Thursday, December 24, 2015

It's the flu, it's a hangover - no, it's sleep deprivation!

"Maybe the only 21 months of age separation between my kids is really taking a toll, or perhaps the lack of nap opportunities is it, but I feel like I'm going to physically fall apart."

This is how I felt a couple days ago. Slight fever, congested head, achy body, difficulty walking straight.  If I didn't have sleep deprivation to blame, I would have put myself in the doctor's office, no question. 

I totally agree with sleeping when the baby sleeps, but that advice is difficult to when ah toddler is around. 

So, after registering at least a (body temp) degree more than usual, I put a drop off Theives oil blend in my water bottle and felt better right away. 

Now all I need is an IV drip of espresso, and maybe I'll just have enough energy to keep from crying about fatigue one again.
Side note: my husband is a trooper for being my audience of one during these early weeks.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Two, two and under: the beginning

"Imma gonna cry."

That's how I feel about 59% of the time when both of my kids are awake.  So I thought to myself, why not blog about life and thoughts more often so I can give my husband a break from all the moping and spread the love to you all out there on the interwebs? 

Perhaps you're an in-real-life friend and have been with me on both or infertility journey as well as our journey into parenthood. You may know then that it took us some time to conceive, and you may know that biological clocks area real thing. 

Also, perhaps you are of the opinion that having kids close together is a great, and you were all for us having 2 so close together...but you secretly knew it'd land us in survival mode for LIFE!
Well, welcome (or welcome back) to our world.  I am a wife to a seminary student/military officer/a future "Good Reverend", and I am now a mom to a sweet, precocious 21-month-old girl and a cute 2-week-old boy.

I hope to write about this experience of raising two youngins and attempting to be a realtively good wife. Oh yeah, and being the individual God made me to be within and outside of these titles.
All this said, life is truly good. We are healthy, our kids are healthy, and we have the joy of God in our hearts.  

That said, life is also truly crazy, so if you're willing to get on that train with me, all aboard!

Saturday, November 28, 2015

No "ambush prayer" allowed.

It's not something people may think about, especially those who have been in an evangelical and/or non-denominational Christian community for some time.

You're sitting there in church/a meeting/class/a bible study, and all of a sudden the primary speaker closes his or her eyes (doesn't even bow his or her head!) and starts with a "Heavenly Father" or "Dear God" or "Abba, daddy, hey-yo!"

By the time you realize it's a prayer, the leader could already be saying "In Jesus' name" and finishing the prayer you didn't know was happening! 

Listeners of yours may be deep in thought, reflecting on a past experience, wondering how their loved one would receive such teaching, or simply trying to take in what they are thinking and feeling at the moment.  They also may be wondering where you're going with your teaching, since throwing in "ambush prayer" is an easy way to end something without giving a good conclusion. 

Conclusions to teaching are tricky, but what can make them mystifying is if you all of a sudden look like you're easing a tension headache by tightly shutting your eyes and elevating your hands to waste level.

So, folks, if you're ever in charge of teaching people or giving a testimony and you want to end something with a prayer, first of all make sure you are actually ending what you have been saying, and then say "Let's pray."  They're just two simple words that unify the church by getting them all on the same page.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Mooing for honking....mostly

We recently moved (moooooved?) from Iowa to a pretty rural part of PA. Where we lived in Iowa was just 100 yards from the interstate. You would hear engine breaking, semi-truck honking, and the screeching of many a tire.

Here, you hear cows, cows, cows. That's because the town we live in is quite small, and one farm at the edge of our town possesses a vocal herd of cattle.

For days on end we will hear nothing, and if we are lucky, smell nothing, too. But last night and again just this afternoon, cows and cows possibly upon cows are bellowing like its the second coming.

Call me a city girl (I'm really not), but few things are as weird to listen to than collective moo from a bunch of cattle all at once and all day and night. Who knew they were so dang loud?

Well, I did, actually, as I have stayed at my family's farm many times in my life. That said, never have I heard a whole team of cows moo all at once, nor have those moos gone on for two days straight.

What would I rather have? Of course it'd be the occasional cacophony of bellowing than the consistently jarring sound of interstate or big city traffic, but I will say - the moos are no more peaceful than semi-truck noise at 1 in the morning!

One odd thing, though: people around here do lay on thier horns. It's not because someone cut them off, though; it's because they want to say "hello" to someone walking on the street!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Blue - the color.

What is in a color?

A lot of stuff.

I was just commenting on the "Oh Joy" blog about what my least favorite color is, and it's blue.  Brown is a close second, but I really don't dislike any color entirely.

I wear a lot of blue for some reason, and I'm starting to take more to a rich, vibrant navy color (yes, navy can be vibrant and it most definitely can be DRAB). 

In our living room, we have a turquoise and goldenrod blanket from india that some good friends gave us, an ikat-print navy and olive and forest green and cadet blue padded bench, and a sky-blue/yellow/olive green green floral print lamp shade. Blue, blue, blue, and here I am saying I don't like the color.

