Monday, December 29, 2008

Growing Pains

There are some moments that catch you so off-guard as a parent that you don't know whether to laugh, cry, or wail. One of these moments happened last week, and I simply must blog about it for all posterity before I forget.

Abigail called me a name. And to my knowledge, it is the first time she has called anyone a name out of anger. Oh, it was a doozie, too. I know you are all dying to know what name could possibly have come out of her sweet little mouth, so I'll paint the picture for you. It almost ranks up there with Ralphie helping his dad change a tire in the Christmas Story, dropping the stuff in the snow, and saying "Oh, Fuuuuuuuudge." Yeah, that bad.

Last week, the night before Christmas Eve, we got iced in at our friend Sadee's house in Bloomington, IN. We had tried our hardest to make it home, but every road eventually got closed from slide-off wrecks, and we crashed there for the night. The night before this, Abigail was given a little token plastic ring from a "big" girl, Alicia, who is almost 13. I know....big stuff. This little ring looked like a big plastic jewel, and the top flipped open to reveal sparkly red lip gloss underneath.

I mean, she may as well have given her the keys to Cinderella's castle. A ring AND lip gloss? It's any girl's heaven.

Abigail proceeded to apply red, sparkly lip gloss at least 25 times that day, and usually would slowly drag her glossy finger diagnally down her chin afterwards, leaving a nice little trail of sparkles on her face. Finally, at Sadee's, it was time to get Abigail ready for bed, and I told her no more lip gloss. She immediately "hides" her hand on the opposite side of her face, trying to dig her little finger into the lip gloss and thinking I am either blind to notice or a pure dummy.

I told her no again, and she slid off my lap, down to the floor, and was still trying to "slyly" get her finger all lubed up for her mouth. Paul was watching the whole thing and says, "You've told her no enough times. Time to take it away."

So I bent over her on the floor, and grabbed the ring out of her hand. I told her that she didn't do what Mommy told her, it is time to put the lip gloss away, and that she can have it back in the morning.

Amazingly, she didn't give up without a fight. She started thrashing her body all around and crying and yada, yada, yada. I put the lip gloss ring in my suitcase and came back into the living room.

Abigail looked up at me with such a look of sorrow and disgust and said,

I simply did not know whether to laugh or cry. Well, I did laugh. I laughed while trying to cover it up, but I laughed. Paul laughed. Aaron laughed. We all tried to act like it wasn't funny, but it was. The rest of the conversation went like this:
Me: Did you just call me a Doo?
Abigail: Yes.
Me: What is a Doo?
Abigail: It's a bad thing.
Me: Well, that really hurt my feelings. You should never, ever call anyone a Doo.

And I truly hope she never does. It was so funny to hear her say a word that she thought would really hurt my feelings, but then when I took a minute to think about it, it kind of did hurt my feelings. Not the word, but the thought behind it. She was mad at me, and she wanted to say something that would hurt my feelings. I wasn't ready for her to figure that out....that words hurt. I know of all the words she could have called me, I am not too worried about Doo, but my heart is a little sad that my baby knows how to call names.
Even if that name is Doo.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Christmas Joy

The last few days have been a mixture of relaxation and whirlwind. I can't believe the huge month-long build-up to Christmas that is over in a day. It feels like there should be a winding down of sorts to hold on to it a little longer. Of course, we are very much looking forward to New Year's Eve with our Crusade friends, but then it will be back to the daily activities around the house. You know, laundry.

We did have some good Christmas highlights over the last few days. My attitude did improve by Christmas Eve night, after my little paella kitchen fit. We had a beautiful Christmas Eve service with music, the Lord's Supper, and candlelight. Paul and Abigail had diligently practiced 'Twas the Night Before Christmas, only to have Abigail turn into a little sensitive ball of emotion when she got up on stage. After realizing our little ray of sunshine was going to run off the stage and cry in my lap instead, Paul called up the kids from the church and they sat and listened to him tell the poem. Maybe next year....

Christmas morning, Abigail did indeed get her PINK sparkly belt from Santa. She decided about three days ago that she had changed her mind once again and wanted the pink one instead of the black one. Luckily, Santa had not yet made the order change over to the black one, so after testing her (ie bombarding her) with a million questions of "Are you SURE you want the PINK one?" and she affirmed, we gladly watched her open that sparkly goodness on Christmas morning. Since then, she has been non-stop walking the house in her sparkly ruby red play high heels, her sparkly pink belt, and pushing her new baby stroller that she also received. We like to call her "Hot Mama."

