Friday, December 9, 2011

A quick summary upon which I shall elaborate soon.

Life has been delightfully busy.  Here are the tidbits:

E was a giraffe for Halloween!  Thanks Nonni!

My mom has a tumor that was discovered in June.  Totally treatable, but still ongoing at the moment.  She finished chemo in October, and to celebrate, we went on a cruise just before Thanksgiving.  
My parents, sister, bro-in-law, us, and the ocean.


We had a lovely time, and Little Bit is quite convinced (thanks to being one of the only babies on the ship) that all strangers should stop and greet her and tell her she's cute.  

Note:  She can be in the middle of crying, and if someone walks by and coos at her, she'll grin, with tears on her cheeks and all, until they leave.  Then, when they've gone, she goes back to fussing for us.  

Sigh.  Extrovert.


Lovin' great grandpa Gray.

Oh!  And she thoroughly enjoyed the ocean and playing in the sand.  So did her dad.  So did I, for that matter, which is a huge improvement for me.  Normally I avoid sand at all costs.  :o)

Four generations

During the cruise, Emily gained a pound and a half, so she apparently totally gets the cruising life: eat, sleep, eat, repeat. 

(Most people add sunbathing to this list, but not pale people or babies, so there.)

The Tuesday after Thanksgiving, mom had surgery to remove the tumor.  They got part of it, and she is now home and recovering.  She'll have radiation once she's all healed up.  Stay tuned. 


Randomly, have I ever mentioned my love for Nutella?  No?  Hmm...  Well, then I should tell you...

I. Love. NUTELLA!  

We found these beauties in the duty free shop on the ship.  A 7-day pack and a jar the size of my firstborn.  Ah-mazing!

Moving on...
Thanksgiving was delightful!  We went to Cracker Barrel for lunch (it was delish), and then we went to our friends' house for dinner.  It was probably the most people-full and food-varied Thanksgiving affair I've been to in at least ten years.  There were endless options, and everything tasted WONDERFUL!

Just got this adorable guy on sale the day before Thanksgiving!
Also, in honor of Thanksgiving weekend, Matt, E, and I had a little R&R time, just the three of us.  We watched Pirates 4 and Cars 2, and now we feel caught up with the rest of the world.  We also bought this year's tree, Theodore, and he put lights on our roof.  He-Matt, not he-Theodore.  Obviously.  Although we did put lights on he-Theodore as well.

Emily and Theodore the Tree

So far this December, we've had two movie nights (beginning at 9pm till late!), 2 Zelda-playing nights (thanks M & K), at least 2 board game nights (maybe more...I lose count easily), a book club meeting (me, not Matt), we've seen Dickens Christmas Carolers, the Singing Christmas Trees at First Orlando, gone to a Christmas party, and we've sung carols by our tree at home.  Ah...festivities!

Other Little Bit updates, for those wondering:
 - She is on the tail end of her very first cold. (4.5 weeks and counting, with a touch of RSV thrown in sometime near the middle.  It's out of her lungs now.)

 - She eats all kinds of foods: peas, green beans, pumpkin, squash, carrots (don't agree with her, so only small amounts), applesauce, banana, avocado (she's not a huge fan, but stay tuned), and grains.  

 - She had her first sip of water from a glass last Saturday.  She grabbed my glass, lifted it to her lips, and drank straight from it, like it was no big deal.  What a big girl!

 - She is totally aware of cameras and how they work.  She will stop whatever cute activity she's engaged in the minute she sees a camera and smile until it goes away.  Hmm...wonder where she gets it?

 - She is also a Skype-pro.  She grins the moment the program opens and smiles and coos at every relative she sees.  Smart girl.

Alrighty.  Now you're in the know. 

Merry December!  
(I would say Christmas, but it's a tad far away and yet I still feel merry, so there.)


Friday, October 14, 2011

Moving Toward Household Happiness - Step 3

I'd say in the grand scheme of Household Happiness*, I've just finished Step 3.  Because it's the most succinct, I'm starting with 3.  I promise to go back and do Steps 1 & 2 later, though.  I'm envisioning around an 8 to 10 step program overall.

*Household Happiness (my definitions):
1.  A state of being where I am not wallowing in unending guilt due to overwhelming household tasks ( laundry and dishes - which NEVER end...  Sigh.) 

