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Archive for July, 2007

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Well, I owe BooMama a promised WFMW tip, but I’m going to follow the rules today and stick with the theme, people. She’s got (air quote) All That Southernness; she won’t complain.

My parenting advice is…you’ve heard it before…”Sleep when the baby sleeps.” Or, in Secrets of the Baby Whisperer terms…try to get your baby on this schedule: Eat, Activity, Sleep, You Time. Take that “you time” while the baby is sleeping. And keep on taking it while that baby is growing into a toddler, a preschooler, and beyond.

I know, I know…you have to…take a shower, blow dry your hair, play with your other children, do the dishes, get some work done, or [insert whatever other item nagging at you from your to do list] here.

But y’all have been writing about the burn-out, people. I know it is real. Savor and cherish nap time, and, as they grow, “quiet time” for some good ole mommy me time, lay on the bed, do-whatever-you-feel-like, make it through the rest of the day glory.

I learned this “the hard way” back in the day when I was trying to do it all. Now my goals for the day are smaller. At the top of the list…”preserve sanity.”

This has been harder of late as my youngest child is threatening to give up naps and has moved to a toddler bed, so he can no longer be corralled in the crib; we are now learning how to play quietly by ourselves in our room, even when we think we are not sleepy.

On the days when I spend more time teaching this then reveling in my lay-on-the-bed do whatever momma feels like glory, I have found that if I create a little classical oasis in the middle of the day, I feel ever so much more peaceful. Our local college radio station plays classical music starting at 12 noon each day. I turn it on while I’m fixing lunch or while we’re riding in the car if we’re out, and I find that it helps everyone change gears into relaxation mode. My kids love it. They call it horsey music since many of their favorite tunes have a 4/4 clippity-clop beat, and they often dance around happily expelling the last of their morning energy before *shhhhhhh* “quiet time.”

Oh, to live in a country where the siesta is the cultural norm. Take this little nugget and use it at your house for what it’s worth. Works for me.

And don’t forget what the Bible has to say about child rearing: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed. ~1 Cor. 15:51

(OK, I admit this one’s out of context, but I saw it on a baby card once and thought it was hilarious.)

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Feelin’ lucky?

insignia-flat-panel-tv.jpgThey’re giving away a flat-screen TV over at 5 Minutes for Mom, courtesy of Best Buy. The winner will be drawn August 17th. Head on over; there’s only 950 comments as of right now. ; )

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I have taken recently to a practice I call ‘lovin’ my husband at the grocery store.’ In praying to love my husband more and to ‘love him like Jesus does,’ I have felt a distinct spiritual nudging to initiate this practice of grocery store love. (Don’t worry, Jules, this does check out scripturally. See Ps. 34:8 and Is. 55:2b) Oh, the joy that man takes from a fresh bottle of red pepper flakes or a newly-purchased 12-pack of Goose Island beer. If you’ve read this, you know that this new practice goes squarely against my love for all things frugal, which includes the tendency to grab whatever is cheapest off of the grocery store shelf–proudly.

All this to say that last night, the grocery store love returned to me ten-fold as we enjoyed some culinary love shopped for and prepared by my hubs at our first meal back home after vacation. Our time away was wonderful, but I so missed the comforting cocoon of just our little family enjoying being together. Apparently, my two year old takes after me as he was asking to come home the entire second week of vacation.

We sat outside in the cool evening air delighting ourselves in pan-seared pork chops topped with homemade onion rings and gravy reduced from the pan-drippin’s, buttery mashed potatoes, and a medley of green and wax beans. One of the great things about being married to an artist is that mine also likes to create in the kitchen. I so enjoy being his ‘sous chef’ as he works his artistry, although last night I didn’t even have to do that. I wish I could share a recipe with you, but part of his skill is that he rarely uses one.

We ate. We relaxed in a way that we didn’t even on vacation at the gorgeous Carolina beaches (we were with extended family the entire two weeks we were gone). It is good to be home.

Head on over to Fried Okra for some more stories of food-love.

