Friday, May 30, 2008

A Friday afternoon...

Hello, all! It's been a crazy week, and I'm glad to be coming to the weekend. Seth, thankfully, seems to have turned a corner. I think, though, that what started as teething has now turned into a cold. The color of the snot has now turned from clear to yellowy ick, and though his coughing is better, he still coughs a little. His mood has improved a good bit, though he's still a little on the cranky side.

I'm wondering if I need to cancel next Friday's doctor's appointment because of his cold? I think I read somewhere that you're not supposed to give your children any vaccines at all when their immune systems are down. I think I may reschedule just to be on the safe side. And... I have a request in at the library for "The Vaccine Book" by Dr. Sears, and that might give me some time to have it come in. =) It looked to me, from the Amazon reviews, like this book is an easy to read, relatively unbiased, book that lists each vaccine and tells a little about the diseases being vaccinated against, what's in the vaccine, etc. I think at this point, my m.o. might be to figure out which vaccines have to be given as boosters and which can stand alone, and then make decisions for the future accordingly, postponing vaccines that stand alone until later on. Brandy told me about wild chicken pox parties, so that is something to consider as an alternative to the vaccine. Thanks, girl!

I'm keeping my parent's dog while they are visiting my brother's family in Minnesota. I really like Albert when he's on his own turf. He's a little harder to handle at my own house, more likely to bark at nothing and play too rough with Seth. I have to lock him up in another room in the house if I don't want Seth to feed him all of his lunch. I know, it's sooo much fun to feed the dog. We don't have one, so I don't want to make a hard and fast rule that he can't ever feed the dog, so I'm dealing with a bit more hassle for the sake his fun and nutrition. I don't think we'll be getting a dog until all of our children are much older.

In other news, Seth is starting to pull up! He hasn't figured out how to pull all the way up, but he will pull himself up on his knees and grab onto the edge of the sofa, a chair, anything sort of steady, really. He's finally ok with me standing him up and holding onto something while I cheer like a lunatic. I feel like we're starting to turn a corner to toddlerness this week. I'm having to watch him a lot more carefully than I used to to keep him from hurting himself. I'm glad he's so inquisitive, but I think my days of reading while he plays are numbered. Maybe I can finish my biography of Anne Bradstreet before he decides to start climbing the kitchen chairs...

After a cranky baby week, it's nice to have something fun to look forward to! I got snookered into being a small group leader for MOPs next year. =) Hold your applause. No, really, I'm pleased about it. And that means that I've been invited to the leader's retreat! We're staying at a local hotel tonight and tomorrow. We're going to eat too much food, lounge in the hotel hot tub, and hang around in our PJs. Oh yeah, we're also supposed to be planning MOPs for next year somewhere in there with all the more important stuff like eating M&Ms and doing pedicures. Please pray that its a relaxing and good time for all of us. I don't know most of these women, and being around a bunch of women, even Christian women, can go many, many different ways, some great and some not so good.

David gets to have a man night with his friend, Tony. They're going to be watching the kids while Kristi and I are off having girly fun at the retreat. These are our go to babysitters on short notice, for doctor's appts., whatever. Since we live only 5 minutes from them, we trade back and forth quite a bit. It's nice to have that childcare net. =)

And tomorrow night I'll be trying out a new chicken marsala recipe for some friends who are coming over. I'll may share the recipe later...

Oh yeah, our Netflix queue is empty. Anybody got any good movie suggestions to fill it up? Have a lovely weekend!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008


I've never seen teething like this before. I thought he was cranky before with his teeth. I knew nothing. For the past few days, my normally cheerful son has woken up whining. He usually wakes up cooing. When I heard him again this morning, I felt dread settle in my stomach. "How long is this going to continue?", I thought.

I'm pretty sure it's just teeth and not something else. It looks like he's got a nasty premolar coming in. All the classic signs are there. He's drooling, gnawing, grabbing at his ears, tons of clear snot that I wipe all day, a little fever, and... excessive crankiness. He has moments when he's happy, but the ones when he's not are definitely outweighing the ones when he is. We need to buy stock in Motrin.

I consider my life as a parent to be pretty stress free most of the time. Seth is an abnormally laid back child, I think. So when he isn't easy, I don't have tons of experience in what to do. I've been praying a lot this morning. They're mostly lots of bullet prayers. "Please help me to be loving, God." "God, please show me what might help." I need patience and gentleness and kindness and grace in my heart. There is precious little of it there, I think.

I remember when I was pregnant with Seth, and I would watch mothers of toddlers and feel completely panicked. My thought was, "I don't think I can handle this." They looked so patient, and while I watched the minutes creep by as they played ball with a baby, they didn't seem to notice. I have friends who are pregnant with their first now. They look at me the same way I used to look at my friends with toddlers. I see the worried expression.

