Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

I'm probably not going to be posting much between now and the New Year.  If I do, it's because I got a moment to do so, but I'm planning on enjoying this time with my family and enjoying L's first Christmas.  I hope everyone has a very Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year.

Merry Christmas Monday Memories (Belated): The One With the Going to the Chapel

Thursday, December 20, 2012

This morning my friend Derek posted this on Facebook:
a holiday reminder that if you post a photo of your new engagement ring on here this holiday season you will be un-friended.
If there had been a Facebook, and had I known Derek ten years ago, he would have un-friended me.  Ten years ago on Christmas Day, Sheldon asked me to marry him, and in some sort of holiday delirium I told him, "Yes!"

All kidding aside, I can't really tell you much about the day.  I know that it snowed, and that threw his plans into kind of a skid.  We had been dating for five months exactly that day, according to Sheldon.  In our relationship, he was the one who kept up with that sort of thing, believe it or not.

The day started with our opening presents at my house.  I just sort of had a feeling that he was going to propose, so with every gift, I thought that maybe there would be a ring.  There wasn't.  I tried to not show my disappointment.  Again, I don't know how well I did that.  Ten years is a long time to try to remember details, especially when everything goes so quickly.

That night, we went to his house, and I thought that it was a little strange that his parents and brother decided to go look at lights.  But hey, I was knew to their world, so I wasn't going to ask questions.  Sheldon and I were left alone watching some stupid NBA game on television.

A little while later, he ran to his bedroom to get something and tripped as he was trying to get down on one knee.  He asked the question, and while I was saying, "Yes!" Erin's husband (but they weren't even dating yet) was leaving a lengthy message on the answering machine.

It wasn't the most romantic moment of my life, but it was probably one of the sweetest.  Like Anne Shirley told Gilbert Blythe when he proposed,
"I don't want sunbursts and marble halls. I just want YOU. You see I'm quite as shameless as Phil about it. Sunbursts and marble halls may be all very well, but there is more `scope for imagination' without them..."
Almost exactly a year later, nine years ago from today to be exact,  we were married in my hometown church in Heavener, OK.  Nine years, four moves, two dogs, two pregnancies, one miscarriage, and one active baby later we're still going on strong.  We're still not really the most romantic people, but we love each other, trust each other, and in a sense complete each other.  I thank God every day for bringing this man into my life.  It has been the best ten years of my life.  If I had it all to do over again, I don't believe I would change a thing.

Christmas Music Favorites

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

I haven't really felt much like nor honestly had the time for blogging since Sandy Hook.  At first everything I thought about posting seemed trivial and pointless.  As bloggers, we often feel the need to say anything about something like this, whether it's a political stance or just offering our thoughts and prayers to those affected by such a horrible, horrible event.

I realized though that I didn't need to put my stamp on it, and to think I did was more narcissistic than most of us bloggers are than usual.  It's really not about me, ya'll, not this time.  It's really not about any of us.  Instead, I've spent time I might have been blogging playing, reading to, and just loving on my little blessing who is still sound asleep upstairs and thanking God for every precious moment I have with her.  Also, I've spent as much time as possible with her Daddy, because for some reason his work always gets beyond busy at the end of the year, and I don't get to see him much at all.  I didn't even have a Merry Christmas Memories Monday post this week, but I'll post one belatedly tomorrow.  Tomorrow is a little more fitting for this memory anyway.   I want to slide back into the Christmas spirit despite the tragedy, so today I would like to share with you some of my favorite Christmas music.

I adore Christmas music, so you have to understand that paring down the songs that I love was rather difficult.  So, I'm going to A). recommend certain albums and B). highlight the songs I like best from these albums.

Joy To The World:  A Christmas Collection by Lincoln Brewster - I only have one song off of this album so far, "Miraculum," but I love it.  If you love Trans Siberian Orchestra, you'll like this song.  It is just beautifully and masterfully done.  It is a new favorite for me, even more so than Michael Buble's Christmas music.

 Traditional Christmas Classics - Nothing gets me into the Christmas mood more than listening to an orchestra play "Sleigh Ride."  Seriously, I just love that song.  I like it best when performed by the Boston Pops.  Remember when the A&E Network actually stood for Arts and Entertainment?  I would watch Pops Goes Christmas every year.

 Christmas With the Chipmunks - This was probably the first record, yes I said record, that was mine as a child, and I loved it.  I remember getting it around Thanksgiving when I turned five, because I think  great-grandmother died that same night.  It's funny how you remember those things.  Anyway, listening to this album was a Christmas tradition at our house, especially when we were decorating the tree.  I will always love "The Christmas Song" the best.

 Merry Christmas by Mariah Carey - OK, I'm going to admit that when I was in high school, I was THE BIGGEST Mariah Carey fan.  Then she got all hoochie, and my tastes in music changed drastically with age and well taste.  However, I can always honestly say that I loved "All I Want For Christmas Is You" a decade before Love Actually made it the holiday favorite that it is today.

  A Very She & Him Christmas - I like this album, but Ladybug just LOVES their rendition of "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree."  She starts dancing and jamming every time she hears it.  Her face honestly just lights up, and she even somehow knows how to play air guitar.  It's awesome, and I had to add it.

 Miracles:  The Holiday Album by Kenny G - I played alto sax for seven years in school, so I have a soft spot for Mr. G.  I especially love his rendition of "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas," which is one of my favorite Christmas songs of all time (I won't bore you with the story behind it, but it's AWESOME!).  This is a song and honestly album that makes me feel all romantical when listening to it.  Hey, I had this in cassette!

  Christmas Offerings by Third Day - Listening to Third Day sing "Do You Hear What I Hear" just sends chills down my spine.  They're far better than the tingle Chris Matthews gets in his leg when the President speaks.  I seriously recommend this to everyone.

  A Christmas Story by Point of Grace - Point of Grace has several Christmas albums, but this was their first with all four original members of the group.  This album and the next two that I'm going to list were all produced by Brown Banister, and they're exceptional albums.  I pretty much stopped listening to their music after two of the originals left the group, and I do believe their Christmas album is the best.  My favorite song on this is "Not That Far from Bethlehem."

  The Christmas Sessions by Mercy Me - We bought this album and the next at a Christmas concert in Little Rock that Sheldon and I attended seven years ago.  It was the last big thing we did there before moving to Northwest Arkansas.  Sheldon didn't want to go at first, but I reminded him that I had attended MANY country concerts in the past with him, and he could go to this with me.  To this day, he says it was the best concert he has ever attended.  The whole album is superb, but I especially love their rendition of "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen." Oh, I also love "Silent Night" with Amy Grant.  Wait, I just love the whole album.  I've joked that's not Christmas until I hear NKOTB's "Funky, Funky XMAS," but it's really not Christmas anymore until I hear MercyMe's "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree."

  All I Really Want For Christmas by Steven Curtis Chapman   - This whole album just moves me.  I wish I could relive that concert we attended, because it was just so good.  Every song was great, and I await Christmastime every year so I can listen to these songs.  They're all wonderful, but "All I Really Want" always had and always will just tug at my heart strings.  As a mom now, it really does.  I found myself crying in the car one day while picking up lunch and listening to it.  You have to be heartless not to be touched by it.  "The Miracle of Christmas" is also just wonderful.

