Thursday, February 28, 2008

Cough Medicine Dreams and Pee Pee Realities

My crew right after Nate's birth.
Notice Daddy sleeping with the remote in hand.

This picture actually has nothing to do with the post.
I just wanted to post an itty bitty pic of Nate. My blog.

Last night I was sleeping heavily, oh bliss, when I was awakened only slightly by my oldest kiddo who is 3. Usually I hear her as soon as her little feet thump thump on the floor getting out of bed. If not I always hear her when her door opens. Rarely does she get to me without me being at least 70% awake already. I can go from 100% asleep to 100% awake in no time flat at night, something I unfortunately perfected during my first stint of breastfeeding. Alex on the other hand can have bombs drop on his head and not wake from his sleep. I have more than once been tempted to use a poopy diaper to test this theory in the middle of the night. I love when Ella sneaks up to his side of the bed and scares him awake! "Daddy!"He jumps every time, making me oh so happy to have her around to torture him in the night lol. He is not good in his sleep. Pretty much useless in the dead of night. I love him anyways.

This is the face of a man who needs his sleep. This is a baby, about 1 week old, who is denying him that sleep. He looks kind of like a comic drawing here huh?

Ella got all the way to me last night when I heard something like, "Mommy, I have pee pee." I took this to mean her pull up leaked so I checked her and said "no you don't go to sleep." "No, Mommy I have pee pee!" "Oh, you need to go pee pee?" Me thinking something like good grief when can I stop assisting with this? This is when I start thinking maybe I should read those parenting books. Something like 25 minutes later I was able to lay down again. Why 25 minutes? I don't know. Thats how it works. Someday I will sleep like a teenager again. Actually, maybe I am kind of sleeping like one now...

I have been on my meds for a week now and I can say that the dreams I have had at night have rivaled pregnant dreams. You know the ones. Yea, those ones. For those of you who have not had children yet and don't have a clue what I am talking about, for me at least, pregnant dreams were interesting. By interesting I mean most of the ones I remembered were more than slightly related to the process that got me into that state. Sex dreams, vivid sex dreams. Apparently they are also induced by prescription Tessalon Pearls though I don't remember reading about sex dreams on the side effects panel. So this is me hoping that even though I didn't read about sex dreams as a side effect - it does not mean that I am pregnant.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

A Goonies Day

We are having a rather a-typical dreary North Carolina day today. The weather is such that any native Brit would feel quite at home. These cold, overcast, rainy days always make me think of one thing. It is a Goonies Day.

These are days where I would like nothing better than to curl up on the couch in my favorite PJs, drink a rich cup of cocoa and watch the Goonies. That classic 80's flick lends itself well to loafing on the couch with a good blanket to warm you. It is a tradition started, or at least named, in college.

Most days in Charleston SC are sun drenched with the beach beckoning you. This is terrible when you are being expected to go to a terribly boring Sanitation class (I was a Culinary Arts major) or a math class that is buried so deep within the interior walls of the college that were the power to fail, no one would find their way out unless they had conveniently stowed a mole or two in their pack that morning. Sunny days were best spent at the beach.

Cloudy cold miserable days were best spent in 80's movie marathons. Yes, let the Molly Ringwald abound ladies and gentlemen! Usually included in our 80's love-fest were such classics as

Sixteen Candles

Ferris Bueler's Day Off

The Princess Bride (One of the most quotable movies ever)
Never Croth a Thithilian!

Say Anything

and The Breakfast Club

Of all of these classics my favorite, and always the priority when marathons took a backseat to actual study, was The Goonies. Yet another genius Spielberg film. This Cindi Lauper-bop inducing adventure flick was always the one we would make sure we watched on dreary days. Quote after quote would fly for weeks after each event and undergrad-college age appropriate highjinks would always ensue. My love started at a young age and continues to this day so heres to the outcasts! Goonies never say die! What is your favorite go-to 80's movie? Not a child of the 80's? Got a VHS you wore out or even a DVD you can't live without? Share!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Sedentary, Stagnant, Comfortable

I was in a class last night talking with a group of people from church who are in a class together. We are almost all in different places in life ranging from another with preschool children at home but more with older children, empty nesters and beyond. As we were talking, OK I was talking, I discovered I am not the only one who has become Comfortable.