Christmas night, we went to see "Bedtime Stories" at the movies. It was okay, but not quite what I had expected it to be. Of course, true to form, Abigail cried when it was over because she gets pretty attached to movie excitement. Also, several people in the theater applauded the movie when it was over. Paul and I were looking at each other with raised eyebrows....not applause-worthy to us. However, if you choose to accept the movie review of a 3-year-old, and a theater full of kids and grandparents, then I guess you should go see it.

Yesterday we enjoyed Christmas with my family at my parents' house. My favorite gift I received was from my mom. Unbeknownst to me, she has been printing off all of my blogs since I started them in July. She printed them according to the mood of the blog, ie, princess story about Abigail is in pink ink, sad stories of miscarriage in black or blue. She put them all in a 3-ring binder for me and put pictures of our family on the front. I loved it. I love that she has been doing that all this time without me knowing. I love that I have my own "Blog Book" now. Now I really will have proof to pass on to my kids 30 years from now when blogs are probably obsolete. It was such a thoughtful gift.

Now Paul is watching a local basketball tournament, and will be until Tuesday. Abigail and I are still in our pjs (my new leopard print ones...rawr). She has been playing with all of her new baby doll accessories and watching Enchanted. I am deciding whether to shower before 5:00 tonight. What a weekend. I hope you all had, and maybe still are having, wonderful Christmases.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Amy the Hypocrite

The last couple of days have been pretty interesting for us, as we went down to southern IN on Monday night to stay with some friends at a cabin, and then got caught in the middle of the freezing rain on the way home yesterday. We made it 15 miles in four hours. After that small bit of insanity, we were blessed to get a phone call from our college friend, Sadee, who said we could crash at their house for the night and wait out the ice.

As we pulled into their driveway, we realized it was completely coated with ice. I was the first one out of the car and immediately started slip-slidin' away. But before I could slide far enough, the car that Paul had put in park and shut off started to roll backward down the driveway! I slid out of the way of the car, fell to my knees, and crawled to the grass. Paul got the car under control and parked it on the street. What a visual, I know.

We had a nice, cozy night with our friends, and then headed home today. Needless to say, getting home at noon on Christmas Eve was not exactly in our plans, but it worked fine. Also, I was starting to get that overwhelming feeling of "I need to be alone or I am about to turn ugly." Being in the car far too many hours does that to me.

We got home, I did some stuff around the house, and as I am trying to get the eggs out of the fridge to make my cinnamon pecans, our leftover paella from the other night (rice, oh yes), spilled all over the floor. And I screamed. Yes, folks, your dear Amy threw a fit right there in front of the fridge. I had had my fill. Unfortunately, as I am trying to scream and clean up paella at the same time, the lasagna started to spill out of the fridge. It stayed in it's container, though. Then, the sour cream container spilled out of the fridge. And my screams grew louder and uglier. Then, Abigail is yelling, "YOU CAN'T SCREAM!!" Then she is crying. It was a sight to behold, and it is all because I lost it.

It is hard for me to tell Abigail not to scream when she gets frustrated (which she does...often), if I lose my cool over some spilled rice. I told her how sorry I was that I screamed, and that I did it because I was frustrated. I said that it isn't pretty when I scream and I shouldn't do it. (For the record, I don't know if she has ever seen me "throw a fit") She told me she thought that the food hurt me. So we are sitting on the kitchen floor, laughing and crying all at the same time. What a day.

Paul took her upstairs to play hide 'n seek so I could collect myself. I think I just need some alone time. Some me and Jesus time, for sure. Some nap time. It has been a long couple of days. Here's to hoping that Christmas morning, I will wake up in the happiest of moods. :)

Monday, December 22, 2008

Oh Yes, She's Three

For the last two years of being on myspace on Abigail's birthday, I was very timely with getting a mushy, gushy birthday blog written of all of the amazing ways she had changed that year and how she lights up my life. I think that happened because until now her birthday was on a weekday, and we always celebrated on the closest weekend, therefore leaving the day of her birthday free to stay in our jammies all morning and type blogs. However, yesterday was her birthday, and it was on a busy, busy Sunday. So instead of being in our jammies, we had our Christmas cantata at church in the morning, my parents stayed for lunch and cake and presents, Abigail went down for a late nap, Mommy ran to WalMart to buy a cheeseball, the children's program was last night at church, and a refreshment reception was afterward (hence, the need for the cheeseball), complete with a visit from Santa. It was a very eventful birthday indeed.

