Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Weekly Smorgasbord

This week's links:


Posted: 31 Jul 2012 12:50 PM PDT
"Dear Body, I now love you for your brokenness and imperfections and the shame you were willing to carry and the heaviness of old story you lifted with me. If I had to do it again, if I had to fly again down those stairs, so I can understand a little of the suffering and desperation and loneliness of others, I would do it again."

This was a hard read. Hard but good.

My, My, My…Body
Posted: 31 Jul 2012 12:48 PM PDT
The link that led me to this post on Twitter said it was "sexy as hell" and y'all....it is. Nothing graphic, but don't read if it's not your thing. Also? it's a bit heartbreaking.

Marriage Letters
Posted: 31 Jul 2012 12:45 PM PDT
"The names I call you take an attribute that I recognize in you and then they set a course for you. You have certainly called me things that I would never have seen, and those things are becoming true of me, in the way I see myself. We all make choices based on who we think we are, what we've been called."

I'm going back and rereading the "Marriage Letters" that I missed and I'm loving them (and will probably link to them) all.

Posted: 31 Jul 2012 12:44 PM PDT
"Looking back, maybe it was easier for me in a way, because I had less of a life of my own to give up-no career I adored (I honestly don't think I will ever adore a career...maybe "like" but not "adore"? we'll see one day), no night life, or fancy trips to look back on and crave more of. No "peace in the house" as my sweet little pondering Andrew put it. Maybe I was lucky in a way, because I got exactly what I needed at the time. I wouldn't change a thing for the world."

Carrie and I had this conversation the other day. Sometimes I think we have it easier than a lot of other mommas because there's just nothing to really compare it to. I've spent almost all my adult life being a wife and momma and it's been so good.

thankful house: Share my watermelon?
Posted: 31 Jul 2012 12:42 PM PDT
"So, they can hush up. They can get a life. They can get over it. Catering to them only spoils them and makes you miserable. However, I can also hush up. I shouldn't bend my every facet to meet their every whim (which was the nurse's point, and remains quite valid). But, I should also not expect that of them."

 "I am here to serve them, after all; to serve them as Christian brothers and sisters.Often, the way I serve is through discipline and guidance.But, sometimes, the way I need to serve is to get on the floor in the blanket fort, and, in the sentiments of Clark W. Griswold, "Have a good time, dammit."

I tend to ere on the side of being "not fun" myself, and I've been trying to get out of my comfort zone and try to do some the fun activities I usually leave for Peyton (climbing in the playhouse, letting AP cook with me, ect.)

In which this is saving my life right now | Sarah Bessey
Posted: 31 Jul 2012 12:37 PM PDT
Gorgeous post. And also, I was thankful for this opportunity.

12 Years and Why Are We Married Again?
Posted: 31 Jul 2012 12:36 PM PDT
"This was and is the answer my soul was desperate for hearing. "Why marriage?" Because I would give my living and dying breath to reflect an image like that – an image of a marriage declaring an insurmountable love."
Powerful stuff here, friends.

Moses died today
Posted: 31 Jul 2012 12:35 PM PDT
I don't even know what to say about this one. I was just drawn to it and captivated by it.

In which we are colouring in summer | Sarah Bessey
Posted: 31 Jul 2012 12:34 PM PDT
What a fun idea! This is just so much more my style than those sleek printables. We're doing the rainbow bucket list and I might do something different in the Fall if I can come up with it!
Love Well: Planned Spontaneity
Posted: 31 Jul 2012 12:32 PM PDT
"But that was my first clue. I like spontaneity - if I can control it. Enter the oxymoron: planned spontaneity."

This is so me.

Knowing God by Name
Posted: 31 Jul 2012 12:31 PM PDT
"Sometimes The Lord is Peace sounds like my mother, loving tenderness weaving through every word, and I am comforted soul-deep; sometimes The Lord Who Makes Holy sounds like my sarcastic professor, cutting clarity punctuating every sentence, and my pride and I are put back in our place. Always God sounds like Jesus, even if they're words he never spoke; always God sounds like Scripture, even if they're sentences I never read."

This is beautiful.

Why It’s Okay to Not Be Enough | (in)courage
Posted: 31 Jul 2012 12:27 PM PDT
"When we boast in our weakness, our hearts hurt for the struggles of others, and we are more willing to share even in our little. A sufficient grace makes our weaknesses our power. The accomplishments of others begin to seem right, and whatever I receive, I accept it with gratitude....So when the mighty fall, when the rich go bankrupt, and the greatest dreams land broken, we can say to ourselves and to all the world what is true. His grace is sufficient. Power is perfected in weakness. Only after our deaths are we resurrected."

suzannah paul | the smitten word: converted
Posted: 31 Jul 2012 12:20 PM PDT
"There was a definite conversion: your words transmuted us to you and me."

The reason I'm linking to this is probably not the reason you think. In fact, I hesitated to link to it last week for several reasons. For one thing, I've had this conversation (re: spanking) with people in a way that never "transmuted us to you and me" and I don't want anyone to think that's why I'm linking to it. More importantly, while I wouldn't try to convert my "single payer heath care" friends to a Republican agenda and I don't try to "convert" my friends from other denominations to Methodism, had I a Buddhist friend I most certainly would consider it my call and duty to try to "convert" them in the sense of leading them to Christ. All that said, I had to link this week because this post (specifically the last phrase quoted above) has been on my mind so much. It'll probably become a full post one day, but sometimes it's hard for me to balance my passion for things with grace and humility.  I know that over the course of this blog I've probably done that which I hate- transmuted some of y'all from an "us" relationship to a "you and me" one and it breaks my heart that I've done that.  I'm still trying to figure it all out.  
Her.meneutics: Bowing Down to Your Birthing Ball?: Dismantling the Idol of the Perfect Birth
Posted: 30 Jul 2012 11:11 AM PDT
I think it's very, very possible to make a birth experience into an idol (and to people who birth is not a big deal to, I know that sounds *super* weird). I actually really struggled with this and had several conversations with Peyton and one of my closest friends about how I would feel if my "perfect birth" was never actualized. I want to say that I don't think it's wrong disappointing. I know that's natural and on some level, I think I would have even grieved that perfect birth, regardless of Graves's health (again, I know that blows some people's mind and they think it's shallow). So, to an extent, I don't agree with everything here. But I do totally agree it can be made into an idol (as anything can).

