August's Insights

Friday, August 31, 2012

Retro Post: The Enduring Human Spirit

Today I am reposting a blurb I wrote seven years ago for my original blog.  It is actually one of the first blog posts that I ever wrote.  When I wrote this, B and I were living in a nice, little townhouse just outside of Little Rock.  I was working for a small state agency, and B was just starting at the company he still works for.  Hurricane Katrina had just hit.  Things seemed to be just about as bad as they could get.  Given the time and events of this week, I thought it would be nice to dust it off and take a look at it once again.


I haven't had the heart to write about the devestating things that have happened and are now happening in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama. What they are going through is beyond unimaginable, yet it is happening.

When I am snuggled comfortable in my soft, dry bed, I cannot help but feel a little guilty because there are so many who have nothing at all.

As all of the news organizations were covering Katrina before she hit, I realized that even if New Orleans wasn't directly hit, they would still be met with devestating flooding. Unfortunatly I was correct.

There is no way to know the extent of the casualties. New Orleans is basically destoyed. In the back of my mind I know that with all of the flooding and dead bodies that can't be recovered, (not to mention those that had long been buried floating around) we will soon here of people contracting diseases much like the plague.

As we watched the coverage last night, B mentioned how authorities are marking the houses where they can't rescue the trapped people or where they are already dead in order to know to go back for the bodies later. This reminded me of the plague as well.

Being reminded of the plague also reminded me of the enduring human spirit. All throughout history, catastrophies such as this have occurred, and the people have rebuilt. When San Fransico was desemated by an earthquake a hundred years ago, they rebuilt. When London was racked with plague, then ravaged by fire, they rebuilt. Again when London endured the blitz, they rebuilt. Washington D.C. was burned to the ground during the War of 1812, but then it was rebuilt. Things may seem to be as bad as they can get, but we will endure, and we will be stronger and wiser than before.

Oy, With the Ridiculous Child Product Recalls!!!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

The other day Firecracker ran to our local meat market to stock up on supplies before the big Labor Day / Football holiday.  Just as I was buckling the seat belt to her car seat, Firecracker decided it was the perfect time to start gnawing on said buckle.  The end result was a bloody lip.  She cried for a minute, I felt horrible, and we went on about our day.  I didn't run her to the ER, hoping that Mark Sloan survived the plane crash that killed Lexie, moved from Seattle to Fayetteville, and could repair her poor, disfigured (it wasn't) lip.  I didn't call the CPSC to report that I have a defective car seat.  I haven't toured the national morning shows in order to raise awareness of the dangers of car seat buckles.  I kissed her boo boo, she quickly got over it, and we went to Sonic.  End of story.

I am absolutely sick to death of perfectly fine child/baby products being recalled because some parent or guardian wasn't just an idiot, but an idiot with a loud mouth.  I think that I have at least three products in my home right now that have been recalled in the last few weeks.  Have I tried to return any of them?  No.  Why?  The products aren't faulty.  The people using them are.

The first item that I believe has been recalled, though we haven't received official notification, is Firecracker's stroller.  It's a wonderful Peg-Perego that is built great, easy to use, and is lightweight.  I LOVE it.  B, the engineer, picked it out, and I have several friends who have basically the same stroller /carrier system.  I haven't heard any complaints.  Somewhere out there though, some parent who probably should have been administered an IQ test before being allowed to procreate thought that it would be a good idea to just put the kid in the stoller, fasten the tray, but not properly buckle the child in with the seat belt!  Somehow the kid managed to wiggle between the stroller and the tray and was injured.  I'm sorry the child was hurt, but COME ON!!!  Use a little common sense here!  Kids are NEVER still, and restraints are included for a reason!

The second item is the infamous Bumbo seat.  The Bumbo has been a lifesaver for us.  We've used it as a chair in the house, a lawn chair, and even carefully used it as a high chair until we acquired a real one.  We didn't ever leave her unattended while in it though, because when she would get tired of being in the Bumbo she would buck and try to get out on her own.  Apparently kids do this a lot, and when they're not being watched, they can topple over and hurt their heads. The Bumbo IS NOT meant to be a babysitter.  You can't just place your child there and not pay attention to him/her.  Come on, people!

The final thing that we have recalled, I don't have a picture of.  It's Firecracker's bath seat.  It's a BATH SEAT, but some people have been picking their children up in them and carrying them around the house that way. Go figure, kids were injured from this.  It's a bath seat, not a carrier.  It's made of freaking mesh, for heaven's sake!  It's a tool for bathing a slippery baby.  Geeze!  I wish I could sell common sense, but I'm afraid people wouldn't buy.  They would spend that money on the lottery or something.

Now I know that sometimes recalls are for honest to goodness reasons.  Unfortunately most aren't.  Adults should use their heads and realize that just because you might be able to do something with a product beyond what it was created for, that doesn't mean you should.  Now, if I find out that Firecracker's high chair might some day just spontaneously catapult her to Missouri, I'll pay attention to that recall.

Storybook VS Real Marriage

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Source: via Missy on Pinterest

"I read somewhere that Mitt and I have a "storybook marriage." Well, in the storybooks I read, there were never long, long, rainy winter afternoons in a house with five boys screaming at once. And those storybooks never seemed to have chapters called MS or Breast Cancer.
A storybook marriage? No, not at all. What Mitt Romney and I have is a real marriage."   
 - excerpt from Ann Romney's RNC speech.
Once upon a time, there was a princess.  About the time she was born, her parents decided to invest all of their fortune in Crystal Pepsi and would have lost everything had they not made an impulsive deal with some pedophile fairy from the wrong side of the tracks who had a thing for collecting pretty, comatose teenaged girls.  So, when the was sixteen, the princess pricked her finger on a needle while eating a poisonous apple and trying some craft she saw on Pinterest.  She fell ill and spent a long, long time in a comatose state up in a tower guarded by Hilary Clinton, er a dragon.  She remained in this comatose state until her prince arrived.  He climbed up her hair that had grown Crystal Gail long while she was in the coma and couldn't visit her favorite hairdresser, slipped on a  shoe she accidentally left at the Far, Far Away discotheque where they first met and did a little innocent bumping and grinding, and awoke her with a foot popping kiss.  The princess and her prince then ran off to Vegas, where an Elvis impersonator married them.  They lived happily ever after.

Wait.  That's not how the story goes?  Oh, ok.  Most real life stories don't go that way either though.  If you see a marriage touted as a storybook marriage it's probably not true.  Look at Camelot.  For Heaven's sake, JFK was probably one of the biggest man-whores ever, but according to all the media of the time, his marriage to Jackie was nothing short of perfect.  It was considered Camelot restored!  Forget the fact that the Arthurian Camelot was destroyed by lust and infidelity.

