Thursday, March 27, 2008

Spring Break

Here are two of the three spring breakers:

I love spring break. Everyone is happy and more relaxed. Warmer temperatures invade our space and excite our senses. My boys climb into bed with me in the morning. Exhausted, the baby, Josh and I fall back to sleep for an extra hour. We wake and make cinnamon biscuits. They don’t turn out. We aren’t mad though. It’s spring break. We clean the house up a little, no one gets worked up about it though. We run to the library and then to toys r us. The boys play playstation, psp, and legos. They play basketball outside with our neighbor friends. She sun shines. The wind blows. The sounds of spring can be heard through our screen door. The baby sleeps. I type. Spring is good. Even despite the fact that we are stuck at home for a day because the ignition locked up on our truck. It was fine.

Next day: Spring break reveals a lot to me about how idealistically, I would love to imagine this wonderful utopian Mother/child (ren) relationship, and how I so adamantly fail at that again and again. I envision getting up in the morning baking homemade goodies for breakfast, loving every minute I get to spend with my school age children while they are on break. In reality, they eat pop tarts and fight over the new PSP that only the older one owns (and every other game system in our home has just taken a rear seat to). I loose my cool and blow my top, and everyone sulks. I mess up. Instead of just “going with it” I react to what I should have been expecting! They are no more used to this kind of schedule than I am. I take them to visit my former boss of ten years ago at her bakery. I am excited to show her how they’ve grown. They touch all of the plastic bakery containers, denting them, then undenting them. I try to catch up with her and give them the “eye,” thinking they will surely stop, as they aren’t small children, but they don’t. So I tell them to stop touching. They do. For a couple of minutes. Grrrrrrrr….. Embarrassed, I wish my former boss well, tuck my head between my legs, and exit with my children who will now hear all about it. Brielle sleeps for two hours in her sling. I don’t mind keeping her close, since she just got her shots, but my back begins to feel like it’s falling apart. Ah, well, there are two days left, and God is great, so therefore great things can still happen. I only wish that sometimes I would not imagine such ease of life, and set myself up for an inevitable disappointment. I have a feeling that expecting a sense of unrest in this different schedule would prevent some things, and more joy could be found in the unexpected.

a wonder...

This strange and very amazing thing just happened. Brielle just fell asleep! Not so amazing? Well…it is, actually. Because she fell asleep on her play mat, on the floor, while holding on to a dangling toy. That has never happened in all of the time that I’ve known her. Because I know Will won’t believe me, I captured the evidence:

She lasted there for about five minutes, asleep. Then she kept waking because of all of the noise play toys around her. So I picked her up, and rocked her in my arms back to calmness, then laid her in her bassinet, where I hoped she will get a better nap. (which lasted an entire ten more minutes) She doesn’t like so much to be rocked, jiggled, or the up and down motion that has always worked on calming any baby I’ve ever known before. At least not when she’s really tired. She likes this swaying motion, a rocking of the hips in like a figure eight. It’s the exact same motion I used when I was in the middle stages of labor with her. I find that to be ironic sometimes. I also find other things that are ironic or interesting. Like the fact that her car seat sits precisely where she came into this world. So she spends a lot of time riding around in that exact same spot. She hardly fusses in the car, she just sat through a 7+ hour car trip and barely made a peep! Not that the two are in any way related. She also nurses a lot from the back seat of the car, since she prefers the quiet solitude to eat.
Lately nursing has been going quite well. She did wonderful on her first trip, in the car, and at her grandparents’. I just fed her when we stopped, and on demand in Arkansas, or just whenever I could. She did so great (happier and more content than her usual self) that we were perplexed. Why did she do so much better there than in her own home? When we returned, she seemed back to her normal demanding self. But then she adjusted. Today has clearly been the first day that she seemed like a very happy baby. Maybe it has something to do with the boys been home from school on spring break. Maybe she is being gracious because we are having a very frustrating experience with our vehicle that we thought was a recall issue, and is now turning into a costly venture. Regardless, she still fell asleep on the living room floor while she was just playing! That is miracle material right there!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Arkansas weekend

Here are some more pictures from the flood (on our return home) to add to this blog:

Well, we made it to Arkansas. The trip here was quite different than the other previous 40 trips. We had a baby with us. That was different. A road that we usually travel was flooded so we had to go a different route. That took an additional 40 minutes. Lastly, the view was different. Apparently a great big portion of Southern Missouri/Northeastern Arkansas has recently experience heavy rainfall. Everywhere we looked it was flooded, it was mostly the fields and crops that go for miles in each direction along the highways that we traveled. It seemed as if were driving in the middle of the ocean, if it weren’t for the trees in the water. It was the strangest thing. At sunset, it was beautiful. The sky was lit by so many shades of pinks, purples, oranges, yellows, and blues. These colors were reflected in the waters that ran alongside our highway. Everyone was either sleeping or doing something else during the sunset so I was solely enjoying it. I took a few pictures which I will share here, though I am aware that it’s not really safe to take pictures while driving.

