Thursday, January 31, 2013

Weaning Graves

 [I'm going through drafts today and trying to write/complete some of the post that have been hanging out in that folder for months. I need to be more disciplined about doing that more. This is one I started and shelved for various reasons.]

Now that Graves has been weaned for a few months, I wanted to share my feelings on it. I kind of put this post off because November was such a draining month emotionally and I was scared to write a post I thought would be hard. And then I filled up December with Christmas posts and January with new year ones. I just didn't have the time to give it what it deserved. Now that I'm writing it, it doesn't seem like a big deal on either front, though. Anyway, logistics first and then emotions.

Graves really self-weaned, I feel like. I'll write a whole post on this, but I was not going to do it indefinitely. I felt like we'd get to a point where it was outside my comfort level. Happily, he beat me to it. When he turned one, Peyton and I discussed this and Peyton looked me in the eye and said to me, in all seriousness, "Sweetie. I think he still needs it....emotionally". I cannot tell you the relief I felt, knowing we were SO on the same page. Because at that point, he did need it. It was pretty obvious. It soothed him like nothing else and I could nurse him down off a ledge from even his most inconsolable moments. I specifically remember a dinner at a nice-ish restaurant we took him to (mistake number one) when he was fussy (mistake number two) and it was too close to bedtime (mistake number three). All in all, *we*  screwed up. But we made it through that dinner because I was able to take him to the bathroom and nurse him for ten minutes. It was a wonderful tool for that season.

But then, six months later he could care less about it. [Here's hoping the same thing happens with the paci...not holding my breath, though. (UPDATE: IT KINDA SORTA HAS. Not holding my breath for this continueing for the duration and hoping I didn't jinx it even though I totally don't believe in jinxes).] I'll get to more specifics, but I actually ended up nursing him longer than he really cared for myself. Now before you think I'm creepy, I'm not one of those women who just love nursing anyway (not that I think that's creepy at all- I kind of wish I was). We've certainly had our beautiful moments, and I'm more than thankful for them, but overall, I'm just as content snuggling and rocking my babies. It was more that I was just scared to do it. I was afraid of the emotions. So there was probably a good month (when he was about seventeen months old), where I was just nursing him because I couldn't end it.

As far as the actual feelings, it turned out to be easier for me emotionally than it was with Annie. Frankly, I was really shocked by that because my nursing relationship with him was longer (by about fifty percent) and in many ways more intense (he cared about nursing a lot more, nursed much more frequently, and I had to make alot more sacrifices for it).

I think there are a few reasons for this. First of all, the dynamic was just so different. She never really cared much for nursing, but weaning her was still much more parent directed. Weaning Graves was very baby led. Graves went from loving to nurse at a year to being ambivalent about it at best six months later. Like he had no desire to nurse before naps and in the evening and dropped those feedings and only wanted to nurse in the mornings because he woke up with an empty stomach. Then it got to be where if I put him on the ground when I got him out of his crib, he'd run to his highchair if one of us didn't intercept him to nurse. It was very clear he was over it. Annie, on the other hand, was so laid back. I probably could have switched her to a bottle at six months and she wouldn't have cared. Likewise, I could have probably nursed her until she was two. I don't have any guilt about how I did it with her and I wouldn't even say I regret it, though I might try to do it differently if I had another child like her. I just think it was just neat with Graves to get a very clear indication FROM HIM that he was ready to be done.

Also, with Annie, we had a three day retreat that we went on and I had it in my mind that she needed to be weaned by then. With Graves, I left him while he was nursing for a couple of days and pumped and he picked right back up. I didn't even know that was an option to try with her. Anyway, although I weaned her somewhat gradually (really it doesn't seem that gradual now- it was over about a month), I still felt a lot of pressure because of that date on the calendar. In the end, I had to give myself a cut off date with Graves too, just to make it final, but it was different because I knew it was completely my decision when. The initial date I decided on ended up falling on a particularly hormonal/emotional week for me (ahem), so I just pushed it back. There was so much freedom in being able to do that.

Lastly, I just think I process things differently with him. Maybe it's because I know all the good things coming, but the milestones just don't seem as hard. It's strange because he might be our last biological baby and also might have been our last infant. For some reason, with him, I have a much harder time leading up to a milestone/transition, but the actual event seems easier. In a way, I do sort of torture myself worrying about what's coming up. But honestly, I would rather hurt leading up to something and then be able to get through it easily, rather than have to deal with it during/afterwards. Plus, I don't even know that I could change it if I wanted to. I much preferred feeling it all on the front end with Graves and then having an easy week/month after we finished nursing to the weeks after Annie finished that I kind of spent rehashing it.

There was one other thing that was really special about this process with us. Graves was never really much of a rocker as a baby. Before I weaned him I got really sad thinking about loosing that bonding time. I knew from Annie that there would be other things that replaced it, but I was still nervous and worried. So I prayed that he would start wanting me to rock him. And almost like a light switch he started letting me. It's a really special time, and like those first eighteen months of nursing him, something I'll always appreciate.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

What I'm Into: January

I can't believe January 2013 is nearing it's end, but here we are. And here are some of the things I've been into this month:

On the Nightstand:
After really getting out of my groove for a couple of years, I'm finding myself a reader again. I'm still not reading daily, but I'm reading more than I have in a long time, probably since having kids. It's a very good feeling. Here's what's current:

Anything: The Prayer That Unlocked My God and My Heart by Jennie Allen
Finished! I know some of you kids read a book a week and there was a point where I could (and did!) do it, too. For now, for this season, it feels good to have finished a book in December and another this month. I'm going to be writing a review on it next week!

