Monday, July 26, 2010

A Real Day Off

"Do you like butter, Max??"

I was lazy on Friday. I am not lazy by nature. I work three days a week and often spend my two days off doing laundry, sweeping my entire first floor, taking care of the kids, doing dishes and performing other house-wifey tasks. And I did do some of this on Friday.

But, mostly, I let myself enjoy my little monkeys. I floated with all three of them on our loveseat "boat." I humored them, loved them and treasured being with them on my day off. Around 2 p.m., I started taking photos for this post.

I watched my beautiful kids play in the baby pool on the back deck...

I washed the dishes, twice....

I interested the kids in an experiment borrowed from my own youth: dyeing Queen Anne's lace with colored water. Here's our before photo...

And the after photo, taken today, four days later...

That's right. I'm a cool-cat mom.

There were also laundry basket rides, lots of peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches, two catnaps for mommy and meltdowns during the dreaded 2 p.m.-to-3 p.m. hour (evening is so far away!) Oh, and I let Colby tear up tissues for a bit. He loves to make a mess....

It was a good day! Colby, at 14 months, is finally walking. Hallelujah! Life is beautiful.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Missing Lake Tweet

A Lake Tweet shot with no lake in sight.

Well, I'm exhausted from Jambo and running around this week. The kids are too. Daddy is almost done with four 12's at work. We're all missing Lake Tweet, but with the heat and the tiredness, it just might wait.

The weather just isn't letting up at all, but I have a feeling that summer is wrapping up. I think it's just a post-Jambo thing. And it's also my state-of-mind. I'm ready to be lazy, pregnant and cozy in my house, I think. I'm thinking cool nights, hooded sweatshirts, crisp leaves and whip-cream-topped hot cocoa. (You can send the hate mail now, summer lovers.)

But I'm not too serious. I'm just preparing for fall. I'm not totally done with summer yet, but maybe a weekend break is what this momma needs. And a glass of Beringer white zinfandel, but that's neither here nor there.

The headaches are twice daily, at least. A couple more weeks, and I'll kiss this first trimester goodbye! I'm hoping for renewed vigor. Hope floats, you know. It just won't drown in my sea of life.

Night, dudes. Out.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Free As We'll Ever Be

Self-portrait :: Me and Colby, October 2009

While the Zac Brown Band wasn't at Jamboree in the Hills this year, I've been thinking a lot about their most recent hit. We really are free as we'll ever be. This is it, kids. Quit aching for more when you have it all!

I find my freedom in consuming a Nicholas Sparks book in 24 hours. I find it in hard-shell chocolate-covered ice cream with my hubby and kids, in the gorgeous Kodak prints I picked up from the post office, in hearing the heartbeat of my unborn child, and in the messy red curls and ornery grin of my one-year-old. I find it in looking at all the Facebook photos of new babes I know. I find it in a walk with my sister, in catching up on gossip and rehashing Jamboree 2010. And I find my freedom in that I got to do all of these things today.

My little brother Jon likes the song except for the repetitive "But we ain't got a lot of money" line. Yes, they say it SEVEN times in a row. But I think that's just because it's So. Damn. True.

We ain't got a lot of money, but who the &^$#)* cares? I'm not lonely. I'm not sick. I'm not wishing away my present for a future that's not guaranteed.

I'm free as I'll ever be. And it's a goal of mine to remember that. Maybe I can't run away, because my responsibilities as a wife, mother and employee keep me here, but at least I'm free to be a wife, mother and employee. I'm valued in spite of my sex, my lineage or my race. I'm lucky. And I can choose how I spend my time, how I speak about others, how I contribute to my family, my friends and this world.

All is well in my corner of the world tonight. My wish is that you can say the same...

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Cheers to Jambo!

Another photo of my siblings and I having fun at Jambo!

Well, I think my to-do list is just about done. I'm done. My body is done. My tired, pregnant body has convinced my weary mind to leave the rest to God, or my mother-in-law or whoever else wants to step in and do it.

