Friday, September 30, 2016

Parks, Pecks, and Carousels

Fall is here!  It's here!  It's my favorite time of year :).  I don't appreciate the fact that it means I'll be another year older :/...  But otherwise, it's my favorite :). 

Temperatures have dropped well into the 50s the last two nights.  In Alabama, this is a huge thing.  My Washington peeps have been doing this for a while now.  And they haven't seen 80-degree weather (much less anything hotter) for a month now.  So for me, this is big stuff :).

Anyway, since Fall is here, and I've seen it in the changing leaves out back, I decided it might be fun to make a Fall craft with Lynnaea.  So we went out yesterday and collected different colored leaves.  And then we made a Fall Leaf Wreath.
I think it turned out pretty cute -- now we just need to put a hangar on it and hang it up somewhere :).  She loved collecting the leaves -- and may or may not have picked a couple of green ones to throw in there ;).  We also did some bench swinging out back while enjoying the cooler weather.
Then today, we went to Landmark Park.  We hadn't been in a while, and we bought the annual membership.  So worth it.  It's already paid for itself.  So every time we go, it just makes it that much more worthwhile.  We were watching a friend's son while she had some appointments, so we thought it would be a good thing to do for fun today.  The kids loved it.  We looked at the mules, pigs, chickens, and sheep.  Corbin got hen-pecked...  I told him to get used to it ;).  Nah, not really.  He did, in fact, get pecked by the chicken.  I had told him to take his hands out of the little wire holes, because the chicken would think it was food.  He didn't listen.  Even after I moved his hand away when I saw the chicken going for it.  He put his little fingers right back up there.  And the hen pecked.  I did not, however, tell him to get used to it...  I held him and comforted him.  He wasn't impressed.  He recovered, though...  Started running in to see the sheep right afterward.
We cracked open some pecans (last season's, I'm pretty sure -- they were all moldy and shriveled.  We didn't eat them, of course.  Just cracked them open to see what we would find).  We walked through the old farmhouse and saw a squirrel hanging out in an upper corner of one of the rooms. We walked the boardwalk.  Fed the fish and turtles.  Looked at the alive snakes (behind glass, of course). 
Then we headed home and the little boy we were watching got picked up.  My kiddos ate lunch and took naps.  Then, because my trial contacts were in, we headed to the mall to pick them up (we are hoping the issue is that my eyes have developed a sensitivity to silicone and that it just means I need to buy a different brand of contacts...  Well, I say "hope" in the sense that, since something is wrong, I'd rather find out what and find out that there's a solution and I can still wear contacts.  Honestly, I'd prefer the news to be that my eyes just got over their problem and I am no longer dealing with problems and can wear my old contacts all the time again.  Particularly because I still have a whole year's supply of my old contacts.).  But anyway...  so we went to the mall.  And we rode the carousel.  Lynnaea loves the carousel.  Loves it.  And the cheetah.  Which she hugged good-bye after the ride was done.
Corbin strongly dislikes the carousel.  Even with me standing right by him with my arm wrapped around him.  He clings to me for dear life.  And fusses.  The whole time.  I think the saying is "a picture is worth a thousand words..."  Bless his little heart.  Right after this we sat at a table near the carousel to eat a pretzel.  He watched it go around and around and pointed at it and said, "Uh!"  He seems to like it from afar....

So that's what we did the last couple days.  And I started re-watching The Office on Netflix.  Oh. My. Gosh.  I laugh.  And laugh.  And laugh. 

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Living the Dream

I have at least 2 blog posts that are in draft form and may or may not ever get finished and published.  How's that for getting things done ;)! 

Last night, as I sat on the couch reading, I heard Lynnaea call for me.  It was about 10:30, and I was getting close to my bed-time and the time I would go in to get Lynnaea to go potty one last time for the night.  (This has been wildly successful.  She hasn't had a night-time accident in at least a month.)  But I heard her call for me, so went in and got her.  She was mostly in a sleeping-state still, so we went potty and then I took her and held her with me on the couch. 

As her little body curled up on me, as I looked down at her not-so-little legs (they got so long all of a sudden... when did that happen?), I thought again of how fleeting these moments are.  And I reminded myself -- again -- that this is what's important right now. 

Not the book I want to write.

Or how I want to see my small business boom.

Or how I want to travel the world.

I am, literally, living the dream.  My dream.  Being a mother was the deepest desire of my heart. 

And yet, sometimes, I think about my other dreams.  I feel a pull to be successful in the eyes of the world -- a yearning to be more than just a mom.  And sometimes I allow that to blur what's really important. 

"What matters most is what lasts longest."  "No other success can compensate for failure in the home.

Such wise words. 

