Monday, April 28, 2008

Monday Musings

Today was "inclimate weather" day at my girls' school which means they planned a day at the beginning of the school year specifically for snow, sleet, blizzard, or monsoon and it never came to fruition. Therefore, we were able to take the holiday today...on this glorious, sunny, spring Monday. Other than Bible study, I had no real plans for me and the girls, and usually I get a little nervous when I don't have something specific on the agenda. Usually, having no specific plans means the girls end up watching too much TV, fighting or messing up the house....all of which have the power to send me rummaging through my medicine cabinets for left-over anxiety medication, sleeping pills, or anti-nausea drugs. Any combination will do....

However, today was such a beautiful day that I simply couldn't dwell on the lack of plans. I put Emerie down for a nap and the older girls and I pulled the sleeping bag on to the front lawn to bask in the sun. (Why is the front yard so much more interesting than the back yard? Anyone?) Each of us had a book to read....yes, even Landrie. And for a good two hours we read, re-arranged the sleeping bag for the perfect amount of sun and shade, and took turns checking on the sleeping baby. Landrie took her usual position of offering idle chatter, with no regard to the fact that she had rather un-willing conversationalists. Kellie-Laine, who is my "anti-reader" got so engrossed in her novel that she completed over three hours of reading. This was a first for her.

Emerie joined us later, and we spent the latter part of the day blowing bubbles, eating popsicles, and singing. I had a great new recipe to try for dinner tonight, (which Cody loved) I didn't pout when he called to say he'd be late, and Kellie-Laine helped me clean the kitchen without complaint....then we all sat together and watched some old home videos of the girls from about three years ago.

Does this sound like a scene from Pollyanna? It does to me...only, it really happened. I'm not sure what to make of days like these which come far too seldom. It's such a nice break from the "rush, rush" that I'm usually in, and I'm starting to look forward to the slow pace of summer.

I've also noticed lately a peacefulness in my spirit about my job as a mom. I'm not sure what to attribute it to....I'm used to complaining about everything. Of course, I still have many moments when I complain, but those thoughts are brief and seem to be fewer and farther between. One thing that I can put my finger on is that my commitments have pretty much all wrapped up with school volunteering, choir, Motion youth group, UIL coaching, Bible study, etc. I don't have these external forces chipping away at my personal time or family time. Without these distractions, I'm able to simply be....sorry for sounding so existential, but it's true. I can be with my girls, talk to my husband, play outside, take walks, go for ice cream.....all without being distracted. Truly savoring the moment.

Another thing I can attribute to my recent peaceful spirit is that I've been starting my day with a simple yet powerful prayer: Lord, help me to make this day yours. Let me be a blessing to my kids. Let me take joy in my children. Just uttering these simple words has given me tremendous perspective. I'm not asking to be perfect....I'm not asking to be the world's greatest mom....I'm not asking for abundant patience. I'm asking for something that can be accomplished in me---today. I can be a blessing to my girls. I can find joy in moments with them. I can give this day over to my Savior.

And He, in His awesome creativity, answered my prayer with an inclimate weather day.... full of sunshine.

"The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning...
Lamentations 3:23-24"

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Gettin' Real

For the most part, I think my life is pretty transparent. I know some of you don't know me that well (or at all) but if you did, you'd know that my life is an open book. There's not much about my life that I'm unwilling to share....the good, the bad and the's part of what makes me me.

A few days ago my sister posted a blog about not having it all together...her life, her mothering skills, her duties as a wife...but yet she felt this urge to appear to have it all together. Does this sound familiar to anyone? It must ring a bell, especially with us moms, because her post got a lot of reaction.

I started wondering what kind of image or pretense I put on for others--intentional or unintentional. Why do we moms feel pressure to be SuperMom? Why do we give in to the snare of comparison? I do it. You do it. We all do it. And I think we need to give each other a break and especially give ourselves a break. Mommyhood is not easy, to say the least. When we embrace that fact, I think we reduce the pressure we feel to make everything seem hunky-dory. To quote one of my husband's favorite lines: it is what it is.

It's time for us to come alongside one another with empathy for the struggles of balancing our jobs as moms, wives, sisters, friends, etc. And in order to do that we have to get real with one another. Let it all hang out....the good, the bad and the ugly. I'm encouraging each one of you to share some of your common struggles or mishaps with motherhood. Share the real you.....that's what I'm doing today. I do not have it all together.

Here are some examples to prove it:

1. I don't wash juice cups or bottles each time they're used. Sometimes I just stick them back in the fridge until the next use.

