So we meet again….

blog world!

Last week I took a {brief} blogging break and enjoyed some refreshing creative enrichment for some inspiration.  Top on the list of things that inspire me: my husband.  Because you just never know what to expect from him!  This week it has been a dizzying whirlwind of cleaning out closets, cabinets and the much-neglected garage.  Why?  Well one day Daddy just became frustrated because the downstairs coat closet didn’t have enough room and the next thing I knew our entire house was being turned upside-down into an entirely new system (did I mention he never does anything half-heartedly?).  {shout-out to B who helped him out on a rainy, Friday night….I still don’t know where my baking sheets are, but I’m pretty thankful I didn’t have to touch any of that mess}

Usually I am the one who is cleaning and organizing, so it was nice to be on this side of things for once.  I just sat back and let him work his magic.  And it was magical.  One way that he far excels me in this area is that he is willing to give anything and everything away.  Me?  I’m much more of a sentimentalist.  Sometimes I hold onto things simply because they have a memory attached to them—be it big or small.  He, on the other hand, abides strictly by the one-year rule and will either it throw it away or donate it to a local mission we support.  Sometimes, I’m even convinced that should I not “earn my keep around here” that I’ll get donated to the mission.  (side note to friends: if you ever don’t hear from me for a week or two, you know where to find me: in the blue mission barn next to our chess set)

Being the sentimentalist that I am and a former art teacher to boot, I have a hard time throwing {some} things away.  I mean, even if it doesn’t serve a purpose now, it may someday.  And even if you don’t need it in it’s exact form, you may be able to repurpose it and use it somewhere else.  This is where N and my mom (yes, her too!) say no: throw it away.  But what if, what if you get rid of something you later need?    But what if it’s something that is really hard to find and you always regret getting rid of it (note: this has never happened, but it could, right?)  They would say just buy a new one. And it’s true.  Often I forget that I am saving *that one thing* and so when I need it or something like it, I end up buying a new one anyway.

So what is the point to all of this?  The point is that our book club is hosting a twenties-themed murder mystery dinner night.  I was cast as the jazzy nightclub singer with a seedy past (okay, I threw that last part in there, but is does make her sound more interesting, no?).  And her suggested costume is: a sequined evening gown.  The problem is, I don’t own any evening gowns.  I did once in my life, but seeing as it had been a whole year since I had worn them, to the mission they went.  That meant I had to buy a new one, but I was sure I wasn’t going to spend more than $12.  So what’s a girl to do?  Goodwill of course!

It was Friday.  There are two GW’s in close proximity to our house, but we were crunched for time and therefore ended up at the closest one…also known as the one with the crabbiest employees.  Hey, beggars can’t be choosers.

With MG in tow, I refreshed my mental image of what I was looking for.  In my phone, I had made a note of some twenties-type fashion inspiration:

-long pearl necklace…knotted?
-fringe
-noir makeup
-drop-waist
-sequins
-baggy forms
-hair pieces/cloche
-updos
-feathers
-ribbons around waist
-fur coat
-long cigarette
-art deco
-fake mole

I imagined my gal to look something like this:

(image from here)

I gravitated immediately to the wall of color-coordinated dresses.  I didn’t know exactly what I was looking for, but I carefully examined each one for size, length, and sequinning ability.  This was not just a shopping trip, this was a tactile experience.  You just can’t pass anything over too hastily.  I was almost to the end of the rack of blacks and then…
and then
I saw her.
Perfect condition, just as I had remembered her.  Long and sleek, just as I had remembered her.  Byer Too, size S, just as I had remembered her.  

My freshmen year homecoming dress, just as I had remembered her: 

(wan’t she a thing of beauty?  black, polyester blend with a jewel encrusted starburst erupting from the left hip)
So we meet again.
I don’t remember when we parted ways.  Perhaps it was in the last 5.5 years due to the prompting of my husband.  Perhaps it was in the last 10 years due to the prompting of my mother.  But I knew one thing: only the hands of Fate could have brought us together on this day. I had to have her back.
I apologized for giving her away.  She assured me that in her fourteen years,  she had happily served many more while she waited for my returm.  I quickly emptied the cart of my two maybes and removed her from her wire hanger.  She wasn’t perfect, but she would do.