The good news is that most of the time... you don't start with a toddler! You start with a tiny baby who you don't have to wrestle a diaper on. You start with a baby who snuggles and sleeps. Not enough at night, but they do sleep.

God is very gracious to often allow the parenting stages to move slowly. We get used to one thing, and then slowly, carefully, almost before we notice it, we're used to another, slightly harder, thing. It builds on itself. We don't get thrown into the deep end of the pool most of the time. (Exception: colicky babies and adopted children and probably others I'm not thinking of). As hard as this little stage is now, I'm sure I would've handled it with less patience as a freshly minted mom. Ahh, that makes me feel better. God has equipped me over time to have what I, personally, need to thrive in this situation. I just need to remember it.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

All over...

This man grew up poor in rural Alabama. His daddy came and went and came and went, and his mom had three boys to raise on her own, with the help of a circle of relatives who take care of their own. The story of his life is like many we've heard or known of... what makes it remarkable is the power of his writing.

"It was as if God made them pay for the loveliness of their scenery by demanding everything else. Yet the grimness of it faded for awhile, at dinner on the ground at the Protestant churches, where people sat on springtime grass and ate potato salad and sipped sweet tea from an aluminum tub with a huge block of ice floating in it. The pain eased at family reunions where the men barbecued twenty-four hours straight and the women took turns holding babies and balancing plates on their knees, trying to keep the grease from soaking through on the one good dress they had... They sang about women who walked the hills in long black veils, of whispering pines, and trains" ( p. 5).

As the boy grows into a man and begins to travel as a reporter, the story gets even more varied and interesting. He goes to Haiti to report on the rise and fall of Aristide. He becomes great at telling the tragic tale with empathy. He learns about himself, about how he is like and not like the man who left him over and over again.

One of the parts of the book that made me ache was when he talks about his experience going to church. His mother didn't go to church because she didn't have good clothes to wear, but she worshipped in front of her television on Sunday mornings with a tv preacher leading her. At one point, though, she worried that this wasn't enough for this young son, so she slicked him up and sent him out. He landed at a caring church, on a Sunday when they were having supper on the ground. He went there, sounds like, for at least a year. This is some of what he says about it:

"Every Sunday, I waited. I waited for the invasion, the infusion, the joy. I waited for the Holy Ghost to slip inside my heart and my mind and, as He had done to those all around me, lift me out of the pew and up to that altar, Saving me. I waited for it like a boy waiting on a train.

But while I felt wonder and maybe a little fear, I never felt what I had seen, or maybe sensed, in the others. I was not refusing Him, rebuking Him. I wanted it, I wanted the strength of it, the joy of it, but mostly, I wanted the peace of it. The preacher promised it. He promised.

I just sat there. I could have pretended- I think some did pretend- but what good would that have done. I sat, as the Sundays drained away. I never felt so alone before. I don't think I ever have since." (p. 88)

I read this, and I want to cry for that little boy. I wish I could sit next to him in the pew and tell him that those of us who trust in Christ sometimes feel this way. That trust doesn't always bring the peace we're hoping for. Our doubts are huge, and God seems far away. Feelings betray us constantly. We cling to the truth of Christ and his resurrection despite the times when joy doesn't come. We plead for strength, peace, and joy in our sufferings, and we try not to lose all heart when we don't get nearly as much of it as we think we've been promised. I've been there. I know. Many days my heart has been cold. I have been waiting, too. I believe, though, despite feelings that are horribly illusive. I believe because I have enough facts to sustain me, despite all that I don't know and understand. And I trust that Christ knows what it's like to feel alone, too. He certainly was on the Cross.

Anyway... check it out. I think you'll enjoy it.


This blog has been a tad bit tired lately. I'm tired of how tired it is. Putting up linkys is nice and all, but I want to do a bit better. I haven't had a ton of amazing, scintillating, exciting thoughts on my mind lately, but now, I do have a few worries. Join with me in worrying about... vaccines. It sounds insidious when you kind of hiss that word out.

Vaccines have been something I've worried on and off about since Seth has been born, before that really. As much as I like modern medicine in some ways, I am quite distrustful of it in others. Especially when it comes to powerful medication, which, in my case, has felt like a force for both great good and great harm.

A little background is in order. I am well aware that some people out there may think I'm a little nuts, but I am pretty convinced that birth control pills caused my infertility. Here's why... I took them for less than a year, the first year that David and I were married. Before I took them, I had a regular period, like clockwork, from the time I was 13 until I was 21. After 8 months on them, I got off (because I thought other forms of birth control might be better), and my period did not come back, except in little spurts, every 2 or even 3 months. When I finally went to see a doctor about this a year later, he wasn't surprised. None of the doctors I talked to about this were surprised. He told me I wasn't ovulating, and he couldn't tell when when I'd start ovulating again. He told me that it could be anywhere from tomorrow to 10 years from now. I was pretty shocked. He was the most honest doctor I've talked to, and looking back, I appreciate his honesty. He wasn't willing to say that the pill caused my lack of ovulation, but he came far closer than most doctors.

