Thursday, February 26

what every new mother should know

I'm not posting pics on this subject, because then there would be solid evidence that I'm telling the truth. :)

David turned two in October. He is my most outwardly-loving child, and will run at you and wrap his arms around your legs for no reason whatsoever. He has a great sense of humor, laughs almost nonstop, and would live on Campbell's Creamy Tomato Soup if given the chance.

He also has no fear. Of anything. At all. We ever-so-fondly refer to him as Danger Baby. If you say, 'Hey David, are you a Danger Baby?' he says, 'YES!!' If you say, 'David, where's Danger Baby?' he just grins a blindingly happy smile and points to his belly. His head might be more apt, but I'll explain that in a minute ...

He gains a new scar each week. He falls off things. He's the only one we've had to take to the ER with an injury-related emergency. I highly doubt it was our last trip with him. He jumps off things. He climbs. He thinks he knows how to ride a bike without training wheels. (For the record, he doesn't.)

I'm looking at him right now, and here's what I'm seeing: A scar from the seven stitches on his forehead. A scab on top of the scar where he fell when I was in Ohio. Three bruises in various stages of healing on different places on his forehead. A swollen top lip. His nose is still slightly swollen, although only his parents would notice, from the ever-so-fun bloody nose he got the other night. A bite mark that's healing, on his cheek, from where the dog bit him. (He decided to bite the puppy when she was asleep. THAT worked out well, let me tell you.) Scratches under his left eye from running into a tree in the wooded part of our property. Scratches near his right ear from another argument with some scrub brush on a different day.

And people, that's just his head. You don't even want to know what his knees and elbows look like.

I am amazed that he still has all his teeth.

The crazy thing is, he's really not clumsy. I might even say that he's the most graceful of all my children at this age, but it's just that he has no fear of anything. AT ALL!! A fence? Great, let's climb it. Something hidden at the top of the pantry? No problem, I can scale it. The big kids are climbing trees? Bring it on. Sam can ride a bike? Well, I'm not getting left behind!

'Anything you can do, I can do better. I can do anything better than you ...'

I had been in Ohio for all of about two or three hours when John sent a picture to my phone. I took one look at it and started laughing. Laughing really, really, really hard. Why? Because I'm a very bad and totally unsympathetic mom, that's why. Sarah took one look at the picture and started to hyperventilate. David looked like he had been in a bar brawl with a bunch of Hell's Angels. And was grinning from ear to ear.

She stared at me and said, 'Why aren't you freaking out? You're his mom! I'm not even related to the kid and I'm totally freaking out! Is he ok?'

Once I stopped laughing (and it took a minute or two), I explained to her. 'Sarah, first off, that's just David. I'm happy to see all his teeth in place and both ears still attached. Secondly, if John had to take any of the kids to the ER, he would totally call me before he figured out how to use the camera on his phone. Trust me.'

That's just the way John and I are as parents. Kids will get hurt. They will have scars. We try to teach them how to properly jump, and fall, so as to minimize damage. We keep a far closer eye on Danger Baby than we did the others at this age. We don't coddle them when they get hurt. A common response to 'I'm bleeding!!' is 'How's that working out for you?'

My kids know how to clean out a scratch, a cut, and a scrape. They know what's appropriate to come crying to me about, and when they need to suck it up. Band-aids are rarely seen, despite the number of flesh wounds that occur in the abounding chaos of our lives. We don't let them whine, and as a result, we don't have whiny kids. Whiny kids bother me, and I decided when I was pregnant with Sam that I didn't want any. So there! :)

I got to thinking about all this earlier this morning, when OHmommy, the stiletto ho over at Classy Chaos, did a post called "What Every New Mother Should Know." I'm sure every mom has her own advice to give, but mine would be (and is) this: when you have kids, life changes for ever. Having a plan is nice, but you have GOT to learn to be flexible, because kids are not predictable. They drop the quiche you were making for bible study on the floor, and the dish shatters and you can't even throw the food to the chickens because of the shards of glass. They find the Sharpie you hid and color on your walls. Or worse, your couch. The fall down and get blood on your favorite shirt of all time that you've had for 7 years, and you have to throw it away. They have a bad dream at 3 in the morning on the one night you really need to get some extra sleep.

