Monday, December 31, 2007
Maybe not My BEST Shot, but definitely one of my favorites. I set up a fake photo shoot and made all my family participate. I'd like to introduce my sweet mom (M's Nona) and my even sweeter grandmother (M's GiGi). This is the photo where Nona and Gigi were the most relaxed and M is making her "cheese!" face. We all got so tickled by her silliness that everyone just laughed and laughed!
I can't wait to see what everyone else put up for MBS! Check out other posts at Tracy's site Mother May I? (http://www.maypapers.blogspot.com/)
My sweet, sweet husband got me lights for Christmas...the kind in a studio. He has far more faith in me than I have in myself! We played around with the lights when I was in Savannah. I dressed M up in her Easter dress (got at a GREAT bargain at the Strasburg store!!!!!) and made everyone pose with her. My favorite pictures in the world are the ones with my mom, my 87 year old grandmother and M. If you can't see these clearly, let me know. I'll post them individually so you can check them out.
H's birthday is Jan. 8. We've invited the nephews over to make cookies this weekend. I'm sure they're thrilled to know that they are my next photographic subjects!!!
I think I know why my pictures are a tad hazy. I think it's my diffusor filter. I'm going to take it off and take some pictures this afternoon. If they are clearer, crisper, then I'll know for sure that's the problem.
Fun times all day. Unfortunately, M woke up with a case of the croup on Christmas Eve morning. She was in quite a funk after seeing her Santa stuff, so we put her down for a nap early on Christmas Day. That dramatically improved her mood, so we spent the better part of the afternoon opening her presents and playing. She got better every day while we were with my parents, so by the end of the week, she was her normal joyful self.
M will wear Mommy's boots and walk all over you!
There was some indecision on M's part. Should she attempt to walk or just sit there with the boots on? After several moments of consideration, she decided to give walking a try. But, she needed a little support, so she held on for dear life as she navigated around the dining room/kitchen wearing boots that make me cringe every time I attempt to wear them.
Sunday, December 30, 2007
First, my entire family (brothers, sister-in-law, parents, and grandmother) met downtown at a beautiful park to take pictures--will post when I get home.
Then, my parents brought M home.
H and I took off like kids skipping school. He opened doors for me, drove aimlessly around town. We did a tad bit of shopping and lots of looking around. We ate at the most amazing little jazz tapas bar. The food was UNBELIEVABLE. We had two hours to kill, so we went to a book store and had coffee. Then we went to see P.S. I Love You. A CHICK FLICK! Silent, sniffily tears trickled a lot, we held hands and giggled.
It was a GREAT date.
Friday, December 28, 2007
For the past four days, I've had my nose in a phenomenal book: Three Cups of Tea. If you want to read a book that will change your life, get a copy of this book. If you want to read a book that will shake your soul, GET A COPY OF THIS BOOK. I'm a proud American--this book will challenge your belief in the goodness of our political system.
Patricia Polacco wrote a book title Christmas Tapestry. The main idea is that God has a divine purpose and everything in life is woven together in a beautiful tapestry. I like to think that I have an impact on my students' lives. That all the time and effort I put into my job, all the love I feel for my students, all the energy I spend on them, will somehow come to good for them. I hate all the beaurocracy that comes with public education, but I believe, in the deepest parts of my heart, that I'm somehow making an impact on the future of our country.
Nothing I do will EVER compare to Greg Mortenson. If you've never heard of him, google his name. Take ten minutes, right now, tomorrow, next week, to learn about him and the impact he is having on our world. He's an American hero. He is single-handedly having more impact on the war on terror than the past 6 years have had with the billions of dollars our government has spent protecting us. ***
Greg Mortenson has dedicated his life to building schools in rural Pakistan and Afghanistan. Since 1993, he has established and supported schools in the most rural parts of Pakistan and Afghanistan, in spite of wars, hostile armies, and religious fatwas (vendettas, decrees).
I'm pretty dense, so it took me about 200 pages before I realized how in the world these schools would help eliminate terror: These schools are secular. These schools are for boys and girls (which Islam does NOT prohibit). When boys and girls are taught in secular schools, they are not brainwashed into believing in jihad. They are not taught by extremist Muslims. They are taught by moderate Muslims who believe in the true words of the Koran. If two generations of children are educated PROPERLY, they can not be brainwashed! When extremist schools (ie: army training camps), are the only schools available, and they only accept boys, then terrorists will continue to be trained.
