The Highs and Lows of 2013

Tuesday, December 31, 2013


  • Teething - We're finally in a break until the two-year molars start trying to pop through, and L is a much happier little girl.
  • Single parenting it on when Bart's either out of town of working insane hours.
  • Actually being awake in the middle of the night and able to watch the coverage of the Boston Marathon Bomber manhunt.
  • The Cards loosing the World Series
  • The entire Arkansas Razorback football season.
  • SNotorious BIG, Snowmageddon, Snowpocalypse, The Never Ending Snow-Day

Things to look forward to in 2014:
  • Potty training Ladybug.
  • Going to Prince Edward Island with Bart.
  • My cousin Devyn's wedding.
  • Future blessings.

Pressing Toward the Goal (10th Anniversary)

Friday, December 20, 2013

Cue the Shania Twain music, because it "looks like we made it."  Today Bart and I are celebrating ten years of marriage.  Ten years!  That's almost a third of my life since you know 30 passed a few years ago.  It seems like such a long time, but it doesn't, you know?

In comparison with so many marriages today, ten years seems like a long time.  It seems as if we've made it.  We haven't; not really.  I don't even consider us at the midpoint of our life together.  I certainly pray that it isn't anything but still the early stages.  We're in this thing for the long haul, till death do us part.  What have I learned in ten years?  Marriage is hard.

No.  I'm serious.  It is hard work.  At first it's difficult getting used to living with this completely other person.  Yes, in a biblical sense you become one, but you do not just suddenly meld minds.  Then as the years go by you have to continue to look for things to love about your spouse, because sometimes the little things they can do to irritate you can hold your attention more than the things you love if you let them.

I'll be honest.  We fight.  We will probably always fight at times, because we're both rather adversarial people.  I can't imagine a marriage where there isn't some sort of fighting at some point, because no matter what, there are two different people attempting to coexist for life.

Bart and I are very different people.  He is a very devoted fan of country music.  I abhor most of it.  I love classic literature and majored in English.  I am constantly reading something.  Bart isn't a great reader and would rather pour over some scientific study or manual than a good story.   Yet we also have a great deal in common.  First of all, we're both Christian. That said, we both are very conservative in our ideology.  We love college sports, especially football.  We love cameras and photography.  There are several other things that I just don't have space to list.

I think that the most important thing I've learned in ten years is to put God first in our marriage.  Seek him daily in his Word, and things come into perspective better.  Secondly, put my marriage above all other relationships.  We may not be as social as most people, but when Bart has free time we often spend that time together as a family.  I've watched marriages crumble when both parties spent their free time anywhere but together, as if they couldn't stand to actually be together for very long.

We also don't keep secrets.  I've had my mother tell me before, "Don't tell Bart this...."  Too late.  You've told me, so I will tell Bart.  Period.  I grew up with a secretive, co-dependent mother and older sister.  I don't play that game anymore.  Honestly we don't play relationship games at all.  Of course that means that my relationships with my mother and sister aren't great.  That's fine.  They were never healthy and edifying.  Bart and I created our own family, and it comes first.  I'm a firm believer in Genesis 2:24.

As I stated earlier.  I don't feel like we've made it yet, not really.  We hopefully have a very long life together ahead of us.  I think of marriage, like life, as a race.  Philippians 3:14 states, "I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus."  I press on toward the goal of a godly, happy marriage till death do us part.

Ten years by the numbers:

  • 10 Christmases here and there
  • 10 Thanksgivings in Little Rock
  • 4 different homes and cities
  • 2 different trucks
  • 2 different cars
  • A run-in with a deer in 1 truck.
  • 2 dogs
  • 2 bouts with kidney stones (all him)
  • 2 pregnancies
  • 1 miscarriage
  • 1 joyous birth
  • 1 family

The Never-Ending Snow Day

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Soooo.  I'm not sure you may have noticed, but we had a little snowstorm here last week.  We all knew that it was coming, but I don't think anyone was prepared for the reality of being snowed in for days on end.  In the eight years since Bart and I moved to Northwest Arkansas, we've seen years with very little snow, and we've seen years with epic ice storms and record snowfall.  I'm afraid this year is going to fall into the epic and record category.  It isn't even technically winter, and we've already had over 6" of snow and have been snow-bound for over five days.

The freezing rain and sleet started on Thursday.  I spent the day trying to get the house in order so that we could give our friend Brandon a place to sleep that night, because he lives in Fort Smith and didn't need to try to get home that night then work again in Fayetteville the next morning.  Also, I wanted to start off with the house not a total disaster area, because I knew after a day or two of being snowed in, it would be a pit anyway.

Friday morning we got up early to see Brandon off.  It started snowing while we all slept.  Bart worked from home.  It was the first time he has tried to work from home since Ladybug has become more mobile and vocal.  It wasn't easy keeping a toddler quiet while Daddy talked on the phone to all of the people he had to talk to.  Meanwhile Lucy had decided to enjoy the snow and almost froze off her tail.

Before Ladybug went down for her afternoon nap, we suited up and played in the white stuff a bit.  She loved it so much more than the Christmas snow from last year.  In fact, every day when I dress her, she asks to "Go outside?  Play in snow?"  We went out as much as we could, but the temperatures were so low that we didn't need to be outside for very long.  Ladybug did learn from her Daddy to eat snow.  I think she has an addiction now.

It was so cold that Saturday the snow was still here.  My northern friends are probably laughing when I stated that.  However, usually by Day 3 we're able to get out and about.  We watched college football, especially the Bedlam Game (BOOMER SOONER!).  My girl loves her OU, just like her Momma.  That night, Bart and I rented  the new The Great Gatsby on iTunes.  I'm actually thankful that we didn't get to see it in the theater.  It wasn't that good.  It was too. as Bart put it, "overproduced."  It tried too hard.  It was completely too ostentasious and as my friend and former high school English teacher stated when I mentioned it on Facebook, "sparkly."

Church was cancelled Sunday, but I had to get out of the house.  Honestly I really needed to go to the store for a few very important items, because I didn't know how long the roads would be too dangerous to drive on without four-wheel-drive, and Bart's in Oklahoma City Tuesday-Thursday.  We grabbed a burger at Feltner Brothers and then braved Walmart.

Monday Bart went back to work, and we tried to get back into our normal routine.  It was difficult to really get into our routine though, because I spent all day waiting on the Schwan's guy to make our delivery.  He's scheduled to come every other Monday from 11-1.  For obvious reasons he was super late Monday.  I'm always afraid I won't hear him, so it's hard for me to get busy doing anything else while waiting.  I'm not complaining about his being late.  Heaven knows I'm just happy we had that delivery at all with the condition of the roads.  That night we helped Bart to pack for his trip.

Tuesday was our normal day.  I did laundry and other housework.  I also spent a lot of time hanging with my girl.  We played outside with Lucy and Dory a couple of times, and Ladybug decided that she likes to walk on ice.

