Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Pet Peeve

In general, I would call myself a rather laid-back person. I don't get my knickers in a twist over much. But, I, like most people I know, have a few pet peeves. I don't like watching people eat runny eggs. I don't like the sound of someone repeatedly sniffling snot (just blow your nose!). And I don't like it when my dear husband mentions he needs me to go to the store because he ran out of something critical...three days ago.

In the past, I have discovered he was out of deoderant because I found HIS armpit hairs in MY container (yuck). I learned he was out of medicine when the symptoms started to flair. I have discovered he was out of gel when he went to work with fluffy hair.

Trust me, I get running out of things. I had to make an emergency trip for toilet paper the other day because we were on the last roll. What I hate is the lack of warning. It used to bother me more because I'd feel responsible and go to the store regardless of how inconvenient it was. Now, I just let him suffer until I can make the trip or send him off to get it. It has lessened the resentment on my end quite a bit.

So, the other day I heard him rummaging around in the cabinet and drawers looking for something. He was out of shampoo in his shower (we have separate bathrooms because...well...we can). It is true I usually stockpile shampoo when it goes on sale but we were out of the regular stuff. And he didn't mention that he was getting low so I wasn't in a hurry. Since he couldn't find any he started to walk away with my shampoo from my shower. Oh no you don't! I went into the cabinet and dug to the back and found a bottle of this:

If you can't read it it says "Relaxed and Natural for Women of Color" In case you are wondering, my husband is not a woman of color. He is a man of pastiness. I got this shampoo from a friend who bought it by accident and thought maybe my curly-haired daughter would like it. I handed it to him with a straight face and told him I'd get some more of the regular stuff when I went to the store next time.

Well, I expected this to teach him a lesson about putting things off, blah blah blah. But, I asked him about the shampoo two days later and darn it if he doesn't love it! He said it makes his hair soft and shiny! Arg! Now there is a perfectly good lesson wasted.

That's it, I'm hiding the toilet paper.

p.s. I have to add the end note that I love my husband and he is a great friend, lover and father. I'm blessed to have him, quirks and all. Hopefully he reads all the way to the bottom of this so he's not as mad I blogged about him. :)

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

For the Record...

I am really tired of the following words and phrases:

-Poopoo Head
-Peepee Head
-Mom, she hit (stepped on, bit, pinched, etc) me!
-Mom, she's (insert tattling here)!

I am tired of saying:

-Keep your hands to yourself
-We don't use potty words except in the bathroom
-I will take care of your sister, you take care of yourself.
-No. No. I said no!
-Use kindness, please.

I am also aware that I've had several micro-blogs as of late. I am working on a real one but I need to take a picture to go with it. My fans will just have to wait. :)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

I Ate a Baby!

<------Say hi to Andra Faith! (Yup, baby girl #3)

29 weeks
50 inches around
17 pounds up
Peeing twice a night

Friday, October 31, 2008

A Nutritious and Delicious Breakfast

Crunchy peanut butter eaten straight out of the jar and diet Pepsi. Mmmm....

Don't tell my midwife.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Venting My Spleen in an Open Letter

Dear Ebay,

After 8 years of relationship, the time has come to end it. I know this would be a shock to you if you were paying any attention. But you aren't and probably won't care. Actually, I assume if this letter made it to you, you'd send me a lovely form letter in response explaining how I could access the non-helpful online FAQ section along with some thinly veiled justifications.

But, in case you were wondering: it's not me, it's you.

Yes, Ebay, you've upped your fees. Yes, you've changed your feedback policy to make it so much more difficult to give honest feedback as a seller. I could overlook those things. You've been good to me. I've sold car parts and maternity clothes, and bought a few things things too. But I'm done. Why? Because you have a cheating heart.

When I went to sell some clothes two weeks ago, you required that I list PayPal as an option to pay. You also required I take all forms of payment on PayPal, even credit cards. Up until now I have only taken bank transfers. But, I went to PayPal and found that I could take 5 credit card payments a year without upping my rinky dink membership. OK, that works. So, I sold all three items, went to accept PayPal payment--wait, I can't do it without upgrading and can't say no either. Why? Oh, we didn't mention the asterisk at the bottom that said I can't use those 5 credit card payments on EBAY purchases. And did we mention that once you upgrade we charge you 2.9% on all transactions, even cash, and it is on the whole amount including shipping? And that you can never go back?

And one more thing EBAY OWNS PAYPAL!!

So what you are saying is that you require me to use PayPal, upgraded, so you can collect my list fee, my final value fee and then collect 2.9% plus $.30 on the transaction on top of it. By the time I was done, I had paid 25% of my profits to you one way or another.

So, I say to you Ebay: YOU ARE SLEEPING AROUND ON ME WITH PAYPAL AND I'M DONE! You only care about yourself and I'm leaving you. I'm sure you won't notice or care as you collect money hand over fist but I am holding my head high.

And, I've met someone else. Me and Craigslist have become quite close recently. Take that!

I feel better.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Bippity, Boppity, Boo!

"Mom? Are fairies real?"

This is a hard question I got from my 4 1/2 year old the other day. Here are my opposing problems:

1. I can't lie to my kids. I'm not good at it and I don't like it. I can barely do hyperbole ("If you don't eat your peas you will get a vitamin deficiency and die" sort of thing). I'm fine with make believe and pretend but I can't look them in the face and tell them something is true when it isn't. This includes Santa, the Easter Bunny and the Boogie Man.

2. I really, really want them to believe in magic and fairies and wishing on a star and growing up to be a princess, etc. I don't want to jolt them into the adult world of "what you see is what you get" and I don't even believe that completely either. I mean, I can't see God but I know He's real.

So...In classic mom deflection, I said, "I don't know if they are real. What do you think?"

"Well, I don't think magic is really real."

