Sunday, January 29, 2012

About to burst

By the title of this post you probably first thought I was referring to my pants as this pregnancy has certainly humbled me in the area of weight gain. Alas, I am eating the rice krispy treats I made at 8:45 this morning for no reason at all and so, therefore, I have nothing more to say about the weight subject.

Actually, I am referring to the four-chambered organ currently pumping overtime to get all that sugar to the necessary extra fat cells all over my body. This thing is about to explode! My heart is so full today I can barely function because at any second it might either burst by means of unstoppable tears or an uncontrollable and rather obnoxious smile. I certainly didn't think this is how you would find me after 4 days and nights alone with the little man. I suspected that I would be that whiny old wife that I never want to be in the first place complaining of how hard my days were with the husband away.

Sure, little things can bring me this kind of satisfaction that may last for an hour or maybe even an afternoon but it doesn't compare to this deep down feeling on the inside that truly feels better than anything else in life. Combine skiing down one of the blacks (or Blues in my case) at Breckenridge in the early afternoon after a good snow with the taste of a Houston's brownie on an ordinary day (not your birthday) with seeing your very favorite person for the first time in awhile coming up the escalator at the Atlanta airport with the first moments after hearing the screams of your new baby come into the world and anything else you find thrilling...then multiply it to "finity and beyon'" as my 2.5 year old would say. That's the kind of ruckus that is going on in my heart right now. It's knowing that the commotion is here to stay awhile - and not because of any grand circumstance but because of a beautiful transformation in my heart - that really makes my heart swell.

Our 17 month old got glasses this week. It has been a hard few days convincing him that these little pests that sit atop his nose really can allow him to see things he has never seen. When he first got them he danced in circles and reached up at the sunlight coming through the windows. He was in his own little world of exploration and though I can't know for sure from his little babbles I think he was overwhelmed with the simplest things....the leaves on the trees, the lines in the sidewalk, the freckles on my cheeks. Today, in a different way I had the same eye-opening experience and it started with a horse.

I took William to see the horses at Chastain park after church. Ever since he got his glasses Thursday I have used every excuse to go exploring with him so he can see how astounding the world around him really is with a good set of eyes. He called every horse we saw a "doddy" (doggie) and then barked at them. He was alive with curiosity and awe. I'm gonna go all cheesy here for a second on you - bear with me. I spent half of my young years in Tampa, Florida and my neighbor, Allison, and I were a little over the top about horses. We played "horses" everyday after getting off the bus from Brandon elementary and somehow through those years we kept up with over 50 "horses" that would roam our back yard and neighborhood. There were a few horses in a fence at the back of our neighborhood and I remember distinctively sitting on that fence in the middle of 5th grade singing "It's so hard to say goodbye to yesterday" by Boys II Men to the horses and to my dear friend the day that we moved back to Atlanta. We also spent our summers at horse camp which was really just where we cleaned up the stalls for a half a day in order to go on a few rides around the property. Every morning before horse camp my stomach would turn green out of the anticipation of horse camp for the day. I was that excited. I am sure if were to repeat the same day today I would laugh but to a 10 year old - the freedom to ride on a horse and go as fast or slow and to turn around or choose to take a different path on the trail was absolutely the closest thing to heaven (or driving) for me. So today it all came flooding back in without restriction. William and I patted each of the horses noses and talked about their colors and their hair. He didn't want to be put down but he didn't want to leave either and as expected showed me his true colors as we were walking out of the barn. I, too, was experiencing the same genuine, exhilarating feelings I did nearly 20 years ago with my now-able to see 17 month old son. As you can imagine, I cried and sang the whole way home, grateful for this sweet time with William and for these same feelings that mimicked my sentiments years ago that overwhelmed me then and now. But I was more so grateful for the ability to actually feel that way. Does that make sense?

I've ridden a few horses since my little years and even last year I took the boys to see the horses every month or so. It's just that right now, in this season, my heart is at such a different place to be able to "feel" these little experiences. On the way home I drove past the house that we now - after 9 months of waiting and praying - have under contract. The sun perfectly lit up the back yard and the inviting front porch. And, then Van Morrison came on the radio and of all songs it was one of my favorite but probably the least known. Van reminded me that "whenever God shines his light on {me} {He'll} open my eyes so I can see." Thanks, Van, you were there when I needed you with your simple yet truthful lyrics. Then, I did the sappiest of all things and called my husband who I haven't really spoken to in a few days as he has been away with no cell phone service and I left him what sounded like a mid-Sunday drunken voice message. I told him I was so happy and so grateful for where God has brought us. I thanked him for hanging in there with me last year and told him I was excited for all the "new" this year - a new life, a new house, and for him a new role at his job. And then I did the unthinkable and said words I thought I would never say in my life. I said "I am glad for last year and thankful that we went through it."

What? I almost just puked on the keyboard re-writing those words that I thought were impossible to say or really feel. I think until now, until today, I have been scared to really feel "happy" or to feel that deep down peace that has rooted my faith over all these years. It's like if I admitted I was happy and grateful today than by some weird karma the bad things from last year - the insomnia, the anxiety, the deep deep loneliness of fighting what seemed like a battle we would never win - would come rushing back in, attacking any ounce of peace my little heart had been devouring. Somehow, though, in God's grace, this weekend He put me at peace with accepting the past, being grateful for it, and trusting him with the present and future. I don't know what is to come from this mountain we have climbed. I still have an occasional scary night of sleep and often my mind immediately goes back to the trauma we experienced last year but I also feel like the biggest thing that I was facing, the giant per se, has been defeated. My fear was the giant.

