Friday, December 18, 2009

If they make a sequel to Lord of the Flies . . .

. . . I know what the setting should be - the Sooner Mall "PlayPlace".

Let me say first off, that so far Davie is angelic. She is so sweet and kind. This is all the more aggravating when some rowdy 3 year old pushes her down for no reason.

I understand the idea of the "PlayPlace". A little temporary escape for your kiddos to burn off some energy and you can rest your barking dogs. However, this little refuge is abused by parents who sit idly by texting or people-watching or doing anything but keeping an eye on their offspring. And it seems to be the parents of the bullies who aren't watching.

The other day Steven and I took Davie to the PlayPlace at Quail Springs for a bit. The little angel takes a while to warm up to new people and places, so she kind of stood there on a little toy for 7 or so minutes just watching the other kids. She was standing right there on the edge when a little boy jumped down beside her and then slowly started ooching her off the side. She started crying before she even fell down. I went to comfort her, and the boys dad went to make him say he was sorry. Then the dad walked away leaving the boy there where he was. Ah well, I thought. So I carried Davie to a new area and let her go. Steven showed up and I told him the little story. So we both were keeping our eye on the boy. Then the boy walked up to where Davie was kneeling, got up in her face, and then stood up and kicked her in the rear! She cried again. This time the dad went to the boy and said, "We don't kick people." Once again, he walked away leaving his kid there to continue playing and bullying. I took Davie to a new area and let her go again. At one point the boy started walking very closely behind Davie, preparing to pounce, and Steven leaned over towards him from where we were sitting and said, "Hey. You need to leave her alone," in a stern voice. The boy ran off. Steven got a phone call and walked out to have his conversation. The boy walked toward Davie and started to get in her face, and she just burst into tears out of fear!!! Break my heart in to a million pieces. I ran over, told the boy to stay away from her, and then we packed up to leave. The rest of the day Steven and I were seething over the boy and his dad. If that were my child, there would've been more than a reprimand - maybe not letting him play anymore, or something more concrete. I told Steven we were going to put her in self defense classes as soon as appropriate, and I was going to teach her that it is okay to beat up people that are bigger than her if they are mean to her or other people, but that she must always protect people smaller than her no matter what. He laughed at me, but I am serious!

Then for some reason I felt we would try again at the Sooner Mall PlayPlace. It was even worse. There was like 30+ children, and maybe 4 parents sitting around on their phones. The big kids were running wildly by knocking into the small ones. They were climbing up the slide, while the little ones were trying to go down. It was insane. Was I the only one watching the children?! I had to tell some kids to stop climbing up the slide, and to go up the stairs if they wanted to use it. They didn't really listen to me. Jerks. So I have banned the PlayPlace from our repertoire of fun things to do. Sorry Davie . . . I'm sure you don't mind.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Who needs a first word, when you could have a first phrase . . . or two?!

Davie consistently says what we know to be "Here you go" when she is giving you something, and "Thank you" when you are giving her something. It sounds just a tad more muddled than that, usually leaving out most of the consanant sounds and rolling her tongue around way too much. But that is definitely what she is saying. She does it all the time. The other night my dad and I just took turns handing her envelopes, and letting her hand them back to us, and we squealed with delight at this new development.

Here's my analysis of this random "first". Davie KNOWS so many words and phrases that we say. Yet she has zero interest in saying or repeating these things. She CAN say "mama" and "dada" and other little things, but she doesn't often, and never about her actual mama and dada. We already know that she is incredibly rhythmic and loves music. I think she is using these first phrases because we so consistently say these things to her, and we say them in a very specific way. A little sing song tone and rhythm. I think that interested her and she picked up on that very quickly. Maybe some day soon other things will interest her besides music, otherwise we'll just have to start singing EVERYTHING . . .which I am probably okay with. She fascinates me.

In other news, I have not been doing my little experiment the past couple of days. I just . . . can't . . . yet. I still really want to do the whole 30 days in order, but I'm just not in any kind of routine right now, and I just can't make myself do it.

My husband is embarassed for me - and should be. I tried to defend myself by pointing out all the things I have successfully stuck with: college, career in education, MARRIAGE. But when if it's not a big deal, I do have a hard time completing things. I need to make an appointment to see a psychologist . . . but then again, I probably wouldn't go.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Day 3 -Fruit and Veg Cleanse

Oy.

It says in the book that the great thing about today is you can eat all you want . . . as long as it's fruit and vegetables. Not a great consolation when you want a bowl of cereal or a breakfast burrito.

BREAKFAST:
Anyways, for breakfast I had a berry fruit smoothie, it wasn't great. I used a frozen bag of berries (no sugar added), 2 cups of hot water, and 3 leafs of spinach (just trying a lil bit). I tasted it and had to add some orange juice, which helped. As I was feeding Davie some of her banana this morning, I dipped some in my smoothie and ate it. Not bad. Maybe I should've added some banana to the mixture. After breakfast, I don't feel satisfied. Seriously thinking about baking a potato just to have something starchy.

BRUNCH:
Had an apple. Not bad . . . but not as good as, oh say, a brownie.

PRE-LUNCH:
Out of habit, I ate a little handful of Cheerios as I was giving some to Davie. They tasted SOOOOOOOO good. I so desperately want another handful or 12. BE STRONG!

LUNCH:
I made a giant salad including spinach, red bell peppers, carrots, grape tomatoes, avocado, a little broccoli, mushrooms . . . and I did use some red wine and olive oil for dressing - who eats dry salad?!
I also made a big ole baked potato, and used salt and pepper. I ate alot . . . and it still didn't kill my craving for the brownies that are on my counter in the kitchen. I can't bear to throw them away. After all, this cleanse is only for 24 hours! It's weird. Yesterday I didn't even glance at them. Also, I can't get Sonic out of my mind. I didn't have a Dr. Pepper all day yesterday and didn't even care. But I want one BAD today.

POST-LUNCH:
This is just sad. I have voices in my head telling me different things. "Why in the world would you do this experiment during the holidays?" "Just skip this one assignment, and do the rest." "Tomorrow you can eat whatever you want . . . almost."
Anyways, I had a bite of pineapple and some grapes, but I didn't want them. I have a wicked headache, but that could be for any ole reason. BUT it could be a withdrawal symptom from any number of things I haven't had today. OR it could be a detox symptom.

PRE-DINNER:
Headache got worse, like nauseating. Broke down and drank a chocolate instant breakfast - felt a little bit better.

DINNER:
Hit the low of the day. Made some Tuna Helper. I know, I know. But I made it this far, right?! I should start a new blog called "The Failed Trials of Kinsey Charles" so all the world can get a kick out of my shenanigans.

One success though - I drank 64 ounces of water today! That's a record I think . . . and NO Dr. Pepper. Good for me.

Tomorrow I go red-meatless. That shouldn't be too hard. But you know tomorrow will probably be the day I am dying for a T-bone steak or something. I haven't decided if I want to carry this experiment on past the 30 days yet. I should probably at least do a little while after I carry out all the steps, just to see if I can keep it up. We'll see.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Day 2 - Know the Basics

Day 2's assignment is to research the vegan lifestyle for at least 30 minutes. However, I've pretty much already done that, so knowing that tomorrow I have to do a 24 hour fruit and veggie cleanse, I went grocery shopping. I love my vegetables . . . but I am still way nervous about tomorrow. The idea is to eat raw fruit and veggies tomorrow all day - and try to stay away from frozen and canned as much as possible. However, if I get through the day without touching bread, I'll count it a great success.

I need everyone to know that I am completely aware that I get gung-ho about these things and rarely follow through. But it is a 30 day experiment. I think I can at least follow these rules for 30 days. We'll see.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Day 1 of Vegan in 30 Days

I actually read through the whole book today! It is only about 100 pages, and not daunting whatsoever (although the diet is I know)! Anyways, now I am going to go through one day at a time and try to master the goals.

A few years ago Steven and I went to Hueco Tanks near El Paso for a climbing trip. We met the nicest couple, and I will never forget them. Sashi and Bethann! Sashi was a tiny Indian man and Bethann was his extremely athletic wife. They were probably mid-50s and were full-time RVers. They were hardcore vegans . . . hardcore hippies too. Bethann hadn't seen a razor in some time. They also grew their own beansprouts in their windowsill! They talked to us about their diet ALOT, and how healthy they are and how great they feel and yadda yadda . . . although interesting, I was not feeling like I should undertake this new lifestyle. Although it did totally make us want to buy an RV!

Fastforward to this week. I've been hearing alot about vegan/vegetarian diets, especially from celebrities that I respect. So I looked into it. Vegan means to not eat any animal flesh or animal products - so no red meat, poultry, or fish, and no dairy or eggs, etc. What is left?! Haha. Anyways, the more I read the more I was heartbroken for animals living in torturous conditions, the more I thought I could benefit from this change, and the more I felt empowered to follow through with this. But I needed something easy to follow, a step by step process. Cold turkey would be too overwhelming. That's how I found "Vegan in 30 Days". There is my intro!

