Saturday, August 30, 2008

Sneaking out

It's 6:10 am on the east coast. I've been up for almost half an hour. If you know me well, you know this is HIGHLY unusual. But today is my big day.

I'm sneaking out.

I'll be gone before M wakes up.

I'm going away by myself for just under 48 hours.

I'll give you all the delightful details when I get back.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Update on being frantic and Phrase Friday

I took the afternoon off. Not from my teaching job. From life. As in, I checked out.

H picked M up from school.

I ran a few errands.
I got a pedicure.

To be honest, I didn't care who needed me. I didn't really care who wanted me. I had two hours and they were all about me.

Then I met H and M at our favorite restaurant for a special dinner. I think H can tell I'm at the end of my rope. My energy ran out and I'm running completely on fumes. He's trying really hard.

After dinner, I wanted to run in Dilliards to get a wrap. I not only got a wrap, but a wrap, three fun headbands, two pair of shoes, and a dress. My entire bill was less than the original price of the dress.

Now on to Phrase Friday.

M gets a sucker when she makes poop on the potty. She's pooped on the potty at school several times, so I teasingly said we owed her teacher a sucker for helping M.

We took the suckers today. On the way there, she said, "Mommy, cher-berry is my fravorite flavor."
"Cher-berry? Do you mean cherry or strawberry?" I asked.
"Not chewwy or twaberry. Cherberry."

Um...couldn't argue with that one. How can you argue with that? Cherberry must be a new toddler flavor that no one else knows about.

Have you ever heard of cherberry?

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The relief in heaviness

Who knew that relief from stress would bring it's own heaviness with it?

I realized after my frantic post earlier this week that there is a reason I'm cramming entirely too much STUFF into my life. There are things I don't want to deal with. If I'm so busy, so stressed out, so full of extra stuff, then (consummate avoider that I am), I don't have to deal with any baggage.

Particularly the baggage of wanting another baby.

Last night at Bible Study, I had the absolute honor, delight, privilege, thrill of holding a chunky, sturdy, fill-your-arms 14 week old and rock him to sleep. Right in the Starbucks. That little camo-clad guy just snuggled right in and took the quiet road to the land of nod. Nothing, other than holding M, has EVER felt so good.

My arms ache today with the yearning to do that. To hold my very own baby and sway him (or her) off to sleep. To have my own child snuggle in and drift off.

I know if I continue to have so much stress in my life then there is no way I'll be able to get pregnant. I know that stress doesn't prevent pregnancy, but when I cram every waking minute full of my to-do list, I think the chances grow slim.

My goal is in September to quietly whisper to myself, "Be still and know He is God, Be STILL.... BE STILL... BE EVEN MORE STILL... Natalie, you are not being still enough" until the unthinkable happens. I become still. I live in the moment. I enjoy the now, not the "when I get this done."

I stopped by my favorite yarn store today. I treated myself to two luxorius skeins of yarn. One to knit a little scarf for M and one for myself. For what? I don't know. I saw a basket of delicious pink yarn with a sign that said Project Pink. When I read the sign, I signed up right away. Yes, one more committment, but one that will make me slow down. The yarn store is giving volunteers a skein of the most delicious pink yarn if they commit to knitting a 48 in scarf and donating it to the store. Mrs. Knit, the owner, wants to wrap our city in pink in October in honor of breast cancer awareness. How could I resist? I love to buy yarn, but am really not talented enough to do anything except scarves. Really, how many scarves can one person have? (Um...don't answer that.) This project is right up my ally. On top of that, I can sit quietly and knit away. I can think and knit. I can pray and knit. I can listen to my music and knit. This is good. This is exactly what I need. I can be still and knit. Perhaps my arms won't ache so much.

Monday, August 25, 2008


Could someone please come bang on my door and scream "SIMPLIFY, SIMPLIFY, SIMPLIFY" at me?

I'm overdoing it. As usual. Saying yes when I should say no. Agreeing when I should decline.

Why do I do this? I'm not eating well because I'm too busy. I'm definitely not sleeping well because I have too much on my mind.