Let us not take into account the Clintons marriage, business arrangement, what have you.  I don't know how many people remember this, but they actually rented a couple more kids to make themselves look like this All-American family.  We really know what was going on then though, and what was going on under the desk of the Oval Office.

Oh, let's not forget the show that the Gores put on for us in 2000 with that big kiss on the stage of the Democratic Convention.  Twelve years later, and guess what?  Al and Tipper are no longer living together.  Don't even get me started on John Edwards

Storybook marriages are all just for show.  Real marriages are hard, they can be difficult, and they're ever so much deeper than the false smiles you see on the cover of a magazine.  They are the diagnoses and treatments for things like IBS, MS, Cancer, and anything else that can happen.  They're the long nights, taking turns with fussy babies, shared grief, surviving financial difficulties, and working hard at work and at home.

I personally don't want another president with a storybook marriage.  I do want a president with a real marriage.  I want to see a couple who worked hard for their family together.  Ann Romney isn't a woman who is taken care of by her husband,  She's a woman who works together, hand in hand with her husband.  I appreciate that.  I do the same every day of my life.

Give the delusional people storybook.  Give me the nitty gritty of real any day.

A Tuesday Thought: Time

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

"Time and tide wait for no man." - unknown
"Time is the fire in which we burn." - Delmore Schwartz
Time has been a topic of discussion at our house lately. Time to do this, time to do that. There are things we want to do, and by the time we do all the things we need to do in a day, there is no more.  Time is an interesting thing, you know.  I don't know if there is any other intangible thing that people obsess about more, except for maybe love.

Time is a tricky thing.  It's almost downright bipolar.  It is definite and set.  The clock never stops ticking.  You can't add five more seconds to a minute, fifteen minutes to an hour, another hour to a day, or another day to a year; save for when we fall backward or have Leap Day.  We have no control over time.  Often, it controls us.  Time is also relative though.  When we're enjoying ourselves, time passes more quickly.  When we're anticipating something else or doing anything less than enjoyable it seems to drag.  Time can be both our enemy and our friend.  Time separates us from those we lost, but can also bring us closer to those we love in one way or another.

Time is, well it's time, and we should be mindful of how we use it.  We shouldn't always be about business; sticking strictly to set schedules.  We should be flexible and allow for the unexpected.  However, we can't always be just a grain blowing in the wind either.  A happy medium between rigidity and aimlessness must exist, because you never know when the most important moments of our lives will take place.

I don't know anyone who doesn't struggle with time in one way or another.  I guess the best advice I can give is to just roll with it.  Try to find that happy medium, but don't beat yourself up if you can't fit everything in to that set part of time.  Enjoy life - find the joy in every situation that you can so that time doesn't get the chance to drag.  Treat time as your friend, rather than your enemy.  Whatever you do, don't waste it wishing for more of it.  Take time by the horns and accept that while time is infinite, your time is finite.  Use it wisely.  Use it happily.

Just a little thought that bubbled up in my head today.

FMM: Tech Questions

Monday, August 27, 2012

The blogging river runneth dry at the moment. So, I'm going to take part in Friend Makin' Monday today.
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 here at: so we can all see your FMM questions and answers. Please invite your blog readers to add their links here 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!

Tech Questions

1.  PC or Mac?  Mac.  I love all things Apple, and even converted B, a die-hard PC three years ago.  You can't experience the simplicity of a Mac and willingly go back to a PC.

2. When did you get your first computer? 1994.  I was a Freshman in high school, and it was a Packard Bell.
3. Do you use cable, DSL or something else?  I have cable internet.  I remember when we had DSL when we lived outside of Little Rock and thought that was fast.  Now I don't know what I would do without cable speeds and being able to stream video.
4. When choosing a laptop, do you think it’s more important to choose the fastest one, or the lightest one?  I’ll probably be needing a new laptop in a year or so.  I'm struggling to decide whether just a 13" Macbook Pro, like I have now would be ok, or a faster Macbook Air would be better.
5. What kind of cell phone do you own?  Ugh.  A Samsung Prevail or something or another, because I use Straight Talk.  I WANT an iPhone, but I haven't wanted to pay for one to jailbreak, and I don't want to pay for Verizon or At&t when I get great service from Straight Talk.  If you see typos on something I post online, I probably did it with this phone.
6. How do you carry your laptop when you travel?  Sometimes.  These days I often just take my iPad instead.
7. How many e-mails do you send on an average day? I don't keep count.  I don't send that many emails now that I'm not working.  Most people I want to get in touch with can be messaged through text, Facebook, or Twitter.
8. Do you ever blog using your iPad or similar tablet? I've tried blogging on my iPad, but it's too much trouble.  I need the real, tactile keyboard for typing more than a Tweet.
9. What do you use more often – a desktop or a laptop? My laptop.  I only use B's iMac to edit video, because it's that much faster and newer than my Macbook.  Also, the 27" screen is just awesome.
10.  As a blogger, are there other gadgets that you need to get the job done?  If so, what are they?  My DSLR.  Yes, it takes more time to get the photos off of it, because I shoot everything in RAW.  However, the quality is so much better than on my phone.
Now it’s your turn to answer this week’s questions on your blog!  Don’t forget to come back and link up in the comments at All the Weigh! Happy Monday, friends!

Lessons Learned and Other Random Things From This Week

Saturday, August 25, 2012

~ It was supposed to rain today...  It was supposed to rain today, so I planned my day and attire accordingly.  I planned to spend the day just hanging around the house,  I threw my hair into a ponytail, because it was going to be all rainy and gross outside.  I wore a pair of yoga pants which when last I wore them some time in the spring were still skin tight and now are quite loose on me, because it was going to be cold and damp.  It didn't rain today.  The ponytail was no big deal.  The baggy yoga pants felt very hot when we all went outside to play with Lucy and Dory this afternoon.  It will likely rain tomorrow when we're out and about, going to church.  So goes the world.

~  I'm am so sick of seeing and mostly hearing Target's back to school ads, that I'm tempted to never shop there again.  They're really that annoying.  Of course, once those are shelved for the year, they'll probably bring out those annoying Black Friday and Christmas ones with that horribly annoying woman who played "Carol of the Bells" with Christmas cards last year.

~  Eating grass isn't good for Dory.  She was about one day away from visiting Dr. Turner and getting a plug of grass surgically taken out, because it was starting to cause a blockage.  Thankfully it came out on its own eventually.

~Dory hates listening to Taylor Swift, and I love it.  You can see her reaction here.

~  In my house, a reading of Goldilocks and the Three Bears constitutes a lesson on thermodynamics.

~  The Firecracker likes to swing.