Day 1 - Why do you want to be a Vegan?

The book is not an argument for the Vegan lifestyle. They are assuming that you already have your reasons, and these are the steps to reaching that goal. BUT they want you to have very convincing reasons for yourself, because you can feel very strong until someone throws a bowl of ice cream in front of you. Here is my simple list of reasons:

- To avoid hereditary health problems like blood pressure, cholesterol, and heart issues
- To have more energy!!!
- To reduce my carbon footprint and animal cruelty
- To set a good example for Davie in her diet and treatment of the world

When I feel like this goal is to hard, I will look back at these and hopefully muster up the strength to keep going. The good news I keep reading is that once you have "reset" your palate, you won't crave those other foods and fruit and veggies will have never tasted so good! Can't wait for that!

Vegan? That doesn't sound like me.

I need you to know something. I LOVE LOVE LOVE Ellen Degeneres. I found out that Ellen is a vegan. I always thought vegans were ridiculous - either dirty hippies or people that must not have tastebuds anyways. I mean, what is left to eat?! But after I heard Ellen talking about it, I started researching it . . . and if it is even possible, it sounds like a magnificent way to live. Healthy for you, healthy for the earth.

I am skinny, always have been - but I am NOT healthy. I eat empty calories all day everyday. Whatever is the most convenient, that is what I devour. I don't want to be this way, but I don't have much self-control to carry out a new lifestyle. So I looked and looked and looked around online through vegan forums, vegan cookbooks, vegan articles, etc . . . and I bought a book called "Vegan in 30 Days" by Sarah Taylor.

As I read it, I'm going to document what I'm learning online and the things I'm attempting to do or "give up". An experiment of sorts! I do love experiments!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Wintery Favorites

  1. Grilled Cheese with Tomato Soup!!!
  2. Puzzles, lots and lots of puzzles. It's a lonely hobby at the Charles' household - my husband would rather die than sit still and stare at puzzle pieces for any amount of time. Eh, I'd probably kick him out anyways . . . he might mess up my strategies!
  3. Christmas movies - from classics like White Christmas, to Home Alone, to Elf, to Harry Potter . . . okay, I know Harry Potter isn't a Christmas movie, but I just like watching it when it's cold outside. It makes me feel like I am at Hogwarts.
  4. Cleaning house. This is strictly a winter hobby. Something about the cold making you feel all cozy inside your little home, makes you want to keep it tidy and comfortable. I purchased a new vacuum to encourage this hobby and it's my new best friend. Nerd alert, I know. It's an Electrolux Ergorapido. It's cordless, which was my must-have. I use it much more since I can just pick it up and zip around the room real quick.
  5. Candles! I really really want the Woodwick Pumpkin Spice and Currant candles. But alas, I haven't purchased them yet. Making the two year old tea candles work this season.
If money were no object, I would have many more wintery favorites . . . but there is plenty of things I already have that still make it feel like Christmas. Hot chocolate anyone?!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Mystique SPEAKS again!

In high school drama, my friend Theo named my inner diva . . . Shaniqua Mystique. I decided to drop the first name, for P.C. reasons. However, Mystique sounds a bit shady on it's own. Ah well. It's funny because in college, my guy friends always talked about the big ole diva that lived somewhere inside of me, waiting to come out. I would practically whisper anytime I was singing, but they knew. Oh they knew. And with time, I found her through writing honest songs that I could sing with passion.
Anyways, Mystique had taken a little hiatus from her writing career in the hubbub of motherhood. It's funny how many people ask me "Written anything lately?" . . . like it's a greeting. Everytime I said no, and explained about being busy and blah blah blah, I felt ashamed. I actually felt scared. What if I never wrote another song?! It is a fear of mine. I've always felt like my next song will be my last.

But today I sat down with the guitar. The house was quiet. Steven was out climbing. Davie was napping. And I was writing . . . finally. Actually, I had written much of the song in the car. But I sat down and put it all out there.

If you'd like to hear - come on out to the Advent art show at Convergence on December 11th!

Monday, November 23, 2009

"How do you feel about Sharon Osbourne, Stevie?"

So, I DID get my hair cut short. Jenna did such a wonderful job. I left feeling sassy and chic. Everyone loved it, including Steven. Then I went and did something I've been known to do . . . I dyed it.

I dyed it a dark cherry brown. The color is very beautiful, and I loved it when my hair was longer. But there was something off about it. I loved the color, I even though it was flattering with my skin and eyes, but something was definitely off.

This morning I figured it out. I look like Sharon Osbourne! You see I have VERY thick hair. When it is cut short, it looks even thicker. When it is cut short and dark, it looks RIDICULOUS! It kind of looks like a hair piece or a helmet or something. It is so sad to me, because it was DARLING before. Why did I do this to myself?!

Tomorrow's goal is to successfully strip the color off my hair and dye it back blonde. Good thing it is already short . . . that way if it falls out, it won't be as drastic to me.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

A Rebellion Against Feminism?

I've heard women complain about their husbands input on how their hair should look or what clothes they should wear. I must be strange - because I so badly want to know Steven's opinion on these things. I ask him so many times what length does he like my hair the best. He always answers, "I like your hair however you wear it." What do I do with that! "No, what is your FAVORITE way?" I demand. "I like it how it is now." So the other night I told him I was going to get hair extensions (knowing he'd hate the idea). He finally revealed that he didn't really like my hair long. He liked it short. FINALLY!!! And here I was keeping my hair long and annoying because I thought men (my husband) liked long hair. I'm going to get my hair cut within the next week and I'm so excited to do something that makes me feel pretty and special for my husband.

Now if we could just agree on clothing.

Steven often tells me what he doesn't like in the clothing department. I like that he is opinionated, although I don't let on. If he only knew that I would let him do ALL of my clothes shopping . . . but I'd be afraid he'd buy only climbing gear, haha. He has excellent taste and he knows me well. I'm lucky to have him.

So, although I think those women have a right to choose their own hair cut or color or whatever, I am glad to know what my husband's opinion is . . . and I'm glad that his opinion isn't a bad one.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Success!! Sort of . . .

I'm really afraid for the whole speaking too soon thing to happen, but I have to share our break through!

As some of you know, my mommy mind has been occupied for a few months now with getting this child to drink out of anything other than a bottle. It took forever for her to not get angry when she even saw a sippy cup. But now that she is 14 months and knows how to get liquid out of one, I figured we should start getting less dependent on bottles. I researched hours and hours online and in books and with mommy friends on how they did it. I thought gradual sounded good, but I didn't think Davie would go for it. I thought cold turkey sounded miserable for a few days, but at least it would be done with. So after talking to Steven about it, I decided in a week or two we'd do cold turkey - but there's just too many things going on right now to try it.

Last night was one of my nights to sleep with my grandmother. Steven was going out of town this morning, so I took Davie with me. She sleeps in a pack and play in the closet and usually does well enough. My nephew Max was there too, and my mom gave him a sippy cup of hot milk before bed. Davie saw him drinking it and wanted it BAD!!! So we quickly grabbed an identical one and put some warm formula in and gave it to her. She loved it. WHAT?! No kicking, screaming, crying . . . like I had experienced any time I even showed her a cup when she was hungry. She went to sleep last night a little late, but not fussing. I was worried about what would happen in the middle of the night if she woke up wanting a bottle. But I figured if she could give up her last bottle of the evening without a fight, then she can do this. So she woke up a couple of times, the last of which she would NOT go back to sleep. For an hour and a half I offered her the sippy cup. Rejected. I also offered her a bottle (with the nipple hole stretched bigger) full of very watered down formula. She didn't want it either. Finally, I let her cry HARD for about 4 minutes, and then she was out til morning.

So for now, we have been bottle-free for about 22 hours. By the way, if you were wondering, the cup that won her over is some Playskool brand with a hard spout and a flip top spout cover that she likes to play with. She also likes anything with a straw.

Although I didn't get much sleep last night between her and my grandmother, I feel like it was worth it to keep that going.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Sunday, October 25, 2009

I CAN'T TAKE IT ANYMORE!

What is it I can't take, you ask? THE DOG HAIR!!! MY HOUSE IS MADE OF DOG HAIR!!!

I have dealt with the black hair that Scout leaves behind for 4.5 years now. Every house we've lived in, it's the same story. No matter how many times I sweep, vacuum, change the air filters - it seems to make no difference. I even put up with my child wading through it on hands and knees coating her clothes to where it looked like she wore a black angora onesie at all times. Disgusting.

Recently, we've been talking about improving our little abode. Maybe some new windows, some exterior paint, working on the curb appeal. In a couple of years, we'd like to move somewhere a little more dream-homey. But in that new home, my dream does not consist of layer upon layer of black dog hair all over everything. I told Steven that in the next house we move to Scout will have to be an outside dog. He said she's already conditioned to be an inside dog and she's too old to change that now. I disagree wholeheartedly.