Today, we ventured out into the world!  We did a little shopping at Northwest Arkansas Mall, then we drove all the way up to Bentonville to drop off our donations to our church''s Christmas Store.  The Christmas Store is Saturday, and they're really behind on donations.  I hope everyone is able to fulfill their commitments, because this is the first year we're volunteering, and I can't wait to be a part of it!  Most importantly, I hope the families who really need the Christmas Store are able to get what they need and also are able to hear the true message of Christmas.

Tomorrow, the kids are finally back in school.  It has been an entire week since they were in class.  That really has nothing to do with us, but it's good to know.  There have been a great many complaints at how poorly our roads have been treated, causing the entire region to be crippled for days.  The worst part of this is that it isn't even technically winter yet. It's going to be a long, cold season, I'm afraid.  I much prefer the milder ones we've had the previous two years.  I was not bred for the cold.

How have you been lately?

What I'm Really Thankful For

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

This is a post that I started in vain the Monday after Thanksgiving.  The busyness of Thanksgiving claimed an unexpected victim in my blog.  Then a head cold prevented any constructive thought.  The Snowpocalypse, Snowtorious BIG (that was cute a week ago but not so much anymore), Snowmageddon, or whatever you want to call it then arrived.  Blogging and just alone-time in general isn't easy to come by when you're all trapped together inside the house for days.  I'll save all of that for another, later post.

You may or may not have noticed that I didn't participate in any of those 30 Days of Thankfulness posts on social media or here.  I'm not a big fan of Thanksgiving as just a day or month.   It's kind of like how I'm not a fan of making a big deal about Valentine's Day.  We should show our feelings to those we love the most every day, not just one in particular.  We should also be thankful every day, not just that one Thursday in November or for that month.  I am very thankful for so many things; things that I don't always take the time to notice but are very important to our lives.  I would like to list them here.

  • The first thing that I'm thankful for is the assurance of my salvation.  I know that when I was 14 I asked Jesus to be the Lord of my life.  I know this.  That knowledge is the bedrock of who I am, what I believe, and the joy in my life.
  • I am thankful that when I was 21 years old I met a guy at our summer job.  I wasn't looking to meet anyone in particular at that job, but I did.  We became friends.  We started dating the next summer and married a year after that.  We are just ten days shy of our tenth wedding anniversary.
  • I'm thankful that Bart is someone who wants essentially the same things that I want in a home and life together.  
  • I am thankful for Bart's job.  He may work long hours sometimes and often have to be out of town, but he works for a company that believes in him, appreciates him, and he has grown not only as an engineer but as Christian, a husband, a friend, and a father while working there and with the people he works with.  We are very blessed with where Bart works.
  • I am also thankful that Bart's job provides for us so that I am able to be home with Ladybug.  We may not have as many things as everyone else.  We may not get to go on as many vacations, and we may never live in a bigger, fancier house than the one we have now.  However, when Ladybug is sick we don't have to juggle schedules to take care of her.  When the snow hit, we didn't have to worry about missing work because her daycare was closed.   It has been a blessing to not have to worry about having to get on these treacherous roads.
  • I'm thankful for our home.  It keeps us warm in the winter, cool in the summer, and shelters us from whatever mother nature throws at us.  It may not be the most luxurious house there is, but it is home.  That is what matters.  On these cold nights when I go up to check on Ladybug sleeping snuggly, soundly, and warmly in her bedroom, I am very thankful that I don't have to worry about protecting her from the elements.
  • I also am thankful that I don't have to worry from where my child's next meal is coming.  We don't have to go to bed with empty stomachs.  Like I said, I'm thankful for so many things that are easily taken for granted.
  • I'm thankful that after five years, Bart and I finally started going to Sunday School at our church.  It's a blessing that I've sorely missed.
  • Lastly, I'm thankful for these two.  Bart isn't the perfect husband, but he is the perfect one for me.  He is a good, God-fearing and loving man with a huge, soft heart.  He may seem hard, but really he is anything but.  Ladybug is a sweet, intelligent, healthy, funny girl.  The other night when Bart was saying her nightly prayer with her at bedtime, she chimed in while he was thanking God and praying for different things and said, "and Momma?"  Let me tell you, I needed that after the day she had given me.  I am very blessed with these two and love them more than any things or other people.  Being wife and Momma to them is what truly makes me happy. 

The Difference Between Happiness and Joy

Monday, November 25, 2013

Saturday, my Oklahoma Sooners beat Kansas State 41-31 in Manhattan.  That made me happy.  Then I remembered that we had already lost to both Baylor and Texas, and we still have the Bedlam game in Stillwater against an on fire Oklahoma State team.

I buy a new outfit that I love.  I wear it whenever I can because I feel great in it.  That makes me incredibly happy... for a while.  Fast forward a couple of years, and the same outfit depresses me, because it's old and worn.  That happiness, like all others was fleeting.

Happiness is a fleeting thing.  No happiness is lasting, because happiness is often based on things and circumstances.  I'm happy sometimes, and sometimes I am anything but.  Let me tell you, it's not easy being happy when your toddler is throwing a tantrum and won't stop screaming.  It's difficult to be anything but immensely sad when a pregnancy you have waited so long for ends in miscarriage.  Happiness doesn't rear its head when when a parent dies, or you have to watch your loved ones rip apart their lives and those of the people whom they are supposed to love the most over and over again to the point you are physically ill.  

Happiness is but a vapor in the wind.  People constantly seek happiness.  They try to buy it or find it in adventure or other people.  They may find it, but when happiness is over, the valley below the peak can be very, very low.  I guess it's kind of like the euphoria of being on drugs, followed by coming down off of them.  The good news is that while happiness is fleeting, joy is eternal.

Ok. I'm sure you may be saying, "Wait a minute.  Happiness and joy are the same things, aren't they? They're just synonyms."  They are similar, but they aren't entirely the same thing.  The greatest difference between the two is that while happiness isn't constant, joy is.  Why?  Joy, true joy comes from the Lord and not things or circumstances.

This was a discussion we had in Sunday school yesterday (yes, we actually made because no one was sick or out of town!).  We have a very big Sunday school class, and several members are going through very difficult times right now.  Those people...well... momentary happiness isn't what's sustaining them right now, nor is it what really sustains any of us.  Beyond the hurt and the pain, the sadness and the grief, even the anger and frustrations there is still joy.  There is still a peace, because of the promise of Hebrews 13:5.  "Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

Knowing that God is with us at all times and will never leave us is a reason to be joyful.  I am his, and he is mine.  Nothing can shake that, nothing at all.  He is always with us, even when we aren't necessarily with him.  Most of the time we don't understand why we're going through what we're experiencing, but God allows things to happen in order for us to grow.

In the four years we spent trying to have a baby, I was at one point at my lowest probably ever in my life.  I wanted a baby so badly, and it seemed that everyone could have one easily except for me.  I tried to fill that desire with things like my dogs.  Now, I love Lucy and Dory, but the love I have for them is surpassed exponentially by my love for Ladybug.  They made me happy, but in them I still couldn't find everlasting joy.  Then I got pregnant.  I finally had what I had wanted so desperately, only it was taken away at eight weeks.  