2. My kids have worn their pajamas in public....sometimes they're matching pj's but sometimes they're not.

3. I forget to brush Emerie's teeth at least once a week.

4. I have re-gifted a gift.

5. I don't get out of bed until Emerie cries for her bottle. Some days it is 8:45 am before she wakes up.

6. Last week, after the 16th request from Landrie to "Watch me, momma." I simply replied, "No, thanks."

7. I talk on the phone while I play with my kids.

8. Many times, I think too much about what I'm wearing.

9. I will let clothes sit in the dryer for several days before folding them.

10. I have a hard time paying a compliment to family members.

11. I am hyper-critical of others.

12. Sometimes, the only thing that gets me through the week is my one day of Mother's Day Out.

13. Sometimes, the only thing that gets me through the day is nap time.

14. I spend too much money.

15. I'm not faithful to my quiet times.

16. I let my kids watch too much tv.

17. I won't cook certain recipes because it requires too many pots and pans-- which means more clean up for me afterwards.

18. I don't wash my pillow cases often because I only have one set that feels "soft enough."

19. The inside of my car is a total disaster. But the inside of my house is immaculate.

20. The reason my house is immaculate is because I spend more time picking up and straightening things than playing with my girls.

So there you have it. I don't share these things with you to create a pity party for myself. And I hope you aren't challenged to share things with me or others that make you feel terrible about yourself. I hope I've encouraged us, as women and mothers, to stop pretending. It isn't healthy. But what is healthy and cathartic is extending grace, empathy and mercy to each other. To come alongside one another and say "Me, too" or "I know exactly how you feel." Empathy unifies, and us mommies need unity to get through each day!

So fill me in....what are some "real" things about your life?

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Happy Birthday to My Man!

My husband just turned the big 3-5 and I wanted to take a moment to share with you thirty five reasons why I love him! Happy Birthday, sweetie! YOU are the love of my life....
1. In college, you waited in line for two hours with me to see a haunted house....only for me to step one foot inside the house and decide I couldn't go through with it.
2. You are patient with my shopping habit.
3. I love that you crawled through the window of my condo when I broke up with you while we were dating. It was such a cavalier gesture, and I never tried to break up with you again!
4. You put our family first and have given up hunting, sports, friends, etc. to make our family your first priority.
5. You are a good country dancer.
6. Your armpits smelly yummy....all the time. It's kind of freaky, but I'm glad I never have to worry about B.O.
7. You never cease to stop me or the girls. And you never complain.
8. I love that you balance my impatience with your deliberation.
9. I love that you didn't get mad when I put an ad in the paper to sell your truck because I was tired of driving it.
10. I love that you've worked hard to get us debt free (almost 5 years now!) and that you work hard to keep us debt free!
11. You are affectionate and always let me know you love me...even when I'm not talking to you due to PMS!
12. You are thoughtful.
13. You are always on my side.
14. You get up in the midst of the night to check on the "scary noises" I think I hear outside our house.
15. You get up and check on the noises Kellie-Laine hears, too.
16. You bathe the girls almost every night.
17. I love that our marriage is a partnership.
18. I love that you still flirt with me.
19. You are a great spiritual leader for our family.
20. I love that you drove fast on the way to the hospital to deliver Emerie....just for fun.
21. You are funny and witty.
22. You come up with wonderful analogies.
23. You are a great listener and you don't always try to "fix" the problem but will sometimes just listen.
24. You really are a phenomenal athlete.
25. You toned down your "Aggie Spirit" for me.
26. I love that you understand my need for "sister-only" time with Flo.
27. You have never raised your voice at me.
28. I'm completely secure in our marriage.
29. You pray for our family.
30. You understand that my job is sometimes hard and sometimes not fun, and you try to make it better.
31. You know how to fix a ponytail for Landrie, and you remember to put in a hair bow when you dress Emerie.
32. You are giving to the less fortunate and you are compassionate.
33. I love that you will do endless honey-do projects without complaint or fuss.
34. Your dimples.
35. And finally, I love that when I showed you all the baggage I carried from my only saw endless possibilities for our future.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Answers, Answers I Got' em!

Thank you for your questions. All four of you. Without further delay, I'll address your burning questions.

Tressa, whom I did not know until she de-lurked to pay me a sweet compliment, asked the following: where did I grow up and do I have any siblings?
A: I grew up in a small town called Atlanta, Texas (near Texarkana) so I guess you could consider me an East Texas gal. I have an amazing younger sister, Florence, who is my best friend. Unfortunately, I only discovered what a great friend she was in college. Before then, I thought she was pesky and annoying.