~I've decided that I'm going to load my phone full of Sam Phillips music and play it as I go about my day so that I can feel like I'm in Star's Hollow or Paradise, the small towns where Gilmore Girls and Bunheads are set.

~ We're still debating between Hulu Plus and Netflix Streaming.  What are your thoughts?  I, personally am leaning more toward Hulu Plus, because I'm more of TV watcher than movies.

~  I love local t-shirt shops and wish they all did this.  I'm thinking of getting B this for Christmas, and would love to be able to do it with the shops up here.  Actually it would be cooler if somehow we could do it with onsies too.

~ Lucy wants Firecracker to be about four years old, so she can really play.

~ RIP Neil Armstrong.

~  There's only ONE week until the College Football season starts!!!  I am so ready for football season, even if Landry Jones is still OU's quarterback.   Can I get a Boomer Sooner or a Woo Pig Sooie?

~  Books are good - in every way.

Market Discussions

Friday, August 24, 2012

This afternoon, B and I are meeting with a realtor to discuss putting our house up for sale some time in the not so distant future.  It has always been the plan that this was our starter house, not necessarily our forever house, and now that we have Firecracker we're realizing the importance of trying to sell and find something else.

If we do sell, finding a house that we can agree on may be a bit challenging.  I didn't think it would be at first, but as we've both looked at current houses on the market in the two cities we've decided upon, I find that it may.  B wants more land.  He grew up in the country and doesn't like living too close to his neighbors.  While I wouldn't mind a little more land, it's not foremost on my mind - mostly because houses with land are usually old and need a great deal of updating.

I know what I want.  I want a one-story (yes, I'm planning to say goodbye to my dreams of two-story houses!), split floor plan house with three or four (preferably four so we can have a guest room and an office until another child comes along) bedrooms, and 2+ baths.  I want a front porch or at least a back deck or covered patio.  I don't want another totally open living space, because though we actually have a lot of room in our living room and kitchen, having them totally together and open makes it seem small, and I don't think I want the kids to be able to watch television from the kitchen table.

I want central heat and air, no heat pumps.  Heat pumps are useless once the temperature is below freezing.  I want the heater and water heater to be natural gas, and I honestly would like to keep a gas fire place.  Real wood fireplaces are nice, but they're a lot of work too.

Other than that, a back yard big enough for this and for the dogs to get some exercise is all I want - without having to totally replace the carpeting and rip down horrible, awful wall paper.  I detest wall paper and am thankful most people don't see the need to use it anymore.  Once it's up, it's more work than just using primer and paint to change the walls.

Anyway, today we're meeting with a realtor to discuss things - just to discuss.  I don't think we'll be ready to take the leap until next year some time, and it won't be easy doing it then.  Keep us in your thoughts.

By the way, I would love to build a house with the plans for the above house!

What I've Learned In Six Months:

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Ok, so this one is a couple of weeks late, but it's still good.  I'm trying to not mix in things that will apply to seven months, because it's getting fun now.

~  Don't let Firecracker take a different stuffie to bed, because she'll just get upset and throw it as far away from her as possible.  It MUST be Lady to her right, and Lambie to her left.

~  Baths have always been fun, but they're so much more so now that Firecracker can sit without help.  Just NEVER turn your back.

~ Toes are meant to be sucked.

~ Playing piano is very fun.

~ Clapping hands isn't interesting, but clapping feet is.

~ The dogs' nylabones look very tempting.

~  Tree leaves are to be studied.

~ The Olympics are fun to watch.

~  When it's too hot to do anything outside, things get boring fast.

~ Marching bands are fun, but then they get too loud.

~ Don't put Firecracker in her dress until you get to church.  She'll always poop a big, nasty one on the ride in the car.

~Coloring looks fun, but colors don't taste good.

~Prunes apparently taste good.  So do carrots, squash, pears, apples, and a lot of mixtures.

~ Pureed ham and ham gravy does NOT taste good.   We're not trying that again.

~ Feltner Bros. fries are yummy.  Any others aren't.

 ~ Six months is I think a blessed grace period for Mommy.  Firecracker can now sit unassisted in the floor and play by herself for fairly long periods of time.  However, she can't yet crawl.  This is wonderful for me.  Just wonderful.

Dorothy Gale's Not a Taylor Swift Fan

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

So, tonight while I was feeding Firecracker her last bottle of the night, B was at his computer listening to new music on iTunes.  He recently commented that Taylor Swift's new song isn't Country at all.  Personally that doesn't bother me a bit, but I was curious about it and asked him to play a sample for me.  Let's just say that Dory's not a fan.  Here's her reaction, multiple times over tonight.

A Weekend In Pictures

Monday, August 20, 2012

I spent my blogging time this morning finishing the rough draft of a special post I have scheduled to publish Labor Day Weekend, so today I'm going to take it a little easy and show you our weekend in pictures.  It was quite a busy weekend for us.

Friday after B got home from work, we went shopping for several clothing items we all need before our trip to Colorado next month.  Poor Firecracker needs everything.  The summer's been so hot that she has been getting by wearing just onesies over a diaper around the house, and maybe shorts with a onesie or a jumper when we've gone somewhere.  Though she has sandals, shoes have basically been something to wear to church.  Tracking down one stray sandal in JCPenney once is enough for me.  It's getting colder though, and I don't want her to look like an orphan child, so she now has shoes, pants, hoodies, a new dress, and she talked her Daddy into a pair of pink, suede boots.

After shopping, we went to our favorite Mexican restaurant in Fayetteville, Celi's.  It's on the Square.  Our date couldn't stay awake for fried ice cream.

On Saturday, we had to fight the crowds to buy groceries.  Then, when we got home it was time to do something we've put off for way too long... bathe the dogs.

As you can see from the pictures below, neither was impressed, and it just exhausted poor Firecracker.

Sunday morning was church.  It was great to be back after having missed the past two Sundays due to being out of town and Firecracker running a fever from her shots.  Our pastor has been preaching some really outstanding sermons lately, and Firecracker loves going to the nursery.  Can't you tell, she just hates going to church?

Sunday evening, we had our usual weekend dinner at Feltner Bros. then stopped at Lake Fayetteville on the drive home so Firecracker could play on the swings.  She hated those too, can't you tell?

I live for days and weekends like this.

Lessons Learned and Other Random Things From This Week: Istanbul (Not Constantinople)

Saturday, August 18, 2012

~ Dragonflies can be confused with home invaders in the middle of the night.

~ A forfeit can be considered a first win for a winless softball team.

~ Blocks are awesome toys.

~ They Might Be Giants, the group who sings "The Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Theme" song and "The Hot Dog Song" also do that "I Am a Paleontologist" song on the Payless commercials and they did "Istanbul (Not Constantinople)," an old favorite of mine.  A few more iTunes purchases were made.