 Here is my list.  Like I said, I pared it down a great deal, because I just can't list all the Christmas music that I love.  What are some of your favorite Christmas songs?

No, Not FML

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Yesterday I was tempted to post on Twitter something with the hashtag, #FML, but I didn't.  We all know what it means.  If you don't, then Google it.  I'm not running a hashtag dictionary.  I don't use the f-word in real life - ever, so why would I abbreviate it and think that's acceptable?  In the end, people would read it and not think to themselves "F-M-L," they would think what it stands for.  So in essence, to them I would have been using the f-word.

Not only that, but I realized that to make a statement like that would be in a sense saying that my entire life just sucks.  That's not true.  Yesterday sucked.  Yesterday was just a rough, difficult day all around. To say that the events of yesterday overshadowed all of the good in my life would be not only a falsehood, but also probably the most ungrateful thing I would have ever stated in my life.

Yesterday was just bad.  Bart had worked until midnight the night before.  I waited up for him, because we usually don't go to sleep until around that time at night anyway.  Then Ladybug woke up at 1:30.  This seemed like just the usual, "I lost my covers, I lost my paci, I've hit my head on the top of my crib" cry, and after taking care of her, I went back to bed.  Then she woke up again at three.

This time she wasn't so easily consoled.  I had to rock her a bit and sing to her.  Then I put her back down, and just as I was going back to sleep, she cried again.  This time I changed her diaper in case she was uncomfortable and gave her some ibuprofen in case those teeth she has been trying to cut for three months were giving her problems.  I put her back down, and she screamed.  So I ran the hair dryer to calm her, and made it back downstairs when she started again.  I brought her downstairs and tried to get her to sleep with us.  That didn't work.  I took her into the living room, gave her a small bottle, and rocked her.  That seemed to work, so I put her down again.  Once again, just as I was getting to sleep, the cries started.  I thought she was probably hot in her fleece jammies, so I changed her into a cooler, cotton pair.  Then I grabbed a pillow and a blanket, brought her downstairs, and I just rocked her for the next hour in the recliner, because that seemed to be the only thing she wanted.  Finally, after six, she was sound enough asleep for me to put her in her crib, and she slept the next two hours.

Of course by then Bart was up and getting ready to go into the office, and Lucy and Dory (who had been up and down with us for at least the last hour) were needing to be fed and pottied.  I took care of that, Bart went to work, and I curled up in bed with the dogs for a little bit.  However, I knew that I had to get up and shower before Ladybug was up for the day, so I dragged myself upstairs to take care of that.

When I was through, Ladybug was sort of awake, lounging in her crib in a more dazed mood than usual.  I pulled her out and realized that at some point between six and eight she had pooped - that never happens.  I think a number of factors made her uncomfortable:  teething, being hot in her jammies, and also having a belly ache.  The poor kid didn't stand a chance.

I tried to keep our normal schedule all day, even though we were both struggling, because if I didn't then our entire routine would probably be messed up for days.  I even took her to the library for story time, because two of my friends were reading to the kids as special guests.  That was where Ladybug spit up on me for the first time in months.  Thankfully she didn't spit up on my friend Liz while she was holding her.  So we went home and managed to stay awake until nap time.

Ladybug didn't argue with being put down for her nap, and I quickly came downstairs and curled up on the couch with a pillow, a blanket, and a Dory.  I only woke up with Lucy nudged my nose and had me somehow make room for her on the couch as well.  We all slept soundly for around an hour.  Then I started to try to wake up, and I heard Ladybug stirring on the baby monitor.  The rest of the afternoon / evening was not great.

I wanted to clean our bathroom and do some other things while she played.  She just wanted to be held, but she didn't want to be held, but she did.  This grouchiness went off and on for hours.   She was exhausted from not getting enough sleep the previous night and didn't know how to handle it.  Around six, I just curled up with her in the recliner and rocked her until Bart got home after seven.  I handed her to him to start dinner, and she was not happy about not being with me.  Bart held her in the kitchen so she could watch me.  When she finally seemed to warm up to him, they went to our bedroom so he could change.  They played ball (with the dogs locked outside the bedroom so they couldn't steal the balls) until dinner was ready.  She seemed to be in a better mood.  We ate, Bart gave her a bath while I did dishes, and it was bedtime.  After reading Goodnight Moon and part of Luke 2, she went to bed without a peep and slept through the night.  Bart, the girls, and I soon followed suit.

It's seven-thirty Thursday morning, and Ladybug is still asleep.  After feeding the dogs, I went upstairs to check on her, turned her right side up, and covered her, and she never made more than a little peep.  I'm thinking today should be a much better day, because she has had a restful night, as have I.  We made it through a very rough day, but we made it.

I can't with good conscience ever say "FML" in any form and mean it.  I had a tired, grouchy baby yesterday.  I have a baby.   Even the bad days are blessings.  I must remember 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 and "...give thanks in all circumstances..."  I don't have to be thankful my baby was a crank, but I must still remember to be thankful and not ungracious.  I'm also trying harder to remember Ephesians 5:4 now, because I have a pair of blue eyes that watch and a pair of little ears that hear everything I say and do now.
Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving.

So no, I'm not hash tagging anything with #FML.  If I have in the past, I shouldn't have.  My life is good and blessed beyond measure.  I don't want in anyway to be connected with thinking it isn't.  I would rather start a #MLIB (My Life Is Blessed) hash tag.

A Few Facts About Me

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

  • My favorite color is red.  I LOVE red.
  • I won't ever drive another red car though.  They're just police magnets.
  • As much as I love red, I don't like turquoise.  I have learned to accept pink, but am not thrilled with it.
  • I don't watch reality TV shows of any sort.  I just don't like them.  There's nothing realistic about any of them, and I think they've ruined television.  I prefer a nicely written, scripted series to watch with witty dialogue, humor, and some drama.  I don't mind watching something a little soapy as long as it's well written and acted.  I do hate people trying to pass off fiction as real life.
  • I have become addicted to Once Upon a Time, Revolution, and Grey's Anatomy. 
  • I'm addicted to spoiler alerts.
  • In that sense, I like to read the end of a book sometimes before I'm finished with it.
  • I love college football and baseball.
  • I hate it when people on Facebook make posts, basically begging people to respond to see if they're really liked.  I just want to comment, "No, Sally Field, I don't really, really like you!  If you want a nicer comment then post something witty, observant, nice, or funny."  I don't though, because someone other than my mother taught me not to say anything at all if I have nothing nice to say.  
  • I think that the first season of Friends is the best, as is the first season of How I Met Your Mother.
  • I married a man who loves country music borderline obsessively.  That said, I like just about any other genre of music.
  • I sometimes craze Flying Burrito white queso.
  • I find ketchup nasty.
  • I was listening to Mariah Carey sing "All I Want For Christmas" back when Seinfeld was the top show on TV.  That was WAY before Love Actually.
  • I think that Modern Seinfeld is one of the best Twitter accounts ever.  I forgot how much I miss that show, even if Sheldon hates it.

