Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Talent

My daughter is an undiscovered voice-over talent. She could be a hawk for a nature program, a baby pig fighting for milk, screeching tires on a car in an action film, or the best screamer any horror movie could ever hope for. You get the picture, er... sound. You might be thinking "Not that sweet little doll baby with the big pink cheeks!" Oh yes, the kind of sounds I imagined when I thought about the "weeping and gnashing of teeth" as described in Matthew do emanate from my angel baby.
On a sweeter note. She learned the sign for "milk" today. She had learned the sign for "drink" before. We mistakenly used it as the sign for "milk." But it turns out to be convenient to assign a different gesture to cow's milk, which she had for the first time today, to differentiate it from formula. I showed her the udder-squeezing motion once and gave her the sippy cup. She drank some and then made the sign herself. My very own baby Einstein... or baby hawk, depending on her mood.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Bragging

I'll do a Christmas-wrap-up post, but I have to brag a minute on my one-year-old. Yep, she's one today and learning by leaps and bounds. No, she's not walking, but she's concetrating on other important stuff like communicating. I have no idea how this compares with other signing one-year-olds, but I'm pretty impressed with her sign arsenal.
She's known for a while: eat, more, all done, milk. Then she learned how to say: dog, please, thank you and hat. Most recently: baby, night-night, phone, cheese, and excuse me. Just yesterday, I was feeding her turkey and she signed "more cheese eat." Her first signed simple sentence! I am so impressed.
As far as verbal expression, she's pretty happy with all her made-up babblings. She is, as of yesterday, saying "uh oh" when she drops something. She's working on associating "Dada" with the man himself and she actually tried to say "Papa" this morning when I showed her a picture of him (after I said it, of course). I think we may be started on the fast track to learning more words. We'll soon find out.
Happy 1st Birthday Eden, my Dede, my baby. You're such a pretty, smart, happy little girl and Daddy and I are so proud of you and so happy you are ours. We love you so much and can hardly believe we have a one-year-old daughter. Keep up the good work! Jesus loves you!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Expectorating

Why do people spit? I can understand it if they chew... even though I don't understand why anyone would chew. I remember when I was a little girl, my dad used to help me dry off after my shower at night before bed and then he would help with my pj's and read to me. I must have seen someone spitting and thought I might like to try it. I guess kids just get ideas and don't really have reasons. It's just part of exploration. I knew not to spit outside and came to the conclusion that during a shower would be a good time to try. I was seeing how far I could direct it and wasn't really doing all that well. After my dad came in to dry me off, I stepped out and decided to try to spit back into the shower. He was not to happy about that. Here's his 4 or 5 year old girl spitting like she's waiting for her turn to bat! It's a bit of a blur what happened after that, but, suffice it to say, I was told that that wasn't very ladylike behavior.
So why do people spit? Can anyone tell me? I was waiting for Chuck to come out of the hospital yesterday, already contemplating writing a blog about this very topic and out walks this guy and promplty spits into the bushes right outside the hospital doors.
I just don't get it. Anyone got any ideas?

Monday, December 22, 2008

Christmas Letter

I wasn't planning on doing this, but Ali from Two in my Cup did it and I thought it might be a good idea, in case I missed anyone when sending out Christmas letters, or in case anyone reads this that might like to have been sent a Christmas letter.

Here you are:

Merry Christmas to you and your family! After a year off from Christmas letter writing, I’m back on the job and still determined to make it a tradition. Last Christmas, I was waddling around with an overdue baby in my belly and had neither the creative energy nor the desire to write. All my thoughts were on getting that baby O-U-T.
Well, she came in God’s perfect timing. Our dear daughter, Eden Abigail, was born December 30th, 2007. She was 21 inches long and weighed 7 pounds, 1 ounce. This year has been our first as a family of three with many countless firsts experienced related to our new position as parents. Our sweet Eden is the light of our lives and becomes more precious to us every day.
Charles not only took on the role of Daddy this year, but also that of Doctor. He graduated in the Medical College of Georgia School of Medicine class of ’08 and matched at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, Mississippi. He has completed half of his year as an Internal Medicine Intern and will continue here for four more years following as a Radiology Resident.
We knew we would be moving this year, we just didn’t know where. We were hoping and praying for a match at Emory University in Atlanta. Ultimately though, we knew we had no choice but to submit to God’s will and pray that it come to pass in our lives. The days leading up to the match were some of our most stressful and the anticipation just before opening the envelope that would reveal to us where we would build our lives for our first five years as a family was palpable. We both teared up when we read “Jackson, Mississippi.”
We were disappointed, scared, apprehensive and sad to think of being so very far from the people and places we knew and loved. We were about to be stretched in a big, big way. There were more tears and sad goodbyes as we packed up and made the long drive from Augusta to Jackson in a caravan of one giant moving van and two cars that included Charles, his dad, me, my parents, Eden and Dolce.
About a month before we moved, we embarked on a week-long house-hunting expedition. We looked through about 50 houses online and narrowed them down to the ones we wanted to see in person. Our wonderful real estate agents, Leslie and Melissa, worked tirelessly with us to help us stay within our budget of both time and money. With God’s favor and direction, we closed on a beautiful three bedroom, two bath ranch house in a wonderful neighborhood in Northeast Jackson. We are still enjoying it and continue to make it our own, bit by bit, project by project.
God has faithfully blessed us and guided us in the areas we have asked Him to. He has given us a church where the Word is preached unashamedly and dance is welcomed. He has given me friends who can provide Godly support as I continue to pursue unattainable perfection in the quest to be a “good Mom.” He has blessed us with neighbors who are welcoming and helpful. And He has blessed us with vehicles that can take us back, every so often, but not often enough, to the ones we miss so much.
Most recently, we experienced the sadness of loss. We became pregnant in September but the baby only grew for 7 weeks before he went on to be with Jesus. We felt so much love and support during our grief, and for that we are thankful. God was with us through it all and I continue to feel His comfort in a very real way. I had no anxiety or issues during the pregnancy and my body finished the process naturally, as I had prayed. God has quickened the healing process in my heart, as He continues to heal my womb. Our hopes are in Him and therefore, still high, that Eden will have a sibling by the end of next year.
We have grown as individuals, as parents and as a family over the past year, but especially since moving to Jackson. We are learning to be independent, make the big decisions, train our daughter, make time for each other, find good deals, keep house and plan for the future, all while making a life for ourselves in the present.
Praise God from Whom all blessings flow and for His ultimate gift to us, without which we would most certainly be in big trouble. Blessings and Joy to you this Christmas!

Inspiration





I'm already looking at inspiration photos for my next maternity shoots. We're not pregnant yet, but that doesn't mean I can't plan! I am so blessed that my mother is a wonderful photographer who always wants to try out new things and experiment with me when I ask for stuff she might not have tried yet. I might be biased, but I think some of her best work has been done while working with me. You can check out her site at www.familymomentsphotography.com. There are pictures of me in the maternity gallery and in some other galleries too.
When I was pregnant with Eden I spent loads of time on the internet searching for unique inspiration photos for my shoots. Some of them were of pregnant women and some were just cool shots that I wanted to imitate while pregnant.
I just thought of a great idea for a picture series and I really hope my mom and I can make it work. Here's the idea: I didn't get any dancing pictures last pregnancy. I got lots of other amazing ones, but none dancing. So, this time, I thought it would be cool to create a set of four images that are framed side by side where I am doing a movement of some sort in sequential order. Does that make any sense? The first picture would be the beginning of the movement, the second picture would continue it, the third pic would continue and the fourth would be the end of the movement. Here's the twist. Pic one is at, like, 1 month, pic two is 3 months, pic three is 6 months and pic four is 9 months. I'll wear my hair the same and stuff, so it will look like she just took four back to back shots of a movement, but my belly grows. Do you like it? I think the biggest obstacle will be that I won't be in Altanta as often as I'd like because, after Christmas, Chuck has no more time off until May. I guess it may require Eden and I taking a little weekend trip on our own sometime... we'll see.


