Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Choosing happiness

Choosing happiness. That's what I'm giving myself for Christmas this year. There is so much I have and so many people I love.

My best friend has been given the gift of another Christmas with her family. My son goes to a wonderful preschool full of teachers who love him and immerse him in the arts. My husband works tirelessly to provide for us, and my stepdaughter is loving and kind and helpful.

I don't have to look far for things that make me happy. I just have to remember to do it.

Although it's not full-time, I do work. I teach piano and composition and I get to play with Bill Leslie in all of his live shows and record backing vocals on his albums. It's a great gig, and I couldn't play with nicer people. Christmas in Mitford is his new album, and it was number five on the world music charts for November. I'm proud to  play with him.

Last weekend, we had a show in Holly Springs at their terrific auditorium. Bill lent part of the set to Linda and I to do one of my favorite Christmas carols. Performing with wonderful musicians? Makes me really happy.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Guppy love

These are the boys' new guppies. They aren't just any guppies, though. They are guppies from their Aunt Susan.

Today, those guppies kept me company on the ride home from a whirlwind visit to see my dear friend. We had Christmas to celebrate, but pneumonia (her) and strep throat (me) had delayed and shortened my trip considerably.

Still, Kevin sent me on my way this past Sunday. He and one of our fabulous neighbors made sure that the boys were well cared for, and today, their favorite sitter came to play. When I walked in the door, having picked up Mallory on my way home, they were more excited to see her than they were me.

I'm happy they have so many people in their lives to love.

And now we've added some guppies. Guppy love.

I'm so happy I got to spend time with Susan and her family, and I'm so happy that I had my own family to come home to.

This being happy thing isn't so bad.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Nutcracker. Preschool style.

Christopher goes to a fantastic preschool. It's a multi-arts school that I dreamed about sending my children to before I ever thought I would get to have children. He loves it there, loves his teachers, loves the activities, and I love seeing him thrive.


This morning, they put on a performance of the Nutcracker. Preschool style.

When the dance teacher came out to start the performance, she had Christopher by the hand and brought him with her. My first thought was, "Oh no. He isn't paying attention, refuses to participate, and is freaking out so he has to stay with Ms. Karen." However, she introduced him and said that he would be helping her run the music.

Sure enough, when the music started, he was the one pressing the button, and I could see him, standing by Ms. Karen, following her lead, giving the performers their cues. He was like the little mini stage director. I was really proud of him - putting that natural bossiness to good use.

About 20 minutes into the performance, Colin had had enough and was either going to join in or sit there and scream. So we left, walked around the outside of the building, delivered teacher gifts, and came back in just in time to see Christopher actually in costume and dancing with the rest of his class.

He was magnificent.

I know that I'm a mama now, because while other people probably would have seen a spastic three year old running circles on a dance floor while holding a candy cane pole above his head - I saw a tall, lean, beautiful child doing incredibly graceful stag leaps, one after another. Next stop, Carolina Ballet.

I was so proud of him. He played a special helping role in the beginning, but he still participated with his class. He has come so far since the beginning of the school year.

So today, I'm reminding myself that I'm so happy Christopher gets to go to Arts Together.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Coming out of the dark

I haven't written much this year, and in a way, that tells you all you need to know. I've turned inward a little too much I suppose, but it's what I've needed to get through the day to day.


To be honest, I haven't had a whole lot of positive things weighing on me. I feel like the house is too dirty, the boys watch too much TV, we eat out too much - all of the things I'm supposed to be taking care of, I feel like I'm not good enough.

I'll have spurts of competence. There will be weeks when I'm really good at keeping up with a meal plan, finishing the laundry, and staying on top of all the bills. Then, I'll sort of drift off into some place where my family and friends can't find me. Some place where I try to heal myself.

The other day, when I was having my annual at the Birth Center, the nurse told me she really wanted me to add in some therapy to my Zoloft prescription. I told her that right now was not the time for talking. Right now was the time for getting through day to day. If I had to talk about it too? Well, forget it.

Sounds all doom and gloom, doesn't it? It's not. There is just a lot of sadness mixed in with the happy. I have a lot to be happy about, and you can consider that the understatement of the year.

So, my goal for the rest of 2012, is to write about some of those things. I know for a fact that I need to find my way out of my shell, and if I'm not going to talk my way out, then I can certainly start writing my way out.

I've got 17 days left and many more than 17 things I could list. This should be easy, right?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

She'll be coming around the mountain

Momma comes tomorrow. Ever since last Thursday, I've been going through my days thinking, "This time next week, Momma and I can do [this] together."


To say I'm excited is an understatement.

It will, however, be the first time I've been with just Momma.

There will be the freedom to do whatever we want to whenever we want to without having to worry about Daddy as a prisoner to Parkinson's.

There will be the emptiness of not getting to sit with him. Not getting to see Christopher snuggled up next to him. Not being able to introduce him to Colin as a full on toddler and the funniest member of the family.

To say I'm heartbroken is another understatement.

I want to see my daddy too. Ever since February, I've been here, just like always. I haven't lived in the same state as my parents for twelve years. It's not like I saw them all the time. So for me, it's been easy to just imagine that Momma and Daddy are carrying on like they always were, and that I would see them again soon.

Tomorrow, I will see Momma. Just Momma. I'm so happy she is coming. I'm so happy that we will get to spend just us time. It's going to be awesome. It's just that it's going to be sad too.

I wish she had gotten here two days earlier to enjoy the leaves. She loves the colors of fall. Tonight, it will rain, and most of the leaves will be gone.

Today, a cooler arrived UPS. It contained her chemo for the next 10 days. Kind of surreal.

Tonight, I'm admitting that I always did the obsessive house cleaning for my daddy. Momma will have clean sheets and clean floors, but beyond that, I promise nothing.

Christopher has been waiting for tomorrow for what seems like forever. There seriously hasn't been a day that has gone by since I told him Nana was coming that he hasn't asked when she would get here. He is so very very excited.

We all are.

Bonus: tomorrow is her birthday.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Colin hates everything


This is Colin's class for Mother's Morning Out. You will find Colin in the bottom lefthand corner. In the red Beatles shirt, because I forgot it was picture day.


You can tell how much he enjoys being left by his mama. He's got his baby, or "Dadee," as he calls her. And if you look closely, you can see the total scowl on his face.

How could I not buy this picture? It cracks me up every time I see it.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

P.S. Mississippi

You did it. You pulled together enough people brave enough to think through Initiative 26 and defeat it. I'm so proud of you.


I know that you are still torn, Mississippi. A little less than half of you feel as though baby killing was stamped "approved" in yesterday's vote. A little more than half of you are, according to your new governor-elect, members in Satan's army.

It hard to be a Mississippian.

The rest of the country doesn't understand you much of the time. My own husband loves to poke fun at Mississippi because he knows how much it riles me. I can say what I will about your horrible pot hole pocked streets or your reputation for hospitality that never intersects with customer service, but if a Yankee speaks out against you? I've got your back.

