Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Fun at the Doctors'

Meredith has had a recurring cough and congestion for the past month. She seems to get better for a few days and then starts coughing again. So today I took her to the doctor.

While we waited in the exam room, Meredith started running around wanting to explore everything. She kept climbing on top of the step to get up on the exam bed and then jumping off the step. Then she wanted to push all the buttons on the exam bed. Next she went over to the doctor’s stool and started spinning it around and around. After getting bored of that, she spotted the blood-pressure-gauge-thing and all the ear-inspection-things hanging on the wall and started yelling “Toys, toys! More!” No, Meredith, those aren’t toys, I told her. Then I told her the doctor would be in at any minute. Every time she heard a noise outside the door she would yell “doctor?”

This is the first time I’ve taken her to the doctor since she’s arrived at the toddler stage. I couldn’t believe how much work she was. It was crazy trying to contain her in that little exam room! It was all I could do to keep her from exploring the toxic waste can.

After what seemed like an eternity the doctor finally arrived.

To make a long story short, she isn’t even sick. She has no signs of a virus or infection, or fluid sitting anywhere in her lungs, ears or throat. So, he thinks that she has some allergies. I got a prescription for some allergy meds and we’re going to try it. Let’s hope it works. Poor girl! We just want her suffering to go away!

Monday, November 27, 2006

Congrats to Kc & Meg

Okay, she finally posted!

We never knew ...

We never knew, or at least we forgot, how nice it is to be HOME for Thanksgiving weekend. I have traveled for Thanksgiving each of the last six years. Kevin has traveled the last eight years.

It was so nice to not have to fight crowds at the airport at the most crazy travel time of the year. Because we stayed home, it felt like we experienced three Saturdays in a row. Nice!

Thanksgiving itself was a good combination of relaxation and excitement. There were also a few surprises that were mixed into the day.

One particular surprise I am waiting OH-SO-PATIENTLY for someone else to post about on their blog. As soon as they do, I will link to it.

I made stuffing for the first time. I found a great recipe that has dried cranberries, apples, sausage, and lots of fresh herbs. It was great. The only problem is that I made way too much and have a ton of it still in the fridge. We’re going to be stuffinged-out. Can you freeze stuffing? Something tells me no.

The rest of the weekend I spent either being lazy or working on Christmas stuff. It’s great to start the Christmas season on a low-key note, rather than getting home tired from traveling and already feeling behind.

Kevin, of course, had to study for finals and read for classes. He spent Friday morning at Starbucks and I joined him later in the day. We gave Meredith her “coffee” (that’s what she calls it but, really, it’s just a cup filled halfway with water and a straw, so she thinks she's getting what we're getting too). We all drank our coffee together, Kevin studied and I started addressing Christmas cards. The Christmas music was playing, the fire was lit. Ahhh ...

What a great four-day-weekend.

Oh, Shannon posted some Thanksgiving pics here. I'll try to post some later too.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

The Coat

Meredith has a new coat. It was given to her as a hand-me-down but it still had the tags on it. Meredith thinks she’s a princess when wearing it. You should see her smile at herself in the mirror.

Last week we went to brunch with Kevin’s family and Meredith was wearing her new coat and hat. As we were walking into the restaurant a little boy standing outside asked, “Daddy, is she a SHEEP?” Ha, ha.

And here’s a cute one of daddy and daughter.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

My Second Favorite Day … and Toys

Sunday is my favorite day because Kevin takes a break from studying and we have the whole afternoon together as a family. It’s a restful day and a day of worship.

Thursday is my second favorite day because my crazy work deadlines (on Wednesday) are complete and I usually take the day to fool around with Meredith and regroup. Kevin doesn’t have evening class so he gets home in time for dinner. And the promise of another weekend is so close I can almost feel it. That’s why Thursday is my second favorite day.

This Thursday, today, is especially nice because Shannon came and picked up Meredith for the afternoon. This has allowed me to get some extra rest which is good because I’m sick.

Shortly after they left I picked up all the toys that were scattered around the house. That was nearly three hours ago. And, guess what? The house is STILL picked up. Amazing! That, like, never happens in my life. Three hours of sitting quietly and then walking downstairs to find that the house is clean? Incomprehensible!

I find that I must constantly choose between two evils – picking up toys all day long, which is exhausting, OR living with chaos, tripping over everything, and stress, from having toys strewn all over the place.

In theory, Meredith should be learning to pick up after herself, and play with only one or two things at a time.

Yeah, right. I think I’ll try my hand at cat herding first.

Family Pic and Alleged Trendy Color

Okay, we rarely get these nowadays … a family picture.