He Will Laugh by Douglas Ray
Okay, so I've actually finished two books this month. This is a book of poetry, so it was super quick. I read it, as I mentioned last month, because it's written by one of my high school classmates. I knew the topic of the book- it's about a man who's homosexual lover commits suicide- would be totally outside of my comfort zone. At the same time, I also know Douglas is extremely talented and just from a perspective of art/writing, I wanted to read his words. I was fascinated with the fact that one of my highschool classmates had a published book. My honest reaction? very mixed. There were parts of the book that were beautiful and I won't, for one hot second, deny that Douglas is a creative genius. But I already knew that. I don't really regret reading it, either. I'm not a fan of indulging myself in sensationalistic oversexed writing that really, in my opinion has no edifying value (see Fifty Shades). But I'm also not a fan of not exposing myself to things that are so outside my little world. It did me good in that it broadened my scope of reality. These characters that he wrote about are real and they're not this filthy archetype I, at one point in my life, imagined them to be. I think it helped me find more grace within myself. Good writing does that. That said, there were parts that were graphic and hard for me to handle. The descriptions of certain things (the suicide, sex, gay culture in general) were vivid. It made me blush and I'm not much of a blusher. Overall, not necessarily a favorite, but a book I'm glad I read.

Reflections for Ragamuffins: Daily Devotions by Brennan Manning
Obviously this will be on my list all year. I'm really enjoying the reflections.

The Rest of Life: Rest, Play, Eating, Studying, Sex from a Kingdom Perspective by Ben Witherington III
We actually ended up doing another book of his for Peyton's Wednesday night study, so we shelved this one for awhile.

Work: A Kinddom Perspective on Labor by Ben Witherington III
This is a really good, practical book from what I've read so far. It's neat to read a very relevant, practical book on an important everyday topic written by an intelligent theologian. I like that it's not just heavy theology, but it's not too simplistic either. I was a little nervous that the topic would be hard for me since I don't work outside the home, but I've found a lot of it to be SUPER relevant.
 "So, what will be your magnum opus- your great and magnificent work done in the light of day and in the shadow of the Almighty?"

On the Shelf:
So much for "committing to picking these back up". Usually saying that kind of thing on the blog provides a strong sense of accountability. Not so much with these. That said, I was pretty happy with my reading goals this past month. I'm leaving them on the list.

The Well-Trained Mind: A Guide to Classical Education at Home by Susan Wise Bauer

Photoshop Elements 10: The Missing Manuel

At the Theater (or from the couch):
We actually watched a couple of videos this month. Interestingly, neither was a traditional movie.

The Hobart Shakespeareans
This documentary was really fascinating.  It's about a phenomenal teacher,  Rafe Esquith, who teaches in a very dangerous poor area of Los Angeles. His students are all the children of immigrants, almost all who come from homes where English is not spoken. He takes these fifth graders to a level they and their parents could have never imagined. He has extremely high expectations and he uses creative strategies combined with honest dialogue and discussion to motivate them. These creative incentives include parties and trips that were funded from his own pocket until one of his former students (an Ivy League law school graduate, I believe) set up a charity for this purpose. He's teaches these students much more than knowledge and skills- he teaches them values, a strong work ethic, and perhaps most importantly a strong sense of self worth and insight into their own potential. The year culminates with these students presenting the play Hamlet. The video culminated with Peyton wanting to abruptly make the shift to becoming a public school teacher. In the interest of full disclosure, this is not the first I've heard from him of this desire.

VH1 Storytellers: Bruce Springsteen 
 You could probably guess, but this is one of my favorites that I've seen in awhile. I love concert DVDs, but this was awesome because you get to see him analyze every song. I loved that he chose a huge variety from his catalog- one somber ballad from the perspective of a soldier; one in which he admitted to using a rhyming dictionary as he sat in his New Jersey apartment bedroom; another a love song about "men and women" as he said; one which he says was written with the premise that "everyone knows what it's like to be condemned"; another about faith, sacrifice and being a parent; a feel good pop song that he said freed him when he was tired of writing about heavy stuff; a song about September 11 that is applicable on a more universal level as well and his epic ballad Thunder Road. Seriously amazing. I'm going to have to purchase this at some point.

On the Small Screen:
It's been awhile since I've made time for TV. This month I actually did and Peyton and I started two "new" series:

The West Wing
Y'all. So obsessed. I'm absolutely fascinated. The characters all intrigue me. And really that's where the action in a show is for me, most of the time. I don't need a huge involved plot; just give me strong, complex characters. I love the fast, intelligent dialogue and wit. And I love the passion, intensity and integrity that many of the characters have. I think politics is fascinating, too, so the policy issues they deal with on the show are interesting as well.

The Wonder Years
This used to be my absolute favorite show. We own the dvds, but awhile back it became available on Netflix to stream. It's just the perfect show about life and friendship and young love. There's not much I love more than a coming of age drama. Unless it's a coming of age drama set in the 1960s staring Fred Savage.

In My Ears:
Pretty much my January playlist. The thing is stellar. It could be my best one yet. It's also probably (definitely) my most nostalgic one to date. Like this one here
Annnnd I'm back in the dorms eating cinnamon rolls with my college BFF who introduced me to this song.
Around the House:
My mom got me this ottomon for Christmas and I love it!

It feels really cottage-y to me and to me the gingham makes the funky retro houndstooth chairs not feel quite so bold!

This is just a tiny thing, but it makes my day. My mom made that red pillow in the middle out of a two dollar placemat from Target. I got a Christmas one, too, and she did the same thing. I think the print looks a little tribal or maybe Mexican and goes well with the funky lime ones. By the way that's three pillows on my couch that started out as placemats (yep, the green ones were placemats originally, too!)

I also had to include these. The addition of them to my house had made my life significantly easier. 
[During naptime AP gets three tickets. She can use them for whatever she "needs" me to help her with, but once she uses all three, her momma resource is gone and she can't come out of her room. Of course, she has unlimited trips to the potty.]

In the Kitchen: 
I made this awesome soup this month. It's a thick creamy soup and it was so good I made it two weeks in a row!
Wild Rice Soup from Come On In, a retired Junior League cookbook

In My Closet:
This is what I've looked like most of January-
 and it's been so nice! I'm the kind of girl that LOVES dressing up and also LOVES dressing like this. It's nice when you have the option for both.