To the members of Satan's army who voted NO on 26, I am in awe of you. I know that the majority of you were judged harshly. I know that the majority of you had to wrestle with values and beliefs that you hold very dear. I know that just because you voted no on 26, it doesn't mean that you aren't pro-life. I respect your ability to hold true to your values and think rationally about this vote at the same time.

To those of you who voted yes. I am so sorry that you feel so let down. I hate that this feels like a defeat to you. Most of all, I hate what Personhood USA did to Mississippi through all of this.

Divided.

You see, Mississippi, what Personhood never bothered to tell you was how they sabotaged the whole thing before it even started. Simplistically speaking, the vague wording was necessary to directly target Roe v. Wade. Since the Supreme Court ruled that no state could outlaw abortion, Personhood had to go for redefining the beginning of a person. Not the beginning of life, but of person.

However, no matter what the outcome was yesterday, until the Supreme Court changes their mind, Mississippi won't be allowed to outlaw abortion. Initiative 26 was primed to do nothing but keep the state in turmoil, cost it untold amounts of money, and keep the people divided.

What I hope you do next, Mississippi, is continue to surprise the rest of the country. I know you can do it. Why don't you tackle your infant mortality rate? How about raising the standard of living for the thousands of children you have living in poverty? You could even work on lowering your teen pregnancy rate, which would also help lower the numbers of abortions, don't you think?

You have plenty of ability, Mississippi. You showed that yesterday at the polls. And don't think that we don't know how hard it was for some of you to vote for governor-elect Bryant (the waiting Commander in Chief of Satan's Army), and then turn around and vote no on 26. We know you were conflicted. We are proud of you.

It's hard being a Mississippian.

You sure did a good job of it yesterday. Congratulations.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Dear Mississippi,

Tomorrow, Mississippi, you will open your polls. Your people will have the opportunity to go to the polls and vote on Initiative 26. It states:

Be it Enacted by the People of the State of Mississippi: SECTION 1. Article III of the constitution of the state of Mississippi is hereby amended BY THE ADDITION OF A NEW SECTION TO READ: Section 33. Person defined. As used in this Article III of the state constitution, "The term 'person' or 'persons' shall include every human being from the moment of fertilization, cloning or the functional equivalent thereof." This initiative shall not require any additional revenue for implementation.
Y'all. Come on. You know better than this, Mississippi. I know you do.

Personhood USA is USING you, Mississippi. They believe that you are uneducated and prone to vote based solely on faith and emotion. They believe that you are dumb. That's right. They think you are the dumb ones in the country that will get this passed.

I know better. I grew up with you. I was educated in Mississippi. Sure. I didn't learn about the Civil Rights movement like I should have, but I was awarded some pretty fancy scholarships and have been told I'm a right smart young lady. I credit you with that, Mississippi.

I know that you love babies, and I know that you feel it is your calling in life to protect the unborn child. So be it. I don't scoff at you for that. Where many others point their fingers at your teen pregnancy rate, your infant mortality rate, and your child poverty rate, I say, "Mississippi is passionate about saving unborn babies."

So be it.

I have to tell you something though, Mississippi. I have to tell you that it isn't your business who, when, where, how, or why I have sex with someone. It isn't your business what kind of protection I use when I have sex with someone. It isn't your business what happens in my uterus. For any reason.

You can't have it all. You can't have reproductive rights that cherry pick. You can't save all the fertilized eggs that you want to call unborn babies and still have effective infertility treatments. You have to use your minds. Your logic. Your thinking caps.

I know you can do it.

Honestly, I don't want to argue with you about fertilized eggs being itty bitty persons. Let's just save that argument for someone who hasn't had multiple miscarriages. It's too personal. In fact, I don't want to argue at all. I just want you to see this for what it is.

It's another case of the rest of America thinking Mississippi is full of redneck dummies. It's not. I know it's not. I love you, Mississippi. I may have left you for a more northern Southern state, but I still love you.

Please. Don't be the pawn for Personhood USA. It's not what you think it is. It's not saving the babies. It's not saving the families. It's not saving anybody. It's just making you look stupid and backwards. The amendment is too vague and too misrepresented to do anybody any good.

You must stand up for yourself, Mississippi. Show the rest of the country that you are nobody's pansy, no matter how shiny-bright-fake-baby-saving they are.

Friday, November 04, 2011

Terrifying

See these stairs? They are wooden. And slippery. And you shouldn't wear socks on them. And you shouldn't be 21 months old wearing socks and walking down them.


This afternoon, we could have lost Colin. I know I have a flair for the dramatic, but y'all. These are some seriously steep stairs, and a lot of them.

He fell from the top.

To the bottom.

I was standing a few feet from the bottom of the steps, cutting out some appliques in the next room. Kevin was standing at the top of the steps with Colin, just about to pick him up when he turned to shut the door.

That's when Colin fell.

He rolled down the steps, gaining more and more momentum. I came running and got there just in time to see him hit a step about four up from the bottom and bounce hard enough off of it that he just spun in the air three more times until he landed forehead first into the baseboard at the bottom. I couldn't catch him. I just barely missed him, but I did. I missed him.

I knew to run because I heard Kevin screaming.

I've never heard Kevin scream before.

Colin is fine. Bruised. Multiple knots. He will be fine.

But I never ever want to see my child falling like that again though. Out of control. Out of reach. It was terrifying.

I asked him later if he was scared, and he told me, "No ghost, Mama. No ghost." I guess that means he wasn't scared. He's a little hard to translate sometimes.

He did walk around the rest of the evening patting his head and saying, "Bump. Bump."

Tomorrow: gates. One on top, One on bottom.

Thank you, God, for cushioning that ride my baby took and keeping him safe. It really could have gone another way quite easily.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Tiny tyrant

The screaming. Oh my God, the screaming. If it doesn't stop soon, I'm going to lose my fucking mind. Seriously. Lose. My. Mind.


The moment Colin doesn't get his way, he starts to scream. I don't know if it's because he's still pretty non-verbal, or if he just wants to torture me in the worst possible way. Because the only noise I hate worse than the screaming is the sound of latex balloons against skin. Random, I know.

Last Friday, I took the boys to Christopher's preschool's fall picnic. Kevin had to work, so I was on my own. Fall picnic with tons of other kids and parents - one would think I would be just fine. Unfortunately, my children had something else in mind.

When we arrived, Colin was thrilled and wanted to run to every activity and try everything. On the completely opposite hand, Christopher was totally overwhelmed and wanted to stand by a
tree, shake, jump up and down, and scream at me. I would chase Colin down while Christopher yelled at me to please don't leave him.

By the time Christopher got comfortable enough to leave his tree, Colin was ready to leave the area with all the activities. Fine. We went on the nature trail. Well, Christopher and I went on the nature trail. Colin, never to be confined to trails and the suggested route, simply ran off into the woods.

Then came the screaming. He would run into the woods, I would chase him down, pick him up, and then he would scream. Add onto the screaming some pummeling of me in the face, and you have the world's most charming 21 month old.

