Friday, July 31, 2009

Wave a white flag

I don't know about you, but the Geek and I were fast on the heels of 30 when we finally got hitched. That means we spent a lot of years doing it our own way without the input of the other. It makes for rough times among opinionated pairs, let me tell ya. Our arguments were ones to wake the neighbors for a long time, but one, I remember from a few years ago, was particularly loud and long. By midway, I didn't want to even be arguing any more, but momentum can take me a long way. (So can the need to be right)

In the other room, I still was angry, but tired. I'm not one of those folks whose temper stays up for long. I flare, then it's over. Sometimes were multiple flares, since I didn't used to deal with what is at the heart of it too often (I'm getting better at getting to the root of things now). The Geek is different and in our early marriage was known to stay mad at me for days, sometimes weeks! (He is much improved too, now it's less than an hour, unless I've been really, really rotten, then it's a couple of hours before we can come back together and talk)

So the flare was over, but the hurt still there. Yet my heart longed to be reconciled with my husband. It always does. I didn't want to fight any more. I took a white dust rag, tied it to a stick, and poked that stick around the corner into his office, waving it around. I heard him laugh and knew it was safe to come in and talk things through, or at least say we could talk then through in a bit, without the angry words still hanging in the air.

I've thought about getting rid of that truce flag, since we have enough clutter in our house without one more thing, but I keep it. It reminds me to give up. To give up my right to be right, to give up my right to punish my husband for wrongs I think he may have committed against me, to give up my right to hurt him with my words and MAKE him see my point of view. It also reminds me to surrender. To surrender my marriage, my temper, my opinions, my fears, my hurt, and my neurosis over to the only One who can do anything about them.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

It's all a ploy.

Cuteness photos here!
OK. Not really. I just notice how my readership goes up when I post photos of my cute baby girl! How can you help it, really? She draws you all, like bugs to light. ;) My title should have warned you!

I'm pondering getting a baby sitter, taking a dose of my Adderall, and get cleaning! Just to get out from behind all of this mess in my house. Cause nothing says 'good housewife' like a little speed, right? But seriously. It's a losing battle over here! I still haven't truly unpacked from our trip to Texas, the dishes are secretly copulating and multiplying while I sleep, my desk is an unspeakable horror of mounds of paper and junk, and my day is filled up before I even get started!

How do you Mama's keep your house from being consumed by the filth monster?! Really! I need to know. I can't keep up with the baby clutter, poop, pee, puke, and flung food, much less my own messes, much, much less deep cleaning. Who knows what germs lurk under my toilet? I tried doing the whole 'one room per day' thing, but I could spend a week on my desk alone and not reach bottom.

Then a friend calls and I weigh the importance of sanity against the importance of cleanliness, toss the sponge in the sink, pack up the babe, and go whistling out of the door! (Only to be greeted by my piles when I come home, refreshed from having had conversation with someone who actually speaks a language, but horrified at my cluttered house.)

I've tried to let it go and just enjoy my baby, but when my baby is rolling around on the floor and coated in pet hair from my lack of vacuuming, something has got to give! Mama guilt. She is sleeping and while I could be cleaning now, I am blogging. You can tell I'm not truly committed to cleaning or else this post would not exist.

I think I'll go read some favorite mama blogs...

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Nine Months!

Heck! I wasn't even pregnant for that long! And here she is. It has been nine months of craziness, but mostly of her favorite emotion. Joy. I can sing all the cheesy songs in the world about how much I love her, how she lights up my life, etc, etc, and they'd all be true. Just look at this little bitty girl!

These two were taken last week. All she wants to do is pull up on Mama. And then let go! We are SO in for it.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Rhythm of the day

With few exceptions, like earaches and the occasional sprouting of a tooth, our days have a rhythm. When we wake, when we sleep, chores, diapers, playing, time outside. Not a set schedule, but a rhythm. The cadence varies here and there, the melody splits in to theme and variation (for weekends and new things), but always comes back to the song that our family sings together.

