Monday, January 31, 2011

Hot Tea and New CDs


The first sentence of my blog goes like this:

Well, not to give you a play by play, but today was a little strange.

That's all I have right now of that blog, the rest recently disappeared, which adds to the strangeness of the day. I could give up, but I'm going to start over.

Okay, so I've thought all day that I had a meeting tonight. I asked Derrick last night if he would keep Madeley tonight, so I could go. He says, "Sure, but isn't your meeting Tuesday night?"

My response, "Nope. It's tomorrow night."

When I got up this morning, I picked out my outfit knowing I would be wearing it to the meeting. I picked out my white cardigan. It's pretty.

I was giving a test in first block, and my nose starts bleeding. Who knows? I could have cared less that they were testing. I rushed out to clean it up. I couldn't ruin my cardigan... I was going to wear it to the meeting.

When I was leaving school, I stopped by my friend Kristin's room. I told her I was trying to get home early because I had a meeting. She says, "I thought your meetings were on Tuesdays."

My response, "Nope, it's tonight."

I run around like crazy, getting something to eat, picking up Madeley, paying a bill. Just trying to get home early. I stop by to check on Dad, and I mention that I have a meeting. He says, "I thought PEO meetings were on Tuesdays."

My response, "Nope, it's tonight." Should I have gotten the point by now? Well, I didn't.

We get home and Madeley is very very unhappy. I don't want to leave her in the middle of fussy, teething, tiredness. I decide maybe I just won't be making it to that meeting after all. I call my ride and tell her I don't think I'm going. She says, "Oh, well the meeting is tomorrow night anyway."



Does that mean Derrick, Kristin, and Dad all knew when my meeting was, and I didn't? Uh, yes. Needless to say, I took off that dang cardigan and put on my snowflake pajama pants. Derrick and I watched Madeley play for a little bit. Can you guess what she was playing?

Sweet baby, playing 52 card pick up. Except she never picked them up! They're still in the floor right now.

When I finally got her in bed, I just felt the need to relax. I thought I deserved it, so I fixed myself a cup of hot red tea. Red tea's the new green tea, if you didn't already know that.

Sooooooo good.

Now I'm indulging in my new music. I went iTunes CRAZY while Derrick was "hunting" this past weekend. I say "hunting" because the last weekend of duck season consisted of card playing, food cooking, camaraderie. Since that was going on, I decided to purchase. I got JJ Heller's entire album. Pure bliss. Her music will relax you, touch your heart, and make you smile. I recommend looking into her.

If you want something more upbeat, you should try "Home" by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. Super song my brother-in-law introduced me to. It's folky and cowboyish. It makes you feel like you're falling in love right in front of the Alamo during the Texas Revolution. Except for Jane, girl in the song, talks about Alabama and Arkansas. And Alexander talks about riding in the car while Jane smokes a cigarette. Whatever. I'm in the basement of the Alamo in 1836 when I listen to that song!!

Great night at Home! I'm with Derrick and Madeley... love it.

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Sunday, January 30, 2011

The toilet, really?

I end up saying, "The toilet? Really Madeley? The toilet?" at least once or twice a day. We make a conscious effort to close the lid, but that doesn't always happen. Madeley has a sixth sense and something tells her the lid is up. She sneaks in and goes to town in the toilet. I've grabbed some strange things out, washed them off, and handed them back with a stern "NO NO!!" Here are just a few interesting pictures.

Lid down, thank goodness. Otherwise, my cute necklace would be soaked. She was definitely checking to see if the opportunity was there though.

Oh! She found a new toy! That just happened to be a new roll.

The toilet isn't the only place where mischief occurs. Anything she's not supposed to have, she gets her hands on...

Wrapping paper/tissue. Which she tears into tiny pieces and then proceeds to eat, like a goat.

Cookies she found in my bag. Too bad she couldn't figure out how to open the baggy. My cookies!

Dog food, oh the dog food. She eats it every time we go to Dad's. Within 10 minutes of arrival, I'm digging it out of her mouth and she's screaming like I just took away dinner.

Oops! We must keep cups out of reach. She'll always go for those. I've caught her licking the floor after she spilled something. Hmm... Why doesn't she know that's strange? She's still cute though!


This blog is 2-part, because I have a lot to say.

I'm just going to tell you a little bit about our day at Dad's yesterday. Dad is doing pretty good, healing well from a broken ankle. He's stubborn though and doesn't like to follow directions. Such as, "Don't walk without the boot, and don't put pressure on the broken foot." To him, that translates to, "Don't worry about wearing that boot all the time. Move around without it! And put as much pressure as you want on that foot!" I'm not kidding, he does the exact opposite of what he is told. Anyway, we are all coming off a sad week because Cramie Cramer (the goldfish) died. Dad has taken good care of him over the past 3 years. He's given Cramie CPR once and saved his life, but the CPR just didn't work this time. So Cramie Cramer went to swim with the fishies. Caroline, my niece, is a little sad about losing the fish, but she understands.