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I am from…

I have long been an admirer of Owlhaven‘s I am from post. And while we were at the beach (and spending interminable hours in the car getting there), I finally got enough time and solitude to create my list and whittle it down to what you see below. Enjoy. -e.

I am from:

hot summers, mild winters,
old station wagons,
big sisters,
mountains,

daylillies blooming,
shoo-fly pie,
Zelma, Verna, Cramer, Jack,
farmers, entreprenuers, librarians, undertakers,

light-bearers.

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The author is IN

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Oh MY! Blog years are like dog years. It will take me awhile to catch up with all of you all. I have just returned from my bloggy vacation to the beach (more about that later), where I was blissfully technology-free, save for the occasional winsome glance at my niece’s Blackberry. I have been away two weeks, and some of you have posted over 30 times! But I do look forward to reading all that I have missed.

I was just too busy enjoying the real world that looked like THIS…

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I would love for you to drop me a line and let me know what I’ve missed in the blogosphere. I’m sorry if your earlier comments hung in limbo for two weeks. I did actually go to the library and check email once, but I couldn’t remember my password to moderate comments!!

I also got a chance to do a LITTLE writing and reading while I was gone, so I should be posting again soon. If you’re heading on vacation and looking for a good read, I highly recommend C.S. Lewis’ ‘The Great Divorce,’ if you haven’t read it.

Later y’all, -e.

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My Simpson’s avatar

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How funny is this? Thanks to Everyday Mommy for the tip-off. And I am in awe of her graphic design skills that allow her to construct a portrait of her entire family. AND, will you notice the uncanny resemblance between her husband and mine?

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In the interest of security, I have decided not to post the avatars of my children. ; ) Get out there and have some fun, y’all. -e.

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I’m going to attempt to fire off a quick post about my childhood home in response to Owlhaven’s idea for a 7/20/07 carnival. As fate would have it, we will soon be heading down to the ole childhood home for a visit. Should have some good bloggy material when we return!

My childhood home was a 1968 split-level on an acre of land in South Carolina. All of the streets in our neighborhood were named after Ford cars (Fairlane, Galaxie, Thunderbird, Sunline); and our house sat on the corner lot bordering a busy county road, which meant death to Brownie (my childhood dog) when Friskie (evil neighbor dog) taught him to chase cars. But it also meant that our house had a big yard for neighborhood games of freeze tag, statues, and capture the flag.

I remember playing for hours on the swingset in the backyard. The best thing about being the youngest and the smallest (which didn’t have too many advantages back in the day) was that my sister took great delight in teaching me acrobatic tricks. We’d set up old couch cushions underneath the swingset, remove all the equipment, and use the old metal frame as our uneven bars. I’d cry when the chains of the swing gave me a hangnail–but I wouldn’t give a second thought to flinging my tiny body around and around over the top of the swingset.

All of my favorite memories of home seem to have to do with these outside moments in the yard in summer, fireflies glimmering, or with the animals that found their way into our family for a time–Brownie, Blackie, Whitey, D.D, Fighter, Nicki, and numerous bunnies, gerbils, and goldfish who came and went before I even knew enough to ask their names–though I loved them still. They are moments of dinner cooking in the oven, and the smell filling the whole house–(which I later discovered some people do not find desirable, but has always been one of my absolute FAVORITE things). Moments of quiet solitude in the den. And the order and organization of the house on cleaning day.

As I’ve grown older, I’ve learned that it’s a good thing to care for a house, no matter its size or shape or status. It’s good to make memories in it, and to preserve those memories for others–in scrapbooks or blogs or crazy family stories told again and again and again. I’ve learned it’s OK to love a house for a time and pass it on to someone else. And I’ve learned it’s OK to love a house, even when you’ve loved it so long you just don’t think you can love it anymore.

My parents still live in my childhood home. They are still caring for it and still making memories there–some happy, some sad, some even a scoche tragi-comic. You are doing this too. You will do this. It is good.

While you’re ruminating on childhood and childhood homes, pop on over to Antique Mommy’s and see what a sweet memory she made today.