So learn to roll with the punches, and teach your kids to do the same. They'll be much more well-adjusted for it, and they just might thank you for it one day. (Hey, Mom. Thanks for being such an awesome mom to me and Kevin and Wes. And it's ok. I promise I won't ever tell them that you totally love me the most!!)

Also, it doesn't hurt to have a working knowledge of basic first aid.

So ... what's your number one tip that every new mom should know?

Wednesday, February 25

so ... I'm an idiot

Ok, peeps. You are going to love this.

So I'm notorious with our book club for being rather last minute. I very rarely arrive on time (although, in my defense, I usually have to wait until John gets home then drive over an hour to whomever's house where we're meeting), and I almost never get my book until a few days before we meet. Then I have to speed through it, most often finishing it the day of book club. The first time I came, I was invited by Melanie on a Tuesday afternoon, I went to the library that evening, found a copy of Rebecca by Daphne DeMaurier, and joined the ladies I'd soon come to know and love the following evening after reading the whole book. I read fast, ok?

This month, I decided to break out of my pattern, and do things totally differently. I went to the library two days after January's meeting and got my book. I took my time to read through it. It was depressing, and sucked my will to live right out of my soul (it seems a lot of our books have been really happy and uplifting depressing as hell lately), but I finished it anyway. Even John noticed, and told me he was impressed. :) I was so proud of myself! I was going to be prepared! With witty and insightful things to say!! Even though the book sucked my will to live!!!

Book club is tonight. I was on the phone with Melanie (the precious gal who not only started our book club, but also helped me buy the lovely house where I live) yesterday afternoon, and we were talking about our book, The Girls. I asked her if any of the books on our list for the year were happy ones, and she said, 'I know! What's with all the sad lit lately?' We kept talking for a while. She said, '...and then I saw that thing on conjoined twins the other morning on the Today Show. What a coincidence!'

I thought, 'Huh. That's nice. I think one of the characters in the book had cousins that were twins, but they were only mentioned in passing. Were they even conjoined? Maybe that part really stuck with her.'

Then she said, 'Yeah, I have a hard time reading anything where someone dies horribly in a car crash, because of my mom and everything.'

Again I thought, 'Huh. Did I skip over a whole part about a car crash? I mean, I remember when she killed her husband, and it turned out that all her friends had slept with him at one point or another, and that one friend had cancer, but I really don't remember a wreck.'

We talked and wondered if our book club was going to be able to keep up much conversation about the book, and whether we'd all have to drink the Kool-Aid afterward to escape the depression we'd all be going through, because of how non-uplifting this book was.

Then she brought up conjoined twins again. I had to stop her. 'Melanie, I'm sorry, but I don't remember any twins. Who were the twins?'

There was a long pause.

'BREA! For the love of Xenu, what book did you read?'

'Well, I read The Girls. The one where those five girls grow up together, and then one of them kills her husband after they'd all lost touch, and everyone came back to their hometown for his funeral, and no one else realized what a total asshat the guy was, and how awful he had been ...'

'BREA! Stop! That's not the book we're reading. Did you get the title right?'

'Well ... I think so. It said "the girls" in big blue letters on the front cover, so I assumed that was the title ...'

'Brea, our book is a novel about the oldest living conjoined twins; they're attached at the head, and they decide to write their memoirs.'

'Really? I didn't read that book.'

... I READ THE WRONG BOOK!!!! Apparently, there are TWO horribly depressing books called The Girls, and I didn't check the author when I got the book from my library; I just checked out the only book they had called The Girls.

And I have no car until John gets home, when I leave for book club. He didn't get home until after 8:30 last night, or I totally would have made a really late trip to one of the book stores in Austin to buy the book. I already have a complex about book club; all the gals there are smart and pretty and professional, and I feel so much younger than all of them (ok, I am so much younger than some of them, but that's besides the point), and they drink wine (I can't stand wine, and it makes me feel like such a little kid), and I worry that I'm constantly on the edge of doing something totally embarrassing, like making my drink come out my nose, or having to tell them I'm knocked up again, or spitting food, or falling down as I am fairly prone to do from time to time.


