"I should not talk so much about myself if there were any body else whom I knew as well."
-Henry David Thoreau

Monday, January 30, 2017

Big Camera

I have a few photos from the big camera that I haven't shared. 

 She's nosy and often opens drawers.  She has free reign with the bottom drawers, as I have carefully moved all dangerous things up a level.  Problem: now she can reach a new level of drawers.  She brought Drew the Pampered Chef chopper and the NutriBullet blade attachment last week.  Safety abounds around here.  Disclaimer: No toddlers were harmed in the opening of & snooping through of drawers.  It is a bit like an obstacle course, though.  Don't walk into the kitchen blindly, any number of doors or drawers could be open at any given time. 
 What Eleanor made in her class while I was in Bible study last week.  We aren't exactly to the 'save this beautiful piece of art' stage yet, but it's fun that she's doing things & being taught in her class. 
 Our first attempt at pig tails.  Crooked, but adorable. 
 Sunday morning. 

My Canon Rebel xti camera has been awesome for the last 12 years, but I've been researching my upgrade options for a while now.  Canon has made great strides since my last camera purchase in 2005 (hello Wi Fi!) and I'm super excited for my new camera to be delivered later this week.  I'm hoping to take a few online courses to teach me about all it can do, so you can expect plenty of photos in the weeks and months to come. 

Sunday, January 29, 2017


I have bunches of photos for you. Prepare. 
She climbs now. 
What is this? I have gray hair sprouting from my head in clumps like weeds in a sidewalk crack. Uncool. 
Eleanor has been obsessed with other people's boots lately, so I took her shopping for a pair of her own. Only problem... she doesn't want a pair of boots. She wants ALL the boots. We found a great sale and mutually agreed on two pairs of boots and then went for a soft pretzel. 
Last Tuesday Drew and I went to a book release party for our friend Kate. Even I, in all my social awkward glory, had a nice time seeing old friends. We were so happy to support Kate & her debut novel. 
I spent the next day accomplishing nothing but reading her book cover to cover. If you enjoy young adult literature that deals with some relevant social issues and you're looking for a good read, may I recommend After The Fall by Kate Hart. 
Did I mention she climbs? 
I had a sort of "off" week, just feeling a bit down and no doubt being a bit difficult to deal with. Drew's patience and extra effort deserves a mention. He's a keeper. 
We made Eleanor's first trip to Toys R Us just because it felt like a fun thing to do. Also, please note the boots. They are note worthy and my kid is adorable. 

This was the result of said shopping trip. She's not smiling in this picture, but let me assure you that she is quite thrilled. 
But nothing beats a good book. 
JR is playing basketball this year and it was such fun to watch him play yesterday. 
Last night we had our long awaited adults only date night with our Community Group. We have a large group with 14 adults and 12 kiddos each week. (I'm grateful for a home that allows us to host fairly often.)  The kids are great, but it was really nice to just have the grown ups and enjoy a night out. We had dinner and then went for ice cream. I nearly missed Carolyn trying to take a group photo. 
See how cool I look, running to be included? 
The best we could do. 
Later that night Haley turned a few of us into memes. 
We voted on where to go to dinner. Turns out our reservations didn't help them prepare, service was terrible and the food was less than impressive. Appropriate meme. 
This is me, being a good sport while getting picked on for being a goof ball. 
Before church this morning. She's pretty good at rolling on to her belly and sliding down off the couch, but her short little legs don't reach the ground without a bit of effort and a lot of trust that the floor is close.
I had to wake her from her nap this afternoon so we could go to Corbin's birthday party. She was so sweet all curled up that I went back for my phone just to take a photo before I woke her. (It's worth mentioning that she wakes up a lot like her momma- and sister Emma. Nature is nothing y'all; nurture is a strong force.) 
Family selfie before the party. My loves look goofy because it was so sunny, but I look cute so I'm sharing the pic! 
Birthday boy with Nonnie. 
The best we could do for a cousin picture. 
Eleanor is quite fond of JR lately and he's becoming quite the big kid. This wasn't posed, they were just being sweet to each other. 
Will only sit still for birthday cake :-)
We couldn't make his party, but JR just had a birthday, too. Can't believe he's 6! 