I feared that what I'd always believed and preached - that God can do good through all things and that His timing was perfect...was not actually true. Last year truly made me question everything I had ever believed. But on this other side - I see how the year in itself only strengthened that belief and gave me proof of the very thing I had always lived by. I can honestly say today that God worked out a beautiful thing through what to me was wretched, stinky, awful, and unfixable and by doing so He also gave me new eyes, with a fresh perspective for the little and big things in my life. It's truly like I got my own new pair of glasses and I can see things completely different than I had before even though I didn't know I was not seeing them before at all. But had we not been in that place last year the new glasses wouldn't have had the same impact.

Hang with me - here's the catch: it's not that I was doing anything wrong to not "see" correctly last year. Actually, I've never in my 30 years been more humbled, prayerful, helpless, or determined about anything. Looking back now, I know that I wasn't supposed to be able to see clearly then. I was just supposed to open my hands and allow the experience to change me. God had me right where I was - low, inconsolable, and desperate so that when He finally chose to reveal Himself to me it was that much more glorious. And it is sooo glorious. Not only do I feel like I was saved from the physical and mental exhaustion of insomnia and anxiety but I was spared from walking another day ungrateful for the blessings in my life. Though we thought for sure we would have found our new house much sooner - I think someone new I wouldn't have cared or seen the gift as a blessing were it to have happened last year. Ahhhh....His timing is so perfect!

So William throws his glasses off when he gets angry with me or if he doesn't get his way. In 48 hours we have ran over them with a stroller and lost them in the grocery store twice. But it reminds me of myself - I know my eyes have been opened to something so beautiful but it is easy to go back to my old way of thinking because it is comfortable. I pray that the newness of my changed perspective, and thus more grateful heart, doesn't allow my stubbornness to win. I have been exposed to something so much more valuable than just a fresh bill of health - but rather a completely refreshing way of life. The life bursting with gratitude.

Thanks, Van, you've always been my favorite.
Van Morrison Whenever God Shines His Light On Me Lyrics
Whenever God shines his light on me
Opens up my eyes so I can see
When I look up in the darkest night
I know everythings going to be alright
In deep confusion, in great despair
When I reach out for him he is there
When I am lonely as I can be
I know that God shines his light on me

Reach out for him, hell be there
With him your troubles you can share
If you live the life you love
You get the blessing from above
He heals the sick and heals the lame
Says you can do it too in Jesus name

Hell lift you up and turn you around
And put your feet back on higher ground

Reach out for him, hell be there
With him your troubles you can share
You can use his higher power
In every day and any hour
He heals the sick and heals the lame
Says you can do it too in Jesus name

Hell lift you up and turn you around
And put your feet back on higher ground.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

17 and 32

Odd numbers I know. Those are the months of life our two boys have given to us or the amount of months that we've spent half dressed, fairly unsocial, and most likely caked with three different staple foods at all times - syrup, oatmeal, and mac and cheese.

I know 5 or even 2 years from now I will not be able to tell my precious sister in law's and sister that FINALLY have kids what exactly happened at these ages and for that matter, I can't really recall what happens at any particular month along the way. I tend to look at these phases like seems most fitting:

-B's infancy (what? Did that actually happen? I kinda feel like he came to me reciting the encyclopedia and jumping off ledges??)
-Savannah (wow, that was a short, sweet blip on the radar)
-A one year old and pregnancy
-W's infancy (aka: The horrible-awful-no good-miserable year haunted by insomnia that taught us so much and truly united us as a family)
-And the present: A two and one year old and yet another pregnancy

This morning at the gym a nosy lady who happens to be in the next phase with 3 kids - elementary school - reminded me (as if I wasn't aware) that it's all a blur and one big mess but it'll go quick and you'll get your body back soon enough. Thanks, lady. In my current stage of overlapping pregnancies and infancy's my body image is obviously not the priority. I'm enjoying it, I replied, and walked away (or preceded to throw the 12.5lb dumbbell at her rear!) I really don't care at this point about getting "my body" back, that has been the easiest part so far and the subject of my first book -"How to shed the baby weight: nurse and then get pregnant and sick again! And then do it again!" It's more the cynical attitude that most people with multiple children give off towards us mama's in the young years of raising children that can get to me. And, it's the exact opposite of how I hope to come across when my kids are off to school 7 hours a day and I am spending my hours wasted at the gym and over long lunches with friends. I hope then I can reminiscence about the sweet sweet time we had together - all day - everyday. Sure, these days are monotonous like nothing I've ever experienced before and often I find myself feeling really guilty over my circumstantial "boredom" but I am usually quickly snapped out of it by dear women like the one's at my gyms - the ones that didn't seem to find any sort of fun in the little years. So, for my already fading memory here are just a few tidbits about the 17 and 32 month old people in our house.