2.  The ability to actually invite people inside my home with a moment's notice and not have to shove stuff into the bathtub or the oven. 
(You might be wondering, "why not the closets?"  They're...ahem...full.  Stop judging and go open your own closets.  Yours probably are, too.  If not, then come teach me!)

Now, I know what you're thinking.  "Poor Tiffany.  She doesn't realize that Matt loves her and the house just the way she (and it) is, and no one expects perfection, and...blah. blah. blah."

No worries!  I'm not at all needing affirmation in my daughter of God-ness, or in what priorities REALLY matter, or in Matt's love, or whatever. 

What I do need, is to figure out this whole domestic diva thing so that I can actually be spending time doing the stuff I want to do and not keep folding laundry and moving piles of stuff around so we can sit down to eat the meal I didn't actually make because I was too busy trying to downsize my to-do list with a crying baby* on my hip. 
*Sometimes she's crying because I kept ignoring her while I tried to get stuff done.  :o(

Jesus came that we might have life more abundantly and let me tell you that spending the day locked inside and avoiding the neighbors who want to come for playdates because the house is a mess and sometimes not even having time for a real Bible study or playing with my ah-dorable daughter because of chores is NOT an abundant life.
*Yes, I avoided all of the punctuation in that crazy, run-on sentence.  Wasn't sure about one or two spots, and I figure the bad grammar adds to the stress the paragraph is trying to convey.

I'm doing fine, and I have a decent outlook on life.  I would simply like more time to live my life and less time maintaining it.  On a side note, I've been learning TONS about God lately, too, which I think has helped my outlook immensely.

Anyway, Step 3 in this whole process is a permanent grocery list.  I had one a while back, but I stopped using it as our tastes changed.  I was writing more in the "other" categories than I was marking the stuff already on the list.

I took my old list along with a list from Woman's Day, and I made the following list.  I'm a wee, tiny bit proud (and giddy), so I'm sharing it with you here.  And then, I'm going to bed.  It's 1:36am.  I'm going to pay for my latest obsession tomorrow.  But, oh how glorious this obsession will be the next time I need to buy groceries!!!

Drumroll please...

My new grocery list:
E-mail me if you'd like the original Word Document so that you can play around with it for yourself.

Have a lovely weekend!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Praise God! Emily's Spine is Perfect!

This is Little Bit's first passport photo.  Isn't she adorable?  Turns out, we had to take a new one at the passport place because of the wrinkles on the background sheet, but this will forever be her first "passport photo" in my mind.

Go on and take another second to ooo and ahhh.  I can wait.  I understand.  There.  Feel better? 

Alright, now for an update on our Little Miss.

Last week, we went in for her four month appointment and immunizations, and while examining her adorable toosh, the doctor glanced at the chart and said, "did we get an ultrasound on that?"

I'm sorry.  WHAT?  An ultrasound on her sweet little rump?  Whatever for?

"We didn't get an ultrasound?" (rising panic in his voice)  "How did I miss it?"

What did you miss?  What's wrong?

"These dimples"

(Alright, enough dialogue.)

Turns out, she has sacral cleft dimples.  She has a little forked "Y" coming up her lower back just above her tiny little glute-crack.  There are dimples on the top Y parts as well as on the stem of the Y.  They're perfectly normal in a lot of children, but sometimes, they can indicate spinal issues.  25 years ago, no one paid them any mind.  Then, doctors began seeing correlations, so now they double check just to be sure.

Our sweet doctor had just read an article the night before on the exact measurement to determine "cute-baby-dimples" vs. "look-into-the-cute-baby-dimples", and Emily definitely measured for an extra looksie.

Potential issues: spinal bifida, an attached spinal cord (it should be floating around.  If it's attached at the base, then it won't grow when she does.), etc.  The doctor explained that later on, she could have problems walking or going to the bathroom.

So...we do an ultrasound to check things out and go on from there.  No biggie.  Just a tad scary.


Except for the fact that she's big enough now, her bones will make it difficult for an ultrasound to see the spinal cord.  We'll probably need an MRI, which could mean infant sedation (which sometimes has side effects.

He was hesitant to recommend an MRI on an infant (the sedation thing), and an X-Ray is too much radiation at her age, so he recommended a second opinion from a NEUROSURGEON.  Ahhh!  (Btw...yes, they do brain surgery stuff, but they also work with nerves, and since the spine is a very nerv-y place, they do that, too.)

