Monday, July 26, 2010

Oh My...

See this adorable face? This is my precious Ali Carrie. She is our furry child and is 4 1/2 years old.

Ali loves to sleep under our bed, play tug of war with her sock, and eat treats.

Anyone who has ever met Ali Carrie will agree she is very very sweet and adorable.

I love her very much.

This is a silly picture of Ali Carrie, taken one afternoon during one of her snoozes on the couch. How could you not love a face like this?

I chuckle every time I see this picture of her.

Today, I was petting my little AC and giving a good rub when I felt something... strange...


I called the vet and took her in for an emergency visit. At first, they told me it was probably just a "wolf fly" larva, imbedded in her skin.

Turns out, it is just a subcutaneous cyst that has errupted. Dr. A. said that they basically treated it like a big pimple, squeezed it out, and follow up will be a 10 day treatment of antibiotics. He also said that there is a small chance that it could re-occur. Let's hope it doesn't!

I begged them to give her a good haircut before pick up time in hopes that she will not be so hot for the remainder of the summer and to help me spot these troubling, and disgusting disturbances.

All is well though. Can't wait till be get her home, back under our bed where she loves to be!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Grown Up Friday Night

At 7 p.m. tonight my family of 4, two adults and 2 two year olds were sitting on the floor watching the rain come down "cats and dogs." The driveway looked like a silver pond and the gutters on the corners of the house like steady rapids. The thunder was cracking, sending my toddlers into a frenzy.

Nick made the comment, "if I didn't have kids to help put to bed, I would lay right here on this couch all night long and probably not move until tomorrow morning when it is time to get up..."

I said, "after they go down, do you want to play Phase 10?"

"YES!" he replied.

Then it dawned on me. There are a lot of teens and younger adults in their early 20's that are getting all "dolled up" on this Friday night, staring out the window, checking their Weather Channel phone app. and saying things like,

"Damn, I really wanted to sit outside at Sinclair's tonight..."
"Oh well for the cook out at So and So's... maybe it will let up by then..."
"Guess they will call off the Biscuit's game, what now?"
"Man, I straightened my hair and want to wear my cute new tube top but this rain is ruining my outfit!"

It made me chuckle because I can remember "getting ready" for a Friday night out and being heartbroken when torrential rains began to pour down.

But now, I sit in my living room and think two things:

1.) this is perfect card playing weather
2.) AWESOME, the Tru-Green guy left a note on Wednesday after fertilizing and weed killing the yard that we need to keep the grass cut (done Thursday) and water heavily (done!)

It was a very grown up moment for me tonight to realize that I love the rain not only for all of it's obvious comforting reasons but also because it is good for our grass! There is truth in the notion that we all turn into our parents!

How did you spend your Friday night rained in - or out?

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Q & A Wednesday

What is one of your "Holy Moments?"


After reading this post I reflected on my own "Holy Moments." Here was my answer:

"I am grown now with two children of my own and many Holy Moments with them to share, but one moment in particular that I will always cherish was years ago when my little sister and I were lying in bed one night - Whit 10 years younger than me. I, at the time was 14 or 15, she was 4 or 5, and I was rubbing her back. I apologized for having cold hands and she rolled over, turned her little baby face to me, held my hand and said, "why are you sorry? don't be sorry, they are your hands and they are cold. you can't help it" and she put the blanket over my hands. I have never forgotten that moment of when a child first taught me (then also still a child!) of what it meant to give up one's own pleasures to help another's suffering...

I have told Whit, now 18, that story since then and she laughs and has no memory of it. My prayer is that we can all be back in touch with our inner child, with perfect faith and testimony of God's merciful love.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Mother's Meltdown

Well I had a melt down of sorts today. Not a big one with pouting and tears and "why me" and all that. Just a little one. One that comes with a sudden need to be alone and quiet and not needed - sounds really really selfish right? It didn't take long. An hour or so. And in that time I sat on out guest bed, then I took a bath. I thought and thought and thought. Melt downs don't come often but but boy when they do...

