Updated weekly. Usually on Tuesdays. Unless some small person eats my blog post.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


**Sorry, no funny post this week. I hope you'll enjoy these thoughts, and check back next week to find out what kind of mayhem is going to ensue around here once DB goes out of town the day after Christmas.**

Over the last two weekends, I have twice been privileged to sing in Christmas-related programs. And in both instances, at least one song focusing solely on Mary, the mother of Christ, was sung.

The first weekend, it was Breath of Heaven; the second, Gabriel's Message

I don't really know how to put into words the totality of the experience, but I wanted to try. It's only as I've become a mother myself that I have considered her story with any degree of personal interest. This year in particular, though, as our family faces a lot of uncertainty and I find myself "great with child" right around the Christmas season, I've spent a lot of time contemplating Mary and her faith.

Gabriel's Message centers on the story of the Annunciation, or when Gabriel came to tell Mary of her impending pregnancy. In the version our choir performed (which is not, I should note, the same as the one I linked to here; I'm unfortunately unable to find the one we did sing for you), there was a particular focus on the phrase he uses to describe Mary: "Most highly favored Lady." The words are used to reassure her, to soothe her, so that she knows that these things--this unexpected pregnancy, which she will have to explain to all--are as God wills, and that they are a blessing. At that moment, Mary replies, "Be it unto me as it pleaseth God." 

That reply is surely the most faithful, trusting, innocent, amazing reply that could ever have been made. I have to wonder if it had even crossed her mind yet all the trouble this was going to cause her and her fiance, Joseph. Did it even matter? 

Her faith is blindingly, starkly pure here. It's the kind of faith that makes me quietly shake my head and think that I am eons from that kind of trust, particularly when it comes to turning my life upside down. But Mary had that faith, and she showed it. 

Breath of Heaven is different. It's not based on any scriptural account, although I feel very strongly that it rightly captures at least some moments of Mary's life. This song comes after that first tide of overwhelming  amazement at what has happened to her. The angel has come and gone, she is heavy with child, she is (quite literally, in fact) walking down the rough road. She is, I imagine, getting leg cramps and possibly heartburn, not sleeping well at night, and having to ask Joseph to stop the donkey every hour or so for a bathroom break. She has had to face up to her family, her neighbors, and her friends who have eyed her ever-increasing belly and wondered at her story. She is tired. She is frightened. 

But she still has faith. 

She goes to God in this song, explaining to Him everything in her heart. She doesn't hide her fears, her insecurities, or her wonders. She doesn't hide from Him that she desperately needs help. She even shares with Him her worries about being inadequate. But she isn't coming to Him to ask Him to take it all away, or to change it. She does not, herself, question if this should be happening to her. 

Instead, she is simply approaching a Father whom she trusts to love her no matter what she is or what she fears and asking for His help. She is pleading for the assurance she knows that only He can give. 

Seeing both sides of Mary's faith has really affected me this year. We all have the moments of spiritual high where we feel we can do anything. Having an angel appear in my room would probably convince me that I could walk all the way to China and then move mountains without breaking a sweat. I have been in that place where Mary was; the moment of surety. 

Now our family has walked down the road some more. Things don't look the same from this far into the trip. It isn't what we expected. I have asked God several times to change it, to make it easier, to send me a horse-drawn cart (or a Ferrari) to get me the rest of the way to our destination. After the last two weeks, however, I want to be, once again, where Mary was. I want to be able to approach God in the way she is painted as doing in that song. 

This is true faith: To know that whatever it looks like to us, God has seen the end from the beginning, and He knew what it would look like in the middle. We didn't. 

Mary placed her trust in her Heavenly Father, knowing He would lead her to the end that she had already committed to, even if she couldn't see it. 

Mary was astounding. 

Her faith is why we have long since chosen to name one of our daughters after her. What greater gift could we want for our child than to know above all else that God loves her and will always do what is best for her? 

Because isn't that what faith comes down to? 