Matt and I decided that while the situation could be quite a dramatic, scary change in our lives, we'd wait to start alerting all of our prayer-warrior friends (and freaking out ourselves) until we knew for sure we even needed an MRI and when it would be.  We told only a few people.  We just didn't have enough information to get everyone all up in arms and on their knees until we saw our second-opinion doc.

Well, that appointment was today at 8:30am.  The neurologist (who kind of reminded us of Matt's uncle, in a way) came in and said we definitely needed to look into the dimples, but Emily was small enough that an ultrasound might work.  He called over to the children's hospital and asked for an ultrasound STAT*.  They worked us in immediately, and baby girl slept beautifully just in time for us to do the ultrasound.  I had to take pictures, because it was her first ultrasound, and she just looked so incredibly cute sleeping there with goop all over her back.

It was cool to watch!  Her spine reminded me of dinosaur bones.
 She woke up and was a little disoriented (after all, her last ultrasound was from inside of me).  She quickly realized that there was a TV playing cartoons behind her, and she did the best tummy-time workout stretch EVER trying to see them.  I finally flipped her over so she could watch.  Here is her sleepy little face watching contentedly.

"Should I just watch cartoons? cartoons AND suck on my toes?  Hmm..."
The appointment was at 8:30am, and at 11:50am, the neurologist called to tell me Emily is totally fine.  Her spine is fine and normal and unattached, and we don't need to come back or have surgery. 

So, we are totally praising God right now.  Unfortunately, since we only told like 5 people and our Sunday School class, no one knows that Emily almost had spine issues, and they're all shocked when we share the happy news.  Whoops!  Either way, God is really good, and we want to share.  Now you know.

P.S.  I had a marvelous time coming up with euphemistic reference to her nether-regions. 

P.P.S.  *STAT - I had to look it up to see what it meant.  Why don't docs just say "ASAP" - I mean besides the fact that it takes much longer to say?  It comes from statim which means immediately in Latin.  Or, some people in English have adopted it to mean "Sooner Than Already There".  As a languages person, I'm going with the Latin explanation.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Friendship - When Someone Forces You to Save $2


For those of you who don't know me very well, this post may be a bit enlightening.

It all started with a book club I'm in along with some girls at church.  This month we read The Help.  Well, as it turns out, some friends were going to see it Saturday night.  So, I went, too.  I rode with Ellen. (This is important in a moment.)

(Note - Thanks to Jon, Andrew, and George for babysitting while their wives and I went to the movie WITHOUT the baby.  And thanks to the baby for sleeping most of the night.  Phew!)

Anyway, I had two coupons for $2 off at the particular theater.  I didn't mention this ahead of time to the two girls Ellen and I were meeting up with.  The coupons could be used twice, thus making it possible for all 4 of us to save $2 each.  Woohoo!

Well, when we arrived, the other two already had their tickets.  I told them I was going to explain my lack of communication and ask nicely for a refund.  Ellen was positive they would say no.  I'm pretty sure the other two didn't think I was actually serious and/or agreed with Ellen.  So, when my turn in line came, I went to the window and asked Stephanie (the nice girl behind the plexiglass) if we could get a refund for the other two.  She listened carefully to my explanation and then went to get her manager.

Brace yourself for a random turn of events.  Are you braced?  Really?  'Cause if not, it's not my fault.  I warned you.

Ok, so the manager came in, and lo and behold, he could have been Mr. Darcy's brother!!!
He wasn't exactly the smiling type, and he had kind of sad eyes like both Darcy's pictured below.

It was weird. 

Here's the thing...I may watch Pride and Prejudice at least once a month.  So you see?  I KNOW Mr. Darcy.  I get him.  I've studied watched the movie in English and Spanish.  Therefore, when he came in and asked me to explain what was going on, I saw his poor sad eyes, and I nearly told him not to worry, that it was all a misunderstanding and Elizabeth really did like him and it would all work out in the end.

Oh.  That's right.  P&P isn't real. This guy isn't Mr. Darcy.  He's a manager at a movie theater, and I'm asking him to jump some annoying hoops.  *Sigh.  Oh well. 

By this point, Ellen has bought her ticket with the coupon at a different counter, so I had to explain to the manager that the other coupon is two windows down at Tracy's window, because Ellen didn't come to Stephanie's window, but she really was with us, and she really did want to share her coupon, she just thought it wouldn't work.

