Warning Labels

Thursday, May 31, 2012

There should be a warning label stuck on the diaper of every shiny new baby who leaves the hospital stating that the week following vaccinations is most probably going to be a week of sheer hell for the parents.  It should inform parents that their sweet, happy child will be anything but for at least a couple of days after her shots.  Said warning label should also advise parents not to do anything that involves sharp objects like cut fruits of vegetables or shave for their own safety.

If you haven't guessed it already, the Firecracker had her four month vaccinations Tuesday.  She seemed mostly fine Tuesday, if not a little fussier than normal and sleepier.  Wednesday morning she woke with a 101.4° temperature (and a smile, believe it or not) and grew progressively fussier all day, and I had had very little sleep the night before due to being woke up by her at two, Lucy at two-thirty, and Firecracker again at five for a bottle.  By five yesterday evening, she was one unhappy camper.  I left to get groceries, came home, and she had passed out on B's lap in between the worst screaming sessions she has ever had.  She even screamed through bath time, which is often her favorite time of the day.  Today she's was a little fussy, but she also spent most of the day sleeping on my lap.  Tonight (finally) she started to act her normal self again.  She even squealed with joy some while we played fetch with Lucy and Dory with me wearing her via Baby Bjorn.

Meanwhile, throughout all of this I have merely survived.  At times I almost didn't even do that.  This is the point where the warning about sharp objects comes into play.  I almost amputated my left foot this morning while shaving my legs.  Well, actually it looks more like I tried to peel it like a squash - a bloody squash.  Of course I injure myself like that on a day when B is working in Tulsa also.

Last night, B let me go to Walmart looking in his words, "rough."  Basically I probably looked like every white trash welfare recipient I usually poke fun of.  I'm just thankful that I did have the forethought to change out of my shirt that was covered in formula, because Firecracker was more interested in getting her food all over me than in eating it yesterday evening.

Truth be told, I knew this was coming.  I expected it at two months, and wasn't at all surprised that it happened this week.  I guess that I'm so used to her being a fairly good baby that times like this really, really throw me off of my game.

Also, nowhere in this post did I decry vaccinations.  I don't like what they do to my baby short-term, but thank God for what they do for her and protect her from in the long-term.

Things That Irritate Me #2: The Pleasurable Caddy

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

For years, there has been the joke about housewives who have a "special relationship" with their washing machines, letting the vibrations take away the stress that their significant others just can't. Then, of course, Sex In the City made the Rabbit popular. Now apparently people can let their Maytags just do what they were designed to do, wash clothes. They can stop stocking up on whatever sized batteries the apparatus of their choosing requires. Now... now they just need a Cadillac to take them "there."

Seriously. The geniuses at GM decided that the best innovation they could give their luxury car is a butt vibrator. Said vibrator is supposed to buzz your behind if you're about to back into something. In some ways, it seems ingenious - if you haven't already seen all of the commercials for the Infinity JX that will actually hit the brakes as soon as something is detected behind it. It actually stops before you back into something for you, rather than giving you a jolly, hoping you're cognizant enough to apply pressure to the brakes yourself.

In my opinion, this is exactly the kind of lame innovation that caused GM to go bankrupt a few years ago. They see the reasonable things that other car companies have come up with in order to make driving safer or more appealing, and they try to one-up the foreign brands. Only this practice is seriously flawed by totally missing the mark. They just don't get it. They take a great idea and make it either incredibly lame, or seemingly so dirty that no one will touch it with a ten-foot pole.

If I had the kind of money to choose between two luxury vehicles, I would choose the one that would think for me by stopping on its own over they one that gives you that lovin' feeling, hoping I'll stop on my own. Of course, my needs are met by my husband, so I'm not reduced to alternative methods of pleasure that could put me into debt for the next sixty to seventy-two months. I guess GM is hoping to corner the market of frustrated women, men and perverts.

Which would you choose?

The End of An Era

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Last weekend we went to my hometown to watch my twin cousins, Devyn and Charity, and my second cousin Kirstyn graduate from my high school.  It was great to go back home and see several members of my family and show off Firecracker, but it was a bit of a bittersweet event.  You see Devyn and Charity are the youngest members of our generation, and after decades of members of our family roaming the halls of Heavener Public Schools, only my cousin Michael's little girl remains.

As you can probably tell by now, my dad's family is rather large.  He had five sisters and two brothers, so I have first cousins who were born in the early sixties through the early nineties.  I loved growing up as a part of such a large clan, and B and I both love going home to spend time with them.  It just seems unreal that there aren't several of us enrolled in school there any more.

Of course what has happened is the plight of the small town.  When my cousins and I grew up, most of us went to college and settled elsewhere, because like John Mellencamp said, it "Provides little opportunity!"  It would be ideal in some ways to be able to raise Firecracker back home, but it's not realistic. 

In reality, Heavener isn't the same town it was when I finished high school fourteen years ago.  Now that there are so few of us there, it seems just a little less homeish at times, and it was downright depressing that the band didn't actually play "Pomp and Circumstance" or the school song, "Allegiance," in person but recorded it previously.  You know that it's the end of your era when you go around saying over and over again, "back in my day..."