If I were to have written a post yesterday, maybe it would have looked something like this:

Dear Abigail,
You have talked all year about "When I turn 3" and now it is finally here. What a big day for you! On every birthday you have, I try to remember the day you were born, and the days leading up to it. It does get harder to remember each year, at least vividly. I used to remember how it felt the first time I held you, the first time I nursed you, the first time I dressed you, the first time I changed your diaper. I guess it is a good thing we have pictures of those moments, because the memories aren't as fresh as they used to be. I think they are not as fresh because you are doing so much now, and I have brand-new memories of you almost on a daily basis!

You are getting more and more independent, wanting to do everything on your own, in your own timing. Sometimes this can be frustrating when we have places to go, but sometimes it is very rewarding, like watching you get dressed completely by yourself the other day, even putting on tights! Tights can be tough sometimes, and you just patiently worked away until you got them on. Daddy and I don't get to hold you nearly as much as we used to because you are always on the go. But I love that any time you trip, or if Cammie runs away from you, or you get hurt in any way, you come running to me, wanting me to hold you. Of course, I don't like that you get hurt, but I love those little moments to hold you in my arms, even if it is just to kiss it and make it better before you are off and running again.

You talk....a lot. I am always amazed at how early you began talking and how much you have to say. Things make sense to you that I don't think would normally make sense to someone your age. You figure things out, you tell stories, you sing beautiful songs. You are quite a ham, which makes me think you have a lot of your daddy's personality. But you are also gentle with your baby dolls and ultra-sensitive if you think you are getting laughed at (we are just laughing at what you said, not at you!). That is all your Mommy. I see so much of me as a little girl in you. I remember those feelings.

You are getting quite a sense of style, although it is not always appropriate for the situation. You often want to wear your swimsuit (even in December). You like anything that twirls and twirls and twirls. You compliment ladies all the time on their jewelry, their shoes, their can just see them perk up a little when you do that. You often will wear your fairy wings, your bridal veil, your tutu, and your necklaces and bracelets...and now your new ruby slippers...and look so beautiful. I must have known that when you were a year old, and we were shopping at Target that you were going to have good style. You would grab the sleeves of shirts as we passed by and say, "Oooh, toooot." Meaning, "Ooooh, cute." What a woman. You are girl to your very core.

I love to see you at Cubbies at church. You are learning new Bible verses and songs. You always remember who you learned about in Sunday School, so I know you really listened to your teacher. You pray for your friends. I know that you are growing to know and love Jesus more every day. That is the most that your Daddy and I could want for you.

Your daddy loves to make videos of you. It is probably one of his favorite pasttimes. I guess I will post the one that seems to encompass the whole of you the best. I love you, sweet baby. Remember that you are a big girl, but I always say, "But your mama's....." and you say, "Baby." Yes, you are.

And since that one only goes through your first two years, here is one more about you and Daddy:

Thursday, December 18, 2008

My Family Tree

Last Spring, I read something in a magazine from our church that I have pondered off and on for months. It was about your spiritual family tree. It said that just as your biological family tree makes you much of who you are, genetically and physically, and how you are nurtured into cultural and family norms, your spiritual family tree makes you into who you are on your journey with God. As someone who was raised in a Christian (just so you know, I started to type Christian, and accidentally typed Christmas....hmmmmm) family, and brought up actively involved in our church, I know that my spiritual family may be quite extensive compared to someone who came to Christ at a later age in life. In fact, I am sure that there are many, possibly hundreds, of people who I may not even remember by name who played some small scene in my life of teaching me about Jesus.

After all, there are my Sunday School teachers throughout my whole life. There were my church camp counselors (I mean, besides the cute twin guys who were there because their dad was camp director). There were friends from church, and maybe my contact with them was through watching them make chili with my mom in the church kitchen for a chili supper, or watching them stand with my dad at the front of the church to pass out the Lord's Supper. There were pastors over the years, at a few different churches. There were all of my Campus Crusade friends, whose impact on me was probably greater as a whole than anyone else. There is my husband. Many people have been a thread in my life, or a piece of my puzzle, who make me into a picture of who Amy is at 30 years old. And many more will join that picture to help me become Amy at 40, 50, 60, 70....112. :) Honestly, I love people, but I do hope I am with Jesus before I am 112. I have no aspirations to be the oldest living person on earth.

Here are some people I could think of...some by name, some by role. Only a small portion of the greater story.

