Wednesday, October 28, 2009

babies, babies, babies!!

OK, so why does it seem like everyone in the world is pregnant right now except for me?

That's all...

Monday, October 26, 2009

Women

You know October is breast cancer awareness month and I just want to take this opportunity to appreciate some of the extraordinary women in my life. So here's to the women who helped (are still helping me) become a woman.

(in memory of) Lillie Belle Cain--my great-grandmother--greatest Christian woman I have ever known and will probably ever know. I miss her hands and her deep laugh. She taught me to sing to my babies and how to enjoy the plenty's that the earth gives us.

(in memory of) Dorothy Prosser Crowe--my grandmother--she rode stunt horses in p.t.barnum's circus before it was barnum & bailey's in California. She taught me that life is too short not to enjoy yourself. And it is because of her that I know what a house full of children, grandchildren, aunts, uncles and cousins sound like at Christmas.

Deborah Darlene Crowe--my mom--she taught me what it meant to overcome your circumstances and accomplish what everyone says you'll never be able to. She taught me that things won't always be handed to me and I would appreciate my accomplishments more because of it. She taught me to hold my head up and be proud of myself.

Diane Marie Bandel--a childhood friends mother--taught me how to act like a lady. She taught me that rules keep children safe. And by raising her son the way she did, she taught me what to look for in a husband. (I finally got it right this time, Dee).

Annette Watters--a Fredericksburg co-worker--she made me love that I am a woman and that God created this body beautifully with the ability to bring little miracles into this world. She taught me childbirth is a beautiful thing and something to be embraced and treasured--not endured with suffering.

Megan Lee Jackson--a very close friend and young mother--that strength comes from within. She also taught me that good things CAN happen to good, deserving people. And she taught me to embrace my amazing husband by embracing her husband and being a positive influence for every couple they come into contact with.

Jamie Brawner--a very good friend--she taught me to just be upfront and honest from the get-go! She also taught me by example that God will never give us more than we can bear. She is showing me how to be-friend my children and to laugh loud and hard at their quirks.

Tammy Miller Jones--my crazy friend--taught me how to have fun again. And she had a hand in introducing me to my husband so that's a bonus.

Regina Sweetin--friend and co-worker--just be you and she had a major roll in introducing me to Chase.

Joy Daniel--my BFF--what it really means to have a sister, and to be a sister.

(in memory of) Sheila Anne Schriewer--my mother-in-law--because I wouldn't be the woman I am today without my husband's constant support and encouragement.

Last but definitely not least--my two little girls. They remind me every day that it's not about me. They are the future. They tell me I am pretty and have taught me what unconditional love is. And at least right now, they think I am the coolest.

I am so thankful for these women and the diversity of them all and I love each and every one. My life wouldn't be as sweet without each and every one of them. So this month when you see the pink ribbons, think about the amazing women in your life. And let them know how you feel.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

sadness

So this is another rather bleak blog. The rain outside goes away and somehow my house has become dreary. Go figure.

Tonight was a big night for Autumn. But not in a good way. Her class has been preparing for the elementary schools' fall festival that is going to take place this Saturday. It is an all-day event. Autumn, being the second child, really doesn't act very independently in her interests. Usually, she goes with whatever her big sister wants to do and is content to tag along and let Bailee run the show. Except for when it concerns fall festivals, apparently. She was soooooo excited about this one. And she was really bummed when she realized it coincided with her weekend to go to her dad's for his visitation. So she asked him weeks ago if he would come up here and take her and he never gave her a straight answer. I know that he at least considered taking her because he asked me what he should do. I, of course, told him it was his decision but that she doesn't ask for much and she is pretty gung-ho about this one. Making a long story short, he emphatically decided this week that he was not coming all the way up here for a fall festival. This news was broken to Autumn last night. And while she acted ok to him on the phone, as soon as she was off she asked me to call him back and ask to keep her here so she could go. Which I did. To no avail. And tonight when he called she asked him again to go. And she got in trouble. And she asked me to plead her case again, which I did, and again he said no. So after she got off the phone with him for the final time tonight I asked what he said. We were standing in the kitchen. She said quietly without making eye contact, "he said no" and shrugged her shoulders like no big deal and said "so I guess that means I'm not going". Then she looked at me and her chin bunched up and her eyes filled with quiet, sad tears. And I dropped to my knees and held her and couldn't help it, but I started to cry too. Life is so unfair. I will never forget her sweet face as she tried to be brave even though her little second grade heart was broken with disappointment.

So what's a mom to do? What will cause her the least pain in the long run? I wish I knew....