Posted: 26 Jul 2012 09:57 PM PDT
"The question of whether or not Maryan or her friends can "have it all" is worthless to them; they fully expect to sacrifice themselves on the altar of motherhood, to give of their time and energy and bodies until there is nothing left. Here in the west we have the luxury of arguing our life choices, of casting our votes on how other women live their lives; but there are pockets all over the world dealing daily with tragedies not so existential in nature."

Posted: 26 Jul 2012 09:20 PM PDT
"If my child speaks in the tongues of men or of angels, masters sign language at six months and Spanish and Mandrin Chinese by six years, but does not learn to love, she is only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If he has the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge-ABCs at a year, reading by two, writing chapter books in Kindergarten-but does not have love, he is nothing. If I volunteer for every mommy ministry-MOPS, AWANA, Sunday School, and if I give all I possess to the poor (or at least bring loads of groceries to the foodbank), but do not have love, I gain nothing."

Posted: 26 Jul 2012 01:32 PM PDT
"On both sides of our latest culture war divide, we must learn to have level-headed disagreements without resorting to accusations of hate speech and boycotts. As Josh Ozersky argued on TIME Thursday, 'businesses should be judged by their products and their practices, not by their politics.'"

This is my stand on the issue.

Posted: 26 Jul 2012 01:17 PM PDT
"These quiet, compelling photographs elicit a reaction that Mr. Parks believed was critical to the undoing of racial prejudice: empathy. Throughout his career, he endeavored to help viewers, white and black, to understand and share the feelings of others. It was with this goal in mind that he set out to document the lives of the Thornton family, creating images meant to alter the way Americans viewed one another and, ultimately, themselves." "More than anything, the "Segregation Series" challenged the abiding myth of racism: that the races are innately unequal, a delusion that allows one group to declare its superiority over another by capriciously ascribing to it negative traits, abnormalities or pathologies. It is the very fullness, even ordinariness, of the lives of the Thornton family that most effectively contests these notions of difference, which had flourished in a popular culture that offered no more than an incomplete or distorted view of African-American life."


Hurting Our Daughter's Future-- My Opinions on a Recent Forbes Article

I linked to this article on ways we are hurting our daughters' future in my Weekly Smorgasbord post last week and mentioned that I wanted to write a full blog post about it.  I'm sure a lot of y'all could care less, but I loved Sociology and find topics like this fascinating.   Anyway, I'm going point by point and addressing each item on the list:

1. You teach her to be polite and quiet.
I agree that this can cause issues if by "polite and quiet" you mean a doormat (which I don't think is a common way to raise girls anymore).  I disagree if it means teaching her good manners and trying to help her cultivate a kind, generous spirit. I think it's really important to teach girls to share their opinions, but always to do so in a respectful way. 
2. You buy her gender-specific toys. 
Okay, in my experience, this has been bogus.  We've had pretty much the same toys with both kids and AP has always gravitated toward imaginative things like dolls and dress up clothes, while Graves love balls and "engineer toys" like puzzles and other things he can manipulate and put together.  He also likes to climb and is so much more active than she was/is.  They both like books and both love the toys kitchen.  I think little boys and little girls are made differently and have natural dispositions toward things.  That said, I love watching a little girl toss a ball with her daddy and I love (maybe even more) watching a little boy push a baby stroller with a doll in it.
3. You tell her she’s pretty … to the exclusion of everything else.
This one is a huge deal, in my opinion.  We tell her how cute she is a lot, but more often we try to tell her how smart and sweet she is.  Actually, I really prefer to say "You are a kind person", but I know I'm starting to sound like The Help.
4. You indoctrinate her into the princess cult.
 I have even more thoughts on this since we've gotten so into it lately and I think I'm going to do a whole separate post on it. For now I will say it's probably the LEAST concerning item on the list.
5. You give Dad all the physical tasks around the house.
I do try not to do this.  Peyton mows and I used to make him vacuum because well, I'm tiny, and doing those things hurt my back.  But I pull weeds and take out the trash and I sure enough climbed up in the attic the day before I gave birth to Graves.
6. You only let her spend time with other girls.
Ann  Peyton's class next year at school will likely be all girls and I think for learning, this can be really beneficial.  I will make sure she gets interaction with little boys at church and other places. 
7. You criticize your own body, and/or other women’s bodies.
Agree a million times with this one and it's so hard.  It's so easy to make disparaging comments about how we look and I truly think this is probably the most detrimental item on the list as far as our daughters are concerned. 

The other thing I thought about as I read this list is that each of these problems has a male counterpart common in our society that is a disservice to our sons:
1. We teach them to be aggressive jerks, rather than assertive men of character.
2. We act like they're sissies when they push a stroller or cradle a doll (hold me back if I see a momma doing this).
3. We focus on physical appearance (height, muscles, ect.) and teach them to value the same in girls/women.
4. We allow them to indulge in absurdly violent stories via movies and video games and tell them "it's a guy thing".
5. We act like childcare responsibilities and housework are "women's work".
6. [This is a big deal to me because of my background.] We let little boys slip through the cracks in the education system because they don't learn the "right" way (read: the way traditionally little girls do).
7. This one holds true regardless of gender.  When my daughter or son sees me or my husband make negative comments about my appearance or that of other women it not only hurts their self image, but it gnaws away their character because I'm teaching them wrong priorities.

Overall, I think a lot of this could be boiled down to three things- being positive in general, helping to instill a sense of self worth, and being intentional and involved in our children's lives. All things we should already be doing!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Weekly Happenings Post #176 (July 23-29)-- Another Tiny Munchkin

 I'm beginning to wonder if we'll ever get another good family picture again.

Last week really wasn't near as busy as I expected.  I didn't end up cooking much or exercising as much as I'd like, but I did clean the house pretty well over the course of the week, so that's something! For some reason, I also took hardly any pictures!

