Wednesday, December 31, 2008

What Are You Doing New Year's, New Year's Eve?

Chelsea was singing that little tune over Christmas and it has been in my head since then...and is finally appropriate.

No champagne, little black dresses, lipstick or dancing tonight. All three of us are sick with colds. But there has been Chinese takeout...and a few movie rentals. And I'm loving this new Macbook that I'm currently toying with.

I will most likely be in bed by 10pm tonight - a thought that fills me with glee!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Oh, Queenie

Well, Christmas has come and gone and so has my laptop's capabilities which are dying by the day. Alas, my posts have become few and far between. But fret not, faithful followers (all three of you) - for the excellent husband got me a new Macbook as a gift and I am eagerly awaiting it's arrival.

I won't recap the holiday, though it was a good one, but will tell you that our little family was subject to sicknesses on all sides. My dad, who never gets sick, was down with a terrible cold while we were in Ft. Worth. On Christmas day I got a call from Katy telling me that half of her family was sick with the stomach virus that has been plaguing most of Texas (right, Rach?) and they had to postpone Christmas. On Friday Sutton was struck with that same virus so we avoided him with fear and trepidation (sorry, Pages!). Then yesterday both Russ and Davy came down with what seems to be the cold my dad had. I'm ready to invest in a facemask.

But that's not what I want to talk about.

Have any of you seen "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" yet? I saw it on Saturday with Katy. Maybe it was the fact that though I used to be one of those people who saw all new movies the very weeks that they came out and maybe it was that Katy was always my partner in movie-going, or maybe it was that the last time I saw a movie in a theatre was "The Dark Knight" back in September...but this movie really moved me. I think I was crying in the first 5 minutes. I should have warned the stranger sitting next to me, "I'm sleep-deprived, hormonal, and nursing so I will cry for the entirety of this film."

I won't spoil the movie for anyone else. Brad Pitt was excellent. And I'm not talking excellent like "Legends of the Fall." He was wonderful because the movie wasn't about his good looks or hilarity - it was about his outcast-ness; his isolation from people due to his condition upon birth. The minute I saw him born as a baby with the outward appearance of an almost 90 year old man, I started sobbing.

Enter Queenie. Queenie is the precious, tender-hearted, stalwart black woman who finds the baby and cares for him. Would that we all have someone like Queenie in our lives who looks past our outward appearance and simply loves us for being one of God's miracles. God bless you, Queenie! You were my favorite person in the movie!

Anyway, I got to hang out with Katesbuns. A much needed hang out time. Katy gave me some red, Laura Mercier lipstick for my birthday and I forced her to try it out with me to prove that red lipstick is my nemesis - I can never find the right shade. What do you think?

Thursday, December 11, 2008

4 months

Yesterday we went to the pediatrician for Davy's 4 month check-up and vaccinations. My big girl held her own bottle while feeding herself (sort of) as we waited for Dr. Becker to come in. Then I worked on my iPhone camera skills as D. just chilled there. Dr. Becker noted, "She seems really laid back." Oh, those words were music to my ears, though there have been times when I was sure we had a high-maintenance kid on our hands. Hmm, maybe I should just be quiet - we all know what happens when I brag...

I opted for a flu shot yesterday. After hearing about the McCroskey family's nightmare with flu hitting both babies and Chris and Erin, I'm not taking chances.
I think the nurse perceives me as a little mean for taking this pic. I had to explain, "It's not because I like seeing her cry! I just feel like someday I'll want to see a photo of her getting vaccinated!" Please don't call CPS!

Davy girl, you have been so much fun these past few weeks. My friend Rachael kept telling me, "something happens after 3 months so hold on!" and I'm glad I did. You now love making motorboat noises, cooing to yourself, squealing loudly from your swing, and grabbing Mommy's hair. You're also a big fan of being tossed in the air, something that used to make me cringe but now I do it daily. Yesterday when we came home from the doctor, I put you on your tummy for "tummy time" and you immediately rolled over. So I put you on the floor to watch you do it again. Good ol' Fatty had to get in on the action and everytime I would say, "roll over!" to you, he would lay next to you and roll over himself...too bad a camera was no where nearby because I was dying laughing.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

7 Swans a- breaking into a million pieces on my floor

Yesterday I arrived home from running an errand to find a large box on our front porch. Isn't that one of the joys of Christmastime? I immediately began wondering which relative had sent us something from Williams-Sonoma. As I furiously tore at the packaging I realized it was a gift from Russell's company. Ooooohhh! Nancy Richards has great taste! They had given us the Twelve Days of Christmas plates as our present this year. Having no previous Christmas plates and being very jealous of Johnna's recent acquisition of Christmas Spode, my mind was all atwitter with where I could display this glorious collection.

I was flying around, using some of the plates as a table setting, putting two on the mantle because the Lords a-leapin' and Pipers pipin' were so festive...and then I thought I'd hang four next to a mirror in our dining room.

Folks, I ain't really blessed with the gift of decorating but it is a gift I desperately desire. Having been married to Russ for the past three years, I have learned that when hanging something, be anal about it: measure twice, use proper hanging tools, find wall studs, etc. But I just wanted those cute plates up! And my daughter only gives me so much time to do these tasks in a day!

I thought they looked fabulous. Until last night at dinner an unbelievably loud crash caused me to choke on my peas..."NOOOOOOOOOOO!" The tears immediately sprang to my eyes! Day Seven, the aforementioned Swans a-swimming, was in broken shambles on the floor, much like my desire to have a perfectly decorated house. The nail I had used (alone, with no hook) had slid downward causing the plate holder to shift off...causing my dreams to come crashing down. Sigh.