I was devastated, and yet that was really about the time I believe that I really grew up more spiritually.  I still loved my dogs, but I leaned heavily of God and my faith in him.  Somehow in the midst of everything, I remembered my joy could only be found in him.  I had to realize that people and things couldn't give me joy, only little flecks of happiness.  I rejoiced in the Lord for just being alive and loved and trusted in him.  Before I was ever pregnant with Ladybug, I still had the "joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart," because once again I was actively seeking him.

This week most of us will sit down and give thanks for the blessings God has bestowed upon us.  Yet we should be thankful all of the time.  1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 states:  "Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you."

Rejoice always, even when things make us anything but happy there is still joy.  Give thanks in all circumstances.  We don't have to be thankful for all circumstances, but in all circumstances we should still be thankful.  There is always something to be thankful for.  Those of us who know the Lord have been given joy and peace, which are worth more than simple, worldly happiness.  
"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid." - John 14:27
Do you know joy?  Or, are you still pursuing things that bring a short-lived happiness?  I invite you to know Jesus, know joy, and know peace.

A National Tragedy and a Blind Date

Friday, November 22, 2013

Here it is, November of 2013, and I'm watching "Killing Kennedy" on my DVR.  It's surely the first of several specials that will air this month in commemoration of the fiftieth anniversary of the assassination of President Kennedy.  So many thoughts come to mind when watching these specials.  The most surprising to you would be that I probably wouldn't exist if not for Kennedy's assassination.

What happened in Dallas fifty years ago today was one of those terrible, defining moments in our nation's history.  It was the loss of innocense for a generation who would have all innocence lost soon enough by the war in Vietnam and the other events of the 60's, 70's, and beyond. Most everyone who was alive and old enough back then remembers where they were when it happened, much like people of my generation remember where they were.  My parents were both seniors in high school.  My dad lived in little Stapp-Zoe, Oklahoma and attended school in Heavener.  My mom lived at my grandparents' filling station and cafe in Shady Point.  They met on a blind date the night of November 22. 1963.

Having lived through national tragedies, it isn't at all unbelievable that while the adults were distracted with the events of the day, the young people would desire to go out and seek the company of people their own age.  My mother has stated that her parents were so distracted with the news that they were less strict with her that night than normal.  The events of the day probably also gave them something to talk about, possibly taking away some of the awkward moments that can occur on blind dates and when meeting strangers.  Somehow despite or because of the horrible thing that had happened, my parents met, fell in love, and were married the following November.

Now I'm not one to rejoice in another's sorrow and loss at all.  However, isn't it interesting how God takes these horrible, horrible events and still yet something good can come from them?  Things like Kennedy's death, the Oklahoma City Bombing, and 9-11 often bring people together.  They bring perspective to what matters in life and what we really want.  They make us open up in ways we wouldn't always otherwise.

Has a certain event in history had a profound effect on your life?

2013 Rewind Friday: Milestones

Thursday, November 21, 2013

This week's Rewind Friday is actually coming on Thursday, because I have another special post for tomorrow.  This week's is special because it documents a very big occurrence at our house, Ladybug's first steps.  This week, rather than repost it, I'm going to leave a link.


Weekly Randomosity

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

  • You can tell how much Walmart trusts most of the people who shop there.  While picking up odds and ends with Ladybug last week, I tried to just feel how heavy two different models of iPad were because I'm wanting a new one for Christmas.  I barely touched one, and alarms sounded.  I just walked away with my shopping cart and child, ever so nonchalantly.
  • Monday here was a very Mondayish Monday, complete with a nine or ten-year-old boy who decided to climb our privacy fence and cut across out back yard to get home.  He just had the poor timing to do this at the exact moment the girls and I were going out back to try and take pictures for Christmas cards.  Lucy and Dory ran straight after him, treeing him on our fence.  Ladybug let out the shrillest girly cry and stayed back on the patio while I talked with the young man.  He was bawling and probably wet himself.  I took my time running inside for leashes and tried to nicely explain to him that he could have run into something far worse, trespassing like that.  I'm sure he probably hates me.  However, it was a teachable moment, and I doubt he'll be jumping our fence anytime soon.  Meanwhile, I still just have these outtakes and nothing really card-worthy.
  • I'm trying to not get too worried about Ladybug's recent refusal to eat much.  She's been pushing her last two canines through the past couple of weeks, but I'm realizing that she's also trying to be more in control with this attitude.  Don't worry, she's getting nutrition.  I'm not a fan of the whole "let her be hungry" bit.  I Googled "my two-year-old won't eat" and found that it is a very common phase at this age.  I'm fairly certain I went through the same phase as a child, but I didn't have all the wonderful nutritional supplements they have now.
  • Sunday after church, Ladybug went out with Bart to let the dogs potty.  They both decided that it was the perfect time for a roll in the grass.  Ladybug thought it looked so fun that she decided to roll in the grass too.  Bart took a funny series of pictures because of it.  Apparently once Lucy realized that Ladybug was rolling around in the grass too, she got worried and had to check on her kid.  People don't do that!
  • Saturday I met or at least waved at several other members of the Arkansas Women Bloggers as we stood in line FOUR HOURS at one of the Walmart stores in Rogers to get a signed book.   At one point on Twitter I suggested that we play Marco Polo. Mine is a Christmas present, so I'm not going to elaborate more on the book.  My friend Erin  at Bideawee Forest went with me.  We spent the entire four hours talking.  Bart had Ladybug for the day, and Erin's husband Brandon, who has been Bart's friend since like kindergarten, hung out with them that afternoon.  It was an enjoyable four hours, even though it was on our feet.
  • Sunday night Bart and I took Ladybug to Steven Curtis Chapman's Glorious Unfolding Tour, that just happened to be at our church.  Laura Story and Jason Gray opened.  It was a wonderful experience.  This was the second time Bart and I had been to see SCC in concert.  We went to see him and Mercy Me back in 2005 at what was then Alltel Arena in Little Rock for a Christmas concert.  Steven Curtis Chapman is the first christian artist that Bart has ever really liked.  He called him "the Garth Brooks of Christian music."  If you know Bart, you know that is the highest praise.  His shows never disappoint.  Back to Sunday night, Ladybug thoroughly enjoyed her night, even if was long.  We almost left at one point, but decided to stay right before he sang "Cinderella."  If you know the story of that song, and the death of his daughter Maria, you know what a blessing it was to hear his testimony and for him to sing it.  If you're the parent of a little girl, you have to buy "Cinderella," even if like us, you're not into princesses.  We were very blessed by the entire concert and have decided to make a point to always see SCC whenever he is anywhere near.
  • While shopping at Sam's, Ladybug and I came across this book, "Santa Is Coming To Arkansas."  I couldn't help but buy it.  It's cute and teaches names of places in Arkansas.  Clement Clark Moore and anapestic tetrameter it is not.  I'm going to call it free verse, but I seriously doubt the author ever studied rhyme and metre.
  • Count me among those who find Kmart's new Joe Boxer Jingle Bells commercial too racy.  If I ever did shop at Kmart these days, I would probably stop.
  • Last year we tried to get Ladybug to play in a pile of leaves, and she acted like we were trying to kill her.  This year, she runs and jumps into the leaves on her own.  So much can change in a year.