The moment I finally lost it was the exact moment that Colin took his little pumpkin with one eye and a half a mouth and smashed it into my mouth. My upper lip began to swell immediately, and I couldn't help but just let the tears come.

The day didn't end there, but that's quite enough to share. It sucked. The picnic sucked. The day sucked. I hated every minute of it and spent a good deal of time contemplating going back to work full time.


But here are the pictures I will post on Facebook. Here are the smiles and the cuteness that I captured with the camera before I had to put it back in the car because I couldn't hold it and defend myself against my horridly violent toddler at the same time.

What a lovely couple of children and a lovely day. Fine. I'm not going to argue with the pictures.





















Saturday, October 08, 2011

Penis

Let's just call it what it is. It's a penis. Boys each have one. A girl has a vagina, or as Christopher calls it, a "vaginis." You know, almost rhymes with "penis."

We use the almost correct terms in this house.

What we haven't done enough of yet, which has become glaringly obvious this weekend, is teach which parts of our bodies are private.

The lessons I'm learning the hard way just keep piling up.

Friday night, I was on my own for bed and bath with the boys because Kevin and Mallory were at a football game. I put Christopher and Colin in the bathtub together, like always. After I turned off the water, I left them for a minute to go get their dirty clothes basket so I could gather a few days worth of their clothes.

When I walked back in, there was a brother's penis headed into the other brother's mouth.

Are you aware that this is NOT covered in any parenting books I've read so far? And are you aware that if you try Google for help on the subject, you come up with some pretty disturbing results, making you wish you had been FAR MORE SELECTIVE on what you Googled for advice?

Yeah. I wasn't either until Friday night.

So the conversation of private body parts began in full force that night. Putting other people's body parts in your mouth became something that is off limits. Just don't do it. Fingers, penises, toes, penises, elbows, penises, ears, penises, any of it. Just keep it out of your mouth. Also, penises are something that come out in the bathroom only. All other times, they are to be covered and kept to yourself.

I was secure in the way I handled it. The situation had freaked me out - don't get me wrong - but I felt as though a balance between "this is something you need to listen to and remember" and "I don't want to put too much emphasis on this behavior" was met.

And of course, as soon as I gain any sort of confidence in my parenting, I take my children out in public so that they might knock my off my pedestal in a most splendiforous way.

The day after the incident I don't care to speak of again, I took the boys up to the neighborhood fire station with our friends from down the street. The weather was perfect. We walked with our double strollers filled with our four perfect children through our almost perfect neighborhood up to meet the fireman and see the truck. It was as storybook as it sounds.

Perfectly storybook until Christopher says to one of the fireman, "I have a penis."

I was standing a few feet from him, and I thought I heard him say, "I have a penis." However, I was far enough away and was able to conjure enough immediate denial that I thought, "He didn't just say that."

That denial didn't last long. Almost before I could finish the thought, and certainly before I could imagine what he might have said instead of, "I have a penis," he dropped his pants. And his underwear. Right there in the firehouse.

As a friend said later, I guess he was just whipping out his own hose.

Seriously though, NOT FUNNY. I'm pretty sure the look of horror on my face will forever be burned into the memory of my three year old. Or at least until the next time he drops his pants in public. Which might be tomorrow. You just never know.

Later, I decided to casually inquire as to why he thought it was a good idea to show the fireman his penis. The conversation went like this:

Me: Hey Christopher, why did you try and show the fireman your penis?
Christopher: Because he will like it.
Me: Why do you think that he would like it?
Christopher: Because it is beautiful.

There's not a lot of arguing with that. The kid has good self image. I'm going to start complementing him a lot more on his hair and his smile though. Hopefully it will catch on, and he won't feel the need to show off what he obviously feels like is his best feature.

Boys. Nothing can quite prepare a mama for boys. I'm sure of that.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Mirror mirror

It's humbling when you realize that your three year old is a pretty good mirror of your own behavior.


Tuesday morning, I was struggling to get the boys up and dressed and out the door on time. It was 8:00, and Kevin was still sleeping. I had not asked him to get up. I had not set an alarm for him. I had not told him that I needed help.

With both boys half dressed, squealing, running in different directions, and throwing off the half dressed that I had accomplished thus far - I almost snapped.

"Kevin! Would you PLEASE get up and help me?!?!? I canNOT do this on my own this morning!" was what I almost yelled at him.

Then, I realized that this was exactly one of the behaviors I was trying to help Christopher modify. When he needs help with something, he struggles alone until he explodes into a frustrated firestorm.

I stopped myself short. I leaned over, kissed him on the cheek, and asked in my nice voice if he could get up and help me with the hooligans.

I've been battling the behavior on the wrong end. While I've been doing better about reacting negatively - I've been helping him calm down, breathe deeply, and ask in a nice voice for what he needs - what I haven't been doing is teaching (and by teaching, I mean modeling) how not to jump straight to frustration in the first place.

With me, it's a personality trait that I've been working on for years. I take everything too personally. It's a form of being self-centered, and I don't like it about myself. If I'm not getting the help I need, it's obviously because that person isn't thinking enough of me and doesn't love me enough and why aren't they putting my needs first ever in their whole life?

See the crazy? It's clearly there. I'm beating it back as best I can.

In the meantime, I have good reason to keep trying to be a better person. It's the little person who keeps turning out like me.

Christopher and I, who work together on using our nice voices, will now be working together to ask for help when we need it. We will ask nicely. We will not jump straight to frustration. And we will be happier people with a happier family.

Humbling, I tell you.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Flapjack Jam for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation

Alright local peeps, this Saturday, you have the chance to come to the Lakemont Club in our neighborhood, and attend the second annual Flapjack Jam for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

Between walks and fundraisers like this one, our neighborhood, lovingly nicknamed, Super Dylan Nation, raises tens of thousands of dollars that go straight to research to end Cystic Fibrosis.

We have a personal reason for this. His name is Dylan, and he is the six year old fireball behind all of this. We do it because Dylan has Cystic Fibrosis, and we want a cure for him. For Dylan and the other 69,999 people in the world with this disease.

The pancakes will be scrumptious. The company will be divine. The silent auction will be amazing (you can check out the big ticket items in this catalog, and the little shirts I made are pictured below). The entertainment will be, well, entertaining.

Kevin and I will be taking the stage together for the first time. Yep. Married five years, and we had yet to start a band. Hush. We've been busy. Our good friend Walt Hensey will be joining us on bass, and we're borrowing a lovely drummer who I've yet to meet. But I'm certain that he's lovely, because he said "yes."

So. If you can, come by on Saturday. Come early for pancakes and the auction. Mule Kickers (Kevin named us. I kinda love it.) starts at 6:00. We really want you to be there.

Friday, September 23, 2011

All in a name

Christopher.


Sunday, when I picked him up from extended stay at church, he was wearing a name tag that said, "Chris." It was distinctly in his very own handwriting.

I have proclaimed that he would always be called "Christopher" and not "Chris." Of course, I've learned a thing or two about motherly proclamations.