Tonight, I enjoyed some me-time out with a couple of fabulous ladies.  Just an hour and a half, but it was perfect.  When I got home, Lynnaea ran to me saying, "Mommy!  You're home!"  The joy in her voice, on her face...  It was infectious.  Both she and Corbin wanted me to hold them.  And so I did.  Sometimes I forget how much their world revolves around me.  Not because I'm someone amazing.  But because I am their mommy.  There is no "just a mom" to them.  I am their mommy, and that's all they need me to be -- and all they want me to be.  Flawed as I am, they love me unconditionally.  I am living the dream.

There is nothing wrong with my other dreams.  But there will be time enough for them.  Someday.  When there are no little bodies to have curl up on me at night.  No mischievous little smiles coming my way right before little hands touch a "no-no."  For now, I'm living the best dream.  I'm choosing the better part.  I'm choosing them.  They are my dream come true.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016


The house is quiet (except for the occasional bug getting zapped out back in our new bug zapper...  Jeremy's goal was to try to diminish the number of mosquitoes around our house...  So far, I think the other kinds of bugs are faring worse than the mosquitoes.).

Speaking of mosquitoes (though I didn't really intend to, but you know me...)...  Seriously, they are like crazy plentiful around my house.  And Lynnaea is a mosquito magnet.  And she scratches and picks at her bites.  So her legs and arms look terrible.  I get bit, but not nearly as much as she does.  Bless her little heart.  Anyway, it's ridiculous, and we aren't sure why they are so prevalent here.  The bug zapper is unlikely to do much without the scent thing that is supposed to draw the mosquitoes...  But there's always the trying.

So anyway.  Aside from the sizzle of bug guts every now and then, the house is quiet.  And so I thought I'd post a couple pictures :).
 Hahaha.  I thought I'd throw this one in there to see if you were paying attention.  This is NOT recent.  Though I wouldn't mind having less of the gray hair...  This picture is from 2010 sometime.  Emily was sick and Christina and Nick needed to work.  So I watched Emily.  I can't believe she is going to be 8 really soon.

Anyway, on to more recent things...  Lynnaea and I do lots of selfies.  This was right after she woke up from a nap the other day.  It is seriously one of the best times (usually -- except on days like today when she took a short nap, because she decided not to potty before nap and then woke up needing to go peepee.  But at least she didn't wet the bed :)...  It just meant Mommy's "nap time" (aka "me-time) got cut short.).  But most days, she comes out of her room, around the corner to the living room to find me, and she smiles and runs to me so I can hug her and hold her for a few minutes.  And take a selfie or two ;).

 Oh thank goodness, we are finally well again!  So today we went to story time at the library!  Kristin provided apple slices and apple juice for each kid, since the books were about Fall.  She is the coolest.  Both my babies loved the snack.  Corbin wasn't so interested in posing with his craft -- he wanted to go to the train table.  Lynnaea, though, loves to pose with hers.  I cut her hair last night, can you tell?  And we made a dog sock puppet as part of school this morning.  So she decided she needed to take it to Story Time. 
We got home and ate lunch.  Corbin barely made it though lunch awake.  Haha.  This guy has a clock or something...  When 11:30 rolls around, he wants to be napping.  If we push it off even just a little, this is usually the result.  Today we pushed it.

 But then he wakes up and he is so happy!  This is his "cheese" face.  I love it so much!!  He loves those knitted balls we got when Lynnaea was a baby.  He carries them around saying "baw."  But oh this boy is so smart!  He understands so much!  When we tell Lynnaea to go use the potty, Corbin heads to the bathroom.  When I tell him to go get ready to get his teeth brushed, he goes to the bathroom.  When I ask him to bring me my shoes, he does.  Or put his dirty clothes in the hamper, he does...  He is amazing.  One day he's going to start talking, and I don't think much is going to slow him down!  I should have taken pictures of his big chichones he got last week.  Man, this kid...  He really is all boy.  He had two huge goose-eggs on his head from falling out of the patio chair and then tripping in the house and smacking his head on Lynnaea's stool.  Today he got his finger squished in the door (by his sister).  He seems to have a pretty high pain tolerance, too.  But man!  I foresee emergency room visits with this guy... 
In other news...  As part of school this morning, we went for a walk around our neighborhood looking for dogs, so we could talk about them:  big or little?  what color?  Etc.  Fortunately, we found 2 dogs toward the end of our walk.  I don't mind NOT being surrounded by dogs, though.  It's actually awesome.  I don't appreciate hearing dogs bark all the time.  But I was really worried we weren't going to encounter any for our preschool activity, and that would have been lame.  When we got home, I was folding up the stroller (we have a big BOB double jogging stroller.  It's awesome, but heavy.) and as I yanked up on it to finish the process, the front wheel lifted up and swung back -- right into my big toenail.  Clearly flip flops were not a good footwear choice.  Peeled my nail back nicely and I had a bloody mess to clean up.  Ew.  Lynnaea was impressed.  The nail is still there, and hopefully nothing else smacks it while it tries to heal.  