Sunday, December 21, 2008

Unapologetic Peace

This blog was inspired by the message our pastor gave today. He's a real "tell it like it is" kinda guy and today was no different. He did actually stay pretty focused and gave a cohesive message where he covered the three points he promised to cover... thank goodness.
The message was titled "Prince of Peace." He read the passage in Isaiah 9

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

He made reference, as he so often does to the signs of the times and the fallen and crumbling world system we live in. A note on that: I realized today what an honor it is that I can celebrate the birth of Christ freely and openly and that, overall, my country supports it. It's on all the calendars. The Christmas themed stuff is everywhere. Yeah, it's all been watered down and hyped-up and Santa's taken over... but none of it would be happening if we weren't celebrating Christmas at all. My freedom to sing the carols publicly, wish people a Merry Christmas and display a creche could be taken away in my lifetime. Lawsuits are widespread. Satan is looking for willing participants to spread his message of tolerance. A tolerance that means Christians must be silenced so that any and all false religions can thrive. I heard on the radio just the other day about a Jewish Mom who sued her daughters school over their music class singing the song "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" because it uses the word "Christmas" and also mentions "Santa Claus." I'm sure that music teacher went to great lengths to pick safe and acceptable songs that no one would object to. The objection to the word Christmas because of it's direct association with Christ makes sense (if it makes sense at all), but Santa?? We're not even raising Eden with a strong sense of Santa because we feel that it doesn't place Christ in the center of Christmas to do so. Anyway, I became aware that I take for granted my privilege to celebrate the true meaning of the season how I choose.
So, on to peace. Pastor mentioned that there had just recently been an international conference held to promote peace between peoples and tolerance between religions. They referenced a book by Gorbachev that states that exclusive religions must be eradicated. Unfortunately, just with a couple of quick searches online, I can't find the exact quote for myself. Maybe you can... The gist of it is that the road to peace is acceptance of everything and eradication of the unaccepting. This time of year reminds us to celebrate our friendship, kinship no less, with the Prince of Peace Himself. Everybody at that summit missed it. Gorbachev and his followers have missed it. It's not complicated. It's about surrender to Him. Yes, it's exclusive, but it's open to all. Yes, it's a global issue, but God made the world and all those in it.
Now, on to my title. I've experienced this peace for myself in a very real way just recently. I wondered (and sometimes still tend toward wondering) if there was something wrong. Something waiting to erupt beneath the surface, something I hadn't let myself experience. You know, repression of the grief or something else a psychiatrist would suggest as a reason for my unexplainable peace. I knew it was God. I had asked Him for it. But I felt apologetic about it. Others go through so much grief. This can't be right. This can't be ok. Something's wrong with me. (If that isn't Satan twisting a gift from God, I don't know what is.)
The three points Pastor had today were: 1. Get right with God. 2. Let God give you Peace. 3. Experience Peace with others.
He said everyone, including Christians, is trying to complicate it. I could totally see how I was doing that in my own situation. My experience was too simple. I went to God. I got peace from Him and I was able to be glad for others who were having healthy pregnancies. I was able to mourn, but not despair and not have tension when interacting with my husband or family. Peace, that's what it was.
Now take that and apply it to whatever you need to apply it to. Finances, marriage, relationships, work, mothering, fathering, whatever. In your weakness, He is strong. That means a weakness is merely an opportunity for Him to work, not a failure to fret over. That's peace in a situation that would usually be stressful.
It does seem too easy, but why would our God want to make it difficult. You think He gave His only Son to die for us so we could struggle to find the right prayer, the right combination of good works, the right feeling, the right fill-in-the-blank to open the combination lock on all His blessings? That's pretty pointless on His part then.
He wants us to have ALL the good things He offers! And we shouldn't be apologetic about receiving them just because others aren't! He offers them the same free gifts, and we can be the ones who bring the message! That's who I want to be this Christmas: an unapologetic messenger of Peace.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

The Stockings all Hung by the Chimney With Care

I think we've got most of our shopping done for Christmas.
I've made four unique photo books of Eden's first year for the grandparents and great-grandparents.
We're getting this wonderful book called "To Our Children's Children" for Chuck's grandparents. It's something we bought my Grandpa Gault the year before he died. It's just a guided journal that encourages the recipient to write out the memories of their life to pass on as a keepsake. The typed, bound copy my Grandpa returned to us is one of the most precious things I have from him.
We're baking for the aunts. I found a great carrot cake recipe from Giada on Food Network and I have some cute snowflake shaped cupcake... thingys.
My parent's said after 30 years of accumulating stuff as a couple, they can't really think of anything they need. I suggested they pick a charity and let people know how to donate in their name. We're still waiting on their decision.
The last person I needed to get something for was my cousin who's about 4-5 years younger than me. Yesterday, I came across this great sterling silver tree pendant and Psalm 1 came to mind:

1 Blessed is the man
Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly,
Nor stands in the path of sinners,
Nor sits in the seat of the scornful;

2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD,
And in His law he meditates day and night.

3 He shall be like a tree
Planted by the rivers of water,
That brings forth its fruit in its season,
Whose leaf also shall not wither;
And whatever he does shall prosper.

It's perfect for her because she's come from a broken home, surrounded herself with the wrong people, broken away, come back to God, and has started making a concerted effort to trust Him, keep a job and go to school. I'm so proud of her and I want to encourage her. I think God gave me this idea, so hopefully it will speak to her heart.
Our Christmas cards are going out in batches, and all in all, everything's pretty much on schedule. I'm proud of myself my first Christmas with a baby.
Speaking of the baby, she's yelling from her crib. Nap's over. :)

Saturday, December 06, 2008

The Hunt

It's wonderful to have a child who can feed herself. It's so freeing because I no longer have to roll the office chair over to the highchair in the kitchen and put each puff in her mouth and then each spoonful and then hold the bottle. I can sit in the office chair in front of the computer in the office and check email or... write a blog.
I'm writing this one just after she's finished and she's fussing in her highchair right now because I'm a little frustrated with her. I was over here reading someone else's blog while she drank her milk and then I heard the sound of the bottle tapping the tray, which meant it was not in her mouth. This is a very typical moment, by the way, lately... She's finished drinking and now she has a bottle in one hand and is looking at me, sitting straight up, just staring. I say "Ok, you finished? Very good. Mommy will come get the bottle." And I keep talking as sweetly as possible about how good she did and that she's all done while I quickly, but not too quickly cover the 6 feet or so of kitchen tile between us. In slow motion, I can see her moving the bottle out over the side of the tray. I try to move faster, but still not fast enough to make her drop it before I get there. I've tried lunging and yelling "NOOOOOoooo ma'am!" But it was already on the floor before I was halfway there. I feel like a tiger, but one who is trying to sweet talk it's prey into staying put. Still sing-songing how good she is, I keep eye contact and try to read any signals that she's about to let go. I'm one step away. "NOoooo ma'am!" I yell, leaping to try to intercept, as the bottle clatters to the floor... again. I smack her hand and firmly say "NO!"
She smiles sweetly at me and reclines. Then she signs "more." grrrrrr

Friday, December 05, 2008

Dexter's Lab

It's been a while since I did a favorite Friday post. This video is longer than most, but it's the only decent Dexter's Laboratory cartoon video I could find on YouTube.
I love Dexter's Lab. There's no special reason why, it just entertains me and makes me smile. I think the concept of a well-meaning extremely short-statured boy-genius who has so much brain power that he has to constantly be inventing things while trying to evade his loving, but air-headed sister Deedee, all with an accent that begs you to try to replicate it... is funny.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Give Thanks for the Beach


Here are some photos from our trip.
I really enjoy Eden at this age, but, man! she doesn't travel well. She's at the point where she can't just sleep the whole trip, but she can't entertain herself either. She got pretty frustrated with being in a carseat for 6 hours. Being at the beach was a breeze, though. she was an angel and there were plenty of willing helping hands to hold her and coo.
We got a date night, which was extremely nice. We talked about our childhoods, told stories the other one hadn't heard and reminded each other of fun times while we were dating. It almost felt like we didn't have a child and were newlyweds again. So nice... but so nice to know there was a sweet baby back at the condo.



I participated in my first "jumping on the beach" picture. Always wanted to do one, never have, until now.




Monday, November 24, 2008

Looking ahead

We got our double stroller in the mail today. We ordered it a couple of weeks ago in preparation for the new baby. It could have been a time for tears and dwelling on our loss. Instead, I was excited... excited about the one who would fill that second seat next year. Thank you God for hope in place of despair and for joy instead of sorrow!
I went to the doctor today to get checked to make sure everything was safe and going as it should. My body began cleaning itself out on Friday and today everything looked great. Everything's still not finished, but it's all downhill from here and no surgery needed. Another answer to prayer. We have to wait three months to conceive and I'm to continue to take my prenatal vitamins since we plan to try as soon as we're allowed.
I'm already excited about trying again. I really thought I would be emotionally tender and cautious about trying again for months, but I want that little one that I know God wants us to have. I'm excited for what He's got planned.
We leave for Destin on Wednesday without a worry. It's so appropriate that this week's theme is Thanksgiving because that's what we're doing. God has seen us through and given us amazing grace. He is so good!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Vacation

As I wait for my body to take it's course, my thoughts turn to our vacation to Destin for Thanksgiving. I think even though we just took a vacation, this one will be much needed. I have so much to be thankful for and I am so glad that I do not have to live in despair and bitterness over recent events. I am excited to go be with people that understand our circumstances and care about our family. I am hoping for some relaxation and emotional renewal.

This is where we will be staying. There's a wonderful outlet mall right across the street and lots of good food to be eaten. Now that I have no food or drink restrictions, you'd better believe I'll be taking advantage of all that's offered!