Monday, January 23, 2017


Y'all.  Social media has me feeling weary.  There's so much going on in our world right now and the messy swirl of fact, opinion, and misinformation that is social media is giving me a headache.  I'm not being dramatic.  It actually hurts my head.  I feel weary over it all.  I feel frustrated with myself for finding it so difficult to step back and not internalize everything.  So yesterday I just deleted the Facebook app off of my phone.  So much of my Facebook time is spent mindlessly scrolling.  It's a time waster and an energy drain.  Yesterday afternoon and all this morning I felt so much better about life.  I watched the news this morning, took in the information I needed (with a nice hot cup of coffee), and then moved on with my day.  I got in half an hour on the treadmill, read about 40 books with Eleanor (only a slight exaggeration there), cleaned up my half of the closet, and took Eleanor to the potty every 30 minutes (she stayed dry all morning, never once peed in the potty, and then let it all loose on the living room rug.  Toddlers are complicated).  Eleanor is napping now, I've had a shower (I'm a stay-at-home mom, afternoon showers aren't unusual), and then remembered an event that Drew and I had talked about attending tomorrow evening.  Where are the details?  Facebook.  I pulled it up on my computer, got the details for the event, and then found myself sucked into the first few posts on my feed.  I spent the next 10 minutes reading comments and that was 10 minutes too long.  I just need a break from it all.  Not a break from life or the realities that our world is facing, just from the fuss and fluff of Facebook. 
Sometimes when I pray it sounds and feels a bit like a to-do list that I have for God.  Sometimes I recite a prayer that I've been taught.  (That can be awesome when done with awareness, but can also allow me to go through the motions without the sincere effort.)  I know I'm not the only one who does these things.  In the last few weeks I've been trying to pray without the limits of my own expectations.  Does that make sense?  I mean that I absolutely take my worries to the Lord and give thanks for the things & people in my life, but I am making an effort to just listen.  This can be difficult for a person like me who might feel more certain if God could just send me an email with his directions and answers.  You know?  For me, listening takes effort and trust.  I can't concentrate too hard or I'm just in my own head.  I can't relax too much or my mind wanders and I realize that God is probably not the one reminding me to put laundry detergent on my shopping list.  For me, prayerfully listening happens in quite moments of prayerful reflection and it comes at random times of the day or night because my heart is open to His guidance.  I've been praying that God would give me a focus.  That he would point me in the right direction.  Give me a word.  I didn't know specifically what I was asking Him to give me, only that He would open my heart that I may hear whatever He had to say. 
It didn't come in an email or text, but somehow I feel like I know what God is asking of me.  It's not specific and He didn't make me a to-do list, but I feel like God is asking me to be intentional.  So I'm making an effort to be more intentional.  Intentional with how I spend my time.  Intentional with where I spend my energy.  Intentional with my Bible study.  Intentional with where I invest my heart.  Intentional with my thoughts and actions.  Merriam Webster defines Intention as "A determination to act in a certain way."  I'm giving that a go.  I sometimes forget that I have an active roll in my own life.  Know what I mean?  It doesn't happen all at once and I don't like it, but I sometimes I let circumstances determine my role in my own life.  Circumstances affect my life, no doubt, but they are not the sole factor in who I am and what God has planned for me.  So this is me, declaring intention in my actions and knowing that I will fail often and have to start over again and again. Thank heavens for God's grace and mercy. 
I've started reading a book that Drew purchased on recommendation from his boss.  Daring Greatly by Brene' Brown.  I've watched one of her TED talks before and think she's pretty great.  She is a research professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work.  That's right up my alley.  I could share with you many points that I'm finding inspiring or thought provoking (and I just may share them randomly over the next few days), but I think I'll start with this.  The book begins with this passage from a Theodore Roosevelt speech from 1910. 

"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done better.
The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again,
because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasm, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause;
who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly..."
I believe this could be taken to heart by different people in different ways, but I feel it personally right now.  I'm growing and learning and I want to dare greatly.  God has given me different versions of this realization in my life and I'm grateful for the new reminder right now.  What's the saying? "I'll look back on this and smile because it was life and I decided to live it."  I'm so grateful for the different roles that I've played in my 36 years.  I've been a caregiver in one form or another for 14 years.  Grandpa's recent passing has stirred my heart in different ways.  I'm grateful to God for where I have been.  I'm grateful to God for where I am.  I'm standing in the arena with intention. 
Also, this kid.  She's awesome and I'm loving soaking up each moment and experience with her. 
Yum. Chocolate ice cream.

 Warmish January days. 


Thursday, January 19, 2017


My favorite thing today is listening to Eleanor yell, "Be Careful!" at the dogs.  I can't even tell you what the words actually sound like, but we both know what she is saying and she means business.
She and Foose have this sweet relationship.  He's the first one through her bedroom door when we go to get her up in the morning and they are just so happy to see each other.  She plays fetch with him and he knows that if he brings her one of two balls that she will throw it for him.  She gets so tickled over the whole process and it makes me smile. 
Today she was the one offering the ball for a game of fetch. 
We ran errands all morning and I made lunch when we got home.  As I was preparing Eleanor's plate, I thought to myself how I should take a photo and document this.  I'm a documenter of all things.  Yummy lunches with my toddler should be included, especially when I'm patting myself on the back for coming home for a healthy lunch instead of driving through for french fries.  We have these cute new plates that have suction cups to stick to her tray and prevent flying food & dishes.   Theoretically.  I prepared her Pinterest worthy plate with small chunks of cheddar cheese, two sliced strawberries, and two slices of deli turkey.  I put it on her tray, turned to reach for my phone to take a photo, and turned back around to see Eleanor holding the plate above her head and her food all over her tray.  Note to self: the suction cups must be secured to the tray if they are to keep the plate in place.  Lesson learned.  I nearly put the phone back down, but instead I slopped her food back onto the plate (properly secured, this time), handed her a fork, and took a photo anyway. 