My mom bought me this. It's a large. I told her it was a shirt. She said it was a tunic. Clearly on me it's a legit dress. Whatever. It was $12 and you can call it a boomerang for all I care. It's so soft and so easy. A new favorite! Also: Peyton loves textured tights (which I'm wearing here). So good to know. 
In My Mailbox:
Honestly, not a lot. I ordered the kids both new tennis shoes- AP got a repeat of a quirky denim pair that I had found at Target and refound on eBay. Graves got some Keds I bought from a friend. Not too exciting, but it's nice when I can get the basics taken care of ahead of time!

In My Cart:

I got a new planner and I could not love this thing more. Erin Condren eat your heart out :) My old planner got discontinued and I was sad and frightened and overwhelmed ;) Then I found this (way better) one and it's been easy sailing since!
On My Heart:
I've been thinking about NYC alot lately since we'll likely be moving around this time next year. Some days I'm really excited. Most days I'm nervous. A few days I've been downright terrified.  I'm hoping to resurrect (and rename!) my NYC blog soon and post some of my thoughts and our plans over there. 

In My Prayers:
- Some of our dearest friends who are in the process of adopting a precious child with special needs
- My heart and attitude about New York-- that I will not be captive to a spirit of fear
- That the Lord will make me aware of little ways I can encourage those around me and potentially impact the Kingdom     

On the Calendar:  
February is starting to fill up, but it's mainly just meetings and things. Not too terribly exciting but nothing terribly exhausting either! 

I'm linking up with Leigh again. It's always fun to see what others are enjoying over the month!

What I'm Into at HopefulLeigh

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Weekly Smorgasbord

This week's list may look a little different- no so many faith and family posts and (many) more "issue" posts. I think part of it is the timing, part of it is new blogs and new interests, and part of it is just how some lists come out. These posts aren't without controversy and as you'll note, I don't agree with every word of every post. However, that's not my point with these weekly lists. The reason I find these so interesting is not always because they provide confirmation or validation for my own thoughts and feelings. Sometimes they fascinate me because they show me a new way of thinking. Even if I don't agree they broaden my worldview. I hope you'll give them a chance!

On Faith: 
Posted: 27 Jan 2013 10:30 PM PST
"Learning to be a healthy and mature single person is much closer to becoming a healthy and mature human-being in general than endlessly obsessing over becoming a wife or husband (of any degree of health or maturity). When pastors equally obsess over this on behalf of their flock, I'm starting to think it actually stunts the growth and flourishing of the humanity and lives of their people."
Posted: 27 Jan 2013 10:24 PM PST
"I'm prone to forget promised prayers if I don't somehow incarnate the intention. If I want to be true, I must make my prayers tangible. Moving mysterious prayers into time and space with objects I can see, touch, even smell help me remember to pray. My good intentions gain some gravity, my prayers some levity."

I do similar things and find using tangibles really helps me remember to pray. For example, I pray for Peyton as I put on my wedding ring each morning.
Posted: 19 Jan 2013 10:43 PM PST
There are definitely there are big chunks of this I disagree with, but it's an interesting framework he's got going here.
On Family:
Posted: 22 Jan 2013 09:48 PM PST
"So I'll thank you to stand back and let me do my job, here, which consists mostly of resisting the very same impulses you are indulging, and biting my tongue when I want to yell, "BE CAREFUL," and choosing, deliberately, painfully, repeatedly, to stand back instead of rush forward...Because, as they grow up, the ladders will only get taller, and scarier, and much more difficult to climb. And I don't know about you, but I'd rather help them learn the skills they'll need to navigate them now, while a misstep means a bumped head or scraped knee that can be healed with a kiss, while the most difficult of hills can be conquered by chanting, "I think I can, I think I can", and while those 15 whole feet between us still feels, to them, like I'm much too far away."

On the Sanctity of Life: 
Posted: 19 Jan 2013 10:43 PM PST
There are certain parts I don't agree with-- for example, I do find it disconcerting to advocate for "a swift and not-particularly-painless execution" for abortion providers were abortion to become illegal. Personally, capital punishment generally does not find a place in my pro-life ethic (I realize that can be debated), but beyond that it's inconceivable to me how a person of faith would encourage a "not particularly painless" execution even for offenders of the most heinous atrocities. Overall, though, a really good, thorough resource.
Posted: 23 Jan 2013 07:40 PM PST
I love the UMC, I love being a part of United Methodist Women, I love social justice, and I love women. But this has me deeply disturbed:
- "We cannot afford to allow the heated politics of this issue to veil the fact that women are dying." And, um, babies.
- "“We cannot afford to allow the heated politics of this issue to veil the fact that women are dying and that childbirth remains one of the most dangerous endeavors a woman faces,” they declare." In the United States? Nope.
- "They acknowledge that denomination members are divided on abortion, and cite the United Methodist Social Principles: “We recognize tragic conflicts of life with life that may justify abortion, and in such cases we support the legal option of abortion under proper medical procedures by certified medical providers." This is wholly different from the what the rest of the article is talking about.
- "Additionally, the Centers for Disease Control reports that almost half of all pregnancies in the United States are unintended." As were half of all pregnancies in this family.
- "Conduct careful analysis of the church’s support for crisis pregnancy centers that may not offer all options of counseling." No. As a Methodist, as a Christian, as a person of integrity I could not spend my volunteer hours attempting to go against my conscience, which says abortion is one of the greatest atrocities of our time.
-“In the wilderness of political posturing and divisive blaming and shaming, we seek to be a voice crying out to prepare the way for the Lord to bring about a new era of reproductive justice for our families and communities,” they state." This is a truly beautiful sentiment and my literary inclined mind and heart want to love it. Sadly, I'm going to have to call bullshit on it instead."