Mary is beautiful; and while this Christmas season is a celebration of her perfect Son, I know that come Christmas morning, watching my children rip into their presents, its her I will be thinking of. 

Her, and the assurance that even a young mother like me doesn't have to be perfect and without fear always--just trusting, and willing. God will take care of the rest.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

I love Sleep.

This is how I feel about Sleep:

This is how Sleep feels about me:

Thanks to my rather dysfunction relationship with Sleep, I have come up with a new motto for my life: When you're dead on your feet, there's nothing for it but to dress up the corpse and hope nobody notices.

However, Mysanity is the child of Sleep and I, and Sleep keeps trying to keep Mysanity away from me.

Therefore I will drag Sleep back into my life as many times as necessary to ensure that Mysanity ends up in my complete custody.

No matter where you go, Sleep, I will find you. This stalker ain't ready to give up yet.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

NaNoWriMo: Victorious.

I am officially a first-time survivor of National Novel Writing Month.

Go me.

I thought I would come out of this with some seriously awesome lessons learned, and I have. The thing is I thought they would be lessons along this line:


As it turns out, all good things happen after midnight.



It's not really as necessary as you think.

However, I can't really say I learned either of these things. I showered as often as I usually do (don't ask, it's not as often as it should be), the dishes stayed at a fairly manageable pile level, and the vast majority of my writing was done before two in the afternoon. Learn I did, though, and I thought I would share my favorite gems.


There was a lot of this going on during November, and I was surprised. Surely, I told myself, having not just myself, but also DB committed to my getting 2000 words a day in will give me the glorious freedom I need to WRITE WRITE WRITE as much as I want to!

It did.

But I didn't want to as much as I thought I would.

Turns out that even pursuing your dreams isn't all sunshine and roses. All those Hallmark movies lied to me. Who knew? I always had a fairly realistic idea of what motherhood would be like, so the hard work entailed in that particular dream weren't surprising. My utter lack of motivation to write on most days when I was trying to force 6 days a week out of myself was.

When I kept pushing through, however (thanks to DB the whip-holder on some days), I found that it could still be done. And the more often I pushed through with sheer grit, the more often I found myself having the days where I couldn't wait to get to my computer. I am becoming a self-arm-twising ninja thanks to NaNoWriMo!


When my children are not doing what they should be or are about to do something they oughtn't, they get a warning of the consequences to come. If they don't stop, I start counting to three. Generally speaking I never make it past two before said child backs down.

Turns out I operate the same way.

Set a timer for ten minutes of writing (a goal of good behavior), make it so it creates really super obnoxious noises if I don't write (warning of consequences), then flash really bright red lights at me if I'm not writing enough (count of three) before screaming at me with said obnoxious noise if I still don't write (PUNISHED!). This works seriously well. Fortunately for me, I didn't have to set up this entire gig; Dr. Wicked over at Write or Die has a program that does just this. With the threat of punishment hanging over my head, I was able to complete my daily writing alottment in 45 minutes to an hour.

I think I'm going to apply this wisdom to other jobs in my life. Need to cook dinner? 15 minutes on the egg timer! Dishes? 10 minutes! Vacuum? 5!  Who wants to see if I can find my entire list of groceries in THREE MINUTES?!? Pregnant mommy at a dead run, kids plastered to the inside of the cart, innocent employees flying everywhere!

Watch out, WalMart. I have an egg timer and I'm not afraid to use it.


Speaking of time, it turns out that there are a lot more hours in the day than I thought.  I was under the impression that I would be killing myself, trying to add these 2,000 words. As it turns out, I have plenty of time. I just don't use it as wisely as I thought.

Being that I've always considered myself to be pretty darn good at time management, that was a hard one to admit. NaNo makes me think that it wouldn't hurt me to track my time for a week or so and see how I'm actually using it, to make sure it's really going somewhere I want it to. After all, it's not like I can get more minutes for my days out of the bank or something.

So, NaNo, thanks for the lessons, and for the novel. And for this really goofy video that I'm still laughing about.

