Sunday, December 27, 2009
I hope you and yours had a very Merry Christmas and have a Happy New Year.
Anthony & I saw a little decade in review on the news tonight. They started with the ball dropping at midnight marking the beginning of 2000, & I said to him, "I remember where I was that night." I can figure out what I was likely doing on most new year's eve's in the last fifteen years or so based on what year it was, but I actually remember December 31, 1999, where I was, who was there, what movie we were watching & the games we were playing, who I was there with. I remember how excited I was about 2000. After all, I was a high school senior & would be starting college somewhere that fall. My, how things change in ten year's time. I was so young then, still very naive and innocent, & on my way out of the angst-filled teenage years. The last ten years have flown by. It seems like I just blinked and went from that young girl to being the wife & mother of two.
Sorry, didn't mean to ramble on like that. Here's the picture we sent out in our Christmas cards this year (it's not the best one we've taken, but not the worst either).
Monday, December 21, 2009
Sorry for such a downer of a post, but am I the only one who longs for those simpler times?
I guess if there's anything positive that comes out of all that brokenness, it's that it makes me hold on to what I've got even tighter. It makes me realize how fragile those threads that bind us together really are.
Friday, December 18, 2009
you should take 5 minutes to watch this video. It is beyond touching.
Edited to add: (12/27) I read Kelly's book, "The Middle Place" over the last three days. There are not many books that can make me both laugh out loud & cry big crocodile tears & still feel good about at the end. It is most definitely a good book.
Monday, December 14, 2009
I know I owe you since it's been more than a month (don't say I didn't warn you that posts would be scarce with me being back in school), so I have several videos to share from the last week or so since I tore into my Christmas present a little prematurely. For the record, Greg, Anthony made me do it.
This is what happens when Daddy supervises snack time. Ella loves pretzels, but she loves pretzels dipped in Nutella even more.
Ella playing around with her clothes basket. She was walking all over the house with it on her head. Of course when I tried to record it she wouldn't put it back on for me.
Ella & I going down the big slide at Santa's Village, an annual event that our city's Parks & Recreation dept. puts on. The admission is either toys or canned food, which they then give out to needy families for Christmas. We don't have any pictures/video of the decorations, but they always have this enormous Christmas tree & an 'enchanted forest' that the kids enjoy, too. Wesley didn't get to go with us this year because he was gone to his dad's all weekend, so that's why he's missing from all the videos.
This video is a little loud so you might want to turn down your speakers a little before you hit play. You can't hear her over the noise, but Ella kept saying, "Wee," as we were coming down the slide. You can see her pull back when we get to the gate because she wanted to go again.
Ella LOVES trains.
Ella doing some crazy dancing.
Wesley is also missing from most of these because he's camera shy. You can see his reaction when he sees the camera in this one. We were trying to get Ella to say all the words she knows. I forgot to ask several of them, like fish ("pish") and more ("moe").
You can see more videos from Santa's Village & around the house if you go to my youtube page (it should link to it at the end of any of the above videos).
Monday, November 09, 2009
Friday, November 06, 2009
I feel like Wesley's costume deserves an explanation. Most everyone that reads our blog knows that Wesley visits his dad every other weekend. It just so happened that Halloween fell on his dad's weekend this year, so he had the pleasure/responsibility of costume hunting. And, hunt he did. Wesley's first pick was Iron Man. I'm not sure how many stores were visited in search of said costume, but there were none to be found in Wesley's size. So, they moved on to a G.I. Joe costume. Same song, different verse. I never asked for details, but I assume they were to the point that they just had to take what was left. Anyhow, an hour or so of hair & makeup & my sweet, wholesome boy was transformed into a grim reaper. Anthony, Ella & I stopped in Dover to see him & take these pictures. We were there for a good 30 minutes, and I honestly don't think Ella ever recognized it was Wesley. She kept giving him the funniest look. I'm surprised she sat next to him long enough to get a picture of them together.
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Wednesday, October 07, 2009
I mentioned a while back that we were making some changes at our house. I have been thinking about this post for a while & what I want to say, as much for the benefit of you guys reading and for myself, so I can flesh out what I am feeling and thinking about all of this. As much as I’m building this up, you’re going to think it’s something monumental or something. I guess for me it kind of is.