This, however, is not the only reason to educate girls in rural Pakistan and Afghanistan. With only the equivalent of a fifth-grade education, girls in rural villages are able to lead healthier lives. They learn how to properly take care of food, provide water, birth babies, etc., to prolong and improve the lives of the people of their village. In villages that do not have schools, only 1 in three babies born live until their first birthday. In villages where schools have been established, the infant mortality rate has been drastically reduced. People are healthier.
I'm not a political activist. Very little about politics interests me at all. As an educator, however, this story, Greg Mortenson's story, must be told AGAIN and AGAIN and AGAIN. And people must listen. We will forever live in the shadow of 9/11 if we don't tear the roots of terrorism away. Our country will never be safe, our WORLD, will never be safe unless we recognize the importance of the work Greg Mortenson is doing.
check it out: www.threecupsoftea.com
***I, of course, support our troops and the sacrifice they make for our country. I am immensely proud to be American. I am distressed that our goverment, the most powerful in the world, does not fulfill its' promises and is not taking interest in the most common-sense approach to fighting terror.
On the flip side of that excitement is a small dose of bitter disappointment. By this time, we would have known if we were having a boy or a girl. We would have been celebrating the upcoming birth of our own little baby. To rub salt in the wound, we tried to get pregnant last month (strategic coupling, you know), but I started my period on Christmas Eve morning.
With the blessing of the expectant couple, we will try again this month so perhaps cousins will be born close together. We are completely thrilled to be expecting a baby in the family--next year at this time, we'll all be cuddling a precious little baby!!
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
Here is what M decided to do:
She was SO proud of herself. I couldn't help myself. I busted out laughing. My little artist!
My brother, Zach, has started his own blog...please drop by there and give him some encouragement! I know he'd love to know about some other blogs that are written by guys. http://brokecuteandsingle.blogspot.com
I'll post Christmas pictures when I get home. M and I are spending some time with my parents. H had to go home to work for a few days. He'll come back for us this weekend.
Saturday, December 22, 2007
All the women in the family are getting sets of 5 note cards with their first initial on them. They are all the same color scheme (red/cream) with a different patterned paper for the back ground.
I thought I uploaded the scarf I started for my grandmother, but am giving to my SIL. I'm going to work REAL hard tonight and tomorrow so I can give one to my grandmother, too. It is very beautiful.
Everyone will also get home made hot chocolate.
My Christmas card pictures arrived today. Instead of stressing about it, I'm going to take them to my parents and work on them during the week. I'll get them out by the end of th next week. Who doesn't enjoy a late Christmas card??? Especially with cute M on it!!!
Until pictures are taken and uploaded, here is a mom-story for your amusement:
M loves to wash her hands. Now that she's a grown-up two year old, I usually let her play in the bathroom for a while with not-so-frequent check-ins from the mom. I'm embarrassed, but must include that confession in this story. This morning, M was washing her hands and laughing, laughing louder, really laughing. I didn't think much about it as she's learning how to amuse herself lately. One small, important detail before you read on: I could have prevented this entire story if only I'd been a little more interested in my daughter and a lot less interested in finishing the Christmas present I was working on! Then I heard a rather strange sound, sort of like the sound of OVERFLOWING WATER.
Only then I realized IT WAS OVERFLOWING WATER.
In the bathroom...ON A PLASTIC BLUE CHAIR AND CARPET.
And the outrageous giggles of a two year old.
This fat mama moved pretty darn fast to get in there and shut the water off. At first, I couldn't tell why the sink was completely full of water. The stopper was on the counter beside the sink. Then I looked more closely and realized M had completely...COMPLETELY...filled the entire drain with toilet paper.
Oh, boy, did I have fun cleaning that one up.
On the other hand, this is my first "mama story" that involves a mess of some sort. M never unrolled the entire roll of toilet paper or powdered her bedroom or anything. I guess a stopped up sink is pretty minor.
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Look at these sweet pictures!!! How in the WORLD could you not feel merry and bright looking at them??? We went to a local restaurant tonight for FREE pictures with Santa. I didn't know Mrs. Claus would be there. She was the MOST HELPFUL person in the world. When M went straight to Santa, I dropped to the floor to start snapping pictures. Mrs. Claus grabbed my purse and M's poncho and was super helpful. I took pictures of other friends that were there and she helped watch M. M had been so scared of Santa Claus. In fact, she specifically told me that "Ho, ho, ho 'care me." (Santa scares me.) On the way to the restaurant, I told her that she was going to sit on Santa's lap and say cheese and Mommy was going to take lots of pictures of her. She flat out REFUSED and reminded me that "Cris Claus 'care me." (Santa Claus scares me.) I told her he most certainly does not. Imagine my complete and profound shock when she marched her cute little ponytailed self right up to him, gave him her book and climbed into his lap. It was a priceless moment.