That's it! You are four! C'mon! Suddenly, though, I was able to articulate what I believe. Here's the paraphrase:

I believe there are things that are real that I can't see. I believe in God and His Spirit and angels and demons. I believe another word for "magic" could be "miraculous" and I believe in miracles. There could be fairies or maybe they are fun stories we tell like Santa. I don't know. But I am not going to assume that I have the ability to understand and explain everything in creation. God is magnificent, miraculous and, maybe, just maybe, magical. I mean, He did speak everything into being, right? Talk about saying the magic words!

So, my dear daughter, hold on to unicorns and knights in shining armor. They tell us stories about our hearts and God. Look for the mystic beauty around us and choose to believe in the unseen. Hold on to your imagination, even as you get older and reality comes knocking. I hope for you that you will always have shining eyes filled with faith and wonder as you do now.

OK, I wasn't quite that eloquent. And I think she said, "Oh." But, it really was an "aha!" moment for me. I had never put it together. Hmm, what do you know? I believe in magic. Who'd have thought?

Tuesday, September 9, 2008


Apparently there are many things within my home that defy description in the English language. I have this conversation at least once a day with my oldest daughter:

Kid: "Mom! Come look at this!"

Me (not moving): "What is it?"

K: "I can't tell you, I have to show you."

M: "Hon, I'm folding laundry (blogging, taking a nap, sitting on the toilet, etc.) right now. Can you tell me about it?"

K: "No! I can't explain it! You have to come see!"

M: "You can't explain it? You've been talking since you were 9 months old! You were talking before you had teeth! You haven't stopped since! You are saying that you are not able to describe what you want me to look at?!?"

K (whining): "Moooommmm! Come see!"

Then I have a choice. Sometimes the nifty thing is a 3-week old scratch or a tiny bug. But, sometimes it is gallons of water the girls have been pouring on the carpet very, very quietly (this happened last week). Do I stop what I'm doing to go check then hope I remember to go back to whatever the task was? Or do I cross my fingers, hoping that it will wait 5 minutes?

It is a "Lady or the Tiger" sort of choice.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Invitation Into Relationship

Because I am not a morning person, I tend to isolate myself during the breakfast hour. I either eat in the car on the way to work (two days a week) or get the girls their breakfast at the table then eat my own checking email.

This morning, my four year old asked, "Mom, would you come eat breakfast with us at the table?" I almost said no then realized what she was doing was initiating with me to have some time with them. Oh, OK.

I would be lying to say that I suddenly became chatty around my peanut butter toast and chocolate milk or that it all went 100% smoothly but....not so bad. I might even do it again....sometime. :D

I'm glad I have children who are learning to ask for what they want. I hope someday they appreciate having a mom who hears them and is willing to stretch a little.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Your Momma!

I had to ask permission to write this blog because it is partly about someone else's mom. It is actually about two of my readers' mom but one of those said readers is very far away and so the other got the weighted vote. The vote-caster said, "Go ahead, she won't read it." So, I will...

I got really hacked off at my friend's mother the other night. Normally this is a right I reserve for my own family but I guess this is a special case.

I have known this family since I was in 6th grade. I was in classes with two of the daughters and their mom was one of my teachers. I spent time at their house, got to know the family pretty well and now one of the daughters is one of my closest friends. So, there is 20 years of history there.

The "hacking off" happened a few weeks ago at my friend's surprise party. I had come with the girls sans husband because he was busy dying of some various plague. It was a pretty small party with no one I knew really well in attendance (we were waiting for the birthday girl and her decoy). I went back to the kid's room to get my girls set up playing with them and there was mom (grandma) orchestrating clean up. No big deal. She was kind of....bossy....about how things should be done but a clean room is fine. I set my kids loose and went to attempt "getting to know you" conversations while we waited.

And waited.

And waited.

Conversation wore thin. I went to check on the kids. There was grandma, putting them in the back yard, refusing to let my daughters inside even though one was crying. I diverted the situation by suggesting we feed the 6 children present since it was past dinner time. This directed her energy for a while. But then she was back in force, hovering, clucking, nagging.

The final straw was when she told my older daughter (who hates spicy food), that she had to eat all her dinner or she couldn't have dessert because the spicy Indian food we were eating "Isn't that spicy," IN FRONT OF ME! Urg! At that point I sweetly suggested she go visit with the adults since I was there and could handle it. No dice.

Now, to be fair, I get that, of the 6 children present, 4 of them were her grandchildren. But, also to be fair, two of those kids were mine and I spend lots and lots of time around two more of them. I have a pretty good idea of the household rules for that home and a very good idea of what I do and don't ask of my children.

Since there was no tactful way to win the power struggle, I backed off but was...surly. When older daughter came in afraid because grandma had suggested that the lightning in the sky was dangerous I said something along the line of "Don't listen to her, she doesn't know what she's talking about." I know, not so kind. Like I said, I was feeling surly.

My friend finally came, we yelled "Surprise!", the grown-ups ate and, low and behold, mom had to go because she was tired. Well, no wonder!

OK, OK. I have been doing emotional work long enough to know that this situation wasn't so much about my friend's mom as about me. After the fact, I started thinking about why this bugged me so much. This isn't new behavior from this lady. She is always the one in the kitchen doing the host's dishes or cleaning up. What was this about me?

Click...the light bulb went on. I wanted to be the practical person avoiding relationships. I wanted to be the one who appeared helpful and got to stay comfortable. I wanted an excuse to avoid sitting in the living room making chit-chat with strangers. I was mad because she was taking my spot! If my husband had been there or if I had known more people, I probably wouldn't have minded having a parenting break even if it involved rules for my kids I didn't create.

Ooooh. So much for my uber-pious rationalization that I was protecting my children. I was attempting to protect myself. Hmm.