My parents, of course. My mom and dad shaped me as a child. They took me to church, leading by example. They were active in their church, and it was always a part of who we were as a family. My dad taught us about tithing. I still can see him studying his Sunday School lessons to teach his class. My mom taught about serving in the church, through her actions. She served in the kitchen all of the time. Now that I see ladies at our church serve in the kitchen, I realize what a big, and often thankless, job it is. I saw her love her friends and the kids. The led me to know who Jesus was, and to ask Him into my heart at 8 years old. The foundation they laid early on for me helps me to see Jesus as my firm foundation now.

My Grandma Hathaway. I never had a very close relationship with my grandma. She lost my grandpa when I was in 3rd grade, and was often in ailing health after that. I grew up dreading going to the nursing home to see her, mostly because I didn't like nursing homes. I felt I never knew what to talk to her about. I wish now that I had talked about God with her. I know that my parents became believers largely to Grandma's unfailing prayers for them. Dad always said Grandma would have made a good nun. Of course, that could probably be said of most people who lived through the Great Depression, but I know it would have been true of her, too. As I grow older, I see so much need in the world around me, and such less need for myself. I hope to be as selfless as she was.

Barb, my minister's wife. I have known Barb all my life from the church I grew up in. She is my mom's best friend. I always was comfortable to be around her, and even remember giving her style tips when I was in, probably, fourth grade. However, I have felt Barb's influence in my life the greatest since becoming a pastor's wife myself. I have thought many times of how I remembered her acting and handling things. She was a wonderful example to me of a pastor's wife who was loving and very much loved. I have met with her a couple of times since we moved to our church, and have seen her not only as my mom's friend, but also as mine. Her impact in my life has been a quiet, steady example of how to love your church family.

My college girlfriends. Well, my college friends from Crusade in general belong in this category, but especially my girls. College was probably the first time when my faith became living and active to me. I had always known what I believed as a Christ-follower, but I was challenged to walk it daily at ISU. My girlfriends were, and still very much are, an active presence of prayer, encouragement, accountability, and love to me. I am amazed that I have called them my friends for ten years now. Through them, I learned to lead a Bible study, to lead younger women, to pray for each other and expect answers, and to hold one another accountable in love. They are friends like nothing I have ever experienced...lifelong.

My Charlotte. Someday I will repost my blog from myspace called "Everyone Needs a Charlotte." I met Charlotte when we moved to Muncie for our BCM work. God has used this lady in countless ways in my life. She is such a great listener and encouragement to God's work in and through me. She asks the simple question, "Why do you think that is?" and makes me think about things with fresh eyes. She is probably the closest balance I have had between mentor and friend. Watching her own close communication with God, praying and leaning on Him for things that I so often take for granted, has been a huge lesson to me. She takes her faith very seriously, as we all should, and makes me want to be more serious about my own. Plus, she can throw a mean party at her house. You leave feeling full in your stomach and your heart.

My new friends! The families in my church, my new girlfriends, my Sunday School class. They have taught me repeatedly how much God loves us and wants to bless us through our church. As Paul and I have faced one of our toughest years in marriage over the last year, our church family has continually loved and cared for our needs. They are generous beyond what we could ask or imagine. I think they are a beautiful picture of the body of Christ....yes, as a body, we are imperfect in many ways, but we do work together. I know that our church needed us for this season of the church, but I know that we needed them, maybe more. We needed them to have people who had experienced cancer in their parents, who had experienced multiple miscarriages, who had experienced things that we don't even know. And through their experiences, they related to us and cared for us in a deeper way.

Of course there are more. My best friends, my other pastors, my BCM students, my friends in ministry, my friends from Paul's seminary time. Even people I have never met, like speakers I have heard at conferences or ladies who have taught Bible studies on video have impacted the way I see my walk with God. My spiritual family tree is fruitful, and for that, I am deeply thankful.

What about you? Who are some of yours?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


I don't know at what point of motherhood that you start thinking like your child. I'm sure it is quite necessary, though, or else you may find yourself in some messes. Here is my example. I got two flower arrangements yesterday for my birthday. One was a vase of three beautiful roses from my mom and dad. I always wait in scared anticipation of when my cat will think it necessary to try the tasty flower add-ins that accompany the roses. Usually she just goes for baby's breath, though, and I think florists are getting smart about excluding baby's breath. It is a recipe for disaster. The other was a tiny, sweet flower arrangement of Christmas greenery and carnations from some friends at church. It is about the cutest little flower arrangement I have ever received. It is in a little ceramic pot and oh, it is cute.

