Saturday, February 25, 2012

No Light

First let me give a quick disclaimer before you read this post.


I've been sitting here working through my Bible Study homework for the week while listening to Florence and the Machine through my iTunes and there is one particular song with some very specific lyrics that have stopped me from being able to move on with my homework.

I had to write this image out of my head so that I can proceed.  This post isn't about what happened yesterday or last week - it's just a collection of conversations that Craig and I have had over the past year since Natalie was born, particularly when I was in a tough spot with the PPD last summer.

Okay.  Here we go.

"No Light, No Light"
Florence + the Machine
Off the Ceremonials album

Selected lyrics:

I was disappearing in plain sight
Heaven help me
I need to make it right
You want a revelation
You want to get right
But it's a conversation
I just can't have tonight

You want a revelation
Some kind of resolution
You are the revelation

No light, no light in your bright blue eyes
I never knew daylight could be so violent
A revelation in the light of day

You can't choose what stays and what fades away
And I'd do anything to make you stay

No light, no light
No light

Tell me what you want me to say
But would you leave me,
If I told you what I've done

And would you leave me
If I told you what I've become
'Cause it's so easy,
To sing it to a crowd
But it's so hard, my love
To say it to you, all alone

I just remember so many nights Craig and I had this very conversation.  He desperately wanted to know what was going through my brain and how he could help get it out and make it better.  But I was locked up.  I couldn't physically verbalize what was going on because I couldn't make sense of it in my own head.  And then there were the intrusive thoughts and visions that flitted their way into my consciousness.  No.  He could never know those things.  I was always so scared to say anything because I knew I would cry.  And if I started crying, there was a good chance that I would never, ever stop.  So I shut down and I got angry because for whatever reason, that was the only emotion that I could process.  The only one that felt safe.  If I lashed out my anger at everyone else then they wouldn't want to be near me and then they wouldn't figure out that I was a complete waste.  I didn't want to be near me.  I felt toxic - like I was polluting everything good and pure in my life, most of all my child and my husband.

It was an ugly place to live.

No.  Live isn't the right word.

It was an ugly place to exist.

We didn't LIVE during this time.  We were existing.  We were waking up in the morning, functioning through the day and going to bed at night.

That part in the song about leaving me if I told him what I'd done and what I'd become.  That was my biggest fear.  I knew I wasn't right, I knew that I wasn't giving him the life that he had signed up for.  I felt defective.  I felt that he deserved a proper wife and mother of his child.  I wanted him to be happy and I wasn't able to provide him any sort of happiness for a very long time.

There was a moment when we were giving Natalie a bath one night.  He was getting her out of the tub to dry her off and I ran into her bedroom for a nighttime diaper and her pajamas.  As I was walking through our bedroom to go back into the bedroom  I paused by the dresser, just out of sight of Craig and Natalie sitting on the floor by the tub.  I listened.  They were jabbering together.  They were happy.  And I wasn't there.  My breath caught in my throat and my heart raced.

They could live without me.  This is what it would be like if I wasn't here.  Happy.  Peaceful.  It would be better this way.

My thoughts went down the rabbit hole.  The two of them selling the house, living in a little condo with the pups.  Craig trying to figure out how to put her hair into a ponytail for her first basketball game.  Helping her pick out her prom dress, one that would make her look gorgeous.  Walking her down the aisle, whispering in her ear that he loved her.

And in none of these scenes was I present.  I wasn't dead, I just wasn't present.  Runaway maybe?

I was stuck in a place where I couldn't imagine climbing out of my dark hole and enjoying life with my family.  But despite the tears in my eyes and the rapid beating of my heart, I swallowed my anxiety and walked into the bathroom to rejoin my family.  I couldn't let him know what I had scene, what I had pictured.

But the whole year, I sorely underestimated him.  I also exhausted him, frustrated him, at times berated him, forced all my anger on him and pushed him away.

Oh my.  That was a tough thing to write.

But he stayed.  He put in the work to keep the home running and Natalie out of the way of my angry tornado.  He listened when I cried and forced me to get out of the house with my friends and have some fun.  He was patient, he was forgiving.......and forgiving........and forgiving.

He forgave me as the Lord forgives.  Instantaneously, without an apology and without expectation of receiving anything as compensation.  He saw through the anger I was spewing and looked at my heart and how broken I was.  He knows what to look for.  He's been broken too.

I am so thankful the Lord gave us one another to help with putting the pieces of each other back together.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Day Booking

Outside my was a blustery day today that without wind was probably warm enough for shorts and a t-shirt but the windchill had everyone in hoodies and sweatpants.  Now it is dark and calm outside with the hint of spring on the way soon.

I am thinking......all the possible ways that Natalie's birthday party could be a complete and utter disaster.  It's not productive thinking in the least.

I am thankful......that I was able to have a better weekend than the one before.  Things were calm - not just physically but spiritually and emotionally.  Natalie was cooperative and I did lots of laundry.  Craig and I were able to sneak out of the house for dinner and a Stars game at Buffalo Wild Wings in celebration of the end of basketball season.

In the kitchen......Craig made tilapia last night with zucchini and roasted potatoes - Natalie ate it all up.

I am favorite school t-shirt (XC district champs) with muddy paw prints all over the front.

I am lists for Natalie's birthday celebration.  We're going to need more plates and silverware and I've got a whole list of "week of" stuff that we need to purchase.

I am have a quiet week at home with my family this week.  No volleyball, no basketball, no track.  Just us.

I am do I get that little voice in my head that screams "you can't" to shut up?!

I am reading......a lot this week because I am committing myself to not watching any of my DVR television shows.  This is proving to be more difficult than I originally expected.