Orthotrycyclen works by telling your brain to tell your body to stop ovulating. It creates a chemical change in your brain to do this. For most women, when they get off of it, their brain reverts back to the normal pattern, and after about 6 months, they're ovulating regularly again. This did not happen for me. My brain was sticking with the instructions it had gotten that I shouldn't ovulate, and I did not ovulate again, as far as I know, for 4 years, excepting the hard fought, medically induced ovulation during our year of treatments.

Whenever I asked most of my doctors if my lack of ovulation could be caused by birth control, they blew me off. "Well, anything could've happened during the time you were on the pill to cause you to stop ovulating, and the pill just masked that, so you didn't know about it." That was the standard answer I got. Never mind that I hadn't been on the pill for years. Never mind that I'd never had a problem with anovulation before. Never mind that I was in my early 20s. It seemed that they simply couldn't admit the possibility that the drug whose ties they were wearing could possibly, for some small part of the population, cause the extremely serious side effect of infertility. I'm shocked (dripping with sarcasm).

I was very angry over this for quite awhile. I can tell as I write this that I'm still angry. I know that God decides what He allows to touch us in each of our lives, but I still put some blame on drug companies and blinded doctors for a very real evil that is hurting women. I am not saying that a large percentage of women who go on the pill become infertile as a result. I'm just saying that it appears to me that at least some small percentage do. And it bothers me that doctors won't look you in the eye and admit to you that it could be possible. I guess I would just like women to be informed that this is a possibility for them if they take the pill. I want it listed in the potential side effects on the drug package. Then, its up to you if you take the risk or not, but you have been warned. This seems reasonable to me. What seems unreasonable is that doctors won't admit the possibility, even though they don't seem to have any idea what causes anovulation.

I'm ovulating again, it appears. I finally got pregnant with Seth, even though getting me to ovulate again was not like flipping a switch with meds. It isn't that easy, and fertility ovulation is nothing like your own. My fertility doctor talked about how pregnancy could "reset my system." If it could "reset my system," then doesn't that imply that something got it off balance? What was that something? If you don't know, don't pretend you do.

I have talked to other infertile women who have similar stories. They also wondered if their lack of ovulation after the pill was because of the pill. They were also blown off by their doctors. I don't know how many of us are out there, and the sad thing is that I'll probably never know. It would take a bunch of clinical trials to figure that out, and they would be incredibly complicated, and I'm doubting I'll ever see one in my lifetime. I'm throwing this out there in this post, hoping that my story will make a difference to someone, as nonclinical and unscientific as it is. I don't think science is going to rush out there and try to validate me, so I guess this will be as far as it goes.

We think that prescription drugs are benign things, doing lots of good and very little harm. Most of us don't think much about that list of side effects on the package. I may have taken the pill anyway, even if I knew there was a small chance it could make me infertile. I don't really know.

But, after this experience, I know that I was very wary of any drug that fertility doctors wanted to prescribe me. I read up on each one. And I only tried each one out of desperation. It took me years to seek treatment partly because I believed that drugs got me into the mess I was in. I didn't want to get worse as a result of more drugs. In the case of infertility, medicine became a huge blessing. I am very thankful for it. But I have a very bittersweet relationship with medication as a result of all I've been through.

And this makes me skeptical of the American vaccine regimen for kids. And that skepticism, once again, is opening me to the argumentation of my doctor. Like most mothers of baby boys, I worry about autism. I don't know where to look for answers because nobody has any. And, I argue, if no one has any, doesn't that mean that I should be allowed to question without much arguing? Yes, I am fully convinced that children should be vaccinated against truly awful diseases that have great potential to kill or maim them for life. Who isn't thrilled about smallpox or polio vaccines?

But I don't think that doctors should think it is ridiculous that I call their judgment into question when they recommend a vaccine for chicken pox, a childhood illness that most of us had with very little fuss or problems. In fact, I would argue that recommending vaccines for chicken pox for most healthy kids is something I should call you on the carpet for as a doctor. If you're willing to do that, why should I trust your recommended vaccine regimen? I've just found one questionably "necessary" vaccine that you recommend. Why shouldn't I believe that you're trying to over vaccinate my child if you're recommending this?

I am weary of this already. I would love to just trust my doctor that every vaccine that he recommends is perfectly safe and perfectly necessary. It's a lot of work to try to make these decisions for my son in a safe and balanced way. At this point, I have had Seth vaccinated with almost everything recommended, but as he gets older, and the list of vaccines he's supposed to get at each checkup gets longer, I question more. And I worry that my questioning will label me as some sort of fringe wacko that doesn't care if her child gets sick and won't intervene if they do. I want to have a good relationship with my pediatrician. He is a good guy. This is tough for me.