He didn't say a word.  He looked at me.  He looked at my three poor friends.  He looked at the coupons. 

Then, he asked if they'd paid with credit cards.  They had.  He took their credit cards and began to REFUND the tickets so they could RE-BUY the tickets. 

Dang it!  At this point, it was 7:09, and the movie was beginning at 7:10.  The plan had been for them to get cash back or a credit on their card, but not a full refund and re-buy.  We sent Ellen in to save seats, and my poor patient friends reassured me that they really were glad to save $2, and that they didn't want to see ANY previews anyway, and that they were thankful.  They also told me that he didn't look very much like Mr. Darcy, but they were lying about that, too.  (Seriously...I promise they would rather have lost out on $2 each than go through the silent-sad-eyed Darcy-bro-refund thing.)

Anyway, when all was said and done, all 4 of us saved $2 on our tickets, and we made it to the movie before it began. 

As a side note, there were three women in the row behind it who could have been characters from the book.  Their running commentary was priceless.

So were the movie tickets.  In a "price---less $2" sort of way.

I'm just thankful I still have friends.

Btw...Tracy may not have been the other window clerk's name.  I was at Stephanie's window.  Tracy's name was entirely made-up by myself.

Monday, September 5, 2011

10 out of 10 Ants Agree: Spit Happens

Baby girl woke up at 8:30am, right on time for her morning feeding.

(Well...technically mid-morning, as her morning started at 5:30, but since she went back to sleep until 8:30, we'll say this is her morning feeding.)

She needed a diaper change prior to eating.

*Note: ALWAYS change a baby's diaper before feeding them even if it only barely needs it.  The crying in the middle of the night for a few moments (as you change her and delay her meal) is MUCH better than the diaper becoming over-saturated during the nursing process at which point which baby, with abundantly overflowing diaper, is cuddled up next to you.  (I'm not saying I know from repeated experience.  Really.  I'm just saying it may be a good idea.  That's all.  Hypothetically.)

Ok, I promise I'm getting to the real reason for the post soon, but I need to explain something else first.

You see, some wonderful, kind, sweet, precious friends have given us LOTS of clothes (and bibs) for Little Bit.

This is fantastic, because she goes through a rather ghastly number of clothes and burp cloths on a daily basis due to her spit-up tendencies.  I mean, seriously, the child is like a bulimic volcano.  Whatever goes in just keeps pouring back out nice and slowly in a creamy, lava soup ALL DAY LONG.  As a result, I have to do laundry for her every two days at least, or we run out of the 20 burp cloths we have.  Please try not to be jealous.  Please.  Try.  And stop laughing, too.

Anyway, because I always have so much baby laundry to put away in the first place, I just got around to washing two HUGE loads of the new clothes last week (baby clothes are small, so a huge load is right around 250 items, give or take).  I still had not begun to sort or put them away, although my sweet, sweet mother in law tried to get me started.  Thanks Suegra!  (That's Spanish for most amazing M-I-L ever!)

Speaking of which, you may want to know:  Hubby's parents arrived last week!  We are super-glad they're here!  Although, actually, at the moment, no one other than myself or Em are currently at the house, since Matt is at Dragon-Con, and his parents are visiting friends for the weekend.  Everyone comes back tonight, so as soon as I finish this post, I'm going to be cleaning like crazy so they can't prove I only sat around and ate brownies and bon-bons all weekend.


I have three clean baskets of laundry and am currently keeping dirty laundry on the floor.  Ours is in our closet, and Em's is under her changing table.  Bad idea.

This morning, I was changing her diaper, and I looked down and saw ONE ant on the floor.

Now, for those of you who have missed the privilege of experiencing ants, suffice it to say, they never travel alone.  Never.  I looked around and didn't see any others, so I killed the one guy and went back to the diaper change.

Then, out of the corner of my eye, I saw about 20 or so on the floor at the corner of the changing table.  As I kept one hand on the baby -

**NEVER, EVER leave a baby unattended (or without a hand on her) on a surface higher than the floor.  I may be dumb enough to not change a diaper before I feed her (or I may not - I'll not confess a thing...) but I would NEVER let go of my baby for some ants!