Wanna know what's on my list?
1.) Make some baby gifts.
2.) Tag M's old clothes for consignment.
3.) Go to WM to get the things I need to do both of those things.
4.) Write lesson plans, grade papers, actually do a little teaching some time.
5.) Track down some e-mail address to get in touch with some friends.
6.) Grocery shop so we can actually eat healthy around here.

And on, and on, and on.

Does anyone notice anything about spending time with M? How about H? How about cleaning up the house? Doing laundry? Running the dishwasher? Throwing the ball with the dog? Vacuuming our house?

I was reading something over at Marie's and this unbelievable yearning came into my heart. Just throw it all away. Pack up the family and GO. Find a quiet place. Find a place where family is the only thing, the most important thing. Don't meet the neighbors. Don't register for a telephone. Don't forward the mail. HIDE. (That's not at all what I'm suggesting Marie did. I just yearn to be where she is!!!)

But the reality is that I can't do that. Running away is not in my future. I love my job. I love my friends. I love my family--my parents, my brothers, H's family.

So I need to find the balance. The balance between the tug and the pull. The "I need yous" and the "these are your responsibilities." How is it possible that one woman has so many RESPONSIBILITIES?? For those of you with children in school, PLEASE thank your child's teacher tomorrow. Teaching has the ability (capability) to suck the life out of the teacher. If we don't control it, teaching can overtake our lives. The reality is that I'll never be caught up. There will always be more to do, more to give, more to plan, more to grade, more, more, more.

I'm not having a pity party. I just needed a place to get all of this out. To see it in black and white. To remind myself that my priorities are within these four walls. My family comes first. Everything (E.VE.RY.THING.) else comes in second or fifth or tenth behind H and M.

Sometimes I feel desperate. Sometimes I need someone else to help shoulder the burden. And when these sometimes come, it feels good to have this place. And it feels good to shake with the responsibility of it all while saying I WANT TO RUN AWAY. I don't want to be responsible. I don't want to be what I am to all these different people. I just want to be me.

So I will continue to strive to simplicity. To come home and play instead of work. To cuddle instead of sew. To whisper instead of run.

Simplify. Simplify...I hear it in the distance. It's calling for me, wanting to embrace me and wanting me to embrace it honestly and truly, for once and for all.

Edited to add: I finished tagging all of M's clothes for consignment. I'll work on toys tomorrow or Wednesday. What doesn't get done, DOESN'T GET DONE. It feels GREAT to say that. The clothes were the most important thing to get ready. Did I mention my husband ROCKS? He went to WM for me and helped me hang all the clothes. It's raining now. I'm going to snuggle with H and go to sleep.

My Best Shot

At the end of a whirlwind trip to Savannah, M became a little whirlwind. My parents got her this sweet little get-up and she loved it from the moment she put it on. Perhaps there are dress-up days in my future. I'm not sure how, but my finger was in front of the flash. I ended up liking the result. This could definitely use some editing, but it's not too bad SOOC.

For other MBS, visit Tracey.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Fall Carnival

I'm reaching out for some ideas here.

M's birthday is October 12. I know, I's actually a little shocking that I'm thinking about it more than a week ahead of time. BUT. I want this birthday to be super special.

Her first birthday was just fun.
Last year was AWESOME. We did pumpkin decorating. I want to do something a little different. That was fun, but I want to change it up a bit.

I'm thinking about a fall carnival/festival type party, with different "stations" or games or activities for the kids to do. I think the kids should wear their halloween costumes. I know I don't need to plan TOO much because they are little and they will just want to play.

I want five or six organized types of activies. What do you think about this?
1. pumpkin decorating again (but if they are wearing their costumes, is this a good idea? We painted the pumpkins last year)
2. bean bag toss (earn a goody)
3. some type of craft. At school, I make the kiddos clean out their desks and throw their paper away in a brown paper bag. We close it with a rubber band, paint the stuffed part orange and the top green so it looks like a pumpkin. Again, there's the paint issue.
4. the funny donut game where powdered donuts are strung on a string and the kids eat them off the string without using their hands.
5. some type of fishing game where kids earn a goody by hooking a fish (how can I make that fall-ish?)
6. I have no idea.