What I take away from this is, even though I am social, relationship is not always easy for me. I need to be aware of feeling uncomfortable and acknowledge it to myself. When I feel self conscious, my tendency is to go to the practical because I do it well and it hides my heart (not to mention gets me praised most of the time). Maybe sometimes I'll still choose to be with my kids as an out but I need to choose it and not use it as a manipulation and hiding technique. Or, I will choose to take the risk and stay present in an uncomfortable situation.

Oh look! There was a gift in there for me. Drat.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Insomnia is a Waste of Time

I am used to interrupted sleep. In the last five years, I've gotten up at least once nearly every night. I've been awakened for my own bathroom needs, the bathroom needs of others, nursing time, bad dreams, bad cat manners (I have one cat who thinks he eats breakfast at 4 a.m.), and--more than once--to clean up throw-up. It has gotten to the point that I wake up on my own by habit if I am not awakened by anyone else.

The skill in this is that I don't usually wake up more than enough to perform the duties required. I can pat a child back to sleep or wipe a bottom without ever really moving into "full awake" status. So, as soon as I'm in bed again, I'm back to sleep.

Until pregnancy...

I don't know what it is about being pregnant but it gives me sporadic insomnia. Not the kind that means I can't fall asleep at bedtime but the kind that I can't get back to sleep if I get woken up. And, as I mentioned, I get woken up a lot. Lately, it has been once with each girl and at least once to pee.

I was awake from 4 a.m. until somewhere in the middle 5's this morning. And let me tell you, insomnia is a phenomenal waste of time.

The problem, as you may well know if you've gone through it, is that I am awake enough to think but not awake enough to think anything rational. I don't get anxiety, I just try and have normal thought processes that are hindered by the fact that it is the middle of the night when I should be sleeping. It goes something like this:

"Should I go to the grocery store tomorrow? What do I have in the fridge? I can't remember if we have chicken. What day is it tomorrow--do I have to go to work? Wait, no it's Friday, I'll be home. What am I supposed to do tomorrow? I really liked that chicken recipe I made the other day, I wonder if there are leftovers still I could have for breakfast? I'm hot. Is that a kid making noise? Maybe I'll pray a little. Dear God.....uhhh. I think I have to pee again. What was it I needed to put on my calendar? I wonder if there is a way I can blog about this. WHY AREN'T I SLEEPING YET? "

Notice, no answered questions, no new plans, no problems solved. Just a lot of not sleeping. I have at least learned that checking the clock every 5 minutes only leads to frustration so I don't do it.

So, here I am this morning, up with the kids at 6:30, tired and therefore letting them run the house a little more than usual. Currently, they are playing with water in the living room. Not my first choice. But it means that I can blog about insomnia which redeems it slightly.

Don't call me from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. I will be taking a nap. :D

Slightly Famous

I am in the September 2008 issue of Redbook Magazine! I'm part of an article about how three different women got out of debt. It starts on on page 160. Run directly to the grocery store and read it while standing in line (you can put it back in the rack after that if you want).

I'm pretty sure this uses up the balance of my 15 minutes of fame...

As a p.s.: I'm having a very hard time just showing people the magazine. Somehow it is weird to say "Look at me!" I'm proud of it, particularly about the message, but it sort of seems like tooting my own horn more than I'm used to. So, I guess I'm tooting it here. TOOT!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

From Mmmm to Ooky

I was pondering a deep thought:

When does eating your boogers stop being a delicious treat sent by the nose fairy and start being the grossest thing ever this side of licking a cockroach?

I have talked to my girls about how boogers are the body's way of taking out the trash and we don't eat trash, we throw it away. They learned enough from this lecture to pick and sneak.

Yuck, yuck and triple yuck.

There must be some kind of switch that flips because I don't harbor the secret desire to try my nasal contents. Oh that I could throw that switch now!

Can I get an "eww"?

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

My New Least Favorite Question (For the Moment)

From someone who just found out I'm pregnant: "So, you trying for that boy?"

Variations include asking me if I'm hoping for a boy or if my husband is hoping for a boy, since we have two girls.

What I say: "We were always planning on having three or more children" or "We love our girls and another girl would be great" or "We've always wanted both boys and girls so a boy or girl would be super."

What evil Smiller wants to say, but doesn't: "Yes, we were disappointed when the other ones weren't boys. We'll get an ultrasound with this one and, if it is another girl, go ahead and have an abortion."

Seriously, does everyone in the whole world (besides you, dear reader) think that the only reason to stray past the two child barrier is for gender reasons? And would I be getting this much concern the other way--if I had two boys and no girls?

I know, I know. I'm sure it is just something to say, well-meaning people, blah blah blah. It doesn't get them thrown off my Christmas card list, just earns them an internal eyebrow raise from me.

By the way, this replaces my last least favorite question which was "Is she a good baby?" I ended up always answering that one with, "Well, she hasn't robbed a Circle K yet so we think there is hope." Yes, there is a snarky streak in me, I confess. :D

Saturday, July 5, 2008

I Need Some Duct Tape

I'm having a problem with my dysfunctional coping mechanism a.k.a. my box is broken.

For those of you who live in a complete state of health and serenity, I'll explain. Once upon a time, not that long ago, I lived in Practical Land. This land was a place where if there was a problem, I fixed it (there may have been other inhabitants but I never met any). I got kudos for being level-headed, smart, a good do-er. I was the go-to girl in a crisis.

But, alas, there was a foe. Occasionally pesky emotions would creep in, threatening all stability. How was I supposed to solve a problem if I was stuck feeling about it? And, of course, while not all emotions were bad, they were inconvenient and sometimes downright yucky.

Thus, the box. The box lived waaaay down somewhere in me and that's where all the emotions went after a brief acknowledgement. Oops, feeling sad, put sad in box, back in control again. I even got so good at it that I could put the emotions in there without even thinking about it.