Now to gripe for a moment: I HATE MY CAMERA LENSE!!! Do you see how much editing I had to do??? Every SINGLE picture is so hazy. I feel like I don't get any clear pictures. I dropped my camera when I was out of town a few weeks ago and the other lense now sticks a little. It still works, but the zoom is catchy, which frustrates me. This lense was on my old 35 mm and is supposed to be compatible with my DSLR--I got this Tamron lense when I was pregnant with M, so about 2.5 years ago. I'm not entirely sure that it is compatible with my DSLR. When I edit, I get noise. Does anyone have any advice? Why did I used to get clear, sharp images and now everything is hazy?
Saturday, December 15, 2007
1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Wrapping Paper
2. Real tree or artificial? REAL tree--had a fake as a child for a year or two. The kids revolted and we got our live tree back.
3. When do you put up the tree? Sometime between Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve
4. When do you take the tree down? Between Christmas of this year and Christmas of next year. We've never left it up for months or anything.
5. Do you like eggnog? Very much
6. Favorite gift received as a child? Smurf village my dad made when I was about 4 or 5, Cabbage Patch kid babies, BOOKS
7. Do you have a nativity scene? Sadly, no. I really want a nice one and I REALLY want a Fisher Price one for Meryt.
8. Hardest person to buy for? My sister in law.
9. Easiest person to buy for? Meryt and my dad
10. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? A teacher bag--the bag wasn't bad, but the comment from the person was.
11. Mail or email Christmas cards? Mail them--and they are handmade!
12. Favorite Christmas Movie? Gosh...that's a hard one. I LOVE all the cheesy Christmas movies. Right now, Lifetime is on and it will stay on until Christmas Eve lunch. The more sappy Christmas movies, the better.
13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? I'm not sure this year. For the nephews, very early because something for their gift was on sale, but I just bought Dwayne's second present today (his first was in early November). Meryt is done, so it just depends.
14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? Sadly, yes.
15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? All the delicious goodies my mom makes to share with her neighbors and church friends. Oh, and homemade hot chocolate. I get a new recipe every year from cooking class!
16. Clear lights or colored on the tree? Colored
17. What is your favorite Christmas song? I think Silent Night, but when Josh Groban sings Little Drummer Boy, I melt. And I also like that song where the man is singing and tries to get the lady to stay for a little long and she's saying she's got to go, but decides to stay a little longer.
18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? Travel...I'm not ready to give up waking up with my parents on Christmas morning. And I want Meryt to be with my grandmother as much as possible.
19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer? Yes, I'm surprised I can!
20. Angel on the tree top or a star? Mickey Mouse (Dwayne is a huge Disney fan)...it's tasteful.
21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? When I was little, we were allowed to open one present on Christmas Eve (usually a movie or a game for the kids), but we haven't started that tradition with Meryt. We open all Dwayne's family gifts on CE, then we pack up and head to my parents.
23. What I love most about Christmas? Definitely sharing that time with Meryt. I love the sense of community Christmas creates.
Not only am I praying for my family, but others whose pain is so real, so NOW:
I've heard of more lost pregnancies this week--one friend lost her sweet baby at 14 weeks, another had a miracle pregnancy after 2 failed IVF's, only it was tubal and she lost her baby and a fallopian tube. When I was reading another friend's blog, she wrote about our mutual friend (I say friend, I've met her once and she's a very, very dear friend of a friend of mine) that lost her baby at 14 weeks, as well as three more who have lost their babies. That's five women whose hearts are broken right now--whose wombs are now empty and once were full.
I cry for them. I cry for the loss. The knowledge that their mother-arms will never hold their red-faced infants, that their breasts will never nurse newborn mouths. I cry because I KNOW. I know the dreams you have for a baby from the moment you know you are carrying a miracle. Yes, there might be another pregnancy, another baby, but nothing, NOTHING will ever take the place of the one that was lost. My heart will always love the baby that lived in my womb for 8 weeks.
Kyla (at The Journey) wrote a moving post about a dream she had that she was pregnant, only to wake to the ache of empty arms. I've had that dream. It sometimes haunts me when the sun is sleeping and my eyes are closed.