Friday, November 07, 2008

Dance, again...of course!

I think this West Coast Swing is soooo much better than what they could be doing at their prom. I love the music. I love the skill and practice it takes to accomplish this. I love the partnership. There's just so much about it that's better than booty shakin'.
Enjoy!

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Chocolatey

I love it when the world tells the truth. I think it's so fascinating when the songs they sing, the metaphors they use and the stories they invent tell the real story.


For example: The new Axe Body Spray commercial where the guy is made of chocolate... He obviously wants girls attention and in previous Axe commercials there're almost always clothes coming off and who-knows-what happening behind closed doors. So, with that premise in mind, he leaves to go about his daily business and throughout the day, women are licking him, taking bites out of him, sometimes he's tearing parts of himself off to make them happy, and eventually, his whole arm is ripped off. The whole time, he has a huge smile on his face an a vacant look in his eyes.
I think this is a perfect metaphor for what happens when we give ourselves physically (not necessarily sexually, but that too) to people in order to feel loved or to feel fulfilled or just have fun. At the end of it, we are not whole. We have hunks taken from us, devoured by others. Many people get numb to this or just assume that it's the only way for them to feel accepted, so they actually seek it out, giving parts of themselves away to entice.
This commercial could have been an excellent Christian short to show in a Sunday school class or youth group. The world often does a better job, a better quality job of putting these things together. Christians seem to always be ripping off the great ideas of the world. But, that's another blog.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

An exerpt from www.angelmother.blogspot.com that I enjoyed... and should be able to relate to soon enough.

Grocery shopping was easy when it was just me and Hannah. If I got the timing just right, she slept the whole time. When she was six months old she would bounce to the tunes Kroger muses its customers with. Now that she is a boundless toddler and has a sister that wants to follow every footstep, grocery shopping is no longer a fun trip - for Mom. Don't get me wrong, it is very entertaining; and I get my fair share of excercise. I'm either pushing the cart as fast as I can with two toddlers strapped in the toy car attachment that (thank goodness) Kroger provides. Or I'm constantly nagging my oldest to stay by Mommy while trying to keep my youngest from jumping out of the cart.Today was extra hard. Both my girls are recovering from colds. Juliet seems to be regressing, however. She cried the entire time and Hannah just wanted to help. So, she helped and helped and helped. She's a good little helper. Sometimes a little too eager filling my cart with all sorts of things. Sometimes I don't find them until check-out. "Don't need this, don't need this, don't need this...what IS this?"Today Hannah ran away from me a lot. Before she got away from me the FINAL time she told me she was just "looking for something to eat". Then she bounded down the beer and wine section. Well, she's not gonna find it there I thought. Hannah exclaimed aloud, "Oh, I found beer. I just want beer. Look at all that beer!" There were a couple people down that isle shopping for a meal accompaniment I presume. Eyes glanced at Hannah and then at me. What in the world do you suppose those people thought? I suddenly became self-conscious. There I was in a tank, no make-up, a bourgeoning belly, a crying 17 month old and a 3 year old who wants beer. I asked if she wanted pizza with it, scooped her up and walked away. I didn't care. I thought it was the funniest thing. I didn't think I had to explain that I'm not a negligent parent. And I didn't feel like I had to go into this long speech about why only adults drink beer. Better to ignore it I thought.

Update

I thought I should update some things that I've blogged about in the past.
Our church:
We were asked by the pastor the first Sunday we went to please attend at least 9 times before coming to a conclusion about the church. We haven't been anyplace else yet. He clarified why 9 times this past Sunday. He said he had no idea, just seemed like a good odd number that would stick in peoples heads. There you go. That's our down-to-earth pastor for ya. Yes, he still adds syllables at the end of words when he gets passionate and, yes, it still distracts me....but he is passionate. And he is bold. And I appreciate those qualities. I don't have to like his sermon style (very scattered, many bunny trails) or his speaking style to know that he's preaching truth in a time of rampant deception. He's not afraid to step on toes and he loves it when someone feels convicted to change. He's also not afraid to be real and come to a costume party with buck teeth and a ponytail-hat. *scary*
New friends:
I'm still hanging out with that same group of chruch mommies, although the numbers keep thinning. There are only three of us left now, which is sad. I do really enjoy that time and look forward to it every Thursday, even if it's just me and one other mom.
As for friends through the Spouses Alliance, that's not going as well. The Friday playdates haven't been consistent and I've neglected to go to several functions for one reason or another. The Bible study never happened and now, it's kinda awkward to think about getting it started. Maybe something will change in January.
Our house:
We're still not unpacked completely. A few boxes and random piles of stuff have found their home in the hall closet where they are easily ignored. There is still painting that needs to be done. I started the trim in the Master, but never finished and the original plan was to do the trim in all the bedrooms. Then there's also crown moulding to put up. We really need to do that in the next few months or else I'm really gonna start feeling guilty about the nice saw my dad bought us specifically for that project. The fireplace needs a good professional cleaning. We need trees removed from the yard. We need to landscape. I need to figure out how Eden and Dolce are both going to be allowed in the backyard once Eden starts walking. No one goes out there now, so no one has to watch thier step, if you know what I mean.
The town:
We like Jackson. We'll see if, in five years, we can build enough memories to where we might miss it when we leave. Of course, I always miss the people from the places I leave, but the places themselves... not necessarily. Jackson has all we need (except Einstein Bros. Bagles and Moe's and Macy's and Whole Foods). We'll be able to take some neat road trips while we're here. Memphis, Natchez, New Orleans, maybe more. I think it will be a unique time for us to explore a part of the US we might not have bothered to. We still love our neighborhood and our neighbors. Nothing is more than 15 minutes away and most things are 5 minutes away or less. Atlanta can't compete with that. There's lots more in Atlanta, though, that still has us looking forward to when we can make our permanent home there.
The Y:
I have continued to love the opportunity to take a class every day, if I like and be able to get an hour or more away from Eden by utilizing thier childcare. As my pregnancy progresses, I'll be taking advantage of their Fit Pregnancy classes and the option of swimming. That's gonna be SWEET when the summer heat rolls around again and I'm feeling like a whale. I found out that I still haven't taken a Zumba class. Yeah, the instructor that teaches the classes that I've been to is certified, but he doesn't like the Zumba material or music, so he just makes up his own stuff using his Latin dance knowledge and Latin music. So I've really been attending a basic Latin dance class for individuals. hmph! I haven't been recenlty, because it's too early in the morning for me to drag myself out of bed. I feel drugged whenever I wake up, either in the mornings or from a nap, so it's extra hard to get moving.
Teaching:
I've completed my four class series with Salsa Mississippi on Ladies' Styling. They've asked me to continue with more classes in January. I also attended a local community ballroom event hosted once a month by Magnolia Ballroom. They've asked me to do a workshop and exhibition in January as well. Yea for teaching and for extra cash!
I think that's about it. Anything I've missed??

Friday, October 31, 2008

Christian or Pagan?

This is a mish-mosh of things I read on the web regarding Haloween and it's origins. I've never celebrated it, except by going to church and playing games to get candy. My parents always put a sign on the door every year that said "no candy here." I'm torn, now that I have a little one. I still don't like the "trick-or-treat" idea and I've always felt that the "church alternative" should be more for a witnessing tool than a way to make sure my kids don't feel left out. "Awwww, no fair mommy, everyone else gets to celebrate and honor all things evil tonight...and get candy! Why can't we have fun too... and get candy?!" Anyway, here's what I found online. Maybe it will make you think again or reconfirm what you've come to believe about today's celebration.

Some historians (and my parents), trace the origin of Halloween to the Druids. The Celtic people feared the night of October 31. It was the night of their festival of Samhain, Lord of the Dead. Elsewhere, I read that Samhain signifies "summers end" or November, not a god. ??? The Celtics feared Samhain and in order to please him, the Druids (Celtic priests) held cruel fire rites in his honor. They burned criminals, prisoners, and animals alive. By observing the victims die, the Druids saw omens of the future, both good and bad. The powers to make predictions of the future were thought to be strongest on this night, because the Druids believed that the spirits were allowed to roam free on this night of the year. The Druids believed the spirits were powerful, and if they were treated right, they would help with predictions of the future. However, if the spirits were ignored, they would punish the Celtic community. They wore costumes to either frighten the spirits or to make themselves unrecognizable to them. Opinions differ.
Other historians trace the origin of Halloween back to the ancient and enduring Christian tradition of celebrating the lives of Christian martyrs on the anniversaries of their deaths. Pope Gregory III dedicated a chapel in St. Peter’s Basilica to “all saints” on November 1 (not sure the year) and November 1 became All Saints Day, otherwise known as All Hallow’s Day. The night before became All Hallow’s Eve (“Halloween” being a colloquial contraction of that phrase). While Halloween began as a localized celebration, Pope Gregory IV extended its observance to all of Christendom in the 9th Century AD.
Most of our holidays that began as Christian reverence for Biblical events have been supplanted by secular celebrations. For example, trick-or-treating has eclipsed pious regard for Christian martyrs.
So, hallowed or pagan, saints or evil spirits?
We are going to Hallowed We at our church tonight. Eden will be dressed in a ladybug costume. There will be candy and a funny program.
Our neighborhood is having a potluck, parade and games as a safe trick-or-treating alternative. I guess we won't have to put up a sign.
*sigh* Being a parent is hard.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Brrrrr