The Awesomeness of Dory & Lucy

Our house is inhabited by five family members.  B, the Firecracker, and I make up the bipeds of the family.  Then we have the Lucy-girl and Dory Gale, our two retriever dogs, who complete our household.  Lucy is a four-year-old, AKC registered golden retriever.  Dory is a two-year-old Labrador Retriever / Golden Retriever mix.

I love these two dogs so very much.  When we got Lucy, we did everything wrong.  I found an ad in the Sunday paper for golden retriever puppies for sale, and B and I drove to the local K-Mart parking lot to buy her from what I now know are backyard breeders.  Despite her questionable beginning, she's a great dog.  Besides the fact that she's a 75 pound lap-dog, she's also an A-1 nurse too.  If you're sick and chilled, she'll take care of you by laying either on or next to you to keep you warm.  She also takes very good care of Dory, even letting us know when Dory needs to go outside to potty.

Speaking of Miss Dorothy Gale, or Dory, she's just a pretty awesome dog herself.  Dory is our rescue dog.  After getting Lucy and loving her so much, I knew that she needed a companion and that B and I had enough love for another dog.  So, I started searching Petfinder.com for golden retriever / Lab mixes.  In October of 2009, I found a black one in Merriam, Kansas named Rachel.  I sent B the link, and then I contacted the rescue that had saved her.  B and I drove up to the Kansas City metro area that next weekend to adopt her and promptly named her Dorothy Gale, because she wasn't in Kansas any more.

Dory is a very, very affectionate dog.  She can't love by halves, just wholly and completely.  She loves B, she loves me, she's devoted to Lucy, and sometimes I think she loves Firecracker more than B and I do (if that's possible).  Dory is also very helpful.  She would probably have made a great assistance dog.  She'll do anything from running to get Lucy for me so they can eat breakfast to pulling off my socks if I ask.  Once, I mentioned to her that I needed to get a pair of socks for the day.  So she brought me a pair of B's dirty socks, because they were the only ones she could get to.

I could write about Lucy and Dory until the end of time.  In fact, they have their own blog that I need to start updating again.  I took a hiatus from it when Firecracker was born.  I want the world to know how great they both are, especially Dory though because she's the kind of dog who gives rescue dogs a good name.  In my opinion, every household should have a Lucy and Dory, but we've got the only ones.

I Voted

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Today was the Arkansas primary, and B and I almost made a huge mistake.  We almost didn't vote.  That's not the norm for us.  We're usually very adamant about voting each and every election.  Of course, we also believe in going to the polls prepared, knowing who or what we're voting for or against and why.  We hadn't done our homework this time though.  It just slipped by us, and neither of us wanted to place an uninformed vote.  So, though we felt horrible about it, we prepared to sit out this primary.  Then I visited the station today and talked to a couple of my friends as they prepared election coverage.  Then I looked down at Firecracker sitting in her stroller and knew that I had to set a better example.

B came home early today to take poor Dory to get her Bordatella vaccination updated and then let me run some errands around town.  When he got home, we discussed how we both had been reminded that we needed to vote today.  So, he took care of Dory, then dropped her off here and voted after we looked up all the races on our ballot.  Then he brought home supper, and I stopped by our polling place before running my errands.  We didn't let apathy keep us from doing what we needed to do after all.

Apathy was the biggest issue against voting today too.  No, I'm not entirely impressed with who is running for president.  I haven't been impressed with any of the candidates, but I definitely do not like where the incumbent has us headed financially or defensively.  However, there are other things that were decided today than just who the Arkansas delegates will vote for.  I would have no right to complain about anything if I didn't vote.

Voting is a privilege given to us by men and women who fought hard for that freedom.  We cannot and should not take it for granted.  We should also always vote according to our own conscience, not how anyone else might sway us.  I voted against a tax today that would throw a great deal of money at what I consider to be a poorly managed transit system.  They claim to need more money to expand routes, but I am always seeing empty buses trolling their existing routes.

Maybe rather than throw more money down a bottomless pit, the powers that be should possibly think about redrawing the existing routes?  Contrary to what some would believe, I have no issue with funding public transportation.  I do have problems with always just blindly giving more money to things that don't work and just suck the money dry - like the postal system.  There has been talk here for years about a rail system.  I think that would be a wonderful, wonderful thing, and I would support that wholeheartedly over just sticking a Hello Kitty band aid over a gaping wound.

I believe in being responsible with tax money, but that doesn't mean I mind when my tax money is used properly.  If something is broken, fix it.  Don't just slap a new, expensive coat of paint on it.  If you don't like how things are done, then exercise your hard-fought-for privilege and change the world with your vote.  Vote however you see fit.  I won't demonize you.  No one should be demonized for voting their conscience.  They should be if they let a sign, a celebrity, or a fad influence that precious vote, but not for voting what's in their heart.  You can't be happy when you live to please others against your better judgement - whatever that may be.  That's the great thing about our country, even when we don't agree with how things turn out in the end.

FMM: Three Things

My friend Gwen did this today, and I though it looked fun.