The thing was, he looked like a "Chris." He has gotten so much taller over the summer. He doesn't look at all like a toddler anymore because he isn't. People who meet him for the first time commonly mistake him for a five year old because of his height and his verbal skills.

He's a big boy now.

But he is still very much little. Wee very little. Especially emotionally and socially. He is still very much three years old.

He has had a hard time adjusting to his new preschool. He gets frustrated and angry. He doesn't know how to talk to the other kids. He has not wanted to listen to his teachers.

I was given this information last week. We immediately started trying to help him find his way. He and I are both working on using our nice voices more and our angry voices less. I am making mornings much more relaxed even if it makes us 10 minutes late. We are figuring out together how to help him be successful. Because he can be.

I digress.

Chris. I know I'll never call him that, but seeing it on his name tag, in his own writing, made it alright. He never would have fit "Christopher" on that little tag anyway.

Who knows? Maybe he'll end up being "Topher." That's what Colin is calling him.

How do you feel about other people nicknaming your kids? Shortening their names? Does it bother you?

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Boot Camp

I have a secret.


Since June, I have been going to boot camp. Inspired by none other than Miss Zoot herself, I decided that it was time for me to get back in shape.

Baby weight (also known as milkshakes while pregnant weight) hasn't come off after Colin like it did after Christopher. I'm older. I eat too much. Go figure.

The thing is, I didn't start working out in order to lose tons of weight and fit into a size 10 again. I'm fine with my padding and pudge. It was well earned, and I don't mind it usually.

I started working out because I want to be strong again.

Do you hear that, world? I want to be strong again.

I used to be strong. I used to be powerful and tenacious. Leaving the workforce was the right thing for me to do for my children, but it took away a lot of my gumption. That's what my granddaddy would have called it. My gumption.

I'm not ready to start working outside of the home again, but I am ready to start feeling like myself. Myself in this new version of me. Me 2.0.

So, boot camp. Easier than therapy.

I get up, try not to wake Colin (never works), throw on some clothes, and dash out the door to be there in time to start at 6:00. That's 6:00 AM. Except on Saturdays when it's 8:30.

It's hard. There is a lot of running at which I suck big monkey balls. I hate running. While I run, I can't shake the thoughts of, "If someone was chasing me, and I had to run from them, I would be dead."

There is a lot of strength training that I like alright. There is a lot of dragging weird things like tires and fire hoses about which I am ambivalent. There is a sense of accomplishment that I love.

If you see me, you probably won't notice a change. I haven't lost any weight. In fact, over the past month, I've gained a few pounds. I don't have the healthiest relationship with food. It comforts me. Rewards me like I'm a canine. And when I miss my Daddy the most, I really crave a donut.

I guess I still miss him a lot.

Regardless, I'm happier. I may not be fitting into any smaller clothes (yet), but I know I'm getting stronger. And that feels awesome.

I don't take having a healthy body for granted. It feels right to be taking care of it better. I owe myself and my family at least that.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Small victories

My husband and I are a lot alike. We are a convincing argument against "opposites attract."


One thing we don't have in common though, is the ability to gauge first impressions or to quickly assess a situation. He nails it almost every time, and I am usually wrong.

I'm terrible at telling what kind of person someone is within the first five minutes of meeting them. And I'm even worse about reacting to a situation without giving thought to possible causes or scenarios - just my gut reaction - which is often wrong.

Yesterday, the boys and I were leaving the neighborhood when I had to stop suddenly for a woman who was jogging with her dog off leash down the middle of the road. Cars were parked on either side of the road, she was in the middle, and I was running late to preschool already.

Instinct: Yell. Honk. Glare. Gesture.

For some reason, I took a second look before my instincts kicked in, and I did something stupid.

The woman wasn't jogging. She probably had been jogging, but she was running. And she wasn't running with that dog off leash, she was running from the off leash dog.

I rolled down the window and yelled to her, "That isn't your dog, is it?"

She ran to the car and said, "NO! Can I get in your car, please?"

I grabbed my purse out of the passenger seat and unlocked the door. She jumped in, sat breathless for a moment, and I pulled over to the side of the road. I noticed that there was a lady standing in her yard, as though there was an invisible fence there, calling the dog - waving wildly at it.

Of course, an invisible fence was just what she needed, but for the dog, not for herself. Her Rottweiler (oh, did I forget to mention that part?) was just out, chasing this poor woman jogger, and it's owner is refusing to step foot out of her yard. Weird.

Everything worked out alright. The jogger thanked me and commented that she would be jogging with mace from now on. We made it to preschool just fine and only a few minutes late. Best of all, I was proud of myself for being more observant and less quick to snap.

Small victories, people. I'm living on small victories these days.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Baby G

Last night, Kevin and I were working in the studio when in comes Colin. It was 9:30 at night. He had been asleep in his bed, but decided to get up, come downstairs, get a bag of bagels out of the cabinet, and help himself to a late night snack.


I swear, it's like my daddy come back to earth in that boy.

Looking at him from behind, he has the same neck. His head is shaped like Daddy's. His ears stick out like Daddy's.

From the front, he has some of the same expressions. A serious look with eyebrows furrowed. A completely irritated look with daggers shooting from his eyes.

He's stubborn. He has tantrums. He is quick to anger, but just as quick to laugh. Not unlike my daddy at all.

He is his own person. 100% Colin through and through.

It's just that sometimes, especially when he gets up in the middle of the night for a snack, furrowing his brow at me when I tell him, "you have to go back to bed," I can't help but wonder how on earth my daddy taught him so much in the short short time he had with him.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Laryngitis

Avoidance. I grovel in it.


This space sits quietly. Ignored for shinier spaces where I can be shallow.

I pin pretty things.

I post pictures and videos without the conversation surrounding them.

I speak in abbreviated thoughts, never really saying anything.

Here is the place where I am raw. Vulnerable. I end up feeling too deeply. Thinking too long. I haven't been in the mood to share.

Milestones have come and gone without me breathing even the smallest detail about them. Kevin's birthday. First steps and first words. Summer camps and swimming lessons. A small vacation. Our fifth anniversary, and I didn't even post a song this year.

I've lost my voice.

Last Friday night, we had a gig. Bill's voice was almost gone, and he asked me to fill in for him on some of the songs he couldn't sing. We worked our way through the set that night, trading lead and harmonies, singing some in unison, and letting him just sit some out.

On the way home, I realized that I had lost my voice. Gone. I couldn't speak a word. The boys had shared some upper respiratory virus. Between the virus and taxing my voice at the gig, I was rendered silent for days.

I can't lie. I didn't mind much. It was comfortable to be silent in real life for a few days. I came out of it with so much to say, though. I have so much to say - all stored up somewhere inside me.

This year has left me feeling rather drained. Like a virus I just can't shake.

It's taken my voice.

I need to take it back.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Nut butter granola bars

Last year, I posted a recipe that I got from my friend Kara. She brought me a batch of her Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Granola Bars after Colin was born. I blame this recipe entirely for not losing my baby weight. It's a delicious way to still be fat, by the way.