Our heater stopped working about 5 days ago. Day 1: It worked in the morning and then, about mid-day, it stopped. We put a service request in with our home warranty company and didn't think much of it.
Day 2: Chuck was on call the next day and night, so the baby and I stayed home and moved a lot to keep warm. I decided to check on our service request, looked up the number and pulled out the paperwork. To my dismay, as I sat waiting for a representative to take my call in the order in which it was received, I found that our home warranty didn't cover our heating and a/c units. I hung up and called Chuck to break the news and tell him we needed to figure out who else to call for service.
Day 3: The next morning, I was awakened early by a screaming baby. She had woken up cold and miserable :( so I brought her to bed with me and we were able to sleep a couple more hours. I called my mom and dad to ask if they had any advice before we called a service rep. Mom said to try and find the pilot light first and then call someone. Well, I'd rather be cold inside the house than cold under the house (that's where our unit is), so I had to wait for Chuck to get home. In the meantime, I looked over the paperwork for our warranty again and realized it did, in fact, cover the heat, thank the Lord. Chuck was finally able to get under the house around 4pm, but couldn't find anything that indicated a pilot light. He then called our warranty company, only to find out that we had not yet been matched with a service provider. We were matched over the phone, and we called the company to see what time they could come. They were swamped. It might be tomorrow before they could come, they said. *shiver* Ok, so our heat will be fixed the next day at the latest.
We decided to spend the night in a hotel for the baby's sake (and mine). This part of the story could be a whole other post, so I'll try to be brief. Eden chose that particular night to sleep from 9pm to midnight and then be up talking, crying or just sucking on her fingers staring into space the rest of the night. Of course, all this activity was not confined to her bed. If she was in her bed, she was screaming, which you can't really ignore in a hotel room. So, from midnight to 2am, I held her and rocked her and sang to her and glared at her and shuushed her because Chuck was trying to get some sleep (he'd only slept a couple of hours at the hospital the night previous). She really was dog-tired at that point, but wouldn't or couldn't go to sleep. I thought I'd let her cry it out in her crib for just 15 minutes so I could lay flat for just that long. I did, and she cried. Chuck got up to take a shift, and then brought her to bed with us to see if that would work. Nope... fussing and writhing and slapping us in our faces and pulling our hair was all she wanted to do. I couldn't stand it any more and got out of bed to rock her again. I told Chuck to just go back to the house, bundle up, and get some sleep. He did around 4am. I let her crawl around the hotel room until she just sat on the floor near her crib and cried then I brought her back into the bed with me and FINALLY she fell asleep. We slept from about 5:30 to 8:30am. I really don't know if it would have been better to just stay home. If I was going to be out of bed for most of the night, I'm glad I had a warm room to be in. The experience just wasn't quite what we pictured.
Day 4: We got a call at 1pm to let us know the service tech would be there before 3pm. He came and voila! fixed the switch. (turns out there's no pilot light) We had heat!!! Needless to say, we cranked it up. A few hours later, no heat. That's right, it's not working again. A call to the service company reveals that it's no quick fix this time, a part has to be ordered and it will take a week to receive it. Chuck prays that evening that our heat would be fixed as soon as possible for the baby's sake. We make it through the night with a brand new space heater in the baby's room and an extra layer of clothes and blankets for us.
Day 5: Today. The same guy comes back over around 9:30 to check on exactly what part is needed. He reminds me that it may take a week to get and adds that depending on the possibilty of backorder, it could take TWO weeks... or they might also have a similar part in their warehouse, but don't count on it. I told him we were praying for the soonest possible fix. He came back an hour later with a part that they found in their warehouse. Praise the Lord!
The heat is blowing from the vent onto my feet as I type and it is truly wonderful.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

A Good Habit

We were just remembering a funny incident. It's extremely short, but I had to put it here and share. (Hopefully it's not one of those "you had to be there" moments)

I have had to learn the hard way not to grab any of Chuck's pants that have been worn, but not yet placed in the dirty clothes basket unless I check all the pockets. If I just grab the basket, I can be assured that he has already done the pocket checking and I won't end up with checks, cash or receipts in the wash. This being said... apparently, it is so much of a habit for him to check pockets before throwing pants into the basket, that Eden's tiny jeans were no exception. I think we may have been unpacking from a trip and as we sorted the dirty from the clean, he happened to come across a pair of Edens jeans, which I deemed dirty. He stuck about three fingers (all that would fit) into each front pocket as I just stood and watched, thinking he was joking. He looked up at me looking at him and I could see the realization cross his face. Eden probably doesn't have anything in her pants pockets. We both had a good chuckle. Habits know no boundaries.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

The Avoidance of a Mess

I have a little rant about one of the moms at playgroup. This makes me wonder what people have to rant about when I'm not there, but, hopefully, I will not make the same mistakes that I get upset with. I'll probably just make different ones.
What frustrated me so, was a mom not taking a close enough interest in what her child was doing or had the potential to do at someone else's house. The scene: This child is a big boy, cruising, curious and a cross between a whirlwind and a bulldozer. He has pushed Eden over before just to crawl in a straight line to his destination. I had brought lunch and was eating it on our hostess' coffee table, including a drink. The hostess has an infant that she was tending to and I was about to have to feed Eden.
As I was eating the first part of my meal and just giving Eden some puffs, I was having to fend him off because he was so interested in my food and especially my drink. He had a sippy cup, but, of course, my drink was more interesting. His mom was sitting about 5 feet away saying "no" and his name in a menacing tone over and over... and over. I kept blocking my drink as she explained that he wanted to touch it or play with it. (duh, I know that) This would be when I would expect you to redirect your child physically or try to entertain him. Am I strange? Then, I had to start feeding Eden her baby food and could no longer protect my drink and the hostesses carpet, but I was not done with my meal yet, so I wasn't going to throw it away. I told his mom that I couldn't block him from my food anymore and she said "It's ok, I'm watching him." From five feet away!!! This boy was exactly six inches away from my drink... well within slapping distance and I could just see it all over the carpet. Apparently, so could my hostess, because she felt the need to grab him by the back of his overalls and put him in her lap with the pretense of wanting to play with him. I'm sure she didn't want his mom to suspect that she was really taking the preventative measures that the mom should have been taking. The mom seemed oblivious. "Oh yes, he loves to be bounced and held up in the air." Hmmmm. So that's something you could have been doing with him. I see. *sigh*
Later in the playdate the little boy had gotten a couple of wooden coasters and was banging them on the glass coffee table top. It sent shivers down my spine. She didn't take the coasters away, oh no, nope... she just went with a trusty "no." (trusty isn't really a good descriptor of how effective "no" is for her, by the way) Once again, the hostess stepped in and took her coasters away from him, apologizing (yes, apologizing) for them being out. "That's ok, he gets into everything at our house too." Wha? I guess I shouldn't be surprised, but wouldn't you want to try and find an effective solution for that? Isn't that stressful?
The kicker is that this mom's about to become a nanny and have her child over at someone else's house all day while she watches their kids. eek.
Training, people! Training! Train up your child in the way they should go. Let your yes be yes and your no be no. Get involved, redirect, sidetrack, substitute, then work on more training at home!
Ok, I'm done.

OK GO!

I cannot get enough of this video. I have no idea why I like it soooo much, but it makes me smile. I don't know what else to say, except that it is one of my favorite music videos...ever.

Monday, October 20, 2008

My Cup Runneth Over

I have a new blog now! I decided I needed another one since I would want to write about my pregnancy, but still want to save this blog for other life stuff. So add www.twoinmycup.blogspot.com to your list and come check on me from time to time.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Casting Crowns

AAAAuugh! I missed another Favorite Friday. Sorry guys. Here's the make-up one...

Here's a video compilation with the words to my favorite song from one of my favorite Christian bands; Casting Crowns. This song always moves me. I want to create some choreography to it, but I just haven't felt released to do it yet. Maybe God has it planned for the future.
The basic truths in this song always bring me back to how small I am and how BIG my God is. It's kind of absurd to even have to remind myself what a big God He is. It's absurd to have to remind myself that He has no beginning or end, that He created all that is and knows all that will be. It's absurd to be afraid when I have the knowledge of such a great God. But I forget, and I fear. Imagine how we would live if we never had to remind ourselves. Imagine how unimportant our needs would be. Imagine how trivial our stress would be.