Monday, October 19, 2009

disappointment

I am finding a theme that spans the last few days of my life. The theme is a sad one but one we all have to come to terms with from time to time. Its our old friend disappointment. I think that disappointment comes from having expectations. And also because we forget that our peers, friends, family, spouses are all human beings. I experienced this intensly with someone very close to me this weekend. I expected a certain response from this individual and was met with the opposite. I was devastated. Sincerely devastated. I was met with some other old friends of mine. You probably know these guys, too. The first one that jumped to the rescue was "hurry, run the other way. Just get out of this situation now before you have to endure more disappointment." Followed closely by "you should have known better than to try to trust someone. Never trust anyone. Ever." And then good old anger took hold. So I slammed a door and stomped around a little. Had a few mad, hot tears come down. Then my least favorite of all and the one I try the hardest to avoid at all costs--even if it means I don't experience everything I would like to experience in life--and that's "now don't you feel stupid. Stupid for believing in this person in the first place. Stupid for getting so comfortable and letting your guard down. Stupid for crying now. Stupid if you stay in this situation and stupid if you go." And I went back and forth through these guys most of the weekend. And deep down I knew I was right and wrong at the same time. Then I realized that I had disappointed the offending individual as well. Then I wondered why I thought my feelings were more important than their feelings. Then a little bit of a calm came over me and I realized this must be how God feels when we fail him. He knows we are going to (like deep down I knew my person would eventually somehow, some way) and I am sure He is hoping we will get it right this time. But we don't. I didn't. My special person didn't. We let Him down.

That process takes...however long...but what takes longer is recovering from the disapointment. That is where I really need Gods help. And just as I am sitting here typing this it hits me. Its love. Unconditional love. That's the recovery process. See, this is new to me. I had a significant previous relationship that left me with loads of disappointment. After a while, I didn't even have expectations of that person. But I also didn't have unconditional love for that person. And that is why it is a "previous" relationship.

I am a work in progress. We all are. I watched my little daughter deal with disappointment tonight. And I thanked God that He gave me a crash course this weekend so that I could show her sympathy. I know that she will be disappointed many, many times in her life. But I hope that through my example she will know what unconditional love is. And I hope she will learn to trust and not be a prisoner to fear like I was for many years. Because life can be sooo sweet when you choose to feel and chose not to fear.

Monday, October 12, 2009

mom's brag book

Weird day today...just blah most of the day. Prolly the miserable weather. I am soooo tired of all the rain!

Highlights of my day...getting the girls out of the car to notice that Bailee had her lunch bag with her. Usually if they are going to bring their lunch I have them make it the night before because mornings are just waaaayyy too crazy, what with all the "whatamigonna wear drama" and "do i really have to eat that for breakfast" and the reruns of Saved by the Bell that Chase got them addicted to. Don't laugh. OK, laugh. But my nutrition conscious health nut kid took the initiative to pack her own lunch this morning! Autumn, of course, goes to school hoping all day she's gonna get chicken fingers, pizza, mac-n-cheese, or, HARK! all of the above?? Once she even ate breakfast at home AND at school!

Second highlight...really sweet note left on the counter this morning from Autie. I will quote for full effect:

"hi mom I really what to see (with a backwards s) you. When you come home and I am there I what to snugl with you. Autumn"

Hope she makes a good grade on her spelling test tomorrow!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Chase