However, in the interest of wanting to fit back into my jeans before Colin turns *ahem* two years old, I have modified this recipe, gradually removing sugar from it without sacrificing the taste.

Now, I always take some of these to new mamas with the instructions to store them in the freezer, remove one before you start nursing, and then enjoy after you are done. Last week, I took a batch to Jessica (sans coconut), and I figure it's now time to post the new version of the recipe.

The changes from the original include cutting the brown sugar in half, using freshly ground almond butter instead of peanut butter with oil and sugar added to it, and using dark chocolate chips - a 1/2 cup instead of 3/4 cup. Sometimes I also use Earth's Balance sticks instead of real butter if I want to make them dairy free.

You can also include dried fruit, and I've got some candied ginger to try in my next batch. Something else I'm going to try is making it with freshly ground peanut butter made from honey roasted peanuts, then I'll cut the honey either completely out or in half. I'll never cut the molasses because I love the taste so much.

Without further ado, here is the modified version. Less sugar, still yummy.

Nut Butter Granola Bars

2/3 cup fresh ground nut butter
1 stick butter, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup molasses
1/4 cup honey
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 cups uncooked oats
1/2 cup of dark chocolate chips
3/4 cup shredded coconut
1/3 cup wheat germ
1/4 cup ground flax seed

Heat oven to 350. Beat brown sugar, butter, and peanut butter till fluffy. Add honey, molasses, and vanilla- stir well. Stir in oats, chips, coconut, raisins, and wheat germ. Press into bottom of a 9x13 baking pan. Bake fifteen minutes. Put in the freezer to chill for 45 minutes or until firm. I then cut them into bars and store them in large Ziploc in the freezer.

Friday, July 08, 2011

A night out with winners

Tonight, we took our children to Chik-fil-a, dressed as cows, in order to get free food. Why no, we have no pride, thank you for asking.


Christopher cried because he didn't want to dress up like a cow. We just told him he was Sheriff Woody instead.

Colin rather liked dressing up like a cow and was enjoying himself until he projectile vomited nuggets, fruit, and chocolate milk all over himself, the high chair, and the cup I formed out of my hands to try and contain some of the toxic spill.

I wheeled him into the bathroom, still in the high chair, caught some additional puke, and stripped him down. After trying to clean the high chair as best I could, we mooooooved on out of there as quickly as possible, letting the nice girl up front know that they had a contaminated high chair in the ladies room.

Parents of the year.

But hey, dinner was free, so I'm marking it in the "win" column.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Mama models

Look at this. How she has made herself be on the level of the children. She is looking at what has captured their attention. She is explaining the how and why of the science.


I have more pictures from the visit. Pictures of train tracks, post office tents, and fish feeding. I stood back a lot and took pictures, watching and learning from my best friend.

She is the kind of mom I want to be. A mom who finds something to teach in every activity. A mom who cuddles when cuddles are needed, but who also goes to great lengths to learn how to empower her children.

Finding the balance between security and independence for our children is so very difficult.

I'm lucky to have such great mama models in my life. I'm lucky that this one is my best friend.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

I am from

I am from peanut butter, from Nilla Wafers and powdered milk.

I am from the southern part of the South, dripping with humidity and hypocrisy, balancing redemption and restitution, forever pushing people away all while calling them to come back home.

I am from the chaise lounge in the forked branches, the climbable magnolia.

I am from Sunday dinners and slow talking, from a line of Tom's and Henry's and Suttle's without being it at all.

I am from love felt deeply, loud laughter, fiery anger, long grudges, and stubborn pride.

I am from how you get to Hell and how you get to Heaven.

I am from Presbyterians, serious and regimented. I am from the Book of Order. I am from committees, liturgy, and sacraments. From preachers and elders. From Sunday School teachers. I am from tight knit youth groups where friendships remain even after time unraveled the rest.

I am from Mississippi. I am from buttermilk biscuits and pound cake. BBQ ribs and vegetables fresh from the garden that grew in town behind my grandparents' house. From the busy road, you could catch a glimpse of country in a part of the city that had been so very developed. I am from the country stuck within the city.

I am from boxes stuffed with photographs, unordered and smudged. From CD's I won't listen to anymore. From songs I won't sing again.

I am from five sets of china and antiques battling for space within my home. I am from a wedding dress boxed up and passed down, a wedding dress worn and then forgotten, and a wedding dress still new, hanging clean in the bag, overlooked for eloping. I am from dress gloves and costume jewelry that I will never wear, but yet never let go.

I am from a pipe that stills smells a little like my grandfather. I know this because I still pull it out of the drawer and expectantly smell it every now and then. I am from cardigan sweaters that used to warm my Daddy when he stayed so very cold all of the time.

I am from joy and pain. Pride and shame. I am from all of this and so much more.

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Jennifer at Playgroups Are No Place for Children was the first place I saw this. Then today, Maggie at Magpie Musings wrote one as well. They are both beautiful writers, and I hesitated to join in - but the template (from the Campbell Folk School in North Carolina) is lovely and the results all so different. Schmutzie has also done it and is making a link-up. Come join in.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Daddy

I wasn't going to do it. I wasn't going to write the "Oh woe is me, it's Father's Day, and my daddy is dead" post.


Stiff upper lip. Everyone has loss in their life. I had my daddy for longer than I thought I would. I should be grateful. I am grateful.

But my heart aches. It folds on top of itself in my chest when I try to take a deep breath while remembering the way Daddy sat in his chair with Colin nestled in his lap the last time we visited.

My heart winces every time a picture of Daddy comes up on my digital picture frame. I didn't remember that I had so many pictures of him. I'm lucky to have so many pictures of him with Christopher.

My heart whimpers when I tag a thought or a tidbit in my mind as "something to tell Daddy."

My heart is so broken.

My mind forgets though. In the day to day, it really hasn't changed much. I didn't get to see him often anymore, and he didn't like talking on the phone very much.

I missed him before he was ever gone.

But now he is gone, and I miss him even more. I didn't think that was going to happen. Naive, I suppose, but I didn't. I thought I had made peace with his passing as the Parkinson's stripped away slivers of him in between every phone call and every visit.

He was never completely gone before he died. It's a myth that loved ones with dementia are gone before their deaths. They aren't. They are still with you. You can still hold a hand, stroke a cheek, rest your head on their shoulder. They are still there for you to imagine that you just caught a glimmer of their former selves in their vacant eyes.

I waited for that glimmer for hours for the days he was in hospice.

This Father's Day, I'm not only heartbroken for myself, but for my children. Colin will not remember my daddy at all. Christopher will remember him barely. Mallory will remember him as always being sick. He loved the three of them so very much. I know that he did.

A couple of weeks ago, Christopher asked me to tell him a story about G-Daddy. I almost told him no because I didn't think my heart could stand it. However, I launched into the story of a military man turned defense attorney. A man who loved his family and his church. A man who loved bar-b-que and Mississippi State University. The man who was my daddy.