The giggles and the smiles, the tears and the blessed naps, the exploring, the wonder, the dishes, the laundry, the wooden spoon for her to wack at everything in reach, bowls to clang, paper to crumple and when Mama's not watching, to eat. (sneaky girl!) Crawling to learn, bumps from tumbling over, the perpetual jabber of a little language learner.

Lunch with mama friends while the baby rabble plays on the floor and squeals after the dog (who is so very over it all). The zoo, the park, the swings, swimming, playgroups, a walk (sometimes - this is a new beat to incorporate). Cooking dinner with a little one trying to climb the legs of my pants. Papa coming home, the shy little smile she gives him before burying her face in my shoulder, then reaching for more Papa snuggles.

Mealtime together, always and adventure. Bath-time, eating foam letters while Mama tries to soap a slippery babe. A fresh clean cloth diaper, soft clean jammies, a story from Papa bear, a snuggle, a song, a bottle, then sleep. Sweet blessed sleep. When the house is still and the sun has newly set and the tree frogs and crickets join in the lullaby of night. Then books to read, emails to send, diapers to wash, Husband and Wife again, not just Mama and Papa. The day's end sings like a song I know...Day is done, gone the sun, from the lake, from the hills, from the sky. All is well, safely rest, God is nigh.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Thoughts like a stash of treasure

My book club is reading East of Eden by John Steinbeck and I could think for hours about each and every chapter! The stories that he weaves are rich and not at all full of faerie tales with happy endings, yet they draw me on and on, with no chance for a breath or to sit and ponder wisdom that passes with every page.

There are books that I have read and am content to turn back in to the library. Then there are books that fill up my mind like they do Tom's mind in this particular book.
"Samuel rode lightly on top of a book and he balanced happily among the ideas the way a man rides white rapids in a canoe. But Tom got into a book, crawled and groveled between the covers, and came up with the book all over his face and hands."
That is me and I have this book all over my face and hands. The ideas are still sifting around in my head and this kind of book, get bought, read, and re-read. To take the ideas that lie thick on each page and store them up like a treasure to run through my hands when I am alone with my thoughts, this is the joy of reading.

Excuse me, I've got some pages to munch.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Body frustrations... Warning, Rant!

Warning! Not a 'for boys' post. Just skip this one, fellas...

OK. So there are all these 'helpful' people out there on the web who have these names for body shapes and once you determine what your shape is, you can do some 'helpful' exercises that are more tailored for your body. Right? Riiiiiight.

Here's the list: which I borrowed from other sites. (I made bold the things that describe me.)

Ruler (or Banana):
Tend to be waif-like and slim.
Shoulders, hips, waist almost same size.
Very little indentation at waist.
Tend to put on weight in stomach and bottom, while maintaining slender arms and legs.

Well-proportioned upper and lower body.
Shoulders and hips (almost) same size
Dramatic indentation (> 6") at waistline
Tend to gain weight all over your body, especially hip and chest area.
Strictly female shape.

Spoon (or Pear):
Larger lower bodies and smaller upper bodies.
Shoulders narrower than hips (commonly found in women).
Tend to gain weight below your waist.
Small chests and flat stomachs.

Inverted triangular shaped body
The bust measurement is larger than the hip measurement.
Large chest and bust for your frame.
You carry most(or a lot, more now than ever post baby) of your weight around your midsection.
Usually have slim legs, hips, and bottom. (this doesn't fit me at all though!)

Wider shoulders than hips (usually found in men) (awesome :( ).
Bigger on the top half of their bodies than on the bottom half.
Slim hips and a large chest and stomach.
Tend to gain weight above the waist or bottom.

I am NONE of these! And it's not just that I'm a big girl (and I know I am). My little sister (who is a size 2) has the same body type as me and fits in none of these categories either.