Always Clarabelle Cow, Never Minnie Mouse

Monday, November 18, 2013

Clarabelle Cow.  What can I say about her?  She has probably THE MOST annoying voice in all animationdom.  She often irritates the heck out of me.  She is gangly and gawky.  She obviously studied dancing from Elaine Benes.

She does have an awesome way of getting things done in the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse world.  She's a real Go-Getter and is very industrious.  She's friends with all of the Clubhouse Gang, and even seems to be romantically involved with Goofy.  She has the respect of everyone, even sneaky old Pete.  They involve her in most of the celebrations and goings-on at the Clubhouse.  However, she's not one of the Sensational Six.  She's always on the fringes, but never in the inner group.  She is often the person standing outside of everything watching the others as they do things.  I am so Clarabelle Cow.

All of my life I've had friends.  I've had very good friends.  Most of the time though I've often been the person on the fringes of my groups of friends.  Rarely have I ever been a part of that wonderful inner sanctum of closeness.  There was a time in high school and early on in college when I was a part of my own Sensational Six (or so), and I loved it, but it was also exhausting. When I was younger, it used to bother me to sometimes be left out of things.  It would bring out feelings of jealousy and often fed my snarkiness. 

When I first saw the comparison between Clarabelle Cow and myself, I was rather embarrassed.  Who wants to be Clarabelle when you can be Minnie or even Daisy?  My gosh, that's almost like wanting to be Eliza Jane Wilder rather than Laura Ingalls.  Then I thought about it a bit, and I realized that where I am today I'm fine being Clarabelle Cow.  Why?

I realize that I'm often on the fringes of things because I am an introvert.  I'm not spectacularly outgoing.  I can be at times, but I prefer not to be.  I can converse with people without being overly awkward.  I can enjoy being with my friends, but I will never want to spend every waking minute being busy or doing things with others beyond my family.  It's exhausting.  I'm thankful for a quiet week at home after the busy, crazy, wonderful weekend we had, because I'm one of those people who needs to recharge and just be at home more often than I need to see and be seen.  I do enjoy getting out from time to time though and need it occasionally.

I am Clarabelle Cow, and I'm ok with that.  I am who God made me.  It's good to occasionally step outside our comfort zones, but when we try to fit ourselves into molds that are not our own, no one is happy.  The world needs the Clarabelle Cows to run the Moo-Marts, hold the carnivals, and such.  I'm happy just being me.

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”
1 Samuel 16:7English Standard Version (ESV) 

Tell me, are there any more Clarabelles out there?  If so, let me know! 

2013 Rewind Friday: The Blessings Of Ordinary Days

Friday, November 15, 2013

This week's Rewind Friday post is from April.  It's titled "The Blessings of Ordinary Days."  You'll find mention of a Photo-a-Day blog that I started at the beginning of the year and kept up with fairly well until May.  My birthday and other things kept me from keeping up with things, and I gave up that endeavor rather than trying to force it.   The sentiments of the post remain though, and I hope you'll enjoy it.

I turned around, and my little baby has grown into a sweet, capable little girl.  I think it happened some time last week, or maybe last month.  I don't really know when it happened, because it came both so gradually and yet so suddenly that it constantly takes me by surprise.  Just the other day I was putting shoes on her feet, only to have her kick them off as soon as possible.  Today, she brought one of her shoes to me so we could go play outside, and when I asked her to find the other and bring it to me, she did.  Every day she eats a little more big-person food, and takes a little less baby food and formula (thank goodness).  Every day her walking improves to where can almost sprint.  I both love and hate these new developments.  Parenting has to be the most polarizing occupation imaginable.

I spent the first thirty-two years of my life, always waiting until the next big thing was going to happen, thinking then life would really start.  Suddenly now I'm on longer wishing for life to pass me.  Now I find myself praying, "Dear God, please let time slow down or even stop for a while.  Please let her stay little and innocent as long as possible."

Sometimes life can seem monotonous when you're a SAHM.  Then I remembered that sometimes life could get monotonous in the workplace too.  Doing the same thing, day in and day out can have that effect on you no matter where you spend your days.  Slowly I'm learning that life is more than waiting on the next big, adventure.  It is finding the joy, the inspiration, the laughter, and mostly the blessings of ordinary days.

I don't want to miss a thing in Ladybug's life.  I want to forget nothing.  I don't want to find myself sitting at her college graduation or wedding, still waiting on better, happier things to happen.  My mother has spent her life wanting better, never being content, and never finding happiness with me, with herself, or really anything or anyone.  I want to take time to realize and appreciate the importance of ordinary days.  I want Ladybug to know that she is enough; that I am happy with her.  I want her to know that she is a blessing in my life and not sound fake or frankly full of it when I say it.

My photo-a-day blog, 365,000 Words, isn't a masterpiece.  Most of the pictures are taken not with my DSLR, but my iPhone.  It is helpful in aiding my search for something each day that inspires me, gives me joy, and makes the ordinary day a little extraordinary.  The Lord made each and every day, not just the ones when something major happens.  He makes the days we spend washing and folding laundry, the days we work on a deadline, the days we're suffering from the throw-ups, and the days when the juice spills, the dogs get the floor muddy, the baby/kid is clingy and crying, and you just wish that Calgon could take you away for a while.  He's there, in all of it.  We just have to life up our eyes, look around the tasks at hand, and see the silly smiles, the budding flowers, the way the sun filters through a window, or to feel the coziness of a dog curled on your feet.  In doing so, maybe time will slow for just a little bit.

Psalm 118:24

English Standard Version (ESV)
This is the day that the Lord has made;

    let us rejoice and be glad in it.