Brielle did great on the drive here. She hardly fussed. But she did sleep a lot. Maybe you are thinking that is a good thing, and it was. But not so good when we got to our destination and she kept me up until 3:30am crying. Poor baby.

This morning we had an emergency, kind of. We ran out of diapers. So, I had to make the 15 minute trek to Wal-Mart, because Brielle had a blow out in the last available one. It was on that journey that I realized I have this love/hate relationship with this area. I was mad that I had to drive so far just to get diapers. I was playing my loud rock music and some old feelings of rage came back to me. Small town. Slow. Simple. Old and yet getting newer. All of things that I don’t like about Mountain Home are all of the same things that I love. It doesn’t make sense to me. The trees looked new and beautiful. They looked old and tired. The mountains curved and accentuated the beautiful sky. I wanted to take in the fresh air. The gravel dirt road was bumpy, forcing me to slow down. The same things I love are the things I used to rage about. I see no other race that white in Wal-Mart. That’s something I’ll never like. The elderly move slowly. I miss that. The sweet elderly people here. They used to drive me crazy when they would drive 20 mph down the road when the speed limit was 45 and there was no passing here. Used to be no passing. Things have changed now. So have I. I hate coming here feeling those old feelings. I want to love where I am from, those very aspects of this part of the country that helped shape me. I was frustrated when I left. I don’t want to feel that way coming back. Especially not when there is so much beauty in one place.

A few times I was frustrated, I won’t try to sugar-coat the whole trip. They were small isolated incidents, and not much worthy of complaining about. But one particularly rubbed me wrong. I was enjoying my cousin’s sweet newborn at the time. How sweet it is to hold a newborn, especially when your own baby is almost twice that size (in just a few short months). My uncle came and sat next to me, and started complimenting me and my family, and for some reason I heard a “but….” coming on. I thought that was kind of strange. But, he jokes a lot, so maybe he was about to joke about something, even if he seemed serious. Nope. He started talking about how he heard that I’d left the church, and how the Lord does not want division among us. What? I was calm, but I didn’t feel that I had been ready for that kind of approach. I explained to him what a simple house church is, what we do, and how I never thought of it as any kind of division or separation from another church. I just see at as a part of the body of Christ. He wanted to get together and do a bible study with me. I explained what I understand the gospel to mean to me, and how the choices that I make are for the growth of myself and my family in our relationship to God and to His people. We ended with a hug goodbye, but I’m not really sure he understood me. Oh well. The whole thing seemed a little weird and kind of frustrating, that we would discuss that (what I see to be a wonderful thing: I LOVE my home church family) at a family gathering, approached in a negative light, when I only come home twice a year or so.

Regardless, over the weekend I was reminded of many of the reasons that I came home, which I long to end on. When I was sitting on the tailgate of my brother’s jimmy listening to him and his good friend rock out on the electric guitar and the drums, I am glad I am here. When I hug my grandma, kiss my aunts, visit with my cousins…I am glad I am here. Even something simple like when I go to the bathroom in peace because I know someone will care for the baby (2 grandparents + husband). When I see my cousin helping her toddling girl hunt for Easter eggs, I recall her when she was that size and her mom and older cousins were helping her. She shows that love in kind. And I feel nostalgic. When I hear my dad playing guitar and singing on the front porch, I know I’m really home. At night, when all is quieter and still, I walk outside and suck in the fresh country air. I can’t get enough of it. Then God blows winds directly on my face, cool and sweet, and it’s here that I know I am. Away, but home.

Below on left: PopPop and the boys chillin. On right: PopPop gives Brielle first Easter bunny.

Grandma taking her for a walk on left.

Andy rocking out!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Tomorrow we are going to the The Winter Jam 2008 Tour Spectacular! I'm excited!!!