You would think Comfortable is good right? NO! When we become comfortable we aren't doing anything. We aren't challenging ourselves. We are not impacting people. It seems like teenagers are so much easier to get involved with this stuff than adults. We get so caught up in the daily business that we don't have time for others. I started stirring the pot a little, rocking the boat just a bit. I started wondering if I could get these folks in on some uncomfortable stuff. I think we can!

The only thing I don't like about my church is that because we are/were sort of a young and smallish church we have not been doing much in the community. When people from the community come to the church they are very at ease but it is time for us to start going out there and helping people where they are with what they need. We need to start contributing to our community.

I am going to be thinking of some good projects for us to start out doing to impact people in the community's basic needs. I want to start getting these women out of their comfort zones and into the world. Sometimes we just need a little nudge before we can get our own running starts going. I will really be praying that I can find something that will fit them well and that they will want to go after it full on.

I hope all of you are able to open your eyes to the needs in the world around you. There are so many people that we disregard either knowingly by avoiding eye contact with the homeless man on the street corner or completely unintentionally just by simply existing rather than contributing. Seek out those opportunities and find something you can do to make a positive impact on someone.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Brown Thumb, Pink Medicine

You know how we all have plans for our lives? Yea, take a minute to ponder that for yourself. When Alex and I got married I had this quaint little idea about the order life goes in. This is where Phil comes in. Please, I would like to take a moment of silence in honor of Phil...... .... .. . He was a good friend. He was always there when I got home, patient with me, a good listener. Really a great plant. He was Phil, the philodendron. I saw him from across the driveway at a yard sale. He was just the plant I was looking for to jump start my plan.

Steps to Keeping a Kid Alive (the plan):
  1. Keep a plant alive.
  2. Keep a pet alive. Like a real pet. Not a fish.
  3. Keep a kid alive.
Poor Phil. He stuck around for a good while. Probably 2.5 years. I never did get a pet before I got a kid. I got one after - a TERRIBLE idea to get a puppy when you have a one year old by the way. Phil was survived by Al - the Aloe. I have kept him alive a few years now. I guess that means he is about due to kick it. I thought he had a few times already. Al is proof of resurrection.

We had our first scare with Ella the other day. Oh yes. We had our first and what better be our last call ever to the poison control center. Uh huh yea. There are good things about medicine tasting better - like not needing to force feed them the medicine or chase them around the house. There are bad things like them thinking it tastes great and wanting to drink it out of the stinking bottle!

Yes, Ella got into the Children's Ibuprofen. How I do not know. I do know it was on the counter due to regular use, apparently not tightened well. Bad parents. She locked the bathroom door. She got into the stuff and drank the bottle. Fortunately there were only about 4tsp left. SHE IS SO LUCKY I knew exactly how much was left. Rotten kid. She really scared me.

I thought about it and decided to call poison control just in case. I have had their number programmed in my cell phone since she could move independently. The nice lady reassured me, that indeed she would need to drink much more than that to cause any damage but she might have a little tummy ache. We had a serious talk about medicine AGAIN and then again and then a little quiz. It all concluded with me holding her extra tight and extra long. It isn't really the same as over watering an Aloe after all.

This brings our total to one pretty badly burned hand and one call to poison control. I still have a whole BOY to go!

To find a US State poison center click here. Go program the number in your cell phones now please or use the one listed above.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Good Husband Soup

No, this is not a recipe for a good husband, though that could be amusing. Alex gets an award again for being a good husband. He made me chicken soup. Homemade, cooked slowly all night long from scratch, lots of yummy veggies, with rice to make you feel better soup. Cooking side note: If you didn't already know this, a good squirt of citrus into just about any soup brightens it up incredibly and just makes it so much better!

I have been sick and with no reprieve due to daddy needing to work. That is unless you count those peaceful minutes waiting for the Dr. on the paper covered slab in the Dr. office. Why are they so late when you have screaming kids and so fast when you just want to take a quiet nap? Why is it that when I literally feel like I am going to pass out (do not mix an empty stomach with cold/cough daytime pills and kids) all integral mechanics at Daddy's work fail and he legitimately can not get home till 9:30pm instead of 5:00 when I was waiting (im)patiently at the door ready to turn over the kids and crawl in bed? Why then? As I was laying on the couch in the fetal position thanking God that my kids were actually both being good simultaneously while I was shaking with fever and freezing I decided *cough up a lung* that I should *cough* *cough**again* go see the ** Doctor tomorrow. Turns out I have Acute (gee thanks, I don't feel cute) Bronchitis or questionably Pneumonia. Guess it was good I went in.