A Random Tuesday

  • So many people are seriously worried that the world will end next week.  I just hope that I don't forget that my wedding anniversary is the day before the world is supposed to end.
  • A cold front came through Sunday.  I'm already so completely over it.  Once upon a time I didn't mind the cold so much.  It was the perfect time to curl up by a fire and read or watch movies and eat junk food.  I used to read actual literature and watch movies in one sitting.  Then I got dogs who seem to need me outside with them when they potty, and I had a baby who loves to be outside playing.  So inevitably I have to bundle up a few times a day for one reason or another and brave the cold.  I'm trying to make the best of it by bundling Ladybug up like Randy in A Christmas Story.  Well, maybe not that much.
  • I've decided to stop calling B "B" here.  He is now "Sheldon," for reasons obvious to anyone who watches The Big Bang Theory and knows B.  He isn't quite as bad as Sheldon, but he has many Sheldonesque tendencies like marking each individual pair of socks differently so they'll always have equal tread.  Heck, his brother, Capt B, once called Ladybug the product of Sheldon Cooper and Rory Gilmore.  He's partially correct, and I'm tired of having to distinguish between B and Capt B.
  • I've felt a little lost online lately.  I've spent so much time working on Christmas projects, that now they're finished I don't know what to do with myself.
  • Since last Friday was Pearl Harbor Day, we watched Tora! Tora! Tora!  Ladybug loves planes and was enthralled by it.  Sadly, she rooted for the Japanese, because they had the airplanes.
  • It's not Christmas until I hear "Funky, Funky XMAS" by New Kids On the Block.
  • Lucy keeps tweaking something in her right foot when she does her aerial acrobatics during games of bubbles.  She limps for a while, then gets over it.  I worry over her so much, now that she's five years old.  I'm hoping my redheaded baby will be with me for years to come.  She's my heart dog.  I love Dory so much, but Lucy and I have a very deep, different connection.  She was the one who knew I was pregnant the first time.  She was the one who knew I was in labor with Ladybug and wouldn't leave my side.  
  • As I've entered and exited stores lately, I've had to wonder to myself if Salvation Army bell ringers ever experience hearing loss from all that bel ringing?  It really hurts my ears to hear the bells.  I know I probably seem rude, trying to get away from them as soon as possible, but they cause me real pain.
  • I love these little feet.

Merry Christmas Memories Monday: The First One In Our House

Monday, December 10, 2012

By 2007, B and I were finally at a point in our life together when it was time to settle down and plant some roots.  Finally, we had lived somewhere for more than a year.  Finally we could call where we lived, "home."  So we did what most young couples do, we bought a house.

I'm not going to go into details about my house, because at the time it was intended to be a good starter house.  Then the market crashed, and I don't see us moving any time in the near future.  That's ok though. We're where we're supposed to be.  I like our home.  It's a good home, and it's the only home that Ladybug, Lucy, and Dory have ever known.

So anyway, we bought our house in spring of 2007.  It was also at about this time that I had grown extremely tired of spending Christmas Eve night anywhere other than my own home and never being at home at all on Christmas.  I was tired of being the vagabond couple, always the guest of my mother or in-laws at Christmas.  So we decided that Christmas was going to be at our house that year.  My family and B's family both were coming to celebrate with us on Christmas Day.

We were doing pot-luck, which was how we always did Christmas with my dad's family, so I don't have any stories about trying to cook a turkey that wasn't thawed, or anything like that.  We picked up a ham (I seriously prefer ham over turkey every day of the week) and a turkey breast from HoneyBaked Ham.  We had desserts from Rick's Bakery.  Everything was set to be easy and happy.  You know things had to go a little haywire, don't you?

First of all, on Decemeber 16, we did everything wrong in the process of getting a puppy.  We had our own house finally, and as a four-year anniversary / Christmas present, I talked B into letting me get a dog.  I wanted either a female Golden Retriever or Bernese Mountain Dog.  Having grown up in Small Town, USA I didn't realize that there was a right and wrong way of buying a pure-bred dog.  So, I scoured the Classifieds of every newspaper every day, searching for a puppy.  On Sunday, December 16, I found an ad for Golden Retriever puppies.  B told me to get a myself a dog.  I called the number, they had a female, and they were outside of K-Mart in Springdale.  We hopped in B's old blue Chevy truck, picked out the little butterball, wrote out a check, and had our first "child," Lucy Snowflake.

I'm going to admit to you right now that Lucy is to THIS DAY still at times my neediest, most demanding child - including Ladybug.  I think adjusting to having her in our lives was more difficult than adjusting to Ladybug.  I certainly know it was more tiring.  Between that, his grad school demands, and working full-time B was sick by Christmas Day.

So, I awoke on Christmas Day and found an open Walgreens where I could buy him cold medicine and orange juice.  While trying to get things ready for company, I had to take care of Miss Demanding on my own while dealing with my mother and a sick husband.  Things were not going as planned.

Still yet, in the end, things went smoothly.  It seemed that everyone had a nice time.  Everyone especially loved our new "baby."  This coming Sunday is our fifth Lucyversary.  To me, the Christmas of 2007 was our first Christmas in this house.  More importantly though, it was our first Christmas with Lucy a very important member of our family.
The day we brought her home.  Our Blue Light Special.

Cuddling with me during nap time today.

What I What WE Have Learned In Ten Months

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Today Miss Ladybug, you are ten months old.  Here are some things that we've learned thus far:
  • You've been crawling for about a month and a half, and get around fairly well.  You pull up some, but don't show any hurry to stand up and walk, but that's ok. I'm not in any hurry for it to happen either.  
  • Right now, you like to follow me around the house, and I've learned that making you crawl laps is excellent exercise. 
  • You love reading books and being read to more than just about anything.
  • You enjoy watching airplanes as they take off and land near our house.
  • You loved the Lights of the Ozarks. 
  • You've started dunking your head under water during baths and blowing bubbles.
  • You enjoy Christmas music.
  • When you want one of us to read a book to you, you'll scoot it in front of you as you crawl toward us.  
  • Your favorite books right now are "B Is For Bear" and "Goodnight Moon."  Almost every day before your afternoon nap we also read a little from "The Secret Garden."
  • Sometimes to get you to sleep, I have to employ the use of a hair dryer.
  • You still don't like textured food much, but eat baby food like there's no tomorrow.
  • You share your finger foods with Dory.  Sometimes you just want to wave them in her face, but that never works.
  • It's very obvious that you understand so much of what we're saying now, because of the way you respond.
  • You say a lot, we just have to catch what you say and understand it, because you say it so quickly and don't repeat yourself much.
  • You love bath time and will cry when the water drains down the tub, and it's time to get dry and dressed.
  • You love pulling levers and studying how to take things apart.
  • You love pretty things and love being pretty even more.
  • Your hair is now long enough that it no longer sticks up much.  I sort of miss the mohawk, but it's nice being able to put barrettes in your hair now.
  • You still love watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and Play With Me Sesame.  You also love watching the news, especially the weather.
  • You're more toddler now than baby.  I miss the little baby, but I'm loving the toddler so much!
  • Every day it is a blessing to be your Mama.