I am hoping......that my shoulder feels better soon.  I don't know if it's something torn or just a little inflammation but my hitting and throwing arm is killing me.  I hate being injured.

I am looking forward momma bringing me Subway tomorrow for lunch at my house.  She'll be up in the area visiting a friend during the morning so she's going to stop over at my house for a mother-daughter-no grandbaby lunch with just me.

I am learning......more and more about friendship.  I have a wonderful friendship blossoming with a co-worker named Shemika.  She and I come from completely opposite sides of the spectrum as far as our childhoods go but it is so neat to see how we connect over our similarities and educate over our differences. My friendship with her might be one of the most enlightening and fascinating relationships that I've ever had.

Around the house......THERE IS NO DIRTY LAUNDRY.  Read it and be jealous.  I myself can't quite believe it but I'm putting it out there in internet history.  Our household has three closets totally full of clean clothes and three hampers devoid of any dirty laundry.  If the rest of the week goes completely down the drain, at least I have this moment of glory.

I am pondering......a hair cut and the appropriateness of tights on my body type and a woman of my age.  Hey.  The Simple Woman never says this stuff has to be Earth shattering personal revelations.

A favorite quote for today......I'm so terrible with quotes.  Most of the ones that come to mind are from songs that played on the radio or funny stuff that my kids said during the day.  Nothing really meaningful or memorable.  I guess my favorite quote lately has been Natalie shouting at the dogs when they wrestle around the living room "A-ja, Ah-jie, dog-dog!"  She can't stand when they're playing with each other and not with her - maybe she does need a little brother or sister around to remind her that she is not the center of our universe!  Ha!

One of my favorite things......Florence + the Machine.  During my 5th period conference, I turn on my iTunes and plug in my headphones and zone out - usually while surfing around my friends' blogs.........and Pinterest.

A few plans for the rest of the week: Just Bible Study tomorrow night and a Stars game on Friday night.  That feels so good to write.  We really have a low-key week.  Hallelujah.

Sunday, February 19, 2012


I'm all over the place tonight.....some serious, a little questionable, a whole lot productive and everything with a tinge of the neurotic.

Craig had a ton of basketball in the past four days.  The 8th grade basketball tournament started on Thursday night with a win for his team and then continued into Friday night with a devastating loss but I couldn't have been prouder of the way my husband composed himself in the face of two very ridiculous refs.  

Let me give you a little backstory on Craig and his coaching career - his father was very involved in the conception and evolution of girls select basketball in Texas up until his death in 2002 and that's when Craig took over and continued the family business.  So Craig not only grew up as a coaches son and an athlete himself, but he also began coaching select girls basketball when he was still in high school.  If you're doing the math......Craig is now 37 which means that he has been actively coaching girls basketball for twenty years.  In most things in his life, he is very humble and self-deprecating..........but when it comes to coaching, his knowledge of the game, the rules and how to inspire and instruct girls - he is confident about his skills, almost bordering on cocky.  

Friday night he had two refs that were butchering the game and as a result, hindering the ability of either team to really PLAY their game.  In the past Craig would have blown a gasket and deafened the crowd with his voice and badgering of the official but something in him in the past few years has softened - he has matured and refocused his priorities when it comes to coaching.  His main objective when he is sitting on the sidelines is to look out for the best interest of the twelve girls that are on his roster.  Sometimes protecting them means getting onto the referees to call a fair game and in the past he has done this with passionate theatrics which have left me in the stands trying to hide my head.  

On Friday night he held his ground with the refs in a manner that was quiet, calm but still determined.  There was no yelling.  No flailing of arms.  No beet red face with that vein throbbing in his neck.  Yeah, he still earned that technical and his team came up seven points short in the end but I was a proud wife.  Proud that my honey loves his players like he loves every other woman in his life - he protects them, he is loyal to them and always lets them know how proud he is to be their coach.  

After the game Natalie and I went over to him and I handed Natalie to him while telling him "good game baby" and "I'm so proud of you."  I'm not sure how Natalie knew what was going on but she latched on to her daddy and rested her little head on his shoulder - as if to say "it's alright Daddy, I'm sorry you lost but I still love you."  As she hugged him, I watched the tension, stress and frustration drain from his face.  In that moment, a game was just a game and life was bigger than a pair of bad refs and a technical foul.  In past years Craig would have obsessed all night about those refs, the terrible calls they made, how they ruined the game for his players and what he could have done better to ensure a win for his girls.  But I think Natalie has given him a different perspective - he doesn't want to come home and relive a basketball game.  He wants to come home and be fully present with HER - mentally, physically and emotionally.  She has shown him what is important in life and how to properly prioritize his energy.  When she was born all we talked about was what we were going to teach her and not once did we stop to think about what she would teach US about life.

Seeing as how Natalie is rapidly approaching her first birthday, weaning her from the bottle is also imminent. As excited as I am to not wash and sanitize anymore bottles, I am absolutely terrified of the temper tantrums that might erupt when she is given a sippy cup and not a bottle.  

Here is where we're at with her and liquids:
- She LOVES her morning and nighttime bottles as well as a small bottle when going down for a nap.
- We have been giving her half formula-half cows milk bottles for about a week and she hasn't had any negative reactions (allergic or attitude) to the new taste.
- She will drink water or milk from a straw sippy cup when eating meals.

This is what I'm mainly concerned about:  Breaking the habit of nighttime and naptime bottles.  Some days it's already enough of a battle to get her to sleep and I'm afraid that if she doesn't have a bottle it's going to be that much worse.

I will take any and all advice regarding bottle weaning.  

I'm revising my previous statement - since I got SO much done this weekend (we have absolutely NO dirty laundry in our house) I've decided that I will just take a five day (Monday through Friday) vacation from television to see if it makes a difference in my energy and productivity level.  Who knows?!  Maybe I'll realize that I can live without the drama of those crazy Housewives!