The fun at night with two boys....well, "three" boys
At 17 months, William,
-You can not walk into a room anywhere without being drooled over. I don't think you are really my child. Though your daddy is really cute I can't believe we have an offspring as edible as you. You loudly exclaim "Hiii" whenever you see a figure walking past you or running from you. You just can't help but be friendly!
-You have your own language and somehow your big "bubby" understands it as he usually tells me what you need. Amid your babble if I am to ask you if you want a snack, a treat, a cookie, a sucker, a hug, your blanky, daddy, or to be picked up you stop the babble and make a sound that doesn't sound like anything but because of your tone I know you mean "yes."
-You do EVERYTHING your big "bubby" does and therefore we are in trouble! Not as much trouble if it were the reverse but you just aren't big enough to climb in the car on your own, ride a bike, or walk down stairs but you think you are and this keeps me on my guard at.all.times!
-You have 2 teeth on the bottom and I don't think you'll ever get anymore. They are nowhere to be found. You have almost 6 on top but they don't look like they've made much progress since they came in. That doesn't stop you though. You'll eat dad's beef jerky or quarters if you see them (uh oh) as well as anything else in sight.
-You loooooooovvvvveeeeee your dad. And I looovvee watching and listening to you as you call for him! My only trick I have left in the books if you are loosing your patience with me is to give you the iphone and turn on the home screen picture of your daddy and you light up and immediately start talking to him.
-You are defiant and it is usually pretty entertaining though I know I'll have to put my foot down on this one soon. Luckily, now I am too exhausted and wobbly to care. Yesterday as I was letting you exhibit your free will by walking out of the doctors office you immediately turned around as soon as I made an effort towards you you sprinted back to the elevator as the door shut. Your sly smile was priceless. Luckily the woman on the elevator knew what you were up to and allowed me to snatch you up before you were off. Fortunately for you I lughed this time but maybe not next time.
-You like to drink out of a cup like a grown person, put on your shoes or your dads like you know what you are doing.
-If I even utter the word "dance" you start kind of waddling like a duck and squatting down to touch your toes. I don't know where you get this stuff but it's good for my soul.
-Finally, you loove your stinky blanky about as much as your dad. You suck on all ends of this thing and you know if I try to give you a new, more pleasant smelling replacement. Is this why your teeth have stopped growing? Has the blanky sucking halted their growth? I have a feeling this stinky blanky will put me over the edge at some point but again, while I'm 6 months pregnant, you could get away with about anything. And that is also because you are sweet when it comes to bed time. As soon as I start to sing "jesus loves me" you lay your head on my shoulder and your eyes start going to fading. I hope you never ever get tired of these few little minutes together.

This morning you climbed up in the stroller at 8:08am and stared at me until I "strolled" you around the kitchen.

At 2.66 years old, Brooks"
-You absolutely amaze me. I don't know where you learn even a portion of the words, songs, moves, questions, exclamations, quotes or protests that you come up with but they never get old.
-Side note: Thank you for embarrassing me today more than I have ever been embarrassed. As my 6 month pregnant behind was trying to fit into a dress in the Target dressing room you so happily screamed "Mama you have a big booty! Can you shake it shake it shake it? I want to slap your booty!" (thanks Big B for teaching him that one!) Baaahhhaaa! Again, thank you, precious.
-You have your daddy's hair and though he is a stud I pity you. It doesn't know which way to go or grow and I can tell you one day, sweet child, you will need product, too, like your daddy. Did I say that out loud?
-You are easily entertained and always have been and had I not had your brother I would have thought every child is this way. You loooovee a toy and you love it for a long time. This makes it easy to give you gifts because you so easily please the giver.
-You are stubborn for no reason. You say "no" to your favorite things just to say no. You pull every trick out of the book to not go to sleep at night but then you are asleep within 3 minutes of us shutting the door.
-But you are oh so courteous and sweet to your little "bubby" and so I almost overlook any of your improper stubbornness. You bring him his blanket even if he doesn't want it. You find suckers at 830am and give him one and you two. You are always concerned if he is hungry, dressed, sleepy, happy, not name it. I am glad he has you to interpret his babble.
-You love to stay in your pajamas and stay home all day. This makes me melt. I drag you out of the house by 10:30 because I go stir crazy in the small space but you protest every time even if I am taking you to your favorite place. I love that you love our home and feel safe and adored here.
-You are pretty adamant about your growing faith already. If you even hear the name "Jesus" you declare that "he died on the cross to sabe me from my seds." Wow, pretty impressive for a little dude. It kinda sounds like we brain wash you but I know your heart and it is so sweet.
-You are almost a big boy. You don't use a high chair or toddler chair. You love to get to sleep in the big boy bed for naps. You buckle yourself into your car seat and you can partially dress yourself. This is such a great progression towards having to be a big boy in a few months when you are an older brother to two siblings! If only potty training could come as easily....
-You are very opinionated and particular. You like a certain spoon and a certain bowl on a certain day and I have yet to nail it all down. You like to do things the same way each time and you protest if anything is out of sequence. This is not me at all so I would love to know more about your dad at your have to resemble him!
-Amos is your 2nd best friend and I love to watch you chase him (annoy him) everyday. If it weren't for your entertainment with him he'd be gone a long time ago! Poor pup!
-Not a day goes by when someone doesn't comment on your to-die-for eyelashes. Since I am probably not going to have a girl in this little brood I guess this is the closest thing to having people compliment me on my pretty little girl! people would hurt people for your eyelashes!
-You sleep like a champ still and I do not take this for granted. 12 hours at night and usually a 3-3.5 hr nap every afternoon. You sure do know how to please me already!
-You wear 3T in clothing and have huge feet...a 9 already! You will barely let me put you in jon jon's and longalls but I still get to every once in awhile as long as you get to pick out your (stinky) "b'own" shoes.