Lord, help me be reminded of Your greatness so often that it may finally become a part of who I am. I am Yours. I am a branch intimately connected to the Vine. Cause your Life to flow through me, affecting not only me, but this life inside of me and the lives of all I meet. Make me Yours. I want to be aware of Your greatness and Your ability and my puniness and inability. When I realize those truths is when I am happiest. Thank You for being infinitely patient and everlastingly loving. I praise You and You alone, for You are worthy of all my praise.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Vindication

Another short baby brain episode: Today, at mommy playdate, I was just sure that someone mentioned painting a wall "nipple colored." I can't even remember now what they really said, because we started joking about whether or not Lowe's would match that color if we asked. hehe

Here's the thing, though... all my crazy baby brain stuff is totally ok with me. Know why? Because I have a bun in the oven! Yep, we did it again! I'm already feeling differently, emotionally, about this pregnancy. The first is so special, but this one is somehow even more special. I couldn't even fathom that I actually had an embryo inside of me the first time. This time. I'm completely aware and completely already in love. I'm so happy for Eden, for all the wonderful experiences she'll have as an older sister and for her to have a playmate.
I had no feeling one way or the other with the gender of my first, but I'm so convinced this is a boy. It's weird how much of a "knowing" I have. Of course, I had a similar feeling about Eden coming on December 10th and she came on the 30th... so, time will tell.
We are rejoicing and feel so blessed. We covet your prayers and, of course, I'll be updating here.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Secret Agent Man

We went to Lowe's today to get a dehumidifier. I decided I was tired of slipping in between damp sheets at the end of the day. ick.
While we were there, I had another instance of baby brain. I went to get some help from customer service and happened to glance above the door we came through on our way in. Above the door in big red letters was "Pregnancy Exit Only." Then I squinted. Oh, Emergency, not Pregnancy.
Another random happening: While we were waiting for someone to come help us in appliances, Chuck decided to go look at coffee water filters. I waited by the dehumidifiers, in case someone actually decided to show up. No one did. But, I amused myself by watching a gray haired man and his grown daughter duck in and out of the appliance aisles hiding from his wife. I do not know why they were hiding, but it was sure funny to watch. He would duck out of sight a few aisles away from her and then pop his head up in between two coffee makers to see where she was and if she had noticed them. Then they would duck down and scurry around the corner in the open to get to a different aisle and that head would pop up again. The really funny part was when he scurried out of an aisle and into the one my husband was in. He immediately stood up and walked right back the other way while brushing the side of his nose with his hand as if the embarassment he felt was a fly that had landed on his nose. hehe. They continued to act like secret agents, but with a bit less ducking and shifting after that.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Strike! Strike!

My baby is going through a nap strike. Now that she's learned to sit up on her own, she requires straps if I expect her to stay in a prone position in her crib. I half expect to walk into her room and see her sitting there with a little sign held high, "No naps for me!"
I'm not sure if she really knows how to lay herself back down after she sits up, either. In the past, I've gone back in her room three and four times to lay her back down and then I give up and get her out of the crib. I decided once, last week, that I would just leave her there, sitting up for her whole nap time. I'm trying to hold to the parent deciding (not the baby) when nap time begins and when it is over. I'd like her to nap for at least an hour in the mornings, so I left her there. After about 30 minutes, there was silence. I forgot to mention that along with sitting comes fussing, a certain type of fussing. I can totally tell when she's laying down and crying or sitting up, even from the other room. It's a nice trick I can amaze my husband with. :) So, I guess either she layed herself down or she fell over in exhaustion. Either way, she slept for an hour and a half after that... so yea for me!
Side note: She's been sitting and fussing in her crib while I've been writing, but now there's silence. *fingers crossed*

I took my pregnancy test today. tsk tsk on me because I just couldn't be patient. It's really, probably too early to know if it was right or not. You've guessed by now that it was negative, haven't you? So now I have to wait until I either have my period, or not, to know for sure. Another test isn't warranted until after the 15th. The days have been soooo long. It seems like the last two weeks have had 10 days each instead of 7. (hehe, I almost typed 8) So now, in Sara world, I have to wait what seems like another 7 or 8 days instead of just 5. Does that make sense to anyone else?
Because I'm probably going to jump the gun again next month, I decided I need to have more than just another box of 2 tests ready, just in case. I went online to EBay to buy some cheap tests and came across a horrid ad for tests that are already positive. I'm not one who enjoys practical jokes at all anyway, but can you imagine what this would do to someone's marriage?

"Why not take some time out and get him to do the chores, whilst you sit back and relax? women have been doing this for years, the only difference is, this way, you dont actually HAVE to be pregnant, so, no throwing up, no weight gain, no baby! just as much rest as you want until you think youve had enough time out then you can tell him... Honey, You've been had!!!! "

Awesome idea, right? Use a fake positive pregnancy test to strike from housework and lay in your whirlpool tub all day. Smart. Way to build trust. I suppose someone that would do this probably didn't have a great marriage in the first place.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Making Up My Own

I can't find a video to post. :(
I'll just give myself a survey of favorites and try to find something better for next week.

Favorite color: Purple

Favorite food: right now... probably pasta

Favorite dress in my closet: my Bisou Bisou brown and coral dress with pockets (I know, I'm so cool to you now, because I own a dress with pockets.)

Favorite country I've visited: England...mainly because there was no language barrier

Favorite cut of diamond: cushion

... my surveys are more interesting than the commonplace ones, huh?

Favorite dessert: key lime pie

Favorite latin dance: rumba

Favorite smooth dance: fox trot

Favorite dog: yorkshire terrier, then weimaraner (sorry Dolce!)

Favorite month: toss-up between June and December

Favorite song: Fly Me To The Moon

Favorite new fashion trend that I saw on E!News: ruffles

Favorite language to hear spoken softly in my ear: Italian

Favorite instrument: cello

Favorite thing about my husband: his attention to detail

The Telltale Signs

She's learning for sure, 'cause now there's evidence. Hard evidence... and if I knew how to post video, I could show you.

She's learned her first sign, "all done." She gets it a little mixed up with "bye-bye" because, for her, it's basically "bye-bye" with two hands.

She's also learned how to give a kiss, although it's not really a kiss and it's not a sure thing that if you ask, you'll get one. I did get this one on video, but my face is in the way... lame... so you can't actually see her "kiss" my cheek. She just leans in and touches her face to yours. It makes my heart do a little hop-skip, though, even if there's no puckering.

She's responding to "please don't" extremely well. It's so interesting that she can't hide the battle that she's fighting to do what I say. The desire to touch the forbidden thing is often so strong that she vocalizes her frustration. It's not directed at me, though, it's just the inner struggle coming out. That actually helps me know that she's really trying hard. And I'm so proud of her everytime she chooses obedience.

The other thing she has learned (and I didn't realize it until today) is, when the dog barks there's supposed to be yelling. Oopsy. Yes, I, more often than not, yell at the dog whenever she barks, because it's usually at nothing or at a common houshold sound, or at someone (namely Chuck) knocking on a table or cabinet right in front of her just to marvel at how stupid she can really be. So today, after her dinner, Eden heard Dolce bark and her response was to yell a few choice words in a very stern tone. Oopsy.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Say that again?

Some words I've seen on Craigslist:
chester drawers
corderoid pants
post pardum


More baby brain stuff:
me to Eden: "Do you want a baby or a brother?"
me reading "baby clothes"... I read "baby boy clothes"

and I don't even want a boy!

Latest pics of latest accomplishments

She's been doing this little pose for at least a month now, but not going any further...


Now she's crawlin' around like a mad-woman!
Here she is crawling to check out the "bait" I set up...


You know who you are...

At least somebody in the world knows how to raise their children right.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Another Favorite Film

I was so fortunate to be exposed to many, many old films as a kid. I have so many movies on VHS recorded from AMC that I have watched countless times over the years. The entertainment value is so high in these movies, often higher than the films of today. I wish the present generation was exposed to more of these, but their era makes them seem automatically boring or uninteresting. children today are missing out on wonderful, enriching entertainment.