Also, for those of you who asked what we thought was a “trendy” color, here is one example. Our living room is a color called “smoky mountain.” The thing I love most about this color is that I’m never sure exactly what color it is. (I must love confusion, huh?) It’s grayish but sometimes I think it leans more toward blue tones and other times I see a lot of green in it. Probably nine out of ten people who come over squint and ask, “What color is that?” I love it!

I tried to take a picture of our dining room wall but it didn’t turn out – the color there is called “dried grass” and is a pale grayish green color.

Monday, November 13, 2006

“It’s the most wonderful [and potentially stressful] time of the year …”

Tonight I put Meredith to bed. This is usually daddy’s job (which he enjoys) but daddy wasn’t home when Meredith was tired so I took over.

Kevin’s routine is to rock Meredith, sing a few songs, pray, and then put her to bed. The only songs I could think of tonight were Christmas carols. This must be indicative of what is slowly but surely seeping into my mind – the awareness that Christmas is just around the corner!

After singing Silent Night, Away in a Manger, and O Holy Night I was reminded of how much I really do love Christmas. I love the meaning of the season and all the festivity, but I dread the oft-associated stress.

To make the upcoming season more calm and enjoyable, I decided to start my Christmas shopping early. Before heading to the mall I conducted a two hour brainstorming session and wrote 2-3 gift ideas next to each person’s name I was buying for. I did this last year too and found that it helped tremendously. My shopping time was cut down to a fraction of what it would have been if I had wandered the aisles aimlessly.

I will admit, however, that I felt really self-conscious when pulling out my wrinkled piece of paper in the respective stores and crossing off names and items. I’m the only person I’ve ever seen do this (except at grocery stores) – so people probably think I’m a freak. But I honestly don’t care. It’s a system that works for me.

The other night we passed by someone’s house and they already had their Christmas tree up in the window. Now, if we really want to talk about over-achievers, there’s an example for you!

Lastly, I don’t know how helpful this website would be to the rest of you but I think there are some ideas to glean from – Christmas Organizing – check it out.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Tired of this Ride

Twice every two years I ride the election-night-and-day-after roller coaster. I check online throughout the day to see how various candidates and ballot initiatives are doing. Then, before I go to bed, I check again.

I begin to digest, dealing with my various elations and disappointments.

When I wake up in the morning, and check again, I am always surprised by something that has transpired through the night. Then I begin the process all over again.

The ride continues throughout the day.

Oh, my head hurts. Get me off this coaster.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Ah, what's a little drizzle?

I spent the morning looking out the window waiting for the rain to stop. Being tired of the confines of the house, I craved a new environment. Finally it went from raining to drizzling. According to weather.com it was going to drizzle from 3-5 p.m before it started raining again.

That was my chance!

“Meredith, you wouldn’t let a little drizzle get in the way of fun, would you?” I asked. “You’re as bored of the house as me, right?” “You don’t mind a little nip on your nose as long as your ears are warm, right?” “Okay, then, let’s go.”

We bundled up, got the stroller out of the garage, and headed for Starbucks. Starbucks has got to be the best place to go on a rainy day. We have a really cool one here in Broad Ripple, too. It has a large sitting area with lots of windows, a fireplace, a couple of leather couches and four large, comfy chairs.

I got an extra-hot venti peppermint white mocha – extra-hot so it would stay warmer longer and venti because (I always have this conversation with Kevin) why would you get anything else? The economist in me realizes that the larger the drink you get, the less you are paying per ounce. Or, maybe it’s just that it’s bigger and I like it. (Heh, heh, heh.)

Meredith and I had a lot of fun today at Starbucks. She was an angel for me. Of course, the cookie helped tremendously. We sat for about 45 minutes, I read the paper, and Meredith stared at two ladies, apparently school teachers, who were grading papers.

Now I’m back home again … looking forward to the next drizzly day.

My Daughter Thinks She Is Picasso

Meredith has now entered the “artist phase” of toddlerhood. All parents who are reading this will immediately know what I mean.

Because my daughter now thinks she is Picasso, I have stopped giving her pens, pencils, or crayons unless she is under strict supervision. She has drawn on several walls, pieces of furniture, on her clothing, and once while I was in the shower she drew all over the toilet. They are very nice scribbles. But that’s besides the point.

This morning I gave her a piece of paper and said, “Okay, you can only draw on the paper, Meredith, not anything else.” I was planning to watch her carefully while she drew but then got distracted. Now she has these beautiful lines of ink all over her khaki pants.

What was I thinking?

In other news, my little girl has been singing a lot too. (She must be destined for the arts, right?)

Usually we have no idea what she is singing – it’s an assortment of random notes and syllables. But on Sunday Kevin said, “I think she’s singing Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.” We listened closely and, sure enough, she was singing “wi-wa star, how I won-ah [and then something unintelligible].”

We sang it back to her and she smiled, knowingly, and then continued singing. SO CUTE!

