Saturday, November 29, 2008

Beyond the Gate at Grandma's House

Tonight, as I was sitting in the driveway at my grandma's house, the headlights of our car illuminated the gate on the chain link fence that is behind her house. As I sat there waiting for my husband to get in the car, I thought of the countless times I opened that gate and entered another world. It was a world where I could roam free in fields and in barns or on the back of a horse or in the row of a garden. And I realized once again how thankful I am for those experiences. I thought about my own children and how I want them to experience such things. I thought of how much I want to protect them, but also how much I want them to experience the freedom to explore.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Like father, like son

Today (well, it is after midnight now so I guess I mean yesterday) Luke decided that he is interested in writing the letters of the alphabet. I have watched him draw pictures with such control of the pen, pencil, marker, crayon, etc that I know he has the ability to write the letters. I have been asking him almost daily when Rose is practicing her printing if he is interested in learning to write some letters and, until today, he has not wanted to. So, today, he sat down and printed several letters with such ease like he had been printing for months.

You know, he did something sort of similar to this when he started counting. It was right around his second birthday and he would always count, "one, two, one, two, one, two..." and I think sometimes he would throw in a "nine, ten." He had counted that way for a while and he showed no interest in counting any other way. Then, one day, out of the blue he counted to fifteen perfectly like it was no big deal. It was like he had known all along how to count correctly, but chose not to.

Rob's grandmother talks about how when Rob was little that she didn't remember him saying much at all until one day he walked up to her and spoke to her using complete sentences.

I can definitely see some similarities here.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Elmo's Green Thumb

Rose and Luke entered a coloring contest last week with the prize being dinner for 4 at Pagliai's (a local pizza and Italian restaurant with a play area for kids) and tickets for 4 to go see Elmo's Green Thumb at the RSEC. Well, Rose won for her age group and so yesterday we enjoyed her winnings.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

A glimpse into the mind of a 3 year old

Luke is beginning to question how the world around him works. He is no longer taking it for granted that the things around him function every day. He now wants to know how and why they function. For example, the other day he asked where the hole in the toilet goes.

This morning at breakfast Luke looked over at me and said, "Mom, how do you eat babies?" At first, I was a little shocked by the question. You know, because it sounded a little cannibalistic. And Rose was giggling because of the absurdity of his question. Then, it hit me. We always say that when a woman is pregnant that she has a baby in her belly. So, I asked him if he was wanting to know how women get babies in their bellies. And that is exactly what he wanted to know. Well, I made sure that he understood that we, in fact, do not eat them. Then, I told him that God puts the babies in our bellies to grow until they are ready to be born.

Then, a few minutes after we cleared that up, Luke said, "Mom, when you die can I have your iron?" At the time, I was ironing some bead crafts that the kids had finished this morning. Then, before I could respond, he added, "and can I have your car too?" Now, is it just me, or is he a little young to be having these thoughts?

Friday, August 8, 2008

Just like that old time rock n roll

The beach soothes my soul. I'm glad the kids enjoy it too. Rob is not a big fan of too much sun exposure, but he digs playing in the waves. We went to Orange Beach, Alabama this summer and had a blast.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

They might be good presents

We recently purchased 2 CD/DVD combos by They Might Be Giants for the kids. Here Come the ABCs & Here Come the 123s They are educational and fun which makes parents and kids happy.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Homeschooling Haters

I was sitting at a table at a wedding reception yesterday when I was approached by a woman who is barely even an acquaintance of our family. I should note that she was not coming over to my table to say a friendly hello, but rather to grab a piece of pottery that was sitting directly in front of me. I didn't mind at all that she was taking it, but it was a bit immature for a woman of her age. You see, the groom made enough pieces for every family to take one home as a souvenir of the wedding (a very nice gift if you ask me). I have no idea how many hours he must have spent making the numerous pieces. But, I digress.

Let us get back to my encounter with the not so charming lady. Well, what followed after her awkward intrusion was an even more unpleasant conversation. I reminded her of who I was since she said she recognized me but could not recall how she knew me. I reminded her that we had met at her house about a year ago at a retirement party that she hosted for the mother of the groom. I think the mutual friend is the only thing I have in common with this woman.