During the visit she asked me if I had been kind of laying around and sleeping. HAAA She back peddled quickly remembering my SAHM status lol. Yes, I have been having my children bring me soup and rub my feet as they put in movie after movie for me. "Fluff my pillows for me dear" I chimed as Ella brought in the ginger/honey/lemon tea recipe I requested not five minutes before. She is such an efficient and thoughtful three year old! Oh wait - that was one of those hallucinations caused by mixing those cold meds again... darn.

I am happy to say the shmutz is coming out of my lungs and I was only slightly tempted to take the prescription for the Narcotic Cough Syrup she offered. Narcotics and children.... I don't even think those two mix when I am the only one taking the narcotics. However, I slept nicely last night with the assistance of my new friends Tessalain Pearles and Augmentin.

So I have been eating chicken soup, drinking lots of hot herbal tea, taking loads of vitamin C, and consuming lots of liquids. Maybe that will make up for the not so quiet of the house! Tomorrow is Saturday. Maybe I can kick them all out for a bit!

Thanks for the soup babe. We have all eaten a lot of it today! The kids are both sleeping (theoretically, just because Ella has yet to get up doesn't mean she is asleep after all). Off for a cup of hot tea.

Okay I feel better. I needed to whine a little bit.

Any fantasies of your own when your sick?

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Something Fun

For some good blog hopping fun visit Shoebox Blog.
Some good brain dead humor always good for a laugh, or chuckle, or a giggle, or a snort.

10 Year High School Graduation - Umm No

It is quite strange for me to see people I "knew" so long ago. I am coming up on the 10 year anniversary of my high school graduation. Weird. Thanks to the world of Myspace and the internet in general it is much easier to find people. It is also easier for them to find you. Because of my distaste for that kind of fake "how are you? Oh, Good and you?" talk I tend to run the other way when I see someone I sort of knew but they never actually knew me. I am such a snob. I just don't like that uncomfortable fake stuff.

When I think back on High School there is little that causes me to wax poetic. Mostly it was a bunch of pimply kids trying to act like adults and figure out how to get ahead without drawing too much negative attention to yourself. There was a lot of backstabbing, stupidity and shallowness. Wow. That was unusually negative lol. Most everything I miss from that time was either church related or drama related. I found solace in both environments. One where I could be myself and the other where I could be someone else.

It is strange though to see what people have or have not become. I have seen disturbing pictures of a guy I had a crush on looking very much like he is taking a lot of drugs and not doing well. This really makes me sad. I have been relieved to find that the girl I so worried about is really doing ok. I have been pleasantly surprised at the brave risks some have taken to finding themselves. I have felt bad for those I unknowingly and pretty presumptuously assume are living the exact life I was so desperate to avoid. I have spoken with (emailed rather) most of the people I wondered about over the years. There are a couple who have dropped off who I hope are well.

It really is very strange. I remember thinking upon graduation that even though I would likely not keep up with many people, I would always remember them. Funny which memories fade and which are ingrained stronger than you would have thought possible. It is also strange how few people I actually recognize. I look at pictures and names and think wow, I should probably have some recollection of this person. I graduated with an intimate class of 356 or so. So I guess it should not surprise me that I was not familiar with each of them but I felt like I was. I thought I kind of hung out with a lot of different groups. Apparently not!

I seriously doubt that I will be attending any of the 10 year festivities. Maybe for the 20th anniversary of our freedom we can do it in some splendid locale. Fayettenam is not nearly splendid enough to draw me back to subject myself to all the weirdness yet. Not after only 10 years. Italy, sure - Fayetteville, NC not so much.

When you think about High School what kinds of thoughts pop to mind? Are you one of those "if I could only do it again" people or are you a "you couldn't pay me enough" people?

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Mrs. Aprille aka "Hey Teacher!"

Guess what? I am taking a job as an assistant pre-school teacher! Looks like I need to expand my wardrobe to include a denim jumper and a wooden bead necklace! Totally kidding. It is macaroni all the way for me baby!