I sleep pretty late on Monday and ended up getting TEN hours of sleep.  It's been awhile since that's happened!  Anyway, when I got up, Peyton was playing with the kids.  I talked to them a little and then he took AP on a walk and I tried to put Graves down for a morning nap since he had gotten up early and I knew he wasn't going to get a full one that afternoon.  That was a big fail.  I got my bath and he played while I got ready.  I picked up around the house and started a load of diapers in the wash.  I cleaned up the kitchen a bit and started dishes and ate a sandwich.

Peyton and AP got back and I finished getting ready because I had a Junior League project that afternoon.  My group is doing four different "parties" throughout the year at the Children's Cancer Clinic for our provisional project and this was the first.  They're actually not really parties, we just have snacks and fun crafts for the kids that have appointments there to do throughout the day and I had the afternoon shift.  It ended up being really fun- the kids were cute and sweet and it was fun to get to know some of the other girls in my provisional class.  Peyton had dropped the kids off at my parents' house so I visited some with my mom when I came over to pick them up and then we came home.  The kids played and I picked up around the house.  I had gone to bed the night before with it kind of a mess and then it got more trashed when Peyton was at home with them (not complaining, I'm so thankful for him).  Anyway, I got it picked up and unloaded the diaper bag and another shopping bag my mom had sent home full of different stuff and then I fed Graves supper, bathed him and put him to bed a little before seven.  I had been watching the news and AP really wanted to see a movie, so I started one for her and I worked on last week's Weekly Happenings Post.  I fixed her supper and put up dishes and reloaded them and then scrubbed the counters.  I swept and mopped the kitchen floors and even scrubbed the baseboards and then I got AP ready for bed.  After she went to sleep, I got on the computer and recorded my vlog.

Peyton got home and we ate a frozen pizza and then I got back on the computer and worked on a few posts.  I went to bed later than I should have.

The kids slept until around eight on Tuesday.  Peyton had to be at his store super early for some inventory thing, so I fed the kids breakfast and then got a bath.  [Sidenote: Kipper may be off our okay list soon because Pig said "stupid".  Why is it so hard to make a decent kid show?]  We had our Morning Meeting and then the kids played while I loaded dishes and cleaned up the kitchen from the night before.  I folded and put up a TON of laundry and then it was lunch time.  I put Graves down for his nap and straightened in the study and taped some more books back together and read to AP. I put her to bed and boiled some eggs and read a few blogs and got on Twitter. The kids didn't do great with their naps- Graves was up after an hour and AP took a trip to time out for being out of bed without permission.  I was tired and frazzled.  I made them both stay in their beds for another hour and they did okay. Peyton had a meeting followed by another meeting after work and I didn't expect to see him until around eight, but he had time to stop by the grocery store and buy some strawberries and he came home just to make me a milkshake!

After he left and I finished my shake, I let the kids get up.  I folded and put up two more BIG loads of laundry and fed the kids snacks and they watched a short little video.  I played with them and we cleaned up the nursery and then it was time for their supper. I unloaded/loaded dishes and sewed up something that needed mending.  After they ate, I bathed Graves and took a break from chores to just tickle and read and play.  I put him to bed and then I went in to Google something because I had seen a short clip about Bruce Springsteen on the news and of course, I needed to rewatch.  The pains of not having a DVR anymore...no rewinding live TV ;) Annie played in the study and then somehow she hurt her mouth (she had found a Popsicle stick and I think it scraped the roof of her mouth really bad.  I took care of it and then we just played some more.  I played hide-and-seek with her per her request (she still hasn't totally got the concept) and then we did a little "science experiment" I saw in a book.  You just take a paper grocery bag, get their feet wet and have them make footprints.  And then they watch them evaporate.  Annie found some dinky little "puppets" from a kid's meal and we played with those and then I swept, dry mopped, and polished the floors in the den and dusted all the furniture in there. I gave AP a bath.

For some reason, I spent so much more time praying throughout the afternoon than I typically do.  It was neat to be doing stuff, but not be going at such a pace I couldn't think or stop and have some short little convos with the Lord.

I put AP to bed and got on the computer and read some posts.  Peyton got home and we ate a frozen pizza and went to bed.

Wednesday was his day off and it was busy, but fun.  We both had dentist appointments.  I got up and went to mine first.  Our dentist is so friendly and super fast.  There's never a wait and you're out before you know it.  Anyway, Peyton met me with the kids for his appointment and I took them home.  We had our Morning Meeting and then Peyton got home.  My friend Karissa had our crock pot from a church thing and she stopped by to drop it off.  Peyton left because he had a "focus group" he was going to be part of.  I fed the kids lunch and folded and put up clothes and then got them down for naps.  They both went to sleep and I cleaned up the lunch dishes and ate my lunch.  I emailed a friend and got on Twitter and then took a short little nap myself.  They woke up and Peyton got home and we ran an errand to find a book Peyton needed.  We had to go to three different bookstores!  When we got home, we unloaded the kids and got ready and went for a nice, long walk.  We fed them supper and gave them baths and put them to bed.  I picked up Newks and Peyton and I ate and he watched TV and I wrote a blog post and went to bed.

Thursday started off BAD, but it ended up being the best day in a long time.  I woke up with the kids right as Peyton was leaving for work.  I tried to get Graves back to sleep because it was still early, but that was a no go.  I fed him breakfast and took a bath and then started the day.  He was the fussiest he's been yet and he's been a fuss pot lately.  We had the Morning Meeting and then I got some dishes loaded, started laundry and did the trash/recycling/compost.  He just screamed the whole time, but would be fine if I sat down and played with him.  Finally, he got himself together for a few minutes and I ironed a pile of clothes.  I got all of us ready and packed a lunch and we headed to the Howies.  I picked up a pizza for Carrie and her kids (I packed our lunches b/c I'm trying to save some money) and we made it only a few minutes behind schedule.  We had a fun visit although we had a few issues with little things like whining and sharing toys.  Get this, though....Graves was a little angel!  I was so confused by whatever was going on with him.

We got home and I put the kids right down.  I got on the computer and then Peyton got home from work. I laid down and took a nap and he played with AP and then fed Graves a snack.  He had a meeting, so I got up and played with the kids. I really didn't try to do too much and Graves had a pretty good afternoon.  We played in their room and then AP and I cleaned up her toys.  Peyton got home and I vacuumed the bedrooms and study and then we fed the kids supper and got them to bed. We ate together and visited some and then I got on the compute and read blogs.  I read some and went to bed.