It's growing on me a little bit, and I feel like blue could be a nice color to welcome people in or make them relax.  But even as I say that, i get that feeling of drabness, sorrow, and melancholy.

So I think you need to enjoy the stuff you're looking at, regardless of how it's designed or what favorite (or non-favorite) color it is.  If you don't really like it and enjoy it, then its not worth having.

And with that, it's time for me to ditch a few things I just don't like!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Rain is a good thing.

I'm not referring to the country song here.  It's a catchy tune, don't get me wrong, but I'm talking about the physical rain. 

It's pretty dark outside at 2:21 p.m. I barely needed to draw the room-darkening curtain in my daughter's room at nap time with how thick this cloud cover is. 

Since having my daughter, I no longer am able to tolerate heat like I once did.  Let me tell you, it's way better to be "warm-blooded" than "cold-blooded," as some people like to call themselves.  When warm-blooded, I was able to be comfortable at 80-anything degrees and ~70% humidity.  When it got to 90 degrees, I started to sweat a little.

Now, 80-anything degrees has me on the ground in front of a fan.  It's starting to get better, but only a little.  That's why rain is a good thing, at least today.

Today's rain brought not a sweltering humidity but a glorious cold-front that has us in the comfortable 70's.  Yes, I have very little idea of what to do with my daughter when she wakes up from her nap, though probably a trip to Wally World will suffice (it will get her some crayons and allow me to return an incredibly immodest 2-year-old swimsuit, so it's a win-win for both of us). 

Even so, it's my first day-time thunderstorm of the summer that has kept going and going, and it's not one of those severe ones that you should rightly fear/respect.  It's a steady, understandable rain that has mostly rolling thunder attached to it. 

It's also the first good rain after a dry-spell, and as I think I've written before, when it's too dry, it's not just the land that feels it; I think people feel it, too.

So the rain is a relief, and I'll take it.  We can't go to the pool today, but we can still get some good hydration.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Being smart

I don't particularly care for The Huffington Post, but sometimes they have some great pieces on there from some really smart people. 

This statement from a professor to his future students is a good one, but what I like even more is this response a commenter had to several of the commenters who said a good professor is one who "personalizes" instruction for his or her students:

Rob Engle · Florida A&M University
Wow, you people need to get a clue.
I had a college professor tell me my freshman year, "I'm not your teacher, and I'm not your friend - I'm here to guide you to the knowledge you must teach yourself, because there's not enough classroom time to cover everything you'll be expected to know by this course's completion. So put on your big boy/girl pants and get ready to work."

Best advice I ever got, both inside and outside the classroom.
And they were right, the tidbits I picked up in class were nothing compared to what I taught myself outside the classroom, whether in the library doing research for papers or reading in any one of a number of books I brought home outside of required reading. The professors merely show me the way. It was hard work, but I thrived because I put in the time. I learned, I wasn't spoon-fed. High school, by comparison, was more like kindergarten.
But the kids, and parents, of today seem to insist on the new hands-holding mentality that held them back in high school, and leaves the overwhelming majority needing to take remedial courses in math and English, and will leave them unprepared for the real world. About time they get a wake-up call.

I'm considering homeschooling for a whole variety of reasons, but one is because of the sheep-like learning that can (sometimes/often?) occur in schools.

I wasn't a magical teacher when I did teach, but I did try to make my instruction dynamic and meaningful, and I would hope that I instilled the learning independence that this man received from his professor.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Yet another name - "gone" - ...maybe.

One of the tricky problems of infertility, though it wasn't nearly as important as other concerns, was the problem of "losing" names.

No, I hadn't forgotten them or anything like that, but the names I would like and add to a list eventually were lost to becoming popular.

Now, I don't intend to name my kids anything particularly extraordinary, but having a name that was particularly popular when I was born has lead me to none too few situations where I and another friend/classmate looked at a teacher to see which "Laura" they were talking to.

Additionally, I need to say that I wouldn't choose a name because it's popular, even if it's beautiful and fits so well with our intentions for naming.  This might sound goofy, but we really, really avoided names on the top 10 or 12 list.  Having a John and a Laura in the family didn't help. Having a sister-in-law named Laura, with the same last name, was also an incentive to name Suzy something not particularly typical.

So, as we waited to conceive, I saw names I loved suddenly shoot to the top of lists for most popular names.  Here are some I liked before they got "big":

              among others.  So, for one reason or another, these names dropped from my list, though if something came up that made a top name really, really, really necessary, we'd consider it. 

That said, now comes another name on my list that may be dropped - maybe.


When Adele, the singer, got REALLY famous after her "21" album made it, I went searching for names of similar sound or meaning.  Alice became a contender both with the hypothetical and actual considerations. The general order of preference for names, as they were over a year ago:

Elizabeth (as high as #12 at one time last year according to some website somewhere)

So when Suzy was born, Rosalind and Caroline were dropped pretty quickly for one reason or another. Alice was a #3 consideration for a while, and the debate between Elizabeth and Suzanna waged for 48 hours.  It wasn't that awesome.  After "sleeping on it," we didn't feel settled on Elizabeth, and - with about 30 minutes to spare before leaving the hospital - we decided on Suzanna.