If you’ve taken part in FMM then you know the rules. If you’re new, please take a moment to answer this week’s question on your own blog then add your link in the comments section over at: All The Weigh so everyone can see your FMM questions and answers. Please add your links over there too so everyone has to opportunity to be seen. The idea is to connect with other awesome bloggers so take a moment to post your own FMM post and comment on a couple of other posts. Now it’s time for this week’s topic!

FMM: Three Things

1. Three of your favorite movies:
- While You Were Sleeping
- The Philadelphia Story
- To Kill a Mockingbird

2. Three of your favorite things to drink:
- Coke
- Dr. Pepper
- Ginger Ale, I lived on it the last month of my pregnancy.

3. Three of your favorite songs:
- No Rain
- Take On Me
- Sweet Child O' Mine

4. Three people who have recently been a positive influence on your life (outside of your family):
- My friend Melissa.  We've been friends since we were teenagers, and hearing from her is always a blessing.
- My friend Louise, an inspirational veteran of this SAHM thing.
- My friend Amanda.  Her strength, courage, and goodness amaze me.

5. Three things you to do keep yourself entertained:
- The Firecracker.  Need I say more?
- The Lucy and the Dory dogs are more entertaining than most things on television.
- Blog, read blogs, and surf Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

6. Three things you’re attracted to in the opposite sex:
- Gentleness
- Nice eyes
- Honesty

7. Three things you love about yourself:
- My blunt personality.
- My attempts to find humor in almost every situation.
 - My ability to take a step back and really see most situations for what they really are.

8. The last three people who text messaged you:
- I don't text.
9. Three things you’re looking forward to this week:
- Seeing B's grandparents, who are coming from Little Rock to meet Firecracker.
- Spending a long weekend with B, Firecracker, and family.
- Every day is an adventure with the Firecracker.

10. Three wishes specifically for yourself…What are they? (Be selfish, and be honest.)
- A bigger vehicle, specifically a black Toyota Highlander.
- I'd like a lens to replace my camera's kit lens - like a Sigma 17-70mm
- Energy.

11. Three of your favorite quotes:
- "The third-rate mind is only happy when it is thinking with the majority. The second-rate mind is only happy when it is thinking with the minority. The first-rate mind is only happy when it is thinking." - AA Milne
"There are lots of ways of being miserable, but there's only one way of being comfortable, and that is to stop running round after happiness. If you make up your mind not to be happy there's no reason why you shouldn't have a fairly good time." - Edith Wharton
- "And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose." - Romans 8:28

12. Three of your biggest fears:
- That something will happen to B.  I grew up with one parent from the time I was ten.  I don't want that for Firecracker.
- That something will happen to one of the Firecracker.
- That I will somehow fundamentally screw up my child.

13. Three of your favorite TV shows:
- The Big Bang Theory
- Grey's Anatomy
- Modern Family

14. Three of your favorite things to purchase when you’re shopping.
- Clothes for Firecracker
- Toys for the dogs
- Books

15. Three things that you enjoyed last week:
- Seeing my family in Heavener.  I love them so much and miss them.
- Spending time outside with B, Firecracker, and the dogs.
- It was actually two weeks ago, but Firecracker and I met up with my friend Dana and her son Ben, then we visited with my friends from the TV station.

16. Three things that you always have in your bag or close to you if you’re not a purse kind of person.
- Purel
- Wallet
- Chapstick

17. Three types of food that you wouldn’t want to give up.
- Queso and chips
- Cheeseburgers & fries
- Lasagna

18. Three things you do to enjoy burning calories:
- Biking, either alone or with one of the dogs.
- Leg lifts and crunches with the Firecracker on my legs.
- Alone time with B :)

19. Three things you dislike about blogging:
-Trying to tell about my life without telling too much or complaining to much.  That's one of the main reasons I moved blogs after Firecracker was born.  I have been cyber-stalked in the past by someone who wanted information on certain family members.  Of course I made it to where their IP was sent to a porn site, but anyway...
- Trying to think of things to blog about can sometimes be difficult.
- When a blog I like gets too preachy or political.  We all do it at times, but there should be balance with that too.

20. Three ways blogging has changed your life:
- Three of my dearest friends are women I "met" several years ago on a blog.  We've never met, but we actually have our own private blog now where we pray, laugh, vent, and express our fears and everything else to each other.  I wouldn't have made it through some things without these ladies.
- It has actually broadened my mind some.  Reading a blog is a lot like reading someone's diary.
- I've learned that there's no perfect person out there, and there are more people like me - running life's race but bumping into things here and there.

Now it’s your turn to answer the questions! Don’t forget to come back and link up in the comments, and have a happy Monday!

The Guilty Pleasure Of This SAHM

Thursday, May 17, 2012

If I were to write a television series, I would be sure to always leave people hanging on the edge of their seats with each season finale.  That way, you know they'll tune in next season to see the fallout of whoever shot JR or who fathered Rachel's baby.  You have to admit that unless you aren't sure a season is going to be renewed when the finale is written, it's better not to bookend the season in a way that can also close the series.

Tonight I am emotionally distraught at the finale of Grey's Anatomy.  Absolutely distraught.  I have watched the series off an on through the years, but never loyally.  For some reason I never became a loyal viewer.  I think that maybe it's because B isn't a fan of medical dramas, whereas I like them.  I like medical dramas, courtroom dramas, and especially family dramas.  I just am not a fan of cop shows.