Anyway, after reintroducing myself, my daughter, who had been playing with the other kids there, came over to the table. Rose entered the conversation for a minute or two. The woman asked Rose the usual questions that kids get asked by adults. How old are you? What grade are you in? Where do you go to school? Rose informed the woman that she is six and is homeschooled and she just finished kindergarten. Then, Rose ran off to say goodbye to her friends because it was almost time to leave.

I was left with the woman who proceeded to tell me what great teachers the local elementary school has and how great the school system is. Then, she made sure to tell me that she is not an advocate of homeschooling. By Rose stating that she is homeschooled, had this woman concluded that we believe that the teachers and school system are subpar? We did not say it because we do not believe it. Also, did I ask her for her opinion about homeschooling? No, I did not. So, why did she feel the need to specify that she is not an advocate of homeschooling? Did she think that it mattered to me? It does not matter to me what her opinion is. In fact, I would not be homeschooling if I had any doubt about whether or not it is a good choice for my family. I don't mind others having a different opinion than me, but I do mind others being close-minded and rude.

Am I an advocate of homeschooling? No. Am I an advocate of public schools? No. Am I an advocate of parents doing what is best for their families in their particular circumstances? Yes. It is not a question of which form of schooling is better, but rather which form of schooling is better for a particular family.

I am tired of the negative reaction I get from others concerning our choice to homeschool. We are taking it one year at a time. We just started a year ago and for right now it is working well for our family. Do I think my kids will eventually go to public schools? Maybe. I simply don't know at this point. I am okay with this since I don't know what the future holds for us. Why must so many people be so uncomfortable with this?

Are there studies that show homeschooled children grow up to be misfits? Are we ruining society? My husband, children, and I are active in the community. We aren't sheltering our children. We protect our children as parents should, but we are not closing ourselves off from the outside world. Is that what people think? When are people going to open their minds and drop the stigma of homeschooling?

Seriously. If you are against homeschooling, then that is fine. Why not ask yourself a few questions, though, before you close the book on homeschooling. First, do you have children? How can you know what is best for your children before you know them? Second, are you opposed to homeschooling in general or are you opposed to homeschooling your children? There is a difference. One can recognize that homeschooling is not the best option for his/her family while acknowledging that it may be best for another's family. And, lastly, if you have considered all there is to consider about homeschooling and you still come to the conclusion that you are against it, then can you have a little respect for other parents and their rights to decide what is best for their families?

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


Why is it so hard to convince myself to do something that I enjoy doing? I am out of the habit of regularly exercising and I am finding it quite difficult to start again. I do have an active lifestyle. I stay at home with my two kids which entails much activity, but simply being active is not enough. I am in my late twenties and my metabolism is slowing down and I cannot maintain my weight without regular exercise. Also, I know that in order to keep my heart healthy, I need to do more than just chase my kids around every day.

Exercise is something my husband and I want to be a priority in our family. We want fitness to be one of our family values. We have had so many commitments in the last few years that have taken up too much of our time and energy. It is time to match our commitments up with our priorities. The pastor at the church I go to talked about this concept some time ago and it has been on my mind ever since. Why do we commit to doing things that are not priorities in our lives? How much happier would we be if we did things every day that are really important to us?

I need to commit to exercising. It is a priority, therefore I should do it. This is easy to say, but not so easy to do. I know that once I'm in the habit of exercising that it will be much easier, but, at the moment, I am not. I need some motivation to get started. I have put on a few pounds which is motivating. I am going to the beach in a few weeks. That is motivating. I have a class reunion in a couple of months which is definitely motivating. Now, why am I not out jogging around the neighborhood??? I don't know. Maybe all those aforementioned reasons are not enough for me. What does it take to get me out the door? I'm struggling to come up with the answer to that question.

I think one good answer to that queston is that I need to be more self-motivated. I don't need to do things because I feel outside pressure to do them (e.g. I don't need to lose weight to impress others). I need to accomplish things for myself. But it is hard for me to focus on doing things for myself. I think this is true for most moms. I want to be a happier, healthier mom, though, so I think it is time to start exercising more regularly. Tomorrow morning would be a great time to start.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Home Sweet Home

If you had a conversation with my 17 or 18 year old self, then you would know that I had no intention of sticking around Murray, KY. Money talked, though, in the form of scholarships and I stayed. Although many close friends moved away before, during, and after college, I remained in what I considered to be a boring little town where it was always the same ol' same ol' thing.