Well, I went to my first MOPS (Mother of Preschoolers) group last Thursday. I had NO idea what to expect, and I certainly hadn't intended on leaving Brielle in the nursery. But, I had a wild and crazy notion, and I just dropped her off. I thought about how for the past 10 years I have stood (basically) on the other side of that gate, accepting children into my care. Now, here I am actually handing my little one over. And though I felt a little nervous the whole time and wanted to go check on her (and afraid the pager they had given me didn't work!), there were parts that I actually enjoyed and I felt a little bit of freedom. Needless to say, we were very happy to see each other again! And we both did fine. I think I made some new acquantinces and I even enjoyed the parenting tips from the preacher guy who has two boys also. All in all it was a success and I plan to return as soon as I figure out how much it costs.

Tonight I'm planning on getting some scrapbooking done (I'll let you know how that goes!). I'm going to ScrappinEverAfter.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

What I said:

Did I just type this very morning that I like when things don't go quite as I expected them? Well...I guess God wanted to bless me even more today then! Because I locked Brielle and myself out of the house this afternoon! I'd been wanting to go for walks since she was born, and today seemed perfect, but I knew if I didn't force myself to go, I wouldn't go. So, we rushed right out the house in determination to get a fresh breath of air in this upper 60 degree weather. And of COURSE I grabbed my keys! Duh! I needed the stroller out of the truck. So, off we went, and a nice walk we did have. Then, upon arriving home I realized that I had taken off the house key the previous evening to give to Will, since we'd accidently locked him out on our way to the Reading Fair. I looked at my cell phone. 1 1/2 hours until Josh got out of school with a key. No way. No money, no ID, no debit card, nowhere to even go. I had to break in. I was going to jump the back porch, but realized that once I got up there if the back door was locked, I'd have a hard time figuring out how to get back down. I didn't want to break a window either. So I decided to clean off the porch; it had been bugging me for a while anyway. Brielle watched me, from her car seat. I set up a chair in each shaded corner of the porch, found a broom to semi-sweep up, and found a blanket to spread over my pool chair just in time to feed her. I did all these things AND came up with a list of more things I could do:

I could: pray
check the mail
look at the ABC Distrubuting catalog I got in the mail
consider switching to VISA for a 0% interest
active my rebate card
feed brielle some more
change her diaper in the back of the suv (I keep a spare diaper bag back there)
clean out the suv
roll brielle around in the stroller again
pray some more

It wasn't bad at all, and I enjoyed parts of it, until I had to go to the bathroom really bad, and I was super hungry for lunch. So I just drove to Josh's school to get his key when he got out. I was just glad it was a nice day, and not so bad to be forced to be outside in it.

One poopey morning...and On Breastfeeding

One Poopey Morning…
Sometimes I think I know my daughter. Then, she usually throws me for a loop. I am starting to recognize when she is tired, hungry, uncomfortable, wanting to move, or when she wants attention or something to play with/look at. She starts to flail her arms up and down and grunt when she’s just beginning to let me know something is up. Then it progresses (of course I usually try to help her at the first signs). Sometimes I can even tell when she needs to poop, believe it or not. She gets really fussy, and I’ll know that she hadn’t gone in a while, then she will nurse off and on and eventually she will let it all out. Well, this morning she was up eating off an on from about 5am to 8am. Not the norm, as this girl has really recognized night to morning since birth. I get up to change her diaper, and realize she’d recently pooped. So I take her diaper off, wipe her bottom, and go to throw it away. It’s then I hear this weird sound! I thought, “what on earth was that?” I look and see that (you guessed it) she has pooped all over the place. If you know anything about breastfed baby poop (at least our baby’s) it stains everything it touches (hence why we had two waterproof changing pads under her). Except the explosion went beyond them and got onto her new and beautiful crib sheet! Ahhrrrr…..the wet wipes! It was all over her clothes, her, and was getting all over me. Brielle was oblivious to all of this. She carried on as nothing had happened. I rushed everything to the laundry room to soak & wash. She happily played with the tail of my stuffed dolphin since I had gotten her dressed and taken care of her first. I actually like it when things go differently than expected sometimes. She keeps me alert and attentive to her. I appreciate that about her, her personality.
On Breastfeeding…
We are now 3 ½ months into her life and into breastfeeding. It seems that we had to wait a little longer to enter our “reward” era. The books all suggested that around 6-8 weeks it would all click and become clear that it had been worth it to stick it out. I was sure looking forward to that time, because the first 8 weeks were rough! Breastfeeding wasn’t natural, she didn’t easily latch on, and it was so time consuming and painful! I knew that it would eventually be worth it…I just never knew when. Well, it took 3 months for her to really learn to calm from her colic. We spent countless hours holding her, bouncing her, rocking her, and trying to listen to her needs. She has spent more time in the sling, next to her mother, than any baby I’ve ever known. Now that “sometimes” I think I know her, I can generally try things I think she may need to help her. I had to recognize that she didn’t want to nurse in loud places, and I had to accommodate that for her. I had to realize while some advice was beneficial for us, other advice was best left alone. I had to trust that she and I have a unique relationship from all other babies and moms, and I had to learn to trust my instincts as her mother. Many times I reminded myself that if she were born to me two hundred years ago and we were living as native Americans on this continent, we would have to figure out how to do this! And I enjoy breastfeeding her now. It is a very special time for us. I thought that it had actually been part of my problem with being so rundown and filled with crazy thoughts after having her (since having a baby was so much more taxing than I‘d remembered and I‘d never exclusively breastfed my other children), but I realize now how much it actually helped me. I had to be giving, attentive, nurturing, and sacrificial. I had to be patient and determined. I had to put someone else’s best interest before mine. It almost seemed that when I realized all of this, that nursing just naturally clicked for both of us. And now we are both reaping the many benefits of it. And like I read in The Fussy Baby Book, “This is a need that my daughter has right now at this certain time in her life, that only I can meet.” And I am aware that it will not last forever…so now is the time, today is the day…to feel blessed.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Snow Day!!

