Friday, June 29, 2007
When Meredith saw me crying, she got very quiet and then came to pat me on the back. She said, “Mommy is crying. You got a tear on your hand.” (I had put my hands over my eyes and a tear had rolled off my hand.)
After sitting with me quietly for a few minutes, she ran to the other room and came back with her ratty blanket. Her favorite possession. The one thing she never shares with anyone. The one thing I never ask her to share since I know it’s that special to her.
She handed it over to me and said, “See? Here’s a blanky.” Then she smiled.
It was a very precious moment to be comforted by my toddler—the one who only moments before was the source of so much frustration. I was also very moved by her love. She probably wasn’t exactly sure what to do when she saw me crying—she had no idea why I was crying—but she knew I needed something to cheer me up. So she ran and grabbed the one material possession in her life that comforts her and means the most to her.
It’s funny how the hardest days with a toddler can also be the most precious, at times.
I feel like I should say something more ceremonious at this point but I'm not sure what.
Blogging has been good. My blog has morphed a lot. I used to be a more frequent blogger. I used to be a more philosophical and political blogger. But now I find I rarely have time for that. I used to blog about a lot more random things but, again, I rarely have time these days to memorialize those observations.
I'm really glad for blogging—for the outlet it provides and that it enables me to keep up with friends too.
So, here's to another thousand posts!
While rummaging through her closet, Meredith recently discovered a pair of Cinderella princess pajamas that I had put away because I thought it was still too big. Someone gave it to her as a hand-me-down. She now wants to wear it ALL the time.
I am amazed at how quickly the "battle over clothing" has begun. Although she is not yet two years old, Meredith insists on wearing certain clothing (i.e., dresses) and shoes. She’s become extremely opinionated about the matter. I often have to put my foot down when things simply aren't practical. Mostly I give in, though, because she is SO happy to be able to wear her favorite things. It's cute to see.
Monday, June 25, 2007
Kevin kept looking at me like, “I can’t believe we’re doing this. We are crazy.”
We nearly missed Elmo since he and Grover took turns, each doing a thirty-minute rotation. We’re glad we squeezed in on time because Grover just wouldn’t have been the same experience for Meredith. We thought she might be scared of Elmo—which is how she has reacted to large stuffed animals in the past. But she loved him! She walked right up to him and gave him a high five. Then she sat on his lap and gave him a hug and a kiss.
Friday, June 22, 2007
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
Yes, I know that water aerobics is stereotyped as the lazy person’s exercise. Come to think of it, this classification is probably deserved. After all, I’ve never seen a really buff person doing water aerobics. All of those people are pumping iron in the next room.
But, regardless of the stereotype, I feel like it will do me a world of good in the final six weeks of my pregnancy. So, there I was last night with all the other lazy exercisers, most of them gray haired and at least 100 pounds overweight. It cracked me up … some of them had flotation devices strapped around their midsections and some of them weren’t even doing the exercises at all. Ha!
But, seriously … I feel like it will help me meet my personal goals for exercise right now. After 90 minutes in the pool, I truly got a decent workout. I was able to stretch and use muscles in my body that I wouldn’t have been able to outside the water because of the pressure on my joints, which are already in pain because of the baby weight. Rather than being exhausted after the class, I was refreshed and had renewed energy.
So, I think it’s worth it. And maybe I’ll make some new friends from the local AARP in the meantime.
It was a church function and the main reason we went was for Meredith’s sake. We figured she would get a kick out of it and she truly did. On Friday night she was covered from head-to-toe with dirt. Unfortunately I never got a decent picture of her!
Honestly, I think camping can be enjoyable. Being surrounded by nature is good. Hanging out with friends at a campfire, roasting s’mores is just about as fun as anything. Since I’ve had some really fun and pleasant camping experiences in the past, I would never completely discount it. But, for the most part, I think it’s overrated, especially if the weather is bad. I think that priceline-ing a hotel is generally a much better option. But like I said, we did it for Meredith. Every kid deserves to go camping now and then.
We came, we saw, we conquered. And I think that this eight-month-pregnant body should get some sort of a medal for going (getting ready for it took the biggest toll) and sleeping in a tent on an air mattress. I’m not sure I’d ever go again under these same physical circumstances.
Who ever told her she is a girl and she should twirl? No one.
Lately Meredith has started telling us that she “needs” things. She’ll start off by stating that, for instance, “I want a pen.” When we tell her no, she’ll say (with urgency in her voice), “But I need one.”