~Hope Solo is not Han and Leia's fanfiction child, though that could be a good character name.  She is, I think a soccer player.  I keep up with many sports, but soccer in any form isn't one of them.

~ Even though my friend, D, wants to be an anchor on Sprout, I personally find the chicken, Chica, annoying and want to find an ax so that I can cut off her head.  Unfortunately she would still probably make that squeaking noise.

~ According to a local photography store, The Firecracker is not the Kutest Kid.  Some kid covered in mud is.  I respectfully disagree.

~ Just a couple of weeks until college football season - thank goodness.  Yes, I'm a southern woman, can't you tell?
~Boomer Sooner!
~ Woo Pig Sooie! 
~ Meeting with a realtor next week just to discuss putting our house on the market is daunting.

~ As a person who has had issues with gaining weight all my life, I'm really tired of hearing about America's obesity problem.  No one is literally shoving excess amounts of food down anyone's throat.  People need to learn to take personal responsibility for their lives and not look to the government to regulate every aspect of them.

~ I've really enjoyed watching Bunheads this summer.  It's made me remember how much I miss Gilmore Girls.  I'm rather sad that the season finale is coming, and I hope that it's renewed.  I don't watch much original programming on ABC Family, because I think most looks stupid, especially Switched At Birth and the insipid The Secret Life of the American Teenager - which is just as painful to watch as 7th Heaven was.
~ I love the character of Boo the best.  Oh, and Michelle, but then she's Lorelai Gilmore with dance shoes.
~ I sometimes wish my life was in an Amy Sherman-Palladino show, because how cool would it be to live in a small, quirky town with Sam Phillips strumming a guitar, singing different "La la" melodies?

~ It seems that Firecracker only has to show interest in something, and B will buy it for her, like these pink suede boots.

Not Quite Fifty Shades of Crazy

Friday, August 17, 2012

I often say that I'm going to end up in a straight jacket some day.  Usually I add that thus far, Firecracker isn't the one sending me there.   Most of the time B isn't either.  No, the two culprits who will someday cause me to need a straight jacket and a padded cell are none other than Lucy and Dory.  How are they crazy, you ask?  Oh let me just count the ways.

  1. Lucy is afraid.... of everything.  She is afraid of umbrellas, roses, cats, spiders, thunder, lightning, fireworks, old people, little dogs, and the dark at least.  She also has to sniff any food we give her lest it be poisonous.
  2. Somewhere in my potty training of Lucy, she got it in her head that I have to witness every poop she makes.  So, I have to go outside with her to poop.  If I don't, she'll often do her business in front of a window so I can see.
  3. That has rubbed off on Dory, and though she'll poop without me, she'll show me her latest one whenever she gets a chance.
  4. Dory doesn't like to eat without Lucy.  Lucy would rather eat whenever and often skips meals until odd hours of the day.  Dory will sometimes not eat because of this.  Sometimes, she'll herd Lucy into the kitchen and force her to eat with her.
  5. Dory loves to swim and splash through lakes and rivers, but won't do her business outside if the grass is wet.  She had to go this morning, so she pooped as close to the house as possible.
  6. The can both spell P-L-A-Y and B-U-B-B-L-E-S.
  7. So help me if someone does handy work on a neighbor's house, they'll bark non-stop,
  8. If we don't clear the dishes as soon as we eat supper, Lucy will get in our faces until we do.  Then Dory will get in her face for getting into our faces.
  9. Dory wants me out of bed with her by eight every morning.
  10. Lucy would prefer to sleep until nine.
  11. If the battery is dying in a smoke detector, Lucy will hide in the tub until the beeping stops.
  12. They both love watching football.  Dory takes pointers and will tackle you when you play football with her.
  13. They can hear a package of cheese open from a mile away.
  14. They snore and are bed hogs.
  15. Lucy has to be force fed pills.
  16. But, I love them.  I even love them for their quirks.
Oh, and just to show that B and Firecracker are also crazy, here's a few for them:
  1. B marks each pair of his white socks with a symbol, then always has to match each sock accordingly so they all get equal wear.
  2. Firecracker has to sleep every night with Lady on her right side, and Lambie on her left.  She brought Lion to bed with her one night recently.  I heard her yell after a while, found her on the opposite end of the bed, and she had thrown Lion to the other.  He didn't belong.
  3. Firecracker also must sleep with one soft blanket next to her, and a quilt on top of that.  Never change the order.

The Dragonfly Incident & More

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Pardon me while I yawn....  I didn't get much, if any, sleep last night.  Just as I was getting past my almost nightly bout with insomnia, an incident occurred at our house.  It was just a little after three in the morning.  Lucy was sleeping on the tile floor between our bedroom, the front door, and the stairway.  B was slightly snoring on his side of the bed, Dory was snoozing at her position near our feet, Firecracker had been out cold since some time between nine and ten, and again I was finally getting to sleep as well.  All of a sudden out of the hallway came a frantic, "Roo, roo, roooooo!" as well as some growling.

This, of course, was so loud that it startled everyone save Firecracker.  Dory would jump off a cliff if Lucy did it first, so she started barking and growling too, though I doubt she knows at what.  They just kept on and kept on, where normally we can make them stop barking by inviting them back into bed with us.  Not this time.

So, B got up to comfort Lucy when he heard it.  Something was scratching at our front door!  It was faint - too faint to be a person trying to break into the house.  It sounded more like a cat or a rat.  To Lucy, just about the worst thing to try and get into the house would be a horrible, awful cat!

B, turned off our alarm system, looked outside, and saw what it was.  It was a dragonfly that somehow got caught under our front door - the door Lucy was sleeping up against.  Lucy was actually scared to death and had to be loved on a great deal before she would get into bed for the night.  So, once again we attempted to get back to sleep....

Then...  THEN around five, Firecracker woke up.  This is nothing very new.  She often will roll around, hit the top of her crib, and make some noises.  I'll go upstairs, pull her down, cover her up, and give her a pacifier.  She usually goes right back to sleep or just needs one more paci plugging before she's out until some time between 7:30 and 9.

That didn't happen this morning.  She was wide awake.  I tried to the paci plug a couple of times, and it didn't work.  So, the next step was to change her diaper then rock her in the glider.  That seemed to work - for a bit.  I was just about asleep when she was awake again.  I brought her down with us, and she tried to be still.  However, there were a few too many "people" in the bed moving about then.  So, I tried to put her back in bed.  She cried the moment I put her in her crib.  So, I grabbed a blanket and rocked her in the recliner.  When she was asleep, I tried again to put her into bed.  Finally I tried one more time to get her to sleep in bed.  She went straight to sleep (finally) curled up in bed with me.  Then it was time for B to get up for work, and our day to begin.