I know, I know...two blogs in one day. But I do my best "blogging" when Chase is at work. This one started as I was getting the girls into the shower. Chase is a super neat-freak which is annoying and wonderful all at the same time. When we first started dating, the girls were 8 and 6 years old. They were coming out of a very trying first year of life as kids of divorced parents. I had always been a stickler for bedtimes, nutrition, schedules and organized activities. But as guilt from the divorce and plain old fatigue wore me down, I sacrificed some of those things and let them get away with old bad habits (Autumn sucking her fingers) and developed new bad habits (not picking up after themselves, eating crap for dinner because it was easier, etc). So you can imagine that us three girls had to re-adjust and re-learn things when we all came together as a family. So, little by little Chase has reformed us into good law-abiding, bathroom cleaning citizens who follow a routine and get to bed on time every night. Just a few of the reforms include: no more finger-sucking for Autumn, beds made every day, muddy shoes left by the back door, towels hung up after a bath, bodies towel-dried and pjs put on IN THE BATHROOM instead of streaking while still dripping wet through the house, and Autie will AT LEAST attempt every food on her plate without tears or wretching (that was a BIG one folks). And all of this is because of the effort Chase had put forth. I can take absolutely no credit whatsoever for this turn-about. And the most amazing part of it all is that he has never had a child of his own. And he is the youngest child in his family with no little brother or sister to look after. He took us on with no real prior experience and puts me to shame with his parenting abilities. And as proud as I am of him for all of his effort, my happiness turns to sad when I remember that he is not their real dad and that although the girls love him and respect him, he never holds that honor in their eyes. Maybe someday when they are older they will appreciate him for the role he plays in their life as a father. He taught Autie to ride her bike without her training wheels and once she learned it was him that went and bought her a big-girl bike. He gets them up every morning that he is not at work to make them breakfast and see that they get on the bus. He makes dinner every night. He was right there when Bailee had her surgery and picked her up and put her in the truck afterwards to take her home to the house that is now ours together but that he opened up to us graciously. He schedules his hunting trips around theirs and my schedule which means he doesn't get to go very often. He sacrifices constantly, but they still call him "Chase". The surgeon that operated on Bailee asked me afterwards if he had adopted the girls because he is so involved in their lives. I told Chase about that and he said "well I wonder what we would have to do". Of course, it would require that their biological father sign over his rights, which is unlikely. And as I was signing the one of the girls names to a paper for school, along with my own and he saw the difference in the last names, he asked "do you think they will ever want to change their names [to match ours]" and I told him that would most likely require the adoption procedure and the slim chance of that occurring.

I understand that the girls have a dad and that no one will ever take his place. But it seems only fair that there would be another term of endearment that was just as honorable for a man like Chase. And more than anything I want us to have another child that will bear his name and will call him what he already is to the girls, even if they can't yet see it. Daddy.

My favorite blogger

I don't know if any of you watch Oprah (I usually don't, by the way) but my favorite blogger "nienie" was making an appearance on her show yesterday so I planned my day around finally seeing one of my heroes in action. First of all, if you don't know who nienie is, you have got to check her out here on blogspot. She is AMAZING! I was so impressed with her yesterday. Long story short, she began on here as a stay-at-home mom who cherished every day with her family and wrote touching, sometimes funny stories about her life as a wife and mom. But tragedy struck and she survived a plane crash with her husband that turned her life upside down and she sustained burns to 80% of her body. I came across nienie at a time that I needed to see something positive in the world because I felt that all around me was so much negativity and immorality. I felt like it was in my face at work, in every piece of media that I let in my life and I was being brought down by it all. Luckily, I always have a safe-haven at home with my husband and daughters but I needed some encouragement that there is some positive influence out there. My sweet friend Jamie, a God-send in so many ways, turned me on to stephanie nielsons blog and it changed the way I looked at so many things. She makes you want to cherish the small stuff, love with every ounce, forget the superficial, be less vain, keep trying harder and so much more that I have trouble verbalizing. She just makes me want to be more, try harder, be better. She will surely have a beautiful crown in heaven. Thank you nienie! You are beautiful!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Bailee Rian

My Other Daughter

Some of you, most of you, know that I have two daughters and it seems that Autumn has been getting all of the "blog-love" from me lately. So I thought I would share some spotlight with my eldest, more complicated child. Bailee is 9, about to be 10, and is beautiful. She has the blondest hair that I would have DIED for when I was a child/adolescent. She has the biggest eyes and long, perfectly curled eyelashes. And she is perfectly tall and willowy, again, something I am not. She is smart and very deep-feeling and sensitive. At times she and I don't communicate very well and that makes me sad. There are times that I feel extremely close to her and I remember how innocent and attached to me she was when she was younger. And there are times that I think I have a foreign exchange student living in my house. But she is my first-born and there is something magical about that. I am unbelievably proud of her, even if I don't always understand her. She loves to read and in that I can see a tiny glimpse of how I was at her age. And she wants so hard to succeed. She has recently found a liking to boys, which scares me and excites me. I hope we can have long talks in the future and I am ready to have hot chocolate ready when she gets her heart broken (as my mom did for me). I can't wait to see the woman she will become and the kind of mother she already looks forward to one day becoming (after college she assures me). She is so much a part of me and so many things I will never be. She is a challenge and a great investment. Her mind is NEVER quiet. In kindergarten, she had such a hard time quieting her mind and going to sleep that I made her chamomille tea at bedtime. She was my first true love.

So my bright, beautiful daughter is having a minor surgical procedure tomorrow morning and I am hoping that everything will go smoothly. Bailee has a complicated life since her father and I divorced and I just want her to be relaxed and to know how loved she is. And I can't wait to see her bat her sleepy eyelashes after the whole thing is over and done with. So then I can bring her back to her safe little room in our safe little house. After I give her whatever her heart desires to eat, of course!