But, so I've since learned, apparently emotions are meant to be felt and when you put one in the box, you put them all in. So, suddenly, out of nowhere, I was depressed. Life was grey--no good, no bad. So I started some counseling (probably trying to figure out how to control which emotions got shoved away) and then my life fell apart. Yup, crisises (multiple) of epic proportions. And, dang it if I couldn't put all those things into the box! I had no control. I got to shake hands with all the emotions and look them in the eye for the first time. In case you were wondering, it sucked. But I lived.

So, fast forward 7 years and I don't live in Practical Land anymore. I am less of a control-freak, less of a nag, less anxious, a nicer wife. I have a pretty good balance of practical and emotion. I can feel my feelings...most of the time. But the other day...

The other day I was sad. Really. Really. Sad. I was going to bed sad with no resolution so I decided, "This is a job for the box." I'd cried and now I was ready for sleep. Open the box, put the sadness in there, close lid, go to sleep. Nice. I even tied the bow on it that I was sure it was just a pregnancy thing and I'd be fine in the morning.

At 5:30 in the morning, THE STUPID LID CAME OFF! Just busted right off and here I was, sad and tired. So unfair. Really, what is the point of having an unhealthy coping mechanism if you can't pull it out once in a while?!? So, I cried more stupid tears, and felt my stupid sadness and sat with it (stupid, stupid, stupid). And now, two days later, I feel a little better. I'm sure this is healthier, but it is so much harder on the short term. Yeah, yeah I'm happier in the long run. Whatever.

Anyone have the number for a good box repair man?

p.s. There may be some of you going "What was so bad about Practical Land? That sounded really nice." I will be happy to hug you without condemnation when your life too falls apart. :D

MeMe (MiMiMi?)--My first foray

Caught by Skerrib.

1. What did you do 10 years ago?

Hmm...10 years ago I had just celebrated my first wedding anniversary. I worked in the Residence Life Department of the nearby University. Sometime during that summer the hubby and I drove to St. Louis to visit his sister and her new husband. We read Stephen Ambrose's book about Lewis and Clark on the way. We also took a side trip up to Chicago to see my grandma (so she could meet my husband). Footloose and fancy-free.

2. Five items on your to-do list today:
Sleep in as hubby gets up with kids (check).....Have lunch with the in-laws (check).....Tackle the pile of dishes in the sink (where, oh where do they come from?).....Mow the lawn and the grass in the ally to get the City of Phoenix off our backs....Write on blog

3. Snacks I enjoy:
Hmm...I like a nice piece of cheddar....chocolate chip cookie....Otter Pop....spoonful of crunchy peanut butter (ingredients: peanuts, salt--that's it)....cold watermelon....chips and yummy salsa....most anything chocolate

4. What would you do if you were a billionaire?

Hire a house cleaner....adopt children from Africa and China...add the addition to the house so I can move the washing machine out of my kitchen....give a lot away for causes I believe in....not tell anyone including the kids....get the Range Rover restored for the hubby....fly to visit the friends I miss...pay off the mortgages of all the people I know....buy a summer home someplace cool and go there a lot in June through September....invest money in micro-enterprises to help the poor

OK. That was exciting. I guess I get to tag people now. Suzanne and Laura, you're up!

Thursday, June 19, 2008


I'm having fun borrowing CDs from the library. It is my new discovery. This is the chorus from Nichole Nordeman's Brave:

So long status quo
I think I just let go
You make me want to be brave
The way it always was
Is no longer good enough
You make me want to be brave
Brave, brave

Yeah, that's what I'm talkin' about! It is hard doing the introspective work that it takes to break out of old sin but I've tasted freedom and I'm not going back! :)

You can hear the song with the lyrics here.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


I love to read. It is my form of T.V. or watching a movie. I have in my possession now William P. Young's The Shack. From all accounts it is good, really good. It will make me struggle with God and about God and look at hard things in me while still being an entertaining work of fiction. And, yet, I haven't started it. I do this--hover around a book, enjoying the anticipation, feeling a little nervous about getting to know it, knowing that all too soon I will have finished it. Sort of a whirlwind romance. Or a one-night stand. The romance sounds better.


I'm going on vacation in two days. I'm not taking my family. I am so excited and at the same time, vaguely guilty. This is mom guilt, true to form. Four days in California visiting friends without the kids? How selfish of me! When my older daughter asked me why she couldn't come on the airplane with me, what I thought was, "Because mommy needs a break from whining, crying, bottom wiping, sharing the bed with wiggly kids and being in charge of the location of every shoe, special fork, cheap McDonald's toy, and blankie in the house. Mommy needs to remember her first name isn't MAMA and that she is a person all by herself under the toddler crust." I think I said something a little more gentle than that, but I can't be sure.


I'm getting a little tired of my girls' Children's Bibles. They condense scripture down to a poem or nice little point. They leave out certain stories for some reason but include others. The characters in the pictures all look sort of white--not really what I think of as Jews from the middle east. So, tonight I read them John 1 from The Message (which I'm sure some would say is the same kind of watered-down scripture, only for adults. To which I say "Whatever!"). I really like The Message because, after reading scripture my whole life, I often skip ahead and miss the point of what I'm reading. Reading it in contemporary language often causes me to say, "What? Oh, yeah. I hadn't noticed that." "He came to his own people, but they didn't want him. But whoever did want him, who believed he was who he claimed and would do what he said, He made to be their true selves, their child-of-God selves." (somewhere around vs 12). I stuttered (mentally) over "made to be their true selves". Oh yeah, God designed me to be in relationship with him. Until I did that, I wasn't my true self. Pretty cool. The girls were fairly squirrelly, but no more than average. We'll see how chapter two goes...

I really do know how to make correct paragraph breaks. For some reason I don't feel like using them tonight. Maybe the ideas are just flowing from me. Or maybe I'm lazy.

