Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Thankful

My very last words before going to sleep almost every single night is, "Thank you, God, for everything." I could go on and on and ON about all the things in my life that I am grateful for, but that one sentence pretty much sums it up. I say it on bad days, to remind myself that life doesn't suck just because today did. I say it on good days, to remind myself not to take good fortune for granted. Then there are the days where I'm so stupid tired that I pass out before I get a chance to finish a thought.
 
 
Tomorrow is, of course, Thanksgiving. A day dedicated to appreciating what we have, no matter how little or how much we do have. Tomorrow, I get to celebrate it with my brother, my husband, and my girl. We'll cook turkey and pie and probably eat too much. My brother and husband will likely loosen their belts watching a football game while G and I snuggle on the couch. In the days that follow, we will begin decking the halls with Christmas decorations galore. We'll eat leftovers and drink hot chocolate and watch Monsters University over and over and over.
 
 
Our thanksgiving weekend may or may not look like yours, but as long as you can appreciate what you have and be okay with what you don't have in your own way, then you have honored the spirit of Thanksgiving.
 
 
Enjoy your holiday season, my friends and family. Know that every single day, you are included in my prayer to God, even if you are a lovable atheist. You are a part of my 'everything'.  

 
Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, July 1, 2013

A Sort of Love Letter, I Suppose

2 years ago today, I calmly walked into the hospital, my husband's hand firmly in mine. We signed some paperwork, changed into our surgery clothes, and waited.
 
I remember being extremely nervous about the C-section and the spinal block I was about to have. Not the fact that I was about to plunge into motherhood. Upon reflection, perhaps I spent too much time planning the birth and not enough time contemplating motherhood. Or rather, maybe that was the way to go. Considering the first lesson we learned in parenting is that One Must Not Have A Plan. Babies are rule breakers, planner poopers.
 
Anyway, I remember getting that spinal tap (ouch), the deadness of my lower body, the curtain between me and my abdomen drawn closed. I remember my husband and I holding hands. I remember that very first cry.  I remember itching my face off in a morphine fit, I remember her beautiful eyes, the tininess of her being in my arms. 
 
I'd like to think that I remember everything, both the good and the bad. I went through a pretty tough time her first year, struggling to adjust to being a mommy to little Grace. My spitfire, my comedian, my love.
 
Today, Grace has grown into this impossibly adorable little human, complete with emotions and feelings and opinions and need and wants. I mean, she had them before, but her only way of communicating anything was through crying. Now, she's added laughing and broken English to her communication arsenal. My favorite words of hers is "walalalalal-er" (water,) "zoomi!" (for her favorite TV show Team Umizoomi,) and a very clear "yeah."
 
She's incredibly maternal, always wanting to feed her constant companion, Bunny. Declaring that Bunny pooped and we must get a diaper for the stuffed animal. Kissing Bunny, snuggling Bunny. Thankfully, she still likes to snuggle with us too. She likes to feed us imaginary food as well, bringing little plastic fry pans and large spoons to our faces and encouraging us to take part. And we do, with zeal.
 
 
She's getting to that age where skinned knees are an every day occurrence, and so are requests for my suddenly magically healing kisses.
 
She also emotes disproportionately to the situation, a trait that I find exhausting and hilarious at the same time. Say "no" to Grace and you'd think I cut off her left pinky. But as quickly as the storm begins to rage, the calm settles in just as fast.
 
I never thought I'd feel this way about another human being, ever. But there it is: I love my Gracie. All of her, every last perfection and flaw.
 
Today we celebrate the first 730 days of her life. 24 months. 2 full years of Grace.
 
Grace: it is a priviledge being your mom. I love you.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Me and the Bible

What is the Bible to you?  Is it The Word of God?  A book Inspired by God?  A work of art?  A tome of mythology?

The Bible, to me, has always been a book Inspired by God.  Having said that, I want to clarify: I do believe in God.  How/who/what is God?  Genuinely, I have no clue.  But I believe in something greater than myself, that it is an entity that I do not understand nor likely have the capacity to understand.

Doesn't mean I am not going to try, right?

But why?  Why now?  And what is up with me writing a post anyway?  Why now am I writing, and why am I writing about spirituality?

To the "why are you even writing": I'm very much a fair weather writer.  I cannot write if I am not inspired.  It's really as simple as that.  I love to write, but I don't like to write for just writing sake.  I need something to say, something to think about, even if it of the most banal origins.

To the "why are you writing about sprituality, the Bible, and all that": I was inspired.  See, the unsuccessful battle of the bulge still wages on in the depths of my mind, going on 20 years now.  I've been seeing a therapist about that and other things, until I kindly broke up with her.  On our final meeting, she made a connection between what I've been describing as my eating issues and more main stream addictions.  My behavior mirrors that of an alcoholic.  And what do alcoholics do to get better?  Alcoholics Anonymous.  So what could I do to get help with my eating issues?  Overeaters Anonymous.  Yes, it exists. 