Weekly Randomosity

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

  • Ladybug was hoarse and had a croupy cough from Friday of last week until Monday.  She never ran fever, but it was evident she didn't feel very good.  So in order to keep her from being exposed to more germs we stayed home from church Sunday.  Also, I decided to go to Walmart alone while Bart was home with Ladybug, thinking I would enjoy the time alone that afternoon.  Let me tell you.... It is easier to buy groceries with a toddler who wants everything during the week than it is to fight the crowds on Sunday.
  • I'm fairly certain that this year's Sooners and Razorbacks are God's way of reminding me not to store my hope and joy on earthly things... like football.
  • A year ago when all Ladybug would watch on TV was Mickey Mouse and occasionally Play With Me Sesame, I never would have imagined that she would absolutely love Charlie Brown! Just before Halloween I pulled out our Charlie Brown holiday Blu-rays so she could watch The Great Pumpkin.  Now we watch "Charlie Brown!" every day it seems.  It is nice being able to get past Mickey Mouse, even though he is still well-loved here.
  • After not having a bike for a week (because I kinda accidentally sold mine at our yard sale), then not being able to go for my early-morning rides for another week because Bart was in Arizona, then being sick, I finally went for an early morning ride again with Dory yesterday.  If felt wonderful!  I love my new bike!  Then the temperature dropped, the wind decided to get nasty, and I'm back to not biking in the mornings for at least a few days.
  • Speaking of biking with Dory.  After biking most mornings with me and running frequently with Bart since June, Dory Gale has lost 8 pounds between when we had her bordatella updated in May and her yearly exam last weekend.  In fact, she lost so much weight in so little time that our vet started giving her a very thorough exam.  Bart had to explain how we stepped up her exercise.  We're only hoping now that the winter isn't so long and severe that all our progress is lost.
  • Bart has been asking me what I want to do for our 10th wedding anniversary in December.  I told him to surprise me.  We're saving for a trip to Canada next summer, but we still wanted to do something to commemorate the actual day.  His work Christmas party is the night before, so I'm going to drop her off with his parents to spend (hopefully if she's agreeable to it) a couple of days with her grandparents.  Today, he texted me that we have reservations somewhere, the night of the 20th at 7 pm.  We've never been very good at surprises and romance.  Every time in our early days together he tried to surprise me, something got in the way - including his plans to ask me to marry him.  Needless to say, I'm curious what he has in store for us.  I can be pretty sure that it's not dancing.  We are the whitest, most Baptisty Baptists on the planet, I think.
  • With the weather getting colder, I have two very cuddly puppy dogs, and I love it!
  • I have a friend with a little boy a month or two younger than Ladybug.  He has started cutting his two-year-molars.  Ladybug has been nasty-fussy this week because her top two canines have finally decided to pop through.  I cannot imagine how horrible the two-year-molars will be.  Miss Slowest Teether On the Planet can wait a while before she starts cutting those, I hope.  Like, I'm hoping until after Christmas at least.
  • I'm thankful that Ladybug is less opposed to wearing a coat this winter.  She's learning that they actually serve a purpose, and she doesn't want to miss out on playing outside just because she won't wear a coat.  Now, if I can talk her into wearing mittens.  She's probably too much like her daddy to do that though.
  • While Bart was in Arizona, he started watching Duck Dynasty.  So, now we're a Duck Dynasty family.  It's ok though, because Silas voiced a character on the new VeggieTales Christmas movie Merry Larry and the True Light Of Christmas.  Ladybug has loved VeggieTales music for a while and is now really starting to love watching them as well.
  • After a late-night chat with my friend Cathy, I recently considered becoming an Amazon Affiliate here on the blog only to find out that due to stupid tax laws in Arkansas, Arkansans are banned from becoming Amazon Affiliates.  Times like this I feel like we are still in a very backwards state.  I love Arkansas, but I've never loved the way they collect taxes.  Seriously, why in THE WORLD must we assess every year?  Really, this is weird to any of us who weren't raised here all of our lives.
  • Despite not feeling well, Ladybug's vocabulary seems to have exploded again recently.  There's less gibberish and more intelligible language being spoken... endlessly
  • I've been trying to decide between an iPad Air and iPad mini with Retina as my Christmas gift this year.  I'm bequeathing my old, 1st Gen to Ladybug.  Which would you prefer?

The Tug of War of Outgrowing Relationships

Monday, November 11, 2013

Recently I've watched as someone I'm close to has gone through the drama of severing ties with a close friend.  She's tried to work things out over and over again, I believe, but it comes down to they have such vastly different lifestyles, beliefs, and (the real kicker) parenting styles that the relationship has become more detrimental than beneficial.  What it comes to is that one party believes in discipling and parenting their child while the other is vastly against disciplining her child.  Meanwhile the undisciplined child acts out in a potentially harmful way around the disciplined child, possibly harming and evidently teaching him to behave in ways his parents strongly disapprove
While once they had many things in common, these two friends have reached an impasse.  One is taking one path, and the other a different path.  There are times in life when this is absolutely the best thing to do.  Oftentimes as we grow as people, we also outgrow relationships.  Holding on to a relationship that we have outgrown can often be harmful.

I'm not saying that with every change in life, we should shed our old friends that we've had forever and find new ones.  I'm not saying that at all.  However, sometimes we take different paths and trying to keep one foot planted in the past while marching forward will cause injury to you and possibly to those you love.

You can never move forward when you're constantly being pulled back into the past.  You're usually just being pulled in different directions until you're being torn apart emotionally.  In trying to keep all sides happy no one, especially you, is usually happy, and your all of your relationships can be injured.

If you look back at your life, you probably can think of several people who may have been considered your best friend at some point in your life.  Chances are that your best friend in kindergarten wasn't when you were in the sixth grade.  The best friend you had in sixth grade may have had different interests in high school, and you both probably found new best friends then.  Your high school besties, maybe went to a different college or chose a different life-path than you, and you bonded with another set of friends.  After college, you possibly worked in different locations and found yet more sets of friends who could be considered a best friend.

You may still maintain a relationship with the friends of your past, even from kindergarten, but as you have grown from stage to stage in life the closeness you once had with a friend may have been outgrown and lost.  It is perfectly understandable that you bond more with those with whom you have the most in common at certain stages of life.  It is a perfectly natural part of life to continually outgrow relationships.  Sometimes in life it's a necessity to do so though, for your own good.

I personally went through a period of time when I tried to maintain a relationship with people from my past who could not let go of what I once was to them.  Looking back it was never a healthy relationship to begin with, using guilt and manipulation to get what they wanted from people, especially me.  It caused a great deal of stress in my life.  It actually caused so much stress that I had become so accustomed to said stress that I didn't even know I was experiencing stress from them.  I just had a persistent eye twitch for some reason.

We tried to set new boundaries in hopes to still maintain a relationship but hopefully prevent the past, stress-causing behavior.  The boundaries only made the other party angry, causing them to lash out in the way they did.  They kept trying to pull me back into the way our relationship had always been in the past; the way that was anything but healthful and beneficial to me.  Finally it just got to the point where I couldn't take it anymore and had to sever ties completely.

It was like a burden had been lifted from my shoulders.  My health and my state-of-mind greatly improved.  Once I was removed from the stressors, I realized what damage they were actually doing to me.   I'm not going to lie and say that it wasn't a difficult decision.  I won't lie and say that I haven't second-guessed my decision several times.   Yet, I know that I can never allow life to go back to the misery that it was in the past.  To even attempt to maintain a casual acquaintance was impossible, because of the inevitability of being pulled back into the past relationship.

