Thursday, November 20, 2008

Orthodontically in Arkansas

Just a quick note to say that I love Arkansas as much as the next person. Okay, that's a lie- I do love it here, but if the next person is, say, for example, my spouse, I lack the passion one associates with one who was born here. Because everything here is named after the primary state university's football team and although this is a wonderful place to live and raise a family and all of that, I just think that's a little odd. There is (I promise) a chain of pizza places called Jim's Ra*zorback Pizza. Since I have issues with food prepared in gas stations I have never personally eaten any of that pizza, but it's a local dining option nonetheless. There are Razorback bookstores (Razo*rBooks), schools of Razorback hair design, radio stations with the call letters HOGZ. You can (and, again, I promise) buy platinum, gold, silver and even diamond studded razorback jewelry at local jewelry stores. What I'm saying is there are times I'll be driving and around and I start to laugh out loud thinking of what Rob suggested one afternoon as we drove past a brightly colored mural of a razorback frolicking on a football field painted on the side of a gas station/laundromat. He looked at it and said "It brings me a lot of joy to know that if a natural disaster like Pompeii ever happens here and Fayetteville is frozen under volcanic ash that archaeologists thousands of years in the future will say things like the 'people of this city worshiped the wild mountain pig.'" In reality? That's totally what they would say.
As I was coming home to SmallTown yesterday after a trip to Fayetteville, I was troubled when I noticed yet another thing that tried to cleverly combine the name razorback with the services they were offering. There is (once again, I am not in any way making this up) a website for an orthodontic practice called Razorbra* I have two primary thoughts on this: 1.) the unfortunate orthodontists in this practice must have hired the marketing people who do Oklahoma's advertising and 2.) these marketing people must have never had braces to think that people who did at one time have braces are driving by their billboards without cringing a little. Excessive, that's what all this "razor-worship" is.

*I have just had one more thought- I typed this up without first checking to see that this practice is in no way associated with my cousin Adam, who is smart and funny as well as an orthodontist in Arkansas. If it is, please have Kim e-mail me, and I'll take this post down...
Edited to add- as near as I can tell from the website, my cousin is not in any way associated with this practice, so let's feel free to think there's a problem here.

Friday, October 31, 2008

The Hypochondria

I have this friend I met in college who is a little like me in his response to and worry about illness. To protect his privacy I will refer to him here as “Seth.” To further protect his privacy, for his birth date and social security number you will have to e-mail me in person. A few years ago, Seth was experiencing a few sort of weird symptoms and quickly sought medical care to rule out anything serious. His medical professionals did a little testing and called him a few days later to inform him that it appeared that he had multiple sclerosis. Naturally, Seth and his wife, who I will call ”Jenni” were naturally upset and immediately sat down to try and process the fact that Seth had just been diagnosed with a chronic, progressive and, most often, ultimately debilitating condition. They had been thinking about having their first child, but suddenly, all of their plans were on hold. A few minutes later the phone rang- it was the doctor’s office saying “Ooops! We inadvertently switched your test results with someone else’s. Good news! You don’t have MS!” Of course, Seth and Jenni were relieved, but it took a few weeks before Seth was back to his old self. It would not surprise me to hear that Seth has some sort of post-traumatic stress reaction to these events, even today. So whenever you see him breathing into a paper bag in public, you should just assume that he is re-experiencing those events and not become alarmed. I tell that story to illustrate the risks of hypochondria, as well as the benefits- you can’t be treated for an illness you don’t have UNLESS you first see someone to misdiagnose that illness in the first place.

As I have mentioned before, my family of origin is all about seeking immediate medical care. And, as I’ve mentioned before, we have a good reason for this and it’s not because my parents are crazy. In reality, I am not a hypochondriac. I’m in reasonably good health and my primary illness are colds and allergy related things. But my family has a fun tradition of calling our various viruses and injuries something more serious. For example, it sounds much less dramatic to say “I have a headache” than “I think that I have an aneurysm rupturing right above my left eye. Be sure to tell them that at the ER after I pass out.” Why say “I have a low grade fever” when “I have horrible chills. I think I have malaria” sounds even better? I forget that not everyone who knows me has known me since the dawn of time and, consequently, might not be familiar with this habit. My friend Gwen, the P.A. was a little startled, I think, when I called her to let her know that I thought my hacking cough was probably black lung. She was quiet for a minute and said in a really interested voice “I didn’t know you had ever worked in a coal mine. Tell me more about that.”

Just about everyone in my immediate family (okay, mostly Erin and I) will call all of the other members no matter where they are, work, church, a wedding, to let them know if we feel ill or have some sort of pain that we wish we did not. It took awhile for Rob and Elliot to begin to participate in this, but I am pleased to report that in the not so distant past Rob was sitting on the couch after dinner and said “The second toe on my left foot is numb. I’d like for us to call and tell Erin about it.” Another fun family tradition is my mom’s symptom book, which she’s had since I was in high school- you can look up your symptoms and it gives you a graphic description of what might (or might not) be your disease. It was through the help of this book that I learned last winter that an enlarged lymph node in my leg was either an infection in my leg or foot OR prostate cancer. You’ll be pleased to know that it was the former and I seem to have recovered fully. Rob especially roll his eyes when any one of us wants to look up something in the symptoms book, not that he tends to be a lot more supportive when I try to google the possible options. We’ll see who’s laughing when he assumes that a simple rash he’s got on his arm is actually a flesh-eating virus. Oh- well, probably at that point no one will be laughing, because I hear that’s really contagious. Anyway, we were visiting my parents recently and when Rob noted the symptom book had been moved out into the open as part of the d├ęcor, we had to take a picture. A lot of people use books this way as a way of being intellectually pretentious, but I appreciate that my parents are not trying to pretend that they sit around reading Thomas Aquinas in the original Latin or whatever- they're just being true to who they are, while having the Symptom book within easy reach:

It seems that our daughters have been observing all of this behavior and that became apparent a few weeks ago. They had just finished their bath and I was putting on their lotion in the living room when E dramatically threw the back of her hand onto her forehead and announced “Eh-wee has a feef-er.” I checked her forehead and stomach and she felt normal to me. So I asked, “You have a fever?”

“Yes. Eh-wee has a feef-er and needs med-sin,” she replied. I suddenly saw where this was going.

“What medicine?”

“The o-wange mo-twin.” E and L LOVE the orange motrin. It’s a small step from faking a fever to get Equate brand ibuprofen to claiming that one’s stomach pain is most likely their spleen rupturing. I wonder if this is really all learned behavior or if it’s dome sort of genetic disorder. It’s probably the latter. I’ll let you know what the geneticist says about it.

More and better pictures are coming, but in the meantime,here are some pictures of the girls at the pumpkin patch and trick or treating (as butterflies):

L. at the pumpkin patch:

E picking out a tiny pumpkin:

L thinking through her candy options:

The girls with Grammy:
E with the look she had on her face the whole time she was very seriously trick or treating:

Also: if I haven't personally harassed you into watching this clip yet and you are involved with a man who is sometimes sick, please do so now:

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Long Time, No Blog.

Another way that Tiger Woods and I are not alike is that he probably updates his blog on a more regular basis, because he is not a bad person. But tonight I received what can only be described as a threatening e-mail from a reader, and as I wish to remain her friend, I am posting, even before my carefully crafted, novel-length excuse for why I have not updated is not yet complete. Although I wish to state for the record that I feel