I want to make a few changes now. I want to install a doggy door into the garage, and add a few more dog beds to our lives (in the garage, outside, and in the house). When we do have Scout in the house, I want her to stay on the dog bed - not on the couch, and NOT on our bed!!! She can sleep in the house at night, but during the day and when we are out of the house, she needs to be outside or in the garage (barring there is no bad weather).

I'm a housewife at the end of my rope right now. "This is why we can't have nice things!" Haha.

Anyways, what is your pet situation at home?

Monday, October 19, 2009

More teeth!

Davie currently has 11 teeth . . . maybe 12. She's getting some way in the back. That should account for some of her sleeplessness lately - but definitely not for that outrageous fever. Thank goodness she is over that mess.

Davie has learned to kiss. She lifts her head way up until her neck gets pencil thin, sucks her lips way in her mouth and then smacks them at you. Sometimes she will lean in to actually put her lips on your face, but not always.

I think Davie knows what all kinds of words mean . . . except for Mama. Wouldn't you know it?! The person she spends nearly 24/7 with, and she doesn't know my name! Maddening. I'll say, "Where's Scout?" and she points right to Scout (our dog). "Where's Daddy?" and she looks over and smiles at her dad. "Where's Mama?" nothing. She continues to do whatever she was doing before. It may be because she doesn't hear my name said, because much of the time it's just she and I. Ah well. She'll know it soon enough.

My grandmother is in the hospital with a broken hip. She was doing a little better today, more alert, eating some soft foods after surgery. My mother is having surgery on her gall bladder this Friday. I'm praying for a speedy nausea-free recovery for her also. Lots of things going on right now during this sick season. Everybody try to stay healthy out there!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Babies are resilient.

So Davie's temperature got up to 104.6 degrees last night around 1:30am. The fever made her throw up. I was nearly in tears. But minutes later she was dancing in my lap as her skin nearly melted my pajama pants.

She does not have the flu. It's some kind of virus . . . I guess, the doctor didn't really know. She is not congested, not coughing, no tummy troubles. She is . . . delightful. A little lethargic. A little clingy. But delightful. She just has had a really high fever for more than 24 hours now.

I'll keep you updated. For now, she sleeps.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

A Breath of Fresh Air

I don't know how many people can say their 14 month old refreshes them - but I can. She is always surprising me. She is always doing the perfect thing for the situation, and it is usually the least expected thing.

Yesterday my sister had a hard day and with tear-filled eyes she was telling us of her struggles. Davie was standi
ng between us on a bench. She walked over and leaned her golden head on my sister's shoulder. She just pressed into her for quite a few seconds. All the adults looked around each other with sweet shock. Many times that night, she would go and stand by my sister's feet and lay her little head on her leg and pat pat pat her.

Tonight I came home from a long shift working with my grandmother. I had left the house in a mess and so I had lots to catch up on. I had been playing with Davie and we were listening to music as I was doing the dishes. Davie got really upset, REALLY upset. She kept walking around me making the most stressful noise in the world. She wasn't pointing at anything, but I was still getting frustrated thinking she just wanted a little snack and she was being "impatient". I thought, "I'm going to stop doing these dishes, dry my hands, walk in the other room to get her a cookie, and she'll be just fine." So I started to do this and when I picked her up, she started dancing. That's all she had wanted. It was a good song, and she wanted me to dance with her. I grinned from ear to ear, and we waltzed all about the kitchen. It was refreshing. She was saying, "Just take a break, ma. Let's dance for a little bit."

She also does really hilarious things. Like pop a squat on my sister's face when she's laying in the floor.


Wednesday, October 7, 2009

New Things!!!

Davie has learned some new tricks this past week.

- When she hears the words "hi" or "bye", she waves!

- When she hears the words "yes" or "no", she nods her head, or shakes . . . depending of course.

- When she hears the word "dance", she DANCES!

- When she hears the word "belly" she lifts up the nearest shirt and pats a belly.

- She also points and yells at things that she wants.

- She has learned to SQUEAL repeatedly.

- Oh yeah, she also knows the meaning of the words jump and blanket.

I know these have all been gradually picked up, but they all just seemed to jump out of her this weekend!!! She is changing so fast!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Time for a Video!!

video

She makes life blissful!!!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Family Ties

Steven and I talk about family a lot . . . because we are one, but also because we are both interested in the different dynamics going on in a variety of families that we know. What makes up a "healthy and happy" family? I KNOW for certain that different families have different definitions for that. But is there a universal definition for healthy family relationships?

I don't know.

I know that growing up I held the family-given motto of "Sister's Come First", meaning above boyfriends, cousins, parents, best friends . . . you took care of your sisters first. I was also extremely attached and dependent on my parents. But now I am married, and I slowly adjusted to my new motto, "Steven comes first." This takes on a lot of new meanings for me. It doesn't just mean that I take care of his needs before I would take care of my friends needs. It means I go to Steven for help before I go to my friends or parents or sisters for help. He is my first thought in any situation (or should be).

Today we talked about some big-worded psychological theory, that I will rename "The Airplane Theory" for this occasion. When you are on an airplane, they tell you if the oxygen masks drop down, adjust yours first. You cannot help your neighbor if you have passed out. So we were talking about how we have to look out for ourselves in order to look out for each other.

All of this sounds neat and all, but what if you can't help yourself? What if your spouse WON'T help you? Or what if they think you are being selfish by looking out for yourself? Then can you bypass those rules and ask other people for help? We didn't come to a conclusion really. But I would still say look out for yourself, and have the strength long enough to find someone qualified to help you do this. You wouldn't take driving lessons from someone who had their license revoked for reckless driving . . . not even to learn from their mistakes. You wouldn't take relationship advice from someone who was currently going through a divorce. You wouldn't take parenting advice from someone who had their kids taken away by DHS. But we so often vent to friends who (with the best of intentions) give us advice . . . but who are probably not qualified to guide us in that situation.

I have rambled for awhile. I guess I have just really learned to value the people out there who study and pay to become qualified to help others in their life's journey.

I hope to be one of these people in a couple of years.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

the beauty of advocacy

Sometimes there comes a point (or many points) in one's life where they are not strong enough to make decision's for themselves. Sometimes they don't have the clarity of mind to know what is the best. Sometimes they are made to feel selfish for needing to take care of themselves. As a school teacher and a parent, I understand the importance of children having advocates - someone who will defend, support, and encourage them. However, I have recently learned that adults sometimes need advocates too.

I have been so fortunate to have recently seen the beauty of advocacy. I have been bullied and beaten by this situation at school (not people at school, mind you) and I was determined to be strong through it and do the job I committed to do. But the situation is taking it's toll on my mental, emotional, and physical state. It was beautiful and maddening the day I was venting to my husband, and he DEMANDED that I put in my two weeks notice. It was beautiful and frightening when I feared that my father would drive to the school and give someone (who knows who) a piece of his mind. It was beautiful and confusing this morning when I spoke to my motherly principal about what I was experiencing and she convinced me that I needed to take care of myself so I could take care of my family.

With that I gave my notice that I would start looking for something else to pay the bills. It is a shot to my pride to say goodbye to something that I was so excited to be a part of. But my advocates did for me what I could not do - and that is to pull the plug on an unhealthy situation without making me feel bad or selfish about it. I hope that I can be this for someone some day.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Vows

Saturday night I went to a high school friend's wedding. I love going to wedding's now and reminiscing my own. I listened to them take their vows and remember the thought that went into writing ours. We didn't want it to be the standard vows - not because they don't mean anything - but because we wanted to really be heard by each other. The vows I took were these . . .

"I, Kinsey, take you, Steven, to be my wedded husband. I will embrace you when you are loveable just as much as when you are difficult. I will love you when we are wealthy just as much as when we have nothing but each other. I will take care of you when you are healthy and strong, just as much as when you are weak and ill. You will be my closest and most trusted friend until the day we die and I will thank the Lord everyday for such a personal and precious gift. This is my vow to you."

It helped me to really know what I was getting myself into when we wrote them. Stuff happens. Big, hairy, complicated, tragic stuff happens. I was accepting the grab bag of possibilities - positive and negative. Luckily, so far with Steven, it has been almost completely positive. No big horrible events. But life is complicated. Somehow, the person that I wanted to spend time with more than anyone in the world, is the person I have allowed myself to see the least. Our work schedules are near opposites. Our hobbies don't so much complement each others hobbies. So instead of compromising, we have just allowed ourselves to do the things we need or want to do . . . without each other.

Steven went to Horseshoe Canyon Ranch in Arkansas this weekend to train for a competition. He really wanted me to go so badly. I said no. I just started work and I wanted to relax this long weekend at home - plus I didn't want to worry about having Davie out there. I regret my decision now. I miss him, and not just because he's gone this weekend.