I put both arrangements on my kitchen table. This beats the top of the bookcase where I used to have to put them out of the way of the cat. So, the baby arrangement sheds evergreen needles a little bit. Abigail has figured this is the perfect-sized arrangement for her to play bride with, and has carried it several places around the house, leaving little needles behind in a trail. The top of the kitchen table had a little pile of needles from where the flowers had started their journey.

As I sat here on the computer this morning, I heard a lot of commotion in the kitchen. I asked Abigail what she was doing, and the conversation went as follows:
Me, in the office: Abigail, what are you doing?
Abigail, in the kitchen: I'm gonna sweep this grass off the table.
I jump to my feet, realizing that "sweep this grass off the table" does not mean hold one hand at the edge of the table and use the other hand in a sweeping motion to push them off.

It means get out the big broom. Stand on a chair. And the table.

Good thing I reached her in time.

Monday, December 15, 2008

My Big Weekend...#1

This past weekend was an exciting one from start to finish. Some was celebrating friends, some was celebrating Christmas, some was celebrating my birthday (which is TODAY!), some was celebrating Abigail's birthday (which is the 21st). It was a party-hardy, celebratory, exciting weekend, and I loved every minute of it.

Friday, we drove up to Muncie to visit our friends where we used to live. We just happened to be there the night of their church association's Christmas party, and they were nice enough to invite us along. So, Abigail got to hang out with her peeps (meaning, 4 years old and under), and we got to hang out with ours. It was a great time with the best gift exchange of all the parties we have been to. They are just a little more ruthless with the gift-stealing, and if one thing makes a Christmas shin-dig fun, it's ruthless, heartless gift-nabbing. We spent the night at my dear friend Charlotte's house (and Kerry!) and had a nice, late-night talk. I always feel like my time with her is so short....Charlotte, if you are reading this, which I know you are, maybe some time we can come up and we'll have nothing else planned except to sit at your kitchen table and talk until the wee hours of the morning. Maybe....someday. I just need a little more Charlotte.

Saturday, we went to Indianapolis to my friend Jennifer's house. My college Crusade girlfriends got together to bake cookies. When Abigail and I walked through the front door, they were all waiting there with a little birthday cake, singing Happy Birthday to me. When I saw Abigail's big eyes watching them, I mouthed "She thinks this is for her, too", so they were quick to add in "Amy and Abigail" to the song. We went to Panera Bread for lunch and, oh, I just love, love, love girl time. While I baked cookies with my homies, Paul and Abigail went to have a nice visit with his mom.

After I met back up with them, Paul, Abigail, and I went to the IMAX theater to see The Polar Express in 3-D for Abigail's birthday. It was A. Maze. Ing. If there was ever a movie that I thought was made with the sole purpose of making it into a 3-D movie, it's this one. Abigail kept her glasses on through the whole thing (BIG girl), and danced in her seat during all the songs, especially "Hot Chocolate" and "The Polar Express". It was so sweet to see her reach out her hands to try to catch the snowflakes, as they really looked like they were falling right in front of your eyes. There was one part when the train comes to a screeching halt, and looks like it stops just about an inch from your nose. I think she really had a great time at it, so it was every bit the awesome birthday fun we hoped it would be for her.

Well, so now I am in that remembrance mode. Remembering my 20s. I have not had any problems over turning 30, except for a little bit of blues when I went to bed last night. It hit me that it was my last night of being in my 20s, and it was a really great decade. But woo and hoo, now I am 30. I did about every beauty treatment on myself I could think of this morning, just to make sure I was getting a jump start on Father Time. Also, remembering three years ago, the week leading up to Abigail's birth. It is something special that our birthdays are only six days apart. Now I can remember things like that I had a doctor appoinment on my birthday, and Paul and I ate at Cracker Barrel for lunch afterward. And that I spent that last week nesting like crazy, as we had moved into a new house two months earlier, and I felt I had to get every picture hung on the wall before she came. Little did I know that new babies sleep 20 hours a day, and I would have had plenty of time.

I was putting Abigail down for her nap yesterday afternoon, and I picked her up and she was so stinkin' big in my arms. I held her up in front of the mirror and said, "How in the world did you ever fit in my belly?" Then I proceeded to sway in circles with her, singing "Sunrise, Sunset."

