, but I was really going to look for someone to alert at the end of this aisle.

Is everyone staring at me?

Am I leaving sticky, dirty footprints that will lead them straight to me, the juice spilling culprit?

I turn around and look back at the scene. An employee has arrived. I imagine him coming up to the mess and accosting the nearest shopper, "Did you see what happened?!" All the fingers point to me as I try to inconspicuously move on. But I feel his eyes staring. He knows it was me.

Continue shopping.

Also knock a box of pancake mix off the shelf and have a discussion about nectarines with a stranger.

Spot the juice-incident employee at the end of this aisle and try to avoid eye contact.

Pause at the magazine rack. Thumb through the hair cut magazines and see the next perfect style. But refuse to pay $10 for a magazine.

Pay for groceries and load them in the car.

Drive home.

Discover an empty house. Andy and Jack must be down with Dane and Jason.

Lug groceries up stairs.

Put away refrigerated items and leave the rest until tomorrow.

Go down to visit everyone.

Send Andy out for dinner.

Come back upstairs when dinner arrives.

Realize I didn't find ALL of the refrigerated items when I first brought the groceries in. Stick them in the fridge and hope they don't go bad or make us sick.

Eat dinner.


Bid farewell to Andy with an unintentionally snappy remark and apologize again. I've been having to do that a lot lately.

Jack helps me unload the dishwasher. Which is mommy speak for making the job take twice as long and creating a second mess that is twice as big.

Text a few friends in hopes that they randomly have a free evening. Receive all "no" answers, but well wishes. Feel very lame.

Play with Jack.

Bath time for baby.

Stories, brush teeth, sing, pray. Put him in his crib.


Survey all the chores that need to be done and decide they can all wait. Possibly forever.

The two pieces of chocolate in the freezer and HGTV are calling my name.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Moving On

It happened today.

My brain and my heart have bid farewell to Summer and have switched to fall.

Yes, yes. I realized that we have just started August and that there is still a month left of heat and shorts and corn on the cob all those summery things... but in just a few short weeks, we will reach September.

Ahhh. Can we all let out a sigh of relief together?

Many of you know my affinity (obsession?) with the autumn season. Something about it just brings me alive. The smells, the sounds, the food, the temperature, the pumpkins....

Just thinking of those things sends thrills through me.

You may be wondering though, how did I make such a dramatic shift?

Well it happens around this time, most every year, so it was only a matter of days. But this year what moved me from summer to fall was Horton.

As in Horton Hears a Who.

Either last year or the year before the Broadway cast of the Dr. Suess story danced in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. This morning Jack and I were playing with the stuffed Horton that he received last Christmas ... and it just hit me. I am ready for fall.

I am ready for scarves.
And trips to the pumpkin patch.
Oh the trips to the pumpkin patch.
I am ready for spiced cider.
For full length pants.
For soup.
Glorious soup.
I'm ready for cinnamon.
And nutmeg.
And cloves.
I'm ready for candles.
For cool evenings that invite cuddling.
And Back to School sales.
And sending Ellery off to Kindergarten.
And for a growing baby bump.

Oh, friends. I am ready!