I started Bible Study a couple of weeks ago and last week's lesson and discussion BLEW.  MY.  MIND.  I wish that I could delve into what we discussed and maybe I will in the future but right now I'm still processing all the awesomeness that was revealed last week.  

Okay.  Maybe a little bit.  The major thing that I got out of last week's lesson (and I already knew this, but it was nice to see it in writing) is that every trial in our lives is ultimately leading us back to God.  On a good day I am a testament to this, especially in the past year - the PPD did a pretty good number on me but it didn't destroy my faith in God.  It might have robbed me of enjoying the first months of my daughter's life but it has not stolen my faith.  In fact, my faith has strengthened because I am still standing.  My daughter is healthy and flourishing.  My husband and I have a deeper understanding of and respect for each other.  I have been broken and put back together through His grace and mercy.  There were nights I called out desperately for Him to take this from me and heal my soul and my family.  I had to learn to stop fighting everything by myself and instead take His hand (and Craig's as well) in order to pull myself out of the hole that PPD created.  On a bad day......well, I say a lot of prayers asking for patience, wisdom, strength and a good night's sleep.

I told you I would be all over the place.  Craig and I have a pretty quiet week up ahead which is something we're both looking forward to - we've been on the go since August when volleyball season started which lead into basketball and cross country.  Now we have a bit of a breather until track season kicks off next week with the first track meet.  We always look forward to track season because it's a little bit more low maintenance as far as coaching is concerned - all you can do is tell the kids beforehand is "run fast, turn left" and "good job" with a pat on the back when they cross the finish line.  Track season also means that summer vacation is quickly approaching!  My how summer will be different this year with a toddler to run after instead of a sweet little baby to rock!

Friday, February 17, 2012

My Sheryl

Remember the Titans
Walt Disney, 2000

Thursday night I took Natalie to watch Craig's Division I basketball team play in the first round of the district tournament, a game which he won by a sturdy twenty points.  But this obviously isn't the first time she's spent the evening in a gym but last night when I saw her sitting on the bench in the stands like a big girl, I had a flashback to the little girl featured in the video above.

This will be my child.

Well, I hope it is.  I want her to share our love of sports and competition.  I want her to feel the same passion and joy that her father and I did when we were growing up and playing team sports.  I want her to be her daddy's sidekick in the stands and on the sidelines.  I want her to grow up running around the gym helping the big girls during practice.  I want her to look forward to Daddy-daughter date nights at Stars and Mavericks games - with appropriate team colored hair bows and pigtails of course.  

Product Placement

It's been a rough couple of weeks in our house due to Natalie's severe allergy to sleeping.  For the past week and a half Craig and I have been up and down with her almost every night and many nights I slept with her cuddled up next to me in our bed.  Okay.  SHE slept next to me while I mildly dozed.  We couldn't really figure out what was wrong with her and we went through our mental checklist repeatedly.  No snotty nose.  Just a mild and rare cough.  No fever (except for one day).  Fine during the day.  No teeth poking through the gums.  Eating well and normal bowel movements.  There wasn't really anything that stood out to us as a problem that would keep her up at night.  Finally while giving her a nighttime bottle I realized that she was snorting and snoring just a bit which led me to believe that she might have some deep congestion up in her nasal passages.  I didn't think it was anything worth taking her to the doctor over so we just headed up to Target to see what we could get over the counter to help with the congestion.  

And I found this thing and I think it has helped least I know that she is sleeping better.  It's a plug-in vapor mist thing that makes her whole room smell like VaporRub without me having to smear it on her chest.  You just change out the insert every night and it lasts about eight hours and has a cool blue nightlight attached as well.  Combined with some saline and decongestant drops up her nose, the congestion has improved and she is sleeping a lot better during the night.  
So if you every have a stuffy baby nose this winter I would highly suggest buying this product!  Heck - I would use it for Craig and myself if we ever have a sinus infection or something!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Life After Television

It hit me this week.  I watch A LOT of television.  It's Thursday and my DVR upstairs in our bedroom is full of this week's shows that I haven't been able to watch because of my hectic schedule as well as our earlier bedtime (Natalie is still wanting to party at 3:00am).  So last night as I was settling into bed after my volleyball game I scrolled through the list of shows and I was almost a little disgusted with myself.  No wonder I complain about not having time to read books - I'm spending all my time drowning in the drama on any given Housewives show.  

Here is what is sitting (or about to be) in my DVR.

Bethenny Ever After
Frequency: Once a week
Duration: One hour

Chelsea Lately
Frequency: Monday through Friday
Duration: Thirty minutes

The Colbert Report
Frequency: Monday through Thursday
Duration: Thirty minutes

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart
Frequency: Monday through Thursday
Duration: Thirty minutes

Dance Moms
Frequency: Once a week
Duration: One hour

Frequency: Once a week
Duration: One hour

The Real Housewives of Orange County
Frequency: Once a week
Duration: One hour

Shark Tank
Frequency: Once a week
Duration: One hour

The Voice
Frequency: Once a week (for now)
Duration: Two hours (for now)

And I'll be honest - I think there are some shows on my DVR that I forgot about and didn't list here.  If you're keeping track that is at least 13 hours of television a week, plus random other things I'm recording and shows that I pick up here and there.  Granted with skipping through the commercials, I can blow through a Chelsea Lately episode in twenty minutes but I could also be reading a chapter of a book in that time as well.

So here is my plan for next week.  I'm going to clear out my DVR this weekend and catch up on all my shows so that I can delete them and have a clean slate.  I will allow all the programs to record like normal next week but the change is.........I'M NOT GOING TO WATCH THEM.  Let's see if I can go a whole week without watching my shows and instead spend that time doing all those things that I "don't have time for" such as reading, folding laundry, organizing drawers etc.  

