My Best Friend, the Hair Dryer

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

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

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

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

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

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

Giving Tuesday

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Roll Worth Reading

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In Retrospect

Sunday, November 25, 2012

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

Smells Like Tater Tots

Friday, November 23, 2012

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Watching Airplanes

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

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

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

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

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

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

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

A World Without Twinkies (Or Donettes?)

Monday, November 19, 2012

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Year of Adjustment

Friday, November 16, 2012

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ThanksBlogging Blogging Challenge – I Am Thankful For…

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunrise on the White River

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

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

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

ThanksBlogging Blogging Challenge – Thanksgiving Memories

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

You didn't really want to be productive today, did you?
Today is Day Two of the Arkansas Women Bloggers ThanksBlogging Challenge.  Today's challenge should have been an easy one to meet; share Thanksgiving memories.  Yet, I’ve found it difficult to do so.

Maybe I found this challenge difficult because I spent today making sure B made his flight to Minneapolis, where he’s going to be working the rest of the week.  Maybe it’s because Ladybug and I then had to do part of our weekly grocery shopping.  Quite possibly it could also be due to the fact that Ladybug wasn’t interested in napping today, which meant she needed to be entertained during what I like to think of as my “free time” to blog, rest, clean quietly, and just relax.  Or it could be that because she didn’t nap properly, she fell asleep during her late afternoon bottle and was cranky most of the evening after.  Of course, in all honesty it could just be because initially I don’t have any memory of Thanksgiving that just stands out in my mind.

When I think of my childhood Thanksgivings, I remember my dad having to work a lot of the Thanksgivings, and like almost every other man in Southeastern Oklahoma, when he wasn’t working that week he was in the deer woods.  I remember my mother working furiously and truthfully angrily in the kitchen to prepare a meal that I honestly have never been too fond of.

I remember a disastrous Thanksgiving a couple of years after my dad passed away, when my mom decided that we were going to spend the holiday in Russellville with my sister who was attending ATU at the time and living in a horrid, cold, nasty trailer house.  We didn’t have real turkey but some sort of turkey product, and I just remember being miserable, wishing that I could have been in my own home, or better yet at my Granny Scott’s house with all of my cousins.

I didn’t get to spend as many Thanksgivings with my dad’s family as I would have liked as a kid.  Often, we’d just stay at home, or my mom would drag me across the county to spend a glum holiday with her family where my closest cousin in age was twenty years older than me, I wasn’t allowed to watch TV, and I had to basically just sit still all day and keep quiet.  Those visits were even weirder for the two years after my grandmother remarried at the age of 80 to an older man who cheated on her.

I do remember some Thanksgivings with my Scott family though I have much more vivid memories of Christmases with them.  I remember the guys coming in from the deer woods.  I remember playing with my cousins, Heather and Michael and any others if they were there.  I remember going to the movies with all the girl cousins when we were older.  I remember just the joking and happiness of being together, especially when Dad, Granny, and all of Dad’s seven siblings were still with us.  I love my Scott family dearly, and have made a point to spend Christmas with them if at all possible now as an adult.

B’s family gets Thanksgiving.  They have the tradition of making the trek to Little Rock every year to spend the holiday with his maternal grandparents.  I love his grandparents like they’re my own, and don’t mind doing this, though it was easier when we lived in Russellville or Bryant.  It is the only holiday that they get to spend with their family due to distance, and I love that we have that tradition, or any tradition as a matter of fact, now.  I want Ladybug to get as many Thanksgivings at her great-grandparents’ house as possible.  I want her childhood to be steeped in happy traditions, and I don’t want her to remember an angry mother resentfully slaving away in the kitchen or spending time with relatives with whom she feels no connection.

I want her to have warm memories like this of mine.  It's not of Thanksgiving, I don't think, but one get-together was just about the same as any other.  I'm one of the kids watching the movie in that small bedroom, sticking my tongue out at my dad.  My now twenty-eight-year-old cousin Michael is the five-year-old covering his face.  I was nine years old at the time, so it was 1989.  Can you guess what the movie is?

Outside the Walls Photo Challenge: ThanksBlogging Blogging Challenge Day 1

Monday, November 12, 2012

Once again, the ladies at Arkansas Women Bloggers have given another great blogging challenge. This month it is ThanksBlogging. I plan to take part in every day except for Friday. I'm not doing Friday, because as you know I'm not a foodie, nor can I fake my way through like it's an essay test from high school by using three and four-syllable words to make myself sound like I know what I'm talking about.  Today's challenge was to take a picture of something you're thankful for and edit it using Picmonkey or some other editing app or software in order to improve the product aesthetically.

When thinking of what I'm most thankful for this year, my mind doesn't go past February 6, when Ladybug was born.  I am so in love with this little girl, and that love just grows more and more every day.