My daughter's assistant teacher went on vacation so I stepped up to fill in temporarily. I liked it so much I asked for an application for next year not knowing yet that she would not be able to come back. I had so much fun and they offered me the job! Ella has loved having me there and she hasn't made me regret it as she has had no change in her attitude while in class.

The money is also great. I will be able to pay for Ella's tuition to the school and Nate's childcare which is only four doors down with the money I make and still a little leftover! Quite excited. I trade in my "free time" that I used to go grocery shopping which was still with Nate so it was only remotely free.

I am pretty flattered as this is a great program with amazing teachers. The program actually lets kids be kids. It is definately not College-Prep for preschoolers which I think is ridiculous. I still think it is pretty funny that I am going to be teaching though. I am just a big kid myself. Maybe thats why. In most cases I am more comfortable on the floor with the kids than hobnobbing with the adults. I don't know - maybe this will even lead somewhere!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Spending Fast Update

I have been on a spending fast for a little less than a month now. I started the fast to curb purchases that were either completely brainless with me hardly noticing I was buying them or things that I rationalized to myself that I either needed or it was perfectly logical to buy. Usually these were small purchases that just added up to a large amounts. It is amazing how quickly one can blow through 100 dollars.

During this time I have had a few serious challenges to my fast. I have hosted my son's first birthday party and have also had Valentine's Day. My son is fortunate to have lots of people who love him who got him gifts so though I was tempted, I did not buy him any presents. I did cave on a sweet little birthday crown that said "Prince. Despite him wearing it no problem through the store, he of course had nothing to do with it at the party. I have it saved for next year of course. My menu was simple for the party and inexpensive for the most part. I think I did a good job with not going overboard as is so easy with your kids. For valentines day we made our own Valentines with items we already had in the house so this was free! Unfortunately, the savings from me not shopping were offset by my sweet husband's Valentines day pans. Of course, I did not put him on a fast as he is not the one who usually spends the money. He did do it right though by shopping at Trader Joe's for our meal.

We did go a little crazy this weekend. We spent 9 bucks on coffee - my idea - and I don't want to think about how much on gas as we "had" to go all around the state this weekend. Need to get back on track.

Overall I have seen some small differences, not in the bank account necessarily as there are always things to take the money out here or there but I am definately bringing home less bags and the bags that come home are filled with different choices like generic versions.

Something I just can not scrimp in is the groceries though. I sure wish I didn't have a brown thumb. I wish come spring I could actually grow all my lovely veggies. Sadly, I kill things. Note to self: Need to blog about that. I have not been buying organic but I just can not reduce my food to things that apparently grow in cardboard boxes with more chemicals than vitamins. Cant do it. So my grocery bill suffers there. I have cut off the extras just for me though. No more chai and I went my first PMS in a long time without chocolate. Yes, they all survived! It was close though.

$aving Grace This Month: My primary shopping time, while Ella is in school, has been taken up with working at Ella's preschool. So when I would usually be subjecting myself to temptation I have been playing "Hey Teacher Lady" instead.

$pent Confession: My cave this time was undergarments. Well, it was valentines day. I was due and out of respect for my husband (do you hear the rationalizing?) I got the good stuff not the kind that comes in a plastic baggie (read: the ones I can actually afford). I also got a new shirt for my date Saturday. I know - bad girl. I tried to pick one that was pretty classic and not trendy so I will actually wear it again.

$aved Money: Made my kiddo's Valentines!

Any weaknesses? What do you tell yourself to make you put it down and walk away ladies? Any tips? Share your own victories over blind consumerism!

Vegetable Breakfast Pizza

Vegetable Breakfast Pizza
serves 4

12oz Pizza Dough
4 Eggs
2 cups fresh spinach
8 Asparagus Stalks cut bite sized
1 c Mushrooms sliced
2 tsp minced garlic
1/2 Yellow Pepper sliced
1/4 c Kalamata Olives pitted and sliced
leftover steak sliced thin across grain
olive oil
black pepper
4 tbsp Parmesan Cheese

This is another one of my delicious leftover recipes! Feel free to adjust for what is in your fridge - this was in mine!

preheat oven to 350* F. Remove pizza dough from bag (trader Joe's fresh dough in my case). You can substitute leftover bread or use a store bought dough. Spray pan with a little olive oil to keep dough from sticking and spread out. Feel free to divide into individual pizzas. Coat top lightly with olive oil to keep from rising too much in center. Precook 5-7 minutes depending on oven.