Yesterday was, in some ways, a hard day to be an American. Today is a hard day to be a Methodist. 
Posted: 22 Jan 2013 09:50 PM PST
"But it is not enough to say that the child in the womb is precious. Key in the abortion battle is not simply to affirm how precious the baby is to God, but to declare how precious is the mother (another child of God), whom God made and knows and touches...And the man who may be urging an abortion because of his own fear of shame or disadvantage or retribution may also find new incentive to protect the unborn when he discovers the embrace of grace.  That embrace will mean nothing, of course, if it is not accompanied by meaningful love."
Posted: 22 Jan 2013 09:49 PM PST
"We must be politically active. We must serve moms in crisis. We must speak prophetically to both the world and the church, remembering that one in six abortions is procured by an evangelical. First, however, we must weep. First, our hearts have to be broken, lest our pro-life activities lead us to forget... Last we must remember that there is only one thing that can wash the blood from our hands, the blood from His."
Posted: 26 Jan 2013 09:01 PM PST
"We shall not weary, we shall not rest, until every unborn child is protected in law and welcomed in life. We shall not weary, we shall not rest, until all the elderly who have run life's course are protected against despair and abandonment, protected by the rule of law and the bonds of love. We shall not weary, we shall not rest, until every young woman is given the help she needs to recognize the problem of pregnancy as the gift of life. We shall not weary, we shall not rest, as we stand guard at the entrance gates and the exit gates of life, and at every step along way of life, bearing witness in word and deed to the dignity of the human person—of every human person."

Posted: 26 Jan 2013 08:53 PM PST
"And I would put the life of a mother over the life of a fetus every single time — even if I still need to acknowledge my conviction that the fetus is indeed a life. A life worth sacrificing."

Honestly, I have a much harder time (and I've had this actual conversation with a friend who is pro-choice) understanding a person who supports abortion while still acknowledging that the fetus is alive. Because at that point, (regardless of the "condition" of the child), that is putting your lifestyle above another's life. I could never imagine doing that.
Posted: 25 Jan 2013 09:29 PM PST
"I imagine that as those Greek parents handed over their infants for someone to take away, they remarked on how very unlike their other children these little creatures were: They can't talk, they can't sit up. Surely those little yawns and smiles are just involuntary spasms. I bet you anything they justified their choices by referring to these babies with words that stripped them of their human dignity. Maybe they called them something like "fetuses," and walked away confident that the lives that had been taken were not really human at all."

On Gun Control:
Posted: 27 Jan 2013 10:10 PM PST
"There is just no reason civilians need to own assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. Gun enthusiasts can still have their venison chili, shoot for sport and competition, and make a home invader flee for his life without pretending they are a part of the SEAL team that took out Osama bin Laden."


On Issues of Race:
Posted: 27 Jan 2013 10:05 PM PST
"Whatever great strides we might have made in our country, as long as State-mandated racism was occurring less than a lifetime ago, we simply cannot talk about a "post-racial" society. And we can be confident that the effects of that bigotry are still reverberating through our country and will continue for some time."

 Interesting article about racism in America today.
Posted: 27 Jan 2013 09:29 PM PST
"Diversity, be it racial or ethnic or cultural or denominational, is neither the reality nor the priority for the American church goer. When did this become acceptable?"

On Privilege
Posted: 25 Jan 2013 10:12 PM PST
"Confronting this distress is tricky, because neither acceptance nor rejection is quite right. The distress is usually very real, so rejecting it outright just marks you as closed-minded and unsympathetic. It never works to ask others for empathy without offering it back to them. At the same time, my straight-white-male sunburn can't be allowed to compete on equal terms with your heart attack. To me, it may seem fair to flip a coin for the first available ambulance, but it really isn't. Don't try to tell me my burn doesn't hurt, but don't consent to the coin-flip. The Owldolatrous approach — acknowledging the distress while continuing to point out the difference in scale — is as good as I've seen."

Here's a personal (my most personal example)-- as American society changes my chosen vocation seems to be more and more on the margins and in some cases, is even devalued and dismissed. And that stings. But it's nothing compared to the women who have been fighting in combat zones, but have been unrecognized for it thus far-- several of whom I recently saw in a television  interview. One should have been a candidate for a Congressional Medal of Honor, but "technically" she wasn't in the front lines. Another was asked her about her role in a recent war and she answered with a smile and with an incredible amount of humor and humility- "Well, I didn't loose my legs in a bar fight". My privileged sunburn of feeling disrespected when someone questions the legitimate work Ann Romney does as a stay at home mom does not, CANNOT, compare to the very real emotional scars heaped atop these women's physical ones. But it can't be dismissed, either. 

On Important Safety Measures:

Putting Your Child in a Booster Seat Too Soon Could Have Tragic Consequences | The Stir
Posted: 19 Jan 2013 10:40 PM PST
Important info here.

On Topics of Great Hilarity: 
Posted: 26 Jan 2013 08:34 PM PST
"Check the volume. If the song starts off so quiet you can barely hear it and then ends up breaking your speakers, you're listening to Mumford."

Posted: 27 Jan 2013 10:34 PM PST

On Writing and On Wisdom:
Posted: 27 Jan 2013 08:53 PM PST
"Are these the images my mind will conjure when I look back from a greater distance? I'm not sure, one can never have a true perspective of these things when you're in it. But I know enough about life now to know that when you look back on seasons, there is a tone. There is a vibe, there are colors, there is a prevailing sense of what it was, and I think that on some level you can control it. From this blog to my daily life, I want to create the colors of my life. I want to set the tone for our family memories. Sometimes this might mean I gotta fake it 'til I make it. But I don't think it's inauthentic to set up an atmosphere for my kids to have the healthiest recollection possible. I don't think it's inauthentic to decide my grumpy mood will not dictate this family vacation. As a mom, I set the tone for my family. As a writer, I set the tone for my stories. "
Posted: 26 Jan 2013 09:17 PM PST
So interesting!

On Things That Make Me Smile:
Posted: 27 Jan 2013 10:19 PM PST
"These have been the many phases of Kirsten Larson, an American Girl doll who sat on a shelf in the Ottendorfer branch of the New York Public Library, in the East Village, until a resourceful children's librarian began lending her to girls, many of whose parents, because of financial or feminist reasons, resist buying the dolls."

Oh gosh. This made me cry.
Posted: 27 Jan 2013 10:36 PM PST
"Three Tennessee homecoming king nominees made a unanimous and touching decision that no matter who won, they would give the crown to a beloved student with a genetic condition."

What a great story!

On Doing Better at What You're Already Doing:
Posted: 27 Jan 2013 10:47 PM PST
Great tips!

Hope you enjoyed. Let me know if something stuck out to you!