Merry Christmas Memories Monday: The One That Could Have Been a An ABC Family or Hallmark Movie

Monday, December 3, 2012

Have you ever seen the Christmas movie on Lifetime, ABC Family, or Hallmark where a young couple was moving three days before Christmas with the help of their younger brother when a freak snow storm suddenly came, stranding them and threatened to ruin Christmas?  I haven't seen it, not that there isn't one.  There seems to be a Christmas movie about just almost every scenario imaginable.  No this, this I lived.

Back in December of 2004 when we thought we knew everything and really knew nothing (that's still the case), B and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary by taking a load of boxes from our tiny apartment in Russellville to the townhouse we rented in Bryant.  B was to start the new year working at the Little Rock firm where he still employed today.  Being the small-town Oklahoma girl that I still very much was, I wasn't entirely keen on the idea of living in the Little Rock Metro.  However, I've always been very adamant  about the whole Ruth 1:16 way of looking at marriage, so I embraced it.  We rented a U-haul truck the next day and prepared to load it with our remaining worldly goods on the 22nd with the help of Capt. B, who was a college freshman at the time, to embark on this next chapter of our lives, not paying much attention to weather reports of "a chance of snow."

The snow started falling as we loaded the U-haul.  We loaded it quickly and hoped to get on our way before things could get very bad.  Things got very bad, very quickly though.

We moved slowly, so very slowly on I-40, until traffic seemed to almost stop near Morrilton.  I mean, we were moving so slow that the tortoise was able to stop and nap a couple of time.  I was on the verge of tears because my windshield kept freezing over faster than my defrost could thaw it.  At one point I was pretty much standing as I drove in order to see where I was going.  We didn't have cell phones at the time, so I was very, very relieved when one of the boys got out of the U-haul to tell me that we were getting off the Interstate at the next exit.

There was a decent motel at that exit with a Waffle House and a convenient store near by.  We slid (honestly) into two parking spots at the motel and took one of the last rooms for the night.  We ate dinner at the Waffle House and watched car after car slide off the road and drive recklessly.  We laughed, but we were worried that we wouldn't be able to start out again the next morning.  We tried anyway, come morning light.

Just to get the U-haul to budge off the ice, the guys had to use several cans of deicer near the tires.  Thankfully there was no more precipitation falling, and we trusted that road crews had cleared the Interstate.  Of course they would, wouldn't they?  It was just two days until Christmas after all.

Traffic was moving, albeit slowly once we got on the Interstate.  It took what seemed like forever just to get from Morrilton to Conway.  Once we got to Conway it slowed down even more.  We were pretty much in Little Rock traffic by then, and semis were jackknifing all over the place.  What is normally a four-lane interstate highway had become an eight, with cars lined up on both lanes and along the shoulders.  Somehow emergency vehicles made their way through when needed.  Then came the bean field and we.just.stopped.

I hate that bean field between Mayflower and Maumelle more than just about any other place on Earth. When we pass by it on the Interstate to this day, I stare at the water tower to the right of the east-bound lanes with disgust and a sick feeling in my gut.  I watched the sun move from the center of the sky to beyond the horizon by that bean field.  I learned how to sit in the cold dark, trying to save gasoline and only running the heater when I had to.  I watched person after person try to find a bush on the side of the road where they could relieve themselves.  I was afraid to do that there, so I had Capt. B take over my car, and I used a toilet wipe box in a way never intended in the U-haul.

Eventually, after I listened to Mariah Carey's Merry Christmas about 18 times to the point where all I wanted for Christmas was for her to choke, we slowly started moving again.  Finally we made it to the 430 exit and headed south.  I tried with all my might not to freak out as we drove across the icy Arkansas River Bridge on 430.  I also tried not to think about the story I had been writing since college where two people died on a river bridge in winter weather.  I just tried to block that from my mind.

I remember either my car or the U-haul sliding as we got off at the Stagecoach Road exit.  I remember a huge chunk of ice and snow falling off of the U-haul and somehow missing my car.  I remember being exhilarated once we arrived at our townhouse.  Of course, our incredible journey wasn't over yet.  We had promised to get Capt. B home to see his girlfriend by Christmas Eve, and I was determined to make it happen.

So, we unloaded the U-haul and my car that night.  Then we got up in the morning, ate breakfast, and headed west toward "home."  I think we took Hwy 64 home.  Maybe we took several different roads, I don't really remember anything more than just wanting to not be in a vehicle for a very long time.  What I do remember is getting to Fort Smith by sundown on Christmas Eve.  Capt. B needed to stop by Walmart at THAT time in order to get a few gifts for his girlfriend's family.

Somehow, by the grace of God, we managed to have a good Christmas with our families.  I grew used to living near Little Rock and navigating my way around there.  Then in March, B told me that his firm was going to move us to Northwest Arkansas... in December.  Oh no, not again!

Thank goodness 2005 was dry and warm like this year!  I never want to experience anything like that again!

Christmas Bucket List

Sunday, December 2, 2012

I haven't a Christmas Bucket List of things to do with Ladybug this year.  I hadn't really considered the existence of one at all until I saw a mention of one on another blog recently.  There are certainly things that I have stored away in the recesses of my mind that I want to do with her, but I haven't actually sat down and written or typed them into reality.  I'm always a little hesitant to say that we're definitely going to do this or that, because you never know what circumstances may come up to prevent it from happening.  Like, we tried to go to the lighting ceremony for The Lights of the Ozarks, but got there late and couldn't find anywhere to park.  Maybe I should have two lists: a list of things we definitely have to do, and a list of things we would like to try to do if at all possible.  

Ladybug's Definite Christmas Bucket List (as of today)
  1. Visit Santa Claus
  2. Go to The Lights of the Ozarks at least once.
  3. Visit the Botanical Garden of the Ozarks Gardenland Express.
  4. Buy gifts for and take to our church's Christmas Store.
  5. Drive around, looking at Christmas lights.
  6. Go to Christmas Eve services at church.
Ladybug's If At All Possible Christmas Bucket List (so far)
  1. Visit the KCS Holiday Express on one of its stops (I wish we could make it to Heavener).
  2. Go to visit B's grandparents in LR and see the Capitol decorations.
Last night we crossed off #2 on the Definite List, and visited The Lights of the Ozarks with our friends, Erin and Mr. Y.  It was good to get together with them, because we haven't in a long while, and we used to do stuff together all the time.  They actually live closer to us now than they did a little over a year ago, but life keeps all of us fairly busy.  They are one of our oldest couple friends we have.  One of their first dates was actually our wedding, almost nine years ago.

Ladybug loved the lights, as I was fairly certain she would.  It will be fun as she grows older and is able to take part in the pony rides, the camel rides, and the different carriage rides available there.  So far, she just liked the lights and being around so many people.  We had to buy her what amounts to a light saber while there.  She quickly learned what fun it was to hit Daddy with it.  I tried not to laugh too much.