Our shape? Same all over. We put on weight all over our body equally (well, I do. She looks fabulous and is a personal trainer!) Arms, legs, butt, stomach, but oddly enough, never boobs. (Go figure.) We are muscular all over with shoulders like football players and not terribly wide hips (unless we gain weight then we get wide in the front and back first) and big legs. Very strange. In the past when I have been in shape (lets face it, that was high school), I still had large muscular arms and legs, and no waist or breasts to speak of.

Why is this body type not mentioned? I know other girls like this! It makes shopping horrible because anything that is made in 'women's' size (what is that about anyway? I'm only a 'woman' if I'm fat?! What are the size 0-12 people? Girls? I mean really...I digress) are made for big women with curves and by curves I mean boobs and butt. So I am left with these fabulous dresses for girls my size with saggy little pockets of fabric where alleged breasts should be, but never are. It always looks weird! I've almost decided to just make my own clothes. Mostly it's dresses that frustrate me, so when I want to look nice, it's harder.

As I struggle with all of this, I am reminded of what the pastor said recently...
"I look at myself and all of my flaws and say 'I will work harder to fix them'. This is tremendous pride."
My weight issues are not just 'over-eating' or not working out. They are deeper and I know it, a symptom rather than the problem. I need healing in this area first and to think I can heal myself is laughable. So one day at a time, one prayer, one better choice, on a journey, but still...can I just look cute in a dress while I journey?

OK. End Rant.

Saturday, July 18, 2009


'Cause I might die in the process. No, seriously.

My friend Melanie and I are taking up the daunting (for me - you may be in perfect shape to do this) task of walking a half marathon. Here is our training schedule. I figure if I talk about it, I won't chicken out. We are gonna be walking the St Jude half marathon in Memphis, December 5th and I'm very intimidated by this.

I'm not one of those type A folks who sets a plan and gets it done. I'm more type B, or Type C (if there was a more slacker version of type B, it would be type C). So this is a pretty big undertaking for me. I'll be posting my progress as I go. And let me just say, in closing, HOLY CRAP, I must be out of my mind!!

Monday, July 13, 2009

There and back again...a Texan's tale

It's hard being away from Texas. I think my natural state is to sit around baking. Tennessee is not that cold, but I sure do miss the sun when it gets winter around here. We flew into Greg County Airport, the dark green of the pines thick below us, and the red earth, where it has been newly dug for crops or a road, bright like a wound in the land. The older the cut, the more goldish pink it turns and I know the earth there has grown sandy, with the hard packed, iron ore tinged clay settling down low or being washed away in rainstorms that Texas is famous for, the gully-washer.

The bitter-sweet twang of East Texas creeps back into my speech without any effort. The way they talk is not the soft genteel southern twang of Alabama. It's not spicy like the Cajun flavored accent of Shreveport that is an hour from my home town, and it's not the hard edge of the southwest, or even Dallas. It's its own thing. Flavored like a dish with too many cooks and it's nice.

Evenings, the week after camp, I go walking with my nephew Jacob, down the hill or down the road to pet the horses, with Cora in the front pouch. The air is hot and still, and it feels like hitting a wall when I walked out the door and for a moment, by brain sends the panicked message, 'I can't breathe!' Then my brain remembers this is Texas and gives in to breathing 100 degree air. Even at 8pm, the sweat pours down my back in a rivulet.

The sky is tinged pink, and the road lined with bright Black-Eyed Susans, growing up near the fence line. The rusty, dusty ground is littered with iron ore stones and the smell of the tar-top road still lingering from a day of baking under the hot sun, an earthy, oily smell, as our feet walk in time to the rhythm of the Pump-Jacks (the things that pump the oil out of the ground after the drilling rig is gone). The cultivated lands and pretty yards are a miracle in themselves, because you know that land was hard won. Without constant effort, it returns to its natural scrubby state of dirt, sticker bushes (thorns. We called them sticker bushes when we were kids) and weeds.