I don't suppose I will ever quit telling stories about you, Daddy. Stories to help my children know and remember you. Stories to help heal my broken heart.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Preschool Mall Chicken

I have a funny kid.


Sometimes, strike that, most of the time, I shouldn't be laughing when I am, but I can't help myself.

Today, at the mall, Christopher had me and Mallory in stitches. He climbed on the surfboard in 77 Kids and then leaned over to hand paddle in the the big cardboard wave back drop. I don't even know when he has seen surfing before.

He also picked out a ridiculous Cars hat with a big flat brim from H&M. Mallory proceeded to put it on him sideways, and before we could laugh at that, he was striking poses. Yo. Baby. My hat.

The thing that made me laugh the most though, was the worst thing he did all day. As we were walking from store to store, he decided it would be fun to lean in a little and walk right at the people walking towards him. Then, as they were busy trying to figure out which way to go to dodge him, he would dart the other direction at the last second.

He was playing his own made up version of Preschool Mall Chicken.

I shouldn't have laughed, but I did. A lot. It was just too funny.

Some days I don't win any awards for my parenting, but I still have a good time with my kids.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Backyard Discovery = Happy happy children

Two moderately skilled people. Twenty to twenty-four hours.


They weren't lying.

Kevin and I looked at dozens of swingsets, both assembled for you and assemble yourself. Being that our pennies are always pinched to the thinnest we can possibly pinch them, we quickly ended up only looking at build it yourself sets.

Last weekend, Kevin and I started building a swingset. Only it wasn't the swingset of my childhood: a metal a-frame with a metal slide that would give your bare thighs third degree burns in the coldest part of summer. Nope. This is a swingset on steroids. Big conifer steroids.

The most affordable option we found by far was on this website: http://swingsetsonline.com. I
thought surely something had to be off because their web address was so, well, generic. It wasn't
the name of the business, like Backyard Discovery, it was just swingsetsonline. For some reason,
even though I'm sure the search engines love it, and granted, I found them first through Google, I was just skeptical if they were a legitimate company or not.

Then, soon after we found a set on their website that we really liked, I stumbled upon a Tweet from Amy, otherwise known as Resourceful Mom. She was touting Backyard Discovery. She had one set at her old house and was getting ready for the delivery of a new set to her new house. As sparsely as I am on Twitter these days, I was pretty shocked that the exact information I needed just popped up in my stream.

A short Twitter conversation later, I was sold. She even had a coupon code for that month. Unfortunately, we didn't get to place our order before the code expired, but it was a nice thought (insert small amount of grumbling here).

Is this beginning to sound like a review? It's not. Just look at my About Me page to see how completely unmarketable I am. It's just what Kevin and I have been working towards the past couple of months. Literally 24 hours of work went into just the swingset, but holy cow, was it fun! It was like a giant set of Lincoln Logs with great instructions. We had the best time putting it together, together.

And now? We'll have the best time playing together, together outside. In our own backyard.

I am a happy happy mama. And Christopher finally doesn't have to ask every single morning when he wakes up, "Is my swingset ready yet?"










"Some Assembly Required" Hahahahahaha.









Laying out the plot plan. Lots and lots of labeled lumber.









That's where we were supposed to hang their sign. I figured this post is enough free advertising for them. We hung our own family name sign from Etsy.









Building the floor to the tunnel.









And the children play. Joy.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Thursday: The New Monday

6:00 AM Awaken to sound of Christopher galloping down the hallway.

