Sunday, October 26, 2008

Simple Gifts*

I woke up this morning with an incapacitating headache. We skipped church and I spent the day horizontal and growling at my children while The Man worked outside, replacing the offending fence. It's his birthday tomorrow and I feel bad that he spent the day laboring in the sun and periodically instructing Allie to watch the Weekids so they would leave their mama alone. I was supposed to help him but just going outside left me looking for a way to clamp my head into the wood-working vise. He didn't complain about working alone, though. He never does.

Last night we went out, sans children, to celebrate his birthday. We laughed and flirted and drank adult beverages and ate too much. We were every bit a couple happy in love. I can honestly say I still enjoy going out with The Man as much as I ever have. Our dates, while now limited to a handful of times a year, make me feel pretty and funny and valued. And miraculously that hasn't been diminished by the familiarity of being married for a dozen years.

The steakhouse where we went to dinner was peppered with kids going to the local homecoming dance. One young couple sat at the table across from us and I watched them playing grown-up. Fidgety and nervous and trying too hard to look comfortable. The girl was lovely, if a bit overdone in her cocktail dress. Thin and glowing with the natural diaphanous beauty of the young. I wondered, momentarily, how we must appear to them. An overweight woman in wedges and wide legged jeans chatting comfortably with a bald (sorry, honey) man, ever casual, in jeans and a t-shirt. In a culture that values fame, money and beauty I cannot imagine they saw anything enviable in our obviously average suburbanness.

But I remember being that girl: excited and sparkly and wobbling in strapy heels. Sitting across from a boy I didn't really know. Uncomfortable with what to order. What to say. Who to be. I remember being told that I was living the best days of my life. And I am so thankful that wasn't true. Because I wouldn't trade places with her for all the taught tummies, glowing skin and nights of 12-hour-sleep in the world.

I know now that this thing I have is enviable. More enviable, I'd even dare say, than fame or money. A happy marriage. Worn and comfortable as faded flannel, but laced with moments of greatness. Moments sprung from being loved completely by someone who knows me completely and still finds me - inconceivably - worthy. I have lived long enough to realize what a rare and fragile gift that is. And how little I have done to deserve it.

Tomorrow the Weekids and I will make The Man a cake for his birthday. At dinner we'll all present him with handmade birthday cards and small gifts and lament that he had to work so hard on his big day. Later we'll sing and eat bowls of cake and ice cream during our family devotional. It won't be a big or even particularly memorable celebration. But I hope it will be enough. And he will feel appreciated and loved. Just as I do...because of him.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Diary of a Teeball Player

Wait for the ball...Watch the birds...
Catch the ball...
And sometimes miss it.
Have a snack,Get the game ball.

And steal your mama's heart.
This was going to be for Wordless Wednesday, but I couldn't resist the words.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Fridays Fave 5

Seeing how this blog has been all dark and wallowy lately, and that my life has pretty much been the same, I thought I could use an enforced pick-me-up. In fact, right before I sat down to write this I had just finished a loud ugly weep about how I should never have had four children because I can't be a good mama to four at once and I am a horrible wife because I asked my husband to skip going to the football game on Saturday to help me and my house is such a mess I keep tripping on things and the floor is making my feet black and I should just hide in my bedroom and eat Halloween candy until January.

I know. Pity-party much?

So I saw this at Beck's place the other day. And we all know I love all things Beck. Well, unless it involves pastry dough or cooking with yeast or celebrating 231 holidays a year. ('Cause goodness knows I can't even manage the 7 - Yes, I counted them! - I do celebrate.) I don't love those things but I love Beck for loving them and I adore her funny, heart tugging, sarcastic writing. So really, if you are one of the 3 people in the blogosphere that doesn't read her blog, you're missing out.

Anyhow, she linked to this Friday Fave 5 thing at a Blog I have never been to before. The rules state
"It can be anything that tickled your fancy over the week. Favorite quotes, posts, happenings, scriptures, recipes, pictures, etc., etc."
I love this idea. I have always found that the best medicine for my wallowy-ness is to stop and count my blessings. And this time I only have to count to five.

  1. Because of the crazy busy week I had I was determined to make a big pan of something that we could eat as leftovers. I decided to try this new recipe that my friend Karen sent me, even though it was from Martha Stewart. I actually believe that Martha Stewart was put on this planet just to make people like me feel even worse about their domestic shortcomings. I regularly boo and hiss at her at magazine in the grocery store. But this recipe was very yummy and surprisingly simple. And it turned out so great I even took a picture. A first ever for me, a picture of food I prepared. Thanks Karen.
  2. Lisa over at Lisa Writes, who said she was going to going on a blogging hiatus but didn't - thank goodness, wrote this post on what she has learned in her last 17 years of marriage. It really touched me.
  3. Due to some job changes I was able to start back to Community Bible Study on Wednesday. I know that this will add even more busyness to my life but I am so excited to be returning to a wonderful program and a wonderful group of women who are passionate about digging into God's Word and finding the treasures inside.
  4. While at CBS we were discussing Abraham and a time when he stepped outside of God's plan and put his family in danger. It is so comforting for me to see how God was able to guide him back on track and still use him in amazing ways. What can I say, Bible Stories about God doing His work through screw-ups like me; they give me hope.
  5. Look what I got in the mail this week! I won this over at In the Trenches... and I couldn't be more excited. I have been coveting cards from ever since my Christmas Card fiasco of last year. They have gorgeous card designs and so many more choices than the places I usually shop. I can't wait to start playing with pictures for this years cards. Just have to take the pictures...but we won't talk about that. This is a post about good things.
As an aside, I was planning on using the news that Korto won Project Runway as one of my Fave 5 things for this week, but I can't because she didn't. She was robbed, I tell you, robbed. Ah well, I'm just glad it wasn't rude Kenley, (Even if I did think this dress of hers was fantastically adorable.)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

It's raining, it's pouring...