I love you two people so much. Thank you for a magical 17 and 32 months. I am better because of them and I vow to remember these sweet times 5 years down the road and not the "mess" or "blur" (though there is alot of truth to those words!)

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Does this make you feel better?

Three days in a row now I have stooped to all time lows in the department of health and self control. In an effort to possibly break my streak I thought I'd go public with my little indulgences. Mind you, as I confess, I am sampling my latest craving - fresh out of the oven. Now onto the cleansing....

If you happen to see my very seldom and random posts on facebook yesterday I actually posted a picture of the inherently Innocent salad that started me on my plight of self destruction this week. In an effort to cut back on my daily lunch adventures outside of the home and feel more domestic and resourceful I bought all of the ingredients I would request at a "build your own salad" bar this week. After the top dollar turkey was purchased along with the avocados that aren't in season, the ingredients to toast the almonds along with the other fresh vegetables and the right mixtures of three different salad dressings to get the perfect taste - I am not sure sure that my efforts are considered frugal, though maybe resourceful. So 4 days this week I actually made myself a mountain of a salad chocked full of protein, beautiful vegetables, and just enough crunch to not feel like I am denying myself. This was 4 days in a row, yall....unheard of! It is no secret to anyone I know or our bank account that a lunch out at a favorite lunch spot, and I have many, is very near to my heart and my sanity. Since what makes mama happy tends to make everyone else happy, the money-maker of the house has never once mentioned my daily little ventures all over the perimeter for just the right lunch. Hence, this was a big feat!

Each of these lunches took place after I had pulled myself together from a slow morning, dressed the boys in something maybe only half way dirty, and managed to pull together something that would fit over my belly without syrup stains in order to make it to the gym. So by 2pm if you just saw the boot camp type exercise from the woman carrying the 20+ pounds and then the super-healthy-and-even-organic lunch you would be quite envious of my will power and sheer determination. Heck, until about 2pm everyday this week I felt like the Kate Middleton of healthy-pregnant women. And. then. it. all. goes. down. the.

Wednesday while sipping down my daily half sweet/half unsweet large tea with a lemon from McDonalds (which is another daily habit my dear roommate has yet to really pinpoint) I proceeded to make a graham cracker crust pie shell. FOR NO REASON. I had nothing to put in the pie shell but with the ingredients on hand this is all I had to satisfy the small sweet tooth that the hulk of all salads had left plaguing with me each passing quiet minute of nap time. As I said, it is all the salads' fault. I browned the crust to perfection and then preceded to eat around the edges until I felt sick. Then I threw it away. I felt guilty for a few minutes and then remembered what my day felt like before 2 and instead of feeling bad I felt "even" which isn't really good or bad, just even.

Thursday comes around. That day I did boot camp which I still feel the effects from as I type (and eat my most recent little sin) and then I came home to yet another heaping salad of color and goodness. And like clock work, the boys go down, I start feeling all accomplished and proud and I open the cabinet to see what little morsel of chocolate I could find. Since there was none to be found I peeked through the freezer to find the moose tracks yogurt from Publix I had bought a few weeks ago. There was half a carton left. I didn't want the ice cream - just like one small moose track would do the trick. Or. So. I. Thought. Needless to say.....that clocked in day two of absolute pregnant debauchery.

Yesterday, I thought I'd learned my lesson because Thursday afternoon I was so sick and a little disturbed by my recent habits and I knew there wasn't a thing left in the cupboard to whip together anything satisfying. Oh, but there was. And it was a winner. My mawmaw's fluffy white frosting. There is no woman I know that can make a cake, or 6, like she did. As I've written before (and here), she would go dancing Friday night. Stay out late and then come home and start on her cake making marathon. My mom had recently given me her old candy thermometer which I have never owned so in honor of my grandmother I put her tool to test and made some fluffy white icing. Yes, enough to ice a cake, again for no real reason. But this time since there was such nostalgia behind the recipe and the candy thermometer I didn't feel one ounce of bad for scraping half of the bowl clean. I simply used animal crackers as the vehicle to get the fluffy stuff to my mouth. This was absolute heaven....for an hour until again, I started to feel a little queasy and started begging the good effects of the avocado and tomato, you know....the super foods, to kick in and take over the terrible effects of the cup of sugar and raw egg white that pretty much made up the frosting. The fact that I had to beat the stuff with my already sore arms from the kickboxing class I had taken earlier made me feel all the more justified in my little concoction but still slightly remorseful.

The worse part is that I haven't shared one of my creations this week with anyone. I take that back, yesterday I let little Willy lick the beater as I was trying to clean (or conceal) my mess jus so he would be quiet and not wake his brother - or share my secrets. He walked around with a white mustache the rest of the day and felt like he had been let in on mommy's little nap time fantasies.

But today I have sort of turned the corner. Yes, I made it to the gym thanks to my sweet husband that somehow thinks I deserve a little break on Saturdays (after my strenuous week of baking and the sacrifices I made by "eating in") and then I came home to the last of my new favorite salad. Boy did I feel good! My muscles all still throb in places I didn't know held muscles and I can barely bend to sit down so I know it has been a good week of workouts for this pregnant lady. More so, I had finished my bag of spinach, 2 avocados, a carton of blueberry's, two tomatoes, and endless carrots and I figure that that combo is the most "good" that has gone in this body this whole pregnancy. But because it is Saturday, and it is raining, and the boys are asleep, and the house is clean, and I want to be a good wife that bakes cookies selflessly (questionable), and it's January which is the worst month, and I live in Atlanta, and because because because because because....because of the wonderful things she does.... I stirred up the last 5 ingredients in the pantry and out popped some of the most amazingly, simple peanut butter cookies. Hot and fresh. . . yes, ma'am! Be gone guilt!

