Sunday, December 23, 2012

Down the Tube

Friday morning started with the alarm going off at 5:30 so that Craig and I could Natalie up to the children's surgery center by 6:20 for her tubes to be inserted into her ears.

And did you know that in my little town, there is still a line at Starbucks at 5:55 in the morning?!

And did you also know that there are people in this world that are completely made up with high heel boots, make-up and curled hair at 6:20?!

Regardless...we had a pretty uneventful morning.  I suppose things went according to plan - we checked in, were admitted, she drank her goofy juice and off she went.  The procedure took less than ten minutes and she was back in our arms and ANGRY.  And wanting ONLY Daddy and definitely NOT Momma

Reading FOX in the waiting room before the her new Santa pajamas.

Friday night was rough - the antibiotic ear drops that are required for the next few days burn her ears and she has a hard time calming down from receiving them.  She wasn't asleep in bed for much more than an hour before she was up and crying in her crib for "Dada."  I figured it was the start of a pattern so I just pulled her into bed with me and I slept on six inches of the mattress while she had the rest of our king size bed.
Ajax taking good care of his patient.
And now on Sunday afternoon she is more or less back to normal.  Still not a big fan of the ear drops, but she is running around the house, eating big meals and not crying over the littlest of frustrations.
And she slept through the night last night.  
Here's to hoping it continues.

Thursday, December 20, 2012


There's a reason I love my job.
I get to put on a bandanna and matching team shirt and play dodgeball like a boss.

When you wear the same shirt as your bestie you gotta bust out the duck face and peace signs bro.

Today was my "Friday" because tomorrow we are at the hospital getting tubes for Natalie. 

Today I lovingly annihilated punk 8th grade boys with dodgeballs and high-fived my girls after we routed the other team. 

I got to show my co-workers the value coaches can have in a child's life.

Today was a good day.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

I'm sorry I'm not sorry

Last Thursday was just a tough day.

Something stupid set me off because it was a reminder of so many other times when boundaries have been crossed and disrespected.

I'm not perfect in any sense of the word.

I know that I have a temper.

I wield words like a shield and sword, putting up a defense while simultaneously aiming for the jugular.

Perhaps it comes from being the youngest of two brothers growing up - I knew that I was no match for them physically so I had to find a different kind of weapon.

Regardless of the reason or the source....when I purposely use my words to inflict pain and suffering, it's simply not right.

It would be easier to brush off my hurtful remarks and apologize if I truly said them in the heat of the moment and that they didn't come from my heart.

But I don't feel sorry because I meant what I said, it came from straight from my heart.....and I think that is what scares me the most.

I am capable of loving so deeply and whole-heartedly. I give selflessly to Craig, Natalie, friends, students and my family. But on this subject and with these people I am hardened and unforgiving.

A friend of mine used to joke about my love of justice, which stems from my strong sense of right and wrong.  And although it was a "joke," as with any teasing, there was some semblance of truth in her statement.

I might not *love* justice, but I do hold grudges.  I do struggle with unencumbered forgiveness.  If I am going to truly forgive someone I want an apology first.  I want the offending party to understand what they have done wrong and then to acknowledge it to me.

How self-righteous I am.  How self-important I feel.

Ugh.  How ugly this characteristic of mine seems when printed in black and white.

Who I am to believe that I am a true judge of other people's flaws, mistakes or intentions?

I need to learn to forgive like God forgives.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

God is still GOOD

Where do you start praying after a day like today?

For the families who suffered a loss so great that there isn't a word to define a parent who has grieved a child?

For the children whose nights will be filled with dreams of gunshots and fallen classmates?

Or perhaps for the men who have the job of entering that classroom and picking up the littlest of bodies?

Maybe a prayer for the new principal and teachers who will continue on at the school while fighting the horror that will surely permeate the mind, heart and soul of all who enter?

I just don't know where to begin and how to get the words just right.....because there is so much to pray for.

But I do know this.

God is still GOOD and RIGHTEOUS.

It pains me to read commentary reflecting on an apparently "obvious" absence of God when this maniac fought his way into an elementary school and murdered a classroom full of first graders.