Probably my third favorite actor other than Gene Kelly or Fred Astaire, is Danny Kaye. He was an amazing combination of comedic and serious. He was a great actor that could transition from a moment of tension into crazy comedy with an ease unmatched since his time, in my opinion. He was handsome and yet unafraid to contort his features or make himself look rediculous for the sake of entertainment. He could do impressions, voices, accents and was known for singing songs that were basically one big tongue twister. His wife, who understood his talent best, often crafted the words of the songs just to showcase his abilities.
In this clip from The Court Jester, he shows his fantastic grace and poise as well as his fabulous physical comedy skills and his ability to change from suave to silly in an instant. By this point in the film he has been through a series of identities. It's difficult to explain in a nutshell, but he is posing as a Robin Hood-type character called the Black Fox fighting against the evil Ravenhurst in the palace of the king. The princess is convinced that he (although he entered the palace in the guise of a jester) is the one she is meant to marry and she charges her personal seer with his protection. He is really in love with a girl who is also part of the Black Fox's group from the forest. She shows up at the end of the clip.
Please rent the film if you enjoy this at all. I haven't seen a film of his that I didn't like, but this one is truly a gem.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Deal or No Deal

I love a deal! I just get so excited and the adrenaline starts to flow when I can see a deal in the making. I hone in on it and pounce... if I have the funds. I feel a bit like a Geico commercial..."I just saved a bunch of money on fill-in-the-blank." I have to share my latest deals, just because I'm so thrilled.
I found a lady on www.diaperswappers.com willing to fill a flat rate box with her gently-used, name-brand maternity clothes for super cheap. I got 12 pieces (3 dresses, 2 skirts, 7 shirts) for $50 (including shipping) and one of the shirts is $25 new (and you can still get it in the store!), not to mention the Gap skirt and the dresses probably weren't cheap either. It's almost like the thrill people must get from stealing, except it's legal. And by the way, I know I'm buying maternity clothes before I'm even pregnant... but they were a deal! and I'll need them eventually! so lay off! :) and I could be pregnant now. It's not impossible.
I also got 10, count 'em, 10 cloth diapers at a consignment sale today for $10. Only one was a name brand and the rest were WAHM made, but that's still a buck a diaper. Not bad at all. I probably saved $90 or more and if I don't like them, I can sell them and make money off them.
There have definitely been times when I had the wonderful rush of knowing I just saved a bunch of money and then find the very same thing somewhere else for less. Or I buy it at the store for half off only to see it in someone's garage that weekend for a couple bucks. That really stinks doesn't it? Man, that's the worst, when you thought you saved so much and then, all of a sudden, you feel like you lost money instead.
That didn't happen this time though, so hooray! I get to feel the thrill all over again next week when my package comes in the mail. yippee!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Baby Brain

I'm back to baby crazy again. My brain swaps everything from words to pictures with baby related stuff. For example: When driving back from Atlanta on Sunday, I saw a couple of signs just off the highway.



The first, a normal gas station logo...


was transformed by my blurry vision and baby brain to a couple of sperm fighting to win the race to the egg.



The second, a typical hotel logo...


that to me, ignoring the wording, looked like the moment of conception... a continuation of the BP sign.

There have been other things too. The word "parental" is turned into "pre-natal" and other such sillyness. Ah well, it just gives me a few more things to laugh about during my day.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Our Week

Vacation over, back to life.
It's all kind-of a blur now, but I know one thing, I was right about the extra stress created by grandparents asking questions or making comments all the time. I was definitely ready to leave, or go buy a condo or something. Anything to not stay another night in the house with my parents. It might have been much the same staying with anybody, just different things that would have stressed me out. We don't really have any other options anyway. No one else has an extra room for us and another for the baby. Dolce feels the most comfortable there, too, and she's definitely a factor.
I wish I could turn off my annoyance meter and just blink a couple times with a blank look in my eyes when my parents say something that falls in that "annoying" category. I haven't figured out how to do that yet, though. I want to yell, "Don't touch our stuff! I don't know why she's crying right now! I don't know if she actually took a nap because I wasn't in the room with her! I can wash that bottle out myself! She HAS done that before even though you've never seen it! I do not have to play with her the same way you just did even though you got a positive reaction from her! I don't know if she's ever made that particular face before! AAAAAAAAAAAAAARGH!"
I also want to tell my mom (whose taste is very different from mine) not to buy Eden any more clothes unless I ask for them and not to make me feel guilty when I do ask for them. My parents have said multiple times that they never know what she needs when they see something they want to buy her, but the last time I mentioned a need to them, I was told to just get it myself, which I did and then when we got to their house, there was the item I'd asked for hanging in the guest closet. So I could've saved myself a few bucks. geez.
My mom went garage saling without me and bought Eden about 12 outfits. I like maybe 4, and the rest I can't even consign because their not in good enough condition or they're just plain out of style. Even if I did like all of them, she didn't realize that the sizes Eden needs do not directly correspond to her age, so many of the outfits will be too small by the time it is cool enough to wear them. I feel so bad that she essentially wasted $15-$20, but if she wants to buy non-returnable items instead of exactly what the baby needs when I tell her, that's the risk she takes, I guess.
There were good times this week too. The trip to Athens was fun. We got to visit with lots of family. We got some killer pictures of Eden in my mom's studio. Eden crawled for the first time. We ate a ton of good food. Chuck celebrated his 27th birthday. We got to go to some of our favorite Atlanta places. We went on a date. Yea for fun and happy things!
We also made a big decision this weekend.... countdown to baby number two starts now! :) Yes we're back in the "trying to conceive" stage once again. I think this will be it, though, really. I'm going for this against all my previous reasoning...all the way down to my determination never to be my most pregnant mid-summer. All out the window. So here we go, creating even more loops and drops in our rollercoaster! I'll keep you all updated as soon as we have a date.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Gooooo Dawgs!

It's not Friday yet, but close enough. I'll blog about our whole vacation later, but I thought I would just do a quick post to say that we're enjoying ourselves. We've been busy, but we've had fun. We're going to Athens tomorrow, which is a favorite place for both of us. Athens is where we met and fell in love. (awwwwww!) We had our engagement photos taken there, I have a Georgia sticker on my car, Eden owns a UGA onsie and sippy cup, we watch the football games whenever we can and we still have several friends that were made in that town. It's special to us and we are taking the time for a day trip tomorrow.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Peanuts

I've always had a special place in my heart for Charles Shultz's Peanuts. When I discovered, as a little girl, the music from the Broadway play "You're A Good Man Charlie Brown" I listened to it over and over and over and memorized every word and acted it out and danced to it and loved it. I had never had the opportunity to see the show until just a couple of years ago. It was just a small community theater production, but I really enjoyed it. One day I'll see the Broadway production. Here's a clip of Sally Brown singing "My New Philosophy" with Schroeder. So innocent and enjoyable!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

So Creamy!

It wasn't my fault! I didn't know A&D was clear. I just saw that it was diaper cream and knew that the pediatritian told me to put it on Eden's head to get rid of her cradle cap. I didn't see why my ointment at home with many of the same ingredients wouldn't work equally well. So... I took a big ol' squeeze of white paste from the Burt's Bee's tube and smeared it on her scalp. I immediately realized that this is probably not what the doctor had in mind. Then my friend tells me today that A&D is clear... and that she has some I could've used.

We made the best of it, though. Here's a pic from yesterday, when the incident occured. I gave her a good scrub on the scalp with soap and water, but that stuff's pretty water resistant. I've been complaining about her not having enough hair, but she sure has enough hair to make it tough to get greasy cream out.
Fortunately, I got the headbands I had ordered in the mail, so we had the perfect cover-up/distraction for when my white-scalped baby had to go out in public today.



No one knew... but now you do. Let's keep it a secret, k?

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Having a Moment

We leave in two days for Atlanta. (This isn't going to be a post with any sort of theme, by the way. I just thought it had been a few days, so I should update.) We haven't been back to Atlanta since we moved here in May and that's the longest I think either one of us has gone without seeing our families. Everyone is anxious to see Eden, of course and we'll be celebrating the big 27 for Chuck while we're home. I'm kinda nervous. I'm not sure why. I guess anything can seem a little unfamiliar after a few months. Eden is always a bit of a variable, too. Yes we're with family and it's less concerning if she's fussy, but at the same time, even though I might not be concerned there's the "must you ruin every bright and shining moment?" aspect to worry about. Ok, there's a story that needs telling here.
When I was little, actually, my whole life, I only got to see my mom's parents twice a year: at Christmas and in June. Once, when they were visiting, we went to McDonalds to eat. I must have been going through an "I don't want to eat my food" stage. I'll be extremely surprised if Eden ever hits that stage... anyway, my dad tried to make my cheesburger more tempting by cutting it up into small bites, since I wasn't eating it whole. (Man, I can't believe I wouldn't eat a cheesburger. A CHEESBURGER for goodness sake!... I want one now!) I proceeded to burst into tears at which point my grandma stood up in the middle of McDonald's and said "Must you ruin every bright and shining moment?!" It's been a bit of a joke ever since. But, now that my parents have a grand daughter, they have fully realized the preciousness of every moment they have with her.
All this to say that if Eden's unhappy, there's a lot of hullaballoo about what it is that is making her that way and what can be done to fix it. So, if at home, I might just stick her somewhere with some toys or flip on the TV and hold her until she calmed down or got sleepy, there, it will become more complicated... and stressful.
I'm looking forward to the week as a whole. There should be lots of good food, catching up with old friends, time with family, celebration of another successful year in my husbands life, trips to places we miss and plenty of room for general relaxation and fun.
I'm planning on posting Friday, but then you may not hear from me for a week...we'll see.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Happiness is Having a Dance Class

My calves and neck had it the roughest, apparently. I winced and yelped a bit today when I had to climb steps - a little yelp for each step. The tops of my feet have burns on them from rubbing them across the floor while transitioning from standing to rolling or kneeling to standing or kneeling to jumping. My knee is bruised. I bet there are bruises in other places that I just can't see.



