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.

BLOGtober Fest Blogging Challenge – Fall Back Day 4

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Today's BLOGtober  Fest Challenge is to promote a post from the past.  I have several that I would like to choose, but two stick out in my mind the most.  I can't choose between the two, and in some ways they're rather related.  So, I'm going to promote both of them.

The first is "Pieces of Advice for My Daughter:  Part One."  I wrote it in honor of her half birthday, and  I plan to hopefully have Part Two for her first birthday.  There are some truths and bits of advice that stand the test of time, wether it's 2012, 2022, or 2032.  I think that these things are important.

The second is a post I wrote after a particularly difficult visit from my mother.  We don't have a great relationship.  I don't see us ever having a good one.  There is a deep-rooted dysfunction that despite my trying, I have come to realize will never be corrected.  In fact, there have been many times when I have all but cut off contact with her completely, except for the fact that she is indeed my mother.  So, I took my frustrations from that visit, the past thirty-two years entirely, and some anecdotes my friends have shared over the years, and tried to come up with a somewhat humorous but truthful set of rules for visiting with an adult child.  I hope to remember these rules when Firecracker is an adult, and I pray that I never violate any of them.  I don't want to be the type of mother mine was and still is.  When Fireracker someday has a child of her  own, I don't want her to have to tell me not to go stay with her, because I make her more nervous and uncomfortable.  So, here is "8 Simple Rules For Dating Your Adult Daughter (Or Son)," or as BlogHer renamed it before featuring it, "8 Simple Rules For Moms Visiting Their Adult Children."

BLOGtober Fest Day 3: Traditions

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

We're still fairly new to this whole "doing things as a family of three thing," but B and I have happily started trying to establish some fun, hopefully memorable, family traditions for Firecracker and any other children we're blessed with raising.  Since Fall is probably our favorite season, with Spring a close second, we've been trying to make the most of it.

Sunday after church (and a nap) we drove over to Tontitown and visited Dickey Farms.  They have a pumpkin patch there, and we carted Firecracker around on a wagon as we searched for a few good gourds.  The Firecracker loves being outdoors.  I swear, the windier and dirtier the conditions are, the more she loves it.  I can't wait until next year when she can run around and actually help up pick out her pumpkins.

This coming weekend, we're going back to my old stomping grounds to enjoy the Poteau BalloonFest. I honestly don't think that there's anything quite like the glow of a hot air balloon at dusk.  Also, it gives us a good reason to go back home for a weekend and get away from the extra traffic that all of the craft fairs up here will bring this weekend.  Hopefully we'll get to see some pretty foliage on our travels.

On Halloween, we'll take Firecracker to Trick or Treat On the Square in Fayetteville.

Though we're not going this year, because we went to Colorado instead, most falls we like to take a long weekend to go trout fishing at Gaston's White River Resort.  We take Lucy and Dory with us, and they love putting on their neoprene vests and splashing all over the river.  B likes catching his limit in trout.  He and his dad both are ready to teach Firecracker how to fish, I think.  I like getting away from everything for a few days but still having Internet access and cable TV.  Also, I can usually get some great photos, like the sunrise picture above.

Closer to Thanksgiving, we'll surely take Firecracker to the lighting of The Lights of the Ozarks.  I think one of my favorite parts of working on The Square was getting to drive home through the lights every year from Thanksgiving until after the New Year.

To end the Autumn season, we'll spend Thanksgiving with B's grandparents in Little Rock.  We have every year since we married, and we likely will as long as his grandparents are living.  It's that one time of the year that we're sure to spend time with them.   Now that we have Firecracker, I want her to be able to spend as much time with them as possible.  None of my grandparents are living anymore, but I think it's very special to have grandparents and great-grandparents to dote on you.

So, while we don't have many traditions that are firmly established yet, we're on our way to making some for our girl.  I don't want to waste her childhood chasing after elusive perfect moments, but I do want her to experience this wonderful gift of life that she has been given not just dreaming, but doing.

Halloween Memories: BLOGtober Fest Blogging Challenge Day 2

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Looking back, I don't have any spectacular Halloween memories that just stick out in my mind.  We "did" Halloween as a kid, but at least right now, no one Halloween just stands out to be mentioned alone in a blog post.  So, rather than focus on just one Halloween, I'll share how Halloween has evolved for me through the years.

The first Halloween I sort of remember I was three years old.  My older sister and I were clowns, and my younger cousin Heather was a witch.  I think Heather was a witch every year.  I don't really know if I remember it for the sake of actual memories, or the photo of the three of us taken at my Granny Scott's house that was blown up and framed.  That is something that I do remember about Halloween:  we always had to go show off our costumes at my Granny's house.  She liked Halloween.  Of course most of my best memories occurred at my Granny's house with my cousins.  If there was ever a part of my childhood I could revisit, it would be those times.

Growing up in Heavener, OK in the late eighties and early nineties meant that THE place to go trick or treating was the Montclair Addition.   Everyone took their kids there.  My Granny lived there, my cousin Heather lived there, and after I was eleven I lived there too.  I think that it was about that time that I stopped trick or treating and started enjoying handing out candy instead.  Every year we would fill those little paper bags with candy to try and keep count of how many kids came to our door.  We go through a couple hundred bags or more before we would run out, and then the kids would still ring our doorbell.