It was a good November.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

How a Baby Moves

My children are delightful and (of course!) unique and special.  I can only assume it will be the same with number three whenever she chooses to make her appearance (please not any time before February, Butterfly, thank you very much).  And from what do I make my assumptions? 

No, not that kind!  Tsk.

I refer to the way in which babies move while in the womb (although the way they dance after is pretty darn funny too).  Before having my second child, I assumed there was a fairly uniform two-step each baby performed.  Not so, and may I present exhibits A, B, and C for your perusal: 


While in the womb, Ladybug liked nothing better than stretching out as far as she could go.  But as she got longer and longer, this whole pushing boundaries thing became a problem. And a wrestling match. DB often laughed at me all through church as I say next to him, pressing valiantly on my belly and not gaining even a centimeter of give. 
Ladybug has displayed these same tendencies in her everyday personality quirks.  She likes to see exactly how far she can go, find that line, then stand there and not give any in one bit. It is officially her job to remind us of exactly how things are done--how we eat breakfast, how we pray, and she doesn't forget promises we make to her.  She finds where she can be and sticks to it. 


StrawBee's fav rave was circles.  She liked to flip over and over and over and OVER. It was a lot like having a spin cycle going on in my belly.  I wasn't supposed to be going on any carnival rides but I felt like I was on one most nights.  It did something very uncomfortable to my guts (something about her little ankles catching on them over and over, I imagine) and created the oddest feeling of discombobulation.

From the moment of her birth StrawBee has never been one to sit still and let life happen to her. She is a mover and a shaker; a strong child who sees what she wants and goes to get it. This is a particularly effective personality to have as a second child, I like to think, because she has Ladybug to watch and learn from--and thus always a goal to strive for. 


I first started feeling this little firecracker moving around 11 weeks gestation (and for the uninitiated, that's about 8 weeks sooner than what's considered average). I heard many comments that this child must certainly be a boy for all of her activity, but unless something truly unusual happens between now and her birth I am quite sure this is not the case.  She punches and kicks like a regular boxing champ; I've even wondered on occasion if I'm actually giving birth to a kangaroo.  Ultrasounds can be so inconclusive, you know.
It'll be interesting to meet her in February. If nothing else, we know she's getting plenty of practice in so she'll be ready to stand up to the other two. 

I love being pregnant, though. No really, I do. Something about feeling like you're being invaded by a small alien is really life-affirming. Not to mention frighteningly like having super powers. Trying to interpret the ways the child moves into what they might actually be like as a little person has got to be one of the best guessing games ever. 

Has anyone else seen a correlation between baby movements and personality, or am I making these insightful connections on way too little sleep?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Playgrounds are Not for Wimps

...Or pregnant women. Just to clarify that they're not the same thing.

Not always, anyway. 

Moving on--

It was a fine day in October. DB had the morning off and had helped me take the kiddies to the doctor's office, and once the shots were over (brave girls!) Ladybug demanded "Go down swiiiiiide!" 

Translation: Let's go to the park. 

Given that we had all morning, we said sure. I expected to sit and watch the girls run in wild circles with their father like they usually do, but that day Ladybug decided that this was not an option.

"Mommy, 'tum on!" she shouted at me, gesturing wildly. 

How do you say no to that? 

Even if you are 6 months pregnant. 

First was the slide. 

I pulled my knees up to my chest, and inched down hand over hand.  Ladybug clapped with glee when I thudded to the bottom.  It took me several minutes to unbend completely as my back popped repeatedly.

Then there was a rock wall. Normally I'm pretty good at rock climbing--with a harness, ropes, and climbing shoes, that is. Oh, and minus the extra bottom/front-heavy weight.

I couldn't make it off the ground on that one. Swollen toes in slippery Halloween toe socks don't grip any better than shoes bought half a size too large in preparation for swollen feet. Ladybug settled with me shoving her up the rocks to the top before making me move on to the tunnel. 