Weekly Happenings Post #200 (January 21-27)-- Cough Cough, Sneeze Sneeze

Yeah, we woke up both kids to take it. Or rather, got them out of bed. AP didn't really wake up.

Last week was a pretty good pace- not too much activity, but we weren't sitting around all day every day either. Both kids ended up being sick toward the end of the week, though. I will say that I feel very fortunate because although they were pretty cranky during the day, both my kids typically sleep well even when they're sick and this week was no exception. They neither one ever ran fever or anything, but both (particularly Graves, though) had a nasty, yacking cough accompanied by a runny nose. Anyway....

I got up on Monday and got ready and packed AP's lunch while Peyton got her ready. We left and I dropped her off and went to the CPC to volunteer. I filed things mostly and started learning how to put clients into the computer. I stopped by the library to pick up some books on the way home, but it was closed, due to MLK day. Peyton and I visited a little and then he left for work. I folded two (small) loads of laundry and loaded the dishwasher and then I fixed Graves's lunch and ate a snack. I watched some of the Inauguration and got ready to pick up AP. We picked her up and I visited with Carrie and Morgan and then we came home for rest time. I got on Twitter, ate some lunch, and emailed a couple or recipes to some friends. I uploaded some pictures and edited them and then I looked at my email and realized I had a Junior League meeting that night. I scrambled to get ready and called my mom to see if she could watch the kids. I got them ready and we cleaned up their room in record speed. I dropped them off and on the way to the meeting, I saw a woman with a sign that said "homeless, hungry and pregnant". I was in tears, literally. I got to the League house and found out the meeting had been rescheduled. UGH. I drove through a burger place and wrote down the numbers to the CPC and Stewpot and went back to the intersection where I saw the lady. She was gone and a guy was there. I was flustered and just handed him the food. He was appreciative and I felt better at least knowing I hadn't ignored the prompting of the Spirit. I got back to my parents' house and ended up visiting and eating supper. We got home and I put Graves right to bed. I read to AP and put her to bed, too, and then got on the computer and finished the pictures and went to bed before I even finished my Weekly Happenings post. 

Peyton was off on Tuesday and so we all got up and ran errands- to the church to drop something off, to the Walgreens district office, then by Krogers, and lastly, to the library to pick up some books. We got home and I got busy. I put up groceries and fried a package of bacon. I cleaned up the kitchen and loaded dishes while the kids ate. We put them down and I ate lunch and visited with Peyton. I worked on two posts and caught up on Twitter and then they got up. 

I organized a bit and then left for my Circle meeting. It was at McCallisters, but I had already told Peyton I was going to cook fish, so I just got a sweat tea. It was fun and I enjoyed the company. Peyton already had Graves in bed when I got home. I cooked the fish and started making soup again. It worked SO well last week to cook two meals in one night, I decided to give it another go- and I cooked the same meals! Peyton, AP and I ate and then I did a little homeschooling with her and we put her to bed. I cleaned up the kitchen and got on the computer and then I read for a good bit. Peyton and I chatted and went to bed SO late. 

I got up on Wednesday and got ready and packed AP's lunch while Peyton got her ready. I was doing my Bargain Boutique shift for Junior League and he had a dentist appointment, but my mom was coming to watch Graves. I dropped Annie off and headed to do my shift. It wasn't bad- just lots of sorting clothes! When I got home, Graves was eating lunch. I played with him a bit and talked to Peyton and then Peyton left to go get Annie and I put Graves down for a nap. I wrote a post and got on Twitter and responded to a couple of emails. Peyton and Annie got home and Graves woke up shortly after. He was a little raspy, but I wasn't too worried. They played some and I finished up on the computer. Peyton took a nap and we cleaned up the kids room and I packed their suppers for church. We left for church. We had to work pretty hard to keep Ann Peyton awake all the way there and I finished reading for the study in the car. We had a good study even though a couple of people from our group weren't there that night. After that, Claire (AP's precious babysitter that's in the church youth group) met us in the nursery to try to teach me to French braid. Ha!

 I love it when his little cheeks get slightly flushed (he didn't have fever, we checked).

 "Please, woman, can I just eat my banana in peace??"

 When we got home, I put Graves to bed and we fed Annie supper and put her down. I got on the computer a bit and then Peyton and I watched The Wonder Years and visited and went to sleep. Poor Graves was coughing all through the night. He never really woke up, but I felt terrible for him.

We all got up and got moving on Thursday. I got my bath first and then we just cleaned up around the house. We had planed to have Carrie and her kiddos over for lunch but Aubrey and Graves were both sick. I was super sad because it has been FOREVER since we've hung out. The kids played and Peyton and I talked and then he left for work. I started laundry and dishes and AP and I did school and the kids helped me clean up and ate lunch. I put them down, but AP didn't want to read with me like she usually does, so I just let her play. Well, Graves never went to sleep. They did however, keep themselves entertained for a few hours. I had to go in there a bunch, but it could be (way!) worse. Anyway, I ate lunch, got on Twitter and worked on a blog post. When they got up, we cleaned up their room and then headed outside for a bit.
We didn't maintain our slide very well this Winter. That clean stripe down the middle? Graves's bottom did that. I'm such a different kind of mom round two.

The tiny bottom that cleaned my slide. The bottom of a little stinker who had already had two baths today.  

 We came in, washed up, and had supper. I unloaded dishes while they ate. I read to Graves and the kids played while I folded some laundry and then I put Graves to bed. I practiced French braiding while AP watched a movie and then I read to her and put her down. I got back on the computer until Peyton got home. We talked and went to bed. 