To start off, a little history. Most of you know that growing up I wanted to be a veterinarian. I was set on it & didn’t waiver until after I applied to vet school in my Junior year of undergraduate school. I got on the waiting list that year, but didn’t get in. I was heartbroken for a while. Of course, my college advisor at that time (I got a different one later) didn’t necessarily tell me in plain English that getting accepted on the 3-year program was rare. It just so happened that one of my friends & classmates actually did get in that year. I was not a very good friend when I found out he had gotten in because I was jealous that it was him & not me and kept thinking, what does he have that I don’t? Aside from me bumbling through my interview, we were largely on the same playing field as far as grades & such. I don’t think I ever said anything to him that let on to what I was feeling, but I still remember sitting in Biochemistry waiting for class to start and praying I didn’t burst into tears if the teacher called on me after I found out he had gotten in. If he’s reading I want to apologize for not being happier and more excited for him.
Anyways, I continued through my senior year of undergraduate, feeling more and more like God was telling me vet school wasn’t what he wanted for me to do. I was mostly okay with that. The only problem was I didn’t know what I should be doing if I wasn’t going to go to vet school. I still applied that fall - mostly just because I wanted to prove to myself that I could get accepted & also because I still wasn’t sure what I needed to be doing & didn’t want my parents panicking about my lack of direction just yet. In hindsight I should have at least hinted to them that I was leaning toward not going. I talked to my advisor a few times about what I wanted to do and made a half-hearted attempt at applying to (found out later that summer that I didn’t get accepted to either of the ones I applied to). I was invited to interview for vet school in the spring & went, knowing that I was 98% sure I was going to turn it down if I got accepted.
I got accepted & rejected the offer from the UT vet school. My parents were devastated that I wasn’t going. I should mention that between the fall when I applied & the spring when I interviewed I had met Anthony & fallen head over heels in love. I’m quite sure my parents blamed my decision to not go to vet school totally on him. The thing is he and I had several conversations about me thinking I shouldn’t be going but not really knowing what I should be doing. He was willing to move to Knoxville for me to go to vet school if that’s what I wanted. So, fast forward several months of inner turmoil for me, planning a wedding, graduating with my B.S. in Animal Science, buying a house, working part-time, etc. We got married and moved to a small town nearby, and I started looking for a ‘real’ job to use my Animal Science degree. I tried to get on in management at a local Tyson plant, checked around at a few other places, but again, not very enthusiastically because I really wasn’t sure about anything career-wise. I substitute taught in the local school system for a few months while I was looking for a job.
I was starting to get desperate when my old advisor called me up & said they needed some secretarial help in the office where I had been a student worker for three years & asked if I might be interested since he knew I was still looking for a job. I took the job. Ironically, not even a month later the guy I had been talking to at Tyson called and said they had an opening now & asked if I still wanted to interview for the position. I knew my boss had pulled a few strings to get my position to full-time to help me out & we had already had conversations about the possibility of me working my way up to a better paying position, so I turned down the Tyson interview. Fast forward a few months and my boss has convinced me that I should take advantage of the free tuition (up to 9 hours/semester) offered to full-time employees of the university and go to graduate school to get my Master’s in Business Administration (MBA). I figure ‘why not’ - I don’t want to be a secretary for the rest of my life & this is a surefire way to qualify me for better positions if we ever move to a bigger city.
By the time I finish the program two years later (I had to take a couple undergrad prerequisites & the GRE before I could start the grad program) I’m what you would call ‘baby-crazy’ in a bad way, and we get pregnant my last semester before graduating. In that two years my boss goes to bat for me to get a promotion because I have taken on so much more responsibility after the person above me in the office transferred to another department & there was some shuffling of duties in the office. So, I have Ella in February of 2008, about six months after grad school graduation. We spent a week in Centennial Women’s Hospital for preterm labor hoping & praying she wouldn’t come too early, then three weeks at home on bedrest, still hoping & praying, before my water broke at 36 weeks (technically it broke at 35 weeks, 5 days, but anyways) and she was born 4 weeks early. She spent a few nerve-wracking days in the neonatal ICU (NICU) before coming home on a billi blanket for jaundice. In the two months that followed her birth Anthony’s mom went downhill pretty fast. We spent about a week living in the hospital thinking she was going to pass away any minute (I’m sorry I don’t know a nicer way of saying that). Fast forward over the next several months which are bittersweet for Anthony & I, mourning the loss of his mother while being simultaneously overjoyed about Ella being in our family.