Sometimes I wish we could pack up and move somewhere that neither of us know anyone else. All we would have is each other. Everything we would do would be together. The friends we would make would be OUR friends.

We have been so grateful that Steven could stay home with Davie, while I teach during the day, and then he can teach at night or on the weekends - but really I would rather have Davie in daycare than never see, or really enjoy, my husband. We have date night on Fridays, but it's not enough. So for now, I don't really have a solution - except to muster up the energy to do things he wants to do in the evenings. But it feels good to want to muster up the energy for him - to not be apathetic about our relationship. He is too good to not be with as much as possible.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Davie Lu's Birthday among other thoughts

I feel like a bad mother for not blogging about Davie's birthday - but hey, I've been busy. I also haven't had time to upload pics or video from her party. But I will . . . one day. It was a good one - except the birthday girl didn't plan her naps very well and was a tad cranky at her party. But she turned one anyway. She is big now. Crawling is SO 11 months old. I feel like she looks less and less like me everyday. She is her own little lady now, and I love her SO much it is hard to even think about.

Today was one of those bad teacher days - there was nothing much motivating the students to be good it seemed. My blood pressure pretty much stayed at the top of my head most of the afternoon. The sea of 5th graders seemed to swell up and suffocate me. But even when I sent a student to the office for being extremely disruptive - I found myself excited to see what he is like in 3 years. I imagined him coming back to my room from 8th grade and helping me to round up the new batch of 5th graders. I imagined him hugging me before he left for boarding school. These 5th graders have a long road ahead - but I want to be around to keep them on the road.

I love/hate teaching.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Second Day . . . What's the verdict?

Better.

Much better.

Still exhausting. But much better.

Even more exciting than that, we don't have kids again until Friday. We have professional development tomorrow and Thursday. So that's two days to regroup, and then after a short Friday, a whole weekend. I can handle that.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Oy.

"Oy" would some up my day today.

I can do the long hours. I can do teaching 5th graders. I could teach any subject and be okay. What I am not so sure I can do is manage 45 5th graders by myself in one room . . . and get anything done. Even the best kids are rambunctious in a set of 45. FORTY-FREAKING-FIVE!!! That is almost double what I had last year. No wonder my blood pressure was through the roof today.

In five years of first school days as a teacher, today was the worst. But I only NEARLY cried. I did all the right things. I was firm and consistent. They were still rowdy - or maybe they weren't . . . because when 45 kids are even whispering, it sounds like a roar.

After questioning why did I give up my cushy public school teaching job for this, I still know the answer . . . for now (::weak laughter::). I still have confidence that I CAN, in fact, do this. I can keep my cool and be okay. I can call every single parent everyday if I have to. I can.

Here is tomorrow's plan - be a raging hag. Haha, kind of. They walk in - neverending, like painted faces out of a clown car - I lay down the law, and the first person that breaks the law gets the consequence. Hopefully, a few examples will motivate the rest to be in control. And if not, then hopefully a ton of examples will motivate the rest to be in control. What breaks my heart is, I know I'm going to have a ton of examples before they start changing their habits (like blurting out things without waiting to be called on . . . sounds like no biggie, but once again FORTY-FIVE!). I'll keep you updated. You keep me in your prayers!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

how soon we forget . . .

This has been a long and cherished summer for me. My first summer with my daughter. It has felt like ages, in a good way. Even though I have spent the past two weeks thinking nonstop about getting ready for school, I can't believe it is starting. My muscles can't believe I'm moving nonstop instead of sitting in the floor with Davie. I have the first of the year lower body ache - from my toes to my thighs. They are moaning, "Why? Why are you moving so much and so fast?"

My classroom went from a forgotten empty depressing little room at the end of the hall, to a cheerful colorful organized classroom that my co-workers visit just to visit (the company's not bad either if I do say so myself). I will post before and after pictures soon. I hope the kids love it. And I hope it helps tell them about me - that I am committed to this school, I have invested and will invest in them.

I kind of feel like a first year teacher all over again. I don't really know what to expect, and what is expected of me. My position is kind of vague - could be summed up as "do what needs to be done". So far this means MATH. Because the 5th graders coming in will be very behind in math. But if somewhere down the line, they are doing better in math, I may bust out some Science and Social Studies. I will for sure be covering Test Prep for the end of the year. So although it is much less pressure than many positions - I don't feel prepared at all. And I ADORE feeling prepared.

Pray for me and my co-workers and my future students on Thursday. We are doing this crazy thing called a KIPP school!

Monday, August 10, 2009

All this from one trip!?

I got back from my trip in one piece . . . one very excited-to-see-my-family piece. I got Davie out of the car and carried her in to the baggage claim to wait for my bag. When we got back to the car and I was putting her in her seat, she flipped out! I got in beside her and she grabbed my shirt by the neck with both hands, and did not let go for the first 7 minutes of the ride home. "Don't ever - EVER leave me again!" her eyes said staring into mine. And I don't plan to. This one trip has turned my once independent, outgoing, happy-go-lucky girl into a clingy momma's girl. These days she does not let me out of her sight. Don't get me wrong - I'm flattered and all . . . I'm just not used to her crying when I leave the room.

In other news, my classroom is shaping up nicely. I'll post pictures when I'm done.

In even more news, I stubbed my toe to KINGDOM COME. I won't be surprised if there is some internal damage.

Oh yeah, and I dyed my hair dark brown.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

the sadness sets in

Tomorrow morning I leave for Orlando for 5 days. I have known this was coming for awhile now. But this morning it really set in . . . and I am sad. VERY sad. Cry when I think about it sad. I think it makes it worse that Davie has a cold all of a sudden.

Yesterday she wasn't quite herself and her nose was just running like a faucet. During the night she would wake up, but since she couldn't breathe well through her nose, the pacifier wasn't a good option (and it's usually the only option)! As I rocked her last night, I was sad that I would miss opportunities to soothe and comfort her in the coming week.

This morning we ran a few errands and the poor dear kept falling asleep in the car right before I'd have to get her out. As I carried her across the WalMart parking lot, I started crying just thinking about being away from her for so long! I expected to miss her. I expected to ache to hold her. I didn't expect to not be in control of my tears. I hope I'm not a big bag of waterworks all week. Lisa may be putting in a request for a new roommate.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Davie's Debuts

Every large milestone that Davie has come to has been with a bang. I think she kind of has this "Just because I CAN, doesn't mean I MUST" mentality. She saves up her skills, rehearses them in her head until it's just right and then BAM - she shows the world what she's got. It's really quite dramatic of her. She did this with rolling over, crawling, standing, and now . . . WALKING!!!

Davie has been standing like a pro for a month or more now. She just stands for days. Then she'll crank out a few squats to blast her quads, and then she'll stand again. She picks up her feet and readjusts them. She sways her hips back and forth. She just has amazing balance and grace with it. Many people have commented on how steady her standing is for a baby who isn't walking yet. Well, we really haven't pushed her to walk at all. We rarely hold her hands to walk her around the room, although it has happened (how can you resist sometimes). Well, I think Davie knew that I was going out of town in a few days and she'd better show me what she's got while I'm still around.

Today I took her with me to school to drop some things off, and we were hanging out in the office with Lisa, Ashley, and Marianne. Davie was standing a pace or so away from the desk where she saw something that she really thought she'd like to have. So she just stepped out and then together and grabbed the top of the desk. Lisa hit me in the arm and gasped. We all were like, "Did she - ? Was that - ? Did she just - !?" We all squealed and were talking about what a first step should consist of. Then she saw Ashley's keychain in her purse and fell in love, so I grabbed it and stood her up, and held it out at her eye level just out of her reach. She smiled and took 4 steps, not even wobbly, and took it from me, still standing. We squealed and screamed some more. She did this a few times more, taking more steps each time.

We met Daddy at the hospital cafeteria to visit Andy and Sarah Wilkins (and 10 month old Ramey of course). Sometimes Davie would just take a few steps on her own, on her way to nowhere in particular. Other times I would start out walking with her holding my hands, then she'd let go of one hand, then the other, and walk away. CRAZY!

My dad said usually a baby takes their first step, you freak out, and then they don't do it again for 2 or more weeks. I swear Davie has been finetuning the skill in her crib at night while the world is sleeping. I love the little thing. She'll probably be running laps around her grandparents when I get back from Orlando next weekend!

I'll try to get video soon!!!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Who IS Davie Charles?!

I could write a post about all the cute things Davie does, or the new tricks she has learned, but I'd rather talk about who she is turning out to be (in her short life so far).

When I was pregnant, I daydreamed about who she was in there. I didn't think about all the milestones she would pass and how giddy I would be at each one - I wondered about her personality. It has been complete bliss to watch her delightful characteristics unfold each day.