I don't think Alice got the full consideration that Elizabeth and Suzanna did, but Suzy is definitely a good fit, and Alice has been on "reserve" for whenever we might have a daughter again.  It's not a definite, but it's a real possibility.

Now the new royal British babe has been born, and all the bookies have 6-4 odds or so than she will be named Alice.  Charlotte is also a consideration, but my money would also be on the girl who went to Wonderland. 

Would I take Alice off the list if the new princess were named as such?  I don't know, but there'd be more than a few comments, I'm sure, regarding the inspiration for the name.

That all said, there are plenty of Williams and Henrys out there,
but hey,
to my buddies, Will and Kate:
could you go ahead and pick some incredibly regal name and let the common folk have Alice for themselves - i.e. me?
Also, Kate - when you're over your clothes, just let me know, and you can ship them to me.
I'll take them off your hands - no problem!

- update: as the world knows, "Alice" will still be a contender for the next baby.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Oh wait, that's normal - seeing Cyclone apparel

Having lived in Chicagoland for 4 years, I got used to getting excited about seeing things connected with "home" that were rare sights in the IL metropolis.

One thing in particular that always got me going was when I saw someone or something that wore or contained Iowa State University insignia.  It was like someone who knew me came to visit, even if I had never seen them in my life.

I had a buddy at work who was a student at the seminary my husband attended.  He worked in our office part-time, but he was a Godsend for how much he made this completely not-me environment feel like home.  I mean, the kid had an Iowa State mug, for crying out loud!  And by kid, he is probably 2 years younger than me, maybe 3, so of course I can call him that. :)

Anyway, now that we're back in Iowa for a while, I see ISU gear all the time.  Cyclone lawn signs, ISU t-shirts, vanity license plates that tells the world the driver is "ExCyted!" - it's everwhere, yet I still look at it and think "Oh hey, an Iowa State Person!"

And then I get some weird, uncomfortable feeling that tells me I ought to know I'm in Cyclone Country (with a healthy dose of Hawkeye influence, let me tell you), and it's not something I should think is exciting or peculiar to see.

What was once an experience like seeing a peacock amongst a sea of Canadian geese is now an experience like seeing a peacock amongst a gaggle of many, many other peacocks; however, something with my brain still doesn't compute this fact, and I keep thinking "huh, Iowa State!" while living only 50 minutes from my alma mater.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

A random assortment of words and thoughts.

I use "The Old Reader" for my rss feed.  Google Reader was the easiest rss feed to use back when it was going, and thankfully I found this when GR went kaput.

Anyway, on the right side of The Old Reader, it has a list of "dead feeds," which are blogs that haven't posted in a long time.  I thought about how long it's been since I wrote, and I wouldn't even make that list because I'd be so outdated.  It's only been 6.5 months, but really - there's been plenty to write about.

We now live in Iowa, my daughter is 1 and not wanting to nap this afternoon for some reason, and my husband is still doing army and currently doing hospital chaplaincy.  The weather is better here than in Chicagoland, though I really miss my friends and the various amenities/neighborhoods that came with living along the North Shore. 

I particular, I miss seeing people who aren't like me, or at least don't look like me.  That said, I am still tall, and that makes me different from a lot of people around here.  In general, I have found that women from Minnesota are taller than women from Iowa, but both a much taller than nearly everyone from the Chicago area.  Read "The Tall Book" to get some ideas as to why.

Baby Suzy is not a baby, really, but still can't walk, so the toddler label feels weird to say.  She is also tall, so just by sitting upright, she is able to reach pretty much anything she wants as far as toys go.  Her favorite toy is a book - any book - and she asks for them the second I get her up from her nap.  "Booh?!" she will say, with the sign for it.  If it's not "booh," it's "bah" (ball), "da", or "mamamamama" for when she needs something.  She LOVES kids and squeals or screeches every time she sees someone small.  In a word, she a lot of fun.  In another word, she's incredibly sweet.

Life post-seminary is weird.  We had less time and more space while living in Chicagoland, so now that we're at a much slower pace of life, we are in a smaller apartment where I can't ignore my kitchen and, therefore, it actually gets cleaned almost daily.  And I am cooking a lot, so pictures of what i make may actually pop back up on this blog again.

Post baby - my body is nearly back to what it was.  Yes, weight has shifted to a degree, but I don't think it has as much as it seems to for other women.  Really, I am gaining and losing weight (not too quickly anymore, though) in the exact same areas as I had in the past.  This means that my pre-pregnancy pants almost fit, but not quite all of them, and my outfit for Easter Sunday that I had planned months in advance didn't work out.  I'm probably 2 or 3 pounds away, but naturally Easter is 11 or 12 months away, so those gold brocade pants will be sitting in a closet near me for a while.

Now Suzy is really awake and ready to eat something (a "booh"?), so I better get her.  Thanks for reading, if you do, and here's to more writing and blogging.