Peace out, -e.

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Bloggy shoulder

Lord knows, it is tough to keep up the bloggy pace–readin’, commentin’, writing. I think I have actually developed a new ailment to go with my obsessive new bloggy hobby. I call it “bloggy shoulder.” It is a stiff neck, a backache, and a vise-like grip on the shoulder muscle all rolled into one.

To be fair, I do also theorize that it was caused, if not definitely exacerbated, by my two-year-old’s tendency to use me as his own personal jungle gym  and/or beg to be carried every waking moment. As we established in this post, I have Antique Mommy tendencies, and it does not please me to be pulled, ridden, jumped on, or straddled by a tiny two-year-old tyrant, even if he is cute and smells sweet.

But, whatever the cause, today I most willingly followed doctor’s orders and…got a m@ssage!!  Heaven on earth, people. I hope that the sweet stress relief lasts longer than it takes a two-year-old to destroy a pile of freshly folded towels.

In the spirit of Sincerely Anna’s randomness post, here is my list of top 3 random things I never thought I’d hear coming out of my own parental mouth:

1. Sweetie, we do not lie down in the street.
2. Do not drink the bathwater.
3. Yes, son, but the birdies do not come inside our house to eat, so we only leave food for the birdies outside.

What about you? I know you’ve got some good ones to add. Leave me a comment and share in the “I can’t believe I just had to say that” moment.

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I am not the adventurous type. I enjoy wearing grooves in my life so that I can comfortably travel the familiar terrain without incident. I love ritual, tradition. I am Anglican.

It should then come as no surprise that my most adventurous moment came disguised as the mundane, as something most women reading this post have probably experienced at some point in their lives.

On February 14, 1994 in Chapel Hill, NC, there was an ice storm. I am a student, halfway through my Masters in Library Science (remember, I admit that I am not the adventurous type), waiting for my then-boyfriend to arrive in town for the weekend. Valentine’s Day + Ice Storm + Insistent Boyfriend; this equation makes me very nervous.

Hours later, still nervous, I find myself overlooking the most beautiful, dainty ring I have ever seen. It is entirely perfectly me. I have just heard the most eloquent speech from then-boyfriend about how he remembers that I want my life to be a work of art, and that he wants to be there to see it take shape–to share it with me. (Have I mentioned that he is an artist?)

God has given me eyes to see and ears to hear; however, my head still tries to intervene. He’s an artist. Who will support the children? He’s terrible with money. We’ll be in financial ruin. Where will we live? What will we drive? What will my parents think? (I’m not sure they approve).

In the stillness of that moment, I know there is only one answer. I whisper, “ok,” excited about and scared of the life that comes next. But I know that God has chosen this man for me, knit us together into one heart that wants what’s best for each of us, healing and balancing the things that don’t fit. With that tiny “ok,” I begin a life of risk-taking, of stepping out in faith to take hold of that which God has prepared for me.

And I am better for it.

This post was written for Scribbit’s July Write-Away Contest.

ship of fools

In response to MamaLady’s request, here’s one of hubs’ most recent ceramic sculptures. This one’s called ‘Ship of Fools.’

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There’s a batch of our favorite hot dog chili on the stove, since you can’t BUY good hot dog chili in the state of Illinois. (We eat our dogs with chili and slaw where I’m from, and I consider it to be a little slice of heaven. This chili is also good on a burger, especially a cheeseburger, which turns it into what’s known as a chili cheese.)

We are headed over to my bloggity friend, Megan‘s this afternoon for an extended 4th of July Feast. If you read her blog, you will of course note that her menu plan is no longer accurate.

Before she was my bloggity friend, she was my college roommate by God’s grace, and I thank him for it. Without Megan, there would be no bloginmyeye, as she blazed the trail as my bloggy role model with her sweet and tender documentation of the evolution of the family [last name omitted]. (See, she taught me about things like that.)

Just look at what sweetness awaits me there. Love you, friends.

~Phil. 1:3

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