In one word, I would describe Davie Lucille Charles as a "delight". That's just what she is. She will snatch your heart from its chest with a smile, or a game of Peekaboo initiated by her, or with her baby elephant crawl, or with a new dance move she has mastered. She sees good in everyone. She plays a little hard to get . . . she'll crawl up to a stranger when they don't notice her, but as soon as they reach out to her, she'll crawl away smiling. She sings when it's quiet, and waits on tiptoes at the piano until I come to open it so she can play. She is nimble and strong. She has always been so strong physically - since the day she was born. She would straighten up and stretch that neck around. She has balance and grace. Even when she was first starting to stand, she amazed me with her ability to sit gently down when she got tired of standing. Her fingers do her will. It's astounding to watch her work to open a rather tricky flip phone. She holds it just so in both palms, digs her thumbs between the two parts, and pries it open. For months now, she has been ahead of me on turning pages when we are reading, and flipping up any flaps in her favorite books. She's a woman who knows what she wants and is tenacious about acquiring it - whether that is another child's pacifier, a little space from her big boisterous cousins, or climbing all the stairs by herself (but closely supervised) at great grandma's house.

She is starting to show a shy side, not in a frightened way as much as in a flirtatious way. I think the difference is the perma-smile as she shoves her head into mommy or daddy's side, usually still gazing at her potential wooer. She loves to sleep, if she's sleepy. There's no fighting it. She knows what she needs, and she knows that we will be back for her when she wakes up. She gets clumsy when she's tired - a giant tell for a baby so graceful. She also gets snuggly and a little restless all at the same time. More than once now, she has urged to be out of my arms and when I put her down she crawled to her crib and stood up holding on to the bars like, "Mom, I love you and all, but I just need some alone time now." Believe me child, I understand that.

The funny thing is when I was pregnant I was always wondering what parts would be like me and what parts would be like Steven . . . but at this point, I don't even think like that. She is my Dizzy Lu - whatever she got from us, and what she didn't, it's all DELIGHTFUL.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

the hills are alive with the sound of harry

Yesterday was a truly delightful day. My friend Emery offered to watch Davie so I could go have a little Mother's Day Out. God bless her servant's heart! So I dropped Davie off to play with baby Myer and eventually Ezra, and I walked out the door into the humming meadows. I headed straight to Harkins Theatre and purchased one ticket for Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. I sat in the cool darkness blissfully alone and enjoyed the quiet before the previews. Needless to say, the movie was AMAZING. I walked out of the theatre in a haze of joy. I drove myself to Cuppies and Joe to visit some friends and purchase some "thank you" cupcakes for the Clark family. Then somehow my car found it's way in the parking lot of We Knead You, my favorite massage place on Classen. I spent the best $30 of my life getting reflexology from the nimblest old chinese lady (she crawled up on my back even)! By the time I went to pick up Davie I had been restored.

I just really needed a day to myself - to not be responsible, or considerate of another human being. I like, no, NEED alone time . . . and have not had a whole lot of that this summer.

So, thank you Emery and the Clark family for giving me some much needed Kinsey time. Davie had a wonderful time at the Clark household chasing Ezra up and down the hall, and trying to snatch out Myer's GORGEOUS eyes to keep for her own.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Got It

I had my job interview at KIPP today. It went splendidly . . . and they offered me the job! The position has changed for the better also. Instead of just managing the computer lab, I would be teaching a class. This class is basically a math reinforcement session. So once again, it is pretty much paperless - no grading papers after school, no planning elaborate lessons. Yet I get to work with some great kids that NEED me.

This opportunity may also enable Steven to go back to school!! And still watch our daughter!!!

Hurrah! Hurray! Hurroo!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

no really, she eats . . .

So, this little rascal of mine has been very predictable pretty much since birth.  That's why when I dropped her off with my sister the other day, I told her basically, "I know two things.  She will sleep about 2 hours pretty soon.  And you can try to feed her, but she will NOT eat anything but a bottle."  Imagine my surprise when three hours later I get a text message saying, "Good news and bad news.  No sleep.  She LOVES carrots and bananas."  What?!  

Davie decided she doesn't need as much sleep in the day for awhile.  This makes me sad.  I liked knowing exactly when and how long she was going to be out.  Maybe it's a phase (fingers crossed).  

I give all the glory to my sister for getting her to eat though!  I think it was a combination of her carefree attitude, a new place, and freedom.  She had Davie sitting in the floor by the big window.  She let Davie play with the food.  Just play and play.  Then she slipped some in her mouth . . . after many denials from Davie.  Then she decided she liked it, and lapped it up!  Weird.  So I tried it myself the other day . . . and it didn't work so well.  She was like, "I know you!  You always get mad-faced and try to shove gross things in my mouth.  Well, NOT TODAY!!!"  So I busted out the little kiddie Yogurt cups.  Davie thought it was a cup to drink out of - which she ADORES.  So I let her try to drink out of it.  Then I scooped some yogurt up to the top of the cup and in to her mouth.  Then slowly got rid of the cup and just fed her with a spoon.  And get this, for the past 4 meals she has eaten with no qualms!

It's so nice to figure out little tricks that work for you and your kid.  Thank you sister!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

never in my life

I have never been able to describe how I write songs before.  They just kind of occur, is what I always chalked it up to.  But recently, my long time friend Leanne (teen service librarian at the Moore Public Library) asked me to come and do a songwriting workshop for the teen summer reading program.  I accepted readily, before really thinking what this entailed.  This is not just a coffeeshop or a performance.  I have to tell them how to do it . . . or at least how I do it.  

So finally last night I sat down and really thought through the process.  I know it is different for everyone, so I decided to tell them my usual routine, a few varieties I have heard of, some helpful hints, tools, and some basics.  It was really fun to plan it all out!  I hope it is understandable for them.  We will see.  It is happening in less than an hour.  Anyways, I think if nothing else comes of it - it was good for me to step back and look at this process.  Hopefully, I can manipulate it to my will and write a trillion great songs!!!  

Monday, June 22, 2009

decisions, schmesicions.

I hate the pressure of making decisions.  If you've ever been shopping with me, you can back me on this.  I would love to wear a uniform everyday - one more thing I don't have to decide.  Anyways, I potentially have yet another difficult decision to make.  

I have been all squared away to teach Geometry and Algebra at PC West High School this fall.  I have been excited and anxious to get back into teaching high school and start what I hoped would be a long term career there.  I have dreams beyond that also that I wrote into this story.  After teaching there a year or two, I would start taking classes for my Master's and be a part of revolutionizes what needs to be revolutionized in public education.  

However, today Lisa (my fellow-teaching BFFI) calls me and tells me they have a position she wants me to fill at her school.  She works at KIPP Reach College Prep in OKC.  They teach inner city 5th-8th graders.  The position is attractive for many reasons - experience with the demographic, knowledge gained under AMAZING professional development, big pay increase, and working with my best friend of course!  Also, Lisa mentioned a big potential to split a teaching position in the future (for babies and school).  The position is to manage the computer lab, guide students through their personalized online tutorials, and tutor one on one or in small groups when needed.  That means no papers to grade, and no lessons to plan, and still getting to foster relationships with students.  The cons are long hours (7:15am - 5:00pm), it's not high school, and it's not math.  

So, what do I do (assuming I had my choice to take the KIPP position)?  They are such different options!  Oy.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

We're Back.

We got back yesterday evening.  We broke the trip home into two days . . . but I still feel as tired as if we had drove all night.  I fear for Davie's well being.  I am scatterbrained and irritable.  She is too.  So far we don't like each other much this morning . . . I'm hoping for better after we both take a good nap.  We'll see.

In other news, Davie can clap - a soundless clap, but a clap no less.

So much to do today and this week.  One of the reasons I don't like vacations.  

Man, I sound negative today.  Sorry.

Friday, June 12, 2009

She Eats! She Dances! She Stands?

So, after a couple weeks of trying to shove a spoonful of baby food in Davie's mouth when she wasn't looking, I gave up.  I just kept giving her those starchy baby crunchies that she could put in her own mouth . . . and then waking up with a starving baby multiple times a night.  After a few nights of that I started putting some rice cereal in her last bottle, and that helped her sleep at night.  But I worried about the nutrition she was getting.  Anyways, while on this Colorado trip of ours, I decided to play it cool but keep offering some sort of food in a spoon just in case it was a phase.  Yesterday for the first time in weeks, the child opened her mouth for the spoon!  BREAKTHROUGH!  I just had her in my lap.  I gave her a Nilla Wafer first (she loves em!  who doesn't?) and then offered the spoon of oatmeal.  She ate the whole bowl.  WEEEEE!  So for dinner we tried some prunes.  I remembered she liked them from back in the day.  Also, ate the whole bowl.  So I don't know if it was a phase, or if I just did things differently, like offer her something to munch on first, and feed her while she was sitting in my lap.  Who knows.  But I'm happy.  She slept pretty good last night.