The end.

Wednesday, February 18

A Few of My Favorite Things

I'm going to do my favorite sounds today. I have so many of then, I'm such a sensory-aware person, that's it's hard to only pick 7. But here I go.

7. The dull (and sometimes not-so-dull) roar of children at my house. We end up with a crowd over here more often than not, seeing how with three children, we're the smallest family we know. Sweet Becky has 4, ages 2-14, dear Kristie has 5, ages 2-10, and Debbie has 10, ages 2-24. But only 7 are still at home. :) I thrive on chaos, I love noise and insanity, I would care less if people track dirt on my floors or accidentally breaking something (what's the use of having it, whatever it is, if you aren't going to use it? Accidents happen!), and I know how to patch up any wound just short of someone needing stitches, so I'm emotionally well-equipped to have large crowds at my place. I love hearing the yells and laughter of several families with all their kids, dads consulting each other around the grill, moms chatting and laughing in the kitchen, older kids drifting between becoming adults and still wanting to be silly with the younger kids. It's a precious thing to hear.

6. The sound of my husband's deep, even breaths as he sleeps beside me. I have a very hard time falling to sleep at night. I'm incredibly afraid of the dark, which a fun thing to admit when you're 26. I pray and I sing to myself, and that helps, but the thing that calms me the most is listening to John, who is maddeningly able to fall asleep in 43.7 seconds flat each night. It's also the reason he finds me passed out on the couch on nights that he closes, because he's not there, and I hate going to bed alone more than anything else in life, even if it is just for a few hours.

5. The sound of my feet crunching through the leaves and pine needles in the back half of my property. We have a great trail that winds all the way to our back fence, and I love to walk down there by myself sometimes just to see what nature has been up to, and see what birds I'm able to spot. And my footsteps, while not very loud like my kids' or my husband's (a few drops of the Cherokee must have made it through the generations, I guess), are music to my ears.

4. The sound of my kids playing sweetly with each other. They really can be incredibly kind when they set their minds to it, and it's great to hear everyone being polite. Sometimes I get to hear sentences like, 'Evie, make sure you hold David's hand so he doesn't fall while I put this rope around his waist.' No, really, I got to hear that one through one of my back windows a few afternoons ago.

3. The sound of my coffee maker making those weird hissing noises. Because that means that my coffee is ready, and I can pour my first of 35 cups of the day.

2. The sound of quiet and stillness in the late night and early morning from my rocking chair on the front porch. We don't have traffic by our house then, and we're too far from the main road to hear any of that noise. You can find me outside every morning, vice-like grip on my cup of coffee, come hell or high water. Even if it's only for two or three minutes, or sometimes I read for an hour before my kids get up if weather permits, I would live on my porch if it was feasible.

And my most favorite of all my favorite sounds in my life ..

1. The sound of my husband's laugh. I don't hear it often enough, and I can't get enough of it. John isn't one prone to emotional outbursts (Ha! I think I do enough of that for both of us!!), so while he's quick to smile, his laugh is like an addictive substance for me. It makes my day brighter and my heart beat quicker, and it is the one reason above all others that I thank God for my (incredibly good) hearing.

What's your favorite sound?

Monday, February 16

The Simple Woman's Daybook

My Daybook ~ 16 February

Outside My Window ... low clouds are starting to burn off, and it'll probably be in the 70's again today. I'm ready for the GREEN to come back.

I am thinking ... how much I enjoy coffee, and how much I miss Sarah and Scott, because my trip to Ohio was freakin' awesome. Also, I hate sentences that end with a preposition. Yeah, I've got issues. TELL me about it!

I am thankful for ... the organizational kick on which John and I have both been, because it's really feeling nice around here these days!

From the learning rooms ... reading lesson, money lesson, and we start learning about levers and such today.

From the kitchen ... John's making fajitas later, and the kids and I are going to make bread and maybe some cookies, if I can drag myself inside long enough. Huh. Probably not cookies, cause the sun just broke through.

I am wearing ... my favorite blue jeans, a gray t-shirt, my most wonderful and soft green hoodie, and a sparkley pink hair thing. I stole it from Evelyn, because I couldn't find any of my own.