One year in college, one of the organizations I was a member of hosted a haunted trail in a little wooded area behind campus.  It was the year that "The Blair Witch Project" came out and was so popular, so we tried to emulate that and probably the Scream movies some.  That was a great deal of fun, though more than anything I remember somehow getting stuck in some sort of thorny bush and basically having to throw away the clothes I was wearing that particular night.  I didn't mind though, because the experience was

As young marrieds B and I were very much Halloween scrooges.  We just weren't interested in whatever kids lived in our apartment or townhouse complexes knocking on our doors all night.  Honestly, those first two years we were more or less just interested in well, playing trick or treat with each other.  I'm sure we were hated by our neighbors, but we didn't really care.  Also, we never lived in the same home more than one Halloween until we were married over four years.

By the time we bought this house, I was working in downtown Fayetteville on the Square.  Every year there's Trick or Treat on the Square.  I loved Trick or Treat on the Square.  Sure, it made parking a hassle, but I loved seeing all the different kids.  I didn't like the kids' parents wanting to use our restrooms or try to go for impromptu tours right before the five, but in general I loved the day.  Of course the main attraction wasn't the on-air talent.  It was Mr. Jody, and his magic tricks.

We're planning to take Firecracker trick or treating on The Square this year.  Sadly, the TV station is currently in the process of moving to new digs on Dickson Street, so all of our buddies won't be there.   No Mr. Jody, but still, I think that it's a great Halloween tradition to start with Firecracker, because it's a safe venue for her to Trick or Treat.

What I've realized while writing this is that my favorite Halloween memories don't really include trick or treating or even creating mischief of some sort.  The best times were always giving to others, and enjoying making it a fun day for kids - even when I was a kid.  Halloween isn't what I would consider an important holiday, like Christmas, Easter, or even really  Independence Day.  It's a fun holiday though, and I'm thrilled I get to enjoy it with Firecracker now and create memories with her.

I Missed Fall Clothes! (BLOGtober Fest Day 1: Fall Fashion and Decorating)

Monday, October 15, 2012

This week I am taking part in Arkansas Women Bloggers BLOGtober Fest, in my own special way.  Today's challenge was Fall Fashion or Decorating.  Yeah, I know.  Neither is exactly my cup of tea.  Just wait until Friday, because I am decidedly not a foodie.

I am by no means a clothes horse.  I'm anything but what you would call fashionable.  I like to dress neatly and preferably comfortably.  Back home in high school, it would have been considered "preppy," and I could never understand why some people considered that a bad thing.  I still don't.  When I worked outside the home I often wore a button-up shirt with a corresponding color tank and slacks.  Dresses just didn't make a great deal of sense, because sometimes I would have to do work that was a little more physical.  Also, I have always like there being some distinction between what I would wear to work during the week and what I would wear to church on Sunday.  I'm old fashioned in the sense that there should be a difference in how you dress at home, when you're going out during the day and night, when you're at work, and also when you're at church.  That said, the purchasing of clothes often takes a backseat in my life to other things I want to buy.

Anyway, I have been thinking about clothes more recently than I have in a long time.  Part of the reason for that is because after having Firecracker, I no longer fit into a lot of my old clothes.  Another reason is just because most of my clothes were just that... old.  Throughout the process of trying to have  a baby, having a miscarriage, recovering from that mentally, physically, and spiritually, then actually having a successful pregnancy in which I (who without trying never weighed over 100 lbs until I was 30) gained 45 lbs it had just been a vert long while since I had bought much for myself.  Lastly, I no longer need to buy work attire, so I can finally focus more on nice, every day casual clothes.  I've done just that.

I finally gave in and bought skinny jeans.  I haven't worn skinny jeans since puberty probably, but I actually love them.  I almost bought Tom's to wear with them, but my narrow foot likely just won't stay in them.  So, instead I bought some Ked's, and I love them as well.  I also cleaned out Old Navy on sweaters.  I have to say that I'm not ashamed to go out of the house anymore.  I kind of was for a while after having Firecracker, because I wasn't happy with the clothes I had and could still fit in to.

So, the other day B, Firecracker, and I were at the mall, and I saw so  many things that I wanted to buy. It was then that I realized how much I had missed fall clothes last year when I was pregnant.  I love layering sweaters, jackets, you name it.  I don't really care for most summer fashions, especially sandals.    I always loved when the "Back to School" clothes would start showing up in stores.  At this point last year I just wanted something that covered me.

Now...  Well, when I'm just hanging out at home with Firecracker and cleaning the toilets, I'm likely to wear a t-shirt and yoga pants.  However, when I go out, even to Walmart (because you really just clean up for Target), I try to clean myself up a little.  Why?  It makes me feel better.  Some other SAHM and WAHM friends of mine have discussed the need to get cleaned up, even at home.  I totally get it.  No one wants to always be the slouchy, slovenly, mother who looks all tired and worn out.  I'm so happy to be able to enjoy dressing for my favorite season again!

Of course, we all know who the best dressed girl in our house is. and I wouldn't have it any other way. I don't want to post pictures of my clothes or me in them, but isn't she beautiful?

Pretty For Church
Firecracker, The Sweet Witch
Stylish on Pike's Peak
Ready for Halloween 

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