Saute garlic, asparagus and mushrooms in a pan with 1 tbs olive oil about 3 minutes on high. They should still be crisp. Remove to bowl. Crack eggs gently into the pan and saute (or fry) till desired doneness.

Assemble pizza as follows. Remove precooked dough from oven. Turn on oven broiler. Layer bottom with spinach then add eggs, asparagus & mushrooms, sliced steak, raw peppers, and olives. Grind pepper over top and sprinkle lightly with Parmesan cheese.

Place under broiler about 7 minutes to heat and brown. Enjoy!

This would be great with any leftover veggies & you have in the fridge. If they have already been cooked simply omit that step and assemble! You could even grill this pizza!! YUMMY!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

The Blue Ridge & The Bucket List

So Alex and I have had more dates in the last 2 months than we have in about 18 months. Out of 3 dates, 2 have been at home while the kids are asleep but I take what I can get! Yesterday we had a rather lengthy date day.

We drove to the Grandparents who were scheduled to take them for us for a concert we were going to go to. Turns out we are both old and can not handle waiting in line to get decent seats for a couple hours, then go to the concert, then drive the hour back west to get the kids at 9 something and then the drive east to go home all to get up in the morning for church. So we opted for the old people option, you know, the one that didn't put us and the kids home at 1 am.

We dropped the kids off at about 3pm. We were on a date and it was gonna be fun! We headed toward the closest coffee shop, a cute local place. We got two cups of caffeinated goodness and headed on our way to one of our favorite places in the world - The Blue Ridge Parkway! My parents live about 40 minutes south of the parkway so we decided to head up into Virginia for a drive. How relaxing - no one kicking my chair or yelling at me to get a toy, turn on the dinosaur story, or grunting for a bottle. Sweet sweet quiet. Happy Valentines to me baby! We stopped and walked around this lovely mill and then headed back out and back toward the neon signs. We got some food and went to see "Bucket List". This was my kind of movie man. I talked all the way home about my list. All in all a great night.

I also must give my hubby cudos for not getting sucked into work and blowing off our date. They would have been perfectly happy for him to drive all the way into work just to confirm something was indeed broken but he said "you can do it!" and called it good. I love him. Nice little refreshing day trip. A whole 6.5 hours without the kids too! SWEET! Thank you Gran & Poppi!

By the way, these are not my pictures. I hate it when I forget my camera.

Friday, February 15, 2008

I Have To Brag On My Man

OK I have to brag about my man. This is a post just about him and how amazing he is. Sometimes they just deserve to be bragged on don't they?

I am constantly amazed at my husband. He is the most giving person I know. I know I don't deserve him. He is such a better person than I am! I could go on like that for hours but you don't want to read all that. Suffice to say that he constantly amazes me with his abilities, his heart, and his core.

I had a great day yesterday. I was offered a job which I will post on when I am 100% sure I have. Then my boy brought me beautiful flowers which he actually thought about. Then he cooked us all a fantastic dinner after working quite a long day. The menu included a lovely salad, ribeye steaks seasoned and cooked to absolute perfection, shrimp, a vegetable mix with creminis, spinach, red and yellow peppers and boy was it yummy. He also got this fantastic fresh bread and a yummy dessert. I already had a great wine picked out. Everything was even from Trader Joe's so it was all fresh and delicious! The Man can cook but he wouldn't like me to broadcast it. I think I will keep him.

My mom and Dad are keeping the kids for us Saturday so we can go out. We will do a day without the kids then. Sweet!

Thank you baby! You made my Valentines!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Stupid In Love - A Valentines Day Tribute

L.O.V.E. It renders us speechless, gives us super human powers, and can reduce us to nothing more than fools in love. Here is to being fools and risking love. Cheers! The Muddled

Love is the thing that enables a woman to sing while she mops up the floor after her husband has walked across it in his barn boots. Hoosier Farmer

True love comes quietly, without banners or flashing lights. If you hear bells, get your ears checked. Erich Segal

Love is like an hourglass, with the heart filling up as the brain empties. Jules Renard

Love is a grave mental disease. Plato

"To be in love is merely to be in a state of perceptual anesthesia." H.L. Mencken