It might be a long week.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day

She woke up in such a great mood today.  Maybe she was excited about her outfit or maybe it was the prospect of showering her friends with love, but she was all giggles and smiles this morning as we were getting ready for our day.

I bought her entire outfit (except for the shoes) at our local Once Upon a Child resale shop and it cost me a grand total of twenty bucks.  She looks like such a big girl today with her skirt and leggings and she was so proud to drop off all her goodies for the boys at Ms. Rebecca's house.

We went out for our "official" Valentine's Day dinner and dessert last night.  Since our anniversary is only a month away, Craig and I decided that we should celebrate Valentine's Day as a family and so we had dinner at Cotton Patch and then headed over to the cookie store for a little treat.  I had a scoop of ice cream while Natalie and Craig had cookies but I did allow Natalie a taste of my mint chocolate chip.  Whoops.  She was trying to climb out of her high chair to get to my cup of ice cream sitting on the table.  We will give her our Valentine's Day present this afternoon which consists of a teddy bear, a touch and feel book (her favorite) and a Little People SUV with baby and mommy to go with her Little People house.

My sweet husband did take the time to order me some Valentine's Day flowers last week on February 8th.  He ordered them from the same local place that did our wedding flowers whose owner happens to be a friend of his mother's.  Unfortunately there was a new woman working the front desk and instead of noting that the flowers were to be sent out on the 14th, she put together the bouquet and had them delivered last Wednesday.  I was a little surprised when my friend from the front office walked into my 4th period class with a gorgeous arrangement of flowers from me - I figured Craig had sent them just as a way to say "sorry you're having a rough week."  I emailed him and said thank you and he was shocked because they weren't supposed to arrive until today!  He called the flower shop back and brought the mistake to their attention and the owner apologized profusely and promised another round of flowers would be sent to my school on the appropriate day.  So this Valentine's Day I received another extraordinary bouquet of roses and orchids which was delivered again during my 4th period class.  I'm sure those 6th grade girls think that I have the most fabulous and romantic husband for sending me flowers two times in less than one week!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Day Booking

It's been an ugly weekend.  A tough few days.  Emotionally exhausting and draining.  But we're alive and ready for face another week.  In order to prepare myself, I'm doing my daybook a day early so that I can sort through everything swirling around my little brain.

Outside my's SNOWING!  The weather took a cold turn on Friday evening and we've actually had to use Natalie's assortment of jackets and hats to keep her warm.

I am thinking......of solutions and trying to ignore the negativity.

I am thankful......that I was able to go to the Kelly Clarkson concert with my friend Emily on Friday night.  I think that Kelly and I might actually be the same person just in two separate bodies.  Seriously.  Her albums Breakaway and My December totally chronicled all my ups and downs of dating during my early twenties.  I can remember the emotional day when I moved home from college at the end of my senior year and right after a terrible break up with my co-dependent and abusive boyfriend David.  I sat in the driveway of my parent's house with my mother and sobbed while Behind These Hazel Eyes played from the dashboard.

In the kitchen......Craig and I were bad this weekend and ate out most of the time.  Mexican food last night, IHOP this morning and Red Robin tonight.  Oh well.  We went grocery shopping tonight so I'll be cooking some this week........but nothing too major.

I am wearing......a big t-shirt of Craig's - it's what I sleep in every night.

I am creating......Today I put together Natalie's Valentine's Day gifts for her friends at Ms. Rebecca's.  Each little boy is getting a pink sack with Play-Doh, three little bouncy balls and two sticky frogs.  Do you know how hard it is to find Valentines trinkets for little boys that don't involve chocolate or candy?!  Natalie is also going to write a little card to each boy thanking them for their friendship and how well they all take care of her.

I am not get my hopes up about the snow and "wintry mix" weather that we're supposed to get tonight.  I'm going to go ahead and assume that we will be having school tomorrow.

I am wondering......why Ajax doesn't like wearing clothes but Angie does.  Strange dogs.

I am reading......I read 1Peter today as part of my Bible Study but I also just started The Last Days of Dogtown by Anita Diamant who also wrote The Red Tent which I loved.

I am hoping......this week is a fresh start and I can get to a different place than I did last week.

I am looking forward to......seeing my college roommate Lauren on Wednesday afternoon and meeting her little boy Bennett.

I am learning......about friendship.

Around the house......there are books strewn everywhere.  No, not mine and certainly not Craig's.  Natalie's new favorite thing to play with are books.  She will sit there and turn the pages back and forth while babbling to herself.  When we go out to dinner I bring a small little board book and she will sit in her high chair and flip through the pages quietly pausing occasionally to eat a piece of cheese or bread.  It's pretty much as cute as it sounds.

I am pondering......what Jennifer is going to say about the book of Peter during this Bible Study.  Having gone through one of her awesome studies before, while reading the book I was trying to figure out what she would be discussing about each section.

A favorite quote for today......I've been listening to Jeff Buckley's version of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" a lot lately since it seems to somewhat calm Natalie down at 2:00 in the morning.  And of course it's obviously fitting to sing once she does finally fall asleep - hallelujah.

One of my favorite things......Natalie's special Valentine's Day outfit that I found for her today.  I went to the Once Upon a Child resale shop that is super close to our house and I found her some cute black leggings, a little denim skirt and a pink striped shirt with a simple heart in the middle........and of course a pink matching bow.  She's going to look adorable on Tuesday.