I suppose N and mom were right. I don’t regret having to pay the $6 fee to get her back.   Because in the meantime, hopefully other girls were able to feel just as lovely as I once did in her while my closet expanded to hold more practical items.  My only remorse is that I don’t have a picture of the two of us in all of our original glory.  Probably thrown away due to the proddings of my mom/N.  ***On second thought,  I really should be thanking them.***

This weekend, I have big plans for my old, polyester friend–namely: sequins, feathers, and an elastic waistband.  But underneath, she will still be that black evening gown I put on fourteen years ago and felt oh-so-grown-up in.  So we meet again, old friend.

And so I walked away with a valuable lesson that day:  never hesitate to give away your things to others because whenever you need them again, they are sure to find a way back to you.

 

MG’s birth story: The Day “It” became She

On any given day prior to June 29, 2010, we were absolutely convinced we were having a boy.

It wasn’t that I necessarily wanted a boy over a girl, it’s just that there were multiple experiences to make me think this babe was coming out blue.  It seemed like (or maybe I was just hearing) everyone was saying, “Boy, boy, boy”.  When Daddy was asked what he wanted, instead of saying the typical, “I don’t care as long as it’s healthy..blah, blah, blah”, he chose a side….boy.  We called her by her boy name.  We prayed for her by her boy name.  And there were several other convincing factors that are more of an “in person type of story” that led us to believe that we would have a son joining our family that November.

I even bought 2 whole bags of boy clothes.  And zero girl clothes.  Yes, I do realize there is always a 50/50 chance.   But the odds didn’t concern me.  I relied on my intuition. I just knew I was having a boy.

We went into the gender ultrasound with lots of nervous excitement.  Would he look okay?  Would they see anything suspicious?  Would they finally relieve the stress and tell us it’s a boy?

The ultrasound tech, the same one I’d had for my first two ultrasounds, is a bit of an ice queen. N tried to warm her up by asking her (before the appointment even started), “So what do you think?  Boy or girl?”  She gave a stilted, and I do mean stilted laugh and said, “No one’s ever asked me that at the beginning before.”  She did a once-over on my belly and pronounced, “Boy.”  Knew it.

I climbed up on the table and the lights were dimmed.  We watched our little baby, who was thankfully, much more baby-like this time, pop up on the screen.  Four limbs were counted hastily.  The heartbeat was confirmed.  Ah, I felt like I can breathe again.

“I believe it’s a girl”.  Said the Queen, with much less conviction than I would hope for when you are handing me my eternal fate.

Was that it?  No build-up.  No, “Are you ready to find out what you’re having?!?“.  No excited trills or proclamations?

N and I both looked at each other.  “I mean, are you sure?”

“Well, the legs are crossed right now.  Let, me just see….”  And she proceeded to mash and prod my belly with the warm laser.  I mentally willed those little legs to move.

“Okay, yep, definitely a girl.  See right here?”  Those little legs were doing the amniotic splits.  There was nothing to see there.

N didn’t say anything.  I said meekly, “I always wanted a little girl.”  But I knew it wasn’t convincing.  He was in shock, I was in shock.  But I wasn’t about to let the Ice Queen think we were disappointed.  So I kept trying to cover for us.

She must have sensed our confusion because she quickly changed the topic to the recent episode of the Bachelorette and how she thought I resembled Ali.  I wasn’t sure if I was relieved for a change of topic, worried that she thought we hated our outcome, or annoyed that we spent more time talking about the B than our baby.

We even have this {now} hilarious video of our “recovery”  in the waiting room.  When asked my first thought upon hearing girl I said, “Now I’ll have to return all those clothes I bought.”  N’s?  “How am I going to pay for a wedding?”  When asked our biggest fears about a pink baby, N: “I hope she looks like you”.  Me: “I hope she…is a girl when she comes out”.  Clearly I hadn’t been converted yet.

While we waited for the doctor to see us, I cornered N.  “Are you disappointed?”

“No, no.  Not disappointed. {and he would have told me}  I just don’t know how to do girls.”  He had that deer-in-headlights look and I totally got it.  He grew up in a boy-dominated house.  His family spent the summer camping.  He dug snakes and crawfish out of the creek in his backyard and kept them as pets.  He had mastered 13 distinct gun noises by the time he was 7.

