Monday, September 27, 2010

There's Still Time

I've discovered that an author whom I respect so much is 57. There's still time!!!! I might just be as famous and as bestselling as she is in 25 more years.

This is a welcome discovery on a day in which I have pined to do what I want to do for a profession, for a life. I can usually drive off the frustration of work in the hour it takes me to get home, but today, I still felt beat when I got here to my loves, my reasons.

I have to believe that I am doing the best I can, that, on some level, I am a Superwoman. So many of us mothers are. And if I could just wrangle that notion, that truth that floats upon the surface of American society, if I could muster enough sleep and energy and drive and selfishness to make it all click in my head and get it all down on paper, wow. Wouldn't that be something?

So, in spite of my financial worries, the cluelessness of some of the people with whom I spend part of my week, the injustices that are the realities of so many less fortunate, I'm going to keep plugging away at my life. I'm going to continue to do the best that I can, to make my small corner of the world a bright spot for my children and for those around me, and I'm going to hold on to my dreams.

All I ever have to be is what He made me.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A Self-Portrait

Well. It's been a long day. A long three days. I'd like to write, but I'm just not so sure I need to demand anything else out of this tired head.

Instead, I'm going to recycle something I wrote about 18 months ago (so I've had another child, etc.) Some of you have read this already. To me, it still feels like it really describes me, which means it must have all been true in the first place.

In a phrase, These Are My Reasons.

1. I grew up on a truck farm (peppers and tomatoes). It was a hard job but it gave me tremendous respect for my family and a kick-ass work ethic. I made minimum wage "plus a dime" ($4.35). All subsequent jobs have been incredibly easy and lucrative.

2. I was very close to my paternal grandfather, Bernard Strahler, who owned the big farm mentioned above. I've called him "the man of my life" and "the last American cowboy." I was holding his hand when he died in the spring of 1998, and I still miss him.

3. I've been through a lot in my life. There are things I wish wouldn't have happened, but they have played an integral role in who I am today. I am a very calm and centered person, and there isn't anything I can't handle now. After you've seen hell, life can be easy. You just have to decide to step away from hell.

4. I started writing in a "serious" journal the day after my 12th birthday. I'm now on journal #65. This time-consuming and simple hobby has taught me how to be my own best friend, and how to recognize and accept life lessons and the ebb-and-flow of life. I'm proud of my writing, and it's very cool to celebrate my journal anniversary the day after my birthday each year.

5. My earliest memory of my husband is watching him play basketball his senior year for the rival high school. I was only 12 years old and sitting with my friends in the "junior high section!"

6. My husband has taught me how to slow down a bit in life, that I don't have to run around the house like a chicken with my head cut off all the time. I firmly believe that we get better and better every day. I love you, baby!

7. I have two children --Lilith Jane and Maxwell David -- and am currently searching for names for Baby #3, due in June.

8. I always knew I wanted to be and would be a mother. I love motherhood and wouldn't trade it for the world.

9. I come from a family of strong women. We've been nicknamed "The Maggots" for our swarm of activity and noise, but a couple of us decided a couple of years ago (over wine) to change it to "The Magnets," because we stick together and when one of us falls down, the others pull her back up. I love these women dearly and wish we treated ourselves to nights out together more often.

10. I truly believe that my mother is an earth angel. She is such a wonderful person. She deserves the world.

11. I'm the second of four children, and I am very close to all of my siblings. We span seven years, but it was commonplace for all four of us to show up at the same parties and places growing up.

12. Family is the most important thing in my life. I have given up places, jobs, opportunities and trips for my family, and I don't regret a single decision. Life Lesson #1: It's not the places, it's the people.

13. I have an amazing group of friends from college -- actually from before college -- that I still rely on today. There are four women and four men in our group, and we've always called ourselves "The Bitches." It's been nearly 15 years, and I am convinced our friendships will go to the grave.