Friday ended up being difficult day.  Peyton let me sleep in a bit and then I got myself and the kids ready for Graves's appointment and Peyton mowed the yard.  We started a Morning Meeting, but never finished it.  The appointment was just plain hard.  We got home and I fed the kids lunch and put them down. Peyton and I talked some and then he left for work.  I got on the computer, ate my lunch and unloaded and loaded dishes and then I read my Bible.  The kids got up and Annie watched a movie for a bit while Graves played and I cleaned both the bathrooms.  We got ready and headed to my parents'.  It was nice to hang out with them, but I was still emotional and had a headache.  They fell asleep on the way home and I transferred them.  Graves woke up and threw up and Peyton got home about that time and helped me take care of that.  I wrote a post and read some blogs and went to bed.

Peyton had to work Saturday, but it wasn't too bad :) I fed Graves pretty early and he went back to sleep and then played in his bed a little while AP watched Kipper in our room.  We all got up around nine thirty and I took a bath.  For some reason, it took me forever to even get in it.  Ellis called and Graves was all into everything, but I finally got in and got clean.  I put some blocks in the Pack N Play so I could dry my hair because our room is just not babyproofed and Graves won't stay close by me like he used to.  I fixed the kids breakfast and called Morgan and sent an email and then we all just played for a while.  I let AP watch a little bit of movie and then they ate lunch and I put them down for naps.  Annie was taking so long to eat her lunch, I actually read her her naptime story while she was eating.

I ate my lunch and caught up on Twitter and then I started a post.  Graves woke up, but he actually played in bed for a little bit.  I discovered a kitty had gotten sick in our room, so I cleaned that up and then let the kids get up and play. I folded some laundry and Carrie texted me to say maybe we needed to cancel the dinner plans we had because David was feeling bad.  We had gotten babysitters and everything and Carrie and I were both really disappointed.  David told her to just go out to eat with me and Peyton, but I decided it would be more fun to just make it into a girls' night.  I checked with Peyton and he said that was fine.  AP wanted to throw a tennis ball and I told her we could only do that outside, so of course she wanted to go outside.  I felt bad because we haven't been out in the backyard a lot last week, so I said we could go out for about ten minutes (anymore and I'd need another bath).  On the way out she saw her frog umbrella and decided playing with it would be more fun.  We stayed outside for a few minutes and then she threw a fit because I wouldn't let her bring the umbrella inside (I'm not superstitious; the thing has just come close to poking Graves's eye out more than once).  We came in and Peyton called to say he was late and I got them situated eating supper and then got myself ready.  I nursed Graves and Peyton walked in the door and I walked out.

Carrie and I had *the* best time.  I think we kind of annoyed the waitress because we stayed at Mellow Mushroom for about four hours.  Haha!  We ended up talking in the parking lot for probably another hour until almost midnight.

Yeah, I think we needed a break.   When I got home, Peyton and I put on some music and had a great chat and then I cleaned up the house and got on the computer for a few minutes and went to bed.

Sunday was one of those days where I felt like I got nothing accomplished, but it wasn't really fun or relaxing, either. I'm glad I don't have days like that very often!  Peyton went to the early service, but I was so tired, I waited and took the kids to Sunday school and church by myself.  I gave them baths and fed them breakfast and even ironed our clothes and painted AP's toenails and we were (pretty much) on time!  I guess I should say that was an accomplishment.

The Sunday school lesson was from our Balance book and the sermon was on santififying grace.  We got home and I fixed the kids' lunch and put them down for naps.  I ate lunch and worked on a little project a  bit and then got on the computer. AP was having an "off" day and kept bother Graves so I finally gave up and put her in my bed and turned on the ballet and I tried to take a nap.  I ended up texting with some friends and Graves didn't sleep much longer, so we all got up. They had a snack and played and  I cleaned up the their room and picked up some piles and then folded a little laundry.  I read to them some and put up some laundry in our bedroom and then I fed Graves a little supper and AP finished her snack from earlier. Peyton got home and we all got ready and headed over to his parents' house for a couple of hours to visit.
On the way...

We haven't seen them much in the last few weeks, so it was good to catch up!  We put Graves right to bed when we got home and Peyton and AP watched the Olympics together.  I watched for a little bit and then got on the computer.  Peyton went to the grocery store and he told Annie she could watch Swan Lake (yes, another ballet!) in our bed and she fell fast asleep.

I finished up some stuff on the computer and ate some leftovers and went to bed.

This week is pretty full, but I don't think it will be too bad.  Peyton is working some extra, so I've got to find some extra energy myself!

Friday, July 27, 2012

A(nother) Hard Morning for the Babykins (and the Mommykins)

If you've been riding this coaster long enough, you might remember this blog post about a hard morning at the doctor's office when AP was about six months younger than Graves is right now.  It started out as a routine visit, we realized her growth had slowed down quite a bit, Dr. Denney became mildly alarmed, we had her blood drawn after a series of failed attempts and we decided to start supplementing with formula.

Today was deja freakin' vu.

Minus the part where his blood actually got drawn after the series of failed attempts.

And minus the part where we decided to start supplementing with formula.  Which, praise God, because if I had made it to FIFTEEN months without giving him formula- fifteen months where I haven't been able to take a freaking antihistamine and about ten where I couldn't eat legit cheese or drink cow's milk- and had to now I probably would have come undone.  And yes, that is me being a prideful jackass.  But, sometimes I like to share my secret thoughts on here, because it's cathartic, and because I'm a real person.

I think the appointment was mainly hard for me because I was so unprepared for it.  Honestly, as shocked as I was with AP, I was more shocked today.  Peyton and I had been mentioning every day how big he looked and even how heavy he felt.  He wears mostly 12 mo. things, a few 18 mo.  And when he's been kind of picky lately, I haven't fretted the way I would have with Ann Peyton.  "He's fine.  He looks so healthy.  See that chub." I'd tell my mom when she fussed over him as he picked at his food.

Then today, we saw numbers on a scale and then numbers on a chart.  The numbers mocked me.  My heart dropped a little when I saw the scale- still well under twenty pounds.  But my stomach clenched up and my throat got tight when I saw he had fallen to the .08 percentile.