A few plans for the rest of the week: I have Bible Study on Tuesday night, volleyball on Wednesday and then Craig has his 8th grade basketball tournament on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012


Awhile back I came across a blog post by Glennon Melton over at Momastery about not feeling the need to CHERISH EVERY SINGLE MOMENT with our children because honestly, who "cherishes" a temper tantrum or a 4:00am feeding?  But instead to savor and soak in the kairos moments - those sweet moments where time slows down and your vision becomes clear and you can fully see and appreciate the beauty that you have in your life.

This week has been tough.  Not only is our calender completely jam packed full of commitments like basketball games, Bible Study, volleyball league and one awesome Kelly Clarkson concert but this also happens to be the week that Natalie has decided she would prefer all night parties with Mom and Dad over sleeping through the night in her cozy crib.  

Needless to say, Craig and I are wiped out.  There have been multiple prayers sent out into the universe for patience and sleep.  But even still, I'm having a hard time seeing the kairos through the chronos.

I started a new Bible Study last night that will delve into the book of Peter.  It's a women only study that is lead by the uber talented sister-in-law of my friend Emily and meets every Tuesday night from 7:00 - 8:45.  I was grateful to get out of the house for a few hours and go to a place where I could turn off my cell phone and just immerse myself in something far greater, wider and deeper than the frustrating week I've been having.  When I returned home, Craig had THAT look on his face.  Crap.  My heart dropped to my stomach and my chest began tightening up - what had happened while I was gone that I should have been home for?

"Angie and Ajax got in a little bit of trouble tonight," Craig started.

I squinted my eyes and cocked my head.  "Trouble.  The dogs."  What on God's green Earth could these two dogs have done while I was gone, I thought.

" seems like there is tension between them."

Excuse me?  Please keep in mind that our animals are spayed and neutered and therefore devoid of any "animalistic" tendencies.

I raised an eyebrow.

"Angie humped Ajax.........a few times..........and he snapped at her."  Craig looked slightly sheepish and definitely mildly embarrassed.

I had to grab onto the back of the couch to keep myself from falling down.  I always knew that Angie was quite the Alpha dog, likes to be in charge of the pack and assert her authority but I didn't expect her to you know....hump her brother.

From an animal point of view, I understand why she did that - she was just making sure that Ajax understood his place in our family, well, at least where SHE thinks his place is, but just because I understand the reason doesn't make it any less funny.

I needed that gut-busting laugh.  I needed that KAIROS moment to remind me of the sheer absurdity life throws at us sometimes.

And then there was the kairos moment I had this morning at 4:30.  Craig had already done his nighttime duty with Natalie and she wasn't settling down in her crib.  I pulled her into bed with me around 4:00 and desperately tried to get her to calm down and settle into something resembling sleep.  She was cradled up under my arm with her head on my shoulder and she was not happy.  This girl is a mover and a shaker and rarely likes to be held or comforted.  

I turned on my iPod and flipped to the "chill" playlist I created a few days ago.  I shh'd her, hummed along with John Mayer and Jeff Buckley and patted her back.  

Slowly, ever so slowly she calmed.  She stopped writhing.  Her eyes closed and her breathing evened out.  I dared not move an inch.  Somewhere after 5:00, I too drifted off to an uneasy and shallow sleep.  

The alarm roused me at 6:30 to which I promptly hit snooze and checked on my girl who was flailed out beside me, her hair sticky and wild from the heat of being tucked under my chin.  She was still asleep.

And while she slept, I kairosed.  I soaked in the moment.  Her quiet and cuddly.  My satisfaction at being able to comfort her during a rough night.  My pride at not losing control or being overcome by anxiety.  Those flushed and round cheeks centered around her slightly puckered pink lips.

This is motherhood.  The good, the great, the bad and the ugly.  You cannot appreciate the kairos without trudging through the chronos.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

11 Months

Wow.  I can't believe we're here.  I can't believe that next month's post will be about her first year birthday celebrations.  A year ago at this point in time I was waddling around the school and dreading track season.  I was frantically unwrapping, washing and putting away every single baby item we lovingly received at any one of our four baby showers.  Yes.  FOUR.  Craig was on high alert at school as I had given him strict instructions to HAVE YOUR CELL PHONE ON AT EVERY POSSIBLE MOMENT.  You know.  Just in case.  By this time last year Craig had already been kicked out of our bedroom because I had to sleep directly in front of the fan on his side of the bed and surrounded by seventeen different pillows plus one Angie dog.  

And now we have an active, healthy and independent little almost one-year-old zooming around the house trying desperately to get into anything and everything that she can.  She is still a pretty good sleeper - nights like Sunday evening when she was up from 1:00 to 5:00 are very few and far between.  Her bedtime is around 8:30 and she wakes up anywhere between 6:30 and 7:30.  She takes two solid naps a day and is a VERY enthusiastic eater.  No joke.  Natalie will eat just about anything that you put in front of her - last night's dinner was breaded tilapia, broccoli, cheese and mandarin oranges.

Her disposition is pretty average, I suppose.  I know that sounds weird.  An average disposition for an 11 month old.  But what I mean is that she smiles, plays and giggles with those who are familiar to her but she is still a little leery of strangers and takes a while to warm up to people.  She is adventurous and curious about the world around her and she loves to be in the stroller just looking at everything and taking it all in.  Unfortunately she has began throwing mini temper tantrums when she does not get her way, as is the case when we pull her away from the stairs - she arches that back and squeals at the top of her lungs.  The good news is that she is slowly but surely learning the word NO and the boundaries that she has in our home and out in public.

Checking out the ducks at the pond and park near our house.  We might not have the largest backyard for her to run around in but we have the most fantastic playground just a few blocks from our home.

Handmade puppy dog hat.  Best Etsy purchase ever.

Such a look of determination and joy on that little face.