Sometimes the most difficult and painful decision is the best.  Sometimes we have to stop the tug of war between what was and what really is.  The frayed leading strings that pull us hither and yon sometimes just need to be cut for not only our own welfare, but that of those we love the best.  It's not always a matter of forgiveness, manipulation, or in some way "showing them."  Sometimes it's a matter of survival and getting yourself out and away from a very bad situation.  Sometimes it's just best to let it go in the best interest of everyone involved, even if not everyone understands.

Have you ever outgrown a relationship?

Have you ever been faced with having to let go of a relationship that refused to let you grow and in turn was damaging rather than beneficial?  

2013 Rewind Friday: Train Up a Child

Friday, November 8, 2013

From now until the New Year, I'm going to be re-posting my favorite posts of 2013.  Here goes the first.  The first is from August 14 titled, "Train Up a Child."  Please feel free to comment.

"At what age—and how—did you introduce religion to your kids?"
I saw this question on my Facebook newsfeed posted by a popular and respected parenting magazine a few days ago.  With it came an overabundance of emotions within me.  At first I laughed at what, to me, seemed like a ridiculous question.  After all, my religion isn't just some elective part of my life that I can choose to share with my daughter when she's older.  Then I realized that is exactly what it is to many, ever so many people today.  In fact a popular thought among parents is to not expose impose any certain belief system upon a child until that child is able to choose whether or not he or she wishes to take part in it.  My question is, if you're not exposing your child to what you believe, what are you exposing them to?  How does one parent without exposing their children to their beliefs?  I guess my last question is, is it possible to not expose your children to your beliefs because you lack a solid foundation of beliefs yourself, and / or don't put them into practice?

First of all, to answer the initial question posed by the parenting magazine:  I prayed for my child before she was ever conceived.  I prayed that she would be conceived at all, that once she was conceived she would be delivered healthy at full term, and I haven't gone a day without praying for her!  I believe in having my child in church every opportunity I can have her there.  I believe in reading the Bible and her Jesus Storybook Bible to her regularly.  I believe in letting her sing songs about Jesus, Noah, Zacchaeus, and others from the Bible.  I love that she loves VeggieTales.  God isn't just religion in our house.  We have a relationship with him.  He is our Heavenly Father.  Jesus wasn't a good man or prophet, he is our living, risen savior.

I thank God every day for the solid foundation I have in my relationship with him.  I don't agree with a lot of the things my mother did in raising me.  I am very thankful that she took me to church at an early age, and that it was never a discussion of "if" we were going to church on Sundays, but it was a discussion when we didn't.

I have lived through some very dark, very difficult times in my life.  I am thankful that throughout each of these times, I have never been without that foundation of Christ in my life.  It has been the only thing that has carried me through the most difficult of times.  When friends and family have failed my, Jesus never has.  I feel the blessed assurance of the Holy Spirit within me in the happiest and most trying of times.

So, why wouldn't I want to share this with my child from Day One?  Why wouldn't I want to share this with everyone and shout it from the rooftops?  I certainly want my child to be raised with a solid, firm foundation so that when she's older I won't have to worry about her falling for just anything when she will inevitably be searching for something to believe.

What are your thoughts on this?


Tuesday, November 5, 2013

  • I had a minor cold or sinus thing a couple of weeks ago.  There was sinus drainage, a sore throat, chills, and fatigue.  The entire time I kept seeing commercials for Zicam talking about "pre-colds," and I wondered how one knows they have a "pre-cold" before they have the real thing?  Personally as someone who suffers from allergies, every day of my life is a "pre-cold."
  • I love this time of year where we live.  I'm in love with the colorful leaves on the trees.  I love them so much that it saddens me when I see people who have beautiful leaves in their yards and clamor to not let them tarry long at all, raking them into trash bags as if they're a nuisance!
  • I also realized that I'm a bit like Linus from Peanuts in the sense that I feel like we're murdering a beautiful pumpkin when we make jack o'lanterns.
  • The other night we were watching old home movies of the dogs.  Lucy especially loved watching herself on TV.
  • A while back I read some random blog post about a lady whose blog's Twitter account had been suspended because she would follow hundreds of people every day hoping to garner more blog and Twitter traffic.  I think I was supposed to feel sorry for her, but honestly that really bothered me.  Every day I have one or two new Twitter followers, and a week later they unfollow me, because I never followed them back.  I guess proper Twitter etiquet would demand I follow in kind, but I make it a practice to only follow things I'm actually interested in.  I don't follow people to be followed, and don't want to be used in that manner either.
  • There was a great deal of possible drama at our house last week, because I had forgotten until then to make reservations for the Rowdy Retriever Girls to be boarded for Thanksgiving.  Their usual play they board, Camp Bow Wow, was already booked solid.  If we couldn't board them, we would have to stay home.  Thankfully I found a place that looks good and is more convenient to get to than Camp Bow Wow, and Bart won't have to do without his Grandma's turkey and dressing.  That's a good thing, because I wasn't going to slave over the oven to cook something that I don't care for, Ladybug won't touch, and only one person would eat.
  • Saturday, despite Bart having the cold I had had the week before we traveled down to my old stomping grounds and drove the Talimena National Scenic Byway to enjoy the foiliage.  We went down HWY 71 from Fort Smith to Mena then drove the byway from Mena up to Leflore County, Oklahoma.  This is a road I traveled often as a young person growing up in Heavener.  As my friend Greg (a pastor now living in Memphis) commented on an Instagram photo I posted, it's "Home."  I enjoyed showing it to Ladybug, and I loved her enthusiasm for the "pretty trees."  When I wasn't much bigger than Ladybug, my dad would always take us on that road and tell us to appreciate it, because the trees wouldn't always be there.  He was right.  There's far more young fir growth to replace old trees that were clear-cut these days.  I love the old trees.  

  • While down that way, we stopped to see my Aunt Sue, Uncle Darian, and two cousins.  I wish we could have spent more time with them and seen more family, but it's always good to spend time with my Heavener family.
  • I have a new television show to obsess over, Reign.  I have to admit that I was first attracted to it because Megan Follows plays Catherine de Medici.  However, I love the time period and have been absorbed in books about the Plantagenets, Tudors, Stewarts and such since May.  Even though there are some glaring historical inaccuracies, it's a nice change from a lot of the things on air right now.  Also, the music is great.  I'm just thankful my DVR can record two shows at once, since it airs the same time as Grey's Anatomy.
  • Lucy has seriously not been adjusting well to Standard Time.  She wants to eat when she does during Daylight Savings and isn't taking no quietly.  She's been stealing L's crayons and eating them in protest!  My life is never dull, that's for certain.

The Rockford Peach Goes Trick or Treating

Monday, November 4, 2013

Halloween was last week, and it had the potential to be an incredible mom-fail.  We had possibly one of the coolest girl costumes imaginable ordered, and by the morning of Halloween Eve, it still wasn't in our possession.