Now, I've been taking pictures of her since she was born.  Also, I always take RAW images and edit the ones that I deem good enough in Photoshop Elements.  So, I didn't alter any of these pictures with the filters on picmonkey, I just made a collage of some of my favorite photos of Ladybug.  The first was taken by the hospital photographer, but the rest were all taken by yours truly.  The bottom two were taken today.  I've been trying to get some good shots of her for Nine Months for the past week and a half anyway for the photo book I'm making of her first year on Shutterfly.  I honestly have enough photos to make probably ten or more collages.

So, I'm thankful for my Ladybug, my little Firecracker.

Very Belated Colorado Post

Saturday, November 10, 2012

In trying to think of something to blog about because I've been somewhat remiss in posting this week, I realized that I have never shared our vacation in Colorado, which was almost two months ago.  For some reason, I have just never posted about our vacation.  It's probably because two days after getting home, I was beset with horrible food poisoning, and frankly something has been going on ever since then to prevent said post.  I've been telling B that I would like a normal week again for two months.  So, where do I start?

First of all, this trip was a lesson in packing for an infant.  You never know how many changes of clothes you might need, and you don't want things to get mixed up to where you don't have socks to match an outfit.  You can imagine how chaotic things would get every time you had to dig around to find an article of clothing or two.  Also, I don't know about most of you guys, but Daddy can put her in some interesting get-ups if he doesn't have clear instructions.

So I made it easy on all of us and packed each day's clothes from onsie, pants, socks, pajamas, and extra onsies, pants, and socks into a gallon ziplock bag, writing the day they were to be worn on the bag with a Sharpie.  This worked remarkably well, because I knew exactly what had been worn, what had not, and what she had left.  If could even easily switch the contents of a bag to suit each day's weather.  Also, to keep her clothes from smelling all plasticy, I also put half a dryer sheet into each bag before sealing them.   Quite honestly, I wish I had had huge ziplock bags to do the same with my clothes, because by the end of the week, it got very hard to find everything I needed each day.

The trip itself took two days, taking the Ladybug's comfort into consideration.  We spent the first night, Saturday, in Liberal, Kansas.  It was a nice-enough town, but smelled like a stock yard.  We got to Capt. B and Aunt J's house in Colorado Springs on Sunday evening and went to church with them that night.  I like to think that Ladybug liked her cousin Pistol right from the start.  The next day we got up and drove up Pike's Peak.

While we were driving up Pike's Peak, it started snowing.  Soon white-out conditions started, and almost as soon as we got to the visitor's center, they announced that it was closing.  We had time to buy a few souvenirs and change Ladybug's poopy diaper before we had to go back down the mountain.  Ladybug's diaper may have saved our lives.  We managed to get right behind a snow plow and passed a few cars that had gone off the road as we ventured down the mountain.

B was driving the Yukon, and I think he had never been that nervous driving before in his life.  The closest had to have been when we moved from Russellville to Bryant in December 2004, hit a snowstorm, had to spend the night in Morrilton, then spent the entire next day creeping along I-40 to get to our townhouse in Bryant.
We drove down that zig zag in a blizzard.

Back to our vacation though, the guy working at one of the visitor centers on the way back down from Pike's Peak took a nice family picture of all of us.

After that, we went to the Garden of the Gods.  Unfortunately a thunderstorm was approaching , so we didn't stay long.  I want to go back some day, because this is a place I find very beautiful and would love to see more of it than I was able to this time.

The next day, we visited where Capt, B is stationed and Pistol was born, Fort Carson.  While there, Ladybug had a, well a blowout diaper.  We changed her everything in the back of the Yukon. She needed the extra outfit AND socks packed for that day.  At one point, B was holding her up, stark naked in a parking lot as B's mom and I tried to clean her.  She thought this was pretty funny, and so did Pistol.  He laughed out loud for the first time (according to Aunt J) at his cousin showing her hoo-haa off to an entire army base.  I hope that A). Ladybug doesn't ever show off her hoo-haa on an army base (or anywhere else) again, and B).  Her cousin will be more protective than amused.

Once we were finished at Carson, we drove to the Royal Gorge Bridge.  Here, Ladybug and B rode a carousel together for the first time.  Ladybug had the time of her life and loved how windy it was on the bridge.  I'm afraid we have a little daredevil.

On Wednesday, we headed out from Colorado Springs toward Estes Park, where we reserved a cabin for the family.  This drive was probably the best part of the trip.  All of us are lover of foliage and beautiful scenery.  I'm pretty sure that the aspens were at their peak while we were there, and the views were just breathtaking.  How one could see such sites and not believe in God, I just can't understand.

While we were in Estes Park, we drove Trail Ridge Road in the Rocky Mountain National Park.  At one campsite, we got to get out among several cow elks and listen to the bull call them.  Again, Ladybug caused us to stay a little longer, needing a bottle, and we got to catch a glimpe of the bull in all of his majesty.  Then, at another location, we found several other elk and got to take pictures of them.  Ladybug wasn't sure about this.