Always busy, busy, busy.  Unloading the tupperware cabinet in the kitchen.

Helping Nonna read the birthday card we bought for her, signed of course by all three grandchildren - Natalie, Ajax and Angie.


Making friends with the newest member of our family, Ajax.

Reading that birthday card with Nonna.  
Hey there Ajax.

My Love

I've been all about the questionnaires's one from Erin over at Confessions of a Magnolia Mom in honor of Valentines Day next week.

How long have you and your significant other been together?

We have been friends since 2006, dating since February of 2008 and we were married on March 13, 2010.

How did you meet?

Craig and I met during my first full year of teaching which was the 2006 - 2007 school year when we were on the same coaching staff at my former school.  He was the head basketball coach and I was a Math/Geography teacher and assistant volleyball coach.  We gradually got to know each other through long hours spent at track meets and fun happy hours with coworkers on Friday afternoons.  I knew from almost the very beginning that there was a connection between the two of us, in fact I found myself extremely disappointed when I found out that first year that he had a girlfriend of six years.  I can remember thinking "oh, well......I guess he'll probably marry her soon."  Our relationship really grew out of a deep friendship and we hurdled many obstacles both individually and as friends way before we ever started dating.  Six months before we ever started dating I told one of our mutual friends "I'm going to marry Craig, I just can't date him right now."  Doesn't really make sense, but that was the truth.

We began dating in February of 2008 and this is probably the best part of the whole story.  I was playing basketball with 6th graders in the gym on my conference period and as I came down from jumping for a rebound, my foot rolled on a student's foot and I heard the unmistakable POP of a very sprained ankle.  One of the other coaches came over to me immediately and all I said was "go get Craig."  He and I spent one very memorable afternoon in the Care Now getting x-rays of my ankle which ended in me hobbling out on crutches. It was a Wednesday afternoon so he had select basketball practice that night and at 9:00 that night he brought me Taco Bueno to my apartment, got me my medicine and helped me settle into bed.  I gave him a spare key to my apartment to lock the door as he left and I didn't get that key back until I moved out almost six months later.

In Vegas for my 25th birthday.

In College Station for an Aggie football game.

At the State Fair with our good friends, the Manning family.

Pre-partying for the U2 concert at Cowboys stadium.  My first U2 concert while Craig had seen already seen them in.........Dallas, Madison Square Garden, Hawaii and Dublin.

At a friend's wedding.

If married, how long have you been married?

We were married on March 13, 2010 in a gorgeous outdoor wedding with about 150 of our closest friends and family.  Our wedding colors were chocolate brown and lime green and we honeymooned in Antigua for a week.

***I don't have any wedding pictures on my flash drive at work or else I would post some of those.***
My favorite bridal portrait.

I printed this one in sepia tone for my Daddy to put next to his bed.

Against my mother's judgment, I took all my bridal portraits in the Deep Ellum section of Dallas which is known for bars, tattoo parlors and other questionable establishments.  But I wanted something different from the typical bridal portraits and we were able to get some amazing pictures.

One of my favorite engagement shots taken in the gym where we met and spent so much time together.

We had our engagement party at the horse races where we rented out a suite and invited all our closest friends to join us for food, horse racing and then a Cross Canadian Ragweed concert.

Our honeymoon in Antigua - I was so skinny and tan!!!

It was absolutely gorgeous.

We did nothing exciting or interesting.  No paragliding, no scuba-ing, no jetskiing.  Nothing.  We sat on the beach or by the pool and slept, drank and read.  It was wonderful.

If you are married, where did you get married at?  Big or small wedding?

We were married outside on the edge of a golf course at a hotel in the area.  I really didn't have a preference as to where we got married and when Craig saw this particular location, he got excited and pumped for the that's what we did!  I liked that we had the wedding and reception all at the same place.

Do you have any nicknames that you call each other?  Do share!

Not anything other than the typical "honey" or "baby."

Name three things you love most about your honey.

- His compassion for and loyalty to those people that he cares about.  (This includes not only his family, but the girls that are on his basketball teams.)
- His sense of humor and ability to make me laugh.
- He is the most patient and thoughtful person I know!

Tell us how he proposed?

He completely caught me off guard.  It was a Thursday afternoon on a day when we had early release due to final exams.  Ironically, I had just spilled the beans to my principal that Craig and I were even dating, although my principal said "are you about to tell me the worst kept secret at our school" right before I told him so apparently we weren't as sneaky as I thought.  He just asked me in our bedroom when we were both wearing sweatpants and t-shirts - nothing special nor a very romantic setting, but the words he chose to use were beautiful.

Is he a flowers and teddy bear kind of guy for v-day, or strawberries, champagne and rose petals?

I'm not any of those things so I would really hope that he would not do anything like that.  He usually surprises me with some sort of flowers sent to work and a sweet card.

Are you a sunset dinner on the beach kind of girl, or a pop a movie in and relax on the couch?

I would hope this answer is fairly obvious.  I would prefer sweats, popcorn and relaxing on the couch but instead of a movie, we'd probably be watching sports.

Tell us one thing you'd like to do with your significant one day.  If you could do anything?  Go anywhere?

I'd like to take him to Australia - that's his dream vacation spot.  We'd also like to go to the Super Bowl, the Olympics and an NCAA Final Four.  I'm hoping that our next overseas adventure will be to Ireland, England and Scotland.

Tell us what you plan on doing this Valentine's Day.

Since our anniversary is only one short month after Valentine's Day, we will not be doing anything major for V-Day but instead we will be celebrating LOVE with Natalie as a family of three.  We're planning on starting the tradition of a family date night for Valentine's Day (I can't resist the opportunity to dress her up and put a big fat bow in her hair) and then a Momma-Daddy date night for our anniversary.