We got up and got moving on Friday because AP and I were going to see The Cat In the Hat. Her school had a field trip to New Stage to see it and she was so excited. Graves and Peyton hung out at home. The play was really cute and SO well done. I loved the whimsicalness...of course! They had a little Q&A time after it. I had noticed in the program that my old drama teacher from Prep was working at New Stage, so I asked if we could speak to her. We had a nice little visit and I enjoyed getting to introduce Annie to her. We got home and I packed Peyton's lunch, started laundry, and did dishes and cleaned up the kitchen. Peyton left and Annie and I did a little school stuff and then I fixed the kids' lunch. I put them down and got on the computer for a bit.I ate lunch and folded laundry while I watched The West Wing. When the kids got up, we cleaned up and got ready and headed over to my parents' house. My mom had actually fixed an enchilada casserole instead of my dad cooking beans. I enjoyed the change, but the kids surprised me and weren't that interested (they usually both love spicy stuff!). We got home and I put them right to bed. I backed up some pictures on Flikr and the harddrive and worked on a post. Peyton got home and we talked and then I read some and went to bed. 

Peyton had a church retreat for Council On Ministry on Saturday. The kids woke up around 8:30 and we just hung out and played in their room for about an hour. I took a quick bath and then we had a late breakfast and I started laundry and tidying up the house. I read to the kids a bunch and did some puzzles that AP still needs help with and folded laundry. I fixed them lunch and then it was naptime. While they rested, I put pictures on Facebook and ate lunch. Peyton got home and Graves woke up early from his nap. We went outside and they played while we talked. It was kind of cold and gloomy, so I came in and Peyton strolled the kids around the block a couple of times. I had a snack and watched some more of The West Wing. When they got home, the kids played and then they ate supper and I bathed Graves and got him ready for bed. Peyton gave Annie a bath and I cleaned up the kitchen and unloaded dishes. We got AP to sleep and I got on the computer. I watched The West Wing and went to bed. 

We had already decided the night before that AP didn't need to go to church on Sunday- she had Graves's little cough and sounded AWFUL. I woke up with a splitting headache, so that worked. Honestly, I rarely ever let a headache keep me in bed when I have something planned. I mean if it's a lazy morning anyway, well, of course! But I don't usually miss things. Y'all. This was pretty debilitating. Anyway, I got Graves dressed while Peyton got ready and they headed off to church. Annie and I spent the next two and a half hours in bed watching Charlie Brown and Kipper. I got a bath right before the boys got home. Peyton cooked eggs and I felt slightly better. We all visited and the kids played and then we put them down for naps. I got on the computer and started a post and checked Twitter. Peyton did this:

 When the kids got up, we all got ready and went for a walk to the park. 
It was so warm! I love Summer clothes. This is one of my least favorites of his Summer stuff (I picked it because it isn't as Summery as most of it) and I still like it better than almost all his Winter stuff).

For such a wee thing, this guy has some upper body strength. 

We had so much fun and it was the perfect day. We played in the yard when we got home and then came in for dinner (leftovers). I bathed Graves and the kids played some more and then we put him to bed. Peyton bathed AP and I sent an email and cleaned up the kitchen and started laundry. I worked on my closet some and then we put Annie to bed and talked and I read some blogs and then went to bed.

This week is pretty empty. One of my high school friends that lives out of town now is home for the week and I'm hoping to see her at least once and I really hope we can manage to get together with the Howies. Peyton has a full day on Thursday and of course we'll spend Friday evening with my parents, but that's literally it!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Picture Post: Winter Wonderland {January 17, 2013}

So. It snowed last week. I took a few pictures.

Let me get some things out of the way: here is Mississippi we FREAK THE FREAK OUT when it snows. There should be a tiny bit of sarcasm font read into the title of the post. Because the snow, was  not, in fact, super beautiful. At least in our yard it wasn't. I mean at first glance it took my breath away. But that's because I'm a bit of a redneck and even when mud glistens through my snow and it becomes slosh within moments of that first step, I'm impressed. And I have children and a husband that were even moreso. So I took some pictures of it all. And I'm blogging about it. No way I wouldn't.

Also, my children don't really own serious Winter coats. Graves has a corduroy peacoat and two soft, lightweight jackets. Ann Peyton has three heavy-ish pink sweaters that she's been wearing for the past two years (one is an 18 mo., I kid you not) and a raincoat. I'm a weather weenie (note to self: conquer that in the next approximately twelve months), so we don't spend just a whole lot of time outdoors in the chilly months. It doesn't really get that chilly anyway. Also, I'm intense about my carseat rules and I will absolutely never ever put a child in a puffer coat in a carseat. And it takes longer to get that big coat on them than it does to just run them in a building without it. So...we don't have them. All that to say, we did lots of layering. AP wore pajamas with leggings and turtleneck on top of them with a romper on top of that with one of the pink sweaters with the raincoat. Graves wore pajamas, a shirt, a romper, and his two lightweight jackets. It ended up being fine even though I complained to Peyton right before that we really NEEDED to get them Winter coats for these sort of situations. Onto the pictures!

One of our neighbors had made snow ice cream and brought out spoons for everyone to taste!

Peyton taught Annie how to make a snow angel and Bud, being the tactile little guy he is was content to spend more time just touching and eating the snow.

Until he fell down in it and got soaking wet. That's not a fun sensation!

I took him inside at that point. 

He was happy to put on his warm dinos...

have some snuggle time with his sweet best friend who spoils him so...

and have the perfect spectator seat for the fun! [Truth be told, I was happy about that part, too.]

 [Don't judge my windows. On my to-do list this weekend to take care of every window in the house. Sidenote: Peyton recently told me that he thought I kept our house cleaner than most people. I laughed in his face. Then he said, "Sweetie, I mean consider the masses of people." Okay, then.]

Peyton and Annie finished off their fun by making this guy.

When they came in, we all made gingerbread cookies!
I'm not sure I'll ever excel at domesticity. That rolling pin? Came out of her play dough set. So yeah.

What a wonderful day. Grodey snow, grimey windows, and inappropriate Winter over clothing and cooking's so perfect. I'm so thankful this is my life.

Tunes for the Month: January

I've been really enjoying January's playlist. After a month of Christmas songs, I needed some variety. It's longer than my typical list and I've really enjoyed it. Here are this month's songs:

1. I Am Trying to Break Your Heart- Wilco
 I'd always thought that if I held you tightly
You'd always love me like you did back then
Then I fell asleep and the city kept blinking
What was I thinking when I let you back in?

This song is weird as heck lyrically, and I don't have much for it except for the music. Because OMG, the music. Like some of the best ever. [In a really weird way. You were warned.]