Meredith has finally caught on to the fact that I dilute her fruit juice. After tasting the full strength juice, she has become quite irritated at the fact that hers gets watered-down. She has started telling us, “No water in it!” when we pour her juice.
This morning I offered her some chocolate milk. As I got out the milk and the Hersey’s syrup, she yelled, “NO milk in it!”
Nice try, Meredith!
Monday, June 18, 2007
Friday, June 15, 2007
Other than the fact that the ending was a little bit contrived, I thought it was a decent read. Not my favorite but definitely something that made me think and broadened my horizons a little bit.
The book is a novel set in modern day Bombay and is written from the perspective of two different women, from different classes. One woman is a wealthy Parsi and the other woman is her downcast servant who lives in the slums.
As the author states in the back of the book, “The novel deals with a relationship that, despite all the good will in the world, is ultimately based on the exploitation of one human being by another.”
This brought up some interesting discussion about the existence of class inequity in the modern world and whether or not there are any parallels in America. There were also some sub-issues that were interesting to discuss including abortion, women’s rights, failed marriages, choosing denial over truth, etc.
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
Several months ago I got the film from the library and started watching it. By myself. At night.
After the opening scene, showing an eerie pumpkin patch, I turned it off and decided to wait until I had more company. Last night Kevin’s sisters and our pastor came over to watch it with us. I'm glad I waited.
It was very interesting to see a film where Faith vs. Reason was on trial. The film also brought up a host of questions about exorcism and demon possession. Apparently Emily Rose is based on a true story. Some of our discussion afterwards centered on how common or real is demon possession and can it happen to a true believer with the Holy Spirit residing in them.
If you’re up for it—and have people to watch it with you—I would recommend seeing it, if only for the reason that it will make you think. And if you’re into horror, you might also be entertained.
“In many of the documented cases [of demon possession], there are good explanations for [why a person is singled out for it]. There seems to be a pattern of people who get involved in the occult, or people who have been literally placed under spiritual curses. It does seem like there are certain warnings that ought to be avoided. But at the same time, as I read the New Testament, it seems like some of the people who are possessed just are. That they are victims of this fallen world.” –Scott Derrickson (writer/director of The Exorcism of Emily Rose)
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
This article made me smile. I think there’s definitely a grain of truth to it. Contentment is a great place to be and always searching for something better can only lead to misery. I like this article and I agree with it. But I guess I can’t relate to this woman entirely because, after nearly five years, I still think Kevin is a saint and he IS my best friend. Either I’m just a lucky girl or my rose-colored glasses have a lot of mileage on them.
A Marriage That's Good Enough
by Corinne Colbert (June 4, 2007)
My husband is not my best friend. He doesn't complete me. In fact, he can be a self-absorbed jerk. We're nearly polar opposites: He's a lifetime member of the NRA who doesn't care for journalists, and I'm a lifelong liberal with a journalism degree. On the other hand, he doesn't beat or emotionally abuse me. He doesn't drink or chase other women. He's a good provider. So I'm sticking with him.
Some people would call that "settling," like it's a bad thing. But I believe in settling.
The Random House Unabridged Dictionary defines "to settle" as "to place in a desired state or order; to quiet, calm or bring to rest; to make stable." In short, it means that a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.
Alas, too many of us buy into a different adage: that the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. From movies to magazines to commercials, we're told we should demand more from lives that are, for many of us, pretty good. We're supposed to look better, eat better, find better jobs, be better lovers and parents and workers. A stable marriage isn't enough; it's supposed to be a fairy tale. Perfection is the goal.
But at what cost? Would I really be any happier if I took up yoga and ate more soy? If my spouse wasn't just my partner, but also was my soul mate? I doubt it.
Settling, in my sense, is about acceptance. I'm a pretty happy person, in large part because I'm honest with myself about what I have. My body isn't bikini-worthy, but it's healthy. I'll never write for Rolling Stone as I once dreamed, but I am making a living as a writer. I yell at my sons and let them play too much GameCube, but I'm still a good mom.
Of course, some situations are worth improving. If your weight jeopardizes your health, exercise and change your eating habits. If your job makes you truly miserable, find a new one. If your marriage is toxic, end it. Chances are, though, you probably have what you need: a roof over your head, food on the table, a job that pays the bills, and family and friends. If you're unhappy, ask yourself: Am I unhappy because I really don't have what I need, or because I just want more?
So, yes, I'm settling. Sure, I wish my husband would kiss me more often, tell me he loves me every day, and get as excited about my accomplishments as I do. Emptying the dishwasher without being asked and giving me unsolicited foot massages wouldn't hurt, either.