I was reminded of once hearing a friend's mother lament, "I cain't have nuthin' nice!" about her children's rough-housing (Yankee relatives translation: "horsing around") in the house and breaking something.

Update: Momma Kay just arrived and told me about - they have it!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

No One's Starving Around Here

I put this video here for two reasons: one, because some of my relatives only come here to see updates of Davy, and two, because it is vastly reassuring to me that my child isn't starving.

To explain that last part, I read Cormac McCarthy's The Road this week upon the urging of Rachael. What I didn't realize before I got into it was how gut-wrenchingly sad and depressing it would be and how I would lay awake at night worrying about the End of the World. Thanks, Rach. Seriously though, this book is the story of the apocalyptic journey of a man and his child across a devastated America. It's no Twilight - vampires being oddly soothing versus world destruction.

Really, I've been wanting to put into words for a long time how having a child has changed my worldview. I used to see things like news updates about a school collapse in Haiti and think to myself, "oh, too bad," and just go along with my day. I used to hear about economic crisis or pirates finding radioactive contents being shipped to Israel and respond with little interest or mild curiosity. I used to watch movies about the Holocaust and feel sad but nothing more.

And then everything changes when you have a baby asleep in the other room.

I watched two movies right after Davy was born that had me weeping and fretful: The Pianist and Hotel Rwanda. What struck me most was man's cruelty to man and the fear that I am raising a child in this world where these things really take place. And every forgotten child in those movies could be Davy to me. The first few weeks of motherhood are terribly scary for one major reason: I am responsible for this child. This means I feed, clothe, care for and sustain another human being. That feeling then begins to grow into deeper ones like: How will I raise this person to care about others? In what kind of nation will my child grow up? Will this little one have burdens that I cannot prepare them for?

So, while reading The Road, I began to think about the End of the World and all that is foretold. And I'm just glad that the chubby baby in the other room is okay today. Please don't feel you have to reassure me about the future, etc. Just needed to jot these old thoughts down!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Whirlwind, in a good way...

In the past four days we celebrated Thanksgiving, my birthday, drove a total of 10 hours with a 4 month old, spent time with 3 different extended families (Page side, Meredith side, and Gillham side), and celebrated Russ' birthday. Whew! I'm gonna confess, I barely took a photo over Thanksgiving probably because I was so concerned about my baby spending the night around other poor souls who were hoping to sleep. The rest of the Pages were good sports about it though. Want to see great photos from the holiday? Please go to Johnna's blog. Johnna, I am always jealous of your photo taking and posting capabilities.

I did happen to get a few photos of Davy with both my brother and Katy.

So yesterday I wanted to post a special birthday post for Russ...alas, I wasn't able to access my computer. But let it be known, I am so grateful for your 33 years, Russell. I'm sure I could get an "Amen" from a few readers out there who know and love my husband. He is simply one of the good ones. Did you know that he was once Bartender of the Year in Lubbock, Texas? Or that he can fix just about anything around the house? Did you know that he has hunted rats under the house...with a headlamp and Bebe gun? Or that if he is making a meal for guests, he never forgets tasty appetizers? (makes his own escargot) Russ enjoys great conversation, yummy food, being outdoors, being with his family, being a boy (hunting, fishing, golfing, etc) and he is also really smart. He will totally disagree with that last one but it's true.

Not to mention he absolutely loves to be the one to wake up Davy. I think he just likes being the first to see her face light up in recognition. What a sweet daddy. Love you Russ! I'm your biggest fan!

Prayer for Hannah

I found out today that one of my old K-Life and Kanakuk girls has been diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma. Hannah is 21 years old and a senior at Wheaton College. She is from Dallas and Russ used to work at her dad's law firm. Hannah and her older sister Katie were some of my favorite K-Life kids...I have a memory of them stealing my Blankie from me on a ski the fact that I still love them says A LOT.

Seriously, wanna see faith in action from a relatively young person? Go read Hannah's blog.

I'm praying especially for Hannah's parents as they allow her to stay in Wheaton next semester to receive her chemotherapy. I can only imagine how scared they must be. Let's pray for comfort for them and for wisdom for the doctors involved. And for healing!

Holy Chotchkie!

This will seriously annoy my Aunt Diane but before I post photos from Thanksgiving & the subsequent birthdays, I was wondering if any of you out there know where I can find a nativity or manger scene that doesn't look like Missus Claus barfed all over it. I'd love to find one that isn't the classic ceramic scene but that also isn't the plastic Precious Moments one either. (No offense meant to anyone who owns the aforementioned...I just have a different idea in mind.) So if any of you out there in cyberspace know of a sweet, simple Nativity that I can buy, please let me know in the comments!

Thanks, internet!

(Davy fix...coming soon)

Update: not long after posting this here and on facebook, I heard back from 3 reliable sources (my sister in law, Johnna; Janet -see comments; and my old running buddy Melissa). All 3 immediately recommended the Willow Tree set. Thanks y'all!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Remember Me?

I've been bad about blogging and this week probably won't be any better with the holiday. JUST SO YOU KNOW, ahem, my birthday falls on Thanksgiving this year so while you're gobbling down some turkey and yams, you can give me a SHOUT OUT...or just raise a little toast to me while you're tossing down the wine that will enable you to spend an extra hour with your extended family. (Mom, please don't drunk dial me, okay?)

BIG shout out to this lady who delivered the bundle of joy named Cohen Matthew on Thursday night. Look at that face. That is Chris Carreker right there, kids. Lins, it helps that y'all look alike but I have a feeling we are in the same boat with our children looking like little imprints of our husbands!