Tressa also asked: When you spray tanned, how long did it last? Have you gone back? I'm really wanting to do it.
A : I am now an official ooompa loompa....and I love it! Seriously, I have stuck with the spray tan regimen because I feel so much better when I'm tan. My makeup looks better, teeth whiter, and I'm actually wearing shorts three months sooner than last summer! I go every 6-7 days, and I really like that I'm not doing permanent damage to my skin, yet I have a healthy glow. You should do it, Tressa!

Another burning question from Tressa: When you see people like me (a fellow blogger) in the real world (Kids' Kingdom, HEB, etc.) do you feel weird having a conversation?
A: I don't feel weird because the only person I knew via blog before meeting them was YOU! It's cool....just another way to connect with people. I did see someone at Barnes and Nobles not too long ago that I recognized from her blog. She was a total stranger but somehow I blurted out, "I read your blog!" as she passed by me. Now that was a weird....almost as weird as the look she gave me.

Tressa's final question: Whats your favorite thing you like to do? With or without kids?
A: To be honest, there are many days that my favorite thing to do is anything without the kids! But in all seriousness, I'm a certified shop-a-holic. I shop. It's what I do. I'm good at it. I also like to pick up the house and restore its order, read, sleep, and waste lots of time on the computer searching for my dream house--which always happens to be somewhere like Madison, Wisconsin or Peoria, Illinois.

Emily is another gal I've never met but know from her blog. She asked: If you could travel anywhere where would it be? Why?
A: Anywhere with a white, sandy beach is my cup of tea. Why, you ask? Probably because I'm cold natured and I'm a terrible skier. I am, however, a FANTASTIC snow plower.

Juli, one of my bestest and dearest friends from high school asked: How can it have been 12 years since we've seen each other? (My best guess, I'm figuring my wedding as the last time! Crazy!)
A: Actually, Juli, the last time we saw each other was at my mom's funeral. You may not have remembered that visit because you were just doing what you've always done...being thoughtful. I will never forget you being there, though. It meant so much to me.

She asked another funny question: How in the WORLD do you have time to do all that you do with your crafts and your kids and your sweetie and still keep your house clean?!?!? David wants to know, LOL!!!!!!! (Make it something impossible for me, please! ;) )
A: I don't do it all...I have to pick and choose. Most of the time I sacrifice my crafty stuff for cleaning, but every once in a while I'll choose craft over clean. Then I spend the next four days roaming from room to room muttering to myself about the pigsty I call home, throwing all the laundry I can fit into one load, and ordering pizza. I then vow to never, ever under any condition attempt to be crafty.

Juli's final question was: Favorite meal to cook?
A: On average, I cook three to four times a week. It is really important to me to try and preserve our family meal time. It's almost uncommon these days for families to gather 'round the dinner table to eat and talk! Even though there's not a lot of talking, (but rather bribing kids to eat, stay seated, and stop touching each other) it's important to make dinnertime a valued and important thing now so that they'll get used to the tradition when they're older. My favorite meal to cook right now is medium-shelled pasta with zucchini and tomatoes in a white, cheesy cream sauce. It doesn't have a name.

My sweet friend, Adrielle, asked: What are some of you and Cody's favorite things to do/places to go on date nights?
A: Cody is a sweetheart and usually always arranges our dates, complete with getting the babysitter. Therefore, he also usually plans what we do. We're not that demanding....a night without kids is the biggest gift of all so what we do doesn't really matter. It's usually dinner and then coffee and dessert. Then I'm usually too pooped to do much else, so we'd rent a movie and go home.

Adrielle also wanted to know: If you could have a weekend getaway with no commitments, kids, etc., where would you go? Would you go alone or with people?
A: First of all, you all should know that I am no good at being alone. Think Jerry McGuire, when Renee says "you can't be alone....alone, alone, alone." That's me. I thrive on doing things with friends or my sister or husband. Even this weekend when Cody took Kellie-Laine to the Final Four game, I was really kind of pitiful the way I was moping around feeling sorry for myself. Oh, I enjoyed the evening to myself for a little bit, but then I started having these thoughts that everyone else on the planet was attending a party and I was the only one not invited. Then I just got sad. Isn't that pitiful? So if I'm going to do's going to include other people. I'd also choose to go here with Cody. This is our place. And it's a stones throw from College Station....even better.

Adrielle's final question was: What do you appreciate the most about your relationship with your sister?
A: I love that I can be completely honest about myself with Flo. No one else knows me the way she does. Probably not even Cody. I can share thoughts with her that have no business being voiced. I also love that she thinks I'm funny. She laughs at me. I like being funny. that's it. I hope you feel like you know me little better than before. If I get any other questions, I'll answer them in another post. I hope you won't remove me from your list of blogs to read. The end.