Anyway,  I spend most of each and every day, sitting in our recliner, feeding Firecracer her bottles.  That's just a big part of what being a SAHM is, and for me that time is spent reading news and such on my iPad and watching television.  Although I do also try to do a big of reading as well.  Whereas I once liked daytime television, I've found that I really don't care for the majority of what airs before noon these days.  I think I've become more selective with age.  I have started to watch reruns of Grey's Anatomy every day on Lifetime.

In fact, I DVR the reruns so if I'm not at home I can watch them whenever I am once again in the recliner, and there is nothing worthwhile to watch on TV.  I'll do this any day over watching some psuedo-reality show on my 400 cable channels.  This is my guilty Stay-At-Home-Mom pleasure.  I mean, the few soap operas that are left on the air are written so horribly that I can't stand to watch any of them at all.   Being a SAHM is not sitting around the house, watching soap operas, and eating bon bons. I barely have time to eat anything at all, and soap operas suck.

So again, I am distraught at the finale.  I knew they were killing off a main character, but I really liked this one.  I'm not going to stop watching because this character was killed, but DANG!  I haven't been this bothered by a character death since Lucy Knight died on ER.

There, that was cathartic.  Now I can get on with my life....  We're taking Firecracker to my hometown Saturday night to watch THREE of my cousins graduate high school.  B's grandparents are coming up from Little Rock next weekend to meet their first great-grandchild.  Real life is happening and much, MUCH more important than any television series.

A Hump-Day Thought - Every Day's a Holiday (Of Sorts)

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Ecclesiastes 3 states that "There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:
     a time to be born and a time to die,
    a time to plant and a time to uproot,      
    a time to kill and a time to heal,
    a time to tear down and a time to build,
    a time to weep and a time to laugh,
    a time to mourn and a time to dance,     
    a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
    a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,     
    a time to search and a time to give up,
    a time to keep and a time to throw away,    
    a time to tear and a time to mend,
    a time to be silent and a time to speak,
    a time to love and a time to hate,
    a time for war and a time for peace."  

Somewhere Hallmark or someone got rather confused by that and decided what that really means is, "There is a day to celebrate any thought or activity under the heavens:
    a day to celebrate nurses and teachers,
    a day to celebrate adopting dogs and a day to rejoice in neutering feral cats,
    a day to eat hot dogs, and a day to stand proudly with your IBS,
    a day to feel normal if you're left-handed, and a day to dress up like a Jedi,
    a day to talk like a pirate, and a day to speak only in pig-latin.
    a day to eat porridge that's too hot, a day to eat porridge that's too cold..."

Honestly though, every time I log on to Facebook or Twitter, I find that it's a "day" for something.  If not a day, than a week.  Whichever, no day passes by as just a day anymore, we have to make each and every day into some sort of holiday.  It's as if life just isn't worth living if we can't create some obscure holiday off the top of our heads just to make the day a little better.

Now, I have no problem with days, weeks, and months in which certain health matters or other issues are discussed more openly in order to bring about awareness.  According to holidayinsights.com, just in the month of May, we can celebrate these holidays:

  • Date Your Mate Month
  • Foster Care Month
  • National Barbecue Month
  • National Bike Month
  • National Blood Pressure Month
  • National Hamburger Month
  • National Photograph Month
  • National Recommitment Month
  • National Salad Month
  • Older Americans Month
Weekly Celebrations:
  • Nurse's Week - first week of month
  • Wildflower Week - week two
  • National Bike Week - third week
  • National Police Week - third week of month
  • Emergency Medical Services Week - fourth week of month
Each Day:
1 May Day
1 Loyalty Day
1 Mother Goose Day
1 Save the Rhino Day
2 Baby Day
2 Brothers and Sisters Day
3 Lumpy Rug Day
3 World Press Freedom Day
4 Bird Day
4 International Tuba Day - first Friday in May
4 National Candied Orange Peel Day
4 Renewal Day
4 Space Day - first Friday in May
5 Cinco de Mayo
5 National Hoagie Day
5 Oyster Day
6 Beverage Day
6 National Tourist Appreciation Day
6 National Nurses Day
6 No Diet Day
7 Astronomy Day  - date varies
7 National Tourism Day
8 Iris  Day
National Teachers Day (Tuesday of the first full week of May)
8 No Socks Day
V-E Day
8 World Red Cross Day / World Red Crescent Day
9 Lost Sock Memorial Day 
National Receptionist Day the second Wednesday in May
9 National Train Day- date varies
9 School Nurses Day the Wednesday during Nurse's Week
10 Clean up Your Room Day
11 Eat What You Want Day
11 Military Spouses Day the Friday before Mother's Day 
11 Twilight Zone Day
12 Birth Mother's Day - Saturday before Mother's Day
12 Fatigue Syndrome Day
12 International Migratory Bird Day the second Saturday in May
12 International Nurses Day
12 Limerick Day
13 Frog Jumping Day
13 Leprechaun Day
13 Mother's Day
14 Dance Like a Chicken Day
15 National Chocolate Chip Day
15 Police Officer's Memorial Day
16 Love a Tree Day
16 National Sea Monkey Day
16 Wear Purple for Peace Day
17 Pack Rat Day
18 International Museum Day
18 National Bike to Work Day - third Friday of month
18 No Dirty Dishes Day
18 Visit Your Relatives Day
19 Armed Forces Day - third Saturday of month
19 Boy's Club Day
20 Be a Millionaire Day - now we all can go for that
20 Pick Strawberries Day
21 National Memo Day
21 National Waiters and Waitresses Day
22 Buy a Musical Instrument Day
23 Lucky Penny Day
24 National Escargot Day
25 National Missing Children's Day
25 Tap Dance Day
26 International Jazz Day - Saturday of Memorial Day weekend.
26 Sally Ride Day
27 Sun Screen Day
28 Amnesty International Day
28 Memorial Day
29 Learn About Composting Day
30 Water a Flower Day
31 National Macaroon Day
31 Save Your Hearing Day
31 World No Tobacco Day