I wish there were more answers for my questions. I have a lot of them. Over the years, I have become more willing to question sometimes. I guess this post has explained why...

Friday, May 23, 2008

Boy, I sure hope so...

I sure hope this is true, 'cause I see some specs in our little man's future. When David had his eyes lasered in college, the doctors were showing him off to everyone in the office because they were so proud that they'd created 20/20 out of, well, someone whose contact lense prescription was -10. No, I'm not kidding. And lets just say that I certainly won't be driving without my glasses... ever. I'm a -5.75 myself. He's doomed.

But I don't think it works if your glasses are Smurf blue. Or camoflauged. We had such great glasses fashion sense as kids.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Great mothering advice from a great lady...

I go over to Beth Moore's blog from time to time, and today I came across a great post she'd written on Mother's Day. She talks first about this year's Mother's Day with her girls, and then she gives some advice to all us moms out there who are in the beginning stages of mothering. I've done several of her studies at this point, and it sure looks like her girls turned out just fantastic. I respect this lady a lot.

Go check it out!

Monday, May 19, 2008


Happiness can be summed up in four words. 600 thread count sheets. And everyone said "Amen." =) We had a blissful anniversary weekend in Savannah, and this is where we stayed. Everyone ooh and ahh now. It was a marvelous b&b with Victorian decor, crystal goblets for your oj at breakfast, and chocolate dipped strawberries for afternoon snack, conveniently located in the heart of the historic district. If you like wandering around and talking in beautiful places, this is the weekend getaway for you.

The weather on Saturday and Sunday was gorgeous. Not too hot, not too cold, and plenty sunny. We wandered under a blue sky and a green canopy, enjoying each new sight. We also enjoyed the chance to talk without being distracted by a certain 15-month-old. As much as you love your child, he is distracting, and in some ways, you have to relearn how to talk uninterrupted for hours the way you used to do before he came. We had time to catch up and relearn our old art of conversation. We'd both missed it.

The front porch. We sat there and watched the world go by a bit in the evenings.

We've stayed in b&bs a couple of times. This was the first time they had our names on the door. I was impressed.

David making his morning coffee. I liked the mirror in the bathroom. I took this shot from the bed, which had curtains all around it. You could close them completely. That was fun! It was like its own little bed island in the middle of the room that way.

This is the foutain in the middle of Forsyth Park. We went back there in the evening on Saturday night because they had a free Shakespeare in the Park evening. Actors performed sections of Shakespeare's works on love under the stars. For some reason, I loved that I could hear the swings and the laughter of kids on the playground while Otello killed Desdemona. I'm weird.

This is one of Savannah's many beautiful squares. When Savannah was laid out originally by the first colonial governor, he planned for there to be 24 squares in between the streets. 21 of them still exist. They are all lovely, and they are all different. Our tour guide explained that the reason that so many antebellum houses still surround them is because of the efforts of the city fathers. You see, they watched Sherman burn Atlanta, and then he headed their way. Being the intelligent men that they were, and seeing as how Atlanta had been better defended than they were, they did the honorable thing. They surrendered. =) And because of their "heroism", we can still see the houses they rescued from being burned to a crisp. I don't have a problem with it. =)

We saw a lot of brides on Saturday. For $175, you can rent any square for your wedding for 4 hours. That also comes with a policeman to chase away the bums and the gawking tourists. Obviously he wasn't doing his job that well, 'cause I got this shot. Heh heh. I think I saw at least 3 brides on Saturday. Our trolley tour guide told us she'd seen 14 weddings in one day once as she drove around.

This is a picture of me standing in the middle of one of the longest alleys of live oaks in the world. I think it stretches for a mile, and you can visit it during normal visiting hours at Wormsloe Plantation. The trees were planted in honor of the birth of the owner's son in the late 1700s.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Thursday, May 15, 2008


I thought this post from Brandy was a thought provoking one, so I thought I'd link. In my life as a mother of a preschooler, I've had a few conversations with other moms about future schooling options. I plan to homeschool, and I know that it will be a serious lifestyle choice. It's the same lifestyle choice that my mom made for her children, and I'm thankful to have been taught this way.

I think that most cultures have systems in place that their members adopt somewhat unconsciously. For instance, our suburban culture involves travel by car, so most people assume that they will own one. We buy milk refrigerated instead of in a paper box, like many parts of the world. Our culture eats a lot of dairy products, so if we want to go more dairy free like many Asian cultures, we have to be very deliberate about it. Etc., etc. If most people send their children to traditional schools in the U.S., then that seems to be the obvious cultural choice, and most assume that they will partake of it when their time comes, for a variety of reasons. Many don't have choices in their school options, but for those of us that do, I appreciate that Brandy asks that we think about the reasons why we make our choices. I think it is good to ask ourselves to consciously decide what we want and what that will mean for our family's lifestyle. She articulates this far better than I can, so go take a look.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Making cheap diapers work overnight...