The day started out as days around here usually do. Got the kids up and coffee poured and started in on chore 1, 2, and 3. Then, all of a sudden, I hit a wall where I asked "am I doing enough?" For myself? More importantly for my children? It all boils down to this simple fact:

I am not a "stay at home mom" by definition so pretending to be one for 8 weeks in the summer time has had it's ups and suddenly today, it's takes DOWN - Ironically on the exact same day that I patted myself on the back for letting my kids watch T.V and in the same boast bragged that my kids don't suffer from watching too much T.V. And that is still a true fact. But what I am noticing is that in these 8 weeks my kids have gotten entirely t-totally attached to ME... literally. I cannot hold one enough. I cannot play with ONE enough, not to mention both of them. I cannot feed them enough - exhibited when Lily gets bored she asks to "EAT!" Now, even when I close the door to use the restroom I see two little shadows under the door and hear whimpers of Mama? Mama? Mama? while I say, "Mama needs privacy! Be patient" When the truth is, it is hard for me to keep mine... this being "needed" all day, every minute of the day.

There are a lot of women out there who pout and gripe about not being able to stay at home with their kids which is a really nice way to say "not work." I can even remember sitting at my parents' kitchen table while the twins were in the NICU literally crying on the table because Nick and I couldn't find a financial way to let me stay home with them. And now, I thank God for it. I love my kids. I love spending time with my kids and I love parenting them. More. Than. Anyone. Will. Ever. Know.

But here is the thing... I know a couple of stay at home moms and they do the job supremely well. And you know what I have learned? Being a "stay at home mom" means rarely do you stay at home. You see, my girls are 2 years old now... they are learning and growing and "waking up" so to speak. I emailed a stay at home mom friend today and said, "it is almost as if H&L are growing too big for our house." That isn't it she reassured me...

They need to get out... they want to get out. They don't know that is what they need... but it is. It is really hard to admit all of this because I feel... FAILURE. And trust me, I am NOT looking for a wash of sympathy or encouragement in posting all of this. If anything, I hope that someone is reading this and saying, "yea... me too, whew."

It isn't like we sit around and eat cereal all day. We DO STUFF. But I reached a point today in realizing that they just aren't babies anymore. They are little people. That is why I am excited to be more creative in the coming weeks while I am still playing "stay at home mom." And because I do have to go back to work in 2 weeks I am really blessed and excited for them to go to a Mother's Day Out program at our church in 6 weeks.

I can't count the number of times I thought about erasing this post and just shutting up... but that wouldn't be keeping it real... sharing the baby steps.

Children's Television

I have 30 minutes to sit at the kitchen table, with my cup of coffee (Italian Sweet Cream creamer), and play on the computer while my kids watch an episode of Barney and Friends. Today is the first day they have layed eyes on the imaginary purple monster. They are definitely interested. Harper is sitting in her "rock-rock" chair and Lily chose to sit or stand on the floor (it changes each time I turn around) right there in front of the t.v.

I am also going to let them give Clifford the Big Red Dog a go later today. We tried to watch about 5 minutes of Clifford yesterday but it didn't really hold their attention past the excitement of saying "dog!?" a few times.

Nothing captures my kids' attention and affection though like Elmo's World on Dvd. What started it all was this little book the babies received from their Gramma. The cover of the book has a little felt Elmo finger puppet and the pages are songs you can sing with your child while you watch Elmo "clap" along ( pictured above).

Harper was in love immediately. When they turned two in May, I told Nick that I thought Harper should have a plushy Elmo doll to share with Lily but in reality it was my hopes that Elmo would be her "lovie" just as Lily has her three little blankies that she sleeps with every night - which is why we bought her a real "baby doll." Well, Harper wants nothing in her bed except her thumb and her self. If you give her any animal or blanket she will say, "no" and throw them over the side of the bed. So Elmo gets to sleep with all of the other animals in the toybox... or on the floor... or on the couch. Also for their birthday my mother, their Moomps, bought them 2 Elmo movies.

Good grief.

These girls would sit in front of the T.V. all day if I let them. I remember reading a few posts a little while back by some super mom/super blogger out there about popular opinions on children watching too much television and the adverse social affects, etc. I get it. I really do.