The tunnel was the greatest indignity. Mostly because it seemed like the easiest thing to do in the entire playground. To crawl through it: How hard is that?  Um....almost as hard as putting jelly on the underside of your bread. Without flipping it over.

By the fourth time through the tunnel, I couldn't catch my breath and my knees popped every time I stood.

I had failed at the playground.  I felt like I had a big, fat red "F" printed on my forehead.

Ladybug watched, crestfallen, as I walked away from the playground equipment.  Thinking quickly, I looked to see if there wasn't something I could manage.

Then I had a brilliant idea. I would redeem myself on the swing.  And it wouldn't just be a normal swinging experience--no, no; I was going to introduce my child to Superman swinging. I was going to do this while pregnant and thus earn the Most Epic Momma Ever award. 

Without giving myself another moment to do something reasonable like think it through, I called for Ladybug's attention and dove onto the swing with abandon.

The first moments were fantastic. I was SuperMom and I knew Ladybug and StrawBee would be so impressed. I had no idea pregnant women could do this kind of thing!

Turns out they can't. .

...It was definitely epic, in that post-it-to-YouTube-because-you-FAIL kind of way. 

DB, after ascertaining that I hadn't broken myself or the baby by being such a... well, I'll let you insert the appropriate epithet here, kindly suggested that I just stay where I was for a  minute. Since I couldn't very well move I took him up on the offer. As it turns out, tanbark is really quite comfortable. 

But eventually the bliss had to end. We had promised the kids ice cream after the park, and chocolate sauce did in fact sound better than more wood chips in my back. So off we went. 

DB holding me up, and tanbark stuck to my backside. 

Epic Mommyhood: Achieved.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

How to be Pathetic: Practicing Pregnancy Helplessness

Some women are so darn empowered these days that they actually have the gall to openly enjoy their pregnancies. This is a shame, leaving behind the golden age of ignorance in which pregnancy was viewed as a shameful, embarrassing medical condition. At this rate, people will soon have a respectful understanding of what being pregnant entails and actually treat pregnant women according to their real limitations! 

Just. Terrible. 

Being on my third pregnancy, I thought it might be useful to hand out some guidelines to the rising generation of first-timers. To make sure we can perpetuate the image of pathetic suffering people so often associate with pregnancy.


Make sure to grunt. People will then feel awkward for you and do everything in their power to make themselves feel better about your condition. Mostly this includes picking stuff up for you, but I have heard of this awkwardness leading to free food, clothes, and trips to Europe!


These include tomato based foods such as spaghetti (or anything else acidic), spicy food, chocolate, and lots and lots of soda pop.  This will guarantee perpetual puking or horrendous heartburn, depending on the stage of pregnancy. And when people ask why you insist on eating these things, reply "The baby wants it." 


Some waddle is unavoidable when you hit that last month, but this "look at me I'm dying" walk is a classic pregnancy posture that's adopted more out of tradition than necessity. Not only will it make you look tired and worn, guaranteeing plenty of help and sympathy, it also helps sustain that pregnancy backache people covet so. 


Practice using pathetic faces and doe eyes, especially as relates to any medication that might help with the above conditions. Also, never question a medical professional, and never try to learn things for yourself. If you start sounding educated it ruins your credibility as a victim of an uncomfortable condition. In fact, don't try to converse with your medical provider at all. Regardless of what they say, just repeat over and over: "The doctor says I can't."


Preach this constantly, no matter what the situation. If possible, burst into tears while trying to explain it. 

Every. Single. Time.

I mean sure, you could probably exert some effort and keep the mood swings to a fairly tame minimum, but what good does that do you?  Docile responses to such offensive questions as "How was your day?" never got anyone an extra box of chocolates for dessert. 

Which is that pregnancy is freaking amazing. And it comes with an awesome snack tray.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Awkwardness in a Can

I hate it when I find myself trapped by an awkward conversation. Inevitably I find myself backed into the proverbial corner and unable to articulate anything more intelligent than "Er..."

