• ~Psalm 46:4-5~

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for the bride-to-be

She’s beautiful. The kind of beautiful that lights up a room with laughter and the smell of cookies. I honestly don’t know how her fiancee stands to live fifteen hours away from her. And I say all of this knowing full well her many faults because she is my little sister. I’m very proud of her.

I watched her yesterday, surrounded by friends and loved ones as she opened gift after gift at one of her wedding showers. We’d been asked to write down marital advice for the bride-to-be and I found my slip of paper to be too small to capture the words I wanted to say. In an effort to be poetic I merely wrote, “The early years fly by so fast. Write down the best parts and be patient through the worst.” I felt so sage.

No one tells you what marriage will be like. The good, the bad and the ugly. Most people just stick to the good stuff. And maybe it’s different for everyone. Maybe it’s just hard to put it into words. But every fairy tale seems to end with the magic words, “and they lived happily ever after.” Only as far as I know, nobody lives in the happily ever after.

I wanted to write something more substantial on the card, something that would help her know what to expect in the foggy future of marriage. I wanted to tell her that the new towels she was unwrapping will one day have muddy stains on them. The everyday china that she finds enthralling at the moment will one day be chipped and dirty in a sink full of dishes. The man that seems to hang on her every word now will one day pretend to listen while his brain jogs down more interesting paths.

Of course, I didn’t share these predictions with her. It was neither the time nor the place to be offering that point of view. And more importantly, I was afraid she wouldn’t understand my meaning. It sounds rather dismal at first glance.

You see, if there’s one thing I’ve learned in marriage it’s this – things change. It’s normal. You get a dog. The dog gets muddy. The towels get stained.

You have a baby. The baby spits up all over you at the table and in an effort to clean you up, your husband knocks your plate to the floor. It chips. Then it goes in a pile of dishes in the sink while you head off to take a shower. He takes the baby and cleans her up for you.

That topic that you find mesmerizing – the one you talk about non-stop everyday – it makes you feel alive. Well, he loves you to death, but he finds that topic beyond dull. He’d never tell you. So he pretends to listen because it makes you happy. He’s really thinking about the way your mouth curves when you smile.

Hands down, the best part of her wedding shower was at the end of the newlywed game. The groom had answered a bunch of questions on a tape recorder and my sister had to guess the answers before we heard his versions. She did a great job of predicting his responses. At the very end he had recorded a message just for her. During part of that he said, “Our wedding still seems kind of far away, but I can’t wait for it to arrive. You’re my best friend and I love you.”

What I really wanted to tell my little sister on the advice card that we were given was this: “The towels will get stained. The dishes will get chipped and dirty. There will be days when you feel like you don’t recognize the people you’ve both become. Cling to this. Never forget this. Y’all are best friends. You love each other. As long as those things don’t change everything else is an adventure.”

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My Bags are Packed …

I’ll be heading to Chicago in a few days. There’s this little shindig there, called BlogHer. You might have heard of it. Part of me is ecstatic, but that part of me is being held hostage by the part that’s terrified. I’ve pretty much convinced myself that after this trip I will NEVER, EVER again leave my baby girl’s side. She’d better enjoy this break from me, because for the next sixteen years, I plan to be stuck to her like a bump on a log. (We can even wear matching dresses to the prom!) This trip will be a milestone for us. I’ve never been away from her for so long before. FIVE whole days.

She’ll be staying with Nana and Poppy. I know that my parents will spoil her rotten and that she’ll have a blast. She’ll get to stay up late and eat M&M’s. That part is okay. I love the fact that she has adoring grandparents.

I’m just afraid of all of the “what ifs.” Those tiny worries start to add up when you plan a trip six months in advance. I have a slew of them stashed in the back corners of my brain. What if she chokes on an M&M? What if her cold turns into something serious with a fever of 104F? What if she throws tantrums in public when Mom goes to the store? It’s been really difficult to push those worries aside so that I can trust God to take care of her. In the deepest core of me, I feel that I am solely responsible for her safety.

I know that it’s a ludicrous thought. I know things could go wrong under my watch just like anybody else’s. But like Nemo’s dad, I feel the need to promise that “nothing will ever happen to [her].” I feel the need to be humming in the next room or sitting in the chair beside hers at the table. I feel the need to be close.