Finally, I'm pregnant again. :) Like how I put that at the end? It is to see who is reading all the way through. Details: 8 weeks along, due on Groundhog's Day, feeling fine albeit a bit distracted with the rest of life, very happy about it. I'm sure it will consume me in no time and I'll blog lots around it. For now, it helps to have the girls talking into my belly button to the baby every morning (they think it is his/her window to see and hear). They remind me that there is a new person in there for me to get to know. God is good.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Aquaintance Avoidance

OK, I did it again a few days ago. I intentionally avoided someone I knew in order to limit the "how have the last five years been?" conversation. And by "intentionally avoided" I mean caught sight of said individual, turned around in the aisle then checked every row I went down to make sure he wasn't there. I know, LAME.

Here's the problem, in multiple layers:

1) I know A LOT of people (in the acquaintance form of "know"). I teach classes to preschoolers at two locations. I teach classes to adults in two locations. I attended then worked at the University down the street for eight years in a pretty social role. I have lived in Arizona my whole life, attending five pretty good sized churches and was active in most of them. In a good way, I get around.

2) I remember faces really well and names pretty well. And if we ever sat down and had a conversation about you breaking up with your boyfriend or talked about when you bought your first house, I probably remember it. I have tried to push the "flush no-longer-relevant facts" button in my brain but it hasn't worked. At least once a month I have a dream with someone in it from college or high school that I knew or didn't know well but there they are, playing some bit part in my dream.

3) I hate chit-chat. OK, amend that. I don't enjoy chit-chat and hate it when the chit-chat will never lead to deeper conversation. I actually "dumped" a friend because I got tired of having the same small talk conversation every time we hung out. Come to think of it, I'm sort of dumping someone now for that same reason...(if you are reading this, it isn't you!).

So, back to the supermarket. I turn down the aisle and see "Bob" (one of you reading this will know who I'm talking about by the time I get to the end). I used to work with Bob at the University. He had worked there for about 20 years. I got to know him because I got to go to his boring computer meetings and watch him get pushed around by everyone. So, my first thought upon seeing Bob was, "He hasn't aged well." Not a good conversation starter. My second thought was, "I wonder if he is still at the University even though it got bought out and they watered down the education horribly and he did way too much work for not enough money. He probably is because of some skewed sense of loyalty." Also not a good way to start. Which leaves me with, "Bob, how are you?" Ug. Then the the obligatory filling in of my life that starts with, "Well since the alma mater fired me I've had a job, two kids, another job and blah blah blah." And then we'd have to talk about our common ground, which would be A) The people we both worked with and B) the Colleague computer program (boring meetings). Then the awkward pause as we say something like, "See you later."

This process took .3 seconds to flash through my brain and by now my feet had already taken me right out of the aisle.

And here's the thing: I am not shy! Not at all. Ever (well, hardly ever). I talk to strangers all the time. I like people. I like to talk. Just not in this circumstance. So, I avoid. I probably do it twice a year. Sometimes I get caught by the acquaintance and we renew for two minutes then float back into our own lives. Sometimes I get away with it.

Sorry, Bob. I probably missed a great conversation with you. I'm sure I've sorely underestimated you. But, boy, was I glad to escape you.

Friday, May 16, 2008

The Recital

Remember me being brave on the first day of ballet? That was nothing compared to tonight. For tonight, my friends, was the dance recital.

I have to say, over the last 10 weeks, I have come to enjoy going to Mommy and Me ballet. It has been better exercise purchase than many. It didn't collect laundry like the exercise bike or become a cat sanctuary like the incredible-squeaking-treadmill of doom. It helps that the only equipment required was a pair of socks and the SUV (aka The Four Wheeled Diaper Bag). So, the class has been a nice time of together-ness with the four year old while getting some exercise.

But the recital? Seriously.

For the love of my daughter, I just jumped over pretend puddles in front of 100 people. In a bright red rain slicker. And smiled while doing it. Did I mention my mother, father, grandfather, husband, sister-in-law, brother-in-law, mother-in-law and father-in-law all came? And recorded the whole event. Nice.

Sure, exercise is great but I've decided to stick to working out at the YMCA. And I hear there is a nice four year old ballet class (sans mothers) starting in the fall.

Because I am a glutton for punishment, I will post a picture as soon as "the video is rendered to flash digital and the moon is over the advent horizon" (I'm pretty sure that is what my techy husband just said).

By the way, this entry is serving double purpose as entering to win a Nintendo Wii and Wii Fit super-combo-dealio from Three Kid Circus. I probably won't get it but it is worth a try.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Bad Mommy

The set-up: I adventured out on foot today with the two girls. Hubby had the car so we walked the 1/4 mile to go visit a friend in the neighborhood. Mommy, having used the car as a four-wheeled diaper bag for so long, forgot that kid #2 might need an extra diaper.

The event: About 52 steps into our walk home, kid #2 looks up at me with a pained expression and...er...liquid...runs down her leg. The friend we just visited doesn't have diapers in a size 4 (and newborn won't cut it) and has just left anyway. We are still 1/4 mile minus 52 steps from home. I tried to...readjust...the diaper. You never know, maybe it just slipped out of place. Nope. That thing had turned all the moisture-soaking crystals into Jello. One. Full. Diaper.

Solution: So, I did what I had to do and, in the middle of a major crossroads, stripped her down, put the diaper in the stroller (which, of course, no one was using because if big sister walks, little sister either gets to walk or screams), reapplied slightly damp trousers and had an eyeball to eyeball conversation with the little one. "If you poop, it will get all over your legs and shoes so don't poop until we get home. OK?" It worked.

How to avoid this situation in the future: Carry plastic pants to go over diaper and/or shorts to allow greater collection volume.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Thimbleful of Blessing

Luke 6:38a"Give, and it will be given to you. A large quantity, pressed together, shaken down, and running over will be put into your lap..."

