• ~Psalm 46:4-5~

    There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy dwelling places of the Most High. God is in the midst of her, she will not be moved; God will help her when morning dawns.
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It’s not even Christmas yet!

My wonderful swap buddy from CMHS (Color Me Happy Swaparooni), mailed us a package. Bridoodle was very excited! She loved the summery colors.

We had a blast playing with the fuzzy flip-flops, wash-cloths and the pretty goblet. She was enamored with the twirly straw and pretty wrapping on all the presents.

We actually received the package a few days ago, but it took me this long to get her adorable new dress through the wash so that she could model it for you.

These earrings were handmade by my swap buddy. Aren’t they pretty?

If you’re even the teensiest bit jealous curious, then head over to the CMHS group and check out the rest of the packages. This was my fifth time swapping, and I’ve found that the friendships made online have been the best part. Although, the presents are definitely a close second!

Alone in a Crowd

Sitting in the pew at church alone, while Hubster gives speeding tickets across the county, makes me feel like a tiny speck. A dot on a map. A flea on an elephant. I look at the families sitting together. A husband and wife, across the aisle, with children draped across their knees, listening to the sermon. A new couple that joined in December, sits a few rows in front of me. They recently announced that they will have a baby in October. Hundreds of people fill the sanctuary. There are a few women, like me, sitting alone. I know their stories, and they know mine. I wonder if sitting next to them would make me feel better.

It wouldn’t.

The sermon tugs at my heart strings. I want to elbow Hubs. I want to write him a note. I want to whisper my thoughts in his ear. I want to know what he thinks about this subject of suffering for Christ. But he’s not here.

We stand to sing another song. I sway in my high heeled shoes. Normally, he would steady me. The song feels hollow. My heart feels heavy. I wonder if this is what it feels like to be a widow. To know that when you go home, there will be piles of dishes, stacks of laundry, and no one to help you finish them. The song ends. We are dismissed.

I run to check on Bri before Sunday School. She spies me through the window before I even see her. She starts crying. I duck my head and turn away. She wants her Mommy.

I walk up the stairs to our couples class with a heavy heart. The room is warm with smiles and homemade breakfast. My friends are so understanding. We laugh and joke. I don’t want to leave. Last year, I would have gotten a group together to go out for lunch. But Bri has to nap after church. It would be awfully wild if we tried to skip her nap.

Sighing, I head down to the nursery, where Bri has been fussy for the last hour. The sweet lady holding her, looks visibly relieved when I walk in the room. There’s no question that she’s ready for her nap. I apologize profusely. She’s been fussy all week. Another tooth must be coming. We head for home.

Bridoodle’s First Haircut

You may have noticed the thick stringy hair in Bri’s eyes, lately. While it was adorable when I put it up in pigtails, it was a little bit shaggy the rest of the time. So we took her to the hairdresser to have her hair chopped off.

When we arrived at the beauty parlor, there were two women sitting in black drapes in the parlor with tinfoil in their hair. Running around the waiting room, were four boys who also had little patches of tinfoil. Their Daddy was patiently reading a magazine while he waited. Bri was fascinated! She had never seen anything like this crazy place.

We sat down in the waiting room and befriended a family of Irish Travelers. They had a little girl about Bri’s age and the two girls were enamored with each other. Bri kept trying to jump up and down in my lap because she was so excited.

When it was finally our turn, Miss K handed Bri a purple water spritzer, which she happily played with throughout the whole procedure. It only took five minutes, and looked beautiful afterwards. Miss K made made me a little packet with a lock of Bri’s baby hair. One more thing to add to the baby book! She’s growing up too fast!

My Budding Novelist

Hubster had a fabulous idea for this post. He thought it would be funny to compose her “first e-mail” or IM message.

Something with lots of acronyms, like “OMG, my BFF is AWBH and I am TJOH!”

(translation: “Oh My Goodness, my Best Friend Forever is Already Walking By Herself, and I am Totally Jealous Of Her!”)

The only problem was that we don’t know many of those little acronyms, being advanced into the dorkdom of parenthood, and all.

So, I’d love to hear what you would insert here.

“Is she always this easy?”

During our vacation, we toted Bri around to see lots of family members, and she had a blast. She’s a very social little butterfly and she loves to check out the ceilings of new places. When we went to Cracker Barrel, she was in hog heaven. I’d never noticed how many strange contraptions were attached to the ceiling of their gift shops. But Bri loved looking at each and every floating item.

Now, Hubs and I have developed our routine for outings, and because Bri loves to examine new places, she has wonderful manners out in public. In short, we have our act together.