In earlier months, I've been resting in the fact that "this chart is based on formula fed babies and not a sample of his 'peers'", but doesn't that become irrelevant at some point? It does, right?

And the fact is, his situation is different from Annie's.  She was born two pounds less than the average newborn. In fact, my OB was the first one to show concern for her size, a week before I gave birth.  It was, and continues to be, her normal.  She spent her first few weeks in the world wearing preemie clothes even though she was a full term baby and she now spends a lot of weeks in 24 mo. things even though she's three.  Graves was a very typical newborn and stayed within the realm of average the first few months.  Then around six to nine months he started dropping and (I guess) it's been a steady decline since.  That's slightly more alarming than a child who is petite from the get-go. 

Additionally, Dr. Denney was concerned because his stools are not as solid as they should be in a baby his age and they are more frequent.  I chalked that up to him still being breastfed, but Dr. Denney said that probably wasn't the case.  These factors, Dr. Denney said, pointed to the possibility of Celiac's Disease (a gluten allergy). My momma instinct says it's probably not that- it's probably nothing- and truthfully, I think that's what Dr. Denney's instinct says,  too.  But when he told us that if he gave an endocrinologist Graves's charts and told him that he hadn't run any tests, he would be chastised, I felt like the tests were probably the right thing to do.

Drawing blood from nine month old Annie was difficult.  Drawing blood from fifteen month old Graves was impossible.  For today, anyway.  The ladies drawing it stuck him four times and they just couldn't get enough blood.  They called Dr. Denney in and he tried himself, but couldn't even get a good stick.  We'll be going back for a do-over soon.  [Yes, we could try just modifying his diet, but this is the way our practice likes to do it and I love these people and that's the way we're doing it.]

I was really holding up so well, until the sweet lady working on him whispered in his ear, "I know, this isn't fun, baby.  We don't like to make a pin cushion out of the sweet boy".  The way she said it was so soft, so maternal...like she was speaking to her own child as she shushed him.  I wanted to sob and hug her neck. Too bad I was holding down the sweet boy pin cushion.

I've been so emotional today.  I have to keep reminding myself that it's probably nothing and we've been through this before.  And even if it is something, it's probably Celiac's, which can be controlled entirely by modifying his diet.  In the greater scheme of things, it's really no big deal.  But it's scary to think something's wrong with you perfect baby.

I think part of the problem is that I'm letting my anxiety paralyze me.  I've a big fan of Amber's blog and I've recently been following her story of her little boy, Titus, who is around Graves's age.  He's had some very serious issues with growth and his body is just not doing well.  I hate to even make the comparison, because our situation is (seems to be) so different.  But it's where my mind keeps going- to a place of fear and craziness.

I guess it's just that, until reading Amber's blog the past week or so, I had no idea that a one year old in a developed nation like the United States could really be labeled "failure to thrive".  Which is stupid, because anything can happen. It's ironic because these people are at a truly scary place and fear is not their primary response.  They are trusting in the Lord; clinging to things eternal, not temporal; and allowing those who love them to share their burden.

This is why I spend more time than I should reading blogs.  They teach me things.  Big things.  Things about myself and things about my God. 

We'll figure this out for our sweet, beautiful boy.  And in the process probably figure out a whole lot more.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

What Is Saving My Life Right Now: Dark Places and The Boss

"What is saving you right now?" asks a woman I know only through a screen.  A woman I've never met.  A woman I feel like I know, through reading her ponderings, her poetry, her wisdom.

Like this other Sarah, I have a million theological answers based on the doctrines I hold so close to my heart.  I have a million lines of poetic prose I could write about my beautiful children and my selfless husband.  I have a million tiny scenes from nature that confirm Truth and beauty and I have a million more from books and art that do the same. But tonight my answer is something a little more raw and scruffy 'round the edges. 

My answer?  A man.  A man I've never met.  A man I feel like I know, through his ponderings, his poetry, his wisdom. 

Right before I started this post, I tweeted something about how music, specifically his music, does something for me that a pill never could. 

A couple of nights ago on the news, I saw a very short segment about a new article on my favorite legend, one in which this private man is heartbreakingly honest about his struggles with depression. His words, how they resonated.  Maybe there was a reason beyond just catchy tunes that I was drawn to him.

I still haven't read the article.  It's seventeen pages in the New Yorker and I'm waiting for the perfect moment when I can savor it.  I'm saving it the way one saves the best part of dinner to eat last, the favorite blogger's post until all others are read, or the sweetest outfit for the most special occasion.

Today was Peyton's day off and phones have been buzzing; two of the four of us have been to the dentist; we spent half the afternoon in the car and the other half pushing tired, sweaty kids around a walking trail a mile from our house; and then I felt the need to carve out time to email a friend about the inexplicably confusing world of cloth diapers. I love this life and the everyday is saving me, too.  But maybe tomorrow I'll sit and see what my hero says about his struggle and mine. 

I've already found myself so drawn to one line from the article, that was cited in the news segment:
"Those wounds stay with you, and you turn them into a language and a purpose."

He articulates so beautifully, so perfectly, what we feel when we hurt. 

A new prayer of mine is that I'll be better able to do the same things- turn my wounds into a language and a purpose. That is part of what I'm trying to do here, is it not?

Who knows who they could be saving?

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

SD Answers (via vlog)

Okay, so one commenter on my "Ask SD" post requested that I answer these via vlog.  Of course, I was happy to accommodate that request.  I tried to be pithy, but the thing comes in at like just under twenty minutes.  I'm not real sure anybody is going to watch it in its entirety.  Oh well, it was fun to do!

Here are the questions (and VERY brief answers), in case you're interested:

1.  How do you pronounce "Denley"? Am I named for anyone? Den (like a fox's den) ley (like lee).

2. What is something y'all don't know about me? I want to have my writing published and the first year Peyton and I were married was really difficult.

3. Is living in NYC something I'm just doing for Peyton or am I mainly doing it for Peyton? Do I think we'd stay more than a year? I'm (now) really excited.  It's pretty doubtful it will be more than a year, though, mainly because of "family planning" issues.

4. How did we pick the kids' names? They are both family names. [Here is the post about Graves name I mentioned linking to that has more details.]