I have always loved the verse above. I love the imagery of sitting cross-legged with a container of something (dry) that just keeps coming and coming and has filled the container, then my lap then starts to fall on the floor. It reminds me (in a visual, not direct sort of way) of the slot machines that pour out money when you hit the jackpot and the quarters go everywhere.

I had an "aha!" moment the other day that went with this verse. I was in the car with the kids and they were listening to a tape of Bible stories. One of those was the widow who was in debt and came to Elisha for help (2 Kings 4). Her husband had died and they couldn't pay the debts so the creditor was going to take her two sons. Elisha asks her what she has at home. She responds that she has a little oil. So he tells her to go borrow jars from her neighbors and "not a few". The oil in her jar fills all the other jars and she sells it to pay her debt and lives on the rest.

The question that ran across my mind as I was listening to this was: If I were in that situation, how many jars would I have borrowed? Because, really, there was a risk. I could look silly or nothing could happen. Would I be willing to knock on doors all over town to get a lot or would I just borrow the neighbor's measuring cup? The amount of blessing the widow received was directly related to her faith in the situation. The oil ran until every jar was filled then it stopped. In my life, do I miss the big-ness of some of God's blessings because my faith limits the outcome? Do I come to God with a prayer and a thimble asking him to fill it to overflowing?

And, there is a risk. What if I ask for big things or to see God move in big ways and don't get it? I trust that God is good and that he can give overflowing into my lap--but that doesn't mean he always will. There's a risk to ask and be told "no", "not now" or "yes, but not how you envision it". The risk really is in the trust that God is who he says he is and will do things in his time and for my good.

That's hard. But I'm practicing. Practicing my posture of opening my arms wide and saying, "Gimme! Gimme more of you, God. Gimme more evidence of your Spirit working in me. Gimme more wisdom and power as I interact with the non-believers around me. Show me your blessings and your work!" Then, I wait. Wait knowing that God is good, that relationship with him is worth the risk, that he has bigger things planned for me than I could ever imagine.

1Co 2:9 But as Scripture says: "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined the things that God has prepared for those who love him."

Shameless Plug

My dear husband is working on the website for his business. Apparently the more the website gets mentioned in other places, the higher the ranking on Google when someone looks for a product like they offer. So, I am mentioning the website: http://www.cv-vision.com/cvv/

I know, it is selling out to the man to use my blog for the promotion of commercial enterprises...but the eventual profit comes to my bank account. Yes, I can be bought.

Monday, April 7, 2008


Why is living green so expensive? If it is more natural, simple, and basic shouldn't it be cheaper too?

Example one: Organic food without preservatives
Normal bananas cost $.33 per pound, sometimes even as low as a quarter a pound. The organic kind cost $.79 EACH. Natural peanut butter (ingredients: peanuts, salt) costs around $1 more than the one with palm oil and chemicals I can't pronounce or spell. Shouldn't I get a discount if I'm not paying for pesticides or lab-created ingredients?

Example two: Electricity
In Phoenix, our electric power comes from hydro-electric and nuclear. Hoover Dam and Palo Verde Nuclear Power plant are pretty big deals. Maybe not as big a footprint as a coal burning plant or maybe burning up nearly-extinct animals but still, not so green. Well, my power company has a solution. I have can opt for electricity provided from renewable energy sources such as solar and wind...if I pay EXTRA every month for it.

Example three: Hybrid cars
Really? You want me to pay an extra $5000 to get a car that also runs on electricity but the gas mileage is about the same? What's my motivation to buy the Prius that 1. Costs more than most basic cars and 2. Still gets 15 mpg LESS than the Volkswagen diesel Jetta?

I'd like to think that I speak for the general population when I say that I am all for picking up after myself. I think God gives me instructions about being a good caretaker of His creation. But, seriously, for me to do it it has to be advantageous for both creation and me. One of the reasons I recycle is because it is easy and cheap: I put my stuff in the blue bin and the city picks it up for me. Selfish? Perhaps. But I'm betting that if hybrid cars cost 1/2 of a gas powered car, everyone would buy one eventually, even me.

So here is my advise to those promoting the "green" agenda: make it cheap and easy and you will get more converts than the "save the world" campaign ever got.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

What was I saying?

Here's the problem with me and blogging:

I am a creative genius....in the middle of the night when I'm awake after helping a kid to the bathroom.

I am poignant and thoughtful...in the car on the way to the grocery store, work, or library story time.

I am hilarious...when both girls and cats need breakfast, there is a dirty diaper to be changed and the phone is ringing.

When I sit down at the computer, what comes out? NOTHING!! It's like my body is programmed to take any sort of down time as a cue to set my brain to "standby". You know, just in case I need it for something important like telling someone not to eat her boogers.

I've thought about carrying a pen and paper pad with me to jot down the inspired thoughts I have. But then there would be the situation of first finding the pen and paper and then realizing that someone has drawn on every page of my pad then starting and being interrupted seven times in the first sentence.

Ask me how I know this.

Let's just say doing my Bible study while the girls are awake is an act of willpower (and reading with my finger under the line so I know where I was when I was...visited).

So, I have some thoughts swirling. I even have something half written in my head. Now if I can just get out of the "power save" option....

Friday, March 14, 2008

I'm Brave

I did something brave today...I took my 4 year old daughter to ballet class for the first time.

That may not seem so brave to you.

Did I mention it was Mommy and Me ballet? As in, mommy must participate with the child. And dance wear is recommended.

I signed up for this class on the spur of the moment because the four-year old class was full. I admit, I didn't think it through. But afterwards, the anxiety set in:

Will I have to wear a leotard and tights?
Is there a recital?
What happens if I plie when I'm supposed to releve and all the other moms laugh at me?