I would like to make it clear that my life is really not as gloomy and problematic as it may appear on this blog. I actually have a very good life and am even, regularly, quite happy. It's just that melancholy, guilt and frustration are much better muses for writing than say, happiness. Or, gag, contentedness. Nothing stifles my words quite like being content.

That being said, this past week has been rough. Rough and expensive. Or maybe rough because it was expensive.

Our septic system, which had been finicky for quite some time, backed up and knocked us all flat on our back with the smell of sewage. I think the neighbors were pleased as well. We called someone to check it out. $1650 and some attractive new landscaping later, and the problem was solved. Hurrah. I will say that Ben was so beside himself with glee at an actual backhoe digging up our backyard that he jumped up and down on our deck shouting "I love construction workers!" repeatedly. Really, how often do septic repairman have real live screaming fans? You'd have thought we could have at least received the cute kid discount.

Our van, which had been finicky for quite some time, also decided to turn things up a notch by occasionally failing to break when you pressed the pedal. Oh, they kicked in eventually but not before you found yourself thanking God that you never did stick to that diet since you were now going to die at the age of 33.

So, after picking my heart up off the pavement one too many times, we brought the van into the shop. Two weeks, 3 different mechanics and $3000 later and they called us to tell us we can pick it up tomorrow. Oh and two weeks with one vehicle that won't even hold our entire family has added a little something special to our hectic schedule. Something like insanity.

And then finally, today, we received a letter from our Home Owner's Association letting us know that we are in violation of our covenants and they expect us to repair and fix our fence. Really, I'm not sure what the problem is. Maybe it's this hole in the fence where the dog is always escaping.

Nah. I think the classy and cleverly placed piece of wood concealed that.

Maybe it was because when they drove by the other day it looked like this:

Ah yes, it's true. We are those neighbors.

Warning: If you ever have a week like this and someone, say a customer service representative from Costume Express, calls you to tell you the pirate costume you ordered a week ago is actually sold out, you should probably just hang up on them immediately. If you don't you may find yourself yelling at the poor foreign girl and then bursting into tears and apologizing. You know, hypothetically.

Warning 2: If you ever have a week like this and you happen to have two bags of M&Ms in your pantry that you bought to send into your kids will need to buy them again.

Sunday, October 12, 2008


Decided to delete the snarky post. It's a small world and I wasn't feeling good about it. They weren't exactly God Honoring words. I left the blurb about blogging neglect though, since I expect that will be true through December.

And, if I haven't been by your place lately I'm sorry. I am hoping my life will eventually slow down so I can catch up, but I'm not optomistic that will happen anytime soon. If it makes you feel any better I have real life friends and relatives that I am neglecting as well.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Four Exciting Events in our Day-

A Game Ball-
Our little Rookie Pirate was awarded the game ball at his T-ball game today. This sounds a bit more significant than it actually is. Every player is awarded a game ball at some point in the season. The coach tries to pick a week when they have done particularly well but next week is our last game. You can read between the lines here: Our Ben makes up in enthusiasm for what he lacks in focus and talent.

Unfortunately this mama wasn't even there to see him receive it. I had to miss the game this morning to accompany Allie to an audition. Ben was so excited he couldn't wait to tell me about his award. It almost made me rethink all my rants on going back to merit based awards. Merit-shmerit...that was one happy four year old. He even told me he made "five big hits!" I didn't have the heart to mention that each player only bats two times.

I'm sorry to say that due to my absence there was no photo to commemorate the occasion. I'm planning on staging one at the next game though. I'll post the fake game-ball-shot next week.

An Audition-
Allison auditioned for All State Chorus this morning. This is the first year she was eligible to audition. She had to sing a solo, scales and then the judges gave her some tonal memory to repeat and some music she had to site-read. She is competing with students all over Georgia for a place in the state choir in Savannah. The whole thing is a pretty nerve wracking experience but she was completely composed. Unlike her mama. We don't know if she made it through this first audition yet, but I have never seen her work so hard to prepare for something. She's been drilling herself on site-reading for a month. Regardless of the outcome, I am exceptionally proud of my hard-working girl.

Last Minute Shopping-
After Allie's audition we ran to the mall to try to find her a dress for her voice-recital this afternoon. As of today she has officially outgrown the children's department.

I would like to pause at this time for a moment of silence.

I think there is now a trail of tears in Dillards leading from the Children's to the Junior's department. It's a sad, sad day. Do you know how much more money junior's clothes cost?

A Recital-
Lastly, Allie had her fall recital today where she performed her All-State audition piece. Not surprisingly, she did a lovely job. Here's a few photos I took of her there in her new size 3 dress. At least I won't have to stage these pictures. It would be hard to fake the amazing piano in the background. I think I managed to wipe all my drool off of it before we left.

Oh, and Allie has been in this "I don't want like to show my teeth when I smile" phase for a little while now. And by a little while I mean like two years. So that's why she always looks like she is channeling Mona Lisa.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Shameless Posting of my Kid

Veggie Tales ala Ben.

I especially love how his voice cracks at the end. It makes me all misty.