But in my house, here is the deal, my kids watch a lot of t.v. But they also play in their room with each other, go outside, and on field trips and JUST TURNED TWO YEARS OLD. In a month they will be going to a Mother's Day Out pre-pre-school program at our church three days a week. At their stage of development I am just not worried about them watching too much t.v. because, honestly, the quality of what they are watching is so good. As I said, my kids turned two in May and they both know all 26 letters (sometimes confusing x and k) and can name numbers 1-10. They also ask questions about things like bugs and airplanes because of the shows they watch and the books we read. I am very happy to see their language progressing the way it is and get more and more excited about Mother's Day Out starting in September.

One of their Elmo Movies is called "Elmo: Reach for the Sky!" On the cover of the box there is a little yellow school and the babies call this episode of Elmo "Eh-mo go to Skoo?" So it will be neat when they make the connection that their really is a place called school. I really don't have a doubt in my mind that they will love school. Trying not to wish these final days of summer away though! This really is, for many reasons, going to be the best Fall ever.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Single Ladies

Y'all I seriously don't know how all the single ladies do it.
And by single ladies, I mean, single moms.

Single, working, or stay at home moms, either way, if you are single, or have a really really lazy selfish partner that never helps... how do you do this thing called parenting and everything else that life requires?

NO I'm not single AND a mother of twins, are you crazy? My amazing husband is on a Mission Trip... his second week long trip this summer. Right now, for me that means 8 days and nights of having these precious amazing and very active two year olds all to myself. Today is one of those days where it is 6:53p.m., bed time is at 8:00, and I AM ABSOLUTELY WORN OUT. My back hurts, to the point I might skip giving them baths tonight, my feet hurt, seriously, even my eye balls hurt a little bit.

Please don't consider this post a big gripe because I know that I would not trade being a mother for anything in the entire world, but I mean, could I have done this single - with no help? That is my question. Actually, no... it isn't the question, nor the point.

The truth is... even if I were single, of course I could do it. The way I love my children, I could have 10 more and wouldn't question whether or not I could. Of course I could and I would, because I love my children so much and it is my responsibility to do everything for them while they can't do it for themselves. And every single day is such a blessing in our lives together.

There are too many rewards in spending time with my children to count
And most days it doesn't feel like work at all
But some days it does
So on the days that it does, I can't help but wonder what it would be like to not have someone that loves them just as much as I do sitting beside me at the end of the day and waking up next to me in the morning to do it all over again

So here is my pat on the back to you, all the single ladies (two of my dear friends in mind),
all the single ladies.

Friday, July 09, 2010

Remember when a couple of days ago I bragged about the whole "I take naps everyday" thing?

This morning when I first woke up and stumbled to the coffee maker I felt like I did back when I had two newborns. Groggy, achy, and ready for bedtime - as a result of some really bizarre sleeping patterns lately. A few posts ago I mentioned "napping when they nap." Grown up naps are good when needed but when taken to the extreme, meaning getting into the habit of everyday, I think it actually becomes a bad thing... for me a very bad thing. My sleeping patterns are very very messed up. Not to mention that night before last, I chaperoned a youth all girls spend the night party and had a lot of good clean fun but stayed up later than I have in over two years. The last time I looked at the clock it was almost 4 a.m. Yea.

I have no idea why, maybe a weakened immune system due to lack of sleep, but when I don't sleep, I get ill- physically and emotionally. SO I came home and rested for 2 or 3 hours before showering and going on a REAL DATE with my husband and two very special friends. Nick and I went to the Tipping Point for two drinks then down town, with our friends, to Lek's where I consumed ridiculous amounts of quality delicious sushi.

We were back home by 11p.m. watched an episode of Work of Art and were in bed by midnight. I had one of those nights where I woke up every hour, tossed and turned, and honestly could argue that I might not have truly slept at all.

I woke up around 7 and really wanted to sleep "late" - till 8:30 or 9 when the babies get up... but just couldn't - I could not stop thinking of how awful the night's attempt to sleep had been! I got up, poured an amazing cup of coffee, flipped through a Pottery Barn catalog and then decided to take a shower... which in the summer time I rarely do first thing in the morning. It was so nice to feel hydrated cool and clean that I decided to give the babies a bath first thing this morning as opposed to at bedtime.

So we are all feeling good this morning and I am going to do my darndest, as hard as it may be, to NOT nap today and see if by staying busy I can get my body back into normal routine of normal sleeping hours...