I wasn't aware that today was National Sea Monkey Day or that tomorrow is Pack Rat Day. I guess the people who came up with tomorrow's holiday haven't been made aware that they're not pack rats anymore, but hoarders - and that they have their own TV shows on cable.

Can't a day just be a day?  Does every day have to come equipped with a cause or some theme?  Whatever just happened to Psalm 118:24, "This is the day that the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it."?  Good grief, if I had to buy a card or cards for each of these, then I would need stock in Hallmark.

I just don't get it.  I don't understand Society's constant need to make everything special.  The blessings in life are found in ordinary days, not days that are trumped up to be falsely extraordinary.  Just a hump-day thought....

The Evil Marketing Geniuses

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Firecracker and I went to Sam's Club today to stock up on four of the biggest baby essentials in our house; Similac, Pampers, Oxy Clean Stain Remover, and Dreft.  The Dreft I bought today came with a teeny tiny sample of Olay Regenerist Skin Cream.  That said, the marketing peeps at Proctor & Gamble are craftily evil geniuses.

It's a very, very small sample, probably about a week's worth if you're conservative.  You know, just enough to get see if the product works and get addicted to it.

The truly evil yet genius thing about it is that they know full-well that the main demographic of people who buy Dreft is mothers of young children.  Mothers of young children are lucky if they get enough sleep at night, and even luckier if they're allowed to eat properly.  There are many, many forces working against the mothers of young children, making them feel all frumpy and less than beautiful.  So, of course they'll take the bait.  Heck, I'm going to nibble at it, because I've noticed my eyes are horribly puffy and have dark circles.

I'm going to try out the cream, it'll probably work, and I'll probably be a customer for life.
I've been reeled in like a prize trout.  So, like I said, the marketing peeps at Proctor & Gamble are evil.  They're evil geniuses, but evil nonetheless.  They probably spent six friggin' years in evil medical school in order to become so devious.

Sunday Seriousness: Mother's Day

Monday, May 14, 2012

Today is my first Mother's Day - in a way.  In some ways I think that my first Mother's Day was two years ago though.  You see, the Firecracker wasn't my first pregnancy.  My first pregnancy was one of the one in four (or three depending on some estimates) that ended in miscarriage.

B and I had been trying for a baby for a little over a year when we found out that we were pregnant on our sixth wedding anniversary, which is also five days before Christmas.  We were thrilled and shocked, and unfortunatley by New Years Eve, I started showing signs of complications.  We lost that baby at eight weeks, and though we never got to meet that baby or even know whether it was a boy or girl, I think of it and know that I'm still his or her mom, just as I am Firecracker's.

B and I were discussing just a week or so ago how it's hard to believe that really we have two kids.   Unfortunately it's easy to not really forget but just to not think about the first one, because it does still hurt some, and quite honestly he or she was gone before we really had a chance to get used to even the idea.  Our lifestyle hadn't really changed much in such a short time, and it was easy to fall back into out old routines.  I was changed though.  I realized then that just because the child you love is no longer here, doesn't mean you're no longer a mom.  Once you're a mom, you're a mom for life and beyond.

Today, B and I started talking about what we don't like about Mother's Day, because to us it seems that it can cause more pain to those who have either lost children or parents than joy it can give to those who haven't.  That first Mother's Day after my miscarriage my own mother, whom I will be honest and admit that I don't have the best relationship with, was unhappy with me because we were both unable to and didn't really want to go to Oklahoma to visit her.  So she did what she often does and said something very hurtful to me about my miscarriage, ripping open the wound, and hoping that I would need to be comforted by her in order to feel better.  From that point on, everything mentioned about the day made me feel very angry and extremely sad at the same time.  I kind of feel that the way some people carry on about Mother's Day having to be a celebration of mothers is like society as a whole doing to women who have lost or are infertile what my mother did to me.

Then there are the people out there who had much better relationships with their mothers than I have with mine and can't celebrate them because their mom has passed away.  I do still have my mom, but every Father's Day since I was eleven has been horribly awkward and a little sad for me, because my Dad died when I was ten.  So, I can really empathize with how they feel.  I have relatives and friends who genuinely miss their mothers terribly on this day.