Then, in January, seemingly out of the blue I got the bright idea to go back to school again. I say seemingly out of the blue, because Anthony has never heard me say a thing about wanting to completely change careers. I think he had to realize that I wasn’t satisfied with my current job, but thought I might just change jobs to find something I liked better. My job is definitely challenging so I really don’t have time to get bored, but I also don’t have time to ever feel like I’m caught up. I always wanted to be able to stay home more with my kids. Even when I wanted to be a vet, I hoped I could live in a big enough city that I could just work part-time. Especially after I got married I realized more and more that being a stay-at-home mom would make me so much happier than having a big title at work or a corner office with a view.
Over the last year in particular God has been really working on my heart. I can feel Him slowly but surely shaping me and molding my desires (when I allow Him) to what He wants out of me. So, what seemed to be out of the blue to Anthony (and probably the rest of my family and the few friends I’ve told so far) was not for me. You see, I haven’t ever felt satisfied with working 40 hours a week (or more) at a desk job that when I leave at night I have a million things hanging over me that, yes, are important for me to get done if I want to keep my job & thereby keep the roof over our head, but that if I think about them in the long run, really have no lasting significance. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think what I do is useless. I just feel like I’m constantly pushing paperwork and getting way too anxious over things which are not that important in the larger scheme of things. God has been showing me that nothing I could do out in the world could be as important as the job I do at home as a wife and mother – that is what is going to have a lasting impact. As one blogger puts it, He’s been ‘turning my heart towards home.’
So, I have always loved science, especially in the area of reproduction. When I was pregnant with Ella in particular I read several books about the process of giving birth, lots of research based articles about birthing in the U.S., etc. I liked learning about what was going on with my body physiologically as it underwent so many important changes to nurture her and help bring her into the world.
So, enough (probably way more than enough) background. I am back in school & am pursuing a second B.S., in nursing. I am going to become an RN (registered nurse) and plan on working in labor & delivery. I have held off telling people outside my parents & close friends because I wanted to be double & triple sure of my decision before announcing to the world that I’m a crazy lifelong student who can’t make up her mind what she wants to do for a career (or at least I think that’s the way other people see it). I spent the summer taking psychology classes online & am currently taking the first of two semesters of Anatomy & Physiology that are required before I can start the nursing program next fall. The program here is 6 semesters long (fall & spring), so I will graduate in the spring of 2013 (that seems so far away right now, but I know I’m going to be so busy that it will fly by). Ironically, my youngest sister who is in her sophomore year of college right now, will graduate a year before me (and she’s 7 years younger than me). I’m not quitting my job (we kinda need health insurance and to be able to pay our bills). My boss has agreed to work around the nursing school schedule & let me stay on here full-time until I’m done. The days leading up to that conversation with my boss were nerve-wracking, let me tell you. That whole thing is a story in itself. Let’s just say it was obvious to me that God was at work there.
Anyhow, it’s going to be a long, challenging road to completing the program, but I’m up for the challenge. I have talked to several nurses and feel like I know as well as I can what I’m getting myself into. I job shadowed an L&D nurse at a local hospital for a 12 hour shift a couple weekends ago to make double sure I really wanted to do this nursing thing. It only made me more sure that I could be an L&D nurse and more than that, that I would enjoy being one. I’m okay with the long shifts, with the possibility of working nights, with the schedule (certain other people are not okay with it, but I’m hoping they come around). For me, the chance to work less hours and still make what I’m making now means I’ll be able to spend that time with my family. If we ever move to a bigger city where there are more scheduling options for nurses it’s completely feasible that I could work one or two night shifts a week and never have to put my kids in daycare (no offense meant to daycare – I just hate having to leave them with someone other than me or Anthony). I know it’s a little ironic that I’m taking time away from my family to go to , but I believe it will be worth it in the long run. I’m excited about the possibility of working at a job that I’m passionate about & that I know (even if I won’t get recognition or even a lot of thanks) is going to make a difference in people’s lives. I still remember the way the nurses took care of me & Wesley, then me & Ella the three different times I’ve been in the hospital. I may not remember many of their names or even some of their faces, but I remember how they treated me with kindness and respect and helped us tremendously during some difficult times (pre-term labor scare, NICU and Anthony’s mom). I want to be one of those people for other women. I want to be there to help them bring their babies into the world. I’m certainly not naïve – I know it’s not always a joyous occasion, but I still think it’s a job worth spending my time doing.