So, I'm a little tired.  I napped when she napped this afternoon, but she didn't nap but about 45 minutes. She's been moderately cranky today and has wanted to be held more than normal all the way around.  She was happiest when she chewed on my finger.  TEETHING!

Will we ever get that first tooth?  I feel much like the dragonfly, who I think ended up in our trash.  Let's hope for better future days.
Doing the Hot Dog Dance after some Tylenol.

A Random Wednesday

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

~ Much to Firecracker's dismay, last night was B's last softball game for the summer.  It was actually supposed to have been played last week, but was postponed due to rain and storms.  I guess technically speaking B's last two games were last night, and his team finally won one - because the first team they were supposed to play forfeited.  In the eyes of the engineers, that was a win, and that's all that matters. They didn't have a winless season.  I think that's a first for them.

~ We took Firecracker fishing for the first time Saturday night at Lake Fort Smith, because for the first time it wasn't too hot to be outdoors.  She liked watching B reel in his three tiny fish.  She even grabbed the bass's tail fin.  Then I promptly cleaned her hands with Purel, because her hands basically live in her mouth.  Once B tired of not catching anything, we played on the slides some at the park.  Firecracker seemed to enjoy going down the slides in our arms.

~ I'm seeing all these stories on the news about move-in days at the U of A.  It's only about 90° outside, and I don't think that's fair.  I don't recall once in all the times I, B, or when we moved B's brother into dorms it being less than 100°.   I think that part of the college experience should be sweating your butt off while moving into dorms.

~ I realized this weekend that Firecracker only had a few pair of long pants that fit her,  because she obviously won't fit into the ones she wore last spring.  So, we hit Double Stamp Tuesday at Carter's yesterday and started her fall wardrobe.  Frankly, she's going to probably need one more good shopping trip just to have enough clothes before we go to Colorado.  In fact, I'm going to have to order myself some more jeans from Old Navy this week also.  If we don't, we both may freeze our derrière's off soon.

~  My small-town hometown library, where a girl I grew up with is the town's librarian, announced today via Facebook that they now have two copies of the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy available to borrow.  She and I made private sarcastic comments on what bad literature it is, but let's just say it was sad that it got such a positive response.  It kind of makes me miss the more puritanical days when such books would be burned; not because they're smut, but because the writing is just so horrible.   I tried to read a sample on my iPad, and I couldn't do it.  It felt like I was reading the worst fanfiction EVER.

~  Just checked Twitter, and now an old friend who is now a pastor in the Memphis area has TLC's "Waterfalls" stuck in my head!  Thanks, Gib!

~ The Fisher Price Brilliant Basics Baby's First Blocks are totally worth the $9.00 I spent on them at Walmart last week.  Firecracker can play with them for... well not hours, but a long time!

Ten Non-Crunchy Steps To a Happy Marriage

Monday, August 13, 2012

  1. Learn to laugh.  You're going to need to learn how to laugh in all sorts of situations... together.  Learn to laugh together.  Even if you don't always feel like it, laugh together.  Even if you have a headache and just want to sleep, take a moment to laugh together.
  2. Find common interests.  You don't have to like all the same music, books, or movies, but it's good to find things to do together.  It's wonderful to have friends to do things with, but you need to be able to be able to spend time together, enjoying each other's company - with other people and alone.  Also, it gives great opportunities for #1.
  3. Communicate.  Even if that includes a Twitter conversation while you're both curled up in the same bed.  You can also Facebook message or text each other.  Then comment with your actual voice on the virtual conversation and do #1.
  4. Take time to throw down a blanket and watch for falling stars together in your back yard.  There are several things that can happen while doing this that can lead to #1.
  5. Don't confuse personal lubricant for any type of muscle rub, especially Thera-Gesic.  if it does happen, remember #1.  #1 becomes easier after time passes.
  6. Road trips are great for togetherness.  Most of our best conversations happen when we're in a vehicle together.  Lots of #1 usually occurs.  Sometimes we #1 so much that my stomach hurts.
  7. Hold hands from time to time like you're still dating.  Especially hold hands in church together.  Just that little contact can often make you feel like a teenager again.  Silly #1 may start spontaneously.
  8. There's nothing wrong with a little horseplay, even if you've been together for years.  Just because you're getting older doesn't mean you have to act old.  Be young at heart together.  It helps with the #1.
  9. #1 every time you have to be like the wife / mom on those Oscar Mayer "No" commercials, because it'll happen more often than you think.
  10. It's more important to be able to do #1 in bed together than to have moves like Jagger, though a few moves like Jagger can't hurt.  #1 is awesome, no matter how old you get though.  Remember that.

The Waiting Game Part Two: The Mating Game

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Okay, so now that you've waited what seems like forever to find and marry the right person, it's time to think about starting a family, right?  Heaven knows that the moment you get married you can't so much as have a stomach bug without people asking you if you're pregnant, after all.  When, if any, is a good time to start a family?  Anyone can have kids, can't they?  At least anyone most of society would deem unfit seems to be able to pop them out in regular fashion.

B and I were married when he was twenty-one, and I was twenty-three.   B still had a year of college to finish, we were dirt poor, and that was obviously not the right time for us.  If it had happened, we would have stepped up to the challenge, but thankfully it didn't.  We weren't ready then, and we enjoyed just being together for quite a while.  We weren't in any hurry, and frankly I had the same idea many young women these days do and was fine waiting on kids until I was closer to thirty, though I didn't want to get started too late.

Five years after we married, B had finished his MSEE, we had a house, stable jobs, and were finally settling down a bit after having moved about once a year those first years.  We even had Lucy for year, and though she was/is a bit neurotic, we were pretty good dog parents.  I was twenty-eight, and B was twenty-six.  It seemed that if there was ever a good time to start trying for a baby, it was then.  As they say, all of our ducks were in a row - so we thought.

So I stopped taking the pill in either August or September of 2008.  We were partially afraid that we would be one of those couples who would get pregnant right away and also afraid that we might never get pregnant as well.  For us, it seemed that it would be the latter.

I vividly remember being a few days late that Thanksgiving and stopping in Russellville to buy a pregnancy test on our way home from spending the holiday with B's family in Little Rock.  We had taken a vacation in late October and hoped that we had gotten pregnant then.  That was honestly the first of many months of disappointment.  It's funny how much you want your period when you're not trying for a baby, and how much of a failure you feel like when it comes.  Clear Blue Easy made a mint off of me, what with pregnancy tests and ovulation tests.