Anyway, keeping one hand on baby, I bent down, and lo and behold, this is what I saw:

It's an ant smorgasbord! (that means buffet)  :-(

I was so shocked, I almost let go of the baby.  (I didn't, though, no worries).  I did, however, decide that she did not need to eat as badly as the situation needed to be addressed.  So, without even re-buttoning her onesie, I put the poor thing back into her crib.  I knew she was upset, but I told her that one day I would explain everything when she could understand, and she would agree with me.

This was the look I got:
She did NOT agree with me.  (Mom!  Don't leave me!  I'm HUNGRY!!!!)

Sigh.  Oh well.  She forgave me when I finally fed her 15 minutes later, and when I killed the ant that was somehow crawling on her head.

After putting her down, I transferred the ant-infested cloth to a plastic trash can.  The other clothes were immediately dumped into my plastic laundry basked (after I emptied the clean clothes that were in it onto the guest bed), and I put them into the laundry, ants and all.  I ran it on the hottest, longest wash for good measure.

I took the ant-infested cloth...
in case you'd forgotten what it looked like...

...outside and shook it in the yard.

FYI, for those of you who don't have the pleasure of living in sunny, sandy Florida, our ants are everywhere, and they're mean.  Grass is simply a covering for ant hills.  Don't send your kids in the backyard barefoot.  Trust me.

Anyway, I took it outside and shook it, and the mean little buggers went flying everywhere, but they were still chomping, so the ones that landed on me (around 10) went on and transferred to their second course---me.  I was getting a little squirmy, but I went on and shook one more time (ugh), and then dumped that one into the laundry, too.

I vacuumed up the floor, fed the baby, killed the stray ant that had made it to her head, scratched some ant bites, and then went to check on the wash.

The water had killed all of the ants, but they were still in my washing machine.  So, as I transferred clothes to the dryer, I shook each item out until all of the ants had fallen off.  Then, I took a paper towel and wiped up the ant carcasses so that my washing machine is no longer a graveyard.

And that, my friends, is why I entitled this post Spit Happens.  'Cause it most definitely does.  And now, the ants know it.  We'll see if actually putting dirty laundry in a laundry basket (not the floor) will make a difference.  If not, I promise to let you know.

Oh, and remember how I really appreciate my husband?  Well, last night, I especially appreciated him even more as I set out the trash and the recycling in the scary dark of night.

This morning, I looked out to see if recycling had been picked up yet.  It hadn't.  Neither had the trash.  Today is Labor Day.  I braved the dark of night for nothing.  Dang it!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Who am I?

My hubby is out of town this weekend.  

I'm thrilled for him, because he's at Dragon-Con - a slightly geeky festival of geekiness.

Someone asked me last night if I missed him, and I promptly responded, "nope".

You see, in the past, he's traveled for nearly a month on end to various other countries, so for him to be in the same time zone 6 hours away for a few days is not stressful at all.  In fact, we usually get along quite well after short breaks like this.

Well...that was my answer until this morning.  

As it turns out, I miss him quite a lot, and I was just in denial.  

Actually, I take him for granted in a huge way, and he is an extension of my life.  Without him, I'm not really sure who I am.  

Here are the times I missed him today so far:

 1.  Waking up.  Sunday-morning-cuddle fail. 

 1b.  Sunday-afternoon-nap-cuddle fail.

Baby girl totally gets the Sunday nap thing!

2.   Getting out the door today.  I woke up at 7:38, I never slowed down, and I still left the house at 9:05 (20 minutes late).  Let's just say there were several moments I wished I could do a hand-off.

 3.   Introducing ourselves myself in Sunday School.  We always say who we are, how long we've been married, and answer a question of the day.  Today I was solo.  It's weird to introduce someone who isn't there.

 4.   Carrying our child all over church by myself.  She's a growin' girl!  I needed man muscles!

Here she is for the first time in her Bumbo.  See?  Growin' girl!

5.   Hearing the pastor say, "reach over and take your spouse's hand as we talk today about the 7th Commandment." 

5b.  The love song sing-along before the sermon.  I sang to the baby.  No...*sniff...problem.

6.   Having someone to spend the day with.  

Example...flying a kite. 

Disclaimer - the picture looks much prettier than the actual evening.  A few mosquitoes, ant bites, and sudden moments of ZERO wind may have made me a tad grumpy, but I'm going to keep the picture anyway.  Sometimes life gets grumpy.  It's ok.  There can be a prettiness in that.

7.  Someone to kill bugs for me.  I have to *shiver* do it all by myself.  Sadness! 

This is a TERRIFYINGLY HUGE spider he killed for me last week.  My hero!