So, I'm not gung-ho about this being my first Mother's Day with Firecracker.  I know that it is an honor to be her Momma, and I recognize just what a blessing and gift from God she is.  I thank God for her every day and pray for her health, her well-being, and so many other things.  I also remember the child who would be a rambunctious toddler by now.  I think of so many friends of mine who don't have their children with them, and those who miss their mothers and pray for them. .

You never know the hurt someone else is going through.  You never realize how something so seemingly innocent and even wonderful can be just the opposite to others.  If anything today and every day - have compassion and love for all.  Honor the people who are important to your life every day.  Don't look for Hallmark to tell you to do so with a card.  Show love and respect to everyone, but especially to those you love so often that you don't have to make a big deal out of Mother's Day or any other holiday the card and flower companies promote so heavily every day.  Make it to where Mother's Day, Father's Day, Valentine's Day and the like aren't needed and no one would have to go through the pain such a day can actually cause.

Behind The Hymn: It Is Well With My Soul

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Hymns have always been a large part of my life.  They are as much a part of my formative years as saying The Pledge of Allegiance every morning at school, playing the school fight song right after "The Star Spangled Banner", and singing Christmas Carols every December.  In church, we're taught to memorize scripture to guide and comfort us in times of trouble.  I've found that not only do Bible verses encourage me, but also the hymns I've heard since I was Firecracker's age do as well.

I don't remember exactly how it started, but some time back, I began researching the stories behind some of my favorite hymns.  You see, there are reasons why some of the most touching hymns resonate with us.  Usually they aren't written just because someone woke up one morning and said, "I'm going to write a hymn so I can make loads of money!"  Most of the time, they're the product of great trials and tribulations when all the composer had to rely on was God.  They are spiritual, but they come from a very, very human place.  Case in point, "It Is Well With My Soul," by Horatio Spafford.
From Wikipedia:
"This hymn was written after several traumatic events in Spafford’s life. The first was the death of his only son in 1871 at the age of four, shortly followed by the great Chicago Fire which ruined him financially (he had been a successful lawyer). Then in 1873, he had planned to travel to Europe with his family on the SS Ville du Havre, but sent the family ahead while he was delayed on business concerning zoning problems following the Great Chicago Fire. While crossing the Atlantic, the ship sank rapidly after a collision with a sea vessel, the Loch Earn, and all four of Spafford's daughters died. His wife Anna survived and sent him the now famous telegram, "Saved alone . . .". Shortly afterwards, as Spafford traveled to meet his grieving wife, he was inspired to write these words as his ship passed near where his daughters had died.
Bliss called his tune Ville du Havre, from the name of the stricken vessel.[1]
The Spaffords later had three more children, one of whom (a son) died in infancy. In 1881 the Spaffords, including baby Bertha and newborn Grace, set sail for Israel. The Spaffords moved to Jerusalem and helped found a group called the American Colony; its mission was to serve the poor. The colony later became the subject of the Nobel prize winning Jerusalem, by Swedish novelist Selma Lagerlöf."
I have experienced loss in my life.  I experienced it much earlier than many people do, and I've experienced it since then.  I also have loved ones who have and are going through things that quite honestly are beyond imagination, and empathize with them to my very core, from the depths of my soul.  It always seems that throughout the most trying of times, the Holy Spirit sings this song to me, and I am comforted with a peace that can only come from God.

There have been times when all I could do was run to a quiet, closeted room by myself and cry out to the Lord for answers to questions I could not even ask.  Despair, fear, loneliness, and sorrow have afflicted me to the point where the tunnel seemed so long and confining that the light at the end of it was imperceptible.  Still yet in the deepest recesses of my soul, I could hear this song, and I knew it to be true.

It is well with my soul.  It is well, it is well, with my soul.
It Is Well With My Soul
It Is Well With My Soul
When peace like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.
It is well, (it is well),
With my soul, (with my soul)
It is well, it is well, with my soul.
Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.
My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!
For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live:
If Jordan above me shall roll,
No pang shall be mine, for in death as in life,
Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.
But Lord, 'tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait,
The sky, not the grave, is our goal;
Oh, trump of the angel! Oh, voice of the Lord!
Blessed hope, blessed rest of my soul.
And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.
Horatio Spafford


It Must Be True!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

This morning B called me from work to inform that I am dead.  I'm serious.  We're in the process of refinancing our house, and for some reason the paperwork has been held up, because our mortgage company has been awaiting my death certificate.  I can't make up this stuff, really.  B quickly got that situation straightened out by reminding that among other things, we just recently sent in paperwork that I had signed.  If the mortgage company is correct, then B must suffer from necrophilia.

I thought it was bad enough when we received Firecracker's birth certificate only to find out that they have me listed there as being a month older than I actually am.  All I can figure out there is that the person who typed it up thinks that April is the fifth month, not May.  I'm fairly certain I filled out the paperwork correctly at the hospital, but honestly that last day there was probably the day I used the most pain medication my entire recovery.  I'm surprised I didn't fill out the paperwork as Madame Bovary or Miss Havisham.