I hate doing goody bags. I want the kids to make something (hence the pumpkin decorating was great!) or "earn" it by doing the games. I thought I'd make caramel apples as one of the goodies and maybe one little bag of candy.

Help me here...any good ideas?

I just found this link. Some of the games sound awesome!


All is forgiven

Dear sweetest M,

Sometimes I find myself at the end of my rope. Sometimes I don't know what else to do. Sometimes I fuss and discipline when maybe I shouldn't. Sometimes I'm not perfect.

Honey, I love you so much. You bring so much joy to our family. God designed us perfectly for each other. He took almost 28 years to prepare me to be YOUR mama. Sometimes I fail you both, but I sure do try hard.

It's okay that you had three accidents yesterday, despite being offered the potty each.and.every time. It's okay that you didn't make any tee-tee for over eight hours today. I was frustrated yesterday when you made an accident in your friend's room. I was worried today when you wouldn't tee-tee for her.

I really and truly know that you won't wear diapers to kindergarten. I wouldn't push this if you hadn't asked for big girl underpants. I KNOW you can do this. I love your big smile when you do use the potty. I love giving you suckers when you poop in the potty. I love hearing your sweet voice say, "Mommy, I got to make potty!"

And truthfully, no matter how tired, frustrated, upset I could I stay that way when I see this sweet face?

Or this one...where you look JUST LIKE YOUR DADDY????

Oh, sweetie. It doesn't matter, really. You are my girl. I love you, accidents, whys, millions of no's...I love you.

Your imperfect mommy

Monday, August 18, 2008

What would your child do?

What would your child do while you were checking all the backlog of blog posts from being disconnected for a week?

This is what my child did:

M was washing her hands, innocently enough. Perhaps I should have checked before it came to this. When I discovered her antics, all I could do was laugh. No anger over here, just laughter.

The sink was about 2/3 full of water. The bubbles were taking over the entire bathroom. She was having a grand time playing in the bubbles. Her dress was soaked. The counter was soaked. The roll of toilet paper was soaked.

But she had fun. And we laughed.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

MBS: Summer Fun

This is the face of a satisfied little girl. After having dinner on the deck, M and I chased each other around a tree in the backyard until we fell down exhausted.

Sweet, summer fun.

I'm working on a new computer here. I don't have access to our old computer, so if anyone would send me the code for posting a link in a comment, I sure would appreciate it!

For other MBS, stop by Tracey's.

Up and running

Oh, bloggy world have I ever missed you!!!

We've had a problem with our computer for several weeks now, with the ultimate coming sometime last week. Our harddrive was fine, but we could not connect to the wonderful world wide web. Our house flooded because of the tears I shed!!!

Truthfully, our regular computer is still down. H agreed to let me buy a laptop yesterday. We are the proud owners of this delicious piece of technology. You have no idea how my heart sings when I turn it on!

The only unfortunate thing is that there is so much information I need from my other computer. when we get it back and I can transfer all the information, I'll feel one hundred times better.

I'll be participating in BSM in a while and I can't wait to get around to read about each of you. I've sure missed you!!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Phrase Friday (early) and other stuff

This post is heavy on the "other stuff" side of life. If you're only here for phrase Friday, feel free to leave after giggling about M's antics.

M loves to read in the car. The pocket of the passenger seat is full of interesting material for M to peruse as we drive around town. Tonight she was REALLY into one of her books. When we arrived at the last intersection before we get to our neighborhood, she cried out, "Daddy, YOU LOST THE CHURCH!" H and I busted out laughing, realizing immediately what happened. Our church is on the previous corner--she was so involved in her book that she didn't notice we passed our church. We tried to explain to her that we'd already passed our church. No avail--she was sure we'd LOST our church.

On to the other stuff.

I'm exhausted. Today was the first day of school. I've never worked so hard to get ready for my students. We had five (yes, five) days of pre-planning, so I worked, cleaned, disposed, organized, created, disposed, disposed, disposed, and disposed some more. I'm so thrilled with my room this year. I KNOW this is going to be a great year.