Little did he know, one of the things I had always said to be true about him long before babies were a thought in our minds: he will be such a good dad of girls.  And he is.  Encouraging, funny, sensitive, compassionate, persistent.  Embarrassing…but in that “protective sort of way”.  He will always pursue our girl and make her feel special and loved.  Just as he did her Mama.

After the appointment, the very first place I went was………Old Navy.  Why?  Well remember those bags of boy clothes?  They were running a special that was ending that day so I wanted to exchange the clothes and hopefully find some good bargains on girl clothes.

   (side note: It was on this day that I purchased one of my very favorite outfits for baby MG, pictured here.  Maybe one of the reasons I loved it so much is because the day I bought it  was the first time I emotionally bonded with her?)      

Girl clothes.  As I perused the aforementioned neglected-by-myself girl section, I felt so lost.  I felt so out of place.  I had to completely re-align my thinking with reality.   My alliance had been to the boys for so long, that I felt guilty and confused buying for a girl.  What are these lace leggings for?  Do I even like lace?  Is it okay to not dress your daughter in head-to-toe pink?  How do I feel about jellies?  Somebody take me to the bows…stat.    

I had an almost uncontrollable urge to run over to every mother-daughter pair and interrogate them.  “What do you think of having a girl?  What should I buy?  Where should I begin?” In fact, one of my reoccurring nightmares was that the doctors had been wrong and this baby would come out a boy.  Silly, I know.  But that thought had been there for so long, that it was incredibly hard to rethink.

When I brought home my new pink and lavender purchases and showed them to Daddy (who, by the way, still hadn’t lost that deer-in-headlights-look), we both had a moment of, “Wow.  This is it.  We are going to be buying pink clothes for the rest of our lives!”  And so be it.

My dear, darling MG,

Ever since we found out you were a little girl, that’s all you’ve ever been to us.  Our little girl. We loved you from the moment we found out you were joining our family.  But this new knowledge made our hearts swell with even more love for you.  Because now you were a person, an identity.  You had a name.  You had a form.  You had a future.  You were changing our family.  And for the better.

In the back of my mind, I always knew I wanted a little girl.  Someday.  I never wanted to be the solo female in a male-dominated house.  Thank you for single-handedly getting me out of that!  I’ve never been good at dinosaurs or war games, but I can throw a heck of a tea party!  Plus, I was nervous that I would never have a little girl to pass on my dearly loved baby dolls  and to wear my old gently loved baby clothes that your Granny lovingly saved for you.  I have so many vivid memories of my childhood: of slumber parties, and life-changing books, and  doll-houses, and kittens and ponies, and childhood fantasies.  I absolutely cannot wait to pass these memories and experiences on to you.  Tell me, how would I do that with a little boy?

In fact, finding out you were a girl was a wonderful surprise because I was actually SURPRISED….and for a planner like me, sometimes surprises come in the best forms…just like a little pink you.

I love you, my little girl.

“I’ll love you forever and like you for always.  As long as I’m living, my little girl you’ll always be.”

 

part IV

It’s been one of those

weeks.

Because there have been one or two semi-major things that have happened, all of the minor things feel that much more monumental. It’s been a week of burdens.  Burdens when all does not feel right, burdens piling up for others going through hard things,  burdens when you feel like you just didn’t measure up.  A week of heaviness.

One of the MOPs Mamas spoke to my heart recently when she asked us to pray.  We all bowed our heads and she simply said, “Dear LORD,    Help!

“Dear LORD, HELP” Has been not far from my lips this week:  Help the couple who lost their child.  Help the friends who are losing their parents.  Help the grandchild who is losing her grandma.

Dear LORD, Help my child to be free from the pain of these teeth so she can sleep.  Help her to learn new ways to communicate sweetly.  Help her to continue to grow and develop and thrive.

Dear LORD, Help me to be the best Mama for her.  Help me to listen to Daddy even when my mind is a hundred different places.  Help me to figure out what is going on with my body so I can start to feel ‘normal’ again.  Help me not to react in frustration when it feels like I’ve spent the whole day saying, “no”.  Help me not to feel rejected when MG can go an entire day without showing any sort of love or sweetness towards me.

Help me.

