Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Pray it up

Let's all pray for this lovely young family. Those of you who are parents understand the fear and turmoil that is intermingled with their joy over the arrival of their beautiful daughter. Here is the link to their blog. Please pray.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Wedding Rings

As I mentioned in a couple of previous posts, I am committed to forming a new habit of shining my kitchen sink every night before bed. It really does make me feel good to know that this one thing is done, and done well, every day. Whatever else is a disaster in the house, I know that nothing is piling up in the sink. It is a relief from the sometimes burdensome task of keeping house. So this week, I am adding another goal. This week I am going to take the time to shine our wedding rings.

I feel so blessed to be married to my best friend. Sometimes it feels like we've been together always. In some ways we have, because we married young and all of our major experiences are with each other. All of our greatest joys and sorrows have been shared, and it is a comfort to think that those of the future will be as well, if God allows. At other times, it feels like we just said our vows days ago.

I've been thinking about marriage a lot because we attended two special weddings this weekend. On Friday night, our sister Christina married Brady Bruton in a wonderful and worshipful celebration of God's grace and timing. We are so proud of Christina, who has always been an example of purity, joy, and servant-heartedness. And we are proud to welcome our brother Brady to the family. He is a godly and humble man, greatly gifted by the Lord in music and in working with his hands. We are so thankful! And last night my friend, Heather married Drew Miller at a vineyard in College Station (some pictures are posted here)--it was wonderful to see her radiance and joy and his. They were altogether beautiful. What a celebration! Heather carried a little Bible that has been carried by thirty previous brides in her family!

I may talk in future posts about some of the thoughts I've been thinking about marriage and wedding vows, but tonight I just keep thinking about the rings. Amber said Friday night that it always takes a while to get used to the sight of a man's hand with a new wedding ring. Maybe it's because women are more likely to wear rings and other jewelry whether they are married or not, or because a bride wears an engagement ring for a while (usually!) before she adds the band. But I love the look of a groom's hand with a fresh wedding band. It's a lot like how I imagine the state of his heart to be at the beginning of marriage--it shows up well, is not tarnished or scratched by the daily wear and tear of life and living it, and he wears it slightly awkwardly in his new role. Do not imagine that I think it's a shame when the wedding ring (or the hear) starts to show the wear. On the contrary, I love that too. I have never been tempted to replace Jon's wedding ring, even though he wears it in hard work every day. It is worn and scratched and it becomes more obvious all the time that I didn't spend a great deal on it to begin with. But he wears it so comfortably now, not like the new husband who is wondering what to do next, but like the husband who has already worked to feed his family and has held his wife's hand through deep valleys of sorrow and has guided her in dances of joy.

I want to shine our wedding rings to help us remember what it felt like to be so fresh in our marriage, to wash off some of the inevitable smugness and celebrate how much we still have to learn. But I won't mind when they lose their sparkle again to the comfortable wear of just living together, because I love living with him.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

How do ya like me now?

I finished the zucchini bread.
I vacuumed the floor.
I pumped milk.
I shined the sink (haven't missed a night yet!)
I swept the kitchen floor.
I ironed the clothes. I tagged the items for consignment (but Jon and my mom did more of this than I did).
I blogged.
I made Chex mix puppy chow to snack on.
I made more baby food (peeled apples while carrying Benjamin around in the little front-backpack thingy).
I even shaved my legs.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


1. I've totally abandoned my "dessert fast." Shame on you, Bluebell, you tempter.
2. I still take marathon showers, even though I know I should just shower quickly so that Benjamin is not left alone for too long. Today, twenty minutes. And it felt too short.
3. The reason I'm still baking zuccini bread for the wedding is that I've been unable to resist the temptation to cut into several loaves. I would have had enough weeks ago if I could keep my hands off of it.
4. I'm supposed to be baking right now while Benjamin is at my mom's house. I'm blogging instead.
5. I'm supposed to be ironing and tagging my items for Dittos for Kiddos while Benjamin is at my parents' house. I'm blogging instead.
6. I haven't worked out in two weeks.
7. I slept in until 10:30 today. I just made Benjamin sleep with me so he could nurse whenever he woke up. (Hey--I was tired from being up all night Monday with a stomach virus)
8. I haven't cooked a meal in ten days. Except for meals from the freezer. But I have made what feels like a million scones.
9. I print coupons that I never remember to use before they expire. Which means that instead of saving money, I am wasting paper and ink.
10. I'm too ashamed to confess to you how long it's been since I vacuumed the floor.