 I should also take a moment to say that Eleanor was perfectly thrilled with her lunch as it was served.  The dividers on her new plates seem to be making it easier for her to pick up bites with her own fork and she was very pleased with herself over that!  (This video seems to work if I am reading the blog via computer, but not on my phone.  FYI)
One photo to show she's sweet...
 ...and one to show her sass. 
Yesterday Eleanor and I went to our first Wednesday morning Bible study at church.  Every Wednesday morning for the next 12 weeks, I will take her to the toddler room for two hours while I have Bible study with the women's ministry.  She seemed to have a great time in her classroom and I'm grateful she is getting that extra time with her peers.  I think my part of the deal is going to be good, too.  For the first hour we will meet as a large group (100ish women) and have a guest speaker, then for the last hour we break in to small groups.  I know two of the women from our community group, so I'm not completely going it alone, but it's still a big step out of my comfort zone and I'm looking forward to what God has in store for us.  

Monday, January 16, 2017

Owie Update

Eleanor is handling the broken finger like a champ.  We gave her a dose of the pain medication on Thursday and some ibuprofen on Friday, but she hasn't required anything for pain since then.  She wasn't a fan of me taking off the splint to clean the finger on Friday, but she survived.  On Saturday she pulled the entire splint off in the car without crying.  Twice.  She's definitely aware of it and will hold it up and say "owie", but hardly ever acts like its painful.  Going on the ER docs advice, we are skipping the orthopedic surgeon visit and just letting it heal in the splint. 
Empty gift cards and pretty jewelry make everything better.  This is what I got when I asked if I could see her owie to take a picture.   
One thing that is more messed up than her finger is her sleep schedule.  Staying up in the ER until 2:30am and then spending one day drowsy on pain medication really kicked off a screwy schedule.  She wants to stay up later & sleep later.  That part we could handle well enough, but nap time is all jacked up.  Her "normal" (and I use quotation marks because the entire idea of normal is such a joke to me) was to lay down for a nap about 1pm and sleep 2-3 hours.  Yesterday I laid her down just after 1pm and at 3pm she was still doing laps in her crib and raking her finger splint across the crib slats.  She was happy enough, but she would not go to sleep and we knew that community group would be a mess if she didn't have a nap.  She started fussing about 3 so I went in, changed her diaper, and laid her back down.  It took another half hour, but she finally went to sleep and slept just over an hour.  Today I waited until she acted sleepy and then laid her down just after 2.  At 3:30 she was still running sprints from one end of the crib to the other and then flopping down in laughter.  She'll find a new routine and we'll settle in just fine.  In the mean time it sure is funny to watch her through the video monitor and listen to the conversations she has with herself. 
Other stuff...
I tried a Pioneer Woman recipe for beef stew last week and wasn't impressed.  Everyone said it was fine, but I didn't care for it and expected something much more appetizing for all the effort that the recipe required.  I'm trying a new recipe for meatloaf tonight (no McCormick mixes here!) and I'll let you know how it goes.  I'm enjoying trying new things and building my own collection of go-to recipes that my family enjoys. 
Having pretend lunch with her friend Dale last week.
Guess who has enough hair to wear a bow now?  And guess who is beginning to think that that's a pretty good idea?  Disclaimer: Wearing a bow cannot, under any circumstances, be Mommy's idea.  It must ALWAYS be Eleanor's idea and then we must shower her with compliments.  
 I saw this online the other day and sent it to Drew.  It's so true.  I'm scary in the morning and sometimes Drew has the nerve to say Good Morning to me.  Can you believe it?  The nerve of that man! 
 Hanging out with her friend Gertie at community group last night. 
 Trying to snap a picture of her this afternoon.  I barely got one still photo before she took off. 

She's got a few new words this week, but I'm having a hard time distinguishing some of them without context.  For example, when she started staying "triangle", it was obvious that that was what she was saying.  Now that she's saying triangle, rectangle, and bicycle, I can't tell what word she is saying without context.  Once I see what she's pointing at, then I can figure it out.  Also, as is the rule among all toddlers, if I am with people who don't see her often and I ask her a perfectly reasonable question, she will babble something ridiculous at me or simply act like she has no idea what I'm talking about.