Class was great! :) I haven't worked that hard or felt that alive in a while. It just reconfirmed that God has put dance inside of me. I am fulfilled by it, awakened by it, energized by it. I love to move. I love the challenge of a new movement phrase. I love hearing music, familiar or new, and cutting and swirling through it like it was water. I almost feel like I'm the one making it... that, as my body moves, the sounds emerge.



Here's the apprehensive me, before class. I should've taken an "after" photo of me all red-faced, sweaty and worn-out, but I didn't.

Friday, September 05, 2008

5-6-7-8, Opportunity!

I am blessed (by my husband who will be watching Eden and by the lady who told me about the class) to be able to attend an open master class with dancer and choreographer Steve Rooks tomorow at Belhaven College. Mr. Rooks was a part of the Martha Graham Dance Company (Martha Graham was one of the most influential people in modern dance last century.) and later became a member of the Alvin Ailey company. He has taught and choreographed for many companies including Ad Deum, a professional level Christian dance company based in Texas.

He said in an interview with LeAnne Martin on her blog Christians In The Arts:

"The call to be light and salt (a “witness”) in the dance world is no different from the call to live out one’s faith as a lawyer, a stay-at-home parent, a plumber, or a pastor. So much of our effectiveness as a believer is how we approach and execute our craft. There is a scripture that has been a kind of “blue print” for my walk—Colossians 3:23-24 says: 'Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.' The bottom line is that we need to pursue excellence and integrity in our work not to make us look good, but to give God glory. Once people find out that you are a follower of Christ, your life immediately goes under a microscope (and that is a good thing!). We need to reveal God’s nature in how we approach life in our successes—and in our failures."

I am very excited, but definitely nervous as this will be the first time in a few years that I have taken a class. I'm determined to go easy on myself, accept my current abilities for what they are and just enjoy moving my body and being poured into by another Christian artist.

Here's a video of Alvin Ailey, one of my very favorite dance companies doing an excerpt from arguably their most famous piece, Revelations.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

A House Divided?



It's a good thing we don't have ferrets anymore...

After Class

I definitely worked up a sweat in that class! At first it was pretty light and slow and I was actually cold for the first 15 minutes, but after 45 minutes, I was more than warm. I have to say that I was pretty bored most of the time. It's all based on basic Latin dance steps and there is a whole lot of repetition, great for a non-dancer, boring for someone whose been doing Latin dance for over 8 years. There were three other ladies that were there that come to the class regularly and they were all so nice and so friendly. They all said they were just so happy to have me there and hoped that I would come back again. I probably will at least a few more times. It's nice to get a cardio workout and think it was all easy. Besides, I love Latin music and I get to hear it for 45 minutes straight. Music is just good for the soul, isn't it? I feel energized and my day's hardly started, which is a nice bonus of an early class.
The really neat part about today (we'll have to see where this leads) is that the instructor was very curious about my background in dance. I asked him if there was any place to dance around town and he said no, but that he's been trying to start lessons and parties at his house. He's been looking for someone who could teach ladies styling and he wants me to help him out. He and his wife have a 7 month old, so Eden and their baby could play together while the lesson was going on. I'm so excited to see if this contact can develop into something where I can start expressing myself again.
Yea, Zumba! Now, excuse me while I go research what it takes to become a Zumba teacher...

Zumba

I'm finally getting to try Zumba at the Y this morning. I'm excited!

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

A Plate to Pass Around

I thought this was such a very nice idea and something I've added to my list of things I'll buy one day. I can share it this way for now... for free. Maybe someone else will take the idea for themselves.
"Sometimes you need to jazz up a plate of store-bought cookies. Forget about finding your inner Martha and instead grab the Giving Plate, which will elicit oohs and aahs ... even from refrigerator dough! The hand-painted ceramic plate is perfect for any occasion - new neighbor, new baby, new nose! Around the side of the plate reads: 'This special plate comes to you because you are so great. Now pass it on and say the same to friends you celebrate.' "
It can be found at http://www.theorganizedparent.com/, a site worth visiting whether you like the plate or not.

A Heart for the Lost

I could not believe what a woman in my group exercise class shared today with the whole group. Granted, I think these people mostly know each other because they come to these classes all the time together, but just wait until you hear what she told everyone about her life in the course of the class. This was all said in "normal" conversation. I can't recall her exact words, but I can summerize the information that was shared.
She has no time or desire to care for her father-in-law and his family who are stuck in southern Mississppi without power near a river about to flood their home. They could come stay with her, but she really doesn't want them to. All she could talk about was his incontinence and constant needs because he is bedridden. He's 81 years old.
She has two young children that dominate her home. She complained about how they never listen to her and won't do anything she says. She said a usual day involves them spiraling out of control until she yells at them to "shut up."
She claims their misbehaving drives her to drink starting at about 4pm every day and has caused her to have to take perscription "crazy pills."
All of this was said almost like a stand-up comedy routine and brought laughter from most in the class. My mouth almost dropped open. I'm still so naive. Is this the world's normal? Sounds miserable, not funny. She ended it with "Well, you gotta do whatever you gotta do to make it through another day. I'll try anything at this point."
I wonder if she's tried Jesus? I wonder if anyone's told her that He's the answer. He could give her compassion for her extended family, change the hearts of her children, show her how to establish discipline in her home, fill her void, and give peace to her mind.
So, was I supposed to tell her that? I don't know. It's so... so personal, isn't it? I felt like I was supposed to pretend I really didn't know all those things about her. They were private things. I didn't want to invade her personal space. But Jesus wants to. She's probably already heard. She probably goes to church somewhere. It's the Bible belt, for goodness sake, not Africa!
My heart's breaking now... the tears are coming. His love is so great, but if no one will boldly share, how can the lost be reached?

Monday, September 01, 2008

What's in a Name?

Eden and I went to the mall the other day to get some excercise. We tried to go to the Y, but I got confused about the child care hours, so we headed on to the mall since it was ninety-something degrees and therefore too hot to walk outside.
After a brisk walk through the whole mall once, I decided to stop at the perfume counter at Dillard's. I'm forever looking for that "signature scent" that I love, my husband loves and I can be known by. I don't think it's ever going to happen because, first of all, Chuck and I have very different preferences in smells and secondly, I get bored of the same perfume all the time.
So, I was sniffing away and the associate at the counter came over and offered to help me. I told her what kind of scent I was looking for, but every one she sprayed onto a card for me, I disliked. She finally gave up and came out from behind the counter to talk with Eden. She smiled and waved at her for a minute and said how pretty she was. She then told me she would be a few steps away if I needed help and introduced herself. I, in turn, told her my name and Eden's. A few minutes later, when we came around the corner of the counter, she and another associate were there ready to coo and smile at the baby some more. She must not have heard me say Eden's name the first time because she asked me at that point, what my baby's name was, but then comes the weird part... She decided to guess her name. She said "What's your little girl's name?... Jessica?" I just thought that was so wierd and a bit rude, somehow, too. Has that ever happened to you before?
I just smiled and said "No, it's Eden." "Oh, Edith," the first sales associate said as she turned to the second associate. "Her name's Edith," she told her. "Oh, um, that's a nice name," said the second associate. "No, no, her name is E-DEN," I said slowly. "E-DITH," she repeated slowly. "E-D-I-T-H," she spelled, now louder. "No. E-DEN. E-D-E-N," I spelled back. "Oh!" exclaimed the first associate, "Eden, what a pretty name!"
Yes ma'am. Thank you. Now you've given me the response I expected. :) I decided I'd spent enough time looking at perfume.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Meme and Papa's Visit



Meme and Papa, Eden's paternal great-grandparents came to visit us last weekend. They came bearing gifts, including the pink dress with a tiny pink poodle on the front that Eden is wearing on the right.
They are so generous with their money, their time and their love. We both hope and pray that Eden will be able to grow up with them in her life.

They have been a huge part of Chuck's life and have become a large part of my own and we feel extremely blessed to share Eden with them and to see their Godly influence continue in our family.

Friday, August 29, 2008

My Favortite TV Show of Late

... is Jon and Kate Plus Eight! Watch the clip and enjoy a short compilation of the trials and joys of having 8 kids. This show keeps my life in perspective and helps me relieve my own stress by watching someone else handle theirs with grace. Thanks Gosselins.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Time Travel



OK here's my yearbook fun from Yearbook Yourself.



Me in 1960. I've always said I looked like my dad, but Yearbook Yourself proved me wrong.



The guy I would have married if we'd lived in 1954. Still good lookin'.