In other even more exciting news, Davie can bust a move!  It started last week.  You sing her a song or do any kind of beat with your mouth, and she gets down and funky.  She bobs up and down, and then she swings her shoulders back and forth and shimmies her little baby body.  It is officially my favorite thing.  

She is also trying to stand on her own.  She'll pull up and then slowly let go, wait a few seconds and then gracefully sit down.  She'll be walking in no time.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

a hard day's night

Last night around 8:30pm, we pulled out of OKC on the road to Golden, Colorado.  Steven took the first and last shifts.  I only took a 2 hour one in the middle.  Not that I slept much when I wasn't driving . . . but anyways.  Davie slept the whole way - as planned.  We pulled into Golden this morning between 6 and 7am (who can remember after all that).  It wasn't until 10 or so that Davie took a nap - AND SO DID WE!  

It doesn't really feel like a super special day because of all this exhaustion, but on this day exactly 4 years ago, Steven and I wed in holy matrimony.  It is funny to think back to that exact day and remember how I felt about him, and thinking I know him so well and love him so much, I can't imagine that increasing.  Laughable.  I feel exponentially more intense about this man today than I did 4 years ago.  We have changed together, grown together - been through life changing things, good and bad.  It makes my heart break for marriages that end after years and years together - AND CHILDREN!  Goodness gracious, how hard that must be.  I love Steven as so many more things than a spouse . . . or maybe it's that "spouse" encompass all of those things.  

For now, we are having a laidback evening staying with some guy friends in Golden.  Maybe sometime this week, we can carve out some time to be together and think about this day 4 years ago.  

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

finger foods

Thank you for the input everyone!  I went to the store today and picked up a few different things for Davie - Cheerios, diced fruit and veggies, grated cheese, noodles, Nilla wafers, etc.  So far the girl seems to dig crunchy, starchy things.  I let her have at it this afternoon, and she didn't end up drinking as much milk as usual . . . I hope this is a sign that she is getting the calories she needs to sleep through the night!  She definitely enjoyed eating more today, but when I look at how much baby jar food she could eat, compared to a few cheerio sized things, I wonder how it will compare in filling her belly.  

It seems like kids go through phases where all they will eat is bread, or all they will eat is Vienna sausages, or what have you.  They survive.  I'm going to try to stop stressing about it, and just enjoy her . . . it's so hard to release the worrying though!

Speaking of worrying - we are off to Golden, Colorado tomorrow evening.  Our first big road trip with Davie.  We are driving through the night on the way there so she will sleep.  Wish us luck!

Monday, June 8, 2009

baby food frustrations

When Davie was 5 months we started giving her rice cereal, etc.  She loved it.  Lately she is getting more and more disinterested with baby food.  I have to distract her with a toy and then put it in her already open mouth.  It is wildly frustrating to me.  I know she is hungry because she takes a big bottle after I try to feed her . . . I've also tried feeding her in the middle of a bottle and after a bottle . . . no real difference.  

The past few nights she has been waking up every 2-3 hours and been really hungry.  Last night she ate 3 times between 11am and 5 am.  I'm tired.  

I've read in a few forums that around 9 months some kids decide that baby food is not fun anymore.  They want to feed themselves.  Davie does enjoy feeding herself those little crunchies and crackers they make for this stage.  So we may try some more of that.  I also just bought some of those mesh bag self-feeders.  Did your kids go through a phase like this?  

I would love it if she would sleep through the night again.  That would make my week.  

Saturday, June 6, 2009

soooo not a housewife

well.  i know now.  i always wondered if i would want to be a stay-at-home mom or a working mom, and knew i would have to experience both to really know.  the verdict is working mom all the way.  

i love my child with everything in me.  i want to spend time with her and play with her and care for her.  but not having anything else to occupy my time, makes my priorities a tad lax.  when i was teaching during the school year, even after an immensely taxing day, i would still come home and gladly feed and bathe and read and put my baby to bed and wake up with her if she needed me to.  it was work, but it was different and refreshing work.  now that it is all day everyday, i get exhausted of doing the same thing and caring for her 24/7.  steven has been working his patooty off lately and has rarely been able to be home.  

thankfully, my precious mother-in-law is watching davie all day today.  i hardly know what to do with myself.  

all this to say that for me, i am the best version of myself when i am working.  i know how to divide my time and balance everything - because i have to.  right now i am an unproductive sloth.  

Saturday, May 30, 2009

The Past Two Weeks




So much has happened since I last posted.  Davie is crawling like the wind.  My favorite is when she gets one foot on the ground and the other knee, and kind of caveman's her way around.  She is officially into everything.  So today I went and bought a couple of new outlet covers - the ones where when you take the cord out, a little thing slides over the opening.  Oh yeah, she can totally pull things out of the outlet now.  Yikes.  I also got a couple of cabinet locks.  She is getting more and more personality everyday, and along with it, she's getting more vocal.  The good news is she is rarely bored.  The bad news is she's starting to get picky.  

We took her to her 9 month check up yesterday.  She's doing great, although the only thing that seems to be growing very quickly is her little noggin.  I have no idea how to get her to drink (instead of the current chewing) from a sippy cup.  We have every brand of sippy cup known to man!  Any tips?

Anyways, she's pulling up on everything.  She loves it.  She also likes to crawl into tiny, thin spaces and then freak out when she gets stuck.  But she ALWAYS takes the narrow road!  A sign of things to come perhaps?!  Who knows.  

We went to Babies'R'Us today to get some baby safe things.  I have a habit (that will soon need breaking) of picking up toys and giving them to Davie to see what she does.  If she goes for the packaging instead of the toy (which she always does) then I know it's not necessary.  Well today I saw this adorable Lamaze brand toy (I LOVE LAMAZE TOYS!).  A big octopus with legs that you can squeeze and they have some kind of little inflatable wind instrumenty noise, all making a different tone.  She BEAMED!  She just stared at it and then at me and then at it and then at me, smiling all the while.  She grabbed it up tight, and so I had to get it.  It is her new bud.  

Here's some pics.


Thursday, May 21, 2009

Pictures of Dizzy Lu



This is my favorite picture of Davie.  I'm going to put this one in my Mother's Day locket.




















Bathtime.  Makeshift baby holder out of our hamper . . . still slippery though.













She loves to swim!  She discovered the faucet though, and it scares the bejeebies out of me that she might cut her head on it.  Do they make faucet covers?

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Daily Dose of Baby Love

Davie and I have a little ritual.  When she is calming down for a nap or especially for bedtime, I hold her standing right by her crib.  We don't rock or bounce.  We just stand there, fairly still, maybe swaying a little bit.  She smashes the side of her head up against my face, and I smooch-smooch-smooch her temple.  (I think her Nanna started this one weekend and it caught on.)  At first I thought it was something that I made happen . . . but now I believe she wants/needs it.  It is soothing for both of us.  Then I lay her down and usually that is that.  

I love her.  

Sunday, May 10, 2009

The Mother of Mothers

For my sisters and I, Mother's Day is everyday in our hearts.  We treasure her and what she has done for her daughters.  We talk about her often and think about her constantly.  I'm sure it wasn't always this way.  Kids can be pretty egocentric.  

We continue not to deny her being a mother, and give her many chances to do our bidding selflessly.  She watches our children whenever possible.  She rearranges her schedule to be our companion/date when husband's are unavailable.  She cooks and cleans up when we frequent her table for dinner.  

My mother always listened to me with great interest.  She never made me feel like I was talking too much or about silly things that didn't matter (this meant a lot to a long-winded story-telling little girl).  She made me feel like I mattered, not just as her own child, but as a person in this world.  I remember knowing even as a young girl that my mom trusted me.  She was a guide, not my decision-maker.  

When I was 9 years old, I decided I wanted to be in a pageant.  Looking back on this pageant is what really shows me how unique my mom was in her parenting style.  All the little girls were like trained ponies, blowing kisses to the audience robotically, spitting out rehearsed answers to interview questions involving "world peace" or " becoming a doctor", etc.  I, however, got to be a 9 year old.  I walked like a 9 year old.  I smiled like a 9 year old.  I dressed like a 9 year old, and most importantly I talked like a 9 year old.  Among all the future doctors and lawyers, I was the only one that admitted that I would like to be an auto mechanic or (in a related field) a hairstylist.  I guess this was refreshing to the judges because I won that pageant.  I know being Miss Pre-Teen Oklahoma is not a big deal any more when you are 26, but the fact that my mom trusted me enough to follow my 9 year old instincts, and then I won . . . that event has done wonders for my self-confidence.  

My mom is my biggest fan.  I think more than anyone in this world, she enjoys my voice and my music.  She is always trying to get me to do more with it.  In a way, she has some ownership in my music.  Hereditarily, my dad gave me some talent . . . my mom did too, but she put in the long hours.  One of the only places in my childhood where I saw my mom demand something of us was in our musical ventures.  She MADE all of us sit down at the piano and learn three-part harmony even as little bitty girls and sing in front of the church in our matching dresses my grandmother made us.  (This also leads to the other demand - sponge-rolling our hair the night before a performance!!)  I am SOOO thankful that she did this for us (not the sponge-rolling).  