2. Winter Song- Sara Bareilles and Ingrid Michaelson

[Peyton thinks this video is like the coolest thing he's ever seen. It is quirky and cute and whimsical.]
I still believe in summer days.
The seasons always change
and life will find a way.
I had this on my September playlist, but I wanted to include it again. Because it's beautiful and also because it's well, Winter-y, which I wanted to be a partial theme for the list.  

3. Blackbird- Foo Fighters
Blackbird singing in the dead of night 
Take these broken wings and learn to fly  
All your life 
You were only waiting for this moment to arise
This was on a list of "Winter Songs" Peyton had. I'm not entirely sure what makes it such, but I loved it.  I love the lyrics. I love the upbeat music. I love it. 

4. The Scarlet Tide- Allison Krauss

Man goes beyond his own decision
Gets caught up in the mechanism
Of swindlers who act like kings
And brokers who break everything
The dark of night was swiftly fading
Close to the dawn of day
Why would I want him just to lose him again
We'll rise above the scarlet tide
That trickles down through the mountain
And separates the widow from the bride
This is from the Cold Mountain soundtrack and was also on the aforementioned playlist. Not sure why, again. I think it may be it's haunting beauty. Just gorgeous. 

5. White Winter Hymnal- Fleet Foxes
I was following the pack, 
All swallowed in their coats  
With scarves of red tied 'round their throats  
To keep their little heads  
From fallin' in the snow 
And I turned 'round and there you go.
I'm not at all sure about the lyrics, although I think the imagary is neat. Mainly it's Fleet Foxes. And it's Winter. So? Perfect. 

6. Desperatly Wanting- Better Than Ezra
I remember running through the wet grass
And falling a step behind
Both of us never tiring
Desperately wanting

Came off the Winter playlist again. Again not sure why Peyton had it classified as such, but I'm fond of this song, so I went with it. Also? The chorus seems cheerful and nostalgic (and also ironically Summer-y) and is what I remember. The verses...they're pretty morbid and weird. 

7. Ho Hey- The Lumineers
Ho!) So show me family
(Hey!) All the blood that I would bleed
(Ho!) I don't know where I belong
(Hey!) I don't know where I went wrong
(Ho!) But I can write a song
1, 2, 3
I belong with you, you belong with me, you're my sweetheart
I belong with you, you belong with me, you're my sweet
This song has everything- I love the music and the lyrics about love and family and belonging. And it also has a precious memory attached, which really, is one thing that makes a song go from good to great or, in this case, from great to a favorite. The first time I heard this song (I realize it's really popular, but I don't listen to much pop radio and I hadn't heard of it yet) was at El's wedding. Literally, everytime I hear it I go back there. I'm planning to work up a (long overdue) post in the next week or so, but as y'all know, it was one of the most special events in my life. 

8. All These Things I've Done- The Killers 
I want to stand up, I want to let go
You know, you know - no you don't, you don't
I want to shine on in the hearts of men
I want a meaning from the back of my broken hand 
Another head aches, another heart breaks
I am so much older than I can take
And my affection, well it comes and goes
I need direction to perfection, no no no no 

Another song I was drawn to mainly for the beat and then found beauty in the lyrics afterwards. A lot of the comments on one of those "song meaning" sites talked about the Christian imagery and one even went far enough to mention "Gospel overtones". I'll be honest- I didn't see it at first. I do think that message can be read in it, but it's more difficult to find than in some of my favorite secular songs.

9. Bowl of Oranges- Bright Eyes
And I came upon a doctor
Who appeared in quite poor health
I said, "There's nothing I can do for you
You can't do for yourself"
He said, "Oh, yes you can, just hold my hand
I think that that would help"
So I sat with him a while
And I asked him how he felt
He said, "I think I'm cured
No, in fact I'm sure of it
Thank you stranger
For your therapeutic smile"
So that's how I learned the lesson
That everyone's alone
And your eyes must do some raining
If you're ever gonna grow
When crying don't help, you can't compose yourself
It's best to compose a poem
An honest verse of longing
Or a simple song of hope
That's why I'm singing, baby, don't worry
Because now I've got your back
And every time you feel like crying
I'm gonna try to make you laugh
And if I can't, if it just hurts too bad
Then we'll wait for it to pass
And I will keep you company
Through those days so long and black

I guess I always love songs for the music first and then I let myself listen and enjoy the lyrics. I figure most people do? Anyway, this is a good one. I like it because it speaks poignantly to things that help me when the days are "long and black"-- that is, of course, the people who just sit and hold my hand and the composing of the written word. Those people who sit with me and try to make me laugh, and when they can't, they just just keep me company until it passes? They are invaluable and there are no words for the kind of blessing they bring. And, of course, there's not much that I love more than composing "an honest verse of longing" or a "simple song of hope". Finally, I love the line "thank you stranger
For your therapeutic smile". I'm going to do a whole post about this soon, too, but it's a reminder to me that our little encouragements and words of love to one another are powerful. They bring hope and healing and, as I'm recognizing lately, are a vital part of my calling as a Christian.

10. Wagon Wheel- Old Crow Medicine Show
Walkin' to the south out of Roanoke
I caught a trucker out of Philly
Had a nice long toke
But he's a headed west from the Cumberland Gap
To Johnson City, Tennessee
And I gotta get a move on fit for the sun
I hear my baby callin' my name
And I know that she's the only one
And if I die in Raleigh
At least I will die free
So rock me mama like a wagon wheel
Rock me mama anyway you feel
Hey mama rock me
Rock me mama like the wind and the rain
Rock me mama like a south-bound train
Hey mama rock me
Lots of Southern imagery and folksy sounds, both of which I love, love, love. There's really no more to it than that. Edited to add: I forgot to include it, but a comment got me thinking about the memories I associate with this one.  My senior year of college was, by far, the best. That was due in large part to my roommate that year, who went from being a complete stranger to someone I considered one of my best friends. Anyway, she introduced me to this song. So it always makes me think of Logan and the fun we had that year- baking cinnamon rolls in the nasty dorm kitchen late at night, watching Dawson's Creek dvds, and spilling our guts about things are little and great importance. Such a special time and one I almost didn't have (I had really wanted to quit the dorm thing and just marry Peyton earlier in my college career, but I decided to stick it out and for me it was so, so worth it to have those experiences).