"Where was God?"

"Why didn't He stop this from happening?"

From my years of religious education.....human beings are not puppets.  We have been given a body, brain and soul to use here on Earth in addition to free will AND the Bible.  I have the choice to follow the word of God or to engage in sinful behavior.

God never said that life here on Earth would be free from unspeakable tragedy or heart-wrenching pain and suffering.  In fact, he pretty much assures us that just by the very nature of being human there is no doubt that we WILL encounter those things but then in the same breath He reminds us that through all the bad, He is still GOOD.

My faith has not been shaken.  My belief is still strong.

On Friday night I hugged my baby girl on the couch and sobbed for those mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers who will spend the rest of their lives with a piece of their family puzzle missing.  The first responders who had to uncover the carnage and the children who ran fearfully from their school building.  The family of the shooter because their grief is the loneliest of all.

God is still GOOD and RIGHTEOUS.  Humans are fallible and sinful.

The horrific events that unfolded on Friday were an act of an evil human, not of a vengeful or spiteful God.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


Tuesday, December 11th - 2:18 pm

Outside my window.....winter has finally arrived and it is chilly with a bright blue sky.  

I am thinking.....of Christmas break and all the rest and relaxation that my family so desperately needs.

I am thankful.....that we have a date on our calendar for Natalie's tubes to be put in her ears which will hopefully clear up all the infections and cranky nights we've had over the past year.

In the kitchen.....last night I whipped up a quick taco dinner because Craig had basketball games and tonight is Poppyseed Chicken which is terrible for the waistline but amazing for the soul.

I am Nike windpants, a Team Texas hoodie and my Aggie Cotton Bowl shirt.

I am creating.....the rest of my Christmas list. I have one more gift left to get for Craig and none for Natalie BUT I have nothing for my parents and friends.

I am try and get a full night sleep with Natalie at my mother-in-law's house.

I am to get of my mind-numbing migraines.

I am reading.....lots of information on Sam Houston and Mirabeau Lamar in preparation for a Texas Presidential Debate in my class this week!

I am hoping.....all my hopes right now are centered around the health of my family - Craig, myself and Natalie. This includes our physical, mental and emotional well being.

I am looking forward to.....a fun get together with a friend and her daughter Saturday afternoon.

I am learning.....patience.

Around the house.....laundry. Always laundry.

I am pondering.....what my next step should be career-wise.  There might be the possibility for me to get out of coaching at the end of the school year which would be great for our family planning.....but my 8th grade volleyball players will be GOOD next year.  I have several girls that are playing club outside of school and I could definitely put together a very talented little team.  Whatever will be, will be though.  It's not really in my hands - God will move me out of coaching and into full time teaching when he sees fit.

One of my favorite things.....seeing my family devour the yummy Poppyseed Chicken I cooked last night.

A few plans for the rest of the week:  Cross Country meet this afternoon (brr!), Craig's basketball games tomorrow night, 8th grade basketball tournament Friday and Saturday and a little Christmas get together with a dear friend and her daughter on Saturday afternoon.

A peek into my day.....this is what Natalie was wearing yesterday to Craig's basketball games.

When did she become such a big little girl?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Monday, December 10, 2012

"Ear" We Are...

There is an epidemic of pregnancy hitting my Facebook feed. It's attacking with more fury than "wedding fever," which of course makes it harder to resist.

It looks like so much fun...charting how big the baby is getting and taking belly pictures every week. I should get on the bandwagon and give Natalie a sibling, right?!


Not after the last four weeks.

Craig and I have not slept through the night since before Thanksgiving.

Things are getting desperate up in here y'all.

I know, I know. I've had a newborn on the every three hours feeding schedule. This nighttime song and dance should be old hat by now.

But the thing is...we've come so damn far from her newborn days. September and October were filled with full nights and late mornings. I could stay up and watch Jon Stewart and not go to sleep with a sense of dread filling up my body because I KNOW that I will be up in just a few short hours. It's almost like we've tasted the parental promise land but now we have been shoved back into exhaustion exile.

Help is hopefully on the way though.