So what does OA have to do with spirituality?  Like AA, it has a huge part in recovery.  The first couple of steps in the famous 12 Step Program basically require you to admit you are powerless over your addiction and have you turn to a greater Power than yourself for help.

Well shit.  We, God and I, have been on shakey ground for a good decade or so.  Or rather Religion and I have had issues and I've made the common mistake of confusing religion for my own spirituality and belief in God.  Lots of religion depend on the Bible as it's backbone, so I suppose it was easy to take issue with a book that defines so much religion in the world.

Anyway, back to the 12 Steps, I decided to finally give in.  Not give up, but give in.  20 years running with minimal success?  Yep, I can say I'm pretty powerless over food.  What do I need to do about it?  Put some faith into God to help me out.  So how do I go about that?  Learn more about God.  How?  Read the work that was inspired by Him. 

I'll be honest with you: so far in Genesis, God seems to be more like one of the petty Greek/Roman gods than the New Testament Hippie God.  Killing everything, demanding bloody sacrifices, making outrageous demands of His children.  And his favorites, like Noah and Abraham?  About as vindictive and harsh as God.  So the God I'm getting to know, the God that I'm supposed to surrender to and put my faith into isn't a warm cuddly teddy bear that I want to snuggle with.  Not yet. 

Sure, I could have started with the New Testament, but I really just want to make a daily effort to read a few passages from the Bible.  Commit to a little ritual, in honor of the Big Guy upstairs.  And with my daily dip into the Good Book, I find myself having a running commentary on what I'm reading.  Like, the whole passage about circumcision being the sign of the covenant between Him and Abraham and all Abraham's offspring?  Seriously, what is up with that?  How come the sign of the covanent between Noah and God was a rainbow, but with Abraham you have to slice your junk?  That is some serious business.  SERIOUS business.  Maybe because God considered his covenant with Abraham much more serious than that with Noah.  Not sure how the genocide of 99% of life on this planet can be less serious than giving out some land to Abraham, but then again, I admit again that I can't really understand God.  I apologize if you take offense; I mean to speak frankly about what I'm reading and give an honest reaction to the passages. 

So if you want, take a gander at Genesis 17 (start with chapter 12 to get the whole picture of this Abram/Abraham covenant stuff.)

What do you think?  I know I have friends that are atheists and some that are deeply spiritual.  It'd be interesting to hear from all belief structures.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Falling Down

I'm reaching that magical age in a woman's life where the good ol' body doesn't bounce back the way it used to.  For example, losing weight isn't occurring at a speed I would prefer.  When I wake up, I tend to groan from the effort of moving my body.  When I fall down the stairs, I don't just walk it off anymore.

I did fall down the stairs  a weekend or two ago.  D got up with G so I got to sleep in a bit.  I rolled out of bed, groaned, washed up a bit, and headed to the landing at the top of the stairs.  Moose was there to meet me, tail whapping and butt wiggling with joy.  G was at the bottom of the stairs, also clearly excited to see me up.  I asked Moose to wait at the top of the stairs as I navigated the seemingly harmless staircase before me.  And some how between point A (Moose) and point B (Grace), I lost my footing and slipped half way down the stairs.  Moose followed me down, excited that I was trying out a new game.  G clapped.  I just laughed as I didn't have any apparent injuries.

No, all I needed to do is wait a day or two and then my body would remind me that I am not 20 years old anymore.  I managed to beat up both of my knees, more the right one than the left one.  And I'm so sore, so sore now.  I stand up and I groan.  I walk and I groan.  I sit and I groan.  My body did not appreciate the tumble, and now I self medicate with ibuprofen.  I've taken a sabbatical from my dear elliptical.  I'm extra careful hauling G up and down those stairs. 

I suppose I'm lucky that the extent of my injuries only include all over muscle soreness, two painful knees, and a smarting pride.  My back could have easily been the victim.

I just don't get why there needs to be a victim.  15 years ago, I fell out of my loft and had a sprained ankle for like a second.  When I was 12, I got thrown off of a snowmobile and skidded across the ice.  No lingering pains, no body parts in need of repair.  I just walked them off and didn't feel a thing.  I suppose that I was just feeling my age.  It's carefree to feel 12, 20.

Now?  I'm feeling my age.  Most days, it feels good.  But on the days where an errant sneeze tweaks my lower back, it hurts.  35 hurts.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Homemade Bath Soaps

7 years ago, when I was a blushing bride to be, I decided I was going to hand make my gifts for my bridesmaids.  I made necklaces, little handbags, and - although odd - soap.  7 years later, I still have left over soap.


Today, I used some of that soap for a little project for G.  See, I've been scouring Pinterest for lots of ideas for crafts for her to do and crafts for me to do for her.  Of the latter, I discovered Bath Crayons (found via Pinterest).  

It is stupid simple to make these things.  

Step 1: melt the soap.