I feel like Cohen was surely prayed into existence after all that Lins and Chris have been through over the past year and a half. We have waited a long time to meet you, sweet boy. (See a much calmer, quieter Cohen on his mommy's blog)

We will be in Midland on Thursday, Ft. Worth on Friday, then back to Dallas on Saturday and possibly Frisco on Sunday. Everyone be careful on the roads and enjoy the $1.30 gas decrease from last year at this time! And to all my peeps running the Turkey Trot, I will miss you!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Viva la Vida Bueno con mi Esposo Bueno!

About a month ago Russ came home in a dither. He had something up his sleeve.

"I've been thinking about your birthday..."
"What about it?"
"I wanna give you your present now."
"But you don't even know what I want yet!" (This is classic me. I'm a pain in the ass to shop for.)
"Oh, I'm pretty sure you'll like this." (My brain: he bought me a car?)

Not a car, but 4 tickets to Coldplay in the Premier Club section of the American Airlines Center, complete with parking passes. AND, he told me he wanted me to take 3 girlfriends and he would stay home and babysit. Ohmigosh. The Viva La Vida tour was something I thought I wouldn't see due to the fact that decent seats started at $150. Russ had found amazing seats through his company.

And Russ is a good man, y'all. Last night as I was getting ready (a tough task considering my uniform of yoga pants and old sorority tees has been my wardrobe staple), I said, "babe, I'm excited to hang out with the girls but I'm gonna miss you being there." He replied, "I know you well enough: you'd worry the whole time about me and whether I was having fun or not. You'll be way more relaxed with the girls."

He knows me almost as well as he knows the lines to every eighties movie with the plot line: underdog boy finds the passion/talent/supernatural werewolf powers to overcome the rich kid/karate challenger/basketball hero and get both the girl of his dreams AND his sidekick-cum-soulmate-girl-who-exuded-lesbian-vibes.

We went to Strong's Tavern for dinner and drinks before heading over to the AAC. ("We" being Wendy, Emily, and Emily.)
"When are they gonna play Strawberry Swing?!" (Emily Loerke, who will love me for this photo...did I mention she brought dinner for Russ just to thank him, too?)One of two cameras that Emily McKeaigg used to take photos with. Needless to say, hers will be better than my iPhone pics.
My favorite part of the night was when the entire band walked off stage, through the AAC, to the back of the venue and up into the stands where they sang an acoustic version of "The Scientist." They just wanted to give everyone in the back seats a little treat. Very humble and generous of them! It was a fun night, though to be totally honest I found myself thinking at 9:10pm, "if they don't come on soon, I'm gonna be asleep." Also, Wendy and I screamed to each other above the din of the noise, "really wish I had earplugs!" Yep, we're old.

Thanks for the early b-day, Rusty!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

You Know You're Codependent When...

...You find yourself wondering if your dog is upset with you.

Fatty has been limping on his right leg since Sunday. We think it's because he played so hard outdoors with a new toy. When he lays down for awhile, his hip gets sore so he limps when he's standing back up. I'm sure he's not feeling quite up to par.

However, I keep thinking, "is he mad at me for not taking him on the walk yesterday? Did I do something that hurt his feelings?"

Note to self: call your therapist.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

My Worst Fear

Rachael blogged about her horrifying experience with her little Sock Monkey Man: he fell 4 feet off his changing table onto their hardwoods. We have the same set-up at our house and I often visualize something like this happening in my head. Think I better start using those restraints that come on the changing pads!

Somewhere my mother is thinking, "if you think that's scary, wait till she's 16!"

The Landlady who revoked my lease

I knew I spoke too soon!

Monday, November 17, 2008

New Lease on Life

I hesitate to even write about this...there is a big potential for jinxing my newfound luck. Davy turned 14 weeks old on Saturday and began sleeping through the night last week. The reason I'm a little scared to even share this is because it seems like any time I report some big changes on her part, she reverts backwards a few weeks! (Right, Chels?)

When I was pregnant I had friend after friend suggest that I use the Babywise method of breastfeeding to help ensure that my baby would begin to sleep through the night relatively early. Anyone who knows me knows that I tend to have the personality of one of these when I'm not getting much sleep so I was very interested in sleep training my little one. Thank goodness Johnna had given me the book already because I began to read it with gusto. Babywise asserts that if you are following the precepts closely, your baby will most likely begin sleeping through the night between weeks 7 and 9.

Hmmmm, not so much.

Week 7 came and went as did weeks 9, 10, 11, 12 and so on. And any mother knows that the one emotion that seems to plague you when your baby isn't behaving as you wish is GUILT. It's crazy but I felt guilty (and scared) that Davy was still waking up to feed in the middle of the night. (Not to mention tired, frustrated, cranky, etc.) I was calling my baby-guru, Rachael, all the time.

I have learned something about myself with this sweet little girl: I still struggle with legalism - I want to be able to "check all the boxes" with my baby and use that checklist to ensure that she will behave perfectly. Um, Beck? She's a baby. She's not a formula to be solved. Also? I still really struggle with fear and shame: fear that I'll never get real sleep or that I'll do something that scars her for life or that I'm a bad mother, etc, etc. Shame over not being able to control this new mommy life. Hey God! I thought we had already dealt with all of this!

Anyway, I write all of this to say two things: one, you can try all you want to control your kid but they do their own things. And two, since it's not really in my control, I can't take the credit for good stuff happening. I think her sleeping more has more to do with her weight, her body getting enough calories and maybe a guardian angel who secretly sings her back to sleep in the night.

But Davy, on those nights when you do sleep all the way through, I'll actually really, really miss my time with you... love, Momma

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Stuck in my Tweens

I've fallen off the blogging wagon lately - sorry about that. It's due in part to a new obsession: The "Twilight" series books. Russ came home a month ago and said he had heard people buzzing about these vampire books, going so far as to say that they were the NEW Harry Potter. Well, that perked my ears up. Then I noticed that I didn't hear from Katy for an entire weekend. This is unusual because even though my phone skills have completely deteriorated, she usually calls once or twice a weekend to check in on me. The culprit? The Twilight books.