I won't throw the other dozen away this time. That's where I have turned the corner. I vow to share with the growing boys of the house. Therefore, I don't feel as guilty and sneaky as I did the days prior. Please, though, can somebody help me get a hold of myself? I have no clue whether or not this will be my last pregnancy but I tell myself that it might and so therefore it might be my last season -ever- to feel "even" or only slight guilty after making a whole bowl of fluffy white icing in the middle of the day and eating almost all of it in one sitting! This excuse has allowed me a little too much leeway though and I really need to tone it down. Luckily I don't think there is anything I can make out of jelly, flour, worstesire sauce, and a box of macaroni. Thank goodness! Hoping for a little progress next week?!?!?

Here's the simple recipe if you ever need that quick and easy sweet tooth filled:
1 cup super chunky peanut butter
1 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips (about 6 ounces)
print a shopping list for this recipe

Preheat oven to 350°F. Mix first 5 ingredients in medium bowl. Mix in chocolate chips. Using moistened hands, form generous 1 tablespoon dough for each cookie into ball. Arrange on 2 ungreased baking sheets, spacing 2 inches apart.
Bake cookies until puffed, golden on bottom and still soft to touch in center, about 12 minutes. Cool on sheets 5 minutes. Transfer to racks; cool completely.

And to think....I didn't even add the chocolate chips and I halfed the recipe. Talk about will power.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Still not so good at "change"

I'll start this now while were in the "okay" zone of terrorizing the house. Usually on our more lazy mornings I will allow anything just so I can get some coffee/"me" time. For instance, there are atleast 300 block pieces on the floor and William has a fireman hat on with Brad's work shoes walking through the house. As I type I can picture the disaster that will happen in no more than 90 seconds. The poor child can't see well {more to come on that} so he doesn't tend to stay on his feet longer than 15 steps. The older Tasmanian devil is mixing the Scrabble and Backgammon pieces in the kitchen with a spoon. Amos is licking syrup and jelly off of the boys seats which will actually be the most productive cleaning that happens today I am sure. Cartoons are blaring in the background but no one seems to notice my ploy to distract them and just give me a. little. bit. of. Friday. quiet!

You would think the mornings get to me from the above but they really don't. They are super sweet and I know short-lived as every preschool in town is vying for my toddlers attendance along with the other available music, art, gym, and cooking classes in town. I love that right now, atleast for this stage, when I do take him to his little mini-school two times a week he actually begs me not to go. Yesterday he said, "mama, I want to go home and "pay" with you and "Nillam." I was tempted to scoop him right up and go right back home to pajamas and wrestling on the floor. Ultimately, those will be his most teachable moments, I know, not the 5 hours of "school" he attends each week. I knew that he would soon find his favorite friend, Madelyne, and forget that I was the main woman in his life. Which he did and when I picked him up he hid behind the book shelf so I couldn't see him and take him home. I love toddlers. Hot, no cold! Now, no never! Want a cookie, no I hate cookies! Wait, I want a cookie. I thought You didn't like cookies. I don;t like you, mama! (Ouch) Mama, hold me and take me everywhere you go and don't put me down even if we go to the park with all my friends after I had begged you to go all morning! As you either know or could imagine, it is exasperating. Oh, and the littlest guy's new word of choice is "MINE." He may not be able to see what he is ferociously fighting the 6 inch taller brother for but he knows how to get it and he doesn't give up and the "MINE" doesn't get any more reserved as the day goes on.

I really do, I love the mornings with my little buddies.

So I know this next part will sound a little bazaar. You'd think if I love the mornings with two little funny people than a third little funny person should be all the merrier? Ultimately, yes, I know I will love the mornings and the rest of the journey for that matter - all the more with another baby around but I get this "way" every pregnancy....where I start to mourn the loss of the "way things are." I've never ever been good at beginnings and endings which is most of the reason I think the big B and I are a good match. That boy literally lives off change and adventure. You'd think with his deep Southern roots from a classic, quaint, small town that he would be just fine to "keep on keepin on" but he is certainly not the norm. He has moved Atleast every two years if not before since he left for college and though he says he is ready to "settle" I just don't see it happening. We both talk about a few years of boredom hitting our family and how refreshing it would be to not be pregnant, moving, fighting insomnia or changing jobs. But really after this baby debuts in May I know we will have to stir up some change again before the end of the year or he'll grow stale and moldy. My husband loves change and he is really good at it! Therefore, you can see, he has been good for this "stuck in high school" mentality I tend to hold onto whether I'm 3 kids into parenthood or not. People ask, goodness, "how many kids do yall want? (with as much of a negative tone as you can imagine) and really my internal response is "I really haven't even thought about it," but I usually say your good ole "as many as we are blessed with..."(while also internally wondering how this cheerleading/socialite got to this place in the 1st place!)