I still don't know exactly how married to the idea of a yearly Christmas Bucket List I am, but I do love starting traditions with Ladybug, discovering the joys of the Christmas through her brand-new, blue eyes, and also sharing memories with friends who are more like family.

Ladybug's Love Affair

Saturday, December 1, 2012

I don't think it's any secret here that Ladybug has a boyfriend.  I don't even think it matters to her that he has been taken by someone else for ages.  She loves his girlfriend too.  She's still very open about that sort of thing.  We'll have discussions on that later.  Right now it's ok, because she's in love with Mickey Mouse and his girlfriend Minnie.

I'm not entirely sure the exact date of when the Mickey Mouse obsession started, but I do remember what started it.  Like most other parents, I needed to get some housework accomplished one afternoon.  So, I put Ladybug in front of the TV in our bedroom and searched the On Demand menu of our cable to see what might entertain her.  I refused to let her watch a certain purple dinosaur, and she had yet to show ANY interest in Sesame Street.  So I went to the Disney menu and found Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.  The rest, as you can say, is history.

She loved Mickey Mouse from the start.  Her little chubby face would just light up at seeing him and hearing, "Hey-hey everybody!"  I quickly learned to set the DVR to record Mickey Mouse Clubhouse once a day, and actually cared if our cable provider was ever going to give us Disney Junior on our lineup.  I've bought a Mickey Mouse Clubhouse DVD and have bought episodes off of iTunes so she can watch on my iPad or AppleTV.  Some days we watch a couple of episodes, and we can go several without watching any.  She has a little stuffed Mickey and Minnie that came from the same display at Walmart as her Lady-dogs.  The Hot Dog Song and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Theme are now on everyone's iPhone, iPod, you name it.  They can usually stop her crying at the drop of a hat.    Halloween, Ladybug even met Mickey Mouse at the NWA Mall.

L recently won a Master Mickey Moves on TV.  We didn't really discuss whether or not it would be part of her Christmas, it didn't come with a box, and she was with me when I picked him up, so she got him right away.  There was no way I was separating them once they were together.  They danced and grooved all the way home together in the back seat.  She just loves Mickey so much that she can't contain herself.  When we got home, I took a little video of them.  Let's just say that I won't be surprised if this love affair lasts for quite some time.

My Best Friend, the Hair Dryer

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

When all else fails, and I can't get Ladybug to sleep any other way, I have a tried and true method of calming her and sending her to the Land of Nod.  It's an interesting trick that I learned without trying.  At first, I just used it for her morning cat nap, but now...  Now I'm finding myself using it for her long afternoon nap and sometimes at night when nothing else will work.  What is it?  It's my hair dryer.

At some point over the summer, I started laying Ladybug down on our spare room bed in the mornings while I would dry my hair.  She would be squirming away, usually playing with her Lady dog and suddenly her arms and legs would just drop.  She would be asleep.  This was back when I would generally shower some time mid-morning, because Ladybug could sit in her bouncy seat, then just sit and play in the floor as I showered.  That plan fell away once Ladybug started crawling though.  Now I'm finding it easier to rock her to sleep in my lap for that morning nap.  It's the only time we do this, and it's just nice.  B likes to do it on the weekends.  It's our time to cuddle with her.

Afternoon naps haven't really been a chore for Ladybug in a while, even after I stopped being able to swaddle her.  She seemed to enjoy being put in her crib with Lady and Lambie for a good nap.  Then that pesky crawling reared its head again, just at the same time as the time change.  Suddenly my happy napper wasn't going to sleep easily and was sitting up in bed, crawling around, and screaming.

Then I remembered the hair dryer.  I would run in on High at first to calm her, move it to Low, then turn it off after she stopped moving for a few minutes.  Any time she doesn't want to nap, I do this.  I've even found myself doing it in the middle of the night a few times when she would wake up and not want to go back to sleep.  It's the miracle hair dryer.

What are some of the things you have done to get your kid(s) to nap and/or sleep at night?

Giving Tuesday

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Thursday was Thanksgiving Thursday.  Friday was Black Friday.  Yesterday was Cyber Monday.  Today apparently is Giving Tuesday, even though it will most likely be Wednesday when you read this.  The Mission Statement of Giving Tuesday is, "#GivingTuesday™ is a campaign to create a national day of giving at the start of the annual holiday season. It celebrates and encourages charitable activities that support nonprofit organizations."

In light of this, I want to highlight some charities that mean a great deal to me.  Think of it as me giving a piece of this blog for the holidays, not that I'm not going to give for real also.

Arkansas Baptist Children's Homes - According to their website ABCHomes "The Arkansas Baptist Children’s Homes and Family Ministries (ABCHomes) is a non-profit agency of the Arkansas Baptist State Convention. Through residential childcare and counseling services, ABCHomes is seeking to be the foremost provider to children and families in crisis in Arkansas.

Since its’ founding in 1894, ABCHomes has been ministering to and meeting needs of some of the states most vulnerable. Today, ABCHomes provides a safe, secure home for an average of 320 children and youth each year, as well as provides about 2,300 counseling sessions a year."

Personally, I love the work that ABCHomes does.  It provides a safe, stable environment for children who may never have known one otherwise.  Most of all they provide love to them.  Also, Promise House Maternity Home provides an alternative to abortion.

The Miller McNeil Woodruff Foundation - This foundation was started by my friend, Meredith and her husband Patrick in honor of their son Miller, who passed away at the age of 28 days from Spinal Muscular Atrophy.  Their goal is to raise awareness of SMA, which is a recessive disease, fund research, and offer support to other families who are faced with the challenge of SMA.

The Humane Society of the Ozarks - Any local humane society actually.  If you want to give to help homeless pets, don't give to HSUS or PETA, which are basically the same and kill more animals than they adopt.  Help the animals in your own community by giving to your local shelter or humane society.  If you can, adopt, foster, or give your time.  Dorothy Gale was a rescue pup, and every day I'm rewarded for rescuing her with her love, her loyalty, and sweetness.

A Roll Worth Reading

I don't seem to have anything to blog about on this wet, dreary, cold Monday after Thanksgiving.  So, instead I would like to share with you some of the blogs that I most enjoy reading.  They're all blogs that when I see in my reader (usually here on Blogger, of Fipboard on my iPad), I read them immediately or as soon as I can get a spare, quiet moment.  If a blog has a Facebook page and / or Twitter, I'll share that as well.  I should add Pinterest pages as well, I think.

This Mom's Journey - This is a blog written by my high school friend, Crystal about her family.  In particular it chronicles the every day challenges and blessings in raising her autistic son.  It is a very inspirational and thought-provoking blog that I suggest everyone take a look at.

E Louise Bates - My friend Louise's blog about life and mostly her journey to become a published writer.  She also shares stories in raising and homeschooling her two daughters as well as her love of ice skating.  I met Louise several years ago via the Internet and a shared love of Anne of Green Gables.  We've never met in person, but I consider Louise to be a very good friend and kindred spirit.  Find on Facebook.  Find on Twitter.  Find on Pinterest.