I am creating ... a fresh garden today, and hopefully a fence to go around it so the bleeping chickens won't eat my deeds at they being to sprout again. And creating some fun memories with the kids, hopefully.

I am going ... to will myself out of whatever mood I've been in the last few days. And I'm going to take a nap later this afternoon, because I haven't been sleeping well.

I am reading ... something too embarrassing to put into words. I think I feel a Friday Confession coming soon. And I'm also reading Daphne DeMaurier, and Kipling's Captains Courageous, and The Summer of 1787, and I think I got something my Melville that I'll start tomorrow. I cannot function if I'm only reading one thing at a time, an I read too fast anyway.

I am hoping ... my tiller is still working, although I don't know why it wouldn't be working, and that summer will come early, because I just don't do well for these few short months of 'winter.' It's probably good that I don't live any farther north.

I am hearing... John bringing me laundry to fold (he's so sweet like that!), and the kids playing sweetly upstairs, and the dog snoring under my chair, and the woodpecker on my kitchen tree, and the cardinals up front on the feeder.

Around the house ... chaos abounds (at least it's starting to feel like orderly chaos, I guess), and it's really the only way I function. I'm not Type B, I'm more along the lines of Type J or something. Seriously. I love it.

One of my favorite things ...the smell of tomato vines, and the taste of a green bean I snagged while weeding the ground beneath it, the feel of dirt on my hands, and the greenness of the beginning of summer.

A few plans for the rest of the week ... John is off today, Tuesday, and Thursday, so we have a ton of projects to finish, and school, and Bastrop Gardens, my favorite nursery, opens today, so I imagine we'll be there at least once, since the owner tracked me down to let me know it was expected that I show my face. :) And talking to Sarah, because did I mention tha I HATE that she lives in Ohio, and I miss her far more than I thought I would, especially after having her to myself for five days straight.

So apparently, this weather has been getting to me more than I realize, and I'm really needing some time outside to get dirty and revel in God's wonderful, beautiful, and mysteriously fantastic creation.

For more Daybooks, click here. Thanks again to Jessica for inspiring me to do this!

Monday, February 2

Conversations with John

"Hey, baby, do you want to be an organ donor?"

(glances suspiciously at me) "Why?"

"Oh, I dunno. I read an article about it the other day."

"I don't like it when you read. You start getting ideas. Next thing I know, you're going to be wanting to vote! And drive!"

"Yeah, I know. A woman's place is barefoot in the kitchen, not reading the newspaper. Sorry about that. Anyway, I want to be an organ donor. And I was wondering if you want to be one, too."

"Well, I guess. As long as I'm dead first."

leaving on a jet plane ...

Don't know when I'll be back again ...

Just kidding! I totally know when I'm coming back. I leave my house at 5 on Thursday morning, and I'll be hugging Sarah by just after noon, and I'll be getting back to the Austin airport around 11 Monday night. That's right, FIVE day away from my family. I'm very excited, and somewhat nervous (I absolutely hate to fly!), and I just can't wait to see Sarah. Because she's awesome. And I love her. And miss her. And ... I won't have to hear the (bleeping) roosters crow for 5 days! Yay!!

And this trip does have another great aspect to it. If I hadn't had the miscarriage, I probably would have been having a baby this weekend. My due date was February 10, and my kids have all come a little early. I'm ok with what happened, I really am. God has been so good, and has blessed me in ways I couldn't possibly imagine over the last 6 months. But it'll be good for me to not be at home, and to not be around my kids, because I'm telling you, David is so stinking cute that if I hold him for too long, I can feel my ovaries start twitching. I'm not trying to forget what happened, and I'm not dwelling or wallowing. But I'm glad for the distraction.

So please pray for me, for safe travels, and for my family, that no one would have any head wounds while I'm gone, and that we all would just have fun. And that I wouldn't be too stressed before I leave! I've got so much to do, but I've made a list and broken it all down by day, so it's not too bad.

I mean, it is. I have SO MUCH TO DO.

But luckily, I'm not stressing.

No, really! I'm not at all stressed.

(Yes, I am. I lied.)