I just thought I'd give you all ten reasons to feel better about yourselves when compared to me. Now I am going to get to work on #s 4,5,10 and maybe 8 before Benjamin comes home.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Children's Book Quotes

Hey, don't forget to check out my new blog at

I've had so much fun finding a quote of the day. Children's literature offers a world of insight for adults.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Several weeks ago, when all of my former co-workers went back to school, I thought (smugly) that I was glad to be missing the August-September frenzie. I thought (naively) that my life would just remain on an even-keel. I even thought (ignorantly) that I might get bored. WRONG!

In the past three or four weeks I have joined MOPS (won a doorprize at the first meeting!), started a new Bible Study (Pricilla Shirer's One in a Million), taken Benjamin for his vaccinations, baked A LOT (so far 10 loaves of zuccini bread and 180 scones), hosted a baby shower, attended three bridal showers, been to a Peddler Show, read four books and many more picture books (from the public library, not Amazon--be proud, very proud of me), watched movies (Julie and Julia is hilarious; New in Town is a dud), finished the baby friendly kitchen overhaul, started the children's book quote of the day blog, worked a wedding reception for a catering company (partially to fund the upcoming wedding frenzy), entered all of Benjamin's outgrown items into the Dittos for Kiddos database so I can consign them next week, attended a breast feeding celebration at the local health department (where I won a doorprize!), finished paying bills from Benjamin's birth, volunteered for two booths at the church harvest festival (balloon animals and cupcake decorating), started following the FlyLady's recommendations for a cleaner home (my sink is sparkling!) and baked and decorated two birthday cakes.

No immediate end in sight as wedding weekend 2009 begins in less than a week! To tell you the truth, it feels good to finally be active again. I think I was really in a slump there for a while. But now I know that I can accomplish a lot while I'm taking care of Benjamin. It's nice to feel that sense of accomplishment and satisfaction again. Even if it makes me neglect my blog.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Making Memories

Sometimes I wish I was a better scrapbooker/picture taker. I look back at the past seven months of our lives and realize how fast it's gone, and how many things I've failed to document. For example, every time I take Benjamin to the doctor, I make a mental note to remember his exact weight and length so I can record it in his Kidmondo online baby book. But after they give him his vaccinations, he screams so hard that all I can think of is soothing him and getting home. By the time I get home, I can remember the pounds but not the ounces and have no memory at all of the length. All I know is that he is "above average for height and average for weight." So on his growth chart, it shows that he's grown ONCE in seven months. I know that he got his first teeth somewhere around four months but by the time I got around to writing it down, I couldn't remember the exact date they first broke through.

Occasionally my mother-in-law calls me with such exciting news of my nephew as, "Jackson ate carrots!" or "Jackson rolled over!" Every time this happens, I feel bad for not having excitedly shared the same news about Benjamin with the whole family whenever it happened. At some point he started rolling over and if I happened to see someone that same day, I might have told them. But otherwise, it just became part of the norm--not worth sharing. But should I have written it down at least?

My friend Joy always posts darling videos of her son on facebook and I love watching them and remembering when Benjamin first did similar things to what London does in the videos. But when Benjamin does something cute, I usually just get so caught up in the moment that I forget to run for the video camera. Today I tried really hard to remember to keep the camera close and I actually got a video of him clapping--so cute! But I don't even know how to get it from the camera to do anything with it.

I'm sure I will learn and get better about this. But on the other hand, I don't want to become so obsessed with documenting memories that I miss them while they're happening. I love looking at pictures in scrapbooks, and sometimes they bring back memories. But some of my most powerful memories aren't recorded at all and they come up at the most unexpected times. Like how the smell of Clinique makeup causes my grandmother's memory to fill my senses in a living way that a photo couldn't touch. Or how sunscreen somehow bottles all the summers of my life like some sort of sunshine genie and releases them in one glorious burst--cold on my skin, warm in my soul. How feeling my friend's belly when her baby girl kicks sends a ghost of a remembered kick through my own. How every once in a while a kiss reminds me of our very first one and I feel like a teenager again--skinny and scared and so happy that he likes me. I could go on and on but none of these things will ever be in a picture--they just couldn't. It wouldn't be the same. And I wonder what things I'll remember all my life from these first mothering moments of it, and what senses will awaken the echoes of all the laughter of these days.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Six Months, Six Lessons

These are lessons from the first six months (one for each month), mostly for the me of the future (I hear you forget a lot) but hopefully helpful for others as well.