Also, in other news...  Late adopter of all things technology that I am...  I finally signed up for Netflix today.  Actually, I've been planning to do this for a while.  But we have an old-school TV, because TV doesn't play a major role in our house.  In fact, the TV is in the playroom.  But I like to enjoy a good movie or TV show every now and again, and Netflix is seriously a bargain.  So I finally signed up for it today, like I said, because I realized our Wii could do the streaming.  Woohoo!  I was actually going to watch an episode of Scrubs while folding laundry this afternoon when a little someone woke up an hour early from her nap.  Ha!  So much for my plans ;). But that's what I'm going to do now...  Go relax and watch some Frasier.  

So here's to bed-time!  Cheers!  (That's my healthy chocolate peanut butter banana smoothie :)).

Friday, September 9, 2016

Little Hinges

In a General Conference talk not long ago -- and then again even more recently (in April), Pres. Monson stated, "The door of history turns on small hinges, and so do people's lives."  I've been thinking about that a lot lately.

A couple nights ago, I was emailing my friend Annie.  It just happened to occur to me, mid-email, that I am coming up on 10 years since I moved to Tuscaloosa and started working at the University of Alabama.  In a little cubicle behind Annie :). 

Did you know I never intended to live in Tuscaloosa?  That I never intended to work at the University of Alabama?  Little hinges. 

This was me, just over 10 years ago (August 31, 2006, to be exact...).
I had just wrapped up a job interview in Birmingham.  I didn't get that job. 

By this point, I had been admitted to UA's Library and Information Studies graduate degree program.  I had not, however, been admitted to the online program, which had been my first choice.  The only way for me to pursue my degree was to move to Tuscaloosa -- or thereabouts.  Which meant I needed a new job.  And so I started looking. 

I didn't get that job.  But it was only a little more than a month before things panned out a different way.  I ended up getting a job at the library at UA.  I ended up in the Cataloging Department, where my hours could be flexible, and I had only to walk up a flight of stairs to attend my classes.  I ended up getting a lot of my tuition "paid for" because I was an employee. 

Little hinges. 

My life has changed so much in 10 years.  Sometimes I look back at pictures of myself and think, "Am I still that girl, that young woman?  Is she still inside me somewhere?"  Certainly, I am recognizable (in spite of the many new gray hairs I've added... ;)).  And I guess she is inside me still.  Who I am is built upon who I was.  I am still me, but I am also different.  I have overcome challenges I didn't anticipate facing until they were right in front of me.  It reminds me of that Sunscreen song:  "The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind... The kind that blind-side you at 4 p.m. on some idle Tuesday."  I have become a mother -- and that changes everything.  I have tried things and failed.  I have tried things and succeeded. 

That day pictured above, I didn't know what the future held.  I had hopes, for sure.  Some were realized, others were not.  But it's been a good, good life :).  And here I stand, 10 years later.  I don't know what the future holds...  But I have hopes.  And so it goes.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

When Life Hands You...

Sometimes I think I will never allow my children to enter another fast-food restaurant play place ever again.  Ever.  Never.  Ever. 

We skipped town the weekend before last (as in, not Labor Day weekend).  Jeremy went to Louisiana to help with flood relief efforts with our church Stake.  I decided to take the kids and run away.  Run away!  Hahaha.  In retrospect, I guess I should have just stayed home and gone to the library book sale.  Even though it was way awesome to get away. 

But anyway...  I try to give the kids a break from being in the car.  So I stopped at a Chick-Fil-A.  Because they have a play area.  And because Chick-Fil-A just seems a little cleaner.  Because last December, Lynnaea picked up some pukey virus, and I'm pretty sure it was from a McDonald's play place.  So I've been leery of those ever since.  But Chick-Fil-A has always seemed safe. 

Until now.  When my kids picked up hand-food-mouth disease from one.  Blah.  And okay, it's not the end of the world.  It's no worse than chicken pox, really.  There was a day of high fevers, and then a day of no appetite because it hurt to swallow.  But other than that, the kids have been fine.  Except for the pesky fact that they were still contagious.  For 7 to 10 days.  So we are still in quarantine.  For a couple more days.  My children may never see the inside of a play place again!  ;). 

So yeah, when life gives you (or your kids) hand-foot-mouth disease (and you have to stay home for a really long time)...  Well, then you just turn into the wolf-lady ;).
Because what else is there to do?  (Lynnaea loves to play dress-up.  Corbin likes to put these around his neck and smile like he's the stuff.  That kid cracks me up.)

I have done other stuff.  Not just don wolf ears.  I up-cycled a #10 can and organized all my plastic bags.
(that's the life cycle of a THRIVE Life #10 can ;)).

I've been reading.  And working on to-do lists that I can accomplish at home.  I've set some goals.  And I've been mama to my babies :).
 These were the rough days of fever and bad sleep.

But then they felt better and wanted to eat apples and peas!
Yep, some days being a mama is hard.  But it's so good.