So, that’s my big news & also the reason I haven’t had time to post here lately. Family, school & work take precedence over blogging time, so you probably won’t hear a whole lot out of me except during breaks & when I get a second to post a short & sweet story or something.
Wow, if you made it all the way to the end of this, I owe you one.
Monday, August 24, 2009
I used to feel a little bad that Ella favored me over Anthony. She wanted me when she was hurt or tired. She only gave me kisses. She wouldn't go to sleep for him. But then... then I weaned her & it's been all down hill for me since then. She did a 360 is all about daddy all the time now. Except, if you listened to the video of her talking, she doesn't call him daddy. She calls him momma. When I tell her no & she pitches a fit, guess who she goes running to? And when she's exhausted and weepy about everything, guess who can get her to stop crying? Not me. She would stand at the window & watch him mow the yard for hours (if it actually took that long to mow it). Is it wrong that I'm a little jealous of how much she adores him now?
Friday, August 07, 2009
She's been saying these for at least a month or two:
Ball - "bahl"
Uh-oh - "huh-hoh"
(She was saying "da-da" for a long time, but she stopped a few months ago & has taken to calling Anthony & pretty much any other caregiver as well as Wesley by "ma-ma")
Just in the last couple weeks she's added:
Kitty - "ki-ki"
Shoes - "dues"
Ow - "ohww"
Thank you - "de-de"
No - "nahh"
I got her to say most of them in these videos. Warning: she bumps her head on the desk in the first one, but she's okay. Oh, and we let her play with the (non-toxic) highlighter because she likes taking the top off & putting it back on, but we don't let her put it in her mouth.
Wednesday, August 05, 2009
Monday, August 03, 2009
Here's one just for Sunny. She sent these squeaker shoes for Ella to wear. They're still a little bit big, but Ella loves shoes so I put them on her one day. This was her reaction...
I don't think I'll be sending her to daycare in those any time soon. Her teachers might want to kill me if I did.
Like I said, the girl loves shoes. We had to go shoe shopping for shoes for Anthony a few weeks ago. We didn't find any for him, but we left with a pair for her. We found out that you don't 'try' shoes on Ella unless you intend for her to wear them out of the store. She usually has to ride in a buggy in stores so she was really happy that she got to walk around all over the store in her new (slightly too big) shoes.
Disclaimer: that fall at the end of the video looks way worse than it was. This one was a few seconds later...
And, a couple from when Anthony's dad was visiting last month & the kids were playing in their new pool and on the slip n' slide.
Sorry about the video overload. I had a lot that I needed to upload and post.
I'm hoping to get a new video camera for Christmas so I won't have to use my dinky cell phone one anymore.
Saturday, July 18, 2009
She was too busy playing to want to take a picture -
about a second after this she was running around again.
And, a couple pictures of her from exactly a year ago (at least exactly a year from the day I started writing this post about a week ago). She was just about rolling over and was all chubby cheeks and chubby legs. Now she's all over the place and into everything and (sadly) losing her baby chubbiness (if that's even a word).
Friday, July 10, 2009
- Back to the Basics series starting on Simple Mom (first post in the series here)– I have a post that I’ve been ruminating on (sorry, my Animal Science background bubbles up into my speech every now & then) that sort of addresses this in my own life and talks about some changes I’ve been making ‘round these parts.
- Heroe’s salute – I have a sister in the Army, a brother-in-law in the Marines and a good friend who served a term in the Air National Guard. All three have been deployed at least once in the past eight or so years. I also have a grandfather who served in World War II and both Anthony’s father & paternal grandfather served in the military. Needless to say, we are mindful of the sacrifices our military make/have made for our freedom & our protection. But, the video that Karen Russell links to in this post is still a good reminder that “freedom don’t come free.” Her post is also worthy of your time to read it – her husband has a very good point (no disrespect to Michael Jackson or his family).
- On a lighter note (unless you’re talking about caloric weight), I happened upon an older recipe post on Pioneer Woman’s blog for blackberry cobbler that I will be making very soon. I rarely see recipes online where I think, “I have to make this NOW!” but this is one of those. I love, love, love my mom’s blackberry cobbler, but bless her heart, she’s just not good at handing down recipes. It would probably go something like this…
Her: Well, you need a good bit of blackberries
Me: How much is a good bit?
Her: Oh, about two cups, I think. Then, you’ll need some flour and sugar.