Natalie has an appointment with a pediatric ENT in the morning. The little miss has the propensity for ear infections and we have been battling the same one for close to a full month. After a few rounds with that antibiotic and this antibiotic we are looking at the long-term solution of getting tubes in her ears.

According to others, I should be a nervous wreck because it's SURGERY and ANESTHESIA and it's my BABY.

But I'm not nervous or scared or even very worried.

Because quite frankly, I just want to sleep.

And I trust doctors, modern medicine and above all....I trust in God. Freaking out will not do me or Natalie any good. She takes her social cues from me and Craig, so if I act like it ain't no big thang, she will hopefully stay calm and be brave.

Wish us luck!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Our Routine

Natalie and I have really fallen into a great routine both in the mornings and afternoons now that Craig is leaving the house early and coming home late due to basketball.  Awhile back I wrote a heart-wrenching (to me at least) post about how Daddy was CLEARLY Natalie's favorite person for comfort and joy during volleyball season because I just wasn't around very much.  Craig kept reassuring me that come basketball season the tables would turn and I would be the one she would call out for in the mornings and at bedtime.

And once again I doubted myself entirely too much and I should have trusted in my husband (and in God).

Depending on when she wakes up we are usually down in the kitchen eating breakfast around 6:30 or so.  She happily chomps on her cheerios and fruit while shrieking about the dogs or jabbering about babies.  I get the Keurig fired up and then make both our lunches.  The dogs scamper outside to use the restroom and then come in and sit eagerly by Natalie's feet, hoping for a stray Cheerio to fall.

Usually by 6:45 or 7:00 we are back upstairs so that I can take a shower while she plays with her magnets or reads books in the bathroom.  Sometimes she will wander off to the playroom and return with a wonderfully prepared plastic breakfast consisting of peas and carrots for me.  Or sometimes such as this morning, I will find her curled up in her glider with a book and a baby.  I plug in my iPhone to the iHome and we listen to the Florence and the Machine station on Pandora.

After I'm dressed and ready around 7:30 we head into her room and take off jammies and put on a fresh diaper and outfit for the day.  We usually have an intense debate over BOW or NO BOW which always depends on the choice of clothing.  Medicine is given (if necessary) and teeth and hair are brushed.

Once we get downstairs, the pups are locked in their kennel and we gather up our supplies for the day.  Backpack in hand, Natalie stomps to the garage door and out we go....but not without stopping (and pleading) for the Santa blow-up decoration in our front yard to be inflated.  But much to her dismay, our Santa is a nocturnal creature and MUST get his rest during the day so we wish Santa a good nap and climb into the car.

Our afternoon routine gets started a little later than I would like because for the next three weeks I'm tied up after school with Cross Country practice until 4:45 which means Natalie and I don't arrive home until closer to 5:00.  But once home I again turn on the Pandora radio in the iHome that is above the sink and we clean up the house....sometimes that means putting away laundry and toys while other days it's wiping down counters and picking up the leaves the dogs track in from the yard.

After about a twenty minute speed clean around the house the music stays on and the television stays off while I start the preparations for dinner.  Depending on what we are eating, Natalie may or may not be involved and if not she pretty much has the run of the downstairs and she will color and read books or play with her babies and animals.  Towards the end of the dinner prep Craig arrives home and keeps her occupied while I finish up and get the food to the table.

On the nights that he is home and doesn't have a basketball game, Craig is the one who reads a bedtime story and then rocks her to sleep but on Monday and Thursday nights it is my duty.  Last night we got home from Craig's game at 8:45 and went straight upstairs for pajamas, teeth brushing, book reading and bedtime. After a few books I clicked off the lamp and rocked her for about eight minutes before her breathing seemed to level out.  I picked her up and placed her in the crib but as soon as I closed the door her pitiful wails began.

Sigh.  I sat on the bed and watched her through the monitor and anxiety crawled up my spine.  I just knew it was going to be one of THOSE nights and I figured that it would end with me huffing and puffing with frustration, her face streaked with tears and Craig having to swoop in and save the day even though he was exhausted from coaching 7th grade basketball.