1. Men cannot hear babies crying in the night. They can feel elbows.
2. New moms need each other like they need extra batteries for the swing and bouncy seat.
3. Take a pain killer before you have sex for the first time postpartum.
4. Get at least one nice new outfit for date night or girls' night out--you will feel better in clothes that fit well and are in season (let's face it, for almost a year you've bought nothing but maternity)
5. Cut yourself some slack. And remember, it gets better.
6. Resist the urge to plan the baby's birthday party--you've got six months to go.

Night and Day

My champion sleeper was up three times in the "night"--4:15am, 5:30am, and 6:15am at which time he stayed up until just now, 10:30am. He did this one day last week too. I'm tired and I need to vacuum the floor but I'm afraid of disturbing this precious nap. Who knows how long it will last? In my prayers today, I'm asking for him to sleep long and well. And I thank God for Dr. Pepper.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Why I hate the words "Of Course"

You know how certain overused phrases just get on your last nerve and do a tap dance? (Like the word "literally.") The one that gets to me is the preface "Of course." Here are a few ways I've heard it used by other moms recently:

Of course we're using only cloth diapers.
Of course we buy only organic baby food.
Of course I'm not drinking caffeine, since I'm still breastfeeding.
Of course I got back to the gym as soon as my doctor gave me permission.
Of course I'm breastfeeding.

I hate this phrase because it is condesending. It assumes that your way is the best and only way. And it delivers a judgment. I love the moms who just compare notes on childrearing without sneaking a judgment or a brag in. I'd like to thank Brandy, Ashly, and Molly for being especially friendly moms to talk to. They don't judge. They don't assume. It is a relief and a blessing to talk to them.

I hope this is a relief to someone out there:
We use disposable diapers. I considered cloth diapers for about five minutes, but I know myself and how long it takes me to get around to laundry sometimes.
I make baby food purees out of whatever produce looks fresh and is on sale. Or I buy frozen produce to use if I just want to try something that's not in season or available. I don't even know what organic really means. I never would have even tried making baby food if Brandy hadn't told me how easy and cheap it is to do.
I drink a Dr. Pepper every day. Sometimes two. And I've had three margaritas in Benjamin's lifetime.
I tried to go back to the gym as soon as possible but I have not been consistent. It is hard to find a new routine with a baby and it's hard to stay motivated to get in shape on days when you're bone tired. And it's hard to leave your baby with strangers at the health club KidZone when they want you to first sign a release that says "I understand that staying at Kid Zone may involve certain risks beyond the reasonable control of Kid Zone, its affiliates, trustees, officers, directors, employees, servants and representatives, including, but not limited to accidents, emergencies, exposure to reckless conduct of other persons, and/or negligence of Kid Zone's personnel, and that Kid Zone disclaims any and all responsibility for any such risks."
And finally, I do breastfeed, but I feel very blessed to be able to do this. It can be hard--hard to learn, hard to keep up. I don't know if I would still be doing it if I had to go back to work. And I don't think anyone is a bad mother if they don't breastfeed.

I think almost every mother does what she feels is best for her children. I think most of us just do the best we can with what we have. I think all of the moms I know personally are doing a great job even though they're all doing it differently. And I think we need to banish the words "of course" from our mommy-talk.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

New Blog

As many of you know, I've long been a lover of children's literature and a collector of children's book quotes. And for a while, I've wanted to do a "children's book quote of the day" blog but was prevented by unreliable internet access. Now that we are online with high speed internet, I have started my little project on Wordpress. I've never used Wordpress and it's kind of overwhelming comparedto Blogger, but I'm sure I will learn the ropes soon enough. The blog itself serves two purposes: it is an outlet for one of my passions, and it is a step in one of my goals. Some of you know that I would like to write and publish children's books. Nothing neccessarily quoteworthy--just something my son can be proud of. I think I could be good at it. But part of the publishing game is becoming familiar with the market, and I think the challenge of finding a new quote every day from a wide range of children's literature will be a way to keep my nose to the grindstone. This blog will remain in place for my personal musings on motherhood and updates on our lives, so please keep it on your blogroll! But, if you get the chance, also check out my new one: You never know what bits of wisdom an adult can find in a book written for a child.