But deep down I know my heart was stuck on our first child, the dog. I remember sobbing one hormonal morning during the 1st pregnancy thinking how it wouldn't be just me, B, and Amos anymore. I mean, sobbing. Of course now that just sounds silly because as much as I love our dog he is one of 3 things - 1) The best vacuum 2) the Best playmate to boys 3) a Nuisance when all else is hitting the fan at 530pm on a long day! Then, the last pregnancy I did the worst thing a pregnant woman can do and I literally lived in denial for 9 months that another human would actually appear at the end of the whole deal. As I've said before, I was well into labor and asking the doctor if I was really pregnant! I just couldn't imagine that I could love anything the way I loved the first "surprise" baby. And that's just the thing - we really are those people, truly, who have had THREE, yes, THREE surprise babies. We've broken every form of birth control available whether by just beating the odds or user error...we've won all three times! So my pregnancies always have a little different flavor than most of my friends who either choose or have to be very calculated to end up with a baby.

But now I look at the little man that is William and I can say there is nothing else in this entire world that has melted my heart the way he does. He is the definition of edible. Next week his little 17 month old eyes will be seeing a new world through glasses. Yes, at 17 months! I am happy that he will be able to see me and the wall and inanimate objects better of course but again, I get a little sad about the "change" that will have to occur to adjust. You would think after the 4 years we have had that I would be better with atleast the small changes but I am still a very stubborn work in progress.

Anyway, so yesterday I woke up sad for no real reason and I didn't know I was sad until I stepped outside of the boys school and saw another mom of 3 boys shuffling her little ones in the door. I LOST IT. I spent the rest of my little free time in therapy - crying therapy, exercise therapy, prayer therapy and a little retail therapy to top it off. Of course I am grateful for another little blessing and I know for certain that this baby is supposed to be at this particular time in our family time line and I know in 5 months I will not be able to picture our slow mornings at home with the two little guys but for now - in the middle of the approaching change - I had to have my moment that I have every pregnancy where I literally mourn the change.

I had dinner with a dear friend last night and she was telling me of a book by a favorite author - Larry Crabb called Shattered dreams. I am paraphrasing of course but she talked about how it is okay for me to mourn the loss of my dream....whatever that was or is....having only 2 kids or having some years to myself (how selfish is that anyway?) or being involved in a huge career....whatever my dream is it is okay to be a little distracted when God's plan is different than mine. Ultimately, I know His dreams and plan for me are always better for me but it doesn't mean it's that easy to just move forward without any emotion.

It only took me yesterday to get over my little silly sadness. Today the baby is moving like a gymnast in Cirque du Soleil and B has been poking at my belly button that is already grossly protruding. We're all better today. We have 3.5 months more as a family of 4 and after a little crying yesterday and all sorts of therapy I know I can savor each day and each moment - whether joyful or stressful - until the change is here. Each change, as frequent as they have been, the last four years, has certainly brought me to a more compete, more full, more grateful place. So I guess "bring it on" as Brad would say!

Here's a toll of the damage done in the last very interrupted hour of computer time.
-Both boys are in diapers. What happened to the pajamas?
-"Nillam" has moved the 4 kitchen chairs into the play room.
-Amos has eggs stuck on the top of his hair that were in the trash from yesterday's breakfast.
-All of the lights are unplugged. That's scary and not so safe....
-There are only 3 puddles of milk staining the few rugs we have in the house
-1000+ cards from the game Taboo are being used as money and whatever else they are imagining all over the living room.
-Sesame street has mysteriously been changed to a restricted channel called "Playboy's top 100 (en Espanol)". Nice.
-My phone is nowhere to be found after Nillam walked around supposedly talking to da-da for 10 minutes
-And it is oddly quiet and no one is in my eyesight so I am getting a little worried. I looooove our slow mornings at home together! And I am ready for a third set of little hands to "help" with the cleanup!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Cute and the most un-cute....ever


I found this picture that a friend took from about 8 months ago. Goodness how the boys have changed...and slimmed down a bit! Maybe I can follow suit as you'll hear me rant in the next not-so-cute portion of this post.

And the most un-cute...ever
I'm taking one section from this plethora of words and pictures and stories and I am going to sort of.... complain. Turn me in or think less of me but I have to indulge myself.
This pregnancy is robbing me of any hint of appreciation I may have ever had for myself. I certainly have my fair share of qualities that I would trade if I were so given the option but for the most part I'm a celebrator of this body God gave me - no matter how dispropoprtioned (umm....size 10 shoes at only 5'5" on a good day? And I even remember the pediatrician telling me at 10 I'd certainly be like my dad and hit 5'8" for sure!). I even didn't really mind my body during my first two pregnancies and of course now I look back and wonder why I ever joined the club and complained of the unwanted weight gain. Because this time's alllll caught up to me! I am barely over half way pregnant and I feel just plain un-cute. The acne is out in full force, the baby bangs have taken over my life and my only 10 minutes of primp time a day goes to figuring out where to hide the hideous things, my hips are officially wider than my shoulders and my nails haven't grown a bit the way they normally do. The other day Brad reminded me how in pregnancies past I have loved the 2nd trimester...the energy, the lack of nauseousness, the attention, the excuse me - hormones...But as I kindly reminded him, "honey, every pregnancy is different and this one is sucking the pretty out of me!"
I know it's all worth it and every zit and every extra pound just means the baby is growing as it should and yes, I know it is just a phase and yes, I know real beauty is within. Gag gag gag. I don't need to look or feel like my husband's celebrity crush - Jennifer Anniston - I just want to feel like myself instead of this terribly un-cute version of me. So last night to make me feel better and to try to snap me out of my funk Brad so graciously brought me home a McDonald's M&M McFlurry. WITH AN EXTRA SHOT OF FUDGE! Thanks, hon, you really know how to make it all better. But don't think I didn't finish it? It may be my last time to have an excuse for eating all of the extra calories that the baby really doesn't need (but it sounds good.) I guess I'll live with the super un-cute a little while longer and hope that the 3rd postpartum adventure is even nicer to me than the last two. Crossing my fingers. Only 18 more loooong weeks to go and I am sure atleast 18 more lovely pounds.