14. I used to get together much better with men than with women, at least in groups. I think that's leveling out a bit, as I now have more girl friends than boy friends. In high school, I consistently raised hell with the same four guys. Because of them, I bought and still own my own slingshot.

15. I firmly believe in God. I thank Him daily for good health, wonderful family, my home, my children and for giving me a sister, and I pray that He "helps us all to love one another better."

16. I work part-time in the Scripps College of Communication. I love my job. It's very busy and fulfilling most of the time. I love that working three days a week keeps me in the loop but also allows me to be the primary caregiver to my children.

17. I love coffee, pasta, cheese, mushrooms, tomato products, A&W root beer (especially with beef jerky) and cheap wine.

18. My favorite place in the world is Lake Tweet, a part of the old family farm now owned by my uncle who's a mere six years older than me. I've spent countless weekends there. Now that I live in "town" and have children, it's more important to me than ever. We spend nearly every weekend there from about April to October. We have a 30-foot camper that is truly our second home. If you're around, come out and join us for a campfire!

19. One weekend we aren't at Lake Tweet is the third weekend in July, when most of my camping family and friends are at Jamboree in the Hills. JITH is a blast! I've been going to Jamboree since 2001, but missed 2006 and will likely miss 2009 due to having a newborn about a month old. Ah, but I'll be back, old friend, I'll be back.

20. I've always loved my name, my birthday and, for the most part, my body. I feel like all of these things are uniquely me, and all have served me so well for more than 30 years.

21. I'm a huge country music fan, but I also LOVE the Indigo Girls. I've seen them in concert six times, and I'm not much of a concertgoer.

22. I would say my biggest fault is not being patient with people. I have a low tolerance for laziness, selfishness, stupidity and shallowness. Sorry.

23. All four of my grandparents died fairly young (all between the ages of 55 and 72) of various forms of cancer. While I try not to dwell on it, I am keenly aware of my genetics, and I live my life to the fullest.

24. EXCEPT I haven't yet written a book. I truly hope I get my act together on this one.

25. While I've been typing this, my unborn baby has been doing acrobatics in my womb. My husband just got to feel it for the first time. Life is good, and I am BLESSED!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Blogging About a Boy

Max and I waiting to find out the sex of the baby

I was surprised, I admit it, on Friday morning when Dave and I learned I am carrying another boy! I don't know why I was so sure it was a girl, but alas, we will welcome a fourth child who is a third son. I LOVE my boys, so this is a great surprise!

I do mourn the fact that Lily won't have a sister like I do, but she'll always have Julia, a cousin who is just four months younger. And so, a SON. The kids are excited, and I know Daddy is ELATED!

It's been a very productive weekend, and I'm beat. I'm going to sign out for now and hope I can spend more time here later this busy week!

Time to drift off to dream about my holding my newborn son...

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Wishes for Maxwell

This striking trio of first cousins started preschool together this morning. My Max was ready to go, his eyes gleaming and his Autobots backpack and Cars lunchbox sparkly new.

My hope for Maxwell is that today marks a long road of lifelong learning, both in the classroom and out. I pray he finds friends, wisdom and perspective in the hallowed halls of schools. My wish is that he takes himself seriously, but not too seriously; that he sets high goals and believes he can meet them; that he eventually gets paid to do what he loves; and, most of all, that he becomes the kind of person others respect and admire.

Max, I'm proud of the way you hugged your cousins this morning and slung your arms around their shoulders for photos. You are a gentle, laid-back little man, and I know you will be an amazing friend, husband and human being.

If you never stop learning, you'll never grow old. No matter what you become, you'll always be good enough for me!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

19 Weeks and A Side of Sass

Well, yes, I still have almost five months to go.