It wasn't until I had children that I began to appreciate Murray. I have never felt as safe as I do in Murray in any other city. It takes approximately 5 minutes to get anywhere I need to go. The cost of living is better than reasonable. We are in western Kentucky where a backward way of thinking is still present, but we do have a university to counter it. I would say the quality of life is rather good here. All in all, this is a great place to raise children.

Now, I know that there are comparable cities out there. I haven't been to them, but I'm certain they must exist. I also know that there are cities out there that would rank higher on my list than Murray. For example, Murray would lose its spot on the top of the list to any city that has similar characteristics, but better location (namely, on the coast or near the mountains).

I am content to live here for this moment, however long, in my life. And I am so thrilled that I have close friends moving back to Murray now. It will be just like old times, only better. I know they won't regret coming home.

Friday, June 20, 2008


My husband explained to me at some point (during our brief history) that there is a company that compiles music for stores worldwide. It is called Muzak. When you're in the GAP, you hear GAP muzak or, rather, music that is appropriate for the GAP brand. Actually, I don't know for sure that the GAP uses muzak, but I'm willing to bet it does.

According to Muzak's website, it "creates experiences for the world’s most admired brands." Wow. Don't you wish you had thought of it first?

I like to think of what muzak would be playing in the background of my life.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Mastering Stuff

For me, one of the most frustrating responsibilities as an adult is the management of the constant influx of things into our home. I think that, without children, adults do stand a chance of successfully controlling the massive quantity of bills, junk mail, receipts, etc that come in on a daily basis. With kids, the amount of stuff that flows in increases to an astounding magnitude considering all the clothes, toys, and, well, just plain old junk that they accumulate.

I'll admit I have been losing the battle against stuff. I so badly want to be in the position of conqueror, but I am nowhere near winning the assaults of the numerous objects that have no right being in my home. I want to impose order and simplicity. I want to exile disarray and materialism.

I know if I could afford a personal assistant that her job would consist solely of handling this conflict in my home. Qualifications for the position would include a Ph.D. in organization and no less than 5 years experience in a home with at least two children. I would have to pay her an outrageous salary. And, still, she most likely would resign from her position within days of beginning it because, no matter how qualified she is and how big her paycheck, the relentless struggle with our stuff would not be worth forfeiting her sanity.

Some may think I exaggerate. That's okay. They do not have children. And, I hope I haven't dissuaded them from having them.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

In the summertime

Summer officially begins at the end of this week and, as I watch my kids play outside, swim, and do summer-type activities, I am reminded of the summers when I was young and free. I thought I would do a bit of stream of consciousness here to make note of some memories floating around in my head.

Picking strawberries at Grandma's house, shucking corn too, fishing in the pond, mosquito bites, watermelon with salt, riding and doing tricks on Ladybug the pony, braiding horse manes for parades, climbing around in the big barn, trying but failing to skip rocks in the pond (my brother and cousins could), my other Grandma's tomatoes and turnip greens (both of which I did not like to eat), her rose bushes and many other flowers, she always made us icecream cones sometimes little bitty ones using bugles, my grandparents' flip shades that went over their glasses (I thought they were kinda funny), picking wild flowers (weeds sometimes) for my mom, not wanting to wear a shirt because my brother didn't, running around barefoot even on gravel, popping the bubbles in the tar on the road with my toes, riding bikes around the block, many scraped knees treated with orange mecuricome, playing cops and robbers (I was always the cop because I had a blue banana seat bike), playing horse at our neighbors' house (I had an awesome baseline shot that I could count on), playing dodgeball (which was probably my least favorite game because my girl friend and I were playing with our older brothers), hanging upside down on our swing set on a trapeze-like swinging metal bar, mom making us tang and giving us flavor-ice popsicles

Nota bene: the outdoors theme. That is where we spent all our time. And it was great.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Technology vs The Tangible

Rob and I have been married for three and a half years now. I have learned so much during this relatively small amount of time. I understand men in general better. I understand my particular man better. Although, there are a few things that still puzzle me. Today, though, I have gained some insight into one of those things that pertains particularly to my husband.