Monday, August 25, 2008

The Gold Medal of Laughter

Here's a video to make up for my oversight of Favorite Friday last week. We had guests coming into town. Yes, again. That's my excuse. Hope it's good enough.
It seems most people by now have seen this video, but even if you have, watch it again. I guarantee you'll laugh. I wish I could bottle this, but at least we have video technology. What a blessing technology can be sometimes, huh?

The Olympic Thinker

The Olympics have come and gone, but I wanted to give my random thoughts... the commentary of my brain... about the most watched games of all time.
Opening Ceremonies: Awesome, amazing, brilliant. It's hard to think of words to describe the emotion that they captured and the wonder they inspired. As an artistic type, I was mesmerized, but I think anyone would have been. The Opening Ceremonies are almost like the Olympics of design, drama, and dance, except the winner is chosen well beforehand and then they must live up to expectations. The Chinese surpassed expectations. I would have loved to have been there with an excellent camera, you know, the kind the real photographers use. Every shot would have been good. I wonder how many millions... billions of pictures are taken over the course of the whole games, by professionals and spectators alike. (does a period go at the end of that sentence or a question mark?) (It looks funny to put a question mark at the end of the words "question mark.") I know there's no way for anyone to ever know the number of pictures taken, but these are the kinds of questions I pose to myself.
Every Olympic games, my goal is to see three competitions, gymnastics, rhythmic gymnastics and synchronized swimming. I did get to watch gymnastics this year and, since my hubby and I like to watch a little TV before bed most nights, and since that was pretty much all that was on for the first week, we watched it together. Men aren't supposed to like gymnastics, not even men's gymnastics. But, my man began to appreciate the difficulty and athleticism of the men AND women who compete in these events. He began asking about the scoring and even making sympathetic grunts or groans to help the gymnasts balance or to participate in their mishaps. I thought that was pretty cool.
I saw a little bit of the rhythmic gymnastics. I thought I would miss them completely, because I had no idea when they were on. I just happened to turn the TV on midday last week and there they were, women who could be mistaken for toothpicks bringing their leg up behind them and touching the bottom of their foot to their sternum while tossing a hoop several stories up in the air. I was so excited! About 5 minutes after I sat down to watch, they cut to commercial and came back to.... softball. SOFTBALL! I can go see the church softball game this fall if I want to watch softball. I don't know of any rhythmic gymnastics competitions around here, though. No fair! It was something about a gold-medal game or something. That's why they switched. Hmph! I suppose there was someone else somewhere in the world who turned on their TV and muttered some undecipherable words of disappointment under their breath when they saw rhythmic gymnastics was on, and then became elated to see them cut to softball. Well... good for them.
I saw no synchronized swimming. For some reason or other, I saw plenty of swimming, though. This guy... what's his name?... oh yeah, Michael somebody-or-other. He was swimming and winning all these gold medals. Seriously though, I heard an interview with him where he said that his goal at the games wasn't to win medals just to win medals, but to get people's attention and focus them on the often overlooked sport of swimming. Wow. That's somethin' else. He took responsibility for bringing the entirety of the sport to the forefront of the minds of the people of the world. That's a big job, but he made it look easy with every medal he won. This is kinda mean in an underhanded way, but I'm glad that someone is finally popular for their accomplishments and character regardless of their looks or speech. See, kinda mean... oh well. Michael Phelps doesn't read my blog.
Speaking of sports that don't usually get a lot of attention... Am I the only one who had no idea that Trampoline is an Olympic sport? Trampoline? So, in all actuality, my parents may have cut my Olympic dreams short by banning me from trampolines after a friend of mine "double-bounced" me and my back was hurt so that I had to see a chiropractor for years after. I could have come back from my injuries, developed my talent and won a medal eventually. Here's a link, in case you want to check it out for yourself: http://www.nbcolympics.com/video/player.html?assetid=0819_sd_gtm_hl_l0987&channelcode=sportgt
I have to wonder if the gymnasts just laugh at how serious these athletes look as they flip and tumble on the trampoline. As far as I know, gymnasts use a trampoline to warm up and learn new flips and stuff. I betcha any of them could do what the trampoliners do.
Oh, and speaking of snickering at someone seriously competing... Did you see the speed walking? I would have been rolling on the floor if it hadn't felt like the Olympics were just too sacred of a situation to laugh that hard. There's a really great montage that captures the comedic aspect of this sport here:
http://www.nbcolympics.com/video/player.html?assetid=0823_sd_mul_au_ce525&channelcode=sportat
Here are the official rules in a nutshell. "Race walking is a progression of steps so taken that the walker makes contact with the ground so that no visible (to the human eye) loss of contact occurs. The advancing leg must be straightened (i.e., not bent at the knee) from the moment of the first contact with the ground until in the vertical position." Interesting, huh?
Closing Ceremonies: What happened to all the highly coordinated people? Apparently, no one from the opening ceremonies participated in the closing ceremonies. Yes, it was still pretty cool, but, frankly, I was disappointed. The performers could hardly have been less synchronized. The concentric circles were more like lopsided ovals, the smiles of the participants in the opening ceremonies (when appropriate) were replaced by bored looks, the choreography, while fascinating at some moments, looked poorly thought out and even less rehearsed. And what was with the lit-up football players strung up by wires going up and down randomly on the perimeter of the stadium? I really was disappointed.
All in all, these games were the most memorable of my life thus far. Yes, even more so than the games in Atlanta, my home town. These games gave me an appreciation for different sports, made it possible to have "quality time" in front of the TV and gave me a convenient conversation starter in uncomfortable moments. These were the first Olympics of my daughters life and the first we have watched in our first home. They made me want to travel to China, a place that wasn't on my world-travel list previously. They made me think about politics and rights, fairness and world peace. Bob Costas interviewed a man after the closing ceremonies (I'm sorry to say I don't know who the man was, but someone important to the games, I think) and this man said that it was so inspiring to see the world come together and take a break from all their quarrels and differences for two weeks. He then wondered, if the world could do that for two weeks, why not three or why not a month, six months, etc. Unfortunately, that lovely thought will never be reality until Jesus unites us all with a new heaven and earth. Until then, the earth and all that is in it can only groan and long for His return. I bet streets of gold will be better than any gold medal and seeing Him face to face is sure not to disappoint even the highest of expectations.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Single and carefree?

I never want to be a single mom. Who would? Well, I actually know someone in my family that would, but that's a whole different situation.
Bunny trail... I wanted to type "a whole 'nother" back there a second ago, because that's what I would have said if I had been talking. Since when can we get away with cutting the word "another" apart and putting "whole" in the middle of it for impact? Why don't I just say "a whole other?" My mom, who was my high school English teacher (home schooled) would be appalled. C'mon, I know you do it, too.
So I never want to be a single mom because I realize on days like today, what a rock my husband is for me. Today wasn't a bad day. In fact, it was a very good day, just full. I had a group of mommies over to my house from about noon-3pm for a play date (Remember that banana bread I was considering making? Well, I made it and they liked it! Successful baking attempt number two, horray!) and then I had a welcome fiesta to attend at 6:30pm thrown by the Spouses Alliance for wives of residents at UMC.
First of all, I have to preface this by saying that I am the type of person that can make myself be outgoing and I'm getting better and better at it, but no matter how easy it is to talk to someone I've never met, no matter how charming they are or how much we have to talk about, I am EXHAUSTED afterward. The level of exhaustion differs depending on the number of unfamiliar people and the time I have to be "on."
Today, I had to be "on" twice, once for 3 hours and once for 1 1/2 hours. Add to that the fact that I am not a hostess by nature. It is not enjoyable for me to have people come to my house. It feels like my space is being invaded even when they've been invited. Am I weird? Add to that the fact that these people that came to my house brought kids. (I know it was a play date...) And their kids were touching my stuff. (I know that's what kids do...) It was a tiny bit stressful. Ok, more addition. Are you keeping up? Add on the fact that at the dinner, I was the only one that had to carry around her baby in someone's beautifully ornate home that had no children. It seems all the other moms either had friends or husbands that could watch their kids. Awkward. Of course, the evening is Eden's fussy time. So there I was at a dinner gathering with about 15 women I had never met and about 3 that I had met once at last week's play date for the Alliance. Not only do I have to suck it up and try to be assertive in starting conversations and mingling (ugh! it's really soooo hard for me!), but I have to not feel like I stick out like a sore thumb with my baby on my hip... my fussy baby on my hip... and green bean puree spewed on my white dress. (I had to feed her at the party, I had no option. She didn't like what I chose to bring, thus it ended up on my dress.)
All this to say, that.... whaaaaaah, I want my mommy! And when I can't have my mommy, my husband does very well to fill the role of hug giver, comforter and general energy-giver-back-er.
I can't imagine not having him. If I need him this much on the good days, Lord only knows how much I'm glad to have him on the bad days.
Only 1 more hour until he walks through the door.