Are you asking for anything this Valentine's Day?

Nope.  Not a thing.  I'm waiting for our anniversary in March.

Give us one piece of advice of keeping a relationship strong and full of love.

You should have three "lives" in the house - your family life, your marriage life and your individual life.  Craig and I do things with Natalie as a family, we do things just the two of us and we do things individually by ourselves or with our female/male friends.  The amount of time that you devote to each "life" will never be equal but they should all satisfy you and create a whole person.

Show us a picture of what love means to you.

This is my lovely husband right before we were rolled into the OR for my emergency c-section.  He might have been terrified and nervous, but he didn't let it show.  Instead he stayed strong and tried to make me giggle.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Day Booking

I'm linking up once again with The Simple Woman's Daybook to get my brain going on this sluggish Monday.  It's one of THOSE Mondays and I just need something to jump start cohesive thinking in my brain - I'm having a hard time putting together coherent and organized thoughts so hopefully this will help.

Outside my window......I'm still sitting in the coaches office at school and I am surrounded by cinder block walls but outside the weather took a chilly turn on Saturday night and although it's sunny, the temperature is hovering around forty degrees.

I am thinking......of all the things I have to get accomplished this week and next month for Natalie's birthday celebrations.

I am thankful......that my middle brother Mike moved back home to Texas from Maine where he lived with his wife for five years.  He stopped by yesterday afternoon with a Pinterest gift that I had sweetly asked him to make for Natalie's birthday.  He is her godfather and takes his role very seriously.  Some of my fondest memories growing up were of me and Mike - like the time that I was sick and couldn't fall asleep so he sang me "You Are So Beautiful" to help me go to sleep easily.  He's had his fair share of struggles as well and I'm just thankful that he is healthy enough to be present in Natalie's life.

In the kitchen......Craig made wonderful steaks yesterday for our Super Bowl dinner complete with baked beans, broccoli and baked potatoes.  Yum.

I am wearing......running shorts, an Aggie volleyball shirt and a whistle - we're playing basketball today in PE.

I am creating......nothing right now and although it feels good not to be DOING anything, I know that I have a lot of work to do that I'm NOT doing because I'm being lazy.

I am have a really busy week.  We have something planned for every single night this week except for Saturday.

I am long Natalie's "I don't want to sleep through the night anymore" phase is going to last.  She had been doing so well with going to bed right around 8:00 and sleeping until 7:00 in the morning but the last three days she's been up and crying every night.  Last night it was from 1:30 until 5:00.....I think she's teething and I'm ready for those little suckers to break through so she can go back to her normal sleeping schedule.

I am reading......well, I haven't started yet, but I'm about to be reading the book of Peter from the Bible.  I'm starting up a Tuesday night women's bible study with my friend Emily which is led by her super talented sister-in-law Jennifer.

I am hoping......and praying and wishing and crossing my fingers that she sleeps tonight.

I am looking forward to......the Kelly Clarkson concert this Friday with my friend Emily.

I am control my frustration but it is the hardest battle I've ever fought.

Around the house......there are still some loads of laundry to be done and always some toys to be picked up in the playroom........oh and those shelves of books that Natalie cleaned out yesterday......but other than those small things the house is running smoothly.  I try not to go into our backyard because it's a jungle out there - the winter just makes everything so disgusting and we haven't had weather cold enough to kill the weeds so Craig and I have our work cut out for us once Spring really hits us.

I am pondering......what fun and festive treat I should make or buy for Natalie's friends at Ms. Rebecca's house.  She spends the day with five older boys and she will need to get them all something sweet for Valentine's Day.

A favorite quote for today......"patience is a virtue."

One of my favorite things......the joy Natalie finds in putting on her shoes in the morning.  I don't know if she is just thrilled with the fact that she has a definite name for something or if she is really that enamored with her little Nikes, but when I put her down on the changing pad to get dressed in the morning, the first word out of her mouth is "shoes?"  Yes honey, I'll put on your shoes once I get you dressed for the day.

A few plans for the rest of the week: Craig's 7th grade games tonight, Bible Study tomorrow night, Craig's 8th grade games and my volleyball on Wednesday, Craig's 7th grade tournament on Thursday, Friday and Saturday and my Kelly Clarkson concert on Friday night.

A peek into my day.....
We screech when we're happy and we screech when we're upset.  Regardless of the reason, it terrifies the dogs.

Friday, February 3, 2012

I Want You To Know....

Maybe it's the teenager in me but I really enjoy these types of questionnaires.  Or maybe I'm a narcissist and just enjoy talking about myself.  Hmm....either way, here you go.  I stole them from Robin at Farewell Stranger.

1. What is your motto in life?

I don't know if I really have one.  That might be something I have to work on.....

2. Are you a morning or night person?

I am most definitely a morning person - I like to get up, let the pups out and then grab a cup of coffee and settle into surfing the internet before the rest of my family wakes up.

3. Favorite childhood story?

I read a lot of Baby Sitters Club books as well as Sweet Valley High.  I know.  Real high brow literature.

4. What is the farthest road trip you have ever taken?

The summer before I turned 16 my parents and I drove from our house down to Abbeville, Louisiana and then onto New Orleans and then eventually ending up in Destin, Florida.  On the way back we stopped in Jackson, Mississippi and Vicksburg, Louisiana.

5. What collection do you have right now?

I always have a collection of sneakers and t-shirts that I occassionally have to clean out.  But as far as sentimental stuff?  I'm really not a big collector of anything because "collection" to me means "clutter" and "disorganization" and as we all know.......those are two things I simply cannot handle.

6. Coke or Pepsi?

Neither.  No dark sodas for me.  I stick with Sprite.