That sealed the deal. The monotony of being the mother to an infant can be maddening and I've used reading as a means to escape some of the boredom, especially when the weather is dreary. When I asked Katy if "Twilight" would be like Harry Potter she replied hesitantly, "Ummmm, not really."

"Will Russ like it?"
"Ummmm, maybe you should read it first and see."
"Is it magical? Will I feel similar to how I feel when I read the HP books?"
"Becky...I'll be's kind of a beach read. It's a romance book for teenagers."

Ohhhh, this explains why Katy was so out of pocket. (Nevertheless I was at the bookstore in about 30 minutes flat.) Twenty pages in I was chuckling out loud to Russ, "this is so me and Katy...teenage sexual tension."

My husband lovingly went to Target yesterday and surprised me with books 2 and 3 after I voraciously devoured book one on Sunday. I'm halfway through "New Moon" (see my new bookshelf to the right). I've had to make little deals with myself:
1. No Twilight reading until you've done your bible study.
2. No reading over the baby while nursing. You tend to not notice if she slides to the floor.
3. No reading those books till you're out of your pajamas. You are a cliche' waiting to happen.

Other than that, bring on the clouds and rain because I'll be curled up on the couch reading away! If your own life has been brought to a halt by these books, I'd love to hear from you! We can start a support group.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

The Song of the Snuffleluffagus

Davy had her first cold this week. She also added "wooing" to her baby repartoire. You can tell here that her nose is all stuffy and yet she's singing like a hoot owl. The furrowed brow is something I think she inherited from her daddy.

Sidenote: the noise in the background is the sound machine in the nursery that is permanently set to "light rain." Also, Fatty interrupts near the end as a very alarming intruder, Lindsay, arrived.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

And here we go...

Russ and I tried hard to avoid the polling results last night. In my heart, I've known since last year that Obama would win. I've been emotionally ready. Ironically, Davy is now sick for the first time in her short life. She cried all night. So around 3:45am when I found myself crying in the rocker, begging God for sleep for us both, I felt myself worried about the next four years.

But I'd like to choose peace for today. I'm really worn out on all the speculation, fear mongering (though certainly some of it is warranted), and lines in the sand. I realize I don't want to be associated with any political party. There's too much of a "box" there. My King is still on His throne and there will come a day when all the nations will acknowledge that He alone has authority and power.

So today I'm grateful:
1. that the election season is over.
2. that we have elected our first black President. This is huge and watching the coverage of so many black Americans weeping has really touched my heart.
3. that with a Democratic senate and President, the country's griping and moaning will be re-directed for the next four years.
4. that I live in a nation where I can be a part of electing our leadership.
5. that no matter what happened yesterday, today I am called to love all people, speak truth at all times, and use my life as a means to draw them nearer to the heart of God.

Sidenote: I watched a special on the life of Bill Clinton yesterday and was reminded how the liberal voices of the USA felt that he was being attacked on all sides, hunted down, etc. during the investigation of Kenneth Starr. The idea was that his private life didn't effect his political life - yeah, right. I think many Republicans have felt this way for a few years - under constant attack and scrutiny. Has there ever been a man in office who did not screw up in some major way? Let's just pray for President-elect Obama's heart to be open to truth and guidance...for his sake, his family's sake, and our nation's sake.

"We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. … Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other." (John Adams)

"This is what the LORD says—
Israel's King and Redeemer, the LORD Almighty:
I am the first and I am the last;
apart from me there is no God.

7 Who then is like me? Let him proclaim it.
Let him declare and lay out before me
what has happened since I established my ancient people,
and what is yet to come—
yes, let him foretell what will come.

8 Do not tremble, do not be afraid.
Did I not proclaim this and foretell it long ago?
You are my witnesses. Is there any God besides me?
No, there is no other Rock; I know not one." (Is. 44: 1-8, NIV)

So, happy Nov. 5th! Cheer up! Let's just wait and see what happens!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Nov. 4th

Today is important and special to me and it has nothing to do with the election.

Three years ago today I was ignoring the cues from my boss who was trying to convince me to leave work early. I had also called my mom the night before to complain that my boyfriend was acting really weird, really anxious. When Russ called me at work to see if I wanted to get off work early and go for a walk, I was pretty casual. "Sure, whatever." When he came to pick me up, I said, "Babe, there's a really good Oprah on today. It's all about how to do your make-up you care if I stay home for awhile and watch?"

Bless his heart. Yes, he did in fact care. I then convinced him that I needed to drop my car off at the shop for some repairs. I think Russ had it taken care of in 15 minutes flat. Man, he was really looking forward to that walk.

It was the beginning of November and the leaves were falling slowly, much like they are today. We were walking around one of our favorite spots in Dallas: Kessler Park. I noticed how edgy Russ seemed. When we came to a place in a park where there was a waterfall gurgling, he told me he needed to pee. He then took off behind a tree. Whatever, dude. I was feeling pretty calm, wondering what we'd be up to that evening, watching the leaves fall and listening to the gurgle of the nearby creek.

And then Russ walks up to me and proposes. (Note: he would want me to clarify that he had to get the ring out of his pocket and his best excuse at the time was, "I need to pee.")

I won't go into the details of that conversation because it involves a lot of explanation, a lot of history on our parts. But I will say that I was COMPLETELY taken off guard. So much so that when Russ presented the ring, I truly thought he was joking. I pulled an Elaine (on Seinfeld) and shoved him. But then I noticed tears in his eyes and I took another look at that ring (he told me later he was terrified when I pushed him that the ring was about to go sailing into the creek).