The best testament to my mother is the mothers she has raised in me and my sisters.  We will forever try to be the kind of mother to our children that she was to us - giving our children freedom to grow and trust themselves, giving our children the tools they will need or want (by force if necessary), listening to them no matter what.  I see my older sisters already doing these things so naturally with their children already, and it makes me love my mother even more.

Momma, I am so proud to see you finally carving out some time and space just for you recently.  More than the little and big favors we may need from you, we need you to take care of YOU.  We are going to need you around for a long time.  I love you so much.  You are the easiest person to be around, and I will forever sing your praises to my children, among others. 

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

summa-time and the livin' is easy!

"your daddy's rich and your momma's good-lookin!"

we need to make this lullaby (a regular in davie's repertoire) come true for this summer.  someway.  somehow.

summer is coming!  i am getting so antsy, just waiting for my freedom!  i want to be at the lake as much as humanly possible, which means bathing suit, which means, "we's got woik to do!"  i might like to be a shade or two bronzer than my current milky hue.  i might like to have a few things toned up.  i might like to have a flattering new bathing suit.  

i feel like these things require a little bit of extra money though.  extra money that steven and i are trying to find in our regular monthly budget (to put in savings).  however, i do have a birthday coming up this saturday.  

now for the conundrum - should i be a good girl and put my birthday money into savings?  (it sounds un-fun, but is actually QUITE fulfilling) OR do i indulge (understanding that birthday's only come once a year) and get myself ready for the best summer yet?

it sounds like i've already decided . . .

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Been Awhile

Some updates:

- I took the position at Putnam City West.  Phew.  I'm relieved and excited.

- Davie has her second tooth . . . well kind of, we're still in the process.

- A couple of days ago, I glanced over and Davie was standing up at her little piano.  Luckily, just hours before Steven and I lowered her crib frame because I said, "Any day now, she is going to pull herself up and out of this crib."

- Davie's increasing mobility seems to be causing some issues in the evening (not to mention diaper-changes!) She doesn't seem to want to stop moving, especially when she desperately wants and needs to wind down, but can't seem to make the connection that it means ceasing movement.

Must go!  The baby cries yet again!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Tent camping with an 8 month old.

This weekend the stars aligned for a perfect weekend to go camping.  These stars included the "perfect weather for sleeping outside" star, the "missed my husband enough to follow him into the Sahara" star, the "baby has been pretty happy and healthy" star, and the "i can muster up the energy to do this" star.  I was nervous about tent camping with an infant . . . since I'm not really keen on tent camping anyway.  

It turned out alright.  The tent was roomy and we set it up a ways away from the group and the campfire.  I made her a little pallet in the corner of the tent, opened the vents, and patted her to sleep.  When I officially went to bed around midnight, she was still fast asleep.  I slept in the middle of the tent between Steven and Davie.  The next morning at 6am when I woke up (even before Davie), Steven said, "Well, I guess she slept alright last night.  She never even woke up." . . . Steven is obviously a VERY heavy sleeper.  She woke up 4 or 5 times actually.  One of the times as I was desperately trying to find her pacifier and get it in her mouth before she woke up the whole campground, Steven starts nudging me repeatedly, like "Fix her.  Fix her."  Geez!  Eventually I started sleeping (or slipping in and out of consciousness out of anxiety) with the pacifier in my hand ready to insert at the slightest fuss.  

Anyway, I suppose she did do alright - better than I did for sure.  The next day we went out to the climbing area and as soon as I started to getting extremely frustrated (I could feel the hives arising from my skin), Steven swept in and slapped on the baby sling and carried her around for awhile so I could have some social interaction and a break from baby duty.  It was a good day.  A good weekend.  However, it made Steven and I both tired at the same time which is always complicated when you are taking care of a baby.  But we did alright.  One point for the Charles family!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Secret (in our case)

Over the last few days I've discovered THE secret to getting my child to sleep without a fuss - make sure her belly is full.  That's it.  Even if I've fed her within the last couple of hours, if I lay her down with a pacifier and blanket and bunny and rock her or sing to her or any of this . . . she will cry and cry.  But if I feed her again, she'll stay awake for awhile after I lay her down, she'll coo to herself for awhile and then put herself to sleep.  

It makes sense.  I like to go to sleep on a full belly too.  

In other news, Davie has also weaned herself from her sleep sack.  She is also a piano prodigy - my mom has this little piano at her house (that is now at OUR house) and Davie will sit and play at that thing for HOURS, and then cry when you take her away from it.  

Well - I have been offered a job at PC West High School.  I am 90% sure I am going to take it.  Council Road Baptist Church has a day care and it's just down the street.  Do you know how EXPENSIVE day care is?!?!  Holy geez.  There is a big part of me that would like to take a year to spend with my child full-time, but it's just not probable for us.  It's just not.  Good thing I like work.  It makes it a bit easier.  

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Her gums are swollen with teeth, and I am swollen with pride!

The night before last Davie slept like a newborn . . . which is to say, not very good.  She acted like she was starving that evening and through the night, so we thought she was going through a growth spurt (which I still haven't completely ruled out since she had 37 ounces in the last 24 hours).  The next day her Mother's Day Out report said she did not take a single nap.  WHAT?!  When I came home, Steven said, "Momma- look in my mouth . . ." speaking for Davie of course.  There I saw one little tooth bud rising from her bottom gums.  I was SO proud.  I wanted to throw her a party and invite everyone we know.  I was not expecting this pride.  

I was, however, expecting the symptoms - sleeplessness, chewing, fussiness, etc.  She is a rollercoaster of emotions.  One moment she is beaming with pride, smiling ear to ear to show off her ivory new accessory.  The next she is throwing a fit and can't get comfortable.  I think the eating is a coping mechanism.  Eating solves all life's problems for her right now.  I'm glad, because I had heard sometimes when a baby is cutting a tooth, eating causes them discomfort.  And she was already starting to look a little gaunt from last weekend's stomach virus.  

Last night she woke up every hour until 3am.  I fed her and then she slept until 6:30am.  It's rough when you get used to sleeping through the night and suddenly have a few of those thrown at ya.  (I used to think people were dumb for saying sleeplessness in your 3rd trimester gets you ready for sleepless nights coming up when baby is here . . . I thought, "Just let me sleep, and I'll deal with that when it comes."  But I think it's true.  You do get used to it.  Still exhausted of course, but used to it.)

We got some of those teething tablets, which I would have NEVER in a million years found on my own at Walmart where they keep the estrogen pills!  Those seem to be working wonders too (the teething tablets, not the estrogen).  I can't seem to figure out what she wants to chew on.  Sometimes she will chew with glee on something hard like a plastic cup, but other times she screams in pain.  Sometimes she will chew on something soft like her sippy cup spout, other times it's not good enough for her.  We also got some teething biscuits for her to munch on.  They are not a huge hit yet.  So far she has offered both her pieces to Scout, and Scout gently obliged.

She does have diarrhea, but I don't know if that's from the teething or her sudden intake of food!  Anyways, I am so proud of the little tyke . . . but I must say I will miss her giant toothless grin.  

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Career Options

We've come to the point in the school year where I have two handfuls of options up in the air waiting for one of them to fall in my lap and say, "I choose you, Kinsey Charles!"

I was pretty convinced this year I had it all figured out.  I was going to find me a high school teaching position.  Now, for many reasons, Steven is looking for a new full-time position.  This changes everything.  Thus far, Steven has been working from home while I am working at school.  No need to worry about finding childcare while earning two incomes.  Since we don't know where Steven will end up or what schedule he will be on, I don't really know what to pursue either.  What if (and most likely this will happen) we both have normal 40 hour a week day jobs?  What will we do with our child?!  I know people deal with this all the time, but we don't.  

What do you guys do?

Sunday, April 12, 2009

The Horseshoe Curse of the Baby

This weekend we thought it would be fun to go to a favorite spot of ours in Arkansas called Horseshoe Canyon Ranch.  It's got great cabins, climbing, and hiking.  Very family-friendly.  We were meeting up with some friends for Easter weekend.  

I'm beginning to think Horseshoe doesn't like my child though.  Last time we were there, Davie was 4 months old.  This was the time that creepy man kept coming into our cabin and made me think he was going to stab us or steal us.  This time around Davie got her first stomach virus.  

She started throwing up in the car on the way there.  We had hoped she was just car sick though.  But no, she would throw up every few hours, and she also had diarrhea and a fever.  But the girl is a trooper.  In between her little bouts, she would smile this sad little grin.  We called the doctor early Saturday morning and got some tips.  It was still a rough day and night and another day and still is a little rough.  Steven was of course amazingly helpful and willing to do whatever needed to happen.  