Seriously. I had all the "first day of class" nerves. I couldn't find the right pants right away when I was getting ready and my daughter said "Mom, just wear shorts!" but I don't have shorts that don't make me look fat that I can also dance in and wasn't she just worrying about what if the other kids weren't wearing pants with their leotards and lint rolling hers to get the hair off of it so who are you to tell me to hurry up and pick something to wear!?!

Deep breath.

So, it was fine. Fun even. Other moms were in regular clothes, they danced like normal people and not ballerinas, it was great being with my daughter sharing the experience. I'm glad I'm doing it and feel a little silly for being anxious.

But, there is a recital. AAAAAAAAAHHHHH! :D

Thursday, March 13, 2008

How do I Love Thee?

For my group tonight, we answered the question "How do you show yourself love?" This is my list:

Starbucks coffee, video game time,
giving myself grace when I mess up,
making women's group and Bible Study a priority,
visiting friends, asking for help when I need it,
allowing a place for my passions to grow, doing my
work, putting aside the practical to play

How do YOU show yourself love?

Friday, February 29, 2008

Reflections on the Sanctity of Life

A few minutes after midnight on Valentine's Day, I was privileged to witness a baby being born. This was the first birth I've attended in whiche I didn't have a central role (as in, the one pushing out the baby). It was amazing, wonderful and also acutely painful watching someone else go through the long ordeal of a natural birth. As the baby was delivered and put on mama's chest, I was able to watch her and new daddy's face. There were tears and laughter, relief and pain. This was the boy they had only known through the walls of her pregnant belly and now they saw him for the first time. It was the moment in which all the theory turned into practice. From that time on, love would become more of an action than it ever had previously. I remember thinking then that this tiny child, alive for the last 9 months in utero and now introduced to the world was precious in his own right. Not because he was wanted and welcomed and loved but because he was. Life is not an accident and life matters.

Last week my aunt came into town to visit my grandfather who is turning 87 and living with my parents. During one late night conversation, she said that if she got to the state of health and dementia my grandfather is in she hoped someone would let stay in bed and just.... I was able to articulate for her the reasons why my parents choose not to do this. At 87, my grandfather is alive and his life matters. Not just what he did but what he does now and who he is. He is old, he has some really painful character flaws that have wounded his family and the dementia can be draining. But, because God is sovereign, he is alive for a reason. He has a soul. He is capable of relationships. He has value. I don't know if she got it but I do.

We have just returned from a short vacation with our daughters. We had a blast playing in the snow, hiking, watching movies, swimming in the heated pool, watching the stars, and many other things. It reminded me that there are so many days that I wish the kids were _______ (potty trained, obedient, not whining, getting along, able to wipe themselves, etc) that I can forget to see them. Sure, there are things that they are not, but there are also amazing things that they ARE. They are vibrant, electric, glowing with life. They are designed and created in a way that cannot be duplicated. They are a part of the sacred, not because they are divine but because they carry the fingerprint of their Maker. We all do but it is easier for me to see it in them. But, I'm talking to God about widening my view.

Monday, February 11, 2008


Last Wednesday was Ash Wednesday so we are now deep into the season of Lent. As best as I understand it, Lent is the 40 days preceeding Good Friday that commemorates the 40 days Jesus fasted and was tempted in the wilderness. Those who "do" Lent give up something during the 40 days. Thus "Fat Tuesday" or Mardi Gras where you get completely wasted since you have to be uber-holy for the next month plus. I think that's how it works at least.

As you can probably tell, I didn't grow up in a Christian tradition that celebrated Lent. I didn't even know what it was until I was an adult. Christmas and Easter were about Jesus (not Santa and bunnies) but there weren't other holy days.

So here I am, all grown up and living a little out of the "normal" Christian box. We have a housechurch, I am part of a Christian women's group that does emotional work (kind of therapy), I have a very hippy side. Yet...there is a part of me that longs for what traditions like Lent bring.

Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of traditional "church" things that I'm happy to flush. If I never have to do another handshaking session during welcome time, I will be just fine. But to me, the power of Lent, Advent, even Passover is in the retelling of the story, the pointing to Christ, the framing the bigger picture beyond just a day on the calendar.

The idea of Lent to me is remembering that going to the cross cost Jesus something. He wrestled with his role and he prepared for it in the wilderness. Just because he is God doesn't mean it was easy. He knew, looking forward, what was to come. He was tempted to use his divine power in a way outside of the Father's plan. Choosing the cross was not a cheap decision. When I forget about the suffering in the wilderness, the torment of the cross, I really minimize the importance of the resurrection.

To relate that to me, what does my faith cost me? In my whitebread-USA Christian life, what does Christ choosing to die really mean to me? And that's where I come back to commemorating Lent. I'm pondering giving something up. Whatever it is, I want it to be something that when I miss it I remember the pain of Jesus fasting for 40 days and nights. I want to walk that path of sorrow to remember that my sin cost him something and yet he volunteered his life willingly for me. I want to feel the pain so that the joy of my redemption is sweeter.

Maybe I'm a little more traditional than I let on. :)

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Farmer in the Dell

I was going to write about the doula meeting that I went to last night and the tension I carry around being a conservative Christian and also quite a bit "granola". I struggle with that when I have interactions with awesome people who also believe they harness the divine mother energy from the earth in their hands as they do massage--or whatever. That's really not me.

But, that is going to have to wait. It will be there another day. It is 55 degrees outside and I'm going to go harvest grapefruit, oranges, lettuce and check on the other stuff in the garden. I haven't spent enough time out there and I need a little life-giving activity. I'm not a very good gardener but I love putting my fingers in the dirt. It reminds me of God's truth, it is simple (ish), it connects me to my body and soul. What's not to like?

Anyone need some citrus?

Saturday, February 2, 2008

What I Learned About Life Through Childbirth

This is one of those pieces that has been rolling in my head...