Me: Um, how much?
Her: Hmm… Maybe a cup of flour and ¾ cup of sugar. I don’t really know. I just put more in the bowl until it looks like enough.
Me: Well, okay then.
- Could you put all the states in the right place on a U.S. map? Here’s a neat little game where you can test your knowledge of U.S. Geography. The best I could do was 96% right & an average of 5 miles off. It’s also a good way to goof off when you’re procrastinating at doing something (I won’t tell you how many times I played it before I got that score). If you play it, come back & tell me your top score (unless you stomp mine & then, well, spare me the humiliation).
And, a picture just because I've been posting too much lately without one...
Wednesday, July 08, 2009
Either way, click here to see it.
Thursday, June 11, 2009
They've been featured on several shows - The Bonnie Hunt show, Nightline (last night), and others.
If watching these videos doesn't fill you up with emotions & give you chills, I think you might want to check your pulse :)
Friday, June 05, 2009
If you are curious about cloth diapering or have looked into it but been overwhelmed by the overload of information on the internet, I highly recommend taking a look at her posts.
Also, for this weekend only, she's giving away some sweet prizes. So, go throw your name in the hat & maybe you'll win some of the cute diapers she's giving away.
Tuesday, June 02, 2009
This was by far the best from scratch cake I've ever made. Of course, I've only made two (that I can remember). One when I was a preteen (chocolate w/ chocolate icing) that was absolutely horrible. And, one for Anthony's birthday the year before last (red velvet at his request) that was probably just as bad as the first one. I think we may have just eaten one piece each & thrown the rest away.
The recipe for this cake is from Pioneer Woman. It's called a Strawberry Shortcake Cake. Anthony & I practically polished the whole thing off ourselves within a few days (I think Wesley & my father-in-law had one piece each). Yum!
Anyhow, just tryin' to keep it real around her.
Monday, June 01, 2009
Yes, our sweet, chubby cheeked little girlie actually bit one of her "friends" today. I was a little shocked when they told me this afternoon. She's never bit any of us at home, except for once when I was fishing around in her mouth for new teeth - couldn't blame her for that one, though.
Wesley went through the biting stage quickly & with very few incidents. Let's hope it's the same for Ella.
Edited to Add: I talked to her teacher the next day and found out the poor little girl that Ella bit had just moved up to that class. It was her first day. What a horrible initiation! I saw the bruise on her tiny little arm. Yes, a bruise! I almost starting crying for her.
Thursday, May 28, 2009
Luckily there were only two in the package. She had already eaten one when I got in there. She quickly stuffed the second in her mouth & devoured it, too. Then, she tried to wash it down with some milk (her momma taught her well). Alas, the glass was empty (thank goodness for that). That next to last picture is her excited face. She scrunches up her nose when she's really happy or excited - so cute!
After cleaning her up & eating dinner she went straight into the pack 'n' play so she didn't create any more mischief.
In my defense, I usually don't leave packages of food lying around in her reach. She's getting in three teeth at the same time. We had a rough night last night. She woke up after being in bed for maybe 45 minutes and thought it was party time. I think we both passed out on the couch around 11:30.
Friday, May 22, 2009
W: You know, you can't roll down the windows on a helicopter
W: But I wouldn't puke.
M: You wouldn't?
W: No, cause I'm not afraid of heights.
Thursday, May 21, 2009
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
I've been slowly reading through some of her older posts on Biblical Womanhood and have been soaking up her Godly advice on a number of subjects. One of her series, From Exhaustion to Rejuvenation, Overcoming the Worn-Out Woman Syndrome, (four different links to the four posts) is something I have found to be especially helpful. I don't know about you ladies, but I never realized how very much there is to do as a mother and/or wife until I became one. Ever since then I have felt (to varying degrees) like I'm burning the candle at both ends just trying to take care of children and husband while attempting to keep a spotless, well-organized home (emphasis on the attempting). Throw on top of that trying to be a dedicated full-time employee, a good friend, sister, daughter and church member.
Anyhoo, I just thought I would share links to that series so it might help someone else who has felt the way I do. I'm quite sure I'm not alone in feeling overwhelmed with the day-to-day of being a wife/mother. I'm sure if you are neither a wife, mother or homemaker that you can still glean some helpful information from her posts.
Saturday, May 16, 2009
Made this with a neat little site called Spell with Flickr. It uses images from Flickr to spell your word. Pretty cool.