Where the Watermelons Grow - Another dear friend I've never met in person, but met through AoGG, writes this blog describing kid-friendly places to visit in Hampton Roads, VA.  Find on Facebook.  Find on Twitter.  Find on Pinterest.

Bidawee - I have known Erin for almost nine years.  I can remember how long we've known each other, because one of her first dates with her husband was when he was a groomsman in our wedding.  I remember many, many conversations with her husband regarding whether or not he should tell her he loved her and such, back in the day.   We regularly think of Erin and her husband as part of our extended family.  Erin has her own blog, and one she collaborates with her sister on called, Can I Borrow Your Stilettos?  Find Bidawee on Facebook.  Find on Twitter.  Find on Pinterest.

Ting's Mom - A "new to me" blog that I found via Arkansas Women Bloggers, that I've come to enjoy greatly.  I'm just getting to "know"her, but I love reading her posts and keeping up on Twitter.  Find on Facebook.  Find on Twitter.  Find on Pinterest.

Mommy Monologues -  Another "new to me" blog I found on AWB.  I've enjoyed every post I've read so far, especially the Mom Shaming one.  It's just priceless.  Find on Facebook. Find on Twitter.  Find on Pinterest.

The Woodruff Family - This started out as the baby blog for my friend, Meredith.  It has turned into so much more in the past year since her second son Miller was diagnosed with SMA, Spinal Muscular Atrophy.  You may have heard a lot about SMA lately with the story of the Texas family whose daughter also had SMA, and they worked to complete a bucket list for her.  Meredith's blog is very inspriational for anyone who has suffered the loss of a child, or just anyone in general.

Amanda Jane Brown - This is another blog I found on AWB.  I'm really enjoying reading it so far, and even sort of considering trying out some crafts on it.  Find on Facebook.  Find on Twitter.  Find on Pinterest.

There are several other great blogs that I'm finding every day.  I'll have to share again some time in the future.  Maybe this could be something I do quarterfly?  I highly suggest trolling AWB's website to find many more great blogs.

Also if you're interested, you can follow this blog's Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest pages.

In Retrospect

Sunday, November 25, 2012

  • I think that next Thanksgiving, I'm going to buy fewer cupcakes and more key lime pie.  The key lime pie from Rick's Bakery is always a winner in Little Rock.  Yes, I said buy.  This mama hasn't baked much since I baked a chocolate cake from scratch for B several years ago (which he begged for and was delicious), and he wouldn't eat it because it didn't taste like what his mom and grandma make.  I do like to bake cookies at Christmas though.
  • The Wednesday before Thanksgiving really is the worst driving day of the year.  Thank goodness we know and love taking back roads through Arkansas, because I-40 was a bear.  I think we only almost died from idiot driving twice.  However, we got off the Interstate in Ozark, so we didn't stay on it long enough to chance it.
  • After picking up dinner on our way to B's grandma's house Wednesday, he forgot about rush hour traffic and got on 430 at Colonel Glenn when we should have just stayed put.  Yeah, that was a HUGE mistake, especially since Ladybug had grown so tired from traveling at that point that even the Hot Dog Song wasn't making her happy.  
  • I know that Ola, Arkansas is just about as rural a community as there is, but seriously, there should be locks on the bathroom stalls at THE convenient store in town.
  • Had we stayed one more night with B's grandparents, I would have borrowed one of his Granddaddy's shotguns and declared it open season on roosters.  They live in the middle of Little Rock, Arkansas, and a neighbor of theirs has gone all Old MacDonald with a farm of loud foul.  L woke up around 2 AM Friday, and a chronologically impaired rooster was all "Cock-a-doodle-doo!" while I was trying to get back to sleep.
  • My child has not come up with her own super secret, special sign language, but rather has been trying to tell us to do "Itsy Bitsy Spider" with her.
  • To quote my cousin, Michael, after the Bedlam football game yesterday, "Good news is that proper order has been restored in Oklahoma and Landry Jones will never play another game in Norman."  I get the feeling that if Landry Jones were to show up at our family Christmas, he wouldn't get a warm welcome.
  • There is only ONE Oklahoma!
  • I got as Martha Stewarty as I'll ever get today and put some glass ball ornaments in a hurricane vase today.  It almost makes me want to find a hot glue gun and some pipe cleaners!  :)  Not quite, though.  Not quite.
  • B and I were watching old tv shows he recorded way back when, and put on DVD.  We found the video of when he and his brother were announced to be on KFSM's "Santa Show" on their noon show.  I would give so much just to be able for L to be on a Santa Show.  That was one of the best parts of Christmas growing up.  Hint, hint local tv friends, I think a new Santa Show on afternoons would sell A LOT of advertising and be great PR.  
  • Apparently no matter how sweet-natured a baby is, they don't all like to be buried in a pile of leaves.

Smells Like Tater Tots

Friday, November 23, 2012

It's 2:30 in the afternoon on Black Friday, or as some of us still think of it, "The Day After Thanksgiving."  B, Ladybug, and I are in the Tundra, driving westbound on I-40, returning home to Northwest Arkansas from his grandparents' house in Little Rock.  The Razorback game is playing on the radio, and thankfully traffic is nowhere near as insane as it was when we embarked on Wednesday.  Traffic was so horrible then that we got off the Interstate in Ozark and took our old, favorite back-roads to The Rock. {Side Note:  The Superette in Ola could really stand to put locks on the bathroom stalls.}

We had a good visit, but it's good to be heading home again.  I say this after every trip we take, but it still remains true.  I love visiting with our Little Rock family, but I'm also a big fan of home.  I'm ready to pick Lucy and Dory up from their wonderful accommodations at Camp Bow Wow in Bentonville, get home, and begin decorating our house for Christmas.

Ladybug had a good trip and didn't fuss much at all.  She woke up for a while Wednesday night, but all in all she did great.  She loved being the center of attention and made the most of it.  We shared pictures of vacations with B's aunt, uncle, and cousin, exchanged Christmas gifts, and ate good food.

B and I tried to show Ladybug what fun a pile of leaves can be, since his grandparents have an abundance of leaves and trees, but as you can see, she wasn't impressed with that at all.  My Thanksgiving page in Ladybug's photo book of her first year is going to be fun.

On our way out of The Rock, we had to stop at what we call "Daddy's Big Dam Bridge."  Well, it really is called The Big Dam Bridge, but we add the "Daddy's" part, because lighting it with LED lights was one of his first big jobs out of college.  We even attended the opening AND the lighting of it back in 2006.  When she's older, we'll take Ladybug to the Capitol whether it's decorated at Thanksgiving or not, because I think that's just one of those things we should do in order to teach her of her roots, history, government, and life.

It's always good to visit with B's grandparents, which is why we come.  I pray that we have many, many more Thanksgivings where we can bring Ladybug to Little Rock. Hopefully Uncle B, Aunt J, and Pistol will be able to come again some time.  We're blessed beyond imagine with loved ones.

Best quote of the holiday:  "My bottled water smells like tater tots," by B after we stopped by Sonic on our way home.