Is this the little girl I carried?
Is this the little boy at play?
I don't remember growing older

Yeah, that was totally me yesterday. And for every six day span between our birthdays for the rest of my life.
Thanks to all who made my weekend so sweet and special! I feel very loved...and I still have my big birthday weekend with Paul left to go!

On the long car ride, Abigail caught up on her reading. Notice it's about raising a nice kid.

Abigail playing with the village under Kerry and Charlotte's tree.

Just us birthday girls with our cake.

Outside the IMAX.

3-D glasses are a lot more fashionable than they used to be. For clowns.

Paul insisted on showing off the popcorn in his mouth. Ew.

This is what we all felt like when we got home. She posed well for this one, didn't she?

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Princess and the Belt

Yesterday, we had a topsy-turvy day of Christmas shopping. My friend Angie thought she could get a lot more shopping done without her little guy (one-year-old) along for the ride. I don't know why she thought that...don't we all get so much more accomplished with toddlers in tow? We worked out a trade-off. She shopped in the morning while I watched her son, then we met up for lunch, then she took Abigail for me in the afternoon so I could shop alone. Before Abigail went home with Angie, though, she and I had an errand to run.

My friend Alison is getting married in September, and Abigail gets to be flower girl. She's gonna be great at this before she even starts school. Alison had set aside a flower girl dress at the bridal store for Abigail to try on. After lunch, she and I went down to the store, and well, this dress is really beautiful. It is a nice lavender color and has lace and is floor-length. Abigail's eyes just got so wide as she saw herself in it, and she twirled and twirled and twirled. The lady at the shop kept saying she needed to look at the seam inside to see how it could be altered. Then Abigail would say, "Just one more dance." And she would twirl and twirl and twirl some more.

Then, OH THEN, her little eyes did spy on the shelf by the mirror the most perfect little shoes. They were little girls shoes, although probably were about two sizes too big for her feet. They were open toe and were kind of like a clear jelly shoe with glitter, but "dressier." To Abigail, they WERE Cinderella's glass slippers. She tried them on, despite me telling her that they were for bigger girls. To her, they fit just fine, and went perfectly with the dress. Oh, and her purple socks she was wearing went perfectly with them. :)

Honestly, I don't know if being a lover of all things princess-y is a matter or nature or nurture. I'm sure we have done enough of "Ohhhh, you look like such a princess" to her that she has been nurtured quite well into this girly fantasy-land. But you know what? She has only seen, to my knowledge, Enchanted. We don't own any Disney princess movies. Paul has looked up some of their songs on Youtube..."Once Upon a Dream"? Anyone? My favorite! So she has seen some of the clips from the movies. This love for princesses, though, I guess has just come from learning their faces on the millions of products on the market. One of my favorite games to play when we go to Walmart is "What is the craziest item you can find with either Disney Princesses or Hannah Montana on it?" To which my current answer is a Hannah Montana fishing pole. Yes, a real, live fishing pole, made for catching fish. So girls and Daddy's can go on fishing trips together and have the best of both worlds. Pun intended.

There is no two ways around it, though. The girl is a princess-loving wanna-be. She is about as girly as they come, and she is guaranteed to want to play either Princesses, Wedding, or Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz at any given moment.

When we were leaving the bridal shop, the lady working there asked Abigail if she had written Santa a letter or talked to him. Abigail said she had talked to him. And the conversation went about like this:
Me: Tell her what you asked Santa to bring you.
Abigail: A belt.
Lady: Ohhhhhhhh. A belt.
Me: A pink sparkly belt.
Abigail: (emphatically) NO, a BLACK sparkly one.
Me: (knowing that Santa already dropped a pink sparkly belt in the top of Daddy's closet) No, you asked Santa for a PINK sparkly belt.
Abigail: No, I didn't. I wanted the black one.

So, we go out to the car and I'm strapping her in her seat.
Me: I'm pretty sure you asked Santa to bring you a pink sparkly belt. So what if he brings you a pink one since that is what you asked for? Would that be okay?
Abigail: No, I just want the black one.
Me: But the pink one is so pretty and goes with more of your outfits.
Abigail: No thanks. I just want the black one.

Okay, so I don't think that she was going overboard to tell Santa she wanted a belt that costs 7.50 from the Children's Place. It is a pretty modest gift. But now I have some quick communicating to do with Santa, and see if we can exchange the pink one for a black one. She will either be thinking Santa wasn't a very good listener, or we may be in for a melt-down on Christmas morning.