6:02 AM Try to shoo Christopher back down the hallway.
6:03 AM Curse Kevin for moving into Mallory's room to sleep last night.
6:04 AM Plot how to get to sleep in ever again.
6:05 AM Colin wakes up, kisses me. Everything's better.
6:06 AM Group potty time.
6:10 AM The first time Christopher asks to watch TV.
6:11 AM The second time Christopher asks to watch TV.
6:15 AM I turn on the TV and let the dogs out.
6:16 AM Christopher asks for milk.
6:16:30 AM Christopher asks for a vitamin.
6:17 AM Christopher asks for Skittles for pooping on the potty.
Christopher remembers that he didn't poop on the potty.
Christopher asks to go poop on the potty.
6:21 AM Christopher asks for Skittles.
6:30 AM I make coffee, take Zoloft, bring the dogs in and give them water.
6:32 AM Christopher asks for more milk and can he PLEASE have some Skittles.
6:35 AM Colin asks for breakfast by screaming and banging his head into the refrigerator.
6:36 AM I feed Colin to avoid further head injuries.
6:50 AM Christopher asks for Skittles.
6:59 AM Christopher gets blueberry waffles and apples.
7:00 AM Christopher asks for more milk, more TV, and Skittles.
7: 54 AM Kevin wakes up.
8:05 AM I offer to iron his shirt because I am the best wife in the entire world.
8:25 AM Kevin leaves for work and Colin cries.
9:00 AM Colin pretends he needs a nap, says night night, gets me to rock and nurse him upstairs and then proceeds to honk my nose and laugh.
9:03 AM Colin and I come back downstairs.
9:05 AM Colin asks to play Don't Break the Ice by screaming and pointing.
9:06 AM I set up Don't Break the Ice. Colin smashes it down.
9:07 AM I set up Don't Break the Ice. Colin smashes it down.
9:08 AM I set up Don't Break the Ice. Colin smashes it down.
9:09 AM I set up Don't Break the Ice. Colin smashes it down.
9:10 AM I set up Don't Break the Ice. Colin smashes it down.
9:11 AM I bail.
9:12 AM gDiaper surgery begins. New velcro for all.
9:13 AM Colin decides that Mama shant be sewing today. Not even gDiapers.
9:14 AM I set up Don't Break the Ice. Colin smashes it down.
9:15 AM CARS. CARS. CARS. Thank God for cars. Cars that make distracting noise.
9:16 AM I hide Don't Break the Ice.
9: 40 AM Christopher does three laps around the downstairs while yelling, "I have to pee pee!"
9:42 AM I ask if he washed his hands. No, he did not.
10:00 AM Snack.
10:10 AM Boys figure out that I'm snacking and demand to be fed as well.
10:16 AM I learn that Christopher has learned to use the remote control himself.
10:17 AM We all watch Sesame Street. It's educational. U was the letter of the day.
10:24 AM I get dressed. An actual dress. And some makeup. Go me.
11:00 AM We all head to Whole Foods to do our grocery shopping.
11:10 AM I accidentally buy $17 worth of bulk pine nuts because I didn't stop the pourer thing soon enough.
11:11 AM I think fondly of Uncle Dave and shudder at what $17 of bulk pine nuts would do to him.
11:45 AM Check out with groceries. Marvel at the amount of money spent.
11:50 AM Load up the Jeep with yummy food and hungry children.
11:51 AM Turn key. Stick face in AC. Put Jeep in reverse. Wonder why the engine is just revving. Sweat.
11:52 AM Turn Jeep off. Pretend that didn't just happen. Sit.
11:53 AM Turn key. Stick face in AC. Put Jeep in reverse. Curse loudly. Turn Jeep off.
11:54 AM Call and cancel piano tuner appointment for Noon.
11:55 AM Turn key. Stick face in AC. Put Jeep in reverse. Curse again. Turn Jeep off.
11:56 AM Retrieve buggy from buggy corral. Reload groceries. Reload hungry and hot boys.
11:57 AM Request that my buggy be rolled into a cooler somewhere.
11:58 AM High fived myself for having USAA Roadside Assistance programmed into my cell phone.
12:00 PM Bought juice and sat down in the cafe to start trying to get home.
12:10 PM Gain appropriate sympathy from USAA representative.
12:20 PM Begin cleaning up juice off the table and floor. Glare at mean old lady next to us. She has NO idea what kind of day I'm having. So shut up.
12:21 PM Begin chasing my barefoot, juice covered child through the cafe.
12:22 PM Drag screaming juice covered toddler back to table. Sit him next to mean old lady.
12:23 PM Consider having a drink. Decide against it.
12:30 PM Call Jeep dealer to let them know the car is coming.
12:33 PM Call Enterprise for a ride and a car.
12:50 PM Secure transportation and resume chasing juice covered children.
1:00 PM Potty break.
1:10 PM Tour of the Whole Foods grounds.
1:20 PM Cry with no tears because I have sweated them all out.
1:30 PM Return to cafe upon realizing that children have not eaten.
1:40 PM Sit down with $8.50 worth of yogurt and berries from the salad bar.
1:41 PM Enterprise shows up.
1:42 PM Still no lunch for the kiddos.
1:43 PM Stash children in the cargo part of the minivan rental and begin car seat removal.
1:45 PM Cursing abounds.
1:55 PM Car seats are removed.
1:56 PM Begin car seat installation into rental minivan.
1:57 PM More cursing.
2:15 PM Car seats installed, children strapped in.
2:16 PM Colin falls asleep.
2:19 PM Enterprise dude takes a left turn and Christopher's seat goes flying.
2:20 PM Most cursing all day takes place. Along with, "PULL OVER NOW" many times.
2:21 PM I discover that Enterprise dude had not attached the right hand side latch. I kick myself for not checking. Christopher is fine, but pissed.
2:22 PM Christopher says, "Man, you should not drive so fast, Man."
2:23 PM Christopher falls asleep.
2:30 PM Hurry up and wait at the Enterprise place.
2:50 PM We get gas. I get a ginormous Diet Coke and a Milky Way to counteract the million hours I just spent at Whole Foods.
3:00 PM Return to Whole Foods to leave key in Jeep (forgotten earlier) and to retrieve groceries from the cooler.
3:15 PM Load groceries (again). Leave Whole Foods (again). Head home.
3:16 PM Both boys wake up.
3:26 PM Home. Discover that Christopher wasn't kidding the last time he said he had to pee pee.
3:27 PM Begin trying to figure out how to take the cover off the car seat to wash it.
3:28 PM Cursing revisited.
3:30 PM Try to get the boys to eat something. Lose that battle.
3:40 PM Collapse on couch in a heap together. Watch TV. Lots of TV.
5:30 PM Get ready for soccer.
6:00 PM Soccer.
6:01 PM Chase Colin continuously for 45 minutes.
7:14 PM Peanut butter sandwiches, bananas, carrots, and yogurt for dinner.
7:50 PM Baths.
7:51 PM STOP TOUCHING EACH OTHER'S PENIS!!!
8:00 PM Jammies. Bed. Thank God.
8:05 PM Colin is crying.
8:06 PM I stroke his head and get him to lay back down only to discover that he's laying in a giant puddle of his own vomit.
8:07 PM Gag and dry heave.
8:10 PM Bath, take two.
8:30 PM Bed, take two.
8:34 PM Talk on the phone to a boot camp guy. Decide to try it out. Am insane.
9:00 PM Start dinner for the adults.
9:30 PM Eat dinner.
10:00 PM Colin cries.
10:03 PM Thankfully, no vomit.
10:20 PM Crawl in bed. Blog.
10:58 PM Finish blog. Sleep.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

One more birthday post

It's the last day of May, so it's the last day I'm celebrating my blog's fifth birthday. I say celebrating, but mostly I've just been slacking.


There is still a list of writers to whom I would like to send you, but I'm going to wrap it up tonight with just a few of them.

Janet, who blogs as Izzymom, is a long time favorite. She did the design for my blog (which we were working on updating until I dropped off the face of the internet in January), and she also took a chance on me for my first group blog experience. Back in the day, when review blogs were interesting, Janet started Props and Pans. It was fun while it lasted, and then she moved on to a bigger project: Green Mom Finds, which is now The Green
Mom Review. The Green Mom Review and Cool Mom Picks are the two review blogs I ever read. Occasionally. Okay, so I just don't really like review blogs very much. There. I said it. But Janet rocks. I credit her with making me feel like I belonged here in this land of bloggers. She gave me a shot, and I've always appreciated it.

Some women who I adore and who are also wonderful writers:

Chicken and Cheese: Amy gave me a look into motherhood through the most beautiful, honest, writing before I was even a mother. Also working through the death of her father, she helped me prepare for the death of mine - I knew, as I read her mourning, that I was losing mine. She helped me so much these past few months and doesn't even know it.

Slouching Past Forty: Sarah started out as Slouching Towards Forty. I love that. Her poetry is amazing, and the nonfiction pieces on her very complicated relationship with her mother and the time since losing her is worth an evening of yours. Really. Just go read her whole blog right now.

Magpie Musing: Maggie works in non-profit arts in NYC. She's smart, funny, and I wish some days that I had a job like hers.

Playgroups are No Place for Children: I just love Jennifer. She is someone I wish lived across the street from me like Cyndi does. There are just some bloggers who you know you would like to have playdates with as much as you like to read their writing. That's not as weird as it sounds. In case you haven't figured this out yet - liking someone doesn't mean that you will like their blog. Nor does liking their blog mean that you will like to hang out with them. Jennifer is generous in her writing, artful in her photography, and stinkin' hilarious and I have loved hanging out with her for the 15 minutes we got to.

Miss Zoot: Kim was another of the first few blogs I fell hard for. I found her because she had these awesome Blogger templates that you could use for free. I loaded up one of her templates, went back to read some of her blog, and I was hooked. I'm not even going to try and sum her up - you just have to read for yourself. I will tell you this, however. She made her wedding cake out of Krispy Kreme donuts. Rock on.

I'll wrap this up with an obvious one. Toddler Planet. Susan is the best friend you could ever wish for. Some days, I admit, it's a little tough to share her with so many many many people, but I will. Lucky for me, she has enough grace, love, and wisdom to go around. So I link to her once again tonight. Thanks, Susan, for encouraging me to start this crazy blogging habit. It's been a fun ride, and a great thing to share with you.

There you have it. A little summary. Happy birthday to me and my blog. I wish there was cake.