7. What is your favorite table or board game?

LIFE!  I love this game.  When I would play as a kid I, for some strange reason, would always want to pack my little car FULL of children.  And I remember getting in a fight with a friend about whether the girl could drive the car and her husband sit in the passenger seat.  Seriously.

8. Do you have any piercings/tattoos?

I have my ears pierced just once and I have "passione" which is passionate in Italian tattooed on my left hip. I'm thinking about getting "strength" in Italian tattooed on my right hip so that wherever I go, I have my passion and strength beside me at all times to get through whatever life throws at me.

9. Favorite smell?

Chanel Chance.  I used to wear it all the time when I would "go out" on the weekends but now I just save it for special occasions so that when I do wear it, I feel really feminine and fancy.

10. How do you feel most loved?

Craig is the most fantastic gift giver.  He remembers every single thing that I ever mention that I might like.  I love pretty serving dishes in my kitchen and I found a gorgeous footed turquoise one at Home Goods right before Christmas while we were shopping for his family.  I really fell in love with it but didn't buy it at the time because, you was a week before Christmas and we had other things that we had to spend our money on at that point in time.  Imagine my surprise when I opened a present from his sister on Christmas and she had gotten me that very same bowl that I had seen in the store.  I know that a bowl for my kitchen is a very materialistic way of feeling loved, but I think it's the emotion and intention behind the gift that is important.  Craig, more than anything in this world, lives to make the important women in his life happy and he knew that a pretty bowl to sit on my counter top would put a smile on my face.

11. When was the last time you did something for the first time?

I don't like trying new things.  It goes along with that whole "I don't like failure" thing.  If I have the slightest inkling that I might not be good at something, there's a good chance that I won't be doing it.  But, I'm trying to break out of that mold so I registered for the Warrior Dash at the end of April which is a 5K full of adult obstacle courses.  I'll be swimming through mud and jumping over fire and hopefully earning myself a beer, a turkey leg and a viking helmet.

And here are the questions that Robin thought up and posed to her followers........

1. What's your superpower?

I am pretty intuitive when it comes to people.  I have the ability to read a person and usually (oh gosh, this sounds terrible) the first impression or gut feeling I have about a person is usually pretty spot on and true.  I remember even back to junior high when my two closest friends forged a friendship with a new girl named Lauren.  They were pretty pumped about her but I never trusted her nor did I think she was really someone that we needed to be hanging around.  My other two friends told me I was being too judgmental and harsh and that I should try to get to know her.  I declined.  And sure enough, six months later they were sick of her lies, her pettiness and the fact that she stole things from them.  My intuition about her was right all along and I believe at some point, the words "I told you so" did escape from my lips.

2. What blog do you never miss?

I don't "follow" that many blogs so there really isn't that many that I have to keep up with and therefore I'm able to read all the posts that my bloggy friends make.  One "blog" or website that I check on a daily basis is STFU Parents just because it is absolutely hilarious and helps me to keep my Facebook status updates free and clear of constant Natalie updates.

3. If you could change your name, what would you change it to?

I would probably just change my last name back to my maiden name.  I'm pretty fond of my first name, but sometimes I miss my old last name.  I built a persona with that name and it was a very strange experience to change it - I didn't really feel any connection to my married name and I almost felt like a little piece of my identity

4. Do you consider yourself a "blogger" or a "writer"?

I don't really consider myself either to be real honest.  I don't think of this really as a "blog" but more a public journal and online social circle.  I mean, from a teacher's perspective I suppose I am a "writer" because technically, I am putting words together in sentences and these sentences form paragraphs and my paragraphs become a piece of short literature.  But I certainly wouldn't consider myself a GOOD writer.

5. What was your biggest failure and what did you learn from it?

I wouldn't say I've had any BIG failures in my life but there certainly have had several small ones - a volleyball loss here or a bad boyfriend there.  I don't know if I would call them "failures" but I have made some pretty poor decisions (see bad boyfriend above) and I learned a lot from those..........but I really don't have the time nor the energy to go into those lessons because it would take the rest of the afternoon.

6. What's the most embarrassing song in your collection?

I have every single 'Nsync, Backstreet Boys and Britney Spears songs ever made.  And you know what?  I'm not even embarrassed about it.

7. Are you shy?

Surprisingly, yes.  I like the familiar and when I'm placed in a new situation with people I don't know, I get very quiet and reserved because I like to survey the scene before jumping in.  This way, I can gauge how I need to act and which sides of my personality I need to show.  Ooh.  When I put it that way it sounds like I'm fake and not "keeping it real" with people, but I just like to know whether or not I can be sarcastic or if I need to be more straightforward, etc.

8. How do you prioritize yourself in your own life?

I play in a volleyball league every Wednesday night at 7:30 for one hour and starting next week I will be participating in a women's Bible study every Tuesday night.  Craig understands that I need time to recharge and re-energize myself and he has no problem taking care of Natalie.

9. Where do you stand on chocolate?

I'm not the biggest chocolate fan - I'd much rather eat chips or anything else salty.  The one piece of chocolate that I can't resist is Reese's Peanut Butter Cups.  My goodness.  Those things are a little piece of heaven on this Earth.

10. What's your biggest source of inspiration (other than your family, etc.)?

Hmm.  I would probably say my athletes.  They inspired me to get up in the mornings and get to school at 7:15 for practice because they showed so much enthusiasm for the sport and for each other.  Watching them grow as players and young women inspires me to be the best role model possible for them.

11. What do you hope to do this year that you're really excited about?

I don't know if it's PURE excitement because there's definitely some fear and trepidation mixed in there but I am forging ahead with my Warrior Dash event at the end of April.  It should be interesting and if nothing else, I'll get some good pictures.