5. As far as "screening" what AP watches, are there things that would make us completely rule out something? Aside from the normal things (language, violence, sex) we just try to make sure the characters' attitudes are the kind we'd want to see in our children and we try to make sure the movie isn't sending a message prioritizing things we try not to (for example, too much focus on outward beauty, ect.).

6. Could I share my family's Red Beans and Rice recipe? What do we serve with them?  [See recipe below.] We actually just have the beans and rice and a loaf of French bread.  It's so easy- the perfect meal to start the weekend!

7. Will I strive to have another natural birth and why? Yes, if we have another biological child.  It was a beautiful experience and I think it's the best birth I can give my children (and myself).

8. How do I deal with my anxiety without medication? How did I deal with it when Peyton and I first started dating? I deal with anxiety just by trying to have a more healthy lifestyle.  When I'm physically down (not sleeping enough/not eating right/not exercising enough) it always exacerbates the problem and I suffer mentally and emotionally as well.  Additionally, I try to spend extra time with Peyton and with the Lord and I usually find that good music is VERY therapeutic. I forgot to put it in the video, but it wasn't a big deal when Peyton and I started dating.  He's actually the one who helped me realize what was wrong.  I had always felt "different", but I thought I was just a worrier.  It helped me so much to be able to say it was a real problem and then to take steps to work on myself.

9. Why to I prefer baths over showers?
They're just easierr to me.  I explained in the video.

10. Has it been harder or easier for the kids to share a room than I imagined? Much easier.  They've done great.  I left this out of the video, but honestly, the hardest part right now is knowing I won't be able to plan a "big boy" room for Graves for awhile.  Shallow, I know.

11. Finally, here is the link to the egg salad I made recently.

Rob's Red Beans and Rice:
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 cloves chopped garlic
2 Bryan beef sausages
4 (16 oz.) cans dark red kidney beans
1 teaspoon Tony Cacheres seasoning
1/2 cup water
bacon drippings

- In deep iron skillet, heat bacon drippings until liquified and slightly bubbling.
- Slice beef sausages into thirds and add to skillet along with chopped onions and garlic.
- Sautee until onions are clear and slightly brown.
- Add kidney beans, water, and Tony Cacheres seasoning.
- Bring to a boil and then simmer for one (1) hour. Add water as needed.
- Serve over Basmati rice along with french bread.

Weekly Happenings Post #175 (July 16-22)-- Sleep is for the Weak


The week was kinda rough on the sleep front.  Actually, I really can't complain at all because Peyton was home in the mornings and let me sleep late and the one morning he had a meeting Graves ended up sleeping way later than was typical.  And both kids have been making up for their hard nights with good naps.  I'm not really sure what's going on.  With Graves, I think it's teeth, because he's been super fussy during the day, too.  He's just been waking up during the night and/or really early.  I've been nursing him because nothing else really has helped.  I mean he just SCREAMS in my arms.  It makes me nervous for when he's completely weaned. With Annie, I'm not sure.  She woke up once because her pull up leaked and the other times, I think it's just been bad dreams or the weather.  It's been in the early morning when I knew she'd have a hard time going back to bed in her room and not waking up Graves.  Since I did not want them both up for the day, I put her in our bed.  I really don't mind doing that some, but I don't want her to get into the habit of it.  I guess I'll have to work on it if she keeps waking up!

We had a really nice morning on Monday.  Graves got up before seven and wouldn't go back to sleep, even after I nursed him.  Peyton was planning on going to the grocery early anyway, so he took Graves with him and they hit up Kroger and the Farmer's Market near us.  Annie crawled in bed with me and watched Kipper and I thoroughly enjoyed sleeping late and snuggling with her. I got up and AP and I had breakfast and I started dishes before the boys got home.  I put up groceries and cleaned out the fridge and reorganized a bit and then we got ready and headed out on a stroll to the park.  Peyton's brother Andrew was watching a neighbor boy, so they met us there and all the kids played.  Andrew and his little friend came over for lunch afterward.  Peyton and Andrew watched the kids outside while I started cooking fish.  I unloaded the dishwasher and reloaded it and then started the asparagus and hopped in the tub.  [I know, I know, this is not what you serve to a random kid.  But we already had it planned and we cooked him some frozen onion rings to go with.  Okay?]
Monster Man snack

I got ready and we all ate and then Andrew and the little boy left and I gave our kids baths and put Graves down for a bath.  When I got Graves out of the tub, Annie asked me why he was crying.  I told her I thought he was cold and tired.  "Oh, I think he wants Sissy".  So sweet.  I picked up toys and cleaned up most of lunch and I talked to my mom on the phone because AP had had an accident on one of our living room chairs and the color seemed to be running. I read to AP and put her down to rest and then I cleaned up the rest of the kitchen, started laundry and made a pitcher of Kool Aid.  I got on the computer and worked on typing up a report from our last Circle meeting and put pictures on FB.  The kids slept awhile and got some other computer stuff done.  I had to wake them up and we had a very low key evening.  I folded and put up a lot of laundry and fed them supper and Graves went to bed pretty early.  I did a puzzle with AP and read to her for a long while and then put her down and finished up a post.  Peyton and I ate leftovers for supper and I actually got off the computer and got in bed with him right afterward and we watched the news and talked.

I woke up and changed Graves and then fixed him breakfast a little before eight on Tuesday.  He had waken up at six and I had fed him and put him back down.  Peyton got up about half an hour later when AP did and I went back and slept for another thirty minutes.  When I got back up, I had breakfast and picked up around the house some and then we had our Morning Meeting.  I unloaded and reloaded dishes and we all got ready and went for a two mile walk around a nature trail near our house.  It was pretty hot, but fun!
 This is what a family of four looks like after walking two miles in the Mississippi heat.

 We got home and I started cooking lunch.  I cooked black eyes peas, fresh okra, corn and new potatoes.  I also made some cornbread to go with our "Veggie Supper" and made a cake for that night's Ultreya.  I took a quick bath and then Peyton took his and we all ate lunch.  I cleaned up all the lunch dishes and picked up toys with AP and then put Graves down.  I read to her and did a puzzle again and then put her in bed.