Colby has been sleeping better the past few nights. He's getting past an ear infection and maybe a new tooth (who knows?!) Anyway, I was thankful he slept until 4 a.m., was soothed by Shrek, and then went back to sleep until 5. Then he was up again by 6, with my alarm. I could tell he wasn't ready to really get up and I had to get ready for work... So I changed his diaper, got him a cup of milk, turned off my alarm and snuggled him back to sleep. And... fell asleep. Ooops.

Next thing I knew, it was nearly 7:30 a.m., so Momma kicked it into high gear, put on her sass boots and got it done: kids dressed, fed, delivered to school and sitter, momma dressed, make-upped, coffee and breakfast sandwich made to go. And I happily devoured my breakfast and Anna Quindlen audio book as I drove my hour to work and just kept going. I killed a huge to-do list, had an awesome lunch on College Green with my new intern and generally rocked the work day!

So tomorrow marks Week 19 of this pregnancy. And the next day, hopefully, we'll find out what kind of baby we're having. That is, whether it's of the boy or girl variety. We're so excited! Both of the older two are convinced it's a girl, I think because it just makes sense to them to have "three boys and three girls in our family." And Colby? That happy baby is blissfully unaware that his life is about to change; he won't have nearly the time his big sibs had to be the baby of the family.

And his momma? Well, she tried to savor rocking the punk to sleep tonight, to not wish he'd hurry up and drift into dreamland, because she suddenly felt nauseous, overheated, huge and tired.

In a perfect world, we would all know what we have. We'd slow down, we'd forget about the Joneses and the Kardashians and all of the silly, trite things we allow to fill our lives.

We'd kick our workweeks in the pants, remember to stop with the kids to admire the ant pile on the sidewalk for as long as they wanted, and we'd rock our babies to sleep as long as they would let us.

And THAT is exactly what I'm trying to do.

“Slow down you're doing fine
You can't be everything you want to be
Before your time.”
- Billy Joel

Monday, September 13, 2010

New 'Do for Little Man

I finally did it: I let the baby curls go from Colby's sweet red head. But it's okay! It's still curly!

I wish I had a better after photo, but I think you can tell it's different in these photos!



I'm feeling quiet tonight. So that's all you get out of me for now!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

I Do and I Will

I can still remember the day we "met." Although we'd been acquaintances before, the day we looked at each other in a new way was August 10, 1997. Hot day, good friends, free spirits, amazing music : Lilith Fair 1997.

I was 19, and he was 25. Thirteen years have passed, and so much has transpired. We're still ebbing and flowing; we're growing and changing. And baby, it's true, you get better all the time.

Happy 8th Anniversary! CHEERS to us, our four miracles and the rest of our lives...

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Time Marches On

I snapped these photos of the kids last fall. While we're still not quite to this stage of crisp air and fallen leaves, I feel it coming soon. These three are all a year older and less innocent, and we have another one on the way.

Speaking of the baby, I have begun to feel my flutters! On Tuesday, while eating lunch at the counter in a Chinese restaurant by myself, I felt a ballet of movements very low in my belly and realized, Hey, that's the little one. I looked around and was tempted to tell the stranger to my left, a woman who probably would have reacted happily, but convinced myself not to blab. I'm trying to get better about not sharing random information with strangers.

Again tonight, I felt those flutters. Hello in there! We're actually hoping to find out, via ultrasound, what we are having later this month. This will be the first time we've ruined that delivery room surprise, but I'm excited to know early!

As for the kids who are out and about, Lily got a burn on Sunday after touching the pressure washer Shrek was using on the decks. It was tough; she cried and screamed off and on for three hours. But I've deemed the burns second-degree, have been taking great care of them all week, and think they look like they are healing well.

Mr. Max had preschool orientation last night. This morning, he made my day on the way to the sitter's when he said, "Hey Mommy. Did you know some busses don't have noses? Some busses' noses are squished!"

Finally, Colby has a cold or something, which we'll diagnose at his check-up in the morning. But he's a happy, happy guy most of the time!

So, time marches on. As the song goes, everything changes, everything cha-e-an-ges.......


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