I won't share my exact wording here (as it was a little on the colorful side) but trust me, I said yes. Looking back, what I love most about how Russ proposed was that he totally had me thrown off - I didn't have an inkling that the proposal was coming. Those of you who know me well know that I am a raging control freak. This was the most beautiful part of getting engaged: I was completely out of control of the event.

Three years later and I am more grateful than I ever thought I could be for one person. Russell is the perfect match for me. He is gracious with me when I am childish and mean. He will pick my brain about a topic and makes me feel intelligent and cherished. He loves on my family and friends and truly enjoys getting to know people and making them feel at home in our house. He races me to Davy's room to wake her so that he can relish those moments where she is still sleeping peacefully. He is a gentleman. (Can't say enough about that one.) He's a hard worker and a kind leader. Russ, your birthday is coming up so perhaps I shouldn't exhaust the list of great things about you - as if I could anyway!

And I love that Katy got to see the ring before I did.

Photo Recap

Last week, the day before my maternity leave ended, I came down with a bad case of mastitis. If you don't know what that is, may you never. Thankfully, my momma came over to help out with a very cranky Davy. If you see my mom, ask her about her dream about D. calling her by "name." I love this photo.

Halloween at the grandparents. While I only saw a handful of trick or treaters in my neighborhood, a mere 3 miles away in HP I think we saw several hundred. Amazing. We never made it off the front porch. But Caroline did don her costume at the end of the night for a photo op.
Somebody refused to stand up with his costume on so he was left at home that night. Sir, you will wear this costume next year and you will wear it with a smile, by God! I didn't pay $6 at Joanne's fabrics for nothing!
Only a handful will get this photo. It's morning time with Beth Moore. As a few of us have joked in the past, "I accepted Beth Moore into my heart." In all seriousness, I'm doing the Breaking Free bible study again and this morning's lesson was especially good. I forced myself to get outside, away from my laptop, phone and television. I have been really spiritually dry and this morning was exactly what I needed to hear from God...

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Halloween in Review: Part Tres

Yesterday's post contained a photo of me with a relatively nice Halloween costume and today's post will be similar...How lovely! A ballerina! It's almost as if we've finally gotten over the hump that was the costume curse!

Upon further inspection, I notice that this ballerina costume was actually on loan to me from the Elberton Children's Theatre. (Wait, you didn't know that I was a CHILD ACTRESS?! Why yes, I community theatre...with mostly bit parts...but I digress.) So, Mom gets a mulligan on this year's (1984) October 31st. You will of course notice the intense rouge with what seems to be an excess of freckles. Mom must have wanted to switch things up, hoping that she could keep me looking moderately innocent whilst satisfying my deep need to have "hooker face."

Uh-oh. What do we have here? (sharp intake a breath) Um, it seems my Mom suffered a relapse. I'm seeing a resurgence of the plastic costume. It appears that a last minute trip to Sky City occurred yet again and this time it was my brother who fell prey. (Note: after multiple searches on Google and Wikipedia I was unable to find the actual name for that bear character that appeared on Battlestar Galactica 1980. If any of you remember the name, for the love of all that's good and holy, leave it in the comments.) I think both Josh and I had crushes on Starbuck that year. But at least I didn't get sucked into wearing a cheap, store bought version of a costume...

No... no it appears mine is surely homemade. Um, I see a cloak, of sorts. And, and a pinwheel? (Of course there's a damn turtleneck because evidently it wouldn't be Halloween if I weren't dressed for Fargo, ND.) And the curse of the shoes that ruin the costume is still in effect. Those are some dirty tennis shoes on that fairy (?) there. I do think I was a fairy - even though THIS comes to mind:
Well, kids...that ends my rants on dressing up for Halloween. I must say it again: I love my Mom. She has given me permission not to feel the pressure of being supermom, and that's a nice gift. After all, whatever outfit my daughter wears this year will end up covered in vomit and smelling like sour milk.

Hope you all are ready for tomorrow! How fun that it's finally on a Friday!

And love you, Mom!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Halloween in Review: Part Duex

So, back to my history of Halloween costumes...
Betcha didn't know that when I was 5 years old and was posed that ever important question of "what do you want to be when you grow up?" that I answered, "a Dallas Cowboys cheerleader." I was one of those girls who was both tomboy and girly girl. I rocked the jeans and brown shoes and the cheerleader skirt. As you can see below, this Halloween was a good one in my estimation.
Halloween of '82 ("ECCHS" = "Elbert County Comprehensive High School")
My mother would tell you that as long as she put make-up on me, I was a happy girl. Make me up like a lady of the night and I'd smile for the camera!Halloween of '83
Which is why I must have been smiling above. Because what am I supposed to be here? A granny? A slutty granny? A pilgrim who will soon be burned at the stake for her lusty ways? I think I'm supposed to be a princess, that ever-elusive character of All Soul's Eve. The afghan cape (and turtleneck underneath) was once again my mother's way of ensuring that I would keep warm. And since it was pink and since it looks like Lawanda of Harry Hines Blvd. got ahold of my face, I'm smiling like the damn Cheshire cat.

p.s: Please note that my brother looks pretty good in these costumes, cowboy and ghost, respectively...but just you wait. He, too, shall suffer under the curse of Halloween...

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Two Years and Still Such a Story...

Two weeks ago I mentioned Hazel Mooney's birth here.

Today you can see her older brother's story on Oprah. Matt explains it briefly on their blog, Spectacular Vernacular (find it in my links to the right).

In 2006 a very large group of friends began to follow Matt & Ginny's experience with their first pregnancy. Matt, certainly blessed with a true talent for writing, chronicled it all here. I know that I read their site weekly, aching over the struggle they were in for and hoping for a miracle. Then Eliot, who had been diagnosed with Trisomy 18 while in utero, was born. And each day I would check their blog with both excitement and fear for them.