But my loss is NOTHING compared to a mother who recently lost her own mother and is now losing her son. Her sweet, precious boy is slowing fading from his family. He will be gone before Christmas, maybe today. I don't know her. I only stumbled across her through Kyla's blog. But I'm on my knees praying for comfort for her family. Please join me. Go there, comfort her when she feels so empty. I remember that emptiness--the blackness. She's hurting. http://ramblingmomtomany.blogspot.com/
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
On the way to school today, M sneezed. The kind of sneeze that makes my mommy-heart freeze in my chest and causes my head to whip around so fast I almost get whiplash. Yep, her sweet little face was COVERED in the dreaded green mucus. I caused a traffic jam, stopping in the turn lane in front of the local college. I cleaned M up, took her to school. Two hours later, we were home again.
Not exactly the day I'd envisioned when I wished for a day off, but a day off none-the-less. And I am getting some things done. I'm going to grab a quick nap while she's resting.
What are YOU doing this wonderful Wednesday?
I'll post more pictures this evening.
Oh, does anyone besides us have problems with I-Tunes? If you do, would you please e-mail me so I can ask you a question? Pretty please! I'm very frustrated!!!
Monday, December 10, 2007
My camera was hooked up to the computher until Saturday morning. Between Saturday morning and last night, I took 368 pictures. I have AT LEAST 15 shots I want to post today, but I love this one so much! Last Christmas, H gave me several pair of funny glasses. When you look through them at bright lights, the lights look like snowmen, Christmas trees, etc. As we finally finished decorating our tree yesterday, I found this pair in the ornament box. How fun, I thought. I'll take a picture wearing these. DUH. So, then I put the lense of the glasses in front of the camera lense and got this fun image!!!
For other MBS, visit Picture This.
Monday, December 3, 2007
1.) I waitressed one summer while I was in college at a local seafood restaurant. I'm a terrible waitress. One time I shorted a guy a dollar's change and he said that was my tip. Another time, I dropped a whole entire tray of glasses with water on a guy and he laughed--and left me a huge tip.
2.) Another summer I worked in the post office on my tiny college campus. That was probably my favorite job I ever had.
3.) I love to type. Not love to type a little...I REALLY love to type. Almost as much as I love to read.
4.) I want to own a children's boutique with my friend, LL, and call it "My Favorite Things" from the song These are a Few of My Favorite Things. If I owned a women's boutique it would be called Razzle Dazzle and I can envision it in my mind.
5.) I hated spinach and mushrooms growing up. When I was in college a friend of mine asked if I like the white pizza from a local pizza parlor. I responded, "Of course!" even though I had no idea what it was. Just so I didn't look stupid, I ate some and I LOVED IT. Now I'll eat spinach and mushrooms on anything.
6.) I love to get real mail and e-mail. I don't like to check my answering machine, but I do like to talk on the telephone.
7.) Somtimes I really, really like to eat barbeque and others times it completely grosses me out. I never know how I'll feel about it until I get to the restaurant. When H first made me eat it, I couldn't get it enough. Now I'm hot and cold about it.
Bonus: 8.) Until I wrote my thesis, I only enjoyed a Starbucks coffee every now and then. I wasn't a huge coffee drinker. I'm a hot tea snob (only loose tea for me, thank you very much...and water boiled to the perfect rolling boil). Unfortunately, now that my thesis is complete, I find that I need one cup of coffee to lift the fog each morning. I think I allowed that stupid thesis project to cause a coffee addiction.
Okay, more random things about me. I understand if you run away screaming...I might when I read this in the morning. H is waiting to tuck me in so he can go watch his TiVo'd football games, so I'm off to bed. I know I promised pictures...I'll get them up soon for you. I didn't even have MBS this week. Maybe next week.
Sunday, December 2, 2007
M was walking around crying about something AGAIN.
I was TRYING to have a moment of quiet in the bathroom.
She walks in SOBBING about some injustice. She was trying to tell me what it was, but of course I couldn't understand because she was blubbering through her tears.
I was at the end of my mommy-patience-rope. I'd heard ENOUGH of the whining.
"M, stop crying NOW. Mommy has no idea what you're talking about."
M stomped her foot at me and continued to cry.
"M, Mommy said stop crying. You are not allowed to stomp your foot at Mommy."
More tears as she stomps out of the bathroom and sits on the floor by my sewing machine (leaving the once closed bathroom door wide open so I'm STILL listening to the whining/crying.)
My voice reaches almost screaming level--not quite, but almost.
"M, that's ENOUGH. Go sit on the red chair until you are done crying!"
The tears stopped. *snap* Just like that. Not another tear the rest of the evening.
Can someone PLEASE explain this to me?
Saturday, December 1, 2007
I hope you find something encouraging this holiday season. I hope something makes your heart very happy.