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Q & A Wednesday

how do you spend your "down time?"


during the school year down time for me is spent by little outings with my family. the grocery store. a restaurant. exercise around the neighborhood or at a near by park. and dinner parties at our house. and of course, when the time has come, watching football with friends.

it used to be that i would stay up late, really late, with my husband
and my friends. 1 or 2a.m. was early on a weekend and reasonable on a weeknight
before i had two children

when the summer began i made jokes with anyone who asked "how do you intend to spend the summer?" by saying with a smirk on my face, "nothing, nothing at all. i'll eat when they (H&L) eat, and i'll sleep when they sleep."

i have napped almost every single day this summer. not little 20 - 30 minute snoozers, full on 2-3 hour slumbers, in the bed.

i also read, a lot. i find that i am often giving justifications to myself for reasons why it isn't a sin to lay around as much as i do. i still exercise. the grocery store gets done. the housework, mostly, gets done. the laundry is always done. i spend time with and talk to my friends. i go to church and lead a bible study once a week. so in my down time, i read and nap.

there are some types of people that can't sleep during the day and who don't like to read. i, personally can't understand this. i'm not a t.v. during the day kind of person. unless there is a movie for the babies on the t.v. is off. i prefer listening to NPR or Christian radio to t.v. i prefer the couch with a good book to window shopping. i take great comfort in my home and the preparations i make to keep it a cool safe and happy place for my husband and children. so one way for me to enjoy my home and my life and take it all in is to sit and be still.

so, how do you spend your down time?

Monday, July 05, 2010

July 5th, part II

After my lunch time feast for one, I loaded the babies to go on a stroll. I thought it would be nice to get outdoors and enjoy the overcast skies and cooler temps. About a mile and a half away from our house, only half way through with the course I had planned on completing I realized that the sun was fully out, it was pretty darn humid, and I didn't bring my water bottle. The babies, however, were each clinging to their sippy cups filled to the brim with ice cold water/apple juice mixture. Here is my question:

How do you teach your children "mercy?"

They know how to "share" and "give" and "take turns" mostly because when they do these things with each other Mommy praises each one by telling each baby how sweet she is and that sharing is the right thing to do. At home, if one refuses to give the other a turn with (fill in the blank) Mommy usually intercedes and shows the proper way to share and more praises follow. They have learned, like Pavlov's dogs, that when you hear the word "share" you should "give" and Mommy will "sing."

Mercy... is an entirely different concept than this. You see, with the temperature outside easily 100 degrees and me pushing 40 pounds uphill some of the way, I WAS HOT AND GETTING IN NEED OF HYDRATION. I said, "babies, mommy is thirsty and needs a sip. will you share?"

Both babies said, "no" and clung tighter to their beloved sippy cups.
Again, "babies, share with mommy, one sip. mommy is thirsty, please. please, share." (this works with sharing Mrs. Potato Head)
Again, "Nome, no no no cup."

I stopped the stroller and said, "because you will not share mommy is taking the cup and going to have a sip. you will share with mommy."

I took a swig from each cup and the girls actually thought it was funny. They giggled. And I am sure it was a sight to see - grown woman on the side of the road drinking from her babies' bright orange sippy cups. Of course when I was finished I gave the cups back and said, "thank you babies."

So, the sharing thing they have got down pat. Mercy, however, will take some time.

July 5th

There is a peaceful easy feeling I get when it is overcast outside, nice temps, and leftover veggies in the fridge. The day after our nations has celebrated Independence Day. It is 10:43 a.m. y'all and I just put a skillet of cornbread batter in the oven on 400 to have with my lunch of turnip greens, green beans, yellow squash, and grilled chicken... I might fore go the chicken and reheat the white corn on the cob and make it a true veggie plate. That is what is happening in my kitchen this morning.

Oh, and did you know that I season ALL of my vegetables, when I'm cookin' like this, with bacon fat? That is right. I save the bacon fat drippings each time we cook bacon in an old glass mayo jar. It sits in the back of my fridge till I'm making cornbread and veggies then it is several tall scoops slung into each boiler for the best flavored greens and corn bread... mmm mmm mmm.