8.  Really, I just missed him because part of me was gone.  It's hard to have so many moments that you know he would like that you're enjoying without him.  I'm not myself when he's not around.  He's my other half. 

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Tonight, a cockroach scurried from beneath my fridge to under my foot.  

The following is a TRUE story:

1.  I felt a tickle.
2.  I looked down.
3.  I saw Sr. Cucaracha.
4.  I screamed.
5.  I ran through the dining room, dropping my glass of ice on the way.*
6.  I headed straight to the bathroom.
7.  I scrubbed my foot intensely. 
8.  I had weird shivers down my spine for the remainder of the night.
9.  I also had a pleasant memory of a slight tickle on my foot - followed again by the shiver as I remembered WHAT had tickled me.  Ugh!

Overkill?  Maybe.  But I bet YOU would do the same thing if a cockroach tickled YOUR foot, so there.

*The glass of ice didn't break.  I was certain to be sure it landed on the carpet despite my haste.  Amazing. I know.

P.S.  Matt killed the little bugger for me.  It's over.  For now.  Till his friends and cousins come looking for him.  *Sigh

Thursday, August 18, 2011


Friendship is...

1.  Backing out of the parking space at McDonald's and feeling a sickening feeling in your stomach as you realize you've just rear-ended someone else with your rear-end...  

...Then looking up to realize you're both friends, no damage was done, and everyone can finally let out that big breath they were holding in...phew!  Btw...Emily was fine.  Her car seat works beautifully.  She simply let out an ignorant squawk and went back to sleep.

2.  Helping friends celebrate birthdays and anniversaries, whether fishing, free babysitting, or dinner out together, or disc golfing tips.

3.  When someone leaves a Dr. Pepper shirt on your front door step because you're mildly obsessed, and she knows it.

4.  When your Poweraid-drinking friend gives you all of her Coke points so you can get cool free stuff.

5.  When you have over a friend for dinner because their spouse is gone for the weekend.

6.  When your friends bring snacks without being asked and help you clean up before they leave.

7.  When you can get together with another couple for games and all be on your worst behavior (and acting out of your grumpiest moods) and yet love each other enough to let it blow over by Sunday. 

8.  When even after you move away, your friends still stalk your facebook wall a little too often and send random notes and cards and such to remind you you're not forgotten.

9.  Having someone pick food up for you on the way to a party you're hosting because you're a loser at remembering to get ALL of the necessary ingredients.

10.  Praying for someone consistently because you love them.

11.  Not seeing each other for months or even years and picking right up where you left off without missing a beat.

12.  Getting your friends into theme-parks (ok...we could be friends without it, but you know who you are, my moochable friends!).

13.  Looking out for job openings and opportunities as well as sharing helpful tips for those going the "creative route" in employment.

14.  Hand-me-down baby clothes (and other stuff your kids have outgrown).

15.  Game nights!!!!!  (Actually, ours are usually "game-all-days-and-nights")

16.  When your friends invite you to dinner and have created the whole meal to work with your dietary needs and wants.

17.  When your friends help you move and still love you.  (We have a TON of books y'all.)

18.  When your friends are "brutally honest" and sharpen you for the better.

19.  When your friend calls to tell you to look at the sky because it's blue with gorgeous clouds, and she knows you can see it from where you should be right then, too.

20.  When your friends send random anonymous Marmaduke comics to your house just because it's funny to watch your husband's response.  (Long story.)

Sharing life together - the good times, the bad times, the boring times, the random times, and all of the in-between ones.  This is friendship, and I'm thankful to say, we've got some of the best friends ever. 

Thank you friends, near and far, for being you. 

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Shifting Perspectives

Four years ago, I got new eyeballs thanks to lasik!

The doctor warned me that with my strong astigmatism, there was only a 95% chance of total correction, and either way, I would one day need glasses again.  I took my chances and went with lasik.  Best decision ever!!!

Fast forward to a few weeks ago.  I've noticed I have a little bit of night vision trouble, so I went to the eye doctor to get new glasses.  My intention was to use them at night, when I drive, and to make a fashion statement when necessary (glasses are "in" right now, after all).

Anxiously awaiting my new cute accessory, I finally received the call of the week.  My glasses had arrived!  Hurrying to the store, I picked up my new addition (the one that would make several outfits look much better), and I quickly put them on.