Most of everything you read says to try for a year on your own before seeking fertility treatment.  So, we decided to wait a year until we would speak to my OB/GYN about the dreaded word of infertility.  I have to admit that was probably one of the most difficult years of my life.  I turned twenty-nine in May, had my former OB/GYN make the comment that I was no longer a spring chicken in reproductive terms a week after that at my yearly appointment, and it seemed that everyone around me was having babies.  To top things off, I had family causing me very unnecessary stress, and B was working ungodly hours and had even started teaching adjunct at a nearby private university.  That meant our free time together all but disappeared.  Whenever he was home, he was grading or sadistically planning tests that were far too difficult for his students.  Actually, it seemed that it was impossible for us to even be in the same state when I was ovulating.  I tried to keep a positive outlook, but frankly it was just Lucy and me more often than not during that time.  So, I focused on the dog; dog toys, dog food, dog forums on the internet,  dog blogs, dog walks, you name it.  I even talked B into adopting Dory that autumn.

My attitude was less than stellar then, I know that it was - at least at times.  I was depressed and in denial of it.  I think I remember even telling a very good friend at work once that I "hated my life."  I didn't hate my life, but I was certainly tired of basically feeling like I had no control over any aspect of it - tired of feeling like a failure.  Quite honestly I just felt tired.

Things didn't help when people would assume that since I was twenty-nine, had been married almost six years, had a house, and didn't have children that I didn't want children.  Some people even assumed that I didn't like children, which is the furthest thing from the truth.  I love children.  I've always loved children.  It was all I could do at times to not pick up a child I knew and get all Lennie from Of Mice and Men or Looney Tunes Abominable Snowman on them.  Seriously, I want to hug them, and squeeze them, and name them all "George."

So, we decided to see the doctor about our infertility after the New Year.  God had other plans though, and when I took a pregnancy test on our sixth wedding anniversary, it was positive.  It was positive, and I thought that I was going to need a paper bag to breathe into long before I woke B to tell him the good news.  We went to watch The Blind Side that night, and I felt all warm and mothery.  It was five days until Christmas, and all anyone could talk about was how they couldn't wait until the next year.  I had about a week and a half of pure bliss, but in the back of my mind I felt something was wrong.

Then I awoke on New Year's Eve, and noticed that I started to spot some while getting ready for work. I went in to work, called the women's clinic, and then left to take blood tests.  The blood tests showed that I was low on progesterone, so I started taking suppositories every night to get those levels higher.  Also, I was told to relax (ha!).Things seemed ok, for a little while.  Honestly, everything now seems muddled together and fuzzy, because I had an ultrasound the next week, and I almost forgot about it.

I guess it was around a week later that we had a crazy, busy day at work due to lots of snow and ice and I felt it.  I was full-on bleeding.  I went back to the doctor and had another ultrasound.  We saw our baby's heartbeat, and felt a little better.  However, the baby wasn't growing at the rate it should have been.  I was told to take it easy that day, but not put on bedrest.  I had an appointment for another ultrasound in a week and a half.  I probably should have gone in multiple times before then but didn't really know if my bleeding was heavier than a period and tried not to worry.  All I could do was worry though.  At my next ultrasound, there wasn't a baby any more.  I had lost the baby, though I'm not sure when.  At least I was spared having to go through a D and C.

After that, I tried to just carry on like normal, but something had changed in me.  I was sad, but I was no longer depressed.  I had decided to enjoy life again, and I did.  I also decided to stop allowing people, especially close family to stop treating me without respect and honestly causing a lot of the stress that probably contributed to both the infertility and my stress.  I stopped putting so much pressure on myself to get pregnant again, and just tried to enjoyed not trying not to get pregnant.

In the mean time, I didn't want to buy clothes, because I was always hoping to need to buy maternity clothes.  Well, honestly at first I didn't want to buy clothes, to cut my hair, or change much of anything, because I didn't want things to change from what they had been while I was pregnant.  To do so, seemed to take me further away from then.  I had to realize that life was going on anyway, and that I needed to be a part of it.  Still yet, I was always hesitant to buy clothes, for fear it would be wasted money.

I wanted to go on Clomid as soon as I could after the miscarriage, because I was afraid that I didn't ovulate regularly.  My thirtieth birthday was coming, and I was feeling the time ticking away in my biological clock.  However, my doctor advised against it since I did have a spontaneous pregnancy.  When, after another year had passed, we once again discussed seeking infertility treatments.  I just wanted to get being a bridesmaid in a friend's wedding over with first.  Somehow, I knew that I was going to get pregnant the next month, and I did.

I believe in prayer, and so many people prayed for us to have a healthy baby for so very, very long.  I will be eternally grateful for that.  I prayed for it as well - at times all alone in a room with my knees to the ground I cried out in prayer.  Like Hannah, weeping bitterly in the temple, I cried out for a child of my own.  Yes, I love children so much that I want to hug them, and squeeze them, and call them George, but all I really wanted was my own baby - whether biologically or even eventually by adoption.

Once I found out I was pregnant, one of the first people I told was my dear old friend, Melissa.  She shared with me a prayer that I prayed every day for Firecracker while I was pregnant.  "Dear Lord, please let my baby be healthy, happy, and whole."  She was.  She was worth the wait.  She doesn't replace baby #1. She can't, and I don't want her to.  She is her own, special little person  - quite the little person with so much to say at that.

The wait for her made me really grow up and take charge of the kind of life I want to live and who I want in it.  I think it has made me into a better and wiser person, and I hope that in reading this someone else who is waiting will know gain a little hope themselves.  Good things do come to those who wait, they really do.  However, the road is definitely not an easy one.  It has peaks and valleys, but the climb really is worth it.

Lessons Learned and Other Random Things From This Week

Saturday, August 11, 2012

~ On Monday morning, don't try to open a new bag of cereal.  If you do, use scissors.  If you don't use scissors, you'll have Lucky Charms scattered all over your kitchen.  When you have Lucky Charms scattered all over your kitchen, you'll use your Dyson to pick them up.  If you use the hose attachment without disconnecting the handle, or you'll get Lucky Charms lodged in the handle of the hose attachment.  Don't get Lucky Charms lodged in the handle of the hose attachment of your Dyson.

~ Don't try to read on you iPad while eating dinner and feeding your infant daughter dinner.  You'll get distracted with the whole feeding yourself and laughing at some meme or another.  Then suddenly, you'll not be positive, but think your daughter's first word was, "hurry!"

~ Don't complain about the cold air coming out of the air conditioner while you shower.  Then your husband will come upstairs while you're drying your hair to tell you it's now just blowing hot air.

~  It's still good to see the almost-five-year-old dog turn into a puppy when the weather cools.

~  It feels like football season!

~ Talking about things even when you think you've moved past them is still sometimes good.  With some things, it's good not to just leave them bottled up and ignore them  Repression is never good.

~ Firecracker's reaction to her vaccinations is worse with each round.  She ran a fever all last night, poor baby.  Also, this has to happen on the prettiest, coolest weekend in MONTHS!