So I sat and I zenned out.  I waited and listened.  "Mama, mama, mama!" she wailed from her bed....and although I hated to hear her cry, I was secretly pleased that she was calling for ME!  After five minutes it was obvious that she would not be putting herself to sleep and as Craig walked in the front door I was heading back into her room.  I stood in that dark room for as long as it took me to methodically thump on her back, slowly and calmly FIVE HUNDRED TIMES.  Literally.  Five hundred pats on her back.  Of course I counted....because you know....I like numbers.  Again I sneaked out of her room while practically holding my breath all the while praying that she would not be flipped over and sitting up by the time I walked the ten steps to our bedroom.

I took a look at the monitor and WHOOSH.  I let out a deep breath.  The toddler was soundly asleep.  Bedtime success with no frustration from either party.  Hallelujah.

I totally underestimated the power of a routine with a child.  I know that I personally enjoy a routine and that installing a consistent warm-up with my athletes is important but I truly had no idea how attached to a "routine" Natalie would become.  It has taken us a few weeks (and a few tears) to get ourselves situated to the new normal but she has transitioned beautifully and understands (for the most part) what is going on, where Daddy is ("work" or "ball") and how it affects her life.

Monday, December 3, 2012

iPhone Dump

Just a few pictures of what we've been up to these past few weeks....

Being a well rounded young lady and watching football while reading a book.


Having fun at the awesome new park that opened near our house!

Playing "warrior princess" at Miss Rebecca's house.

This is her crazy at breakfast face.
And her "I'm not ready to be awake for breakfast" face.

I told her to drag the basket of sheets to the bottom of the stairs.  She tried to push all the sheets UP the stairs.

Playing with hats.

Oh my Angie girl.....always so intense.

Loving on her favorite pup - Ajax.

And of course....checking out the progress on the snickerdoodle cookies.

She had to be JUST like Momma sitting on the couch under a blanket and having a drink.  Except Momma was having a beer.  Ha!

And this.  See number 40 up there?  Yep.  That's yours truly - sophomore on Varsity and a member of the 13-1 District and Bi-District champs basketball team.
Yikes.  I'm getting old.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Sunday Daybook

Sunday, December 2nd - 8:07 am

Outside my window.....the sun has risen and the clouds are moving quickly from the sky.  It was 80 degrees here in Texas yesterday and I'm expecting the same for this afternoon as well.

I am thinking.....of the dream I had last night in which Craig had bought a piece of land and I designed our dream home.  I was actually walking through the house and then creating a floor plan during my dream.  Very strange.

I am thankful.....that Natalie is strong, smart, healthy and vivacious.

In the kitchen.....I made two great dinners last week, both of which Natalie thoroughly enjoyed: tilapia with noodles and zucchini on Thursday and then Taco Soup on Saturday night (but too bad it wasn't cold outside to REALLY enjoy it!).

I am wearing.....a high school basketball shirt, Nike running shorts and my hair in a ponytail.

I am creating.....not a whole lot right now!  We've got the house decorated for Christmas and I'm very content with how it turned out.  In years past I have been anxious to have the house COMPLETELY decorated but this year I'm good with what we've done....I don't want to have it ALL decorated because then what would I have to look forward to next year?!

I am have a busy three weeks before Christmas vacation - we've got basketball games twice a week combined with Cross Country meets AND trying to find time with friends in between all that.

I am wondering.....why Natalie has been getting little bits of baby acne on her cheeks recently.

I am reading.....nothing right now!  Yikes!  I'm supposed to be starting The Yard by Alex Grecian for Book Club but I haven't been able to locate it in the stores.  I'm also looking for some new blogs to read....some with little to no advertising, lots of reflection and truth combined with a healthy dose of self-deprecation and humor.

I am hoping.....that Natalie soon begins sleeping in past 5:00 in the morning.

I am looking forward to.....being done with Cross Country and having some time off from school in a few weeks.

I am stand up for myself and acknowledge when statements or actions are inappropriate and rude.

Around the house.....there are some rooms that are a general disaster area.  Craig and I have some great ideas about how to rearrange the layout (move dining room from front room to closer to the kitchen and then transform front room into study) but it will take money and time to complete these tasks.