Monday, November 06, 2006

Mr. Poll Inspector

This year Kevin volunteered to be a poll inspector. The poll inspector is the one who runs the poll at a particular precinct and has to handle all the problems and be the “bad guy” when it comes to telling people they can’t vote and why. They prefer to have lawyers run the polls, because often other lawyers show up and make legal challenges. But you don’t have to be a lawyer – the basic criterion is that you’re a strong-willed person who is able to stand up to belligerent people and confidently call the shots.

The three people I know who best fit this description are my husband, and his two parents. All three of them, incidentally, are going to be poll inspectors this year.

After attending a training session yesterday, they all came back literally shaking from fear at what they are going to have to do. All three of them have been specifically selected to run the polls in “high fraud” areas. And all three of them confessed that they are terrified.

When it comes down to deciding if a person can vote, or if a ballot must be set aside because it doesn’t meet the legal requirements, there will be a panel of three judges – the poll inspector and two others – one republican and one democrat. Interestingly, they couldn’t find enough republicans to sit on the panels (their precincts are in heavily-democrat areas) so Kevin and his parents are going to have two democrats on each of their panels. In other words, they are going to be outnumbered.

But, like Kevin said, the panels are not about partisan politics. “The goal is to ensure that there is a fair election.” Here’s hoping that the other panel members agree with that.

This is going to be a very interesting election year. For them, because they are facing a huge challenge. For me, because I get to sit back and watch.

It's What You Offer

We’ve been having a lot of company lately. Because of this, I’ve been learning a lot of important lessons on keeping things simple when I entertain. I like for everything to be perfect when people come over. This is often a pride issue vs. a hospitality issue.

Last week we had the largest sit-down-dinner party we’ve ever had. There were 18 people and I was planning to serve soup. It suddenly dawned on me, as I was setting the table, that I didn’t have enough matching bowls for the largest table. This really, really bothered me!

Can you believe it? Think of all the people out there who don’t even have food for their bellies and here I am stressing about not having enough matching bowls. I was already upset that the only tablecloth I had to fit our table (when both leaves were in it) didn’t exactly match my plates. But, now, this!! I turned to Kevin and pleaded with him to let me run to Wal-Mart and buy something cheap, as long as everything matches. He told me “no” that no one will care but me and it’s not about matching bowls, it’s about Christian fellowship.

I knew he was right. So, I continued setting the table, with mismatched bowls. And, when all was said and done, no one really did care and we had a marvelous time of fellowship!

I remember back to the time when Kev and I were in Philadelphia for a friend's wedding. We stayed with perfect strangers. Their home was small and humble. Despite the fact that they didn’t possess very much in the way of earthly goods, they openly and lovingly shared the things that they did have. I was incredibly blessed by their example.

Often I remind myself of this family whenever I feel my pride seeping in.

It’s not about what we have, it’s about what we give.

Fondue Revelations

Thus far I have been blissfully ignorant about the spiritual state of my fellow MOPS friends.

No longer.

The “mentor mom” – a designated older, more experienced woman – in our larger MOPS group invited our small group to her house for a fondue party last week.

As I was happily devouring my chocolate, the mentor mom, Mindi, started asking us to share where we are in our walk with God.

The first lady shared about how she attends church most of the time and that she knows she needs to go more often. She was not raised Christian.

My good friend Kristi, who invited me to join MOPS, and I were sitting together on the couch and we were the second and third people to share.

Kristi and I shared similar things … about our Christian background, God’s working in our lives, that we know we have a lot farther to go, and we’re grateful for God’s faithfulness. Yada, yada, yada.

Then the discussion took a turn with one woman expressing her objections to Christianity and that she has thought about it, and all roads lead to heaven, and that it’s all about “searching inside yourself and being a good person.”

Then, our group LEADER, said, “Yeah, I’m pretty much in the same boat as you.” She said that she doesn’t really think it’s important to go to church and has no desire to read her bible. She seemed a little more open to Christianity than the first lady, though.

I realized, when I joined MOPS, that there would probably be quite a few non-Christians but I guess I always thought that our group leader, at least, would be a Christian.

Every time we meet, we pray and we use Christian terminology. I guess I just assumed that all the ladies at my table were believers. This was a wrongful assumption.

One thing I really appreciated about the fondue discussion is that all the ladies were open and honest. There was no pretension or fa├žade. This is the best starting point possible.

I’ve been praying for opportunities to be a salt and light for Christ. I guess God has now given me what I asked for. I just pray that I don’t blow this opportunity. It would be easy for me to find excuses – I have transportation issues that prevent me from getting to know people better, or “I’m so young” compared to most everyone else, or the mentor mom would be a better person to share, etc., etc.

Sigh … No more blissful ignorance. Now, what am I going to do with this newfound knowledge?