If I can see the trap coming, I will find ways to cleverly sidestep it. Like a quick, heart-attack prone bunny rabbit I dodge the upcoming verbal onslaught like so:

Sometimes this just isn't possible. Either I've already mentioned that my cell phone battery is dead after being masticated by a teething toddler or (more likely) my brain just freezes. It's like the complete, sudden awkwardness shuts down all normal function and leaves me with nothing but blushing and stammering. 

Even worse is when the awkwardness completely blindsides you, coming out of nowhere to make your life a misery.  A particular conversation is emblazoned in my memory forever, so painful was my embarrassment and so suddenly was the trap sprung. 

One moment, I was innocently submitting to a grilling by another woman about whether DB is good at "kissing butt," (as she put it) when he made mistakes.  A stupid topic, but harmless enough. Still, I started trying to break away as the conversation appeared to be rapidly morphing into one of those "and men are" slam sessions. I failed. And then the conversation took a sudden, wildly inappropriate turn. 

The trap slammed shut.

My brain shut down. 

The worst part is that she, like so many of this sort, took my inability to respond as a sign of my complete lack of sophistication and cheerfully laughed in my face while I struggled.

I wish I could say I had a Kathleen Kelly breakthrough and zinged the other girl into oblivion.  


Some people just wield their social ineptness like a club, leaving blunt-force trauma to the psyche. Polite people (and I generally like to think I fall in that category) have no such weapons. 

Until now. 

Introducing: Awkwardness in a Can

Got problems with being backed into a verbal corner and left to writhe?  Not anymore!

Spray the social neanderthal in the face and all the awkwardness they should be feeling will be amplified ten-fold and brought down on their pointy little heads. Feeling such awkwardness for the first time will turn your opponent into a quivering mass of patheticness, leaving you free to walk away and engage in more pleasant conversation. 

This could change the structure of our entire society. Instead of those who ignore social rules dominating conversations and locking up the brains of polite people everywhere, polite people would rule! It would be like mace for the Everyman. 

Heck, it might even be better than mace. Use it against all sorts of evil villains.

The bad guy will feel so awkward about assaulting you that he will apologize and leave. 

Who knows, it could even lead to total reform.  I know that much awkwardness would keep me hiding under the covers for a year or two. 

So buy it. Use it. Free the world. 

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

A Word Play

I considered myself a tomboy when I was a kid. I made no forays into femininity until late high school. I assumed I would have a son first because I had no idea how to relate to girly girls. But God has a sense of humor, and here I am incubating girl number three.

Girls one and two, meanwhile, are into princesses.

This despite my best efforts to keep them far, FAR away from what I like to call "the Disney Princess Conspiracy"--that program designed to teach young girls that princesses get everything they want, and that they get it while wearing pink and sparkles. Not that I have anything against princesses who enrich and educate themselves all while accepting their immense social responsibility despite possible unpleasantness to themselves.


I do support that my girls, particularly Ladybug, call themselves princesses at the moment. I may take every opportunity to remind them that a real princess is kind, well-behaved, polite, and well-educated, but I will never deny that they are princesses.  As a show of this support, I have drawn (and I use that term loosely) the following word play. Enjoy.


As many of you know, I am participating in NaNoWriMo this November. Seeing as this puts an extra strain on my time budget, this means adjustments had to be made. Don't worry, the blog is not dying for the month!  Rather, I've written some posts in advance. What does this mean for you?  Not much, except that these posts will probably actually be posted early on Tuesday instead of just before I go to bed. Because I won't be scrambling madly with the blog; I'll be scrambling madly with my novelling.

If you write at all, try WriMo out! If you don't write, you might try it anyway. Or else send care packages to my poor husband. If you are trying it out, good luck; may the force of much writing-ness be with you.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Double Header! (Translation: Two Posts in One)

The Remodel

As you may have noticed, there have been some rather drastic changes around here.  For one, the title of the blog has changed. For two, so has the entire style. I wanted to (briefly) explain the motivation for this.