Emily and I (and my new glasses)

It was at that moment I discovered I've been experiencing a sort of VHS vision in a Blu-Ray world.  The picture below is the best way I can explain the difference.  The cute li'l fella on the left is perfectly fine---until you see his buddy on the right. 

Speaking of shifting perspectives, every day, I have a pretty good spiritual outlook on life (I think).  At least "left penguin".  Unfortunately, I often rely on my natural perspective in my life and interactions without opening my Bible to see what God's perspective might be or to allow Him to shape my own.  Then, finally, eventually, I'll spend some serious time with God.  The result of such a small effort on my part, is that my vision will shift, for a time, into "right penguin".  My attitude toward spiritual things is heightened.  My interactions with people become more intentional.  Difficult situations seem manageable after spending time with God.  Why on earth would I settle for a VHS approach when God offers a better than Blu-Ray experience?  Besides, without clear focus, am I really making the right decisions, or do they only seem right to me?

As a side note, the first few days (and even a little bit now), I would get headaches as my eyeballs adjusted.  Even though they were seeing things rightly, it had been too long, and they would get overwhelmed.  I found this applied spiritually in a few ways, too.

1.  When Jesus told the disciples he had more to share with them than they could bear at that moment.  It makes a little bit more sense now.

2.  As a grown-up Christian, it's important to be sure that I'm actually acting from a correct perspective.  If I'm not in regular fellowship with God, each time He tries to discipline me or work in me, it'll be like starting from scratch instead of building on what He already began.  Reading the Bible should not be a dramatic vision shift every time.  My vision should already be aligning with God's due to discipline on my end.

3.  Sometimes reading my Bible and being convicted about having a correct view of things might result in a spiritual headache.  The discomfort is not necessarily always a bad thing---especially if the headache is caused by beginning to look at a situation properly.

There you have it.  Glasses.  They're not just an accessory.  Neither is the Bible or prayer.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Damp, Dirty, Messy Gratitude

Today, I became a REAL mom.  Today I...
  • ...cut my finger on a razor (I was searching for something else in a spot I couldn't see clearly, and I grabbed it with my finger.) *This is not a real mom moment, but it's relevant to the second bullet point, and my finger is still throbbing, so I counted it a bullet-worthy-event on it's own.
  • ...fed Emily a bottle instead of nursing for timing reasons (I let her sleep in and then cut my finger, thus skewing my exit strategy a bit.)
  • ...witnessed my body go into overflowing mama mode (not nursing overnight OR in the morning apparently has consequences.  Duly noted.)
  • ...may have fed her a tiny bit extra in an attempt to stem the surplus. 
  • ...received my surplus "gift" back from my generous daughter.  Repeatedly.  (I went through two burp cloths and a receiving blanket.  Oh, and my previously wet shirt became even soggier during this hour-long process of re-gifting.)
  • ...had an awkward social encounter as I attempted to use humor to deal with the situation.  Don't ask.  
  • ...went through two diapers at once during a diaper change.
  • ...had the privilege of testing out our "Wee Guard Car-Seat Saver" (a handy contraption for protecting the car seat from exciting diaper issues) on a massive diaper blowout.  It worked!  Car seat saved!  Em's outfit...not so much.  It didn't come home from lunch with us.  Neither did 18 wipes.  
  • ...was outsmarted by a feisty gas pump...almost!  (We got along once I finally remembered to enter my zip code.  Today's events plus gas fumes apparently overwhelmed my brain cells --- or my "read-the-tiny-beeping-screen-and-follow-directions" cells).
  • ...gave Em and myself mid-day baths (and trimmed her nails for the second time in 3 days).
  • ...plunged a toilet.
The craziest part is that, despite all of these REAL mom moments, I'm extremely grateful.  Not so long ago, such events would have resulted in a massive meltdown with serious entitlement issues (i.e. "I deserve a vanilla Dr. Pepper from Sonic" --- hey, I didn't say I have expensive entitlement issues!)  Instead, I'm content and even a little happy.  All I know is that I'm quite thankful for God's grace.  I'm pretty sure He gave me a double scoop today.  Hopefully today's extra grace wasn't taken from tomorrow!  Either way, I didn't melt down today.  Not even once.  (Stay tuned about tomorrow, though.)

I know there will sometimes be melt-down-y days, and frankly, today would have been understandable, but I'm filled with damp, dirty, messy gratitude that today didn't ruin life.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Important Notice!