Have you noticed that often our cry for help is not answered with an immediate righting of the situation? Sometimes it is a quiet peace in your heart that everything will be okay.  Sometimes it is a quick breath to step back from a situation and react without emotion.

And sometimes it is the courage to call a friend. It takes courage to ask for help because we are too prideful to appear weak and we are too afraid to burden others.

Carry each others’ burdens and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. Gal 6:2

Though if we are honest, when a true friend asks for help, it is never a burden to help them.  It is always a privilege because you feel God using you to do His work.  

“Dear LORD, Help!”

Help next week to be a fresh start.  Help me to cast my cares on You and to not carry them on my own.  Help me not to be afraid to ask for help.  Help me be available when others ask me.

Thanks for helping me out and listening to my little ‘therapeutic journalism’, friends.
Sometimes a girl’s just got to get it out,

Surviving Mamaland: Airplanes

Airplanes.  Did you just involuntarily shudder?
I know I did.

There’s no form of travel I hate more then by sky.

It’s not that I’m afraid to fly…although…when you inevitably hit that patch of turbulence and you begin confessing things you didn’t even know you had done, then I do start to wonder about my brazen attitude towards it.

It’s just that I hate the whole darn rigmarole. I hate getting to the airport and never knowing if you are going to be on time or not.  I hate getting up at 3:45am to drive 45 minutes, to wait in line 10 minutes, to wait in line 30 minutes, to remove clothing articles in front of/with strangers, to walk barefoot all over the nasty floor (why do I always forget to bring socks??), to smile with confidence, but not too much confidence at the security guard (please don’t pick me, please don’t pick me), to skimpily packing in order to not have to pay a checked baggage fee, to never bringing what I want because my desired items will never make it through the scanner, to waiting an hour for my flight (if I’m lucky), to potluck seating, to recycled air, to airplane lavatories, to being in close confinement with strangers (I’ve got a book AND headphones in…please, please, don’t make small talk with me), to uncomfortable seats, to arriving unfashionably late and weary.  And this was pre-kids.

Now take all of this, PLUS add in the unbending schedule of a toddler, PLUS add in extra security so you can bring a water-bottle and a gazillion snacks through, PLUS add in the germs..oh the germs. And MINUS the one part of airplane travel I did actually enjoy: uninterrupted time to sleep/read.  Sounds like fun, no?

Thankfully, my parents moved clear across the country about 4 years ago…so I’ve had to come to terms with this whole flying business.  AND once we get there, the perks are pretty amazing.  But how do you survive UNTIL you get there?

 

MG has flown with us at 4, 8, and 16 months (I guess we like the “divisible by four” months).  Each had its own set of challenges and eases.  These are no ordinary non-stop 2 hour flights, mind you.  These are 10-hour door-to-door, 1 or two stops with 1-3 hour layovers in between.  They are work.  While we are by no means experts, here are some things we learned along the way that may hopefully help one or two of you out there in the future.

 

Bring only, and I mean only, the necessities.  When you arrive, buy what you need: i.e. diapers, food, etc.  Or, if you’re lucky (us), your final destination will have all of these things for you already. (thanks, Mom!)  Often hotels will provide pack ‘n plays and high chairs.  And does your baby really need many toys when they are at a new place?  Traveling calls for a little creativity and you can get by with less.

Deal with it for a day.  Flying calls me to step outside my bounds and live a little.  The schedule goes out the window.  New foods are introduced (I’ve got two words for you: dum-dums) to keep little hands busy.  Vomit bags transform into paper puppets. And you better believe when we arrive, she gets a bath to wash off all of the ‘travel germs’…but until then….we just deal with it!

Let the baby suck during take-off and landing.  And by suck, I don’t mean kick and scream (although sometimes that just happens).  If they are still nursing or bottle-feeding, let them do it during this time because the sucking reflex helps their ears adjust to the air pressure.  This is trickier then it sounds, though.  MG could drain me dry in about 5 minutes, so I really had to time it right.  Note to self: when the captain says to “prepare for descent”, you still actually have about 15 minutes until you need to prepare for descent.  Also, can I just add that there’s nothing more uncomfortable then trying to nurse a 28″ baby in the confinement of a 20″ seat with a neighbor on each side.  {Hopefully you’ll sit next to a Mama or Grandma who won’t mind the occasional kick or jab.}  Once they have outgrown the bottle stage, use either a pacifier (if they still take one) or some kind of food or drink (or the dum-dums, don’t forget the dum-dums!!)