All that would be nice, but it's not necessary. I'm happy with my husband who, despite his flaws, is a caring father, capable of acts of stunning generosity and fiercely protective of his family. Thinking about him may not set me on fire as it used to, but after 17 years and two kids, our love is still warm. And I believe that's good enough.
The squirt park was incredible. It had two large “mushroom” water contraptions that squirted out water and made it flow into a man-made river. The river was shallow but pooled in several areas so kids could splash around. There were natural-looking rock formations and Meredith enjoyed jumping off the rocks into the water. At the end of the “river,” were more water spray features. It was so much fun for us to see our daughter having such a great time.
Then we spent some time drawing chalk art on the sidewalk. And daddy helped Meredith catch several fireflies after it got dark. It was such a great Family Night Out. I love my family!
Friday, June 08, 2007
(Sorry to Heather and Stephanie—the retarded waiter apparently can’t take pictures without cutting off heads!)
Wednesday, June 06, 2007
If you think about it, being cheerful toward other people (regardless of how you feel that day) is essentially about loving them. When we are a drag around other people, or are gloomy, we are just pulling them down too.
The ABCs of Family Civility
Adapted from Pier Forni, Choosing Civility: The Twenty-Five Rules of Considerate Conduct.
1. Smile. People respond better to those who are positive.
2. Be considerate. Ask yourself, "Is what I am about to say going to encourage and build up the other person, or tear him or her down?"
3. Practice restraint and don't yell or raise your voice.
4. Have the courage to admit it when you are wrong. Avoid ridicule and don't humiliate or demean the other person. You can express your anger without attacking the other person.
5. Accept kindness from others and let others be nice to you.
“Go on alligator!” said Meredith, at the mall last night. She then pointed to the “escalator.” (Close enough, right?)
“I ate a crayon,” explained Meredith as I was furiously trying to brush a chunk of brown that was stubbornly clinging to her tooth. As I was brushing the tooth, I was puzzled by the brown substance. I asked out loud (more talking to myself than to Meredith), “What on earth is stuck on this tooth?”
“Get mine pink ball!” said Meredith as she watched her daddy get his golf clubs out of the garage. I had no idea what this meant. Later I found out (from Kevin) that he often lets her knock around a hot pink golf ball with his putter. She just wanted to be part of the action.
It made me reflect on the home and garden show we attended several months ago. At the show we were dazzled with numerous high-end, built-in grills featured in various displays.
These ponderings made me realize how much grilling is a part of every American’s experience, regardless of your socioeconomic status. Whether you spend $20 on your grill or $20,000 on your built-in grill patio, if you are an American you likely have one.
Friday, June 01, 2007
I learned my lesson that I need to save them in one document, html format, before I decide to give my webpage another facelift. Thankfully they were at least all saved in my favorites folder. (I know a lot of you folks out there are thankful too since I got a lot of e-mail requests and complaints when I originally took them down!)
“How about some fishy crackers?” –Meredith (to her grandma as they were grocery shopping and she spotted a bag of them in the check out lane).
“Some people are miserable and don’t even know it.” –Amy (referring to a very interesting neighbor of ours whom she is still trying to figure out).
“You are worth a whole head of gray hairs. Maybe even two heads.” –Kevin (to Amy when she asked him if she’s worth the four gray hairs she’s given him this past year).
“I thought it tasted different.” –Kevin (this morning after Amy asked him if he realizes he is using her toothbrush).
Amy is trying to be a good mom and failing most days. The “whining toddler” phase is very trying for her. She seriously thinks it’s worse than the “fussy newborn” phase. Do you realize how difficult it is to deal with a toddler who simply cannot be pleased, regardless of what you do, and whines about everything? Amy wishes she had a nickel for every time she tells Meredith, “I cannot hear what you are saying when you whine. You need to ask nicely with a smile and then I can hear you.” Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.
Meredith is enjoying being a kid to the fullest extent possible. Every day brings some new fun thing in her life. This week she went to Brown County and went hiking for the first time without being carried or riding in daddy’s backpack, she went to the park twice including the water “squirt park” by our house, went swimming in her pool, went to the Children’s Museum, and on Wednesday was thoroughly spoiled by every member of Kevin’s family while mommy got her work deadline done. Yes, she has a good life, despite her quite imperfect mother.
Tonight Kevin and Amy are going to dinner with friends—yes, it’s an adults-only event. As much as we all love our children, a break now and then is nice too.