Of course, when I was in high school the person who prepared my mother's taxes for years, turned in many forms with my Social Security number incorrect.  This caused the IRS to think that my mother was making up a dependent in order to receive my dad's Railroad Retirement.  Back then, we had to show school, medical, and church records to prove that I really, really do exist.

So, I have to ask myself, "Who am I?"  Am I such a forgettable person that even though I am I living, breathing, sometimes screaming person that I can be accounted as not living or having never even existed?  I hope that's not entirely true.  I hope that I'm a good wife.  I pray that I'm growing to become a good mother.  I want to be a good friend.  I want to be a better friend than I have been in the past.  We all want the world to be a little emptier if something were to happen to us.  We all want to be missed.  We all want to matter.

Food for thought.

What I've Learned In Three Months

Monday, May 7, 2012

The Firecracker turned three months old yesterday.  She's already such a big girl compared to when she was born.  She's holding her head up like a pro and still hates tummy time.  Somehow she managed to roll over several times last Tuesday and pretty much refuses to do so anymore, stubborn child.  Raising her is very much a learning process for B and I both.  Here are a few things I've learned in the past quarter-year:
  • Huggies leak.  They may be the diapers that have the cut-out for the umbilical cord for newborns, but you might as well let your baby go commando if you put him or her in Huggies.  If you like holding your baby and feeling baby pee pee spread all over your clothes, put him or her in Huggies.  If someone gives you Huggies as a gift, be polite then take them back to Walmart or Target or wherever they may possibly have come from and exchange them for Pampers Swaddlers.  They're almost exactly the same price and don't leak.
  • Just as soon as you get a routine figured out, it will change.  It may be in little ways, but it will change.  Babies are constantly changing, so that means their needs are constantly changing too.
  • Pear Juice is wonderful if you have a cranky, constipated little monster.
  • Swaddle blankets are awesome.  Firecracker has never been swaddled at night, but that is.the.only.way she'll take a nap.  She actually seems to enjoy what I call, "Baby Burrito Time."  We like Summer SwaddleMe here.
  • Play mats are worth the money, and I'm hoping the jumparoo I ordered yesterday will be too.
  • Schedules are great but should be flexible.  At our house, we try to use a lenient EASY schedule.  Learning about EASY was one of the best things ever.  If there is a baby #2, we're starting him/her on EASY the day we come home from the hospital.
  • In our house, the bouncy seat is sort of known as the "baby toilet," because that's where Firecracker does most of her pooping.
  • Speaking of poop, we've learned to always be ready to throw the laundry around so you can soak anything tainted with poo in the washing machine for a while.
  • Dresses and shirts are cute and all, but they're totally impractical with a baby.  They just bunch up in the back in car seats, bouncy seats, and while being held.   Onsies are the way to go just for these reasons.
  • Enjoy every day, because the changes come far too quickly.


Saturday, May 5, 2012

Last night B and I took Firecracker to her first baseball game.  The Razorbacks were playing South Carolina.  It was a fun experience that we're hoping to repeat often in the future.

Firecracker is a baseball fan!  She watched almost the entire game, only falling asleep on B for a couple of innings.  She was so interested in the game, that she would yell at people when they walked in front of her.

Somewhere in Heaven her gramdpa, my Dad, is happy he has a granddaughter who loves baseball.  I hope she always loves it.

Crunchy Person of the Week

Friday, May 4, 2012

This week when I heard about Patricia Krentcil, the "Tanning Bed Mom" who has been charged with allowing her 5-year-old daughter into a tanning booth I was absolutely disgusted... and this was before I saw pictures of the woman.  She obviously isn't all there mentally.  Call it tanorexia or whatever you want, but to continue going to a tanning booth when you already look like Al Jolson in blackface is just sick.  Taking your child into the booth with you is beyond that.

Personally I've never seen the appeal of tanning booths.  People don't look natural when they go to tanning booths, they look like Oompa Loompas or Snooki.  I've never used one.  I'm quite happy with my lily white skin and don't go out looking for skin cancer.  To me, using a tanning booth seems about the same as smoking.  You know it can cause cancer, so why start?  I don't want to have fine Corinthian leather skin that probably smells of bacon either.

This woman may or may not have hippie tendencies.  She's a whole different brand of crunchy.   She's actually crunchy.  I imagine if you were brave enough to hug her, it would sound sort of like stepping on a rice cake.

Growing Pains

Thursday, May 3, 2012

I never would have imagined it to be this way, but apparently growth spurts in babies just suck.  They make them ravenously hungry, but they also constipate them and give them horrible gas.  All of these things keep them from sleeping well through the night, and I imagine growing so rapidly probably just hurts too.  The good news is that growth spurts only last a few days, and then usually baby is back to her normal self.

Today I folded and packed up all of Firecracker's 0-3 month onsies, because they're getting too tight for her to wear, and I had to make room for onsies of a larger size.  It was just a couple of weeks ago that I finally packed up her Newborn-sized clothes and placed them for safe-keeping in an empty Newborn-size Papmers Swaddlers box.  Today I added the 0-3's to the box.  Now the box is full and ready to be taped up, waiting on either hypothetical-someday baby sister or for Firecracker to go through some day to see what she wore when she was once so little.