~  Oh yeah, McKayla Maroney isn't impressed with this post.  I'm sorry that until yesterday, I had a pretty good, ordinary week.  :)

A Day In the Life....

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Once upon a time in what now seems like a very, very long time ago, I had this hair-brained idea that once I was a Stay-At-Home-Mom, I would get up around six every morning and bike a mile with each dog before the start of each day.  It wasn't entirely unfeasible either.  When Lucy was an only child, I did that with her one summer when it was really hot, and I wanted to make sure she got enough exercise.  Back then I even got up around 5:30 to do it, because I got up at 6 for work.  Now, I sometimes struggle to get out of bed at 7:30.  Why do I have such a hard time getting up in the mornings?  Let me tell you....

Sometime after six in the morning and dawn, two dogs start to wake up and decide that they A.) need to potty, and B.) that they're hungry.  Usually both Dory and Lucy decide to snuggle up with me about this time.  We all know that we need to get up, but none of us want to.  Then around 6:45, B's alarm will go off for the first time.  He will reset it for ten-fifteen minutes more usually at least twice more before he decides to get out of bed.  Some days, the girls (or at least Dory, because Lucy likes to stay in bed longer) and I get up before him, but most days we at least get up when he finally does.

While B showers, we'll go to the back yard, and Dory will go pee pee.  Then, after sniffing around the yard a while, Lucy does too.  Sometimes they'll both poop then, but often Dory at least has to eat first.  So, then we'll go in, and I'll feed them breakfast.  Dory will wait either for Lucy to start eating or until I tell her not to wait on Lucy.  Sometimes Dory makes Lucy eat her breakfast when Lucy would rather roll around on the floor or find a pair of dirty socks to carry around the house.  Then, we'll go outside for round two, and once everyone or at least one of them has pooped, they'll get a Dentastix treat.

By then, if Firecracker isn't awake, I'll unload the clean dishes that were washed in the dishwasher the night before and start filling it with whatever has accumulated throughout the day.  Then, if there is time, I'll sort the previous day's laundry and maybe pick up the house some.  There are always baby and dog toys to be put up and shoes that should go in our closet.  Then, Firecracker is usually awake, and I'll eat a bowl of cereal while feeding her a small bowl of her cereal and fruit after changing her out of the previous night's diaper.  After she finishes her cereal, we'll sit in the recliner for an 8 oz. bottle of formula, and I'll put our dishes in the dishwasher.

After breakfast is finally over, it is often around or after nine in the morning.  Then, I finally get to take a shower with Firecracker watching from her no-longer-bouncy-bouncy seat.  Usually by the time I get around to conditioner, she's tired of being in the bathroom.  She's often downright yelling at me on the days I shave my legs, hence all of the cuts.  Once I'm dried, deodorized, moisturized, and dressed, I'll then wash off Firecracker's face and other regions before lotioning and dressing her for the day.  Then, I'll place her on the spare-room bed with a paci and a couple of toys while I dry my hair.  That's about two or so hours after she first woke up.  So, between the time she had been awake and the white noise from my hair dryer, Firecracker usually will fall asleep for a nice catnap.  I usually try to get my blogging and some other things done then.  Sometimes the catnap lasts twenty minutes.  Sometimes it can last an hour.  However long it lasts, life is much more pleasant when she either gets that or a form of it while traveling somewhere in the car.

After her catnap, we usually make our way back downstairs and play in the floor together until it's time to eat lunch.  Then, I'll make myself something to eat, and Firecracker gets to eat a vegetable or fruit.  After that, it's time for her midday bottle.  Then we usually play again for a while, then we go upstairs for story time.  Dory almost always comes up with us for this.  Lucy does sometimes.  After that, Firecracker goes down for her afternoon nap.  Sometimes it can take a while to get her to take that nap, even though she always needs it.  That one usually lasts at least an hour.  Sometimes it lasts longer, sometimes less than an hour.

Depending on the time she wakes from her afternoon nap, we either play for a bit, or we have our afternoon bottle.  After that, we have more play time until B gets home from work - usually some time between six and seven at night, though it's not unheard of to be later.  Once B gets home, I start cooking dinner, and he'll take over Firecracker duties.  Firecracker gets a vegetable now while we eat our dinner.  I try to get the dishes cleared and in the dishwasher right after we eat.  If not,  B or I will do it while the other feeds Firecracker her night bottle later.  Then the fun begins.

After dinner, we all go outside and play with Lucy and Dory.  Firecracker especially loves flying through the air, chasing the girls.  They like it too.  The back yard is often filled with squeals of laughter.  After that, it's time for Firecracker's nighttime bottle.  Then it's bath time.  After bath time, we often need to play a bit more, then we take a couple of ounces of formula in what we call a "night cap" bottle with a slow-flow nipple.  Then we put her to bed at night.  Usually we'll have to go upstairs a couple of times to recover her and put a paci back in her mouth before she's out for the night.

By this time, it could be anywhere from nine at night to ten.  Depending on the night and our moods, this is time for Mom and Dad.  No matter what else, we both usually need a back popping.  Frankly I'll be a very compliant wife for a good back pop and head rub at night. :)

No matter what's going on, we usually take Lucy and Dory to potty one last time, then the four of us get into  bed between 11:30 and midnight.   I would like to read then or write, be it blog or fiction, but I've learned that once my eyes start crossing it's time to turn off my lamp and get to sleep.  Unfortunately it's summer, and I usually wake in an hour or two with insomnia.  I have never slept well in the hottest part of the summer.  That can go on for a while before I get back to sleep.  It's very miserable.

So, I haven't made the effort to get up early to bike with the dogs, because I don't do anything at all during the day.  Unless you count the laundry, dusting cleaning, vacuuming, and mopping I manage to mix into this routine each day.  It's a good routine though.  It has evolved a great deal in the past six months, and it works for us.  It's flexible enough that we can get out on do things without messing up the eating / sleeping part too much.  I will admit that on the days Firecracker wakes up early, I often find myself wondering, "What on earth am I going to do with her?" because especially with it being so hot these days, we run out of things to do.

Maybe if I get to sleep well tonight, and no one, be it baby, dog, or husband wakes me for any reason, I'll want to get up early and bike.  Maybe.  I should probably air my tires just in case.