"No man is truly married until he understands every word his wife is NOT saying." unknown

"I love being married. It's so great to find one special person you want to annoy for the rest of your life." Rita Rudner

"A happy home is one in which each spouse grants the possibility that the other may be right, though neither believes it." Don Fraser

"To love is to suffer. To avoid suffering one must not love. But then one suffers from not loving. Therefore to love is to suffer, not to love is to suffer. To suffer is to suffer. To be happy is to love. To be happy then is to suffer. But suffering makes one unhappy. Therefore, to be unhappy one must love, or love to suffer, or suffer from too much happiness. I hope you're getting this down." Woody Allen (for an explanation why I love this one so see my Alternate Identity)

Any quotes to add?

A Postsecret Valentine. Love is complicated at the least. I hope you all know you are loved.

Postsecret - Not PC but honest. I love honest.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

DIY Preschool Valentines Day Cards

My First foray into the Valentines Day frivolity came this year as I am now the mommy of a preschooler. This meant either go out and buy valentines or make them. It was the afternoon before they were due when I remembered. As it was raining and I am on a sending fast, we opted to make them. I also thought it would be sweet, fun and a rather good bonding experience.

It was sweet and they were cute but 12 valentines in one sitting is WAY too much for a 3 year old so it was not really bonding. I thought we would just use construction paper but for the life of me we couldn't find any. I think she has managed to go through a whole pack since Christmas. Anyways, I went to the craft drawer where all things creative go to die as I have no time to be Martha Stewart and it is pretty much guaranteed to go awry when I do. I resurrected a flower stamp, red ink, foam cutsie stickers, funky scissors, a purple crayon, and some iridescent glitter glue. Sweet! All the makings of valentines fit for a three year old; bling, color and cutsie!

The event took much more prodding than I had wanted and it was definately much less educational. Ella has no interest in writing out the names after the first one. She drew on the inside and decorated with stamps I wrote the names on the back to decipher the letters on the inside. We compromised and they got done, all by herself I might add - with the small exception of the glitter on the front which I did help hold. My big girl!

She was happy, I was happy and they looked very cute. Yay! I spent no money and cleared out some stuff!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Beans & Seeds: A Science Experiment

I was in search of a time consuming and fun activity for my 3yo and I to keep the boredom and subsequent annoying behavior away with. I remembered the good old standby - sprouting beans in a cup!

Off we went scouring the kitchen for anything that might sprout, anything to make this an activity that would keep her busy. She remembered seeds grow so she expanded the experiment to include apple seeds. While we were thinking of things that grow she got very excited and decided "we should grow apple seeds, and bean seeds, and carrot seeds, and banana seeds".

In the fridge we found apples and a yellow pepper - in the things-with-seeds section. She also decided while we were there we should "Plant NOODLE seeds!! I want to grow noodles!" Yea, shes not my child at all. Poor carb addict. "Well, Honey I want to grow money and Christian Louboutin but it just doesn't grow on trees". No, I'm totally kidding. What can you do but laugh when they suggest growing noodles? So sweet. I love those funny little moments! I cling to those moments!

We proceeded to pop out apple seeds, and scrape out yellow pepper seeds before we placed them with the beans in water. Tomorrow - nap permitting - we will "plant" them in paper towels.

Anything to keep them busy! Later today we will attempt DIY Valentines! Wish me luck.

Monday, February 11, 2008

A Christmas Miracle in February - A Bath!

Ladies I kid you not. I took an uninterrupted bath yesterday!

Alex got me a sweet gift for Christmas. When I opened it I thought oh, how nice, bubble bath. I can file that away under "things I never use"with my social life and books over 20 pages. Then he so genuinely said "Because I know sometime you will be able to take a bath again". This really is as romantic as three dozen roses. Of course I put it away and hadn't thought of it again.

It has been months since my last bath. I have explained how impossible it is to even have a shower. Yesterday while Alex was home I decided to attempt shaving my legs. It is amazing to me how fast this seems to creep up on me. I go from nice and hairless to cousin It in no time. It was so bad I am quite sure Alex was convinced I had bought some fur pjs or something. I went in and I did it. I did the unthinkable - I locked the bathroom door. Now this is a serious risk with a 3 year old. I could at best, expect banging outside the door demanding to know why I had locked the door even though I know the rules about lacking doors or at worst have to get up out of the bath to unlock the door for her after the previous discussion so she can then go potty.