Bring something new that she’s never seen before:  For this last trip, I packed only 2 toys in the diaper bag (and 3 books if you count those as toys).  Both of them were new.  I saved them for the 4.5 hour (shoot me) flight. When we were on hour 3 and running out of fun ideas, I pulled one out.  The excitement lasted for about 20 minutes, but when your child has an attention span of about 2, a twenty minute interlude is heavenly!  While your child is preoccupied with something, always have the next thing in mind for her to do.  After about an hour, you can revisit old ideas. Let’s just say that by the end of the flight you will be more tired then…well…a baby who missed her nap…but I think you can measure your success by how long your seatmate napped (3 out of 4.5 hours…success!)

Buy an extra seat if you can/want to afford it.  This is more of a luxury than a necessity, and one I have to admit we’ve always been too cheap to do.  Thankfully, we’ve flown some pretty early, random flights and had empty rows or seats so we could spread out a little.  Having an extra seat makes a huge difference to a wiggly toddler.  MG’s never been much of a lap baby but always has been pretty happy in her car seat.  When she was younger, if we’d had her car seat and an extra seat between us, I’m pretty sure she would have snoozed the entire trip.  So if you’re like us and too cheap to buy a seat for the little one, pray for extra ones!

Things that did not work for us:
-Videos: MG doesn’t really watch TV (yet) at home, so she doesn’t really seem interested in it on planes.  Darn!!!  What did work (for about 5 minutes) was showing her pictures of herself on the iPad and videotaping her where she could watch herself perform.  We’ll take it!
-Constant entertainment: At some point during this 10 hour day, we all hit our walls.  Nothing is going to distract her from being tired and this is when Daddy takes over.  He takes her in the back of the plane and rocks her to sleep standing up(only because this seems to be the only position she will fall asleep in….but every baby is different).  Thankfully, I haven’t had to attempt this trip by myself yet, but if I did, we would just make it work, I guess!

 

I do have to say: there’s nothing like flying with a baby to have your faith restored in humanity.  From the kind stewardesses who sanitized MG’s dropped paci in scalding water, to the Grandmas who played peek-a-boo with her when I was about out of ideas, to the comments from strangers on the easy flights “Oh what a good baby!  You are such a good baby!”  Most of us who fly know that it is a less than ideal situation for both the parent and the child so we are willing to accommodate.  Those who don’t understand…well…you’ll never see those people again in your life. So don’t sweat it!

 

Having a baby doesn’t have to keep you from traveling the “friendly” skies.  And sometimes, it’s downright worth the speed and efficiency.  But let’s all pray they come up with a better method of travel.  Fast.

 

 

He is Risen!

He is risen indeed!

All Hell seemed to whisper: ‘Just forget him, he’s dead’.
Then the Father looked down to the Son and said,
‘Arise, My love.  Arise, My love.  
The grave no longer has a hold on you.
No more Death’s sting, no more suffering.
Arise! Arise! Arise!

Sin, where are your shackles?
Death, where is your sting?
Hell has been defeated.
The grave could not hold a King!

 

 

 

Happy Easter, Little Bunny!
This year, the Easter bunny (AKA Granny) left you raisins in your basket.  In your world, this is even better than candy!  Your smile, your ticklishness, your joy: they all overwhelm me with love for you. I can’t believe that Jesus loves you even more than I do!  Someday you will understand that.  Love you, pretty girl!

Thank you, LORD, for not only dying for my sins, but also for the sins of my daughter.
Truly there is no greater LOVE than this!

Surviving Mamaland: The Hardest Thing

Sometimes, every once in a great while, when I’m up before the rest of the house, I have this thought:  What would I do if I had the entire day to myself?  I am responsibility-free.  The day is mine to follow any whim I may have.  I fantasize about the errands I would run, the projects I would create, the friends I would meet for sushi at the posh restaurant in the city, the book I would finish, the corners of the house I would clean, the lengthy run and the long swim and the reflective bath and the indulgent nap I would take.

And then MG cries and I wake up from my little reverie.  Because that’s not my life anymore. I am eternally tied to the care of a little creature who is completely dependent on me.