Wait, Wait.....Rose came in at the final hour with her burning desire to know who my favorite NKOTB is (if you don't know what NKOTB don't need to know my answer!)
A: Okay, here's the truth. My friends Jennifer, Katherine and my sister, Flo, all liked the New Kids. So to keep the peace, we kind of all chose a different New Kid to love. I chose Jonathan. But I realize now he didn't have much depth and wasn't really that great of a singer. He also had no charisma....but Jordan, now that's another story. He's who I would choose today. His name will be on my poster board sign when I attend their reunion concert with Flo. I will also be wearing a side-ponytail, pinch-rolled jeans, and an over sized t-shirt gathered to the side with a hair bow.


Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Puttin' Myself Out There

Okay, bloggerville. I'll be honest. I am totally at a loss for anything substantial to blog about. Sooooooo.....either I quit blogging until something inspiring hits me or I implement some corny Q&A post.

I'm going with corny.

Actually, I borrowed this idea from another blog that I read, but it seemed to work well for her (it could also have something to do with the fact that she gets about 35+ comments every time she blogs about nothing!). I'm not jealous or anything. I'm just sayin'........

So here's the deal-o:

Ask me a question. Any question. About ME. Do you wonder what kind of fabric softener I use? Interested in my favorite shampoo? Or are you into the good stuff like my most embarrassing moment? My biggest fear? Biggest regret? Post your question in the comments section, and I'll answer them! (I'm being rather presumptuous assuming there will be more than ONE question, eh?)

So that's the deal. I don't know if it's good blogging material, but it's better than the same nothingness I've been posting the past few weeks.

My life is now an open book.......sort of.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Prayerful Reminder

Let's all be lifting up Angie Smith (Selah blog) tomorrow. Many of us have been praying for God's grace and mercy to encompass her during her pregnancy.

Their little girl, Audrey Caroline, will be born tomorrow and isn't expected to survive. A miracle can happen, if He chooses. And if He doesn't--He's still the same loving, powerful, merciful God yesterday, today and tomorrow.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Mommyhood Musings

I'm sitting here, alone, tonight enjoying a free evening to myself.

Cody took Kellie-Laine to the Final Four game in San Antonio tonight. Apparently, the Final Four is, like, a big deal....I, of course, did not realize this. And maybe that's why Cody chose to take Kellie-Laine instead of me. She knows the game's a big deal, and she'll be able to understand what's going on whereas I would be more focused on checking out the latest female trends of those around me. Oh, well. It's only 8:30 pm and I now have the entire evening to do whatever in the world I want....and that feels really great.

So one thing Cody and I have been discussing lately is the idea of his upcoming vasectomy. And it's still just "idea." He's had one scheduled three different times now, and we've cancelled each one for various reasons. So according the laws of Murphy....I'm due to get pregnant any moment now. Ha!

Seriously do you know when you're done having kids? Do you feel it? Do you just make the decision without really being sure? Do you quit when you've hit a certain number? There are many, many, many, many moments each day when I'm quite certain we are through having kids. But recently, Cody and I have had--independent of each other--thoughts about not really being sure we're done. Perhaps it's that Emerie is so, so fun right now. She is just a joy. It's also so neat to see Kellie-Laine and the little ones interact together. Each milestone Emerie hits, is met with awe and sadness because it may be the last milestone I'll ever note.

On the other hand, Cody and I are ready to have some "alone time" again. We haven't been on a big trip together....without kids...since our honeymoon. (We've had a few little weekend trips thanks to my sister, though!). We've also committed to private schooling our kids, which means big $$$ to make this happen. Three kids in private school is tough, and about the time Landrie hits 10 years of age...we'll have two kids in private school and one in college!! I better start thinking about getting a job! Are finances a reasonable reason to stop having kids? It seems selfish.... And I musn't forget about the day-to day grind that isn't always so rosy. Did I mention that two weeks ago Emerie managed to take off her diaper in her crib and enjoyed the freedom to "go poop" without the plastic barrier? I've survived so much it seems: terrible two's, tragic three's, colic, morning sickness, mastitis, countless stomach bugs, visits to the ER, etc. But you know what they say about the Lord's mercies being new each morning.....

Many of my friends have said, "you'll know when you're done" so if I don't really feel convinced right now, does that mean we should leave that door open? I guess until God tells us otherwise, we'll just prop that door open...just an inch....and see what happens.

For now, here are some photos for you to enjoy of my three beautiful, wonderful, fun girls!