We left Estes Park on Friday and made our way back to Northwest Arkansas via Wyoming, Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri, and Kansas.  Being the native Oklahoman that I am, I wasn't too pleased to spend much time in Nebraska.  However, we stopped by the world's largest rail yard in North Platte, and that was nice.  I am a railroad brat, so I appreciated that even if it was in Nebraska.

You may wonder why we didn't fly, especially because we had a baby.  The truth is, we love road trips.  We love being able to stop in rare, random places, finding historical markers, and appreciating this wonderful country of ours.  You can't appreciate the little stops along the way, if you fly over them.  Ladybug did great on the road for the most part.  By the time the sun set every evening, she was ready to call it a night, but she enjoyed her trip.  The fact that she was so good was very much a blessing.

I'm just going to share some more photos from our trip now.  Thank you for reading.

What I've Learned In Nine Months

Thursday, November 8, 2012

~ Ladybug gives the best kisses, so long as you like tooth and tongue everywhere.

~  Ladybug is actually good at sharing, though she wasn't too happy when her friend McFly hid her Mickey Mouse the other day.

~  Ladybug likes people in costumes.  She loves some guy in a Mickey Mouse costume especially, even though he freaks out everyone else.

~  Chasing Grandpa's fat cat, Gibbs is fun... for Ladybug.  It's entertaining for us, because he's a very pampered cat.

~  I think that the common cold is a form of biological warfare.

~ I've got to start making Ladybug wear sunglasses more often and leave them on her, so that when she eventually has to wear glasses for her astigmatism she'll do well.

~  I like calling the Firecracker Ladybug now, after Halloween.  Also, Ladybug just sounds more like a little southern belle and dignified.  Her real name has a nice flow to it, so I think I'm going to stick to calling her Ladybug here for now.

~  B learned not to "test" toys at Toys R Us to see if they're dangerous.  The electrical engineer stuck his hand in a toy toaster that was rated for a two-year-old, and lost part of his knuckle.

~ I am relearning the importance of a twenty-minute catnap most afternoons.  Since we were ill, Ladybug's naptime has hit me like a wall, and I need a few minutes to catch up on what I don't get at night.  Ladybug needs one to three hours.

~  For the most part, Ladybug likes taking her afternoon nap and going to bed at night.  She even does a little dance when I put her in her crib.

~  However, we found out the hard way this week that she cannot sleep in two-piece pajamas.  We've hit 12 Months in pj's, and sometimes it's easier to find 2-piece sets.  She woke up in the middle of the night screaming.  I changed her into a pair of her footie pj's, and she slept all night long.

~  Books have suddenly become her favorite toy.  She has always liked being read to, but now she can't get enough.  Now, she'll bring a book for you to read to her.  She managed to get B to read six books to her before she went to bed one night.  Thankfully they were all really short board books (Thanks, Louise!).  Also, she loves finger puppet books.

~  Our guy didn't win the election Tuesday, but I think Ladybug and McFly might make great running mates some day.

~ I have a collection of leather-bound books that I have neglected some in later years.  I'm going to rectify that and also start a collection of leather-bound children's books for Ladybug.  Her first book is "The Secret Garden," and we're reading a bit of it every afternoon before her long nap.

~ The fact that Ladybug is now crawling is both awesome and extremely frightening.  I am so proud of her, but at the same time I realize that this is her first step toward independence.  Next will be walking, then running, then eventually walking across the stage at high school graduation, into the halls of university, and down the aisle someday to her husband.  When I am tired and weary, I have to remember to cherish these days, because she is just mine for only a little while.  Then I remember something an old friend friend from back when we were in the church nursery posted on Facebook,  "When Satan tempts me to despair of my children getting older, I am gently reminded that milestones met, means God has been gracious in sustaining life. Learning to be thankful."

39 Weeks

Monday, November 5, 2012

I don't do weekly progress posts with Ladybug anymore, but I had to mention that today she has been out of the womb as long as she was in it.  Today she is 39 weeks old.  I honestly wouldn't know how many weeks she is anymore, if not for the weekly progress emails I get.

It's hard to believe that 39 weeks ago, my water broke a few hours before I was scheduled to go in for a cesarean.  I wasn't sure if my water broke, because it was a gradual thing.  However, Miss Lucy knew something was wrong.  She got upset and had to be taken outside for a bout of diarrhea.  Then she stuck like glue to me in bed, while I took a shower and shaved my legs, put on my makeup, and fixed my hair a little.  Yes, I was in denial.  It wasn't supposed to happen that way.

Nothing in our plan really changed, except B got to watch my contractions come and go until I went in to surgery with the joy of an engineer.  I was not impressed.  All in all though, the end result was worth all 39 weeks of nausea, back pain, swollen ankles, and eventual waddling.

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