I like to buy cheap diapers. They don't have fragrance, which I really like, and I don't like the hit that Pampers takes to my wallet. So I buy Parent's Choice at Walmart. Only one problem. My 15-month-old really likes to chug him some milk right before bed. Parent's Choice can't take him through the night... dry. So I bought some Diaper Doublers from Babies R' Us. They're about $2.50 for 30 doublers, and they look like long maxi pads without wings and sticky. They work great! He doesn't wake up wet anymore, and I can keep buying the cheapos. The other night, we decided to leave the baby for an impromptu sleepover at his grandparents. Unfortunately, we didn't have a single diaper doubler left. Oops. Well, I figured that they're basically glorified maxi pads anyway, so guess what my baby had to help him through the night that night? I will be deleting this post before he's old enough to read.... Works for me!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Happy Birthday, Mom...

Mom's birthday was yesterday! Her biggest gift, I'm sure, was getting to have her grandson spend the night all by himself. =) And her second biggest gift must've been the fancy dinner that Dad took us to in the big city. Dad informed me that Mom had told him that she didn't want to spend her birthday "alone" this year. We quickly figured out that "alone" means "without her precious offspring." So he drove Mom and Seth up here to spend the evening with us.

Dad made reservations at the nicest restaurant in our medium sized southern city. That would be the place in the picture above. Ain't it purty? It shore was fancy on the inside, too, boy howdy.

Anyway, he insisted that we all dress up and look nice. That meant I had to wear heels, which I did. I do love my mother. We were running a little bit late on the way there, and I could tell Dad was stressed because he was mad at me for not endangering his family's life by turning into oncoming traffic so we could get moving. He sighed deeply at every traffic light. But thanks to the ingenuity of my friend, Kristi, who threw Mapquest directions at me, grabbed my baby, and shoved me back out the door as I shouted babysitting instructions at her, we made it there right on time for the reservation.

Mom was treated like a queen, and the food was fit for royalty. She got a menu signed by the chef, wishing her a very happy birthday. Well, well.

This is the room we ate in. We had the table by the window. I think I've decided that you can tell a truly upscale restaurant by the level of the music playing in the background. If it's really soft and you can hear yourself talking to others and the tinkle of your crystal, you know you're in a really nice place.

Dad was buying, so I had the best steak ever. And vegetable risotto. And the best cooked carrots I've ever had in my life. They didn't even taste like cooked carrots. I usually hate cooked carrots. These were like orange sticks of ambrosia.

"We're just here guarding the lady. No, we can't smile for the camera. We're on duty." Suits. Hmph.

Mom's dessert came with a special message in drizzled chocolate. I love you, Mommy. And I'm glad that you can't be truly celebrated unless we come along for your extra special, fancy birthday dinner. I'm available anytime you want to go there again. My tummy thanks you.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Happy belated Mother's Day...

We went to my parent's house this weekend for Mother's Day. Headed out after dinner on Friday night, and came back last night, pretty late. We had a very relaxing and interesting time. I got my hair cut by the same lady who's been cutting it since I was 12. I'm a wuss, and the thought of finding a new hairdresser here scares me. I'll take the plunge one of these days.

On the way home, I found a great yard sale and scored some amazing deals on kid's toys. I'll probably post a picture of that haul later. It wasn't all just for Seth. I have a weakness for crocheted afghans, since I crochet myself. I found a neat one for $.50. I'm sure the lovely older lady who made it would cry if she knew how much I paid for it. But, hey, at least I appreciate her work.

Saturday afternoon and night were spent rehearsing and singing in my old youth chorus' 20th anniversary concert. More on that later... maybe.

Sunday we left Seth with Daddy and went to church. It was a small group, and I enjoyed it. Things sometimes seem more casual at a home church when there's a smaller crowd. David and I both shared, and I thought again about much I sometimes miss this style of worship. Then, last night we took my grandmother out to a buffet. I'm glad we didn't go at lunch. It was crazy enough at dinner. Mother's Day is not a good day to eat out... anywhere.

Before we left last night, David whispered in my ear that maybe we should leave Seth with my parents for the night. They are coming here this afternoon so we can go out to eat at a fancy restaurant for Mom's birthday, so his point was that it wouldn't be long, and that way he would get to go to bed on time. For some reason, the thought initially made me feel weepy. I said, "No, I'm not waking up tomorrow without my baby in the next room over." Then I had a little time to think, and I realized he was right. Seth got a good night's sleep, and I get to go grocery shopping without him this morning. He'll be back this afternoon. What's wrong with me? Dad said, "Don't you want a break?" I said, "He's been a really good baby lately. I don't need a break from him."

Seth is my constant companion, my partner in crime. I don't know what to do without him sitting in the backseat behind me. Hey, even David understands this a bit. Last night, he closed the door to Seth's room because he said it was too weird to have it open that late at night. Awww.