I got on the computer and checked Twitter and my email and wrote a blog post.  I texted with a few friends and Annie kept kinda throwing fits about little things and Graves wouldn't go to sleep because he had taken a little nap in the stroller.  They finally both went to sleep and around five I realized I needed to hustle to get ready for Ultreya.  I fixed their supper to take with us, sliced my cake, and got myself ready and then woke the kids up and got us out the door.

Ultreya was nice and it was fun seeing everyone, but by the time we left I had an awful headache.  I took some medicine when we got home and fed Graves a little more (fortunately, the slow eater had eaten enough of the supper I packed).  I got Graves to bed and then worked on the puzzle (again!) with Ann Peyton.  We read some and I put her to bed and caught up on blogs until Peyton got home.  We chatted and then I read some and went to bed.

Baby Graves woke up super early on Wednesday and was inconsolable, so I nursed him and then he slept until almost TEN.  When Annie woke up, I let her watch cartoons in bed with me, since Peyton was at a meeting all morning.  I got a bath before Graves got up and then we all had breakfast.  I made our bed and did laundry and dishes.  I straightened up some piles, organized some books and fixed a necklace AP had gotten all tangled.  I organized some toys and stuffed animals in the kids' room and decided on some to take to my moms' house because space is limited here.  At that point, I realized it was close to noon and I had forgotten the Morning Meeting.  We did it and then played until Peyton got home.

He helped me fix the kids lunch and then I read and ate my lunch while he bathed them.

  I got them down for naps and Peyton left to go hang out with his brother.  I wrote a blog post and got on Twitter.  I let the kids get up and play and then Peyton got home and I straightened up and vacuumed the bedrooms.  He took a bath and then we headed over to my parents.  A friend had cleaned out her closet and she's little like me, so we met her on the way because she had a bag of stuff for me.  We ate dinner with my parents and had a good time and Annie even had a second bath!  We got home and put the kids right to bed.  I read some blogs and Peyton watched a movie and then I went to bed.

Both kids woke up at 2:30 that night.  Annie's pull up had leaked and then the commotion woke Graves up and he was in a state.  I nursed him and Peyton helped me with AP.  It really didn't take that long to get them back to bed, but you know it's still the middle of the night.  Peyton meant to go for an early walk and take Graves and then I was going to go to the gym, but he didn't get up until after eight on Thursday.  They went ahead and I just decided to stay home with AP since she was still sleeping.  We slept late and then I took a bath and the boys got home.  We had a late breakfast and I started laundry and dishes and then got to work on lunch.  I was making "hamburger corn pie"- a favorite casserole of Peyton's- and the meat took longer to thaw than I realized.  Peyton needed to run by the church on the way to work anyway, so I just cooked it for him to have that night and fed the kids leftovers since we had all had late breakfasts. I cleaned up the kitchen and striped our bed and started more laundry.  I did the compost, trash and recycling and then put sheets on AP's bed and got the kids down for naps.  The font on my 411 post was so weird and so I spent a little while trying to reformat it. It looks normal now, but it's weird in Reader.  Whatever.  I caught up on Twitter and then, as I promised myself I would, got up and did something beneficial.  I did some reading in my Old Testament study and ate a big lunch (four tacos, almost a row of Oreos, and a big glass of whole milk).

Graves woke up and I got the kids and we just had a very chill evening.  I fed Graves a snack and unloaded and loaded dishes.  I folded some laundry and put it up in ours and the kids room and then I taped up a couple of kid books that were falling apart.  Poor Graves was super fussy and I stopped what I was doing every few minutes to snuggle with him or read a board book.  After that, I worked on a putting some "stuffing" in a sewing project I'm working on.  AP helped me some and then Graves got fussy again. I fed both the kids dinner and read to Graves a little bit more and then put him to bed.  I took some video footage of AP because she was being hilarious (she told me that PHARAOH was at our house cleaning up and that he "didn't like a dirty house").  I did her whole nighttime routine and then I even played her a song on the piano.  [I can read music and I can play the guitar (not well, anymore) but I really want to learn to play the piano better.]  I put her to bed and read some blogs and then Peyton got home.  We watched the first half of a movie and then I made myself a turkey melt and went to bed.

Graves woke up around 7ish on Friday, but he slept through the night so I was happy.  I had given him Tylenol right before bed and I think that did the trick.  I nursed him and fed him breakfast and then AP woke up and they played and then she ate.  She takes so long! Peyton left to go to a work day at Ann Peyton's school. I got some laundry started and took out the bathroom trash and then we had our Morning Meeting.  She helped me clean up toys and then I took a bath.
"We want to make a mess, Momma".  Mission accomplished, I'd say.

  The kids played some more and I typed up part of a blog post.  I really try not to do that when they're awake, but I had a bunch of thoughts in my head and wanted to start it.  Peyton got home and we talked and I I fed them lunch and got them down for naps and then I got on the computer for a bit.
 Peyton gave him his first Oreo and seconds later he said "Papa" for the first time ever.

 I checked in on Twitter and checked my email and I installed Elements on our computer and then I spent the rest of naptime reading.

 When the kids got up, we got ready and headed to my parents'.  We had a good visit, but Graves got pretty cranky.  We came home and I put the kids right to bed.  I read blogs and tried to figure out Elements some and then went to bed.

Saturday was such a fun day.  Peyton was actually off and we started out the rainy morning by dropping the kids off at my parents' and heading to a little reading workshop at Ann Peyton's school.  It was kind of overwhelving, even with an education background, but I learned a lot!  We picked up the kids and came home and put them down for naps and then Peyton grilled bacon and squash.  I had a big salad for lunch and we finished Tree of Life.  The kids woke up and I straightened up a little and took another shower.  We met our friend Erika for dinner and that was super fun! After dinner, we rode around and talked some and then when we got home, I put Graves to bed and Peyton helped me get AP ready for bed.  She went to sleep pretty quickly considering she had taken a real nap.  Peyton and I talked and I cleaned up the kitchen and picked up the house.  I got on the computer and then worked on my Sunday School lesson for the next day. I went to bed super late.

[I went in to check on them and this is how Graves was sleeping.]