Step 2: add food coloring.

Step 3: put into mold.


As you can see, I used an ice cube tray.  The one in the upper left is a little chunky because I scraped my bowl and the soap already had begun to harden.  Regardless, for bath time tonight, G is going to have something new to play with.

All for leftover glycerin soap, food coloring, an ice cube tray, and about 5 minutes of my time.  Seriously easy.  I'll let you know if she digs it.

Monday, January 28, 2013

The Hulk

G's middle name should be Tantrum. Pistol. Hulk. Tantrumpistolhulk.
 
Take this morning, for example. G's normal routine is to play in her crib and then throw a fit when I try to change her diaper. I'm talking body twisting, back arching, appendages flailing kind of fit. Something about that full squishy diaper that she simply can't let go of. This morning, however, we took things to another level. As I described it to Dave, she went plaid.
 
See, she's been a beast all weekend, so we have backtracked and allowed her binky to be used at all hours of the day instead of just at nap/bedtimes. Binky keeps the beast caged a bit.
 
I decided this morning that Binky must be only used at nap/bedtimes once again. Little did I know that this decision would bring a whole new image of what The Beast is like.
 
G: <points at Binky, signs please.>
Me: No.
G: <cries, points at Binky, signs please>
Me: I'm sorry, sweetie, but that stays in the crib.
G: <cries louder, gestures wildly at Binky, signs please furiously>
Me: No, G. I'm sorry.
G: <begins to go Gremlin on me. It's this sound that she makes that's a cross between a grunt, a growl, and a scream>
Me: G, calm down.
G: <turns green, begins to grow large, ripping her pajamas. Also starts the "phbbbbt" phase, where she alternates between Gremlin and going "phbbbt" with her tongue>
Me: Um, seriously child, it's ok.
G: <tries to slap me several times, continues the "phbbbbbt" and Gremlin growls, and stomps on the ground. This is all very loud, by the way> HULK MAD!
Me: Aw, G, come here...<I reach for her to hug her>
G: HULK DON'T WANT HUGS. HULK WANT BINKY.
Me: Ok, do you want a time out?
G: HULK ONLY WANT BINKY. HULK MUST HAVE BINKY.
Me: Well, Hulk can't have the binky. Hulk is going into timeout.
 
She fought against me while going downstairs, fought me as I popped her in her timeout seat, and proceeded to Hulk out for at least a few more minutes. After G returned to regular tantrum levels, I scooped her up as she hiccupped her way back to being calm.
 
Wow. The power of a pacifier.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Time Management in the New Year

Gracie is now 18 months old.  She walks, babbles, signs, runs, screams, giggles, and is busy busy busy.  

She's changed so much since last year, when she looked like this:
Mommy has grown up alongside G.  Very much so.  I was devastatingly lost as a new mom.  I had no idea what to do with a 1 month old, 3, 6, 9, even a year old.  Most of the time I sat in the middle of the living room floor, bouncing her in her bouncy chair, trying not to cry along with her.  Yes, that first year or so was full of growing up and adapting to my new life with this new life.

Now, life has changed.  Instead of sitting on the floor in the middle of the living room watching T.V. or entertaining her all morning, we spent an hour or so together, eating breakfast, watching some of her shows on BabyFirstTV.  Then I switched it to my morning news.  While it was, of course, met with a small temper tantrum, busting out the Legos and encouraging her to help me out quieted the adorable beast.  Once she started playing with her toys, I started to wander around the first floor, picking up.  A bottle I put noodles and almonds in a year ago to create a makeshift rattle was finally emptied and placed in the dishwasher.  Mail was sorted.  Dishes were cleaned up.  Coffee was consumed.

Once the main floor was mostly acceptable, I took G upstairs to start working on some of the rooms up there.  Her room is a mess, mostly because most of the cleaning I did in 2012 was done during her nap time. One cannot clean up while the child is sleeping.  Oh no.  The added complication is that when she's awake and I try to clean it, she thwarts me at every turn.  You want to put away my clothes, Mommy?  No.  I put them on the floor.  You want to organize my diapers?  No.  I wear them on my head.  You want to put the binkies back in the crib?  NO.  I want to carry them around all at once.  Before, I let that be the excuse for me not even to try.

Instead, this morning, I brought her into her room and started to fold and put away some clothes, sort too small clothes into a box, and get the avalanche of socks under control.  Sure, her room is still a mess right now as she sleeps.  But I did get some stuff accomplished in that room and every little bit counts.

In this new year, I'm trying to stop thinking of Gracie as the sole center of my universe.  I don't need to entertain her all day.  She can finally start participating in the stuff that I want to do.  I don't know why it took me 18 months to realize this, especially when loved ones were gently trying to coach me to do just that.  I suppose I needed that time to mature as a mom.  I'm less stressed, more happy, and enjoy my time with G so much more.

Now I can use the nap times for a bit of me time.  Like blogging.  :)