And that is what I would say is the hardest thing about being a Mama.

Sure, Daddy (+others) can (and mercifully do) give me days off.  And don’t get me wrong, they are wonderful.  But I still have to leave a schedule, some nourishment, and a part of my heart behind.  And because of that, I don’t ever truly escape.  I still may have to field a few texts, parent from afar, and quell the worry about my baby being in someone else’s (no matter how capable) care.

In total, I’ve spent about a dozen nights away from baby in the first year alone.  But the closest scenario that I’ve experienced {since November of 2010} to being baby-free was when we went to Mexico last July for our five-year-anniversary.  MG (happily) stayed behind with Granny and Gramps.  It was a w o n d e r f u l vacation with exactly the rest and relaxation we needed.  But it didn’t come without its hardships.  We were in a foreign country.  I couldn’t get picture texts or call and check in whenever I wanted.  Every night at 7pm we rushed back to the room and I would literally run to the ringing phone because it was our daily check-in from home.  I missed the heck out of her.  And so even when I “escaped” her, I never truly could “escape” her.  This is terrifically hard.

Other terrifically hard things?  Sleepless nights.  But you know what?  I expected those and mentally prepared myself for them.  Plus, I was in New-Baby-Bliss.  And as difficult as it is to believe, not even a year later…they are becoming harder and harder to remember.  Right now, they’re just a little blip on the year-one radar.

Breastfeeding and the isolation you feel when you realize that it’s all on you.  But you only have (maybe) a year of it and the toll of it becomes easier with each passing week.  Besides, there are so many amazing benefits to it that I felt constantly affirmed for each day that I continued.

There are many obstacles to overcome (especially) in the first year of parenthood.  But once you become a parent, you are always and forever one.  I highly valued and worked hard for my independence.  And now I’ve traded all of that in.  I’ll never be able to live carefree and independent ever again.

But you know what I can’t get past in my little daydream?  That if I did have the entire day to myself, you know how I would probably spend it?  Wishing I had a little one to buy food and cook for, dreaming about a daughter to sew clothes and make headbands for, realizing that I was missing out on MOPs and playdates and meeting new mommy friends, fantasizing about filling my home with board books rather than dystopian novels, desiring a house that was strewn with baby toys rather than picked up and clean, coveting a baby belly over a toned one, and wishing I was spending my day caring for one of my own.

So while this parenting thing is (admittedly a little claustrophobic-ally) for life…I really can’t think of any other way I would rather spend my day than being a Mama to this Little Mama:

(she is pretty cute, don’t ya think??)

Thank you, LORD, for seeing me through the hard times and the easy times and for forever joining me with  a little creature of my own.

Sixteen

There’s a new mayor in M town.

Or at least she would like to think so.

Little Miss thinks she’s running the ship around here and we are all to be at her beckoned call.

Sorry, hunny, things haven’t been that way since you were…oh… about six weeks old?

Needless to say, we are working on big words like obedience, come, and no.

And while this little training course has sucked some of the fun out of this month, now that we are nearing its’ end we have seen some very positive changes in MG’s behavior. Less tantrums, more compliance.  Less tears of frustrations, more smiles of joy (on both ends).  Less throwing toys across the room, more asking for help.  Cheers all around!

The biggest barrier seems to be communication.  She can’t tell us what she wants, so often conversations dissolve into fits and tears.  We can’t explain to her in toddler language why she can’t go in the street, so we have to tell her to stop and expect her to obey.  Just because we said so.  This is hard stuff, folks.

Plus, we’re at the height of stranger danger.  My friendly, happy-go-lucky baby now only wants Mama to do it and no one else may hold me, thank you very much!  The pediatrician assured me this was normal and said something along the lines of, “They all cry like this at the 15month and 18month well-babies.  It’s just this age.”  Phew.  Then as we were leaving she dropped this ego-buster on me, “Wow, you’ve got a feisty one there.”  Just what every Mama wants to hear after a long day!