This is the first time that we recall getting this much snow in Clarksville, TN in years!!!!!!!!! It must have been 6 inches deep! We were excited to say the least. We bundled up and headed out to the best spot. Many of our friends and family joined us there and we had a great time sledding, snowboarding, racing, and just being silly! Brielle and I hung out watching, taking videos, and snapping pictures. She was bundled up like a little Eskimo baby and was attached to me via the pouch sling (for all 2 1/2 hours!) out there. I went down at the very end of our time there and the landing jerked my head so hard that it caused me to bite down on my tongue. Painful and bloody, yes. But the ride down did make it worth it. Everyone else seemed to be extremely sore from their encounters with the snow hill too. But they didn't complain too much, because I think it was worth it for them too.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Back to my Roots

A pot of beans
Beans, Eggs, Bacon and Coffee

This morning as I was cooking, the house began smelling of beans, coffee, bacon, and eggs. It reminded me of my grandma's house in Arkansas. Seemed she always had beans cooking, bacon frying, and biscuts being kneaded on her table. Come to think of it, I don't recall having any biscuits that ever tasted quite like hers.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

A video and picture

Isn't this look on her face something else? I love it!!!
Joshua dancing Brielle in the kitchen:

Monday, March 3, 2008

Boys' Birthdays

Josh just celebrated his 12th Birthday (wow!) last week and a few days ago Tyler celebrated his 9th! They had originally wanted to have a birthday together again this year and decided on the Rollerdome. Well, after I called that poor worker guy like 3 times and bugged him about rates, dates, times, party packages, you name it, I decided it would not be worth it. I thought we'd spend too much money for something that was too hectic and crazy and not worth all of the effort. So, we let the boys decide what they wanted to do for their birthdays after giving them a few options to choose from.
Well, we didn't really spend less money, but I think they still had fun. Josh chose to go to Opry Mills and he got to do this bungee jump thing there in the mall, which was really fun for him, and if I knew anything about loading my phone's videos onto here I'd post it. But I do not. It's really funny though because after a good back flip, he lands on his head the next time. He likes it. They also went to Build-A-Bear to get "accessories" for their bunny and Husky. Yes, you might say they are too big to do such a thing (they got skate gear, police gear, shades, a new shirt) but...we are like "ya know? the time is going to be soon when they no longer ask for such things." So we don't try to grow them up faster than they are growing. The world does that enough for us. They also got new Nikes. That was really good.
For Tyler's birthday we took him to Chuck E. Cheese. They played video games, we had pizza, Will and I shouted across the table at one another over a sleeping baby and called it "conversation." It was nice. But I LOVE fountain drinks, so I dosed up on too much Mr. Pibb and could not fall asleep that night. Then we went back to the house and the aunts, uncle, and cousins came over to share in with the strawberry cupcakes Tyler had made (for his own birthday). Hey, he wanted to do it. Josh had made some Strawberry Truffles. They were YUM too! All in all it went well. Tyler bought Legos with his birthday money at a trip to Toys R Us, and Josh (who has been saving up for a year) was finally able to get the PSP with a little help from us. They were both happy with those gifts.
Yesterday we had an earlier house church group meeting time because the weather was perfect for a cook out. Then afterwards a few of us went to hike Rotary Park's trails.
Honestly, I think they liked that just as well as anything else we did though. For which I am so thankful!

Turns out it's not so hard to figure it out after all. Go figure.