When you have some time, even in the recesses of night, I'd encourage you to go read their story from the beginning. God used that blog to touch my heart deeply, reminding me that He is always in control, even when it appears that He has turned His head. I know that Matt and Ginny did not start their blog ( to reach out to all of us in the blogosphere. They didn't plan to be an example of sweet, tentative faith put daily to the test. Ginny didn't dress Eliot up in adorable costumes so that they could post photos and we could all be impressed (though we were!). They were just being Mom and Dad...and they were soaking up every second that they could because they knew time was the most precious resource available.

I won't spoil the story in case you've never heard it. But you can also watch this:

Yesterday was Ginny's birthday, and a huge day for their family for so many reasons. It's been two years and Eliot, I still love you dearly! Thank you for all you taught me!

Suffer the little children, and forbid them not to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 19:14

Monday, October 27, 2008

A V.I.P. Weekend

So this past weekend marked birthdays for Casey, my dad, and Caroline. We had a great time with all three of them but you'll have to take my word for it because I didn't take a single photo with any of them. I'm working hard on being photo-slacker of the year. Go see Chelsea's blog for Caroline's 1st birthday. At any rate, it was a fun-filled weekend and Russ put his culinary skills to the test once again: steaks on Friday and crab legs on Saturday, mmmmm.

One of my all-time favorite people, Wendy (aka "Wendle"), hung out with D. and I on Friday afternoon. Hanging out with Wendy is like eating comfort food for my soul.

Also, Davy's Gigi came over. I was finally able to get some photos with her.

Thank you, Emily Loerke, for the "green" outfit. So apropos of Em. Those are little recycle emblems all over it. Davy is doing her best Grandpa Munster impression.
Another with Gigi. You can tell it's getting colder. When I showed Russ this picture and said, "Look what your mom and I were up to," he responded, "Oh, torture?" C'mon, Russ. She's adorable.

Paul was finally able to get back in town this weekend. They got some bonding time in during the Tech game. Davy was in need of some Papa love.

Halloween in Review: Part One

I had mentioned awhile back that Halloween brought back certain memories for me as a child - both good and bad. While I relish the fall season and all the fun memories of trick or treating (back in the 80s, before all the razor blade apples and "Fall Festivals"), I need to share a little bit of the trauma that Halloween once was to me.

I need to first say, again, that Sweet Kay was and continues to be the very best mother in the world. She excels at SO many things; listening and being a source of peace and comfort being the best of her talents. At some point in her life, my mother had a seemingly endless well of creativity in her - she painted, sewed her own clothes...she was a Renaissance woman of sorts.

And then she had children.

I can now speak with a sense of authority on the notion that having a baby depletes your creativity supply. Perhaps it has something to do with the hormone levels in your body, or possibly the constant sleep deprivation...Anyway, it is with sorrow that I must now point you to Exhibit A:

No, your eyes do not mislead you: that is, in fact, a garbage bag with the words "The Thing" painted on it. Indeed I AM wearing my father's motorcycle helmet under that bag and I DO have my face painted in some sort of be-goggled mess. I think my 7 month old brother lying on the floor next to me, his young face contorted in a Mr. Blackwell-esque look, belies the truth that my mom was surely worn out that year. She had a not-quite 3 year old and a baby to contend with and we all know my father probably offered up the helmet as his only means of support. (The photo that I wish I did have has me sitting next to my best friend who is dressed as a girly, beautiful Raggedy Ann doll. It is a Yin and Yang of costumes, for sure.)Fast forward 2 years. We have moved to a new home in Georgia where all our Halloween photos would be taken next to a lovely backdrop of damask (?), patterned curtains. This young girl (?) appears as if on center stage. I remember wishing, hoping against hope, to be a princess for Halloween. Wish Granted! I believe my mom drove us to Sky City, my small hometown's version of K-Mart, and probably hurried me down the aisle of picked over costumes where I found this plastic apron/cape combo of what seems to be Cinderella. It's not even a dress. It's more of a montage of a princess, all hearts and swirlies and a cameo of the lady in question.

What's even sadder is that it was cold that night. Enter blue sweatshirt, sorrily rolled-up jeans and BROWN SHOES. I do remember that my mother had a Come To Jesus meeting with me over the shoes. It involved tears (probably on both our parts), pleadings, and much pouting. Looking back, it is the brown shoes that are really the nail in the coffin on this outfit. Mom? Seriously? Were you mad at me?

In all truth, I totally get how this happens. It's called time, folks, and how mothers have very little of it. My daughter is 3 months old and already I feel myself playing the comparison game with other mothers who have not only found outfits of homemade splendor for their child but have had the little one take professional photos in said outfit and have used that photo for their blog's monthly masthead. I went to Target last week and bought a onesie that says "Boo."

Oh Davy. I can't make you any promises. You come from a long history of mislaid plans, procrastination, and tired mommies. But I will let you eat as much candy as you want that night. And I will keep your father from picking out his favorite pieces first. After all, that's what a truly good mom does on Halloween.

More to come!

Friday, October 24, 2008

It won't be November without Harry

So, this is old news. But it just won't seem like the Thanksgiving holiday next month without a Harry Potter release. Seriously. My birthday falls on Thanksgiving this year and I believe I'll just pout the whole day since I can't go see "The Half Blood Prince." See Warner Bros' excuse for a 2009 summer release.

I don't think I'm buying that. Yes, summer is an optimal time for a blockbuster release but the HP movies have never needed a summer to blow up ticket sales. Also? Harry Potter movies? It's hard to explain but they don't fit a summertime day. They are always best in winter, when you can really sink in to the darkness and mystery of the movie. Noelle, am I right? This is just such a Big Bummer! Russ and I will simply have to resort to one of our HP marathons when we watch back to back on a Saturday because we're wild like that.