Watching Airplanes

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

We live directly in the flight path of one of the municipal airports here, in Northwest Arkansas.  At any time of day, a plane may fly directly over our house; be it a two-seater or private jet.  In recent weeks, it has come to my attention that Ladybug enjoys watching the planes fly over us when we're outside playing with the dogs, and has even started to point at them with glee.  This thrills her Daddy, because a great deal of his work is actually at airports all across the region.  She enjoys watching airplanes so much, that I’ve started trying to spend more time outside at times I know there is heavy air traffic:  time we could be spending doing so many other things.

I will never claim or pretend to be a perfect mom or wife.  Let’s just get that out in the air right now. I admit that I am hopelessly flawed.  I make mistakes all the time.  I hope that I learn from my mistakes and become a better person in the process.  I hope that Ladybug will see that as she grows.  I grew up with a mother who believed she was perfect and wanted everyone else to believe that as well.  She wasn’t and criticized us constantly when we weren’t what she considered to be perfect.  I don’t want Ladybug to ever feel as if she isn’t good enough for me.  She’s wonderful the way she is.

She’s so wonderful that every day I find myself doubting myself and worrying that I’m not doing everything that I should be in order to help her in her development.  I worry that I don’t spend enough time playing with her.  I worry that I should read to her more than I do, though I don’t know how I could read to her much more.  I worry that we should sing more songs with words and hand gestures that I can never remember completely.  I worry that she isn’t socialized enough, but then I don’t want her exposed to too many germs.  I just often feel inadequate.

Yet, when she goes for her checkups, her pediatrician tells me how bright she is.  He’s impressed with her development, both physically and mentally.  She’s fine.  She’s doing just fine, and so far I don’t think that I’m screwing her up permanently.

Does that mean that I should rest on my laurels?  Should I just sit back, turn on the TV, and let her develop totally on her own like Matilda?  No.  I can relax a bit, but I cannot ever completely worrying over whether or not I’m doing well as a mother, nor would I ever want to.  I remember telling more than one friend in the past that it’s the good moms who worry about how they’re raising their children, because they care.  It’s the moms who think and/ or pretend they’re prefect who probably aren’t as great as they think they are.

So, I’m still going to sing songs I can’t remember all the words to.  I’m still going to get down in the floor to play with Ladybug, wearing the knees out of all my jeans.  I’m still going to read book after book that she hands to me (which really thrills me to no end).  Sometimes though, it’s good to just go outside, sit back, and watch the airplanes fly by.  I’m not raising a perfect child, just a wonderful one.

A World Without Twinkies (Or Donettes?)

Monday, November 19, 2012

I have to confess something.  I am addicted to junk food.  Anyone who knows me knows that this has been the norm for my entire thirty-two year existence.  I love chips, not the healthy baked, flavorless ones, but the greasy, fried, salty ones.  I especially love plain Lays and Nacho Cheese (or is it Cheesier?) Doritos.  I've probably eaten more candy bars for breakfast since high school or college than cereal.  I'll admit that in recent years, my desire to sit down and just gorge myself on Double Stuffed Oreos has waned a great deal, but sometimes a Snickers is still.just.heavenly.

So, you can imagine how I felt last week when I heard that due to a strike of The Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union, Hostess is ending business.  Mommy Adrienne was devastated.  How could we just allow this iconic piece of Americana just disappear?  My child has to grow up in a world without Twinkies, Ding Dongs, or Zingers?  It just seemed preposterous to me.  Then Conservative Adrienne got all angry, after realizing that 18000+ people lost their jobs  because a union would not see reason.

Ideologically speaking, the past two weeks were very difficult for me; at least for a time.  I'm not going to lie and say that I like the direction in which our country is headed.  Quite honestly it frightens me at times.  We're already seeing the ramifications of the Election Day results as company after company like Hostess announces layoffs in order to pay for all that is required of them.  Also, my heart breaks - just breaks that it seems so many people care about equal rights and tolerance to all, yet they don't think twice over denying rights to children alive in the womb, but yet to be born.  I will never understand how someone can watch an ultrasound of a baby, see a heartbeat so very early, and still yet deny that that child has the right to live unless the mother chooses it to be.

I'm not going to go all Todd Akin crazy, making scientifically unsound assumptions.  However, I've seen time and time again people who are basically militantly Pro-Choice until they themselves are expecting a child they want and love, and there are complications.  A life isn't a life, unless it is wanted?  Who are we to play God and judge that?

That's the thing though.  We aren't God.  No one is.  My pastor stated it matter-of-factly yesterday when he reminded us that neither the Democrats, the Republicans, the Independents, nor anyone else is really in control.  God is still in control.  B reminded me of that also on Election Night, because a friend reminded him that no one is in a position of leadership without God putting them there.

I've been in mourning for an America that is quickly disappearing in front of me.  We may live in a world without Twinkies...  We may live in a world without a great many things when all is said and done, but God is still here.  He is still in control.

A Year of Adjustment

Friday, November 16, 2012

Today is Day 5 of the Arkansas Women Bloggers ThanksBlogging Challenge.  Although it isn't visible here, I participated yesterday by linking my blog's Facebook page to a Linky list on the AWB page.  I was going to write a post yesterday afternoon about that and about how nice it is just to enjoy the quiet for a bit while Ladybug took what should have been a nice, long nap.  Then my neighbor rang my doorbell, asking if I would like him to mulch the leaves from his tree that blew into our yard, setting off Thing 1 and Thing 2.  The quiet did not last long at all, and the Ladybug awoke very early.  Once she was finally bathed and asleep in her bed last night, I managed to watch Grey's Anatomy on the DVR then B called from Minneapolis and was very chatty.  Never count on a little quiet time.  Anyway, you should totally visit the AWB page and learn about all the great blogs there.  If you're from Arkansas in any way and have a blog, you should join!  It's an awesome resource!

Today's ThanksBlogging Challenge is a Foodie Friday type of thing, so I'm going to pass on today.  There's something else I would rather post about anyway.  Today (actually Sunday, but I left on a Friday) is the one-year anniversary of my last day at work.  What a year it has been.

I left my job while there was still so much time left in my pregnancy for several reasons.  The most important reason was that every year after Thanksgiving, the cold/ flu/ plague would descend upon the TV station.  Some years I caught it, some years I didn't, but I wasn't taking a chance last year.

I miss it... some.  I miss the people I worked with and seeing them every day.  There are often complaints about how up in everyone's business people can be there, but in reality it's just another family.  When you leave on good terms after several years, you miss your family, even though you're very happy where you are.  I keep the card that everyone signed when I left with Ladybug's baby book.  Thankfully the world is smaller now, and we can keep in touch so much easier than in the past.

If you asked me what I did those 11 weeks from when I left work until the Monday morning when Ladybug was born, I couldn't really tell you.  I think that I have that wonderful selective pregnancy amnesia that most mothers must have in order to want to have another child.  I remember that with Thanksgiving, our wedding anniversary/ Christmas, the New Year, and just preparing everything for Ladybug's arrival it went by incredibly quickly.