While we were dining with Hubster’s extended family, at a Mexican restaurant, one of his aunts asked, “Is she always this easy?” Her surprised tone seemed to indicate that we were missing out on the hardship of real parenting. She didn’t mean to offend me. In fact, I believe she was complimenting us for Bri’s remarkably good behavior.

At first, I didn’t know how to respond. We just smiled and kept on moving. But the question has haunted me. Mostly because, the theme of our vacation seemed to be this idea that “we are unusually blessed” to have such an “EASY baby.” Like, hello, am I missing something? Is there really any such thing as an easy baby? And why exactly do you think that my child, who screams if I leave the room, and goes into hysterics if I don’t feed her fast enough, is so much easier than yours?

Parenting is hard.

Period.

End of story.

Bri was indeed marvelously well-behaved for our entire vacation. She rarely cried and was easily entertained. We all had a great time. On Sunday, when we returned home, she had a fever and I spent the whole afternoon soothing her and holding her while she slept. Monday, she screamed all day and refused to even let me go to the bathroom without being by my side.

This clingy phase drains me and leaves me with piles of laundry to fold and dishes to wash after she’s gone to bed. My nerves are shot from listening to her cry. If this is the easy version of parenting, then I’m afraid to have more kids. Where I once felt needed, because she wanted her Mama, I now feel like a prisoner.

A prisoner with a chubby little “easy” baby for a ball and chain.

Crocodile Heaven

A couple of months ago, I gave my Environmental Science class an article on recycling Crocs. Another teacher had given me two newspaper articles that related to our unit on recycling, so I threw them together with about fifteen questions and an assignment to make an advertisement for one of the recycled products.

I really meant for the activity to be sort of boring. Yes, teachers sometimes plan activities that are intended to be boring. I know, I know … after all of those educational philosophies, you’re shocked that I could be so vengeful.

My Environmental Science class had been particularly unruly the day before, so I gave them this work to do SILENTLY. In my classes, silence is a form of punishment. High schoolers tend to be very social. In general, if my class is working quietly, they’re either taking a test or I’ve threatened them within an inch of their lives. Surprised much?

Anyway, I didn’t really know what to make of it all when they LOVED this assignment! Talk about something backfiring on you. They were talking about it in the halls after class. And the next day, they had the audacity to ask, “maybe, like, could you, like bring in more articles like that again sometime?”

So, I thought I would share this little juicy piece of eco-friendly gossip with you, my faithful blog readers. Because, if my teens thought it was interesting, then it must be hot stuff.

The Soles United program takes used, worn-out Crocs, cleans them and then shreds them to bits. You can donate your old Crocs or if you’ve lost just one, you can donate the single mate. After they’re shredded, the bits of rubber are then recycled to make brand new Crocs.

These Crocs are shipped to over eighteen third-world countries where they’re given to poor kids. So by donating the Crocs that you wouldn’t wear anyway, you’re helping a needy child get a brand new pair of shoes for free! Sounds like a great deal to me.

the Valsalva maneuver

“Um… excuse me. Do you know where the bathroom is? I gotta go.”

“My tummy really hurts. And I don’t think it’s gas.”

“I’m going to scrunch up my face in determination.”

“Maybe no one will notice.”

“Whew! I feel so much better.”

“Check, please!”

A Birthday Vacation

Hubster has officially turned yet another year older. Thirty is starting to sound really young! I never thought that I’d say that. His birthday coincided with our vacation this year. So he got to celebrate for four days in a row! Fun times!

Here are a few pictures from the last half of our trip. We visited the Hard Rock Cafe in Atlanta, and tried to see the World of Coca Cola, but the lines were way too long. Seriously. There were probably two hundred people waiting in line when we showed up.

Hubster wanted to go to the gun range for his birthday. Mama watched Bri so that the three of us could go. Hubs schooled me on how to shoot and showed off in front of my Daddy. We had lots of fun!

Apparently Bri Likes Lemons: Day 7

Today I learned that my daughter likes lemons. We were out to eat with Hubster’s family and she was grabbing anything nearby off the table. So I let her taste the lemon from my tea. She loved it! No lip puckering here. Instead, she grabbed it and started chewing on it for the rest of the visit. I had to get photographic proof!

Bri’s Pigtails: Day 6

This was technically taken yesterday, but I have tons to do this afternoon, so I’m using it for today’s picture. Not really digging my smile here, but it was the only shot of Bri where she was holding still and therefore not a blurry ball of motion.

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