You see, Rob has a fondness for The New Yorker magazine. And by "fondness," I mean he has an extreme obsession with this weekly periodical. So much so, that he saves every issue and has for many years now. Now, this might not be the most unreasonable thing to collect if one were willing to, say, store these magazines in the attic. But, alas, only a climate controlled environment is good enough for the storge of such a treasure of literature according to my dear husband. Living in a modest home built in the late '60s with closet space that is significantly limited, the accumulation of these magazines has been overwhelming for me. My husband is a mathematician, but I don't think he has quite grasped that our house has a finite amount of space in which we can cram boxes of New Yorkers.

This morning, though, I had a revelation. I was looking through a shoe box full of old letters, cards, notes, etc. (some of which dating as far back as my elementary school years) and the emotions that I felt and the memories that were brought back as I looked at these items were nothing short of amazing. The handwritten messages from friends and family stirred up so much inside of me. It was great to be holding these tokens of the past in my hands. I was briefly transported back to various times in my life.

Maybe this is a little of what my husband will experience in years to come when he pulls out his stash of old magazines. Maybe he'll associate those articles with happenings at different times in his life, whether personal or universal. Or maybe he'll just find pleasure in revisiting the literature of some outstanding thinkers and writers. Either way, I have a new found peace about his ever growing collection.

You see, I had suggested to Rob that he rid himself of the magazines and purchase The New Yorker dvd-roms that are now available. They are a complete archive of the last 80 years of the magazine (much, much more than he has in his collection anyway). I now realize that this would be similar to me looking back at emails from long ago on my computer and hoping to have the same experience as I had going through the shoe box. It is just not the same. I get it now. I really do.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

The gift of Luke

Becoming a mother or a father is a life changing experience. As for my children, Rose is the child who caused my life to make a 180 degree turn for the better. And Luke is the child who brought together his mother and his father which, in turn, resulted in the creation of our family.

I was alone and in labor at the hospital when the nurse noticed that Luke's heart rate was dropping. My mother had been with me at first, but I encouraged her to leave and go teach her class and come back later because the doctor said it was going to be hours before Luke would be making an appearance. I had convinced the doctor, who was trying to send me home because I was only 3 cm dilated, that I should stay at the hospital because of my relatively speedy delivery with Rose. I was told when Rose was born to remind the doctor of this during any future child births. And good thing I did. I don't even like to consider what would have happened to Luke had I left the hospital and not been hooked up to the monitor that caught the drop in his heart rate.

The doctor was called in to assess mine ond Luke's situation. He broke my water to put a monitor directly on Luke. The nurses gave me oxygen and repostioned me, but nothing helped. So, in a matter of minutes, the doctor ordered an emergency c-section and I was wheeled into the operating room. I was trying not to panic because I knew I needed to breathe in as much oxygen as I could for Luke, but it was unbelieveably scary not knowing what was going on with my baby and if he was going to live. I remember tears pouring out of my eyes as what seemed to be an army of doctors and nurses swarmed around me hooking me up to various monitors and then the anesthesiologist quickly putting the mask on me as I was fearing the worst. I was not only thinking of Luke, but also of Rose. What if she was about to lose her mother, the only parent she had at the time?

When I awoke, I awoke to the pain of the incision and surgery because I had not been given a local anesthetic. I was in such pain that I didn't want to even open my eyes and acknowledge reality. The first thought I had, after the shock of the pain, was of Luke. Without opening my eyes, I could feel the presence of a nurse in the room. I was so afraid to let her know I was awake because I didn't know if I was ready to hear the news she would have to tell me about my baby. Finally, without opening my eyes, I whispered, "Is the baby okay?" And much to my relief, she said that he was well.

It was hours before I saw Luke. I knew he was okay and I chose not to see him until I was well enough to sit up and hold him. I couldn't bear the thought of seeing my son for the first time and not being able to have him in my arms. A nurse asked if it was okay for Luke's father and his family to see him. They had been waiting outside my room, watching Luke through the nursery window. And, although, a father has every right to see his child, it was my choice whether or not this would take place at the hospital. Yes, it would have been unnecessarily harsh of me to keep Luke away from his father, but, considering my relationship with his father at the time, it would not have been unfathomable. Luke's father and I were not together and I had chosen not to be in contact with him despite his many attempts to reconcile with me over about a 6 month period of time before Luke was born.