Oh my little feisty one.  You certainly have a flair for drama!  You are mimicking everything we do: throwing paper in the trash (even paper that isn’t trash), clapping your hands along with the contestants on Wheel of Fortune, smiling cheesy smiles back at us, recreating noises that you hear Mama and Daddy make, slapping your hands on the ottoman to the beat of a song, attempting to dress yourself, pointing to every.single.object.on.every.single.page.of.every.single.book, blowing on the hot spoon before you put in your mouth, trying to feed Mama your leftover cheese, passing us the clean utensils from the dishwasher to be put away and more.  Each day is a new wonder with you.  And despite all of your feistiness, we’ve seen plenty of sugar and spice and everything nice from you too.

So let’s try and channel that drama a bit next month, shall we?
(Just because we’re your parents doesn’t mean we don’t have some learning to do too.  So go easy on us.) Otherwise, you may end up as an only child.  (this is not a threat)

Love ya bunches and bunches,

Friday

was wet and rainy.
It was one of those rare days where we didn’t have anything planned except to keep the washing machine cycling…and due to that, we couldn’t exactly leave the house.

I sifted through my overstuffed supply cabinet, looking for an activity to suit a 15-going-on-16th month old.

Then it dawned on me, why not do as any good teacher and start with the basics?

I pulled out my trusty Crayolas (no RoseArts in this house!), some art paper, and a roll of masking tape.

MG sat in her high chair and I hastily selected a color: orange it was.  I demonstrated for her quickly, knowing she’s really into cause-and-effect these days; sure enough she too wanted to try to make that tangerine line snake across the paper.

 

She did it!

And then quickly reminded me:

that I’m potentially raising a Southpaw (just like her Granny & Aunt M).  We’ll give it another 6 months before we officially put it on the passport though.

Together we created a little terra cotta, tangerine and teal masterpiece to hang on the fridge:

By then the rain had cleared a bit and we found ourselves outside.

She was fascinated by the newly sprung dandelions (Daddy wanted me to be sure to let you know that they did NOT come from our yard)

And splashing through the shallow puddles with bare feet.

There’s nothing like that unexpected giggle of delight to make you see the world differently.  I have forgotten what it is like to splash through puddles (actually, I usually try to avoid them) and to pick weeds (usually I try to avoid those too).  But those chubby little fingers and toes are experiencing them for the first time.  And that is something to never be avoided, as much as it can be helped.

All in all, our rainy, wet Friday mostly consisted of weed picking, puddle jumping, worm avoiding (can’t quite bring myself up for that experience yet), dog watching, feet washing, giggle inducing, finger pointing, flower sniffing, and hand holding.  With a little bit of art on the side.

On this rainy, wet Friday, we used crayons to create art and the LORD used the rain to create this:

We are thankful for the little ways that God often reminds us that art and nature are so closely tied.

Points

After our little ER incident and illness, we are slowly recovering over here.

Yesterday was touch and go.

Low point:  Waking up at 7:30am after a restless night of sleep and multiple trips to the nursery to comfort our sick girl.
High point:  Getting new clothes for my gal and I at Old Navy.  Spent $60 got $30 back in ONbucks.  Went to CVS to pick up some reinforcements (Infant Advil, popsicles, nail polish).  Won $5 in CVSbucks on my receipt, enabling me to get that other bottle of nail polish I was eyeing.

Higher point:  It was 84 degrees here!!!  The sun was out.  We wore shorts.  We took 2 walks.  I can’t remember a March 15 this nice since my Mississippi days. 
Lower point:  MG got her first boo-boo when we she tripped on the sidewalk.  Oh it just hurts me to see that perfect little knee with baby-soft skin so scratched up.

Lowest point:  Catching Atticus vomit with a pair of my shorts from the laundry.  This sickness is welcome to leave our house now.
Highest point:  After her afternoon nap, MG’s fever finally broke.  Praise the LORD, our Comforter and Healer!

Today?  Today it is 80+ degrees out again.  I’ve got a sleeping baby, clean laundry, and a scoured house.  I’m wearing new clothes.  I’ve got the start of my summer tan.  I’ve got a Dove Gray and Coral Reef mani/pedi.

All points considered, we’re looking to be flying pretty HIGH today.

Midnight (-opposite word of-)Mayhem

If you had said the words “emergency room” to me prior to the early morning of March 14, 2012, I would have envisioned the following:

-a waiting room full of people in various states of traumatic pain & at least one victim of a severe bleeding accident; possibly with a severed limb
-doctors and nurses yelling orders to each other in moments of haste “we’re losing this one!”
-screaming babies and children with panicky parents waiting for hours in the middle of the night to be seen
-+something dramatic similar to an episode of Grey’s Anatomy.  Except, I don’t watch GA because even televised trauma makes me squeamish.