Ten minutes in and 2 legs later I had still not been interrupted. They were both awake people! All three of them actually, Dad, 3 year old and 1 year old. No one bothered me. At this point I would have sworn a bomb must have gone off and taken everything but the bathroom. I debated then, do I stay in and wait till they spoil it or do I get out while I am ahead so I can blog about taking an uninterrupted bath and make everyone hate me? I compromised with myself and stayed in another 5 minutes till I realized how disturbing it was to have the Dora, Shrek and nameless elephant toys watching me in the tub.

I got out and realized it had been about 2o minutes. The angels sang out I swear! Hallelujah, Hallelujah!

I tell you this to bring you hope ladies. It can happen to you too! Maybe not for a while but someday "you will be able to take a bath again".

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Two Sets of Jones'

What kind of life do others think you live? Do you really have it together? Do others think you do? Do the sunbeams stretch their little fingers out just to shine on you? Of course not. So why do we try to project this image for others?

My church growing up seemed to project this, the idea of the Jones'. Everyone dressed in their Sunday's best and smiled and shook hands during the appropriate time. Everyone had it together, children lined up like ducklings behind them, husbands seated on one side of the crew, wife on the other. Halos positioned just right. Man, I never knew any better. "Man, these are good church people" I thought. "They really do have it together!" Every now and then something would happen though. I remember one such occasion, though there were many I am sure. The Children's Director who was always bubbly and cheery in the mornings was getting a divorce. (Breaks squealing..) Hold on. Was life happening at church? What happened here? I remember it being so shocking to me when I found out that her husband was cheating on her and they were soon to be divorced. I ended up being their live in nanny for a while after that. Those months were pivotal in me growing up as far as this viewpoint on life goes. No one has it all together. There are two sets of Jones'. The ones you see on Sunday, and the ones behind closed doors.

See the thing was though, because my church was not allowed to have normal people with normal problems, when those things were exposed (as if it were something really taboo to be normal with issues to work out) the people involved always ended up leaving the church. Now there are many reasons for this of course. The most important one in my mind was that our church was not set up for when the Jones' fell flat. We did not know how to support that situation. This was my interpretation - I was a teen, granted so cut me some slack if I don't go into all the other reasons.

Side Note: I now have a new church. My big girl, grown up church if you will. While I learned so much at my old church I have come to realize, by visiting others (many others), that not every church is the same. I am so glad I gave church another shot.

I put this discussion in the context of my church because 1. This was where the Jones' lived in my mind and 2. In the outside world, the Jones' influence is not at traumatic and debilitating.

I say the Jones' live at church. I know we see the Jones' on commercials in their new stainless steel kitchen with a new flat screen tv across from the can in the bathroom. We see Mr. Jones driving to the golf course in his new BMW talking away on the most high tech gadgets. We see Mrs. Jones dropping off her children at the best private school looking fit and pretty on her way to the gym. Little Sue Jones has a cool iPod and cell phone even though she is seven, you know, for safety reasons. Little Jack Jones only sees the best college prep tutors because you have to get them ready young so they can get into the best Ivy League schools. You know what? That is the general image conjured of the Jones' but it is so much more subversive than that.

We see the Jones' when we look at the constantly smiling faces at church. We see them when we get coffee and ask how they are and they tell us the exact same thing they did the last four years. "I'm good!" There is nothing wrong with good. I hope everyone really is good. I hope we also know that when the rug gets pulled out from under you and you aren't good, you will say so when I ask you how you are. Tell me if your back is bothering you, or if for the life of you you can't stop thinking about how she could have done that to you, or the struggles you are dealing with on a daily basis that are chipping away at you. I know this is a lot while your getting coffee but I am no Jones. The Jones' shouldn't live at church. We should, and are, nurturing a place where we can come together and commiserate and learn from each other by making connections. My greatest hope is that we can foster this kind of church where the Jones' give way to the individuals. Real ones with real issues.