I really need some time away, some great friends, incredible music and new memories. Tonight, my bed; tomorrow, Jambo bound!! Love to all of you. Hopefully, I'll come back a better mother, blogger and human being.

Until then....

Monday, July 12, 2010

Pondering in My Silence

A pretty nature shot from Lake Tweet to help liven up my melancholy post...

So sorry, dears; I've been quiet lately. In high school, I coined the quote, "We're not quiet, we've just given up." And I guess that's true for me right now to a point, but I've also been operating under the intelligent, motherly advice of "If you don't have something nice to say, don't say anything at all."

I have been feeling some downer pregnancy hormones, I guess. Those, combined with the sheer workload of my life this past weekend, just beat me into silence. (Shrek ditched me again.)

And, I'm still not out of it. But I'm checking in.

I'm pondering a lot of things right now, just one of which is what it takes to be a good parent. How do we teach our children to be happy with what they have? That they won't be happy if they are always wanting what they don't have or wanting more, more, more? As a society, we Americans are guilty of this. And, of course, our kids see it and emulate.

I like my house, but I'd like to stick it about five miles southwest into old family farmland. I'm happy with my vehicle, but would definitely trade it in for the 2010 model, if I could. I'm guilty of wanting more than what I have in nearly every area of my life. But it's a great life!

So.. how to balance self/self desires and still be a good example for my children? I'm working on it.

In the meantime, I'm going to help myself to not feel lonely by getting myself to bed, where my husband is sleeping. And later this week, I'll be clear out of this funk and into Jambo mode.

But sometimes, especially when the rains come, a little quiet isn't such a bad thing.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

+ItalianSeasoning+LOVE= Jamboree Stromboli!

My best girl, Roberta, and I, making memories we might have forgotten at Jamboree!

That's right, kids. It's stromboli time! I'm slaving away in the kitchen, beating incooperative, mooshy, slight-raised, slightly-frozen bread dough into stromboli. I do this every year at about this time, because hey! Pack your bags, there's a place we gotta go, back in the hill country of O-hi-o! It's Jamboree in the Hills!

I've been going to Jambo since 2001, save for 2006, when I was home alone with a 2-1/2-year-old Lily and a one-month old, Max. (Gee, thanks, Shrek!)

Anyway, let's not talk about how sad I was to miss it that year. I've been to Jambo single, married, knocked up and nursing. Let me tell you, it's best to be able to imbibe a bit. But, alas, I can't miss it! I can't not go hang out our campsite, full of family and friends, hillbilly bars, drinking games and pools; I can't not walk to and from the show in my cowboy boots and hat, sometimes not quite sure of my location, but always in good company; I can't not go into the show, where at least some of the scheduled 28 country acts will knock my socks off. It's an amazing experience, and those of you readers who have been there--even just once--will surely agree.

My siblings, my mother and I at Jamboree. See, I told you the whole family was there!

The stromboli? Well, it's the perfect cooler snack. Goes so nicely there in Ziploc bags beside the Kirky blasters, Gatorades and BEER. (None for me, I know, I know.)

Just to clarify, these wonderful festivities--which cause my brother-in-law to sing, at the top of his lungs, "It's the MOST wonderful time of the year!"--don't really start until a week from today. But on Saturday, campers are movin'! A lucky contingency gets to experience a weekend of debauchery as they pull the campers (about 30 of them in our group) into "Farmer's Field" for two nights of craziness before lining up on the Interstate to file into official Jamboree campgrounds for the best spots on Monday, July 12.

Debauchery, Exhibit A. Brother Jon and cousin Jared makin' it happen!

But really, what could be a bad spot, with a group like mine? Are you with me, all my sisters and brothers? Looks like we've got ourselves another... Jamboree in the Hills!!!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Faith, Grace and Selflessness

Sometimes God gives us amazing miracles when we least expect it.

