Sunday, September 28, 2008

My life is boring and I have nothing to say, so here's some photos.

The other day, Katie and I were in the middle of running errands and instead we decided to run away because we could NOT TAKE IT ANY MORE. And by 'we' I mean I. We spent the morning at the lake, then went out to lunch at P.F. Chang's.
The kid ate every bit of my cilantro. And nothing else. Weirdo.*
Then we hung out at Neiman's and made our Christmas lists. Or not.
Then back home for a few rounds of Candy Land. This kid is good at Candy Land. She kicks my gingerbread tail every time.

*P.S. I took photographs in P.F. Chang's. Who is the real weirdo?

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

On Seeming Perfect

When I lived in Virginia, I attended a church that gave out a "Mother of the Year" award every Mother's Day. Each year, the pastor would make a little speech describing the wonderful acts of motherhood by the chosen woman, then he would present her with a shiny plaque and we would applaud. It was a truly a horrible idea.

At the time, I had three children under the age of four, and it seemed that whenever I was in public, at least one of those three was screaming. My two main goals each day were to survive and to shower. That was it. On Mother's Day, as I straggled into church pushing a double stroller and barking at a perpetually belligerent toddler, probably the last thing I wanted to hear about was the angelic woman who adopted and homeschooled her eight children, always with a smile on her face and a kind word on her lips. I would inevitably begin to compare my circumstances with hers, reasoning that if she could raise eight with such ease, then I truly was an inadequate mother because my butt was being kicked by just three.

My friend Vonda was in the same boat as me, and had the same attitude as well, and throughout the year, whenever one of us would screw up, we would say to each other, "Oh well, I guess you won't be getting that award this year," and it always made me chuckle.

Someone made a comment to me in passing today about being "too perfect". It wasn't meant maliciously, and in fact the person clearly doesn't know me at all or she would never use those words to describe me, but it really made me think. I know myself, I know the struggles that I deal with, I know the mistakes that I have made, and I know without a doubt that I am far from perfect. If you regularly read this blog or know me personally, you have probably heard stories of my failures as well.

But during the time I knew the aforementioned acquaintance, which was when I was in high school and college, I really thought I knew everything. I thought I was perfect, and therefore I was always right. Thankfully, with age and parenthood, God has shown me through the years that I need just as much (or even more) of His grace as everyone else. What I'm trying to say is, I hope that imperfection is what is coming through my writing on this space.

I like to take photos, and I like to be goofy and (try to) write funny things. I'm good at throwing cheap birthday parties, and I'd like to think I'm good at laughing at myself when the occasion presents itself. Those are the things that I put on this blog, because I need this to be an outlet of joy and occasionally a bit of sarcasm. But there are lots of other things in my life that will never be shared online. I didn't photograph the hurt look in Katie's eyes today when I lost my temper. I won't blog about the argument my husband and I had last week. There are issues in my life that I deal with on a daily basis that will never show up on these pages, for the sake of my own self-respect as well as for the privacy of others.

Sometimes when I read people's blogs or catch up with them on Facebook, or even run into them at the grocery store, I'm inclined to look at the appearance of their life and assume that they really have it together. Like the Mother of the Year awards, I start to compare myself to them, and I start to feel like I just don't measure up. I look at how they've sewn another adorable toddler dress or how they've photographed their beautiful family frolicking on a gorgeous beach, and I start to feel that bitterness and envy in my heart. But the truth is that none of us truly have it "together", and we all have different difficulties and obstacles in our lives, and that I really can't tell what someone's life is like on appearances alone.

I don't really have a good conclusion to this post, I just really wanted to get that off my chest. What are your thoughts?

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Grateful

The storm passed just to the east of us, and after all the local media hype predicting doom and despair, we just got a day of rain and some pretty strong wind. The only damage sustained was a canceled soccer game.

I know there are plenty of people who cannot say the same, plenty of people who have lost everything, plenty of people who are staying here in Dallas and are not sure when they will be able to return home. My heart just breaks for them. I haven't heard yet about my relatives in the Houston area who stayed there, and I'm praying for them throughout this ordeal.

Today was a brilliant and lovely day, as are all days immediately following a hurricane, cooler and sunny and cloudless, like the storm just sucked all of the heat and moisture right out of the air. We had a wonderful worship service at church, a celebration of the grand opening of our newly renovated building(s), which is a huge relief to me, as this means no more sixty hour work weeks for my husband, for now anyway.

This morning in worship, and this afternoon as I took the kids to play at a park, I just couldn't help but feel an overwhelming thankfulness in my soul. I have been given so much. I am truly, abundantly, extravagantly blessed by God.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Girl Scout Camp (Gee Mom, I wanna go home)

Last Friday, I took my sweet Brownie troop to Girl Scout camp. I was joined by two wonderful friends, my beloved Julie, and my friend Janet-who-was-on-Oprah. (Yes, that is her name.) (At least, that is what I call her.) (In my head.)