So, until that much anticipated (summer) day comes, I will leave you with this:

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Like watching a car wreck

Fast forward to 2 minutes in and watch.

I laughed myself sick. Thanks, Emily.

p.s. do you think she made that song up?

Update: After watching it all the way through a few times I have come to 2 conclusions:
1) I think the song is real, but she has to try to remember all the words and that's why it seems she's making it up. (I have almost memorized the damn thing now.)
2) I love the Mr. Rogers quality of her performance when she puts on those wedges. Girl, you needed those wedges to really get your coffee table dance on, didn't you? Been there, honey.

Ode to My Daddy

Saturday is Albie's birthday and since I'm not a big weekend blogger, I thought I'd take some time to pay a little homage to the best Dad in the whole world.

Before I was born, my dad was pretty certain he was going to have a boy. Poor kid, he grew up with 3 sisters and as the only boy, I think he just wanted a little break from the estrogen he'd been around all his life. But he did a pretty good turn around with me, letting me be a daddy's girl while still teaching me how to throw a baseball like a boy (it involved a bloody lip on my part), how to play basketball, and taking me on motorcycle rides (at 4 years old).
My dad was always up for playing games. He was FUN. He made up nicknames for all of my girlfriends and when they would spend the night he would tell scary stories and play scary games. In fact, one of his favorites was a really scary version of Hide and Go Seek called "Fee Fi Fo" in which all the lights in the house would be turned out while my brother and I hid and waited for Dad to find us...except that my dad would start in the uttermost corner of the house, growling and snarling "fee, fi, fo fum. I smell the blood of an Englishman!" As a child, this was the kind of terrifying fun in which you're not so sure you're really having any fun. When Dad would find us, he would tickle us to death. The bad kind of tickle - you know, where you wish you could die instead of keep getting tickled! Anyone who grew up around my dad suffered from the horror of being tickled. (But I do remember my brother and I saying, "do it again, Daddy!")
As the senior pastor of the largest Baptist church in our town in Georgia, my dad had a lot on his plate. However, he came home for lunch every day and would read to us. In fact, two of the biggest memories of my dad are that he instilled in me a true adoration of reading and a vast love for music. My dad read "Les Miserables" to me when I was in third grade. I loved it.

He would have us all lie on the floor while he played Simon and Garfunkel on the record player. Or, on cold winter nights, he would build a fire in the fireplace and put on "The Nutcracker" while my brother and I would dance and act out the parts with our blankies wrapped around our necks as capes. My dad and I are both the kind of people who want to share new songs with our loved ones. We are those people who want you to be quiet and really listen to the words while we sing to the song not so quietly with tears streaming down our face.

It has to be said that my dad has had the biggest influence on my faith. This is not just due to the fact that he was my pastor for 18+ years. It has more to do with the infectiousness of his own faith. He simply loves Jesus with a sweet desperation. My brother and I were bathed in this adoration for God while growing up - sort of like a "trickle down theory." My dad worked hard to teach us about Christianity. We memorized bible verses after dinner while our family hung out around the table. We sang songs all the way to church. Before bed (my dad probably spent close to an hour each night with me at my bedside) he would ask me what I wanted to pray about and we would talk about the Lord.

Later, as I pulled away from him, I would still return to my dad when a crisis of faith arose. I can remember calling Dad from Texas Tech after a disturbing debate with a professor who once had been an Christian evangelist but had then denounced the faith after turning to Zen Buddhism. I had spent an hour in his office arguing with him and I could feel my convictions being mocked and shrinking to that power of intellectualism. I had to talk to my Dad! After all, he too had been a college professor and he would know how to argue with this guy! Dad merely reminded me of 2 Corinthians 4 and told me that arguing wouldn't fix things. Sometimes the gospel is veiled and we can't lose heart.
On the day of my wedding I was very excited and very distracted by all the last minute details that needed to be done. As you can see above, I was constantly looking around to make sure stuff was being taken care of in the way that I wanted. Control freak much? (and doesn't that photo say so much? the two Merediths, shouting orders, while Russ looks on contentedly)

My dad, however, was full of glee. It was like he'd had 7 Red Bulls for breakfast. While I was going through my to-do list, he kept bothering me: "Beck! Hey Beck! Beck!" I finally looked over and said, "Dad! WHAT?! I'm busy!" Then, with a sideways smile and in a small voice my dad said, "Oh...well, I just wondered if we could practice our Father-Daughter dance." It hit me. I was getting married and my dad was just so happy...but he just wanted a little more time with me. (Tears, again, while writing this.)My dad has always loved kids. He loves to tease them, loves to talk with them, enjoying their joie de vivre. While I was pregnant, his friends began to joke that he would be over the moon for his granddaughter. But Dad, very unlike him, began almost steeling himself for the shock of it all. He kept saying, "I'm sure I'll really be excited when she's a little know, during the first 4 months they are really just little eating, sleeping machines." I think that since it hadn't hit him that he'd be a grandfather, he wasn't sure he'd be all that into it in the beginning.

Um, I think it's clear he's smitten now.

Happy (early) birthday, Dad. You set a very high bar for me that helped me walk the bumpy road of life with Jesus, helped me choose the right husband, and is helping me try very, very hard to be the kind of parent that you've been to me! I am a huge fan, and I always will be! I love you.

Remember our secret!

Monday, October 20, 2008

In a Flash...