The chorus of tree frogs is so loud we have to nearly shout to make ourselves heard. Cora gets her first look at a horse up close and I'm not sure she knows what to make of it. I keep her pink chubby hands clear of those teeth while Jacob and I feed the horses some grass, our hands flat so just their thick fuzzy lips touch our palms. We walk back home in the dusky blue heat of twilight, hoping for that breath of cool evening air that never comes.

When parking in a lot to join my family for Sunday lunch I thought to myself 'it's nearly indecent not to put trees in parking lots here', but they don't ever do it. I don't think they'd live. A car in the sun must be thoroughly aired out before children are allowed in it and I remembered the old ways of making the hot air get out before putting the baby in there. A friend told me that she had accidentally locked her kids in the car while loading them up and by the time the locksmith got her in, only 15 minutes had passed but the children were red-faced and sweaty. That's how hot it got in there, that fast.

There was a lovely dinner with friends, while the children did the only respectable past-time allowed in the summer; they played in the water. Now, I grew up in, around, and on the water. There is really no other way to make it through the summer. I noticed as we flew over Dallas that in all those sprawling housing developments, it was the minority of homes that did not have a pool. Not to mention the giant Olympic sized pool that was in each neighborhood. Perhaps one per every 200 houses or so. So let me tell ya, Cora and I logged a lot of hours at the pool. So much so that with all that swimming, plus 100+ degree weather, we had to add juice, water, and pedia-lite to her diet.

Our family had a reunion with just my Papa's side of the family. His dad, brothers and their children. Not everyone could attend and still there were 27 people. I have a big family. We ate, sat around and talked, and swam, of course. Cora discovered watermelon, nursing the juice out of it until there was just a wet, red pulp left.

One short flight and one hellacious, delayed, packed in like sardines, screaming baby one later, we are home. Tired, loving the 'cool' weather (relatively speaking), and happy to be home with the Papa Bear.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Soooooo big

Look what I can do!!!
Taken yesterday at the park by my neighbor Kendra, while our babies lounged under a tree in the park and a Michael Jackson musical medley filled the air. Who's bad?

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Dancing with the Devil and other amusing past-times, plus baby with more 'toof'

Where to even begin!! It's been three weeks in TEXAS and we are home again, me with a full brain and lots to say, the baby with new skills.

First of all, I have danced with the Devil and his name is Pampers. I put aside my self-righteous (and yet, helpful to the environment) ideals about planet saving for three whole weeks and used paper diapers while staying with friends and family in the Lone Star State. I balked, I grumbled at the price, I gagged at the gel filled wad that grew with every tinkle, but now back to cloth at home, I kinda miss the ease. Plus, the baby Bear's morning diaper smelled so strongly of ammonia it literally burned my lungs! It's a vinegar wash for her diapers tonight! She has outgrown the smaller cloth diapers and these new ones that will fit her all the way through toddlerhood are, shall we say...bulky? She was so active in TX that I'm wondering if they inhibit her ability to roll around as much.

I'm happy to be home, and yet sad that my family lives so very far away and that visiting them is such an unholy ordeal, especially in the summer! Cora found a new love for all things liquid and squishy, including watermelon, just to keep hydrated! The upside to three weeks of sweating in 100+ heat? The current high of 92 in Nashvegas feels like cool breezy weather to me right now. Whoo hooo!!!!! The Geek, seeing how sad I was to leave my family behind again, suggested we start looking for a way to move to TX. I told him about the heat and he said...maybe not. He's never been there in the summer!!

One last news. After a week and half of runny nose, fevers at 1 am, grumpiness, and gnawing on everything in sight, Cora has finally cut a tooth!! One little tooth on the bottom. Also, while we were away, we discovered that she can now sit unsupported for several seconds before she gets excited and forgets to prop herself up with her hands, and then there is the army crawl. A crazy combo of sidewinding wiggling, rolling and bunching up that does, indeed, after awhile, propell her forward. It's all very exciting. :)

And now, if I could just muster the effort to get out of my jammies and begin my day... It is, after all, pushing noon.
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