Baby bangs, yes please.

Mama or hubby please get me these tall shoes for my birthday so atleast I can feel like my feet look attractive. Thanks.

Monday, January 9, 2012

A tender heart

A friend reminded me today, after I told her yesterday that we had thought about cutting cable, that the new Kardashian's show was waiting for me on my DVR. Quickly the idea to lose the cable and be more noble this year flew out the window. And to think, I'm really not a trashy tv fanatic and I don't read People magazine nor do I follow any popular fashion trends. I think it is just comforting to watch a train wreck waiting to happen on tv and to think that money really doesn't buy happiness. Sure, there are happy moments on the Karsashians (buying a baby grand piano for the fun of it?) but from my perspective I hardly call a 72 day marriage and a family covering the entertainment news 24/7 a peaceful family experience. So somehow watching this show on occasion does something good for me, in our box home with more kids than the old lady in the shoe and not an item in my closet from any of the latest seasons. . .We do have happiness though and it's pretty genuine.

Anyway, I have been writing this weighty blog in my head for a few days now but really I want to go enjoy the quiet on the couch with the disastrous Kardashian sisters. But then I just received a text from a girl close to our family, a favorite babysitter. She is also a nanny for a family of 3 children under the age of 8 and after a long battle with cancer - the mother of 38 just went to be with Jesus. And my heart just broke. I think it's all the "heavy" that has been sitting on me for the last few days and this was the last straw for me to break into a puddle.

Life is just too fragile. Yes, people pass away and that in itself makes life so fragile. Children lose mothers to battles with the ferocious cancer. And then like the story I read today of a 30-something mom of two who has ow been widowed twice in her few decades here. Twice. Again, my heart just felt so full yet so so heavy at the same time. Don't worry - I am not going to share sad story after sad story because there are so many. It is so easy to see the tragedies around us and feel such a heaviness because from that perspective life does seem just so gloomy. Not to mention, the people in our immediate circles that are really hurting....and maybe not even due to cancer or another terminal sickness but because of grieving of their own...grieving human loss and even grieving the disappointment in their own life of the way they thought things should have been.

It's all just so much, especially at one time. Saturday we had the most wonderful date night out with a favorite couple friend of ours that we rarely get to see. In the future I see us being the kind of neighbors that watch each others kids when one needs to run out or having Christmas day dinner together after all of the real "family" has left. After our yummy dinner at Antico pizza on the Westside we did the craziest thing ever.....we went to the movies! I think the last movie we saw together (Brad and I) was We Are Marshall on our 2nd date. Seriously. Movies and little kids who can not yet babysit each other just don't go together one bit. Anyway, they treated us with some movie passes they had and we were off to our first movie in years. We were both so happy to actually be in a theatre, smelling real live movie popcorn and not the Orville pr Popsecret kind -that we didn't care if we were in the Winnie the Pooh movie or Pulp Fiction.

A little bit into the movie my heart just began to hurt. I am admittedly a BABY when it comes to anything over PG material. Not only do I not like it - it literally hurts my stomach. This movie, though I can say was incredibly written and had a wonderful deeper story of love and evil - was the ultimate in disturbing. I spent more than half of the movie with my head down, my ears plugged, humming any happy tune that would come to mind. I was definitely that girl. It wasn't just me - it offended us all but like I said, we were just happy to be out and so we stayed for the whole movie. Needless to say, we got in late and I spent the next 5 hours on the couch wrestling with the shots of horrific images that were bouncing in my head. I sound like such a prude and I really am not (I don't think - I mean, I am admitting to the Kardashian's)....I just somehow have inherited this ultra sensitive radar and for some reason, things that wouldn't effect other people or used to not effect me a bit really really get to me in my old age. I finally got to sleep before 4 and then woke up a few hours later and we headed to church as a family. That is where I realized just how tender my heart had become.

I blame it all on kids. I think I am mature enough to hear about or see just about anything this world could offer. Just like most people over the age of 12 I know, I have good discernment and I can tell reality from fiction easily. But when you are sitting in a movie that literally portrays something that you know happens but had never actually imagined - you just can't help but think of your kids back home, asleep, trusting at their young age that mom and dad will do whatever they can to protect them. We sang a song at church that we have sang alot recently called "this one thing," and it is talking about the one thing that remains is the enduring love of God above all other things. So I wept and sobbed and snorted and cried some more and Brad had to get me tissues and people were staring and it was just lovely I am sure. But it felt so good to let my heart be filled with beautiful words and images of true love on a cross rather than the awful images that had not left my mind since we left the theatre the night before.

The message that day was from the old testament and in short Andy spoke about "the one thing" that matters most to me. Nehemiah in the old testament was building a wall and he was asked to come down from the wall and his response was "I am doing a great work up here and I can not come down." That's just it - I am doing a great work at home with our two boys. I would do everything in my power to protect them for as long as I can from being exposed to the evil that is all over this world and all over our daily lives. I am not unrealistic. I know they will face it but right now, while they are little, it is my job to stay on my "wall", to keep my standards high, to keep the stuff that fills my mind and thus theirs - pure and lovely. I AM doing a great work up here and therefore, I realized I can not come down for anything. Not even for a little entertainment (but maybe for the Kardashian's, right, since they are just soooo far out of reality??)