This blog started as a way to keep myself in a lighthearted and humorous perspective of my life as a stay-at-home mother. As I've been looking back over the last several months of posts, though, I found less humor and more philosophy. Seeing as I spend plenty of time ruminating on how things should be in my life I think this is counter-productive. Instead, I'd like to focus on things that do happen and the joy (and laughs) I derive from them.

As a means to this end, I've decided to start adding cartoons.

They are not meant to be high-quality, just illustrative of what I'm thinking. So don't think you have to be impressed by the artwork!

Just preparing for this new take on my blog has changed my last week considerably. I found myself laughing at myself more and scolding my children less, and I'm very excited about that!

This is not to say that I will never get philosophical again. It's just that I've come to realize that sometimes motherhood needs less philosophical reflection and more sheer enjoyment.

And that's what I'll be focusing on from now on.

Please, PLEASE feel free to give me your reactions, however. I am really interested to hear what you think of all these changes.

Without further ado, to get us geared up for this, my first "new generation" post:

Momma... Has Left the Building

People who see me driving my car must think I'm crazy.

Especially when I'm taking StrawBee to her brand-new gymnastics class.

This is the only time that it's just the two of us in the car, which means it's the only time I can bust a move to children's CD seeing as Ladybug has decided that only one person is allowed to sing and/or dance in the car at a time.

For real.

But it really did just occur to me this week that my strong feelings on teaching young children about music, rhythm, and movement might just translate into "utter psycho" when viewed by my fellow drivers. These poor people get stuck next to me in traffic and probably have their cell phones open with 911 pre-dialed in case I jump out of my car and come after them.

I, for one, have never experienced such an encounter with myself. Despite that, I think I have a pretty good idea of how it goes for these people.

1. The Spotting

First, there's The Spotting: You see me, but don't really believe it. You can't hear my boisterous rendition of "Wheels On the Bus," or know that I'm waving my arm in a circle only because I can safely do just half of the wheels on said bus while driving. Of course, the whole attempting-to-look-over-my-shoulder-without-turning-around-to-see-if-she's-paying-attention only adds to A) The safety of my driving and B) To the look of utter insanity on my face.

2. The Realization

Next comes The Realization.  Yes, that woman next to you is literally acting like a cry-baby.  And from the perspective of you short little luxury sedan, all you can tell is that the soccer mom in the mini-van next to you has finally cracked. Her kids have made her so crazy she's not even capable of real tears anymore--just childish playacting with some sad hope that those outside of her see it as the desperate cry for help it really is.

3. The Hiding

Finally, there's The Hiding.  After being stuck waiting for this train for five-plus minutes, you can tell she's just getting worse. She must be bi-polar.  You sneaked one look and she was literally bouncing up and down in the seat. Then she was crying. For a while she clapped her hands and stomped her feet. Now she's throwing her arms in the air and shouting something that looks mysteriously like "HOORAY!!" over and over again.

Just hunker down as far as you can in your seat and studiously avoid eye contact.  Start anxiously gazing down the tracks looking for the end of the train, occasionally darting glances in the direction of the mini-van to see if she's gotten out and started doing a rain dance in the middle of the street.

Rev your engine as soon as the end of the train is in sight, then zoom away as quickly as that manual-shifting piece of awesomeness that you spent the same amount of money on as that mom spent on diapers in the last year can move you away from the insanity.

Safe at last, and also reminded of why you'll never drive a minivan: They apparently induce utter insanity.

What I know, from safe inside my so-called "minivan" (I prefer to refer to my transport as a pregnant Ferrari, due date: Sometime after the year 2050) is that it's really what's in the backseat, not the car itself, that brings on such fits of disturbingly uninhibited behavior.

I think the drivers in those other cars would feel a lot better if only that could see my petite little angel-face staring at the back of my head and flailing arms.  Then they would know that, at the very least, they aren't alone in thinking I have completely lost it.
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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.Creative Commons License
This work by Carolynn Dyer is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.