But, I'm sitting here in my bathrobe with a hot cup of cocoa. And I can do a few things this morning that I would have trouble doing otherwise, so we all win. I guess. But they'd better get him back before too late...

Friday, May 09, 2008


Well, I'm it. I got tagged for a listy thingy by Shannon. I think that Kelli tagged me at one point a long time ago, but I forgot and didn't respond. Sorry, Kelli. So, I'm trying to do better now. Here goes...

What I was doing 10 years ago: I was just ending up my freshman year of college and getting ready to start a summer internship for the NC Legislature. My roommate had moved out on me, citing the stress that I caused her with my somethingvagueness, and I'd broken up with a boyfriend a few months before. It was a rocky year. The best thing going on at this time in my life was getting to know David a little bit better at the Adam Smith Club end of the year banquet. He came back to my dorm and fixed a broken watch for me, and then I moved out. It set the stage for me talking to him while buying my books in the fall. Ahh, young love.

5 things on my to-do list today:
- Go to the mall and get my mom her birthday present.
- Buy Seth some velcro shoes that actually fit and don't fall off.
- Dust my house.
- Pack up to go to Mom and Dad's for the weekend.
- Get my nasty rings cleaned at the jewelry store at the mall, if they're not too busy for Mother's Day. A friend who works for a jewelry store told that they're happy to clean your rings, as long as it's not busy, and they don't have a chance at selling something to another customer. FYI. =)

3 of my bad habits:
- Drinking WAY too much Dr. Pepper. I'm up to 2 cans a day some days. This must stop.
- Being a know-it-all. If there's an opinion to be shared, I share it.
- Not having my quiet time as consistently as I should, especially in the summer, or if I have a novel I'm dying to finish...

4 places I have lived:
- North Carolina
- Virginia
- Alabama
- Maryland
- Man, it feels like way more than 4, since we've moved so much, and none of the moves were local moves. But I guess that's really it...

5 jobs I have had:
- Legislative intern. No Monica Lewinski jokes.
- Veterinary assistant. I can draw blood from a dog and flea dip him, all in less than an hour. I also had a monkey like creature who could climb walls escape from an exam room on me. He needed to be declawed... again. Freaky.
- Book store clerk at the UVA Law School book store. It was great! Everybody knew my name, and I had plenty of regulars. I got invited to more parties than David did (not that I went =). And I got to eat lunch with him every day.
- Science educator for the Capital Children's Museum in DC. I mixed potions, did chemistry experiments with kids, and did shows where I blew things up, froze things, made things change colors, etc. It was great; I loved that job.
- Preschool teacher in Alabama and Virginia. I had a toddler class of 10, and I had them all sitting at tables to eat their lunch, in little chairs, not strapped in, together, for 15 minutes, by the time most of them were 16-18 months. This is my biggest accomplishment in life.

Hmm, I don't think I'll tag anybody. I think most people that I would've wanted to know more about have already done this. I'm behind the ball here. Thanks, Shannon!

Thursday, May 08, 2008

MOPs pajama party...

Hmm, didn't really mean to put that picture up first... She is a wonderful God fearing wife and mother who was getting goofy with the balloons, just so ya know. Oh well. =) Anyhoo, my group of local MOPs gals knows how to throw a party... in their pjs. =) This was our end of the year banquet on Tuesday night. We were all instructed to wear our night wear. I put on my hot pink leopard print pajamas, pink bathrobe, and glitzy jewelry, and headed to the church. I thought we were the only event happening there that night, but I was wrong. It was a little weird walking in in my bathrobe. =) But I must say, I've never been more comfortable at a party.

There was music and dancing and good food and awards and a stand up comedienne. This is Aretha and the Moppettes. They knew how to bust a move. =) Every mom of preschoolers would love a little more R-E-S-P-E-C-T.

We had a red carpet, and Access Hollywood was there to interview us as we came down. I love the curlers in her hair. I didn't get them in the picture, but she was wearing gold sequined heels. Fabulous.

This is my small group leader for MOPs. She is 9 months pregnant, and looking fabulous. Note the black silk pajamas and tiara in her hair. The top picture was actually instigated by her and another pregnant mom dancing during the line dancing portion of the evening. Susan put a balloon in her shirt to dance next to the pregnant ladies, and everyone was laughing so hard at that that she added a couple of other balloons in strategic places. Did I mention that there was no alcohol involved? Who says us stay at home moms can't have some good clean fun on a Tuesday night? Not me!

Savannah bound...

Hey, y'all! Hmm, goings on around here. Seth is getting much more mobile, so that's been a real treat for me! I love watching him army crawl from room to room. He's also fallen in love with his ball. He rolls it back and forth and "chases" it, squealing all the way. It's great to see him taking an interest in new things.