I say the Jones' influence is not as great in the outside world. This seems completely backwards at first glance. You would think that this is where the influence is the most powerful. This is where we absorb shell blast after shell blast, constantly bombarded with the message of what we must strive for or at least to present the appearance we have achieved. We have come to expect this from the world. Those of us who have reached a place where we are aware of these messages are also aware we need to try to resist them and refocus. I think the idea of the Jones' is much more debilitating at church. When you are gathered in a place with a bunch of people who you perceive to have it all together you begin to feel as if you are alone in your struggles. This is so much more debilitating than the commercial. It goes so much deeper.

I sometimes wish people would be so bold as to wear a name tag at church. Not just because I have so much trouble with names. In my mind this tag would read something like this:

Hi, My Name Is:
Name: Not Mrs. Jones (insert your name here)
Been Through:
  • Divorce
  • Lifelong STD as a result of those choices in college
  • Once I tried to run away but realized my kids needed me more than I needed freedom
  • Good Listener
  • Can Juggle
  • Ability go from 0 to complete meltdown in 10 seconds flat when left alone with my own feelings of ineptitude and inability to measure up.
I have come this far.

Could you imagine? While it is silly to suggest anyone do this what if we came just one step closer to being real with each other? What if we fostered a place where not only children, but adults and even (gasp) men could cry. What if we could be honest with each other so we don't feel as if we are the only ones in this whole building who are looking for something more than what the Jones' have. I don't mean a bigger TV or a better car.

Some of us go to church looking for God in some form. What we don't always realize is we are also searching for the community that comes with church. Some of us don't particularly care about the God part but realize we miss the connections that come from a church of believers. My hope is that my church will continue to grow into one where you can easily, without necessarily even looking, find both.

Thank you again to those of you at church who are supportive and honest. Transparency is so refreshing. I am glad I found this church and I look forward to breaking down the Jones'. Remember, if I ask you how you are, I honestly want to know.

p.s. If you made it this far even though I am talking about Church - good for you. See side note above. You are always, always invited to my big girl church if you want to try it on and see if it fits.

First Signs of Spring

Between the blades of dead brown grass and crispy unraked leaves my Crocuses popped up! I am so glad these happy first flowers survived the "Exceptional Drought" we are still feeling. I hope they are not the only thing in my yard to survive. This is my warmer response to yesterday's chilly post! Spring has sprung!

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Icy Niagra Falls

In 2005 my husband and I decided to take a quick detour on our Rochester, NY trip to see family. He, never having seen the wonder of the Falls, was eager to see the splendor. I, never having seen it in the winter, agreed to go despite all the neon and cheesy tourist traps as long as we were in agreement we would be going inside nothing with any relation to wax dummies or world records.

Well, having only been at the time of year when the spray coming off the falls is a refreshing cool mist I was unprepared for the icicles forming off our noses. We also had our 9 month old but she was safely tucked inside a Staypuft Marshmallow Man-like snow suit and cloaked in a thick blanket. We decided Alex, having come from much closer to the equator than myself, was not necessarily made for the freezing temperatures and nose-cicles. We speedily saw the falls. A quick skate by viewing if you will as we were slipping and sliding all the way. Quite funny. All in all the most beautiful trip to the Niagara Falls I had ever been on. Also the coldest. All the pictures can be enlarged by clicking on them.

Quick Take the Picture - My Face is Freezing Like This

Also Happened to be the Only Moment Ella was Uncovered
I Believe Her Sentiments Were Something Like..
"What The Hell Are We Doing Here" Wait. That was Alex.

Paleta: a Mexican popsicle usually made from fresh fruit

Icicles Forming Sideways off the Lamp Posts

Horseshoe Falls - Icy but Still Flowing

American Side - I Think
It Was All So Cold I Can't Be Sure

Ice Layering the Iron Rails

Friday, February 08, 2008

Sweetest Baby Kisses Ever

Aww, Nate is kissing us. Could I be any more in love? Generally if anyone were to come at me with a slobbery mouth gaping wide open with drool puddled bellow their bottom lip I would run away faster than me running for chocolate at that time of the month. There is something powerful about this first show of voluntary affection. Sure they snuggle and sometimes even appear to hug but it seems instinctual. The kiss seems like the first real voluntary show of affection. It has such power! They can melt away my day and render me powerless with just a kiss. Could there be anything sweeter in the world than baby kisses?

Another thing about baby love - it comes freely but not on command. I tried to get a picture of him giving me kisses but he got distracted and looked at the camera instead. The result was the above smooch just for you! Baby love for my faithful readers.