This is most certainly NOT what I envisioned:

My two sweethearts rocking gently in a quiet room.

Here’s how it started:
MG slept restlessly on the night of March 13.  Every time I went in to check on her, she felt a little warm, but I didn’t think anything of it.  You must know by now that she’s been teething so I wrote it off as another night for the tortuous molars.  By 8am, she was unmistakeably  awake and when I went in to retrieve her, noticed that she felt quite warm.  103 degree fever.  Ugh.  I gave her some Tyelenol (that’s been banned, remember? or has it?? I wish they would make up their minds) Advil and felt it was a good sign when she swallowed some applesauce for breakfast and played quietly with her toys.

Poor thing became less and less herself as the day wore on.  I finally phoned the doctor while she took a morning nap.  “Try to keep her comfortable and hydrated”.  She had been drinking fine, so I kept an eye on her.  We continued the meds, but her fever never dropped below 101.

She didn’t want to be put down the rest of the day.  My back was starting to kill me.  When Daddy came home, he scooped her up and rocked her to sleep for an afternoon nap.

The night progressed slowly with our poor, lethargic sicky.  There was another frantic call to the doc when she began to turn blue and started shaking uncontrollably. This was followed by another spike in fever.  We watched her closely and were worried to put her to bed, but the doctor said that was exactly what she needed to fight this: rest.

I was finally ready to crawl into bed around 11pm after checking her like 15579815380 times, but the last time I checked on her, I just had a funny feeling. Call it Mother’s intuition. She was breathing hard and heavy, almost as if she’d been working out.  The doctor received another call and when I held the phone up to MG’s airway, she said, It’s time to take her in.”  In fifteen seconds, she’d inhaled 15 times. 

I woke up my tired sleepers and we piled in the car.  Fortunately, the closest ER is like a second from our house…but to say I was apprehensive was an understatement.

Halfway to the entrance, Daddy says, “Oh, I left something in the car, you go on ahead and take her inside.”  What, and wait in line behind the screaming gunshot victim?  No thanks.

But lo and behold:  inside it was quiet.  And calm.  There were ZERO patients in the waiting room…or lack thereof.   The Ice Queen receptionist DID nearly throw me off my already weak game, but Sugar Daddy-I-can-charm-anyone-into-a-smile melted her cool heart quickly.  The nurses oohed and aahed over our pitiful baby as they weighed her and poked and prodded her with about every instrument imaginable.  She really only cried when they swabbed her throat-via-her-nose for the RSV test.   The rest of the time, she spent taking turns between Mama’s, no Daddy’s, no Mama’s laps.  She just couldn’t get comfortable and she would reach out with both arms to the empty-lapped parent, “will you try it for awhile??”.

Next up was a trip to the torture chamber AKA chest x-ray.  She only hollered a little and Daddy stayed right by her side the whole time.

I, in the meantime, stayed on high-alert for drama.  At some point, there was a crazy nurse commotion in the hallway,
Nurse: “Sir, SIR, you can’t walk around without shoes.”
Shoeless Man: “Uhh…I can’t??”
Nurse: “You cannot be barefoot.”
Shoeless Man: “But I left my shoes at home.”

Shoeless Man: “Do you have some slippers I can borrow?”

Suffice it say, I was glad we missed the entrance with whomever cause Shoeless Man to walk out of his house, drive (illegally), span the asphalt, and pace the tiled hallways sans footwear.  Must have been pretty traumatic.

Finally, after about an hour’s wait, a dozing Daddy, and an exhausted little family, they confirmed she had strep + an upper respiratory infection.  One  Rx for amoxicillan later and we were being discharged.

I have to say, my first experience at the ER was quite the learning experience.  Calm and drama-free (minus Shoeless Man, of course)?  Quick and easy?  It almost makes me think I could do this again someday.  Almost.  Maybe even by myself…if I had to.

The only thing I’ll do differently next time is just remember to throw an extra pair of slippers in my bag.  Afterall, you just never know what you’re going to see there.

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