Of course, I'm pretty excited that she'll see this on Christmas morning (which we got for the low price of 20 bucks) and probably not really care all that much about the belt.

For those keeping score from my previous post about four gifts for Christmas, she is getting:
One thing you can wear (a velour jogging suit...4 bucks!)
One thing you can read (a book Paul bought for her)
One thing that you want (baby doll stuff)
One for those in need (two shoeboxes of gifts for two kids in our community. One of the girls is her age, so she will help pick out the gifts for the little girl)

And, the belt from Santa. Hopefully black and sparkly just like she (claims she) asked for.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Two Months Later

Okay, so in the midst of all of the holiday goodness and cheer, I have to be a downer for about five minutes. Then I will go back to "ho-ho-ho-ing".

It has been almost two months since my miscarriage. I think, honestly, that I am doing pretty well. I really don't even think about it very much. I had those first few weeks of a lot of thinking, crying, healing, but now I feel like I am ready to move forward.

A few years ago, I was reading the blog of a girl named Kelly who works for Campus Crusade. Her husband had died of a brain tumor. She was left, in her early 30s, to raise two very young boys as a widow. One of her blogs stood out to me for something she said, several months after her husband's death. She said that people ask her sometimes when she will feel ready to move on. And she says that she will never move on. Never. That there may be a day when she feels ready to move forward, but that is different than moving on. Moving on assumes that you put that part of your life behind you, like you tied it up with a neat little ribbon and put it on the shelf. Moving forward means more that you will not forget who you were then, what you experienced, what God taught you. You move forward in what you have learned and how you changed because of it.

Now, trust me, I am NOT comparing my miscarriage to this sweet lady's husband dying. I don't think it is nearly the same in any respect. But I do think that anyone who has lost something special to them, someone they loved, even if just for a short time, can understand moving forward as a changed person.

That being said, I do feel like I am doing my best to be happy for other pregnant people. Because I am happy for them and the life inside of them. I think I just feel little twinges of jealousy that I didn't get to have that. There is a girl I see on a weekly basis at a business meeting I go to. She and I were due one day apart. One day. When she announced to everyone at our meeting that she was six weeks pregnant, with such joy, I thought in my head, Man, I'm six weeks pregnant. I wish I could say it, too. But we were still holding out on telling people after having my previous miscarriage.

For four weeks, I saw her at our meeting, knowing that I had a baby that was growing right along side of hers, time-wise, and it was "our secret." Then, she was gone sick the week that we announced that I was pregnant. She missed our news. I don't know if she ever heard the news, because four days later I began to miscarry.

So now I see her every week. Every Monday, I see her show up in a cute new maternity top with a belly that is slightly bigger than it was the week before. Somehow I feel that someone must have told her I had been pregnant and then miscarried, because she is very "gentle" with talking about pregnancy around me. Maybe it is how I interpret it, but I think that she only talks about it with me if I bring it she's feeling, her doctor appointments, etc. I always wonder if she knows, or if she finds it strange that I never have to ask her how many weeks she is. I know that this is week 19. I know that you usually get your ultrasound around 20 weeks to find out the sex of the baby. I would have been 20 weeks on my 30th birthday, and I had thought what a neat birthday gift it would have been to find out the sex of my baby for my birthday.

I don't have to ask her how far along she is, because the weeks are still marked in my calendar. I can look at any given Monday and know exactly where my friend is in her journey. I am excited for her and how happy she is. Really, I am. But there is a part of me that just holds back. I really do want to be able to gush over her cute new top or her belly popping out...I want to have that excitement for her. And there is nothing about that baby in her that I am jealous of or mad about. I just wish I had the same.

I was not planning at this point to still be in the "trying" mode. I was expecting to be half-way through. I can fully accept that this was the way it was supposed to happen, and I really do think that it is okay. My babies are with Jesus, and I can say that with a shrug of "I don't understand, but it's okay"...not with the tears I used to say it with. Paul and I are moving forward. I am ready to be pregnant whenever God allows it to happen. I don't feel any need to wait. And I surely don't mean to seem like big sour grapes toward anyone else experiencing the joy of pregnancy. I guess that is just where I am...most Monday nights as I see her walk in the room, most Tuesday mornings as I think "I wish I could just let it go."