I’ve talked myself out of going to this conference about a hundred times. And each time I come back full circle. Hubster often reminds me that I deserve this trip. There are lots of reasons to go. It will be good for everyone involved. Staying home would be selfish and wasteful.

So I’m going to go. I’ll be live-blogging from the mommy-blogger sessions. I’ll be passing out blog cards, meeting friends in real life for the first time and sticking my foot in my mouth. I can’t wait for the photo walk and some of the geek-out sessions. There are souvenirs to purchase and swag bags to haul back up to our room. It’s going to be fun.

But I think my favorite part will be coming back home. My bags are already packed.

Transition

Before I begin this story, I have to tell you a little background information about myself. You may already know this about me. In fact, I’m probably deluding myself to think that anyone who’s ever brushed across my little corner of the world could have blindly missed this facet of my personality. But I’m all about stating the obvious, so let me be straight up honest with you. I am a control freak planner by nature. My life has always contained a four year plan and lots of long term goals. Most of these plans hinge on other plans. However, I also have back up plans in case those plans don’t work out. In fact, if you want to play a really fun game, pick a year and I can tell you what I think should happen that year in the Streams world.

So let’s rewind to 2006. After swimming in a sea of depression, leaving medical school and bravely deciding to try my hand at teaching, I realized that I was not qualified to teach in the school district where Bridoodle will one day attend high school. I wasn’t even qualified to teach in that state! Rather than give up on the new dream, I’ve commuted across state lines for two and a half school years to teach and while there I worked to gain certification. The master plan has been to return to our state and teach in our district for the 2009-2010 school year.

By January, 2009 I’d gotten all of my ducks in a row. I’ve been networking with our local high school for the past few years. Everything looked hopeful for my transition this summer. And then the recession hit. Hard. The district went into hiring freeze mode. They laid off ten teachers from the high school where I wanted to teach. My cautious optimism fizzled.

Suddenly my plans for the whole year went cold. Hubs and I considered what we should do next. And by “Hubs and I” what I really mean is that I whined, complained, griped and he listened.

Why did it matter, you ask? Well, besides the obvious answer that I am a control freak ahem, a planner, it also would offset our baby plan. We wanted to wait until I’ve settled into a new school for at least a year before we start trying to have another kiddo.

And ya know, I’d like to have the next kiddo sometime before Bridoodle is a teenager.

So that’s about the time I got a really bad case of the baby bug. You might have noticed. Hubster got sick of me pestering him about it, but he was very patient with me. Neither of us felt like we were quite ready to jump on that bandwagon just yet. So we waited. Or I should say, Hubster waited and I agonized.

A month passed. I discovered a dark room hidden behind my classroom. I explored the possibility of teaching simple photography to my science students. I started to get really excited about staying at my current school. Things seemed a little brighter. I grew content in my situation.

And then I got a phone call, two weeks ago. Our local high school had an unexpected job opening. Would I be available for an interview? My heart leaped into my throat. Of course!

The interview process was so much fun. At one point I had five different schools interested in me. Two schools were sort of fighting over me. My phone seemed to be ringing off the hook!

On Friday, May 23rd I was offered the job that I’ve been pining for since 2006. I joyfully accepted the position.

I feel a lot like a kid at Christmas. My parents used to spend months convincining me that the present that I really, really wanted would be too expensive or too hard for Santa to transport. Year after year, I went from hope to discouragement to contentment and then on Christmas morning, I always found that gleeful surprise.

So here I am with a shiny new job and I’m so excited! I can’t wait to see what comes of the next year. It’s going to be a really fun transition.

day 5/7: bri doesn’t like april fool’s jokes

serious bri

Bri needed a diaper change after dinner and when we were finished, I jokingly said “Night, night” and tossed her into the crib. Poor little girl. She’s not old enough to understand a joke, and she started crying. Ooops! So I grabbed her back out of the crib and got the camera out to snap a picture. She was enamored by the auto timer, hence the studious expression. We then spent an hour jumping on Mommy and Daddy’s bed before it was really time for “Night, night.”