My kids are full of personality this year. I'm sure I'll have stories to share. I've got a funny one today, but it would give away too much information, so I'll keep it to myself. Protection of privacy is important.

We're going to meet our new niece this weekend. I'm sure MBS will contain that sweet little baby girl. I just can't wait to hold her and kiss her--if I can get to her before M. M has already proclaimed, "That's MY baby Raegan!"

Sunday, August 3, 2008

MBS: Favorite Toy or Those Legs

I'm breathless when I see this picture. Not so much because it's the best one ever, but I can NOT believe those legs are attached to MY.LITTLE.GIRL! When did the tiny baby that I carried in my womb grow such long legs? When did she become such a little girl? Where is my toddler??
I'm not sure what toys are favorites at your house, but from infancy, M has enjoyed playing in the laundry basket. When she was tiny, she loved to be in the laundry basket (as in, she's on the floor and the laundry basket is inverted on top of her). Because we live in a two story house, I often put her on top of the clean clothes and carried her up the stairs when it was time to put away laundry. Recently, the love of the laundry basket was been ignored. Friday afternoon, I came into my room to find M in the laundry basket as she enjoyed a little TV. Doesn't look that comfy to me, but whatever she likes.
For other MBS, make sure to visit Tracey.
PS: Don't you love her new shoes?

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Phrase Friday on Saturday

M is perfecting her whining. Perhaps you've heard that annoying sound from your own child. You know the one I'm talking about. Almost words, but not quite, with a touch of crying, but not enough to really be called crying? Yeah, yeah, that one.

People, I CAN'T TAKE IT. That noise gets on my nerves worse than repetitive tapping and nails on the chalkboard (thank God for dry erase boards!).

Me: M, stop whining. Mommy doesn't like that.
M: continues as if she didn't hear what I just said
Me: M, Mommy told you to stop whining.
M: continues as if she didn't hear what I just said
Me: M, Mommy asked you to stop whining. So, STOP whining. No more ANANAHANAHA (trying to make the same sound)
M: But I want to whine. (in a whiny voice)
Me: Well, do it so I can't hear you.
M: But I want to do it FATSTER (translation: faster).

In our house, fatster means LOUDER. Tell me that this phase goes away.

H doesn't like for M to climb up and down the stairs without one of us. Me...I couldn't care. She's never fallen. She goes super slow. I think she'll be fine. Yesterday afternoon she was playing downstairs, so I ran up to check my e-mail. Mocha, our chocolate lab, came with me. She, Mocha, was resting at the top of the stairs. After several minutes, I heard M begin her oh-so-quiet ascent. Mocha always gets excited when M comes around, so her tail was thumping and she was panting. M said, "Shhh...I comin'. Don't worry, Mochie. I coming. Don't tell Mama."

That's right. Don't tell Mama. Because I can HEAR you!

Daycare: $528 per month.
New shoes: $83.12
Life with a toddler: Priceless

Friday, August 1, 2008

I'm an aunt!!!

Yeah!! My brother and sister-in-law had their first child this morning, a tiny baby daughter. I want to be there with them so much! However, they were up all night laboring and she's not yet 12 hours old, so I think I'll let them rest this weekend. The Bensons will be there next weekend. If you're on the interstate and you see a black van speeding past you, just know it's us trying to get to that baby girl!

Christina asked if this is the first niece/nephew--the answer is no. H has three nephews who are quickly becoming young men. The youngest was born just a few months after H and I began dating, so I really missed all of their baby-hoods. I adore, love, admire them very much. They are three of the sweetest, funniest, handsome-est, smartest boys I know and I wouldn't trade them for anything in the world.

But I did have to brag on this sweet baby girl! I'm already picking out some gifts to take her next weekend. Don't you think she needs some pink, frilly dresses? How about some pink hairbows? She's got a head FULL of dark black hair. Or maybe a sweet little bracelet? And of course, something home-made, too.

Is that not the cutest little baby nose you've ever seen???