We had a little excitement of a potentially bad kind. A lady that David is prosecuting decided that she wanted to go to trial, despite the mountain of evidence against her. It looked like the trial was going to be set for... the week we're supposed to go to Savannah for our 7th anniversary. Ouch. We have already paid for two nights at a beautiful B&B near downtown, and by the time we found out about it, it was too late to get out of our reservation with them. For awhile, I had visions of me and a friend taking my anniversary trip. What a romantic adventure. Not.

But, God has mercifully smiled upon us. The trial was postponed by the judge for some paperwork reasons, and it won't be happening until July! We get to go! Yeah! This is going to be our first big romantic trip since before Seth was born. We've never been to Savannah, and I can't wait! I love live oaks, and apparently, they have one of the longest alles of live oaks in the world. (See picture above.)

So... if any of you know anything about Savannah and would like to give me your two cents about things to see, eat, and do there, please comment. We're looking for advice! Hint, hint, Wendy. Oh yeah, the trip takes place on the weekend of May 16. Our anniversary is that Monday. Awww. =)

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Duck Sunday...

We live right off of a city walking/biking trail, and tonight we took our first family bike ride down to a local lake. (The gray bike is David's birthday present from my parents, and the pink bike is a loaner for me from our incredibly nice neighbors.) Wendy's is really close, so I went through the drive thru, and then we headed off! Seth loves riding in his little baby bike seat, and we both got to feel the wind in our hair and the soft evening light filtering through the trees. It was beautiful. Now... to convince the people on the end of our court to sell us their bigger house. =)

Our highly nutritious dinner, eaten on the bridge at the lake, 15 minutes after we left our house on our bikes. I'm lovin' how close it is, can you tell? =)

Seth got a little puppy love from a friendly passerby.

We took along the heals of our bread, and Seth enjoyed alternately eating the bread and throwing it to the geese and ducks. One for me, one for them, two for me, one for them...

I ran out of memory on my card, but there were 25 baby geese who came for a snack. They were adorable, and when we ran out of bread, Seth gave them his Cheerios.

It's been a good day...

-I woke up this morning, groped around in my closet, and came up with... the expensive J. Crew chinos that I thought I'd given away in a fit of postpartum rage before we moved here! =)

- I put them on, and they fit! Tighter than pre pregnancy, but not uncomfortably. What a mood booster! It's taken me 15 months to get back in those puppies, but it happened. I'm apparently one of those gals who takes just as a long to lose the baby weight and shape as she does to carry the baby, and even longer. It's a very slow process...

- We kept one of the baby nurseries this morning at the 11:00 hour because there were several teachers out. Maybe this doesn't seem like much to you, but I really like to be known as someone who will step in and help out the team. I think it means that we are becoming a part of our new church family because they called us at the spur of the moment to help set the table and do the dishes, so to speak. =) I don't want to be a guest anymore. Strolling the halls with a fussy one and smiling at the other workers just put me in a family mood. Heck, I'll keep going, the last few days have been great, too. Here's the evidence...

- I went to a baby shower last night for a couple of gals in my Sunday School class. I had a fun friend from playgroup to pal around with, even though I struggled to remember the names of some of these women. I went babyless and got to stay out past Seth's bedtime!

- Friday afternoon, David was home sick, and I got to run errands while Seth napped. I hit 4 stores in 3 hours. I was a shopping machine. It was wonderful. I guess it's a tad bit pathetic that that bit of babyless free time can make me so deliriously happy, but there it is. Seth just isn't much of a "slow down and window shop" kind of baby these days.

- Oooh, and last, but certainly not least... I have a Dr. Pepper chilling in a bowl of ice, water, and salt. Mmmm, mmm. It's going to be so sweet and icy when I get it out. Which should be about... now. =)

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Yard mowin' he-woman...

Growing up, there were standards for lawn mowing. They were exacting and strict standards. In order to become an authorized lawn mower, a child had to be trained from a tender age to wield the implements just so. There were many hours of instruction under the watchful eyes of my father. Once the child had mastered basic techniques, he could then move on to mulching, weed-eating, and basic garden tilling 101. My brother got his family lawn mowing certification after at least 10 grueling years of indentured servanthood.

It was decided early on that I was a lawn mowing failure. My first and only attempt at lawn mowing occurred on a balmy spring day when I was a young teen. I got a hankering all of a sudden to try out Daddy's powerful riding mower. It would be several years until I got my license, so I figured this was the most car like machine I could test out for quite a while. The thing had as many horses under the hood as my first car anyway. So I told Daddy that I wanted to "mow the lawn." He showed me the basics, and then he let me go.

Big mistake. An hour later, Daddy came back to find me gleeful over the fact that I had successfully mowed my name into our back yard. I had to back up and down and kill the mower a few times to get it just right, but I thought it was impressive. I got the silent shake of the head and the pursed lips. Dad's dream of two yard mowing slaves died that day. I was never given the lawn mower keys again.