We received an Important Notice (really just a personal data review) from a financial institution in the mail last week.  I just got around to opening it today, to my shock, I discovered the following about my husband:

Well!  That is QUITE an Important Notice!  While his name is Matthew, and he is a self-employed business owner, I was unaware until today that his occupation was DANCER.  Yes.  Dancer.  As in, he solely provides with his soles*.

I burst out laughing!

So, Matt has apparently had a secret life for the past 3 to 5 years, and neither of us had any clue.  I guess "visual media" and "visual arts" are closer than I thought.  Good thing we got this "Important Notice". 

By the way, if you'd like to see how talented he REALLY is, check out!

*I know it's an awful pun, but I'm a little bitty bit proud of it anyway.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Pleased to meet you!

Welcome to my first-ever blog!  Wait...that's not true.  I had a Xanga account during college.  Now those were scattered thoughts of a random redhead!  Let me tell you...

Anyway, I thought it might be nice if I introduced myself for this first post.  You know, to ease you in gently.  The following is what I almost posted to my "About Me" profile, but there was a word count limit.  *sigh!  So, here is the un-edited version.

About Me:

I'm a newly minted momma of one (Emily).  I'm also a wife of one (Matt).  We are learning to do life together with Little Bit slowly but surely.

I am a great fan of Spanish.  In fact, I used to teach it.

I'm also a fan of middle schoolers (most of the time).  I used to teach them, too (when they would let me).

I love to count, but I can't do math very well, despite making it all the way through first semester Calculus in High School (what was I thinking?).  I'm really good at adding numbers through six.  Adding anything over three to a seven or eight is stressful to me, and I have to whip out my fingers and toes.  I think it's because I played Yahtzee and Monopoly and Parcheesi a lot with my grandma as a kid, and I got really amazing at doing "dice math".  Unfortunately, the average die does not go higher than six, hence my inability in this area.  (At least that's my theory.)

I have a cat named Gurgi.  He's kind of a punk.  We have a love/hate relationship.

If you're going to read much on this blog, you need to know that God has been amazingly faithful to us, and He's a pretty core part of our lives.  We've prayed lots of prayers, and He's done lots of answering.  He's definitely worthy of His role (God of the Universe, Creator, Father, Provider, Righteous Judge, Truth-Giver, Healer, Holy One, Friend, etc.), and I'm growing closer each day to being worthy of calling myself his daughter...well...occasionally the path forward is more like a slip and slide for me, but I'm more or less heading in the right direction.  When I don't, we have a "come to Jesus" (literally) meeting and things get back to the way they should be.

I'm a recovering junk food addict.  I fall off the wagon sometimes, but I've made great strides toward healthy living.  In fact, I ate my first-ever BLT two days ago!  It's not that it's an awful sandwich, but until recently, I definitely only liked the bacon.  Lettuce, tomato, and I were not friends.  Frankly, I still feel they steal bacon's glory by cramming their healthy selves into the sandwich spotlight.  Since meeting my husband, however, I've learned to enjoy a myriad of fruits, veggies, eggs, and sometimes beans (but only sometimes).

I like sleep, Dr. Pepper, fiction and chocolate.  I also occasionally crave broccoli, which is a minor miracle (see previous paragraph).

Oh, and I definitely know a lot less now than I did ten years ago. 

**Now for the part that provided a great surprise and delight for me:  The "Random Question" feature of the profile page!!!!

What was the best time you ever had licking stamps?

Oh my goodness!  I love this random question thing!!!  I am most definitely, without a doubt, addicted to licking stamps and/or envelopes.  Always have been.  When I was 5, my parents' friends gave me a box of envelopes for my birthday.  To this day, my mom, grandma, and husband (when he remembers) give me birthday cards in unsealed envelopes.  Now that's TRUE love! time licking stamps?  When my dad's business had to send out mailings a few times each year.  No wet sponge for me! 

P.S.  In case you've not followed this ramble to it's logical conclusion, one of the worst days of my life was when the stupid post office invented stupid sticky stamps that don't need licking.  Not cool USPS!  Not cool!

Alright.  That's a little bit of random trivia regarding moiself.  Most posts won't be me-centric (ideally), but rather a log of thoughts, experiences, and sometimes (but only sometimes) emotions through the scattered lens of a random redhead.