Pieces of Advice For My Daughter: Part One

Monday, August 6, 2012

Today Firecracker is six months old. Six months ago, I was trying to sleep, knowing that I would be going in at 5:30 in the morning to be prepped for my Caesarean. Six months ago, my water broke while I tried to sleep. In that six months, I've read several lists of things from mothers to daughters. Many of them are very long, and I lose interest or have to take care of Firecracker, so I don't ever read them completely. So, I'm splitting my advice to Firecracker into parts, hopefully four of them. It is still a work in progress. Here are the first 25 plus a couple more:
  1. You were fearfully and wonderfully made. 
  2. You were wanted a very long before you were conceived.
  3.  Laughter really is often the best medicine, but learn when it is and is not appropriate. 
  4. Be the friend you want others to be to you. 
  5. Learn and remember the difference between fake, overly sweet people and those who are sincerely good. 
  6. Don’t waste time with the insincere ones. 
  7. Honesty is never going out of style. 
  8. Just because no one can see you doing something wrong, doesn’t make it right. 
  9. Don’t let someone else define who you are.  Know yourself and love yourself so others can as well. 
  10. Don’t waste your time on people who try to play games. Games are meant to be played with balls and bats, not other people. You are neither a chess piece nor the boot in Monopoly. 
  11. It may seem like I let you fall more often than your friends’ mothers do, but it’s just because I want you to be able to pick yourself up, off the ground. 
  12. I’m always ready to pick you up when you really need me. 
  13. Understand that life rarely goes the way we plan it.  Allow room for God to fulfill His plan and enjoy the ride. 
  14. There will always be bullies in life. Together, let’s learn to deal with them and grow from the experiences. 
  15. Don’t waste your time on irrational people. They're more likely to bring you down to their level than vice versa.
  16. It’s great to have a lot of friends, but popularity is overrated. If you do become popular, be popular for having a sharp mind and your kindness toward others. Don’t be popular for being dumb, rude, hurtful and / or easy. 
  17. Especially don’t be popular for being easy. Respect yourself more than that. 
  18. It’s always good to step back to assess then reassess a situation before reacting impulsively. 
  19. For all of your actions, there will be consequences. Make good decisions so as to have good consequences. 
  20. Learn how to shoot a gun. 
  21. Learn how to do anything you would normally want a man to do for you and do it better.
  22. Do let men open doors, and pull out chairs for you.  You should always be treated like a lady.
  23. Don’t be with a man because you need him to do things in your life, but because he makes you happy. 
  24. Don’t let celebrities tell you how to think, believe, or vote. Never take the lead in something so important from people who can only act at being wise. 
  25. Celebrities aren’t role models. Look to your teachers, Sunday School teachers, and real people in your life who work hard and are good and wise to be your role models. 
  26. Always think for yourself.  Don’t be swayed by herd mentality. Following the herd and not thinking for yourself will get you trampled in a stampede and send you off of a cliff. 
  27. Know that you are and always will be loved.

The Waiting Game Part One: The Dating Game

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Not that long ago, I caught my almost twenty-year-old cousin on Twitter lamenting roughly how difficult it is to be the single person watching how happy all of your coupled up friends are.  I replied to her tweet, letting her know that I knew exactly what she meant as it doesn't seem all that long ago that I had been there, done that, and had (figuratively thus far) written the book on the experience.  We tweeted back and forth, and I like to think that maybe I gave her a little encouragement, because I do remember what it is to be the one on the outside, watching all the happy couples, possibly carrying unrequited love, but mostly just feeling lonely.

Rewind a couple of decades to well, honestly another century.  I didn't date much in high school.  In fact, I really didn't date at all until my senior year of high school.  Why?  Well, there weren't many guys in my hometown that I wanted to date and who wanted to date me.  I didn't want to date them, because i had a friend who I was head over heels crazy in love with from probably ages 13 to 20.  He was one of my best friends, and though it almost happened between us several times, it never did.  For that now, I will be eternally grateful.  Back then... well it provided enough angst to keep me watching television shows like Dawson's Creek, Party of Five, and My So-Called Life and listening to sappy love songs like "Save the Best For Last."

It's not that I didn't have the opportunity to date other people either.  I did.  There was the guy with the white Isuzu Trooper who stalked me in a rather goofy, shy way my senior year of high school.  He was a year older and drove by my house all the time and always seemed to show up where he knew I would be.  We were friends of sorts, and I (hopefully) politely turned down his offer.  He and some other people who knew my mother let her know their intentions, and of course she encouraged them. That was the wrong course to take in seeking my approval then, now, and always though.  At that time she seemed more than willing to throw me at anyone who showed any interest at all.  I always wanted more though.  I wanted more for myself and more for the person I would date, because I was given some very important advice in church as a teenager.  "Never date anyone you wouldn't consider marrying, because you never know who you'll fall in love with."  In other words, casual dating really isn't that great of an idea, and in all honesty I agree.

So, to help me get over the guy I thought was THE ONE, my friend M set me up with a friend of hers from college my senior year.  She thought we would hit it off, but it was more of a disaster than anything else.  I wasn't attracted to him, and thought he was more or less an idiot.  Last I heard, he was running for political office on the Democratic ticket in part of Oklahoma.

In college, I did the group of friends thing that everyone does.  THE ONE was still there, being a friend and in the back of my mind, and there were a few other guys that I developed crushes on.  All were better than the choices my mother was putting out in front of me.  Still yet, nothing ever happened, and I had to watch so many other people being happy.  At times, it.just.sucked.

The thing is, during all this time of loneliness and wanting what other people had, I grew up.  I wasn't constantly changing my personality for every new boyfriend.  I grew up and got to know myself.  I learned what I wanted in life and the type of people I wanted to have in my life.  I learned that I didn't need a significant other to complete me.  I liked myself and was determined not to let a boy/man define me.

So, when I was twenty-one years old, I met B while we worked together at a store in Fort Smith during summer vacation.  He was nineteen, and we became friends.  A year later, we both came back and started hanging out together.  Then we started dating, and it wasn't long before we both knew that we were going to spend our lives together.

How many missteps could I have taken over the years that would have prevented my Happily Ever After?  I honestly don't know.  I'm thankful every day quite honestly for unanswered prayers.  I'm thankful that I didn't just settle for dating anyone.  I'm not spending my life settled.  I waited until something so good came along when I wasn't looking, that I couldn't deny that it was right.

Today I'm of the opinion that most people shouldn't get overly serious with someone else until they're at least twenty years old.  Sometimes it works out, but often we don't know ourselves enough at such a young age to know what or whom we want in life.  No, I'm not looking down on those who did find the right thing early in life.  I'm just saying that a lot of people wind up taking the wrong road, because they don't know how to wait for the right one.

Also, you can't compare your life to that of others.  You just can't.  If you do, you're likely to be very unhappy.  You don't know what's going on in their lives behind the scenes.  You see just the good stuff.  By comparing your life to all the "happy couples," your misery may make you jump into something very, very wrong.
"Everybody likes to go their own way--to choose their own time and manner of devotion."
Jane Austen, Mansfield Park
English novelist (1775 - 1817)

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