Sunday morning I got up before everyone else and got ready and left to go do Children's Church at the early service.  The kids were just waking up when I left.  Peyton got them ready and to church by himself and met me for Sunday School. The lesson I was teaching was the second in our book on balance and it was about busyness and making sure we use our time wisely- something I really struggle with alot!  Peyton ushered at church, but he got to sit with me the second part of the service and that was nice.
A lesser known stanzas of one of my favorite hymns- O, For a Thousand Tongues to Sing by Charles Wesley.  It is with great pride that I claim him as a spiritual ancestor.

  I was so tired when we got home.  I ate lunch and got on the computer to try to cut a video so I could upload it to Vimeo and then I took a nap.  After I woke up, I worked on my craft for that night.

  Peyton pretty much dealt with the kids most of the afternoon.  Graves was pretty fussy, so Peyton decided to take him for a walk and then put him to bed early.  Annie went with me to church and the only other kids there were my friend's who was keeping them with me.  We let them eat supper, and I read the Bible story and we did the craft and then we all went home early.  Ann Peyton wanted to play on the playground and it actually wasn't blistering hot.  We were having a nice time until she had a little accident.  So weird because she had been to the potty right before we went outside.  I guess she had just been drinking a lot of water.  Anyway, I striped her and put her in the car and we came home.

[Annie's birthday message for Cookie]

Peyton and Graves were home and I nursed him and got him down and Peyton gave AP a bath and started getting her ready for bed.  I had a headache so I got in the tub myself and when I got out they were both in the gingerbread house discussing what happens to the moon during the day.  I tweeted last night about what an awesome dad Peyton is and how I knew by my senior year of high school he would be the best father (with the sole exception of my dad) I would ever meet.  I got on the computer and ate some Bagel Bites and went on to bed early after we had a very abbreviated family meeting.
Nothing makes me feel like royalty like The Poor Man's Deep Water Bath.  I'm a simple girl.

This week is busy, busy, busy and mostly with appointments and work commitments for Peyton.  I've been spoiled by our low key weeks lately, so I know this one won't be the easiest.  I'm glad I went to bed early and I'm starting the week on a good food.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Weekly Smorgasbord

This week's links:

    Posted: 23 Jul 2012 08:31 PM PDT
    Again and again, Ann helps us find practical ways to be the hands and feet of Christ. This women not only writes well. She lives and loves well.

    Posted: 23 Jul 2012 08:30 PM PDT
    Such a beautiful post about such an ordinary thing. Oh wait, that's almost all of Angie's posts.

    Posted: 23 Jul 2012 08:29 PM PDT
    Interesting, especially in light of the other post about gender I'm linking to this week.
    Posted: 23 Jul 2012 08:28 PM PDT
    Beautiful. Especially the quote at the end from a movie we just watched- "The way of Nature and the way of Grace".

    Posted: 23 Jul 2012 08:27 PM PDT
    Annnd my Amazon wishlist just got even more bloated.
    Posted: 23 Jul 2012 08:24 PM PDT
    I found this so interesting. Especially the "tell them everything" part that everyone agreed on. Those of you that are adopting/plan to adopt which of these to you agree with/which do you not?

    Posted: 23 Jul 2012 08:23 PM PDT
    "Maybe we should just be quiet. Maybe we should try to connect with the grief and the hurt. Maybe we should try to wrestle some of the hard questions. Maybe we should just stop and be with our families. Maybe we should just spend the day in quiet prayer." Great post on social media and tragedy.

    Posted: 23 Jul 2012 08:22 PM PDT
    "As I dwell on this, I squeeze my lap-bound boy, in a hug that wouldn't have otherwise happened. Thankful for this space, for connections with you, friends and readers (who are friends I just haven't met yet), and for all that having this corner of the interwebs has brought to our family."

    because it’s not hard to be a Christian universalist | see preston blog
    Posted: 22 Jul 2012 06:32 PM PDT
    This? Is not what you think.  Give it a fair shake.

    "I'm not a relativist. What's True for you has to be True for me, or else there isn't Truth. (A different topic altogether, but mind where I'm going.)But the conversations we have need to start here, with this: is this more plausible than I have let myself believe?Is it possible that this other loves Jesus as much as I do?s it possible that this other is trying as hard as I am to love Him right?"

     This is something I've been grappling with for years. Not Universalism. Like Preston, I'm not even close to that. But several people I love deeply and respect greatly subscribe to this theology, or, at the very least, are open to it. I can't possibly articulate how difficult this has been and how much pain has occured wondering if I could even sit at the metaphorical table as brothers and sisters with these dearly loved persons in my life. It's clearly something close to my heart, but I also read this post within a broader framework.

    I think this can be applicable to any spiritual polarizing idea.  These questions:"Is this more plausible than I have let myself believe? Is it possible that this other loves Jesus as much as I do? Is it possible that this other is trying as hard as I am to love Him right?" are so important to ask. When I am challenged with hard questions I want to make sure that this is the perspective I'm coming from in our discussions with them.

    Posted: 21 Jul 2012 09:35 PM PDT
    Interesting advice!

    40 Things That Will Make You Feel Old: Pics, Videos, Links, News
    Posted: 19 Jul 2012 08:48 PM PDT
    Who feels old?
    Posted: 19 Jul 2012 08:45 PM PDT
    I read this post and was super judgey. And then Peyton and I had a long talk about it and I realized a few things. And then the next day, I had a real awakening. I was hurrying the whole day, trying to get all the things I "needed" to get done finished, so when the kids napped and went to bed, I could have "me time". Yeah, it's really not that different. I'm praying more and more for the Lord to remove the log from my eye.
    Posted: 18 Jul 2012 09:49 PM PDT
    I was so fascinated by this post and I have LOTS of thoughts, so I'm going to do a full blog post soon.

    Hope you found something you liked!

    Thursday, July 19, 2012

    Ask SD Anything!

    I mentioned in my post yesterday, that I was thinking of doing an "Ask Away!" post like I've done before.  I love it when bloggers do this and I always feel like I get to know the person better based on questions other people ask.  I've done it twice before here, and although it sounds narcasitic, it's fun to do every once in awhile.

    Anyway, someone already asked a question in yesterday's comments so I decided to go ahead and see if y'all had any more.  I'm pretty much an open book and as long as you're respectful and kind, I doubt there's much of anything I won't answer.  I'll probably do my answers sometime next week.

    Ready, Set, Go!