I was GLUED to this child all weekend.  I could not help myself.  Even when Steven would tell me he wanted to take the next shift, or watch her while I went outside for awhile, I couldn't detach myself.  Last night I hardly slept, even when she did, I would stare through the mesh on her playpen to make sure she was alright.  I was attached to that child the moment I knew she existed.  They say fathers become fathers when the baby is here, mothers become mothers when they find out they are pregnant.  Of course, I have grown more and more attached to Davie as I learn more about her.  I cannot explain a mother's fierceness for her child.  (I'm not discriminating against fathers or anything, just speaking from my own experience.)  

This is what gives me hope in a good God - God is a mother, a father, a parent.  I believe that God wants good things so FIERCELY for his child, and perhaps like us, sometimes CANNOT make those things happen (yes I know that in Oklahoma I could get strung up for this statement) . . . but can just hold us through them, letting us puke all over his shoulders, and he still holds us tighter until we are calm.  What if he cries as he is holding us as we cry, wishing with everything in him that he could just wipe away the hurt?  What if he feels helpless?  I don't know a lot of theology.  But I would rather believe in goodness than power . . . maybe because those kinds of humans are the best ones I know.  Maybe because that's the type of mother I try to be, and want a Parent who is the same way.   

Just some thoughts today.



Saturday, April 4, 2009

Career Predicament

I'm in a predicament.  I am not so sure what to pursue for next year.  This year I am teaching 4th grade math (6 classes per day).  I grade 120+ papers almost every day (usually night).  If I had to check in and check out, I would probably log 12 hours a day.  This was un-fun as a non-mother . . . but it is nearly undoable as a mother.  

The position I am on schedule for next fall is 1/2 day PreK teacher (WHAT?!) and 1/2 day Title I Math tutor.  I was excited about this because it would mean not having to take my work home with me in the evening.  However, the more I think about it, the more panic it brings on.  I'm not a PreK teacher.  I'm not even a 4th grade teacher.  Three years ago, I realized high school is the one for me.  Ever since then, one thing or another has kept me from teaching high school.  But I've always thought I'd eventually go back.  

Now, I am at a crossroads.  Do I take the job that may or may not allow me to spend more time with my family, or do I pursue the career that I want and make it work?  

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Found: One Maid & One Father's Day Out

Thank you guys for your input on the childcare situation!  I will look into First Southern.  I did find an opening at Bethany First Church of the Nazarene for April and May.  Hallelu!  They do Wednesdays and Fridays, 9:30 - 3:00, and it's $15 a day.  Not bad!  Those are also great days for Steven to be free.  He teaches Wednesday nights, and usually is getting ready for a trip on Fridays.  

We are also going to pay his sister (who lives across the street) to clean our house once or twice a week.  Phew!  She is all things domestic, so I feel safe with our house is in her hands.  

I don't think Steven likes the fact that we are outsourcing things that "we should be doing", but yikes!  If we need some temporary help to get stress levels down, then I'm all about it.  No shame!  

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Needed: One Maid & One Father's Day Out Program

It has happened.  Steven and I have had it up to here (I'm holding my arm way up in the air) with the things at the bottom of our lists waiting and waiting to be checked off.  Poor Steven.  He has to work from home during the day, which equals not doing anything at all.  He doesn't even have an office here.  He has a desk - which is the catch-all-clutter table -  in the middle of the house.  Obviously, he doesn't use it.  I'm sure as soon as he sits down to right an e-mail to a client, Davie lets him know she's still around. 

Today we talked about our options.  We can no longer rely solely on family members to watch Davie every once in awhile.  So many times something happens, like an illness or something, where plans fall through.  We have decided to hire someone to clean our house twice a week.  A good cleaning to make us all feel better about life.  We've also decided to start looking for a good Mother's Day Out program at a nearby church.  We may not be able to get into that until August of this year though.  Anyone know of any programs around South OKC?  I was looking into Bethany First Church of the Nazarene (I have a friend who is a youth minister there).  

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Davie the She-Devil

Yowza!  What is up with my child?!  In two days, she went from being happy, go-lucky, Miss Independent (even though she had a diaper rash) to being Miss Don't Even Look Away From Me Or I'll Sob With Real Tears.  

The worst is not having any idea what is causing this.  It could be any number of things.  She could be sick, or her diaper rash is bothering her, or she is teething, or she's growing, or her temperament is just changing.  No clue.  OR she could be really hungry, or really tired, and I'm not getting to these needs quickly enough.  

I'm going to try to get Steven to journal (God help us) how she does during the day (and also make sure she is sticking to somewhat of a routine.  

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Diaper Rash Update

I cried today.  Just a couple of tears shed . . . for my child's bottom.  She was just so upset, and I changed her diaper and saw the horror of her little sores and then we were both crying.  

Here's the thing.  This little angel has never had diaper rash.  Not once since she was born until this last week.  I envisioned diaper rash to look like a rash, not the holocaust on skin.  Okay, I'm probably exaggerating, but it's really bad and blistery.  I called the doctor yesterday and the nurse said to put her in some warm water (only) for 10-15 minutes and let her play around, and then take her out and use a warm hair dryer for a bit, and then use some neosporin or A&D.  I don't know how long it's supposed to take to get better though.

I did use some Lotrimin (like my sister did with her child), but the next diaper some of her bumps turned white and I didn't know if that was good or bad, but it was scary so I didn't use it again.  

She is so sad.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Diaper Rash

I have absolutely adored being on break.  I'm past the halfway point now though, and I'm dreading going back.  I have had so much fun with Davie.  The only thing that would've made this time better is if Steven wasn't gone for so long.  

Question:  Davie has her first REALLY bad diaper rash.  Probably from new fruits in her diet.  Butt Paste ain't doin' squat.  Anyone have any new ideas?

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Two nights down, Seven to go.

Okay, we've got two nights under our belt.  They were both good ones.  She slept from 8pm-7:30am without needing me or anyone else.  Beautiful.  

Yesterday, my mom and I went in to Tulsa.  I got a magnificent stroller on sale for nearly half off at Babies R Us.  I have been in want of a new stroller.  The one we have fits the car seat, but it is very bulky and hard to get open and closed.  I wanted something that would be easy to throw in the car and get out really quickly if we needed to run into the mall or something.  Her car seat is getting SO heavy now, so I want to carry it as little as possible.  Anyways, we looked and looked and looked.  Finally we found one . . . just one item . . . that was left on sale.  It was perfect.  It has custom reclining positions, one hand opening and closing (really, we tested it ourselves), and it's tall enough that you don't have to break your back pushing it.  It also folds up nice and skinny.  

I also got Davie some wider neck bottles so she can learn to hold it herself.  She always starts out by grabbing it and pulling it to her mouth but then she gets so relaxed she lets go.  Oh well.  
Davie has been a true angel the past few days.  My parents are in love with her.  My dad can hardly be a foot from her if they are in the same house.  I am a lucky, lucky mom.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Sleep Sack to the Rescue!

A REVELATION!!!  I had a theory last night.  Let me explain.

A few days ago, we took Davie out of the swaddler and put her in a little 0-6 month sleep sack so she could sleep on her tummy.  She did AMAZING for those first two nights, and we were so excited for her.  I washed the sleep sack and it got a little snug so I went to buy a 6-12 month one, which is very roomy.  The next couple nights that she wore that one she did TERRIBLE.  I mean, waking up once every 1-2 hours.  The night before last was awful.  That was also the last night for Steven to be home.  Yesterday Davie and I packed up to meet my parents at the lakehouse.  

I was really nervous about Davie and I being on one end of the house by ourselves, and her sleeping in a new place, and doing so bad the nights before.  I put her in her smaller sleep sack and she went to sleep so easily . . . without a pacifier even.  So weird.  She slept the whole night through without fussing.  I, however, did not sleep so soundly.  Poppa and I both went in to check on her multiple times.  But I'm just so glad to figure this little secret out!!!  She wants to be cozy.  

Friday, March 13, 2009

The End of my Wits

Oy.  I am at my wit's end with this child at night.  Last night she woke up every hour . . . for seemingly no reason.  Steven leaves for the Wichitas tonight and won't be back for 9 days (more importantly, 9 nights!)  I'm going to have to buckle down and let her do some crying it out at night.  This morning she is as happy as a little clam - a little clam who doesn't let her parents sleep for more than 45 minutes at a time.  

Let me tell you some stupid things I've done this week (probably from lack of sleep).

- bought my lunch at the Taco Mayo drive thru, drove all the way back to school, went in the building, and realized I paid for it and left . . . I had to drive all the way back and explain that I was the crazy person who left without my meal

- nearly ran a red light, after I had already stopped for it.  i think i hallucinated and thought it turned green, and steven had to stop me

- forgotten many, many, many things that i had heard just an hour or so before

I don't think good sleep is in the stars for me this week.  I love this little gal.  She is a whole lot cuter to me in the daylight then she is when it's dark out.  Just saying.