In September I ordered a custom-fit Rockford Peaches uniform for Ladybug from a shop on Etsy.  I was even bolstered by the knowledge that this Etsy shop originated here in Arkansas, albeit Central Arkansas.  However when the promised ship date of October 15 came and went, I started to get nervous.  I contacted the seller, and she explained that due to some family emergencies she had to cancel several orders.  Mine wasn't canceled, but she wouldn't be able to ship it until October 25.  I replied that was fine, as long as it shipped on October 25.  I've shipped enough across the state at various jobs that I knew it should only take one or two days to get here from Central Arkansas.

October 25 came, and no email with shipping information.  I contacted the seller again.  That evening she sent the tracking info.  I assumed I should have gotten in it the mail by Monday.  Unfortunately she obviously just dropped it in a box that wasn't picked up until Monday evening.  She could have taken it to the post office on Saturday, and it would have shipped sooner.

Monday came, no uniform.  Tuesday came, no uniform.  Wednesday morning we were supposed to go to a Halloween/ end of season party at Little Spouts.  My friend Marci suggested on Twitter that I cut up a pillowcase and call her a marshmallow.  I was opting to dress her in the red and white checkered dress that used to be mine and call her Strawberry Shortcake.  God took pity on me and sent last week's rain early.   There was no way I was going to park in the back forty of the Botanical Garden and schlep Ladybug to a diminished indoor party.  Mom-fail averted (for one day at least)!

The highly anticipated uniform finally arrived on Wednesday evening while it rained.  Then it rained, and rained, and it rained!  It rained enough that Thursday our church canceled their Fall Fest, which we had planned on attending.  Thankfully I had a backup plan!

We had always planned on going to Trick or Treat on the Square in Fayetteville from 3-5, then stopping by my old place of work (in their still-new-to-me-location) to visit old friends.  We first took Ladybug to the Square.  She immediately took to the whole trick or treat thing.  She went to each stop, held out her bucket and whispered, "I trick or treat!"  She wasn't a bit scared and didn't like when we dallied.

We finished on the Square just before another rainstorm hit and visited good old KNWA / FOX 24.  I know fewer people there than those I don't now, but it's still always good to see old, dear friends.  I wish I had taken some pics of Ladybug with Miss Neile and Mr. Brad to have one from every year, but I also feel very uncomfortable interrupting people while they work so close to the five and five-thirty.  So, I forgot until we left.  

Since our evening plans were canceled, we decided to hit up Malloween at the NWA Mall again, like we did last year.  We got there a little late, as we waited on Ladybug to eat her "chicly and fries," but she enjoyed standing in that hellacious line to go from store to store for more candy.  She was very put out when we would pass by stores that either didn't offer candy or had run out of it.

All in all, it was a huge success.  Ladybug had so much fun, and almost every woman who saw her loved her uniform.  Bart, being a guy, didn't really understand what an awesome costume Ladybug had.  Now I think he gets it.  It's so awesome, that it may not be the only time she's a Rockford Peach for Halloween!

Happy Birthday, Lucy-Girl!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

She is Ladybug's best friend.  She's Dory's best friend.  She's one of my best friends, and my heart dog.  She is Lucy Snowflake Gilbreath, and according to her pedigree, she's six years old today.

Even at six years old, she's still very much a puppy.  She's sweet and a huge cuddle-bug.  I was sick with a cold last weekend, and she happily put on her imaginary scrubs to be my Nurse Lucy once again.  She's always so good about keeping you warm when you have the chills.

She's afraid of storms and firecrackers....  and umbrellas and balloons...  and she's terrified of the smoke detectors when their batteries get low.  She loves cheese and pillsbury biscuits.

She's not a morning person, unlike her sister Dory.

She loves to play ball, chase bubbles, catch the frisbee.  She's my perfect biking companion.

She thinks that she's the queen bee of the house.  She is to Dory and Ladybug, but I have to remind her otherwise at times.

She's a form of contraception.

She's survived eating instant coffee, getting a toe stuck in a seat belt, and even Daddy accidentally cutting off part of her ear!

She's my girl.  The whole family loves Lucy!

She's even been on TV at least once!

Hollow Trophies

Friday, October 25, 2013

I read the other morning on Facebook about a football little league in Keller, Texas where they aren't handing out trophies to every kid that plays anymore.  The league wants to teach kids that the have to go above and beyond just participating in order to receive a trophy or medal.  They want kids to know that "they have to give their all to be successful, all the time, not just sometimes."  According to reports, parents are thrilled with the change.  I have to admit that I am too.  I hope that it catches on everywhere.  I don't think kids should get trophies for just participating.  There are some very important life lessons to be learned in kid's sports that aren't being taught anymore, because we're taking all of the competition out of competition.

We've made childhood too soft today.  We spend thousands upon thousands of dollars making playgrounds where children won't get so much as a scrape of the knee on them.  Every kid makes teams for sports where there are no winners or losers, because they don't keep score.  Each kid goes home with a trophy whether or not they did anything to deserve.  Those trophies go into a pile in a closet or some other out-of-the-way place and collect dust because they don't mean anything to the kid.   He or she will get another next season too.

A mother of one of the little leaguers in Keller, Texas stated that "her son has multiple trophies that don't mean anything to him, but, his championship trophy is what he treasures the most."  Why does he treasure that trophy?  Obviously because he had to work to achieve it.

We need to let our children fail.  We need them to learn that good things come to those who work hard for them.  We need to not hand everything to them on a safe, non-breakable, BPA & PVC-free plastic platter.  We need to teach our children to be hard-working, gracious winners and also how to lose and lose well.  It will help them later on in life when things inevitably don't turn out as planned.  By denying our children the chance to win or lose, we deny them the coping mechanisms to handle rejections and even corrections later in life.  Like it or not, there are winners and losers in life.  One team scores fewer points than another, and sometimes kids don't even make a team to win or lose.

When I was in the sixth grade, I tried out for the girl's basketball team.  Everyone tried out for the team.  I assumed I would make the team.  Everyone always made the team, and all of my friends did. I wanted so terribly to make the team, and I think that I worked hard to improve myself over time, but it just wasn't enough.  When the jerseys were handed out, I didn't get one.  I didn't make the team.

Yes, it hurt at the time.  It hurt more than just about anything else in school ever had,  but it didn't have a detrimental effect on my psyche.  Instead, it made me stronger and more determined to find things that I excelled at and to work hard at those.

There is a huge part of me that wants to shield Ladybug from all pain.  I want to protect her from the hurt of being excluded from things.  I want to protect her from the hurtful things others will say about her, because that is the nature of children.  I want her to succeed in everything she does. I don't want her closet to be filled with hollow trophies.  I want her to be able to pick herself up when she falls.  I want her to learn from her failures.  I want her to learn how to deal when someone says something unkind to or about her.  Most importantly, I want for her to know the satisfaction of working hard and earning honors, a spot on a team, and a trophy or medal.

  • What are your thoughts on the new policy that the Keller, Texas football little league has adopted? 
  • Do you think kids should get trophies for just participating
  • Do you think kids should have to earn their rewards?  
  • Do you think that we have worked so hard to make things "fair" that we've taken important life lessons out of things like sports for our children?