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This is part of my fifth blog birthday party. These are simply bloggers I have been reading for five years and have impacted me. They are being featured in no particular order.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Tanis, Daniel, and Jessica

So, I'm still celebrating five years of this little blog. Why, I'm not sure, except that I have more links to share. Trust me, I don't actually think that five years of oversharing on the internet is actually something to get this excited about. Wow. My grammar sucks.


In December 2006, I had my first miscarriage. I was 12 weeks pregnant. It was two days after Christmas. I was in Tennessee visiting my family. It was my first baby. I had to have a D&C in a strange hospital with a doctor I didn't know.

It sucked.

I wrote about it. A lot. I was open and raw.

And then something I would almost call miraculous happened. People found me. Women who I didn't know started commenting. I followed links from comments around the internet and found a whole community of women who were dealing with their private pain in a very public way.

I spent hours in front of the computer, weeping for people I had never met. It was cathartic. It helped me with my own grief. It also helped form a community for me.

Tanis is best known as Redneck Mommy. Her blog has won too many awards to list here. She is a great storyteller and a really funny lady.

She had another blog before Attack of the Redneck Mommy though. I started reading Tanis when she was writing on Missing My Bug. She stopped posting there in 2007, but the archives are still there. If you have some time and a large box of Kleenex, it is so worth reading. Her words about being the mother of Shale, who was born with disabilities and died too soon.

If you don't have a lot of time, I would suggest you read this one post of hers. You only need a few minutes, but you'll still need the box of Kleenex.

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There are others with stories of grief. Some of the writing is so beautiful.

I just tried for a metaphor there. I tried like five times, and none of them worked. Some of the writing is so beautiful. That's enough.

Daniel is one of the few male bloggers I have followed almost religiously. I started reading his blog the night we got home from Tennessee after that miscarriage. Kevin tried to get me to stop, because the sobbing was a little disconcerting. But I couldn't stop. And the sobbing wasn't pity. It was sorrow for all the losses. Parents, spouses, children, everyone. Plus, Daniel is the most amazing writer. Sometimes I would just cry because his words were so beautifully woven.

He doesn't post often anymore, but I'm always so happy when he does. I think he feels as though he owes it to the internet to occasionally update. Of course he doesn't, but I'm not going to mention that - because selfishly, I hope he will start writing more again.

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If you have followed those links, then I owe you a funny one. Luckily, I've got one. Jessica at Oh, the Joys, was the first blogger who got me laughing again in early 2007. One morning in January, I sat and read her entire blog. I needed Kleenex for her writing, but the tears were from laughter.

She is not just funny though. She's a really great person too. Dig around a little bit, and you'll see that she works tirelessly for the gain of others. She's the kind of person you would be lucky to have on your side.

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This is part of my fifth blog birthday party. These are simply bloggers I have been reading for five years and have impacted me. They are being featured in no particular order.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Gail Anne Photography and A Little Nosh

Two of the first bloggers I developed strong friendships with have both moved into a different type of blogging. I still enjoy reading their work, and I'm proud of them for their strong business sense and drive.


Gail is an artist. She is an artist whose medium of choice happens to be photography, but I'm not one to call her a photographer. She is far far more than that. She is a true artist.

She has combined her blog with her business now. I can't stop looking at her pictures, and as always, I love to read what she has to say. Gail Anne Photography

Then there is Amy. If I remember correctly, Amy didn't cook much when I first met her. Maybe I'm dreaming that up, but I think it's right. Regardless, she cooks now. And bakes. And writes about it. I love reading her food blog. She tries things that are out of her comfort zone, but she also will do posts on some tried and true meals.

She is getting serious about it, and recently made it into the Top 50 Mom Food Bloggers list that Babble put out. I'm so proud of her. A Little Nosh

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This is part of my fifth blog birthday party. These are simply bloggers I have been reading for five years and have impacted me. They are being featured in no particular order.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Bloggers I would invite to my birthday party

In July 2006, I took a trip. I jumped on a plane and headed to Blogher in Chicago.


There were more than a few moments that I thought I might be crazy. I didn't really know anyone, except for interacting with them online.

Then the first session started, and sitting just a person over from me was Liz, who wrote Hilarities Ensue. She was on my dream list to meet in person, and there she was, sitting almost right beside me.

Since then, Liz has stopped blogging, but thanks to Facebook, we are still keeping up with each other.

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That same year, I met the trifecta of mommybloggers. Kristen, Julie, and Liz (Mom 101, not the previously mentioned Liz) had all met each other at BlogHer the year before. They then spent the next year taking over the internet. I'm only partially kidding.

Kristen, who was the first blogger I ever read, still posts regularly on her personal blog, Motherhood Uncensored. If you are from Mississippi (read, from, not "still living there and think it's the bee's knees"), then you should definitely check out her posts regarding our fair state. Start with this one about playing weddings there. Be sure you pee first.

If I tried to list all of the other places you can find Kristen now, I would surely leave some of them out. But I can mention her book, The Mominatrix's Guide to Sex, and the website that she runs with Liz, Cool Mom Picks.

Julie was Mothergoose Mouse when I started reading her, rebranded as The Mom Slant, but now simply blogs at Julie Marsh. Comments are closed, and she doesn't track stats. She stopped drinking six months ago, about nine months after I did. I'm very proud of her and love the way she has been able to talk about it. She is also a VP at Cool Mom Picks, and does a bunch of other cool stuff.

What keeps me coming back to Kristen and Julie though is not their internet domination. It's their writing. The stories they tell, and the way they tell them. They are another couple of bloggers who keep me blogging.

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This is part of my fifth blog birthday party. These are simply bloggers I have been reading for five years and have impacted me. They are being featured in no particular order.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Bloggers I would invite to my birthday party

Today is Kevin's birthday. Let's get that out of the way so we can talk about something far more important. (Kidding, of course. Happy birthday to the love of my life.)


Today this blog is five years old. Usually blog milestones fly right past me because, you know, who really cares? However, since a lot of my favorite bloggers started up all around the same time, I've been noticing five year anniversaries a lot lately.

Instead of talking about me, which is of course, what usually happens around here (What? It's a personal blog. What do you expect?), I have decided to celebrate my five year blogging anniversary by sharing it with the bloggers who have impacted me. The women in my blog reader who make me want to keep reading and keep writing.

The bloggers I love tell stories. They are deeply personal. They are brilliant writers. They are funny. They are smart. They aren't trying to sell me anything. They are authentic. They long to be heard - really heard. They are women who I consider friends - in a 21st century kind of way.

Because one of my favorite things about blogging is the community, I've decided to celebrate five years of blogging by sharing some of those bloggers with you. You can thank me later.

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I'm starting with Bon because she has the most beautiful post up today about her grandfather. Her last living grandparent who died last week.

Her words sit right down on the couch with me. I know that relationship. I know that love between grandfather and granddaughter. I cry with her because my heart hurts for her, but also because she took me right back to my own losses.

It is what powerful writing does. It involves you.

Go. Read. Get involved.

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This is part of my fifth blog birthday party. These are simply bloggers I have been reading for five years and have impacted me. They are being featured in no particular order.