On my old blog, I mentioned a few things about Firecracker that I loved when she was two weeks old.  These things that I love about her have already changed somewhat.
  • I love that to calm her, I have to cuddle her close, and that's her preferred method to sleep.  I know that all too soon from now, she won't want me to hold her so closely or for so long.
  • I love that I can hold her little bottom, and remember feeling it before she was born sticking out by my rib cage after Dr. Hinton told us that's what it was.  BTW, I'm very glad my doctor could tell the difference between a head and a butt.
  • I love that I can hold her feet, and that she wraps her toes around my fingers just like when we're holding her her hands.
  • I love (again) when I'm holding her and find her beautiful (still blue) eyes gazing back at me.
Her blue eyes do still gaze at me, though she's often jabbering silly nothings at me.  She has started to try to mimic me when I tell her, "I love you," and it just melts my heart.  I can't fit her little bottom in my hand the same way anymore, because it's just bigger now.  She still wraps her toes around my fingers.  Now to calm her, she often prefers to be held with her head on my shoulder rather than like a newborn.  All of these things change so quickly.

Being the sentimental train wreck that I am, and possibly because I received the high school graduation announcements of my two youngest (twin) cousins in the mail today, I couldn't help but think ahead to when I won't be putting onsies away in a Pampers box.  Instead, someday I'll be helping her pack for college.  I'll be fifty then, and probably in the throes of menopause.   Maybe I should start preparing B for that day now, because I'm going to REALLY be a train wreck then.

Yep.  Growth spurts suck.


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Yesterday I noticed that my friend, Erin, tagged me with the "Tell Me About Yourself" Blog Award.  I'm not in the mood to break the chain, so I'll play along.

 Now, Erin knows me pretty well.  She's been reading my old blog for years, and more than that we've been friends basically since B and I got married eight years ago.  She's married to one of B's oldest friends.  You can read her blog, Bidawee, here.

Here are the rules for this award:  (1) Link back to the person who nominated you. (2) Thank the person who nominated you. (3) Choose 5 people you believe deserve this award too. (4) Leave comments letting those people know they have been awarded. (5) Write 7 things about yourself.

Now, to the five blogs I choose to receive this:
  1. This Mom's Journey - My friend from back home, Crystal, is author of this blog.  She's the mom of three beautiful children, the oldest of whom is severely autistic.
  2. 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.
  3. Constance Reader Write's Her Own Story - This is a book blog by a written by a very good friend of mine.
  4. 7 Million Wonders - The first Mom Blog I ever read, because it's written by my good friends Cath and Louise.
  5. E Louise Bates - My friend Louise's blog about life and mostly her journey to become a published writer.
For the seven things about me:
  1. I grew up in a very small town in Oklahoma
  2. My dad passed away when I was ten years old, and I was mostly raised by my Mom.  She's quite honestly a little crazy.
  3. I don't like feet, and I hate wearing flip flops and sandals.
  4. I'm one of the last people in the world who doesn't own a smart phone, and I don't text.  I'm hoping to remedy the smart phone situation some day soon.
  5. Something about having had a baby makes me want to get dressed up and sexy more often. I think I'm just wanting to fight the mom blahs.
  6. I haven't been able to eat a pickle since I was pregnant.
  7. The person I ever dated seriously was my husband.  He can say the same about me.
  8. I really want either this or this camera lens.
Have fun reading these other blogs.

32 Candles: Things I've Learned In the Past Year

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Today I turned 32.  Another year of my life has passed.  I'm to the point in my life where I probably would have forgotten that it was my birthday if not for the well-wishes of my friends on Facebook.  Birthdays just aren't a big deal to me anymore - at least until Firecracker turns 1 in February.   I have spent a little time in reflection, looking over everything that has happened in my life in the past year and what I've learned from those events and don't mind sharing some of them here.
  1. In the past year, I have lived through the fear of the early days of pregnancy.  I didn't know if I could ever do that again after experiencing a miscarriage at eight weeks in January 2010, but I did.  I didn't let the fear of what could happen prevent me from trying again, though I almost did.
  2. After the early days, I managed to survive the entire pregnancy.  I faced Leviathan in the OR when I had a C-Section by choice, and I have managed to survive the first twelve weeks of Firecracker's time here with us.
  3. I have learned that I can survive somehow on about six hours of sleep a night.
  4. I have managed to acquire a fondness for some children's music.
  5. Despite the fondness for children's music, I've realized that children's literature can be inane and almost drive you insane while reading it.  In other words, those Little Golden Books I loved as a child seem rather ridiculous to me now - I'm calling you out, Tootle!
  6. I'm also concerned that children who read The Pokey Little Puppy may try to give dogs chocolate, since the puppies ate chocolate custard.
  7. I've decided late in the game that I'm a fan of Grey's Anatomy and Private Practice.  They're what I watch while Firecracker takes her bottles.
  8. I have learned that despite what most people think, sometimes the best course of action is the most difficult one to take.  Sometimes you have to let go of people when they continually bring drama into your life, in order to maintain your own health and to acquire your own happiness.
  9. I have been reminded how friendships are stronger than miles, differences in opinions, tragedies, and whatever else life throws at us.

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