Having a toddler means...

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

  • Never knowing where your shoes are, because she likes to wear them around the house - usually backwards and on the wrong feet.
  • Sudden, unexplained tantrums that end just as suddenly.
  • Singing and dancing are a huge part of the day.
  • Cuddles are the best!
  • You need to be proficient at getting all sorts of stains out of clothing.
  • Random objects will be stuffed up noses and in ears.
  • Your every word and mannerism is likely to be mimicked.
  • Being attacked at random times with unexpected, wonderful bear hugs.
  • Kisses are often freely given.  Tongue is usually given with the kisses as well.  Be warned!
  • You find random objects in your shoes like blocks and puzzle pieces.
  • Bed time is a sacred ritual and can't be varied much at all.
  • Naps are a blessing.
  • Tutus are a necessity for most girls.
  • Your devices are not your own anymore.

  • Long periods of time counting, singing, and reading with someone while you wait on her to use the potty.
  • You may find yourself eating chocolate or anything in a secured location which is never the bathroom.  That's where they always look first.
  • Just as soon as you take a moment on the toilet or start to shower, you'll hear and incessant knocking.  Then soon after that you'll see fingers creeping from beneath the door.  Then you'll hear, "Momma?  Momma?  Momma?  Momma?"
  • Crayons are often considered a food group until you break that habit.
  • Fingerprints everywhere.
  • Adventures are even more fun when she can walk on her own and participate!
  • You always have a willing helper.  Try to utilize it as long as possible, because you know that won't last past puberty!

  • You cherish every insane, crazy moment because you know that first year went by far too quickly, and the rest will as well.

Violet Is Dead, Long Live Violet

Monday, October 21, 2013

If you have a child age five or under, chances are that somewhere in your house there is either a My Pal Scout or My Pal Violet, inserting your child's name into songs and words games with a creepy HAL 9000 voice.  We got Ladybug one for Christmas last year, and she loves hers.  I'm talking about Violet is right up there in the top tier of toys.  She loves her so much that I have to put Violet on her top shelf during nap and bed times, or else we will hear (and have heard) Ladybug and Violet singing together over the baby monitor when Ladybug should be sleeping.

Recently Violet started to act odd.  She seemed glitchy.  At one point she stopped doing anything but barking, so I changed her batteries.   While I was at it, I synced her with the computer to update some of Ladybug's favorite things in the settings.  She worked great again for a few weeks, then she got really glitchy again.  She stopped working for a bit, then she just barked three barks in a row incessantly.  "Rrrrruff, ruff, ruff!  Rrrrruff, ruff, ruff!  Rrrrruff, ruff, ruff!"  Let met tell you, that got annoying incredibly fast.

I tried putting fresh batteries in again, and it didn't work.  I tried syncing her again, and she wouldn't sync.  I looked up trouble shooting on the Leapfrog website and the web in general, and I couldn't find anything.  So, Saturday afternoon she was sadly declared dead (Cue Taps).

The good thing about children's toys that no longer function electronically is that sometimes they can still be played with otherwise.  Ladybug still carried poor Violet around and loved on her, though we removed her batteries.  Since Violets aren't particularly expensive we decided to just replace Violet sometime soon.

Yesterday morning Bart was feeding Ladybug breakfast while I prepared for church since he was flying out to Arizona for the week.  While he was with her, she carried poor, no longer functioning within normal parameters Violet around, kissing and hugging her.  Bart yelled upstairs to me, "Get the kid a working Violet soon.  This is just sad!"

Since Bart wasn't home to spend Sunday afternoon with, I decided that Ladybug and I would do our weekly grocery shopping yesterday in order to just get that out of the way.  While at Walmart, we picked up another Violet.  Before bedtime the new Violet was synced and saying Ladybug's name in that creepy HAL 9000 way that makes me think I've given my child a Chucky.  I think that the creepy feelings it gives me are worth it though.

Rainy Day Randomosity

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

I think Ladybug and I really needed today's rainy, cool weather to just stay inside and be.  It seems our days have been filled with some activity or craziness for far too long, and we kind of need to slowly melt into our winter groove.  Yet, I'm not entirely sure what our winter groove will be.  We're going to have to find some sort of activity for the cold months to get out of the house for some fun at least once a week!

We had a yard sale Saturday.  Bart's parents came up with a truckload of stuff, and we attempted to rid ourselves of several things that were more or less just taking up space.  I sold a couple of L's baby things, but the treasure-trove of baby clothes, play-things, and such was largely untouched.  I'm just not ready to part with any of it yet.  I still hope for one more sweet baby before I'm ready for them to go to other families.  I did sell my bike.  I didn't intend to, it just happened.  Now I'm trying to decide what I want to get to replace it.  I will get another soon, because that is how I exercise, and it has become an integral part of my life.

We went to Dickey Farms to find this year's pumpkins Sunday.  We took L to Farmland Adventures a few weeks ago, but we loved Dickey Farms so much last year that we went back there to actually pick pumpkins.  I hope it's a tradition we can continue for years to come.  I think we all look forward to it - at least those of us who remember it.

Bart picked a couple of odd-looking gourds.  I call this one Jimmy.  You in the know about VeggieTales get it.

I need to go back through all of my blog posts and clean up my labels.  This is not something I look forward to doing.  It may take until Doomsday, but I will do it.

I'm thinking of writing a children's book or series based on Dory, her abandonment, her rescue, our adoption of her, and several other moments in her life that I think would be great material.  Of course I have no artistic skills, so if this does come about I will be looking for and illustrator eventually.

We're really starting to plan Christmas gifts, and I'm even trying to start planning L's birthday now, because once the holidays hit, her birthday just comes too quickly for a party procrastinator like myself. I think this year we'll just invite a handful of her friends and her cousin who may actually be in state then.  I also wouldn't be surprised if it had an A League Of Their Own theme, so she can use her Halloween costume again.

Today is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day.  In some respects, I feel that this deserves its own post.  Ladybug should have a three-year-old brother or sister that we lost at eight weeks in January 2010.  There's a quote I remember from Grey's Anatomy that Cristina told George when his dad died: 
CRISTINA: "There's a club. The Dead Dads Club. And you can't be in it until you're in it. You can try to understand, you can sympathize. But until you feel that loss... My dad died when I was nine. George, I'm really sorry you had to join the club."
GEORGE: "I... I don't know how to exist in a world where my dad doesn't."
CRISTINA: "Yeah, that never really changes."
That's how I feel about both the loss of a parent and also the loss of a child.  People can try to understand and sympathize, but until you feel that loss you just can't.  I hate that anyone has to know that kind of loss.  A part of your heart always has a hole in it.  I'm very thankful for my life that I have, but I will always wonder what he would have been like.  I wrote a letter to him last year around his due date.  I think of him every day.  I'll know him someday though, and I am so very thankful for that.

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