I have two daughters, ages 2 and almost 4. When I was pregnant with the first one, I elected to birth at a birthcenter with a midwife and (gasp!) to receive no pain medication! Originally, I leaned toward this option for less-than-noble reasons--I don't like hospitals. But, I found natural birth was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life--enough so that I repeated it with daughter #2 (in a hospital, even). The lessons I learned have had a profound impact in shaping how I view the rest of my life.

I need support
It is hard for me to be exposed and vunerable. And, boy howdy is birth exposing! And yet, as my dear friend held the container while I threw up during a contraction, I remember thinking, "I am SO glad she is here." I could not have labored sucessfully without my husband and other support. I need people who love me to stand with me. I am not an island or even a peninsula. I am built for love and relationship.

I have a voice and ask for what I want
I really learned this from my second birth. After my wonderful birthcenter birth, the hospital felt scary and foreign. But I was able to stand in my strength and express my desires for my labor. I chose my experience and was able to have a beautiful birth. I am not subject to those around me creating the atmosphere, I have choices and can express them.

I am capable of doing a hard physical thing
Up until giving birth, the hardest physical thing I'd ever done was run a few half-hearted wind sprints. I was much more likely to curl up with a good book than scale a mountain. And yet, in all my couch potato-ness, I was able to run my personal marathon and survive on the other end--twice!. Yes it was hard, but I did it. And I even got an endorphin rush! In the last four years, I have lived less afraid of my body than in the twenty-whatever years prior. I still love to read but walking, hiking, getting to the gym and dancing with my kids are ways I connect to my physical part.

I don't have to understand everything
I like to know things, have all the info, be in control. Birth doesn't work like that. Sure, there are lots of things to learn about pregnancy and birth but at some point, enough is enough. There is no way to "think through" a birth. It is body, emotion, soul and spirit. I didn't have to know how my hormones were making my cervix soften, I had to believe it would dialate and open enough to allow my baby to be born. While knowledge is good, trust and faith are equally important in life.

I have feelings and they matter
Birth involves two people very directly: mother and child. There were things I rejoiced in about my births and things I had to grieve. I have heard "Well, you have a healthy baby and that is what matters." But the baby was only half, and she had the easy part! I have feelings, they are important, and they are good! :) I am often tempted to minimize but when I do that I deny a part of me.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Mommy Date

I took my younger daughter with me on an errand tonight and we stopped in Starbucks for a cookie. Normally Starbucks is my guilty pleasure and an "adult only" store (they have way too much in touching range for a two and three year old to be trusted). But, I never get time alone with the little one so we went in. She had water, I had decaf, we shared a package of Madelines. She sat across from me at the table in her "princess dress" and sweater, laughing and pointing out what everyone was doing in the store. Her words are becoming clearer, her hair is getting longer, she looks more like a little girl than a baby. It was one of those moments that made me so sad and happy at the same time. Babies get bigger, that's how it is supposed to work. She is already amazing and I can see God's fingerprints all over her. I can't wait to see what she grows into, to see the woman she becomes. But, oh how I wish I could save just a little of this precious two year old!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Why Inside Out?

I am a "ranker". No, I don't smell rank. Well, maybe I do, but that's beside the point. What I mean is, if I'm not keeping an eye on it, I have the tendency to rank and categorize everyone around me and put myself on the scale somewhere. Then I can play the "I am better than/I am worse than" game. Which is another way of saying I get to either have contempt for others or contempt for me. Either way, I get to be off the hook for seeing the person as a real person and sort of turn them into a number ("You are cooler than me, +2. I am smarter than you, -5"). Not exactly a good way to extend love to other humans.

So, as I've spent lots of time looking at this tendency (God has a funny way of bringing it up over and over again), I have gleaned little bits of insights. One of those came from a friend who said, "Just remember, you are comparing your insides to everyone else's outsides." So, when I compare, I only really know how I feel inside about things--my snobbery or insecurity--and compare it to whatever anyone else is showing outside.

And I have a choice: will I work hard to make my outsides look better to compare to everyone else or get off the ranking game, stop holding everyone at arms length and let my insides out? The right answer and the reality don't always match but I'm working on it.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Nine Days and Counting

I am a registered voter. This is a job I take very seriously. I vote in the elections no one goes to--school bond overrides, city council elections, water board. I even research these things so I can vote (semi) intelligently. I grew up going to the polls with my parents. My husband and I take our kids even though they are still toddlers. Like I said, I take it seriously.

And yet, I just can't seem to get excited about the upcoming presidential primary. I guess the first problem is that there are TWENTY-FLIPPIN'-FOUR candidates on the ballot. That is for one party. The other problem is that, of those 24, I have exactly zero that I know enough about to toss my hat into his/her ring. I was able to eliminate a few since they dropped out but I think that leaves 21. Sigh.

I really don't want to wade through 21 people's stump speeches to try and figure out who most represents my views. I also don't want to just settle for popular opinion, charisma, electability or some other shmoe reason that people give as to how they picked their candidate.

Why is it that I have all this angst when so many people out there skip voting with no problem?

Maybe I'll stay in bed February 5.

Or maybe I'll be up until 3 a.m. for the next week trying to find the "one".

This is a test...

I've been sucked into the dark side of (cue ominous music) MOMMY BLOGGING!

I'm not really much of a journal keeper, which is kind of how I view blogging but I have a problem (or five): occasionally I have something I'd like to write that rolls around in my mind but I have no outlet. And so it rolls....and rolls...and...etc.

Also, I have friends who keep moving away and I keep meaning to write to update them on my life and I keep not doing it. If they have blogs, I read them and get all the details on their lives but do I return the favor? Nope. Maybe I can catch them all at once this way.

So, this is a test. Will I ever write more than one entry? Will the anxiety of turning out quality material squash my natural creative process? Will I ever have time to sit down at the computer? I guess we'll find out.