I sort of remember Thanksgiving.  That's when Capt. B and Aunt J announced to us that they were expecting Pistol.  I remember making out Christmas cards while B was working out of town one random day.  I remember going to B's work Christmas party.  I remember having my 32 week appointment on our eighth wedding anniversary, sort of seeing a very big Ladybug in the ultrasound, and scheduling my C-section that day before watching The Muppets that night.  Then it was Christmas a few days later.  The rest is a blur, and everything seems to exist on a Before Ladybug and After Ladybug timeline.

After Ladybug was born there was of course a great deal of adjusting our lives.  You learn quickly with a baby that almost just as soon as you're used to a certain routine and way of doing things, you have to adjust them again.  With every milestone you have to adjust everything you do.  Once you get used to the baby's sleep schedule, she'll start sleeping less during the day.  The less she sleeps, the more she wants/ needs to be played with and stimulated.  Then it's time to start adding solid foods to her diet.  Then she can sit up on her own and things seem easier for a bit.  Then she's teething.  Then she's crawling, and suddenly you need to shower before she awakens in the morning, because she has a habit of falling on the tile of the bathroom while playing.

Not to get too personal, but today I was trying to go to the bathroom while Ladybug was pulling up on my legs.  Pretty soon, she's going to ask me what I'm doing, why I'm doing it, and possibly how I'm doing it.  Privacy is pretty much nonexistent.  That takes a huge adjustment.

In the past year I've also become much softer.  In some ways I think the process started a few years ago with my first pregnancy.  However, Ladybug and I were listening to Christmas music in the car today because 1). I like it, and 2). it's a nice change from the Hot Dog Song, and I started crying.  Suddenly I was the woman pulling out of the drive-thru at Taco Bueno, blubbering while Steven Curtis Chapman sang "Christmas Is All In the Heart.  I thought that I was going to have to pull over in the NWA Mall parking lot for a bit and collect myself!  The softness is okay though, because everything that has happened in the past year has filed away at my rougher edges a great deal.

This past year has been one of the best in my life, and yet also one of the most painful.  You can't explain to someone the immense joy, relief, and gratitude that washes over you when your child is born healthy.  Meanwhile at the same time you're grieving so deeply for a friend who should be experiencing the exact same thing at the exact same time as you but instead is going through the worst pain imaginable.  You're grieving also for the friend your daughter never got to meet here on Earth.  Then some months later, to lose one of your former coworkers who was your age and had to leave his wife and little girl not much older than your own...  Words just can't...

It's been the best of years, it's been the worst of years, but mostly the best of years.  It's been an age of growing up and growing inwardly.  It's been a time of joy and a year of tears.  It's been a season of change and of adjustment.  In short, it's been quite a year, and I get to hang out with this crazy kid all the time.

ThanksBlogging Blogging Challenge – I Am Thankful For…

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

I recently wrote another post on this during my own "Week of Lists" however, for the Arkansas Women Bloggers ThanksBlogging Challenge I will gladly post another list of what "I Am Thankful For."  After all, we shouldn't just be thankful once in a while, or even on a Thursday in November.  Every day we should count our blessings naming them "one by one" as the hymns tells us to.

There's another song that comes to mind as I think of this post, Cindy Morgan's "Praise the King."  It's on an album focused on Passion Week, but I think of this song whenever I'm just thankful.  Cindy Morgan has such a way with lyrics, making every day things something to be thankful for.  I'm thankful for those every day things that come in no certain order.

  • I'm thankful for baby jail, even if the inmates aren't.

  • I'm thankful for calendar reminders on my iPad and Macbook, because I thought that Ladybug's 9 Month checkup was tomorrow, but it was today.
  • I'm thankful for warm doggies to cuddle up with at night, especially when B's out of town.

  • I'm also thankful that these two have kept me in shape.  Now with Ladybug added, I get plenty of exercise.

  • I'm thankful for the fact that I was raised to be grounded in my faith.   I will always be thankful for the foundation instilled in my within the walls of First Baptist Church Heavener and even Heavener Public Schools.
  •  I'm thankful for a husband who works hard to provide so that I can stay home and nurture our daughter.
  • I'm thankful for the path that God led me on so that I would meet the person who would become my best friend, my love, and my husband.  He's the one I want to tell everything to first; the good and the bad.  He's the person I laugh and cry with.
  • I'm thankful that he loves our little girl so much that he'll ride a carousel with her on vacation and spend time FaceTiming with her when he's away for work.

  • I'm thankful for friends near and far.  Kindred Spirits come in many forms, and the Internet has made it easier to find them.
  •  I'm thankful for iTunes, because my selection of children's music and entertainment for Ladybug is infinitely greater than what was available when I was a child.
  • I'm thankful Ladybug has a daddy who'll dress her.  I think I'm more thankful that I'm usually the one who does it.  I think Ladybug is thankful for that too.

  • I'm thankful that after politely offering to have it towed yesterday, the truck that someone parked on our cul-de-sac in front of our house is finally gone.
  • I'm thankful for warm chocolate chip cookies from Chick-Fil-A.
  • I'm thankful for hair that just won't stay down.  I'll be sad when it finally does.

  • I'm thankful for digital cameras, because I would surely be bankrupt if I had to pay for film and for it to be processed.
  •  I'm thankful that I live in what is surely one of the most beautiful parts of the world, at least in my eyes.
  •  I'm thankful for a clean bill of health and progress at our 9 Month checkup today.  She's ready to move and groove!

  • I'm thankful for the deepest, sweetest, silliest blue eyes I've ever seen, and how they light up for me, even if her head is so big that I have a hard time getting her shirts over her head.  I'm sure, it'll even out eventually.

  • I'm thankful for a red dog who believes she is a lapdog.  She is afraid of things like umbrellas and beeping smoke detectors, but thinks she must keep watch and protect us when B isn't home.

  •   I'm thankful for a black dog who would probably lay down her life for me, so long as a squirrel doesn't distract her.
  • I'm thankful for old hymns that comfort me as much as verses from the Bible.
  • I'm thankful for the phrase, "Oh Toodles!"  If you recognize it, you know what I mean.

  • I'm thankful for sunny days that make me feel alive, for the breeze that gently brushes my cheek, for the leaves that blow about when the breeze grows blustery, and the crunch they make when I step on them.
  • I am thankful, just thankful, and I praise the creator of all things for creating all things.

Sunrise on the White River

Praise Him in the morning 
For tall and lofty trees 
And praise Him in the evening 
For children on their knees 
Oh and praise Him in the noon day 
For gentle birds that sing 
Oh praise Him all ye people 
Praise the King 

And praise Him for a peaceful porch 
A nd rocking chairs that sway 
Praise Him for the rolling hills 
Where children laugh and play 
Oh and praise Him for the wandering soul 
That never lost their way 
Oh praise Him all ye people 
Praise the King 

And praise Him for the blood that fell 
And bloomed a rose that day 
And praise Him that He suffered through the guilt, the grief, the shame 
Oh and praise Him that His tender love will still forgive today 
Oh praise Him all ye people praise the King 

Hover to Pin

Designed with ♥ by Nudge Media Design