So I was watching "Life in the Fab Lane" (problem #1), a show I never watch but I was cleaning out my closet and...oh, get over it...I was desperate for entertainment. Kimora Lee Simmons is not someone I would typically be drawn to - I had her chalked up as that model who married that rapper; the cliche', you know? But I get this! Bless her heart, she's all upset because her little 8 year old daughter is old enough to get her hair blown out and she's hit with that constant reminder that mothers have:

Over and over again, by every mother I've ever talked with, I continue to hear the phrase, "enjoy it - it's goes by so quickly."

Last week I found this on my camera and it made me cry.

She's already cooing! In fact, this video is old - she now has added quite a few other phrases to her vocabulary! Oh my gosh. My heart hurts watching this. Her little newborn face is all gone.

I'm going to be a blubbering mess at prom, y'all.

Another Weekend, Another Win by Tech

Poor Johnna had to endure the Tech vs. A&M game with a household of Red Raiders, the loudest of whom was Nancy*! But she did it with class and humility, even when our kicker failed on the extra point. Such a good sport, though now she'll have to fly the Tech flag at her house this season.

*I promise to have a photo of the little one with her Gigi soon - it's not for lack of time together!

A sidenote to Katy: Chels and Johnna had never heard one of my, you know, poop stories so I shared one of them while we were munching on aged cheese and drinking wine. Girl bonding, and all.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Sad and Frustrated

I'm a little under the weather today but it has nothing on reading this post from one of my all-time favorite bloggers. I've read Heather's site since 2003 and have reasoned through countless posts on religion (she's ex-Mormon, maybe agnostic?) and politics (very left-wing, but conscientious to her small right-wing readership) and I've always chalked up those posts to a learning experience, knowing hers is now most likely a majority perspective.

I'm really burned out from all the political posting I've read lately but I really felt angry when I read that earlier today. It's not that I believe John McCain is our nation's savior or that I think Obama is evil and out to demolish the United States' religious heritage. But for me the issue of abortion will always be a core factor in how I vote. And even more so having just recently given birth to the miracle who is hollering at the other end of the house.

I don't get it. Seriously. And I'm not going to get it. What blows my mind is that other women, surely loving mothers themselves (as I know Heather is) sincerely see abortion as a "right" that women should still have. More than anything, it is their vehemence towards the pro-life political view that continues to shock me. I can understand their despair about health care for unwanted babies (the assumption being that abortions are only performed on women who are simply too poor, too isolated from any agency that would help, damned to face possibly even death by delivering a baby!), but to peg John McCain as "pandering" and full of "contempt" because he continues to want to support the right to life - it seems twisted on their parts.

I want to be clear: I am not condemning anyone who has ever had an abortion. I have many wonderful, loving, kind-hearted friends who have gone through the act of abortion. I don't say any of this now to undermine their characters or their decisions. I do believe most of them would say the decision was one made under great duress and one that came with an unbelievable cost: grief. The one aspect from "Alexa at Flotsam" that I did understand was that abortion, for many women, is not the easy way out.

But if it were not lawful...I dunno. Someone will hate me for even saying this but if it were not lawful, perhaps millions of lives of unborn children (I believe life begins at conception) would be saved as would millions of hearts of women out there. Some people might read that as cheesy. I firmly believe there are women suffering mentally and spiritually because they have been unable to work through their grief over an abortion...sometimes due to this country's cavalier beliefs about life, about choice, and about redemption.

So, this isn't necessarily a pro-McCain post. It's merely saying out loud how tired I am of hearing many beloved women (Anne Lamott, another favorite) are pissed about McCain's stance on abortion. I just want to say something in support of that stance. No matter how liberal I might be on other subjects, this will never be one of them. And I say that as a mother of a female, who I would continue to love unconditionally should she ever choose to have an abortion.

Ugh. The only real answer for someone like me is to more fully support pro-life causes. (Financially & with time)
Pregnancy Lifeline is a clinic in Ft. Worth committed to helping women with unwanted pregnancies.
Pro-Life Action League is a non-violent protest group that aims to also educate people about abortion and the right to choose life.

And I just noticed that I've done back to back Republican posts. The cat's out, I guess.

In Wasilla we just chill, baby, chilla

...but when I see oil it's, "drill, baby, drilla!"

Hope you saw this.

God bless you, Sarah. Prayin' hard for you, girl.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Happy Birthday, Lump!

I said before that I fell in love with the Pembroke Welsh Corgi breed when I lived with the Orenders. Anyone who knows me well knows that I am a huge Anglophile, that I love all things British: be it Harry Potter, the Lord of the Rings, tea and scones, the Royal Family, Westminster Abby, Oxford, C.S. Lewis, Jane Austen...I could go on but you're already bored, aren't you? So I had envisioned a corgi named Fatty Lumpkin long before he came along.

He was the runt of his litter and when we bought him his ears had been taped to keep them up because his brother and sister kept biting them. His parents were both show champions but the breeder told us, "he's a little long in the leg to show." Who knew that this little guy would be such a wonderful investment?

The hours of fun we have had with Fatty have probably lengthened our lives. I can say with total honesty that he makes us laugh every day. He is smart as a whip (bustin' out my grandfather vernacular) and understands numerous phrases, not to mention is hyperintuitive to body language. We love messing with his head by asking him, "Fatty, wanna go for a...bath?" To see his expression go from glee to despair cracks us up. Yes, we're cruel.

We nicknamed him Nana when D. came along. His interest in her can sometimes drive me insane as he must be right up against me anytime she's feeding or being changed. This is the nature of a corgi - they are herders and were also bred to lay at your feet during those cold English winters.

About a year ago after a night of gorging ourselves at Capital Grill, we brought leftover steak home for Fatty. My favorite part is how his growling (he has never shown us any kind of mean spirit) is completely cracking Russ up.

Happy Birthday, buddy. We'll be sure to keep our fingers away from any birthday treats.