I am pondering.....our plans for today.  I do not want to sit around the house but I also have things that MUST be completed at home (laundry, grocery shopping, etc).

One of my favorite things.....watching Natalie develop imaginary play.

A few plans for the rest of the week:  Two basketball games for Craig, one Cross Country meet for me, dinner with a good friend and my school's annual Christmas party on Friday.

Non-Sleeping Beauty

And since yesterday I spent an entire post praising my child for being the world's awesomest toddler eater, let's move onto something she ain't so great at - SLEEPING.

This is not something she inherited from me.

I'm going to blame it on her father who definitely struggles to fall (and stay) asleep.

Natalie has never in her life slept beyond 8:00 in the morning.  Not once.  Not even if we keep her up until 10:00 the night before, she will be hollering from her crib at 6:30....or earlier.

Here is our bedtime routine:

- Momma puts on Natalie's pajamas, gives medicine if necessary and helps brush hair and teeth.
- Daddy is seated in the cozy brown glider in Natalie's bedroom.
- Natalie picks out one or two books to read and then climbs into Daddy's lap.
- Good night kisses and hugs for Momma.
- Lamp is turned on and overhead light is switched off.
- Momma leaves the room.
- Daddy reads the books and cuddles Natalie.
- At some point in time when Natalie is close to sleep, the lamp is turned off and she is just rocked until fully or almost asleep.
- Daddy places Natalie into her crib and heads out of the room.
- Most of the time Natalie wakes up and spends the next five minutes crying on the side of her crib before throwing herself into a little ball in the center of her mattress and passes out.

It's all sweet and fun until that last part.

For the longest time Craig refused to put her into the crib without Natalie being completely asleep nor would he let her cry on her own for any amount of time.

At the beginning of the school year Craig and I had a little powwow about our nighttime routine and I convinced him to try letting her cry on her own in bed for 10 minutes just one night.  It absolutely killed him but of course within five minutes she was asleep.

As her parents, we know all the different "cries" that Natalie has - from the whimper of "that hurt just a little but I think I'm okay if you give me a hug" to the "I'm so tired but I don't want to go to bed because you guys are probably doing super fun stuff right now" and even the "oh my goodness I am in so much pain and anguish and you better come get me right now because I  might explode."

Most of the time we get some version of the second type of cry and within that five minute window of us leaving the room, she is passed out in her bed and sleeps through the night........but here is the kicker - she is and EARLY morning riser.  As in 5:30 AM.


This is the part where I do not know what to do.  We can get her to bed and have her stay there throughout the night (for the most part) but this 5:00 in the morning crap has got to end.  I'll admit it, when other people write about their children sleeping in past 8:00, I get a little jealous.  A whole lot jealous in fact.  Even if I can't sleep in that late do you know how glorious it sounds to have some time in the morning to myself to take a shower, put on make-up or even just drink a cup of coffee in pure solitude?  Sigh.

And now that she has started up this 5:00 stuff and Craig and I both work long hours, we've taken up the bad habit of just bringing her to bed with us in the mornings so that we can at least sleep until 6:30.  But this is not a habit I want to get into because although it can be sweet to wake up to her little face in the morning, I sleep TERRIBLY with her in the bed and a well-rested Momma is better for every member of my household.

One of my thoughts is to take the front of her crib off and convert it to a toddler bed so that in the morning she could play with the toys in her room without waking up me or Craig.  BUT....that would completely upset our bedtime routine because during that five minutes of frustration before passing out, she would be out of bed and banging on the door.

My other thought is just to wait it out because she did this awhile back for a few weeks before going back to her better wake-up time of 6:30.  She's also been battling a not-really-an-ear-infection-but-kind-of-an-ear-infection this past week.  We have her on some antibiotics combined with a nasal spray to knock all the junk loose in her head and so far, so fever which is hopefully a sign that the ear infections is staying at bay for the time being.  We will head back to the pediatrician's office in a few weeks to have another look into her ears to see if the fluid has cleared up.  If not, we're off to the ENT doctor.

Or perhaps she's just an early riser which could benefit us when she is in school?!