I know a little bit about this lately. On June 11, nearly a month ago now, I learned something about myself. I learned that I'm unexpectedly pregnant with my fourth child. Roberts 4.0 is due February 10, 2011. Colby Levi, who you might remember just had his first birthday, will be about 20 months old.

I'd be lying if I said my initial reactions weren't shock, incredulousness and just a little bit of illness. They were. But I have an amazing husband who took it in stride, though he felt the same way. I've taken my time to get used to the idea. I had a week of quiet time with my family and private discussions with my husband around bullfrog-serenaded campfires. That was the beginning of fear and uncertainty turning to peace and resolve.

Soon, I'd told some of my core supporters. More friends and family have been let in on the surprise in the past few weeks. By and large, responses have been positive. There have been happy claps on the back, grown men affectionately talking in baby talk to my midsection, and warrior mothers sharing with me their utmost confidence in my ability to mother and to mother well. Thank you.

I've also had some negative responses. My least favorite, for some reason, is the "You do know how this happens, right?" What? Um, yeah. I remember from fifth grade health class, people. Thanks for taking me for an idiot.

I had one slightly disapproving cousin ask me--very slowly and twice--"But how do you do it??"

And I paused for the slightest moment and said, with conviction, "I do it with faith, grace and selflessness, and a lot of it!"

Oh, and gratitude, of course.

Thank you, Lord, for another amazing miracle.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Land That I Love

Well, kids, it's time to celebrate America.

It really is such a wonderful place. While I don't particularly like to hear the slams against the president, I'm happy to live in a place where those slams are on the legal side of the law. Life isn't perfect, but it's a good life.

I'm happy to have been born here and to live here in Ohio, the heart of it all. I'm content. I'm a clean, fresh shiny face looking on to the horizon with hope and promise burning in my eyes. I am an American.

So as I prepare to head into my own weekend of family, picnics, corn on the cob and fireworks, I wish you the same. To those who have served and are still serving to make this country such a singular, remarkable place, thank you.

God Bless America!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Ode to My Sweet Little Fever Boy

Maxwell is my fever kid. His big sis, Lil, cranks one out every now and then, but Max? This little man has us up and worrying and hemming and hawing at least every couple of months.

Last night, around 2 a.m., we swear, his fever was nearly 105 degrees. One-oh-four-point-nine, to be exact. We medicated, we soothed, we sponge bathed him first in the middle of our king-size bed, and, finally, after an hour of getting nowhere, in the tub. There were popsicles, sippy cups of ice-cold apple juice. And hallucinations. Lots of them.

Like waterslides! and race cars about to plow us down. There were colors: "Oh, it's just a color. Red, very red." There were crazy talks with little cousins who weren't there. Fights in his sleep about wanting to try something I can only imagine must have been a bubble-blower of some sort, since his little lips pursed and blew hot air on me repeatedly.

Now, mind you, we had taken the little guy to the doctor yesterday. We didn't quite get the antibiotic started early enough, evidently, because man! Did that fever ever skyrocket!

But high fevers? That's not all Max can do. Oh, no, he does febrile seizures too! Luckily, we didn't witness one last night, but this little man has earned himself two very speedy trips to the local ER in the back of an ambulance. Luckily, this hasn't happened since 2008, but who's counting? There's always the possibility of it happening again. And, to be honest, the seizures aren't as terrifying as you might imagine. Especially once the antibiotic kicks in.

So, today, thank you for making me a mother in this day and age. Thank you, Lord, for not making me a mother in pioneer times who has to send Father off on the horse and wagon to fetch the doctor to practice his questionable apothecary that may or may not help my son, who feels like he is burning from the inside out.

Oh, and thanks for helping us finally start to break that fever around 4 a.m.; for the 102.9 degrees that popped up on our digital thermometer. (Hey! It was an improvement.)

Thanks, most of all, for letting Sweet Little Fever Boy wake up fever- and hallucination-free. Until next time...


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