Jessica thinks she has to clean something, remember she gets the job done! So she decides to go out and blow some leaves. Unfortunately, the blower ate her favorite cardigan. Funny.

And after that, she stepped in dog poop. Even more funny. So she's cleaning her shoes and I'm laughing at her, like a nice sister!

We ended the night with a wonderful dinner!! A mixture of bowtie pasta, sautéd chicken, onions, green peppers, huge mushrooms, sundried tomatoes, garlic, and my new favorite thing... Philidelphia Cooking Cream! Yummy!

Topped with a little shredded mozzerella. You would L-O-V-E this meal. We all did. Fun day at Dad's!!


Note to coffee lovers:

Since I'm blogging so early, I must tell you about my morning coffee. Yesterday, I drank the last of the most wonderful, flavorful, spiciest creamer ever. International Delight Pumpkin Spiced Creamer. Yum. Anyway, I have to move on to something else until November rolls back around. Today I am having what I call Peppermint Crème. Do you like it that I included the thing above the e? I do, looks fancy.

Okay, so here's how you make the stuff. Crush up 2 small candy canes (I collect them after Christmas, but peppermints work just fine). Then mix them with extra creamy powdered creamer, and a little sugar for the sweetness you desire. Add in the coffee, stir. Don't forget to add whipped cream on top. I love it!

Love you for reading!

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Saturday, January 29, 2011

Strong Willed versus Weak Willed

Strong willed versus weak willed is a topic that has been on my mind for about two weeks now. It brings so many topics to my attention: the differences in my sister and I, the attitude of my husband, and how to parent my daughter.

I'll start with Jessica. She is my strong-willed, successful, opinionated, beautiful, bossy, amazing, older sister. Some of you know her.

See, I told you she is beautiful! Since we were children, she always thought she could tell me what to do. And she wanted me to get into trouble, I think she reveled in it! When we were very young, before I could write or reach tall places, she carved MOR in the top of the microwave. When Mom asked her about it, she said I did it! Which my mother knew was completely impossible. Jessica was punished... I shouldn't be telling this story, but it's one of my favorites. It just goes to show that she knew what she was doing even from a young age. She was determined to get what she wanted accomplished. The definition of strong-willed is strong-minded, having a vigorous, independent will. This is my sister, from birth to now. If you know her, you'll agree. She gets the job done, argues if she doesn't get her way, and can convince me to do whatever she wants. But the reason I'm telling you all of this is also to shine a light on how she "stepped up" when I needed her. If she had been weak-willed like me, we would have both been in the dark place when my mom passed away. We couldn't both be in the dark place! Neither one of us would have survived!! My sister became my caretaker when I had Madeley. She stepped up in my mother's absence and she did what she needed to, so that I would have the support I needed. This is why I'm thankful to have a strong-willed sister. My bossy older sister ended up to be my amazing, caring friend. Here we are, weak-willed, strong-willed, and the one who nurtured us along the way...

We need to discuss my strong-willed husband now. He doesn't take no for an answer, he argues every view point he has, he doesn't allow me to win an argument. He may come back later to apologize, but that doesn't count as an "in the moment" win for me. I love him deeply still. This man has helped his weak wife become stronger. He encourages me to stand up for myself. He coaches me in sharing my view points. And he leaves me by myself at home (duck hunting widow as my friend Rebekah would call it), so that I have the opportunity to overcome my fear of being home alone at night. I'm sure that's why he goes, he just wants to support me in becoming a stronger woman, right? Right. Anyway, his strong-willed self has been the most wonderful balance to my weaknesses. Love him.

(yes, that's me frog gigging... Husband also introduces me to new things. And, I just think he looks down right handsome in this picture!)

My last point in today's essay (which I am calling this, because it has kind of turned out to be my first 3-point essay in about 15 years. English teachers: be proud!), is my dear Madeley. She is as strong-willed as they come, even at the age of one. Her physical therapist sees her 2 days a week and has thankfully pointed all if this out to me. It has opened up a whole new world to parenting. We must give strong-willed children options. They must not feel backed into a corner, other wise the will most likely throw what we call a "fit". A fit may consist of throwing his or her body on to the floor and pushing with the feet to the point that the body spins and scoots all over the room. You may hear anything from moans, screams, or even satanic sounds. Your job as the mother is to take control of this situation. The only problem is that you haven't had ANY training in doing so. I know my mother had no idea what to do with my sister! The good news is that the strong-willed child can grow up to be very successful! In raising a strong-willed child, hopefully the parent raises from the view point of strength as opposed to weakness. As parents, we should assume that we have given our children the tools needed to succeed and allow them to do so. We should not baby them, take up for them when they are wrong, and shelter them. We should discipline them, protect the when necessary, and trust that they will make good decisions. A friend told me that strong-willed children grow up to be solid teenagers and adults. They do not choose to give in to peer pressure, as weaker teens may do. I believe this to be true, because the subjects of my first two points (sister and husband), were both very strong teens. They made good decisions and should be very proud of themselves. Madeley will be the same way. As some of you know, I ask A LOT of questions. When I come across successful parents, I ask them what their secret is. How have the been so successful? I take all the suggestions very seriously and plan to use as many of them as I can. I want Madeley to be everything God created her to be! I want her to be involved in church and music and whatever else she wants. It is my job to provide those experiences for her, so I have a lot of work ahead of me. I think we are off to a great start though!