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Something to Look Forward To

December always seems like the pinnacle of a year to me. I know calendar-wise, it is. It's the culmination of everything that happened that year. I'm glad that the year ends with Christmas and New Year's Eve. It feels like at the end of any year, good or bad, there should be lots of celebrating. This week is bound to be a busy one for me for several reasons....I say as the week is already in it's latter parts. My friend Angie and I painted my living room yesterday, I've facilitated two Bible studies (filling in for my poor friend Luellen with pneumonia...BOOO), and I'm just starting a three night string of Christmas parties. I love how everyone thinks December is such a busy month, so they decide to front-load it and put all of the Christmas parties during the first week. All that gives you is one really busy week.

Anyway, I thought I would list the things that I am looking forward to this month. For some reason, a list makes me think that I am organized. And a list of things to be excited about is a pretty fun list to make!

1. Christmas cards. We have yet to do the cute picture cards that I love to receive and plaster all over my refrigerator. I do the "Year in Review" card and include a few pictures on it. I love looking back over the year and making it into a concise 1-2 page letter. Just to let you know, I'm not big on Christmas cards that you just sign your name to. If you are going to pay postage to send them all out, include a picture or a letter. Go big or go home.

2. Christmas parties. Yes, I am looking forward to the next three nights, though they will be busy. I like the eating of the food and the exchanging of the gifts. I like that around here, people actually spend 5-10 bucks on a gift, and don't do the "White Elephant" tradition of finding something musty and old from your attic or your basement and re-gifting. Yes, it makes for some good laughs, but you know it just ends up in the trash when the person gets home. Parties are festive and fun, and I enjoy them thoroughly.

3. My birthday. I may have mentioned it one or 43 times, but I am turning 30 on the 15th. It's kind of a big deal to me, and I'm actually looking forward to it. Yes, sad to wave the 20s good-bye, but it's no big deal. Man, a lot happened in my 20s. I wonder if my 30s will be quite so eventful....finishing college, getting engaged, getting married, moving three times, having a baby, getting a cat. Pretty special stuff. Especially the cat. (Hey, she's a good cat!)

4. Abigail's birthday. She'll be the big 3. She's been talking about it since she turned the big 2. I guess turning 2 was uneventful for her, because everything all year has been "When I'm 3, I'll ______________." And it's anything from "boinging big on the couch" to "going down, down, down in the swimming pool" to "sleeping in a big girl bed." Sounds pretty exciting to me. We plan to take her to Indianapolis to see the Polar Express in 3-D at the Imax theater. When you ask her what she wants for her birthday, she says "to see the Polar Express on the big movie screen." And she shall have it.

5. Cookie-baking with my girls. My college girlfriends are getting together to bake cookies. It will be fun. There will be laughter. There may be crying. There will be cookie dough.

6. Celebrating my birthday with Paul. We are still ironing out the plans, but we are going on a getaway. It will be wonderful because Paul is wonderful and he is really, really good at birthdays.

7. Christmas Eve with my family. Yes, Christmas with my family is a big deal, too, but Christmas Eve is bigger. We eat every wonderful food known to man. Things with shrimp or crab. And there is always lots and lots of cheese. There is no such thing as too much cheese, especially during the holidays.

8. New Year's Eve. We have celebrated New Year's Eve with our Campus Crusade friends every year for the past, well, probably 10. We go to Karen and Trevor's house and we have food and Bible study and stay up late. It is so fun and my favorite way to bring the year to a close.

I'm sure there is more. You know sometimes it is just the little things in December...telling your child it is snowing outside and seeing her excitement as she runs to the window, watching Elf or Muppet Christmas Carol or The Christmas Story and drinking hot chocolate, bopping around the store as "Walkin' in a Winter Wonderland" plays overhead, pointing out the Christmas lights you see everywhere you go. I love it. In spite of the busy-ness of it all. In spite of the way you just want to crash and hibernate in January. I love it all.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

It Sounded Real

As I sit here on the computer, checking email, Facebook, and such, Abigail is playing so nicely in her room. I can hear her chatting away with her babies, playing out scenes in her doll house, and having a generally all-around good time.

The crazy thing is, she has gotten really good at realistic-sounding play phone conversations. She was using one of her several toy phones to have a talk with someone. Breaking my concentration on email-reading, I could hear her saying, "Uh-huh. Uh-huh. (pause) (pause) No, I don't think so. (Pause) Uh-huh. Yes. (pause) Okay, I'll see you later. Buh-bye."

It sounded so real, I had to stop and think for a minute who she was talking to. She has taken the dramatic pause to a level that says she has overheard many phone conversations. From the sound of it, maybe I am a better listener than I thought I was.