But... this family does not have exacting standards. And since David has been sick for a couple of days, and since our yard was looking like something that Dad would shake his head at, I decided to take a crack at it. Without a riding lawn mower. With our cheap, non self propelled push mower. And I do mean push in every conceivable sense of the word.

"Ooh, ah, ah, ooh, ah, ah... that's the sound of the man working on the chain ga-ang." Notice the clenched teeth and grunting. I'm really working hard here.

Are those sticks flying up to get me? And why am I swimming in my jeans in this picture. Oh yeah, they're David's mowing jeans. And no snarky comments about how I can get in them without a belt.

Look, Daddy, look! No, look closer. Go get your reading glasses... I'll wait. See!! It's a blister! I got a blister from mowing the lawn. Yes, I did. I promise. I hope you're proud. I mowed the whole front yard. David did not push it for me a single step. So there... =)

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Sharing Day at CBS...

Today was Sharing Day at CBS in my neck of the woods. When I did BSF, they had those, too, but I never actually went. =) Community Bible Study does things a bit differently, in many ways. Their sharing day is a brunch, and each small group decorates a table and brings food to share. It's basically a time to recognize and thank those who help out, and it's a time to share what God taught you through the study this year.

It was a great picture of the body of Christ functioning as it should to see all these ladies, old, young, and in between, who love the Lord, hugging each other, thanking each other, and sharing what Christ had done in their lives through the year. We don't go to the same churches, in fact, we don't even know where most of us go to church. I think that's part of the beauty of it. We don't get hung up on denominational differences... but each of us has the essentials of loving the Lord and His Word first and foremost. What we study is Scripture alone, and we answer questions about that and discuss our answers in small group.

They did a little slide show of the children, and I got to see my little man's face on the big screen, being oohed and ahhed over. I know I'll probably see many of these slide shows in my future parenting years, but this was a first for me, and it was special. I also got to see a glimpse of what Seth will be doing in years to come. The kid's classes have great Bible lessons, starting with his class next year. There is even an elementary school curriculum for homeschoolers. There was a homeschool class this year, and we saw pictures of them making a replica of the Ark of the Covenant. Several of the moms talked about the blessing of watching their children get excited about the Bible through their study this year. I thought, "I have this to look forward to, even when we start homeschooling one day." It was a sweet thing to imagine.

I got to see all of the wonderful ladies who spend countless hours preparing lessons to teach our children. Many of them have taught their classes for years. Sometimes I am overwhelmed by their utter selflessness. I have prepared lessons for children through my preschool teaching years, in vacation Bible school, etc. I know how much work it is. They've put in hundreds of hours preparing and teaching the next generation to love Christ. They haven't gotten a single red cent in return for their investment, but they sure have my gratitude, for whatever that's worth.

I know I wrote early in the fall about my frustration with a rule that keeps moms with small kids from attending small group luncheons. Well, I've learned a few things since that rant. =) The day I found out that women with small children couldn't come to luncheons unless they had a babysitter, those around me noticed how sad I was about this. Silly, I know, but they noticed my silliness, and they were concerned. So concerned that the leader of our local CBS called me at home to offer to watch my son so I could go to a luncheon. Pause and think about that for a second. She sounded like she really wanted to, and she didn't live far from the lady's house where we were having luncheon, so I dropped him off. He had a great time, and I saw firsthand how much these ladies really do care about others.

I got up this morning in sharing day to talk about how much I appreciate CBS and its leadership. But I didn't share that anecdote. I shared another one. By this time, you may have realized that I have no intuitive sense of rules that differ from what I'm used to at your local church Bible study. CBS has a few, and I stumbled headlong into another one. I invited a friend to come when it was mentioned that it was time to invite friends to check it out. I didn't realize that it was against a rule for her to leave her children in the nursery if she wasn't currently enrolled. Well, it ended badly with my friend getting her feelings hurt. I was angry and sad. I was angry at myself for not asking more questions, and I was frustrated with the leaders for not finding a way to keep her from being embarrassed by having to go home.

Well, I talked to our leader about it afterward. I shared my frustration and worry that this would keep my friend from coming to Bible study again the future. I talked about finding a way, any way, to keep from hurting someone's feelings over a rule if there has been an honest misunderstanding. And you know what happened? After I talked to her, she said, "I'm starting to think that we may have made a mistake in how we handled this." I was floored. What incredible humility this woman has! She got my friend's address, and she wrote her an apology letter. The head of the children's program also wrote her an apology letter. And she was impressed. She may even just sign up for next year, despite the drama! And I know if she does, it will be because of the Christlike love and humility that she was shown by these amazing ladies. I'm a dope, and she also forgave me. =)

This morning, I shared, in abbreviated form, my great respect for my leader's humility and kindness. I hope that Christ will grow me into a woman like that one day, and it makes me feel so good to know that she and others like her are leading our local Community Bible Study.