Before I go any further, let me just explain to you that these ladies are THE most fun people to be around. They are hysterical. They make me laugh, hard, and that kind of friend is dear to my heart. I give you, Julie and Janet:Anyway, the adults had lots of fun. The girls did, too, I should add. I'm really blessed to have a group of five girls that all get along and play well together. I loved taking them out of the city for a few days to let them run around without fences or sidewalks. They also got to ride horses, feed farm animals, eat s'mores, and hike, so they were just in heaven.
There really is no further purpose for this post, other than to show photos of Grace for the grandparents, so here are some more:
The Whole Gang.
This one is called, 'Hiker Chic', or 'Camper Couture'.
Here's my baby headed out on a trail ride on her tiny, docile, elderly horse, Tiara. Grace looks a little nervous.
And since I posted an embarrassing photo of my friends, here is one of me and my giant horse, John Wayne, on our way out to the trail ride. I know it is hard to pull off the 'hat plus helmet' look, but somehow I managed it.
I call this one 'Guess Whose Kid Couldn't Wait to the Count of Three'. She's a leader, I tell you. And here's one more because I couldn't decide which one I liked best. Thank you and good day.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

What's Bugging Me:

1. The checker at Wal-Mart, who, after puzzling over what to do with my cloth bags, proceeded to place my purchases into plastic bags, and then place the plastic bags into the cloth bags.

2. The phone companies who deliver a new gigantic phone book to my doorstep every six to eight weeks. Do people even use phone books any more? Haven't they heard of the internet? And even if I wanted to use a phone book, would I need an updated one every couple of months? Really?

3. The shade-loving plants that cover my front yard that have now decided to die because the tree that provided the shade is gone. So now I have not only an ugly stump punctuating my front lawn, I also have mounds of dead ivy surrounding it. The Homeowners' Association is going to love me.

4. The soccer coach of the team of girls from Uppity Private School in Uppity Neighborhood who adamantly opposed my (beginner) daughter being placed on his team of
ringers experienced girls, and who told me he had tried to get her placed on another team, but since the Soccer Commissioner had overruled him, my daughter would just have to work hard to catch up, because he couldn't slow down practices just for her.

Read that last one again.

I had to channel my inner mama bear on that one, and you better believe she is on a different team now. One much closer to my own neighborhood, in more ways than one
. Did I mention this is a 7 year old girls' team? Grrr.

So. What's bugging you?


Monday, September 8, 2008

The Milestones Are Now Occurring Every Half Mile

In one week of Tommy's life:

Sixth birthday, check.
First day of kindergarten, check.
Learned to read (BOOKS, people, BOOKS), check.
Loss of first tooth and first adorable note left for the tooth fairy,
Check, and check.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Untitled.

As the school year has gotten underway this past week, I have been begrudgingly jerked from my leisurely summer cocoon and placed firmly back into my regular boring old school-year life in the carpool lane. Each night for the last week, I have had some sort of parent meeting or another.

Honestly, I have only attended about half of them, partly because I am a slacker and partly because I cannot stand to sit through meetings where the teacher/scout leader/coach just reads from a handout. (Hello? I can read this myself. At home. So just send it to my home and save us all a lot of grief, okay?) My attitude is not the best.

To add insult to injury, I have as usual put off all of my work certifications until the last minute, so this fall I will be spending many of my evenings in classes virtual and actual. The calendar on my kitchen wall has very little empty space left, and it just seems like it's all too much.

Amid all the flurry of activities and obligations, however, a new era has crept into my life, sadly and quietly. It is the last year that I will be a preschool mom. It is the last year that I will stay at home every day with a preschooler. Ever. Next fall, my Katie will strap on her backpack just as the other two did, and I will be left with the realization that nine years of preschool parenting will have come to an end. It has been horrible and wonderful, challenging and mind-numbing, neverending and quickly passing all at once. I don't know what I will do when this time is gone.

But until then, every day that passes is One Of The Last, and although there are plenty left at this point, experience tells me that they will be gone all too soon. As I drop the older two off in the mornings, I look in the rearview mirror and see that sweet little face smiling back at me, the entire day wide open before us.

It's a lot quieter with just one. There's a lot less fighting. There's no sharing. Errands are a lot more enjoyable. Going out to lunch is actually fun. Katie has always had to share the spotlight, and now she alone is the star, and she is soaking up every minute of it.

That's my goal, too, the soaking up of minutes, although it doesn't come naturally for me. My minutes tend to get eaten by laundry and errands. My goal for this year, though, is to just set those aside as often as possible and really try to just enjoy this fleeting Time.

My Sweet Nephews


I tried to talk my sister into leaving them here, but it didn't work.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Photos from the Weekend

I had an amazing visit with my sister Stacie and her husband and two boys. We really enjoyed hanging out with them. Our husbands are kindred church techie geeks, so they were in their own world speaking their own language, and Stacie and I are both (wanna-be) camera geeks, so we just took tons and tons of photos. We took a trip to the Dallas World Aquarium on Saturday, and we got to watch the Mayan dancers that perform there every weekend. They have beautiful, elaborate costumes and headdresses complete with live parrots. They put on quite a show.

They play drums.

They play with fire.
And they follow it up with a stern warning for the kids to NOT play with fire. Then they offer to take pictures and promise that they don't practice human sacrifice. Myatt and Tommy were the only ones from our group that were brave enough to have their picture taken.

For some reason, I am really curious about these guys: do they have weekday jobs? In an office cubicle perhaps? Pushing papers all day, and then coming out here on the weekend to douse their feet in flames? I really want to know.

The kiddos

The kiddos

Kidney Peril Updates

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