PS- I thought about posting a belly shot and saying “Guess who’s preggers? April fools!” But Hubs argued that some people can’t take a joke. So I decided not to do it.

Unexpected Passenger

On my way home from work today, I noticed a bug on the passenger side window of the mini-van. It slowly crawled across the window and I tried not to have a wreck while I examined it.

Bill Brower, BugGuide.net

Photograph by: Bill Brower, BugGuide.net

The legs had bright yellow spots and there was a glimmer of red somewhere, but it was obviously a stink bug. My nose wrinkled at the thought, but I still believed that it was on the outside of the window at the time, so I was not alarmed. As I slowed down for a red light, it occurred to me that the perspective for the bug was wrong. When he moved his legs, it almost appeared that he was inside the van. I parked at the red light and leaned over to peer at him closer. Sure enough. He was crawling on the inside of my window!

I considered poking at him, but was afraid that he would release the purple gas that would stink up my mini-van. Ew! So instead, I nervously pressed the button to roll his window down. As his footing disappeared, he stepped around to the other side of the window and then I hastily raised it back to the top. In fact, I rolled it up so fast that he got one of his legs trapped. So I graciously lowered it a fraction of a centimeter and he pulled his squished little leg back out.

I have NO IDEA how he got in my van. All I could think of was What if he had landed on the baby? What would she have done? I would have flipped out if I’d seen that giant stink bug crawling on my child. I probably would have screamed and thenĀ  wrecked as a result of it. Just thinking of it gives me the heebie-jeebies.

Teething Trouble

happy eater

Normally Bridoodle loves to eat. She’ll try pretty much anything as long as she gets to feed herself. We have to ration her bites to keep her from stuffing too much in at once. She’s a wonderful eater!

But for the past two days she hasn’t wanted anything to do with food. She’s been cranky and irritable. After taking a bite or two of her meal, she pushes everything off of her tray. She even tosses her sippy cups onto the floor after drinking only half of the contents.

Yesterday she seemed a little fussy about it, but it really wasn’t a big deal until today. Our poor baby has had massive diarrhea and she’s been crying for no reason at all. Hubster rushed out to the drugstore this morning to get Hurricane gel and Tylenol. That seemed to help a lot.

I tried some of the benzocaine gel myself and it sure does work fast! Just one drop numbed my gums, tongue and lips. If you do give it to your child, don’t make the mistake of giving her food afterwards. Poor Bri couldn’t feel the food in her mouth and gagged on it twice. I had to wipe the grits off of her tongue with a napkin and I felt terrible.

Validate Me Please

The three of us went out to eat tonight. I had had a long day of working on my monster portfolio and Hubster had had a long day of class where he learned about NCIC. (He explained what the letters stand for but Bridoodle was throwing crayons and causing general havoc during that part of dinner, so I missed a lot of the explanation).

Our dinner was absolutely delicious. We were starving when we arrived, so that might have had something to do with it. Anyway, as we were gathering up all of the stuff that we brought for Bri, she managed to wriggle out of one of her tennis shoes.

I’m going to hit the fast forward button here, because I doubt you really want all of the details. Suffice it to say, I ended up crouched on all fours under the mini-van trying to save a sippy cup that had fallen just out of my reach. Then I managed to swat it under someone else’s Jeep Cherokee. Meanwhile, Hubster was back inside hunting for the missing shoe. It was humiliating. I felt so vulnerable. Needless to say, I was not a happy camper when we finally got into the mini-van to go home.

So we fought about it.

It really wasn’t much of a fight. It was more of a venting session on my part and a blame dodging session on Hubster’s part. We were about half way home when I exclaimed, “I’m not trying to say that it was your fault! Why can’t you just say ‘that was a terrible experience’? Or ‘Gee, sweetie, I’m so sorry that happened’? All I want is for you to validate my experience. I’m handing you my parking ticket and saying punch a hole in it please. Just validate my feelings.”

The words were still hanging in the air in a little cartoon bubble over my head when I realized just how true they were. It seems like I’m always bouncing my experiences off of other people in search for approval and understanding. Maybe I should be more secure in my own opinions, or maybe I’m a normal female, but either way I find that I solve most of my problems by talking them out with other people in this way.