During my pregnancy with Luke, I had acted out of fear. I wanted to protect myself, my daughter and my unborn son from a man who I thought had misled me. I thought I could not trust him and, therefore, I did not want him around until Luke was born when I knew his presence would be inevitable.

Allowing Luke's father to see him at the hospital was the first brick that fell from the wall around my heart. Rob's presence at the hospital was constant and considerate. He was there, but he did not make a scene about anything. He was glad for any and every chance to spend time with his son.

The first night that I spent in the hospital, one of my aunts stayed with me. The second night, I did not want to trouble any of my family or friends, so I stayed alone with Luke. It was a difficult night. I was still having trouble moving around because of the pain. I was weak. My son was so beautiful and sweet, but it was so hard to get out of bed to pick him up to nurse him and change his diaper. The next morning I was in tears because my body was so broken. I had little strength. Before Luke's birth, I prided myself in being very independent, capable of taking care of everything on my own. Now, I needed help. And there was a man sitting in the waiting room right next door to my hospital room ready and willing to help. The third evening in the hospital I climbed out of my bed, wheeled my i.v. out the door of my room and stood in the doorway of the waiting room and, as hundreds more bricks fell from the wall, I asked Rob to help me.

He stayed with Luke and me in the hospital room that night and he went home with us the next day. It turned out that Rob was the same man that I had fallen in love with. He had not misled me. I could trust him. Luke's birth set into motion a chain of events that knocked down the wall around my heart.

I believe that only God could have designed this scenario in which my body was broken and my heart was opened to seeing Luke's father in a different light thus enabling the creation of our family.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

My Rosie child

There is about two and a half years of Rose's life that she doesn't remember. This time period began when she was born and ended around the time that her father and I got married. What she doesn't recall is the time when it was just the two of us. The memories from this time are some of my favorite and most treasured. It was a difficult time in my life, but one of the most joyous as well. Rosie came into my life and magically changed it forever for the better.

Here is something that I wrote when she was two.

My daughter is in love with Peter Pan (the movie not the character). She was watching this movie tonight in her room just before she emerged into the living room. As I was sitting on the couch, she walked over to me and started pulling on my arm (wanting me to get up) and saying something that took me a minute to understand (she is 2 and sometimes I have difficulty translating her version of English). Finally I realized she was saying “I gonna fly.” She was tugging on my arm because she thought that maybe if I got up I could help her accomplish this task. At first I resisted her urgent demand for help in this matter. I almost uttered the words “you can’t fly” as I sat there. But she was very serious about her desire. She was pointing up toward the ceiling with such determination and she had this ardent glimmer in her eyes as she kept saying “I gonna fly up in the sky.” It was then that I realized that to be quite honest I wanted to fly too. So naturally the only thing I could think to tell her was “I want to fly too.” So I got up from the couch and we flew around the room as best we could.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Rob and roma tomatoes

I think it is a true sign that a person is in love when he/she develops an acute, previously nonexistent interest in cooking at the onset of a relationship. This was the case for me when I started seeing Rob. I called my mom so frequently for recipes and cooking help that my dad made the comment at some point, after many phone calls, that I must really like Rob to be cooking for him so often. Well, he was correct. The way to a man's heart is through his stomach is cliche, but must be derived from a primordial truth. A mate who could provide edible food at meal time had to be more desired than one who could not. Therefore, one would want to display this ability when attempting to acquire a mate. And now, presently, even though this cooking trait is not necessary for survival, I think it is still preferred.

So much of dating seems to be centered around food. Whether cooking for one another, going out to dinner, or grabbing a quick bite to eat on lunch breaks, couples spend much time together eating. I remember back in the early days of our relationship, Rob and I routinely had lunches together at my apartment in between his teaching and my attending classes. We used to make these yummy sandwiches with Hawaiian buns toasted with mayo and cheddar, brown sugar ham, cucumbers, roma tomatoes, sometimes spinach, and maybe a little vidalia onion dressing. We looked forward to these sandwiches and the brief time together during the middle of busy days.