YouTube Video

If you can't hear the singing video, here's a picture of the piano playing, strong-willed child.

Okay, she may just be reaching for some candy, but she knows where the piano is!

If you have stuck through the entire 3-point essay, thank you!! I love you! Talk to you soon...

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Friday, January 28, 2011

4th Annual Beard Shaving

Every year, toward the end of duck season, my husband begins to look very burly, mountain manish, and just flat out hairy. I've been told that the beard is essential for duck hunting. The ducks must not see the face, otherwise they'll leave. Who knew they were that smart? Derrick always talks about faces shining, referring to the guys that choose not to grow the manly beard. What about me though, what if I went hunting? Wouldn't my face "shine"? I sure can't grow a beard! Maybe I'd have to wear a mask...

Yep! That's me, and my substitute facial hair. Now back to the point, my favorite part of duck season is the beard shaving event. It symbolizes so many things in my life: the end of duck season, the end of my control of the television, and my husband's smooth face. Now here is how he looked last night...

You would want your husband to shave that thing too!!! The beard shaving event has become a hilarious tradition. We shave the beard in stages, creating the most comical facial hair.

The mug shot:

Each mustache is better than the last. A few of the previous beard shaving events...

I have laughed until I've cried! Just one more thing I love about my husband! Needless to say, he isn't the only one with crazy hair...

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Thursday, January 27, 2011

A drive home

Madeley and I have about an hour that we spend together each day, in the car. I like to look at her through rearview mirror, just to see if she's smiling, sleeping, or even giggling.

The other day, we heard the song "God Gave Me You," by Dave Barnes. I immediately thought of my sweet little Madeley! Many of you know I lost my mother about a month after I married Derrick. I found out I was pregnant just a few days before she died. I was overwhelmed with emotions. Sadness, fear, joy. It was a strange and difficult time in my life. I wanted to be excited about my new marriage and the wonderful baby on the way, but I was struggling with a broken heart. I had lost the safest, most wonderful person I had ever known. I wanted to tell her about my baby. I wanted to ask her questions about my marriage. I wanted her to make me dinner. And I wanted her to hug me tight. Nonetheless, I had to find a way to move past this dark place, because someone was going to need me like I needed my mom. Moving to a new house and preparing for Madeley actually helped me get better. And when she finally came, as tiny as she was, I was ready for her. I was able to move from sad daughter to excited mom. Now, everyone knows that being a new mom can be an emotional roller coaster, so I was up and down. Eventually, I was able to start appreciating my daughter. I am excited to see her wake up in the morning. I can't wait to pick her up after work. I absolutely love the hug she gives me before she goes to bed. Which brings us back to the song:
"God gave me you for the ups and downs, God gave me you for the days of doubt, God gave me you. For when I think I’ve lost my way, there are no words here left to say, it’s true God gave me you."
I know the Lord blessed me with Madeley because He knew I needed her. I am confident that she came at just the right time in my life. Even though I miss my mother, she taught me to be who I am now. I am proud when people tell me I look like her, when I sound like her, and even when I sing, but don't know the words. Just like she did. :)

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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Bedtime to Coffeetime

I find that my favorite times of the day are getting in my snuggly bed at night and then having flavorful coffee in the morning. What about all the stuff in between the coffee and the bed? Shouldn't that stuff be my favorite? Maybe so, or maybe the simple things are what I'm thriving on right now. Like when my daughter pushes the button on her toy correctly and the animal pops up... Happiness!! She's happy about it too because she knows she's accomplished something. I hope she always takes pride in her accomplishments from childhood to adulthood. My husband is an avid hunter and absence makes the heart grow fonder. I am happy when he walks in the door from a long hunting trip... even though he smells! He can make me laugh like no one else, so his company just makes my heart happy. I am school teacher as well, battling the teens of America! I struggle everyday with high expectations versus behavior management. They don't want to do anything and I want them to learn everything. Somedays they hate me, somedays they love me. Such is life as a teacher!!

I plan to tell you more about my life soon. Stay tuned!

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