11. I Feel the Rain Fall- Red House Painters
This year, oh what a year
I layed around
Just feeling down
And from our happy room
I watched the seasons as they flew
I feel the rain fall
Down my back
I'm going back
To my place of work
To get things done
To get them right
But i'll mess them up
And i always do
I like that it's about years, seasons, time. Seems perfect for January. I also just love this song and have for years. I think it describes something everyone feels at some point(s)- that our hard work is just not enough, that we're insufficient for the task. Of course what the song doesn't say is that we are sufficient, but only by and through God's grace. I recently encouraged a new-ish momma friend with the verse from 2 Corinthians 12 that tells us God's power is made perfect in [our] weakness. Honestly, if I didn't believe that to be true with all my heart, I don't know that I could find any joy in mothering. 

12. Seasons of Love- Original Broadway Cast of Rent
Five hundred twenty-five thousand
Six hundred minutes
How do you measure, measure a year?
In daylights, in sunsets, in midnights
In cups of coffee
In inches, in miles, in laughter, in strife.
In five hundred twenty-five thousand
Six hundred minutes
How do you measure
A year in the life?
How about love?
How about love?
How about love? Measure in love.
Again, I liked it because it talks about time and years and seasons and all that and this list sort of came to include that as a partial theme, as well. It's just a beautiful song. I love the images of the "everyday" juxtaposed with the idea of measuring a year in love, one of God's greatest gifts to humanity. 

13. This Year's Love- David Gray
This years love had better last
Heaven knows it's high time
And I've been waiting on my own too long
But when you hold me like you do
It feels so right
I start to forget
How my heart gets torn
When that hurt gets thrown
Feeling like you can't go on
So whose to worry
If our hearts get torn
When that hurt gets thrown
Don't you know this life goes on
And won't you kiss me
On that midnight street
Sweep me off my feet
Singing ain't this life so sweet
This song actually sort of reminds me of an old boyfriend because David Gray was a favorite of his. I remember, however, listening to it after Peyton and I got serious and thought "hmmm, maybe this year's love really will last". [If you don't know our story we were best friends. Then Peyton was a rebound man. Then we fell in love. Then we dated for four years. Then we got married. Then (right then) we started having babies. You can read more here.] Anyway, it's special in that way.

14. Jesus Was an Only Son- Bruce Springsteen

Now there's a loss that can never be replaced,
A destination that can never be reached
A light you'll never find in another's face,
A sea whose distance cannot be breached
Well Jesus kissed his mother's hands
Whispered, "Mother, still your tears,
For remember the soul of the universe
Willed a world and it appeared  
 First of all, this resonates as a parent. You want to protect your child. You just do. Sometimes more than anything. And sometimes, it's what you should do. But it isn't always. I recently read this powerful post by Jen Hatmaker. She says: "I don’t want my kids safe and comfortable. I want them BRAVE. I don’t want to teach them to see danger under every rock, avoiding anything hard or not guaranteed or risky. They are going to encounter a very broken world soon, and if they aren’t prepared to wade into difficult territory and contend for the kingdom against obstacles and tragedies and hardships, they are going to be terrible disciples." And I say: AMEN. There's a tension between wanting this, though, and wanting to protect my children. And I'm sure the tension will only grow stronger as they gets older. But I'm saying it now-- I do not want to be afraid to pray hard things for them or to watch the Lord work powerfully in their lives in ways I maybe would not, in my selfishness, desire.

Of course there's a huge faith component to this song. It's pretty self-explanatory and I think it's pretty powerful. 

 There's also another level in this song, too. In the video, Bruce says "The choices we make are given meaning by the things that we give up. By the things we sacrifice for them. That's what gives them weight and meaning." I sobbed when I heard him say that. There are alot (alot!) of things Peyton and I have been discussing that require me to trust. To make choices that are given meaning by the things I sacrifice. Pretty much, it's time for *me* to stop being safe and comfortable and start being brave. Over the next few years, whatever that means, I know this song will be my background music and I will hear The Boss's wise words play out in my head, reminding me that the significance of my choices are in direct correlation with the sacrifices I make for them. And that will be one of the sources of my strength.

15. All I'm Thinkin' About- Bruce Springsteen
Little boy carryin' a fishing pole
Little girl pickin' huckleberries from off of the vine
Brown bag filled with a little green toad
We hook him through the the lip and throw him off with a line
A sweet pair of legs got me feelin' so blue
And all I'm thinkin' about is you, baby
All I'm thinkin' about is you
All I'm thinkin' about is you, baby
All I'm thinkin' about is you
There ain't nothing in this world I can do about it
All I'm thinkin' about is you 
This is the part of the list where I start going through Peyton's library in alphabetical order. That's been fun and I've discovered some spectacular stuff this way. Anyway, this and the next song just happen to be off the same album as the song above. If we didn't own it, I'd be really wanting to buy it. So, this song. It's basically just a feel good song. I love the picture of children and the sweet chorus. Don't be surprised if it reappears on another list this Summer. 

 16. All the Way Home- Bruce Springsteen
I know what it's like to have failed baby
With the whole world lookin' on
I know what it's like to have soared
And come crashin' like a drunk on a bar room floor
This song is, in general, just really sad. But I liked it, so I added it. There's that. 

 17. All for You- Sister Hazel
Rain comes pouring down
Falling from blue skies
Words without a sound
Coming from your eyes
There's been times, I'm so confused
All my roads, They lead to you
I just can't turn and walk away
It's hard to say what it is I see in you
Wonder if I'll always be with you
But words can't say, And I can't do
Enough to prove,
It's all for you
Pop music from the '90s at it's best. Interestingly, the lyrics aren't that bad, really. 

18. All You Need Is Love- The Beatles 
All you need is love.
All you need is love.
All you need is love, love.
Love is all you need.
Okay then, John and Paul. We'll end with that.