As we left church I saw a friend that I used to work with who was connected to a ministry that I cant even remember much about now. I said to Brad, It's crazy how my sole purpose has become these two boys (and this little one inside). I used to care so much about such greater seeming things - things that really could impact lots of people at one time and in places all over the world. It's not that I don't care about Africa or the prevalent sex trafficking in Atlanta, I do, but all I have the capacity to do anything about right now is the shaping of the little hearts that have been entrusted to my care. I do not know, a heavier, more intricate, and difficult ministry than that high calling. So, I really just can't come down right now. For anything.

I may be put at the bottom of your blog or friend list after reading this. It certainly isn't entertaining or witty but I couldn't let the moment pass. There just seemed to be too many dark things and heavy stories floating around to let it go by. There is such darkness around us - it is obvious in much of the media that we subject ourselves to, it's in the news, and even more personal it lives and is apparent in the lives of each of us on a daily basis. But I am reminded that the light will always overcome the darkness. This Christmas our church focused on the message of that ever present, never ending, unbeatable, omnipotent light that we have in Christ. This year I pray that there is light all over our home and in our conversations and more so, in our own thoughts and minds....what a powerful place for the light to shine.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Ingredients for a pretty perfect Tuesday

Yesterday was by far a standout day for me. I would say it was the best day of the year but that doesn't say much. It was truly one of the more perfect days in a very long while. I was ready for the routine to begin again. Christmas and New Years were so pleasant this year but soooo long! I think Brad was ready to get away from the minutia of a day at home with kids and I was kinda ready to have an a.m. in my pajamas with my Skinny caramel latte. Please don't judge me - coffee has done nothing but make the other two babies more.....energetic about life. So the coffee stays pregnant or not. :)
Anyway, we lounged and then headed to our beloved gym that as of the 1st finally has childcare included (in the exorbitant monthly bill)! Wahoo! Last year we spent a small fortune for my daily sanity and because of this we only ended up at the gym a a day or two a week but now....I seriously may shower there daily after a workout as I love the space to get dressed and I love to get to dry my hair with no little people tugging at the chord or milk requests.....and it's included! We also accomplished some of our standard normal-week errands and it felt so good! Yes, the routine of our week is quite intoxicating to me. With little people a routine just makes life a tad easier and obviously more predictable.
And then the real fun began.
I had a scheduled sitter while the boys napped to get my hair cut and get some (very find some boots kind of important) things done. The hair stylist whom I have a slight girl crush on asked if I had dried my hair 2 times since I last had it cut in August. Why, now that you mention it, no. Of course I was requesting a super sleek and sexy hair do that would actually require me knowing where our one brush in the house has been living so she down talked me to just a little trim. Thank goodness! It's already in a pony tail - which was my one request that my new do fit back in a pony tail or else I'd lose my daily accessory to my failing wardrobe.I beg her to make me hip and cute every time I go in and I always come out happy she discouraged me from doing so. I'm a long-haired kind of girl and I've always been!
Which brings me to point #2 and 3. I won't give you all the details that make me just want to squeal at 9am in front of the toddlers. I have always secretly prided myself on being a pretty amazing detective. I like to find all the details out and know which restaurant is opening when and who is hosting the next great something and when there is a private sale or something. Probably the highlight of my year two years ago was being invited to one of my favorite eateries underground private supper club. I didn't go but it didn't matter. And maybe they invited everyone but I felt pretty special. Anyway, I'm veering...come back, honey. Okay, yesterday I scored not one but TWO pairs of boots that I have been tracking for a month now. Both were sold out in stores and online and that was that but yesterday I took home the grand prize. I located BOTH pair in states across the country that had just happened to be returned. Are you sweating with me over this? I know this is so shallow and hey, I may hate the boots when I see them but the point is I found them! I won! Oh, AND, they were both nearly half the original steep price. For stinkin real. I still can't believe my luck. I think it all has to do with the confidence I displayed walking out of the hair salon. Sweet sweet victory followed me the rest of the day as you'll see.....
But now on to the real treat of the day. And luckily this benefits my whole family and not just me. My mouth is watering just thinking over how to describe this little joy that came our way. Actually, this one deserves it's own post.


Last week, I found this in my stocking. It may have been the only thing but it was worth more than any other trinket that could have been stowed in my wimpy sticking. Well, almost anything.
You see, the honey bells only come around for 2 weeks out of the year and ever since Brad let me in on this most-perfect that gift that one of his business contacts send him every year I have been a changed woman. Now, imagine this year not only has hubby agreed to bring the whole box of them home for us to enjoy but it happens to be another pregant season in our journey. There is one truth about all of my pregnancies - I am a mad woman for citrus! Citrus cooler Gatorade, clementines, orange flavored name it and I crave it the whole long 10 months. This bakers dozen box of part grapefruit part tangerine is just over the top when it comes to tackling a craving. Yall, they are the juciest most perfectly sweet-perfectly tart creation ever to enter my mouth. I think you can still order them for this year if there are any left. Or you can enjoy these pictures of the little guys enjoying their piece of my first honeybell of the year. I wasn't about to give them one of their own!

You have to wear the bib and they even come with a device to help you puncture the skin and insert a straw if that's your preferred method.

What a sweet ending to our most perfect day!