We celebrated the 4th of July by attending Church yesterday morning, shaking the hands of WW2 and Vietnam veterans. Some were young enough that I am guessing they served in the Gulf War and some still currently serving. It was special to see them lined up at the alter standing as tall as their old crooked spines would let them. Their eyes were still so blue behind spotted spectacles and their wives standing so proud among the congregation, with the sparkliest sequined red, white, and blue vests and festive earrings and pins - and the brightest red lipstick, brighter than Christmas time/December red lipsticks...

Last night, we headed over to "Moomps and Pa's" (my parents) house for a cookout and some swimming. We all played outside until it was simply too dark and the MCC fireworks started at 9p.m. This was NOT the high-light of the night for the babies, in fact, it was sheer terror for them! And you can imagine that it would be quite scary for young eyes and ears that have never heard fireworks booming just 6 or 7 blocks over and to see these colorful explosions over head. No matter how much I tried to tell them, "Look! so pretty! boom!" they weren't having it. So there Daddy and Pa took the babies inside and I watched the finale with my Mama. It was really really cool... I used to stand with my mom and dad and sister on the same front porch every year growing up and watch those fireworks and here I was again with 2 kids in the house, by this point in the night, begging to watch Elmo and go "night night." So we drove home, put them to bed just before 10 o'clock and they went down without a single peep... Lily in her car seat kept saying, "go home? a baby? go night night?"

It is now 10:58a.m. and with my cornbread almost ready, I still have yet to hear a single peep from them. I'll let them sleep all day if they want... peaceful easy feeling all through the house... and the scent of bacon fat, mmm mmm mmm.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

a little catching up

How do you like the new layout? This blog needed a change. I tried to think of a new title...but couldn't. "baby steps" has been what I have called this place since I went into the hospital a little over two years ago and my babies went into the nicu. It seems like I had a lot more readers then. People would comment in passing about how they kept up with H&L's progress through checking my blog. I even had pretty regular and numerous comments in the comments sections. These days, I don't know if anyone reads at all - if they do they certainly stopped commenting.

The running joke among my husband and friends has been that "blogging is dead." I said to him, "I don't even know the point anymore; no one comments and I can't blame them, I don't have that great or controversial to say hardly ever." And he said, "well you shouldn't blog for them, you should blog for you." Well I'll try that out, more often, and more interestingly, and maybe more controversially, for me.

But back to the name. I tried to change it once to something like "Sound Mind Sound Body Sound Soul" or some other cheese like that but came back to this one: "baby steps." It is fitting I suppose since, probably, a lot of my posts have to do with updates on my children and being a mother or just every day life. But, also, I think that "baby steps" is an appropriate metaphor for my life in general since everyday I continue to learn and process "growing up". So "baby steps" it is.

O.k. so in my last post I mentioned that I was reading Ishmael by Daniel Quinn. This book was recommended to me by my husband who attended a small Methodist Liberal Arts College in the deep deep South. He often says that he loves his school because it helped in grow in academics, of course, but it also helped him grown in his faith because every class he took challenged him to think for himself. He said the book was about "Leavers and Takers." When I first heard this term I immediately thought of another post I have read before over at The Spivey Life. I thought the book would be about lazy people and not as lazy as those people people. I was wrong, sort of. The book, as I mentioned is a conversation between a gorilla and his human student about how the world "got to be the way it is." I will not try to give any kind of summary or real synopsis of the book because I think if this at all interests you then you should read it for yourself. However, I will pose a few questions that were raised in the novel... questions that Ishmael asked the man that have MY wheels turning.

-why do humans teach that this world was created for humans?
-why do humans teach that evolution AND/OR creation ended after humans?
-why do humans feel that it is right and necessary to be the only species to take from, steal from, and murder each other AND other species in order to get what they want?
-is there an unspoken law of survival and food chains etc. that every other species follows that humans feel they are exempt from and if so why?
-will humans continue to live "this way" until we extinguish all natural resources and essentially commit global suicide over a period of thousands or millions of years? and if we knew a solution... a better way to live, could we do it? what would it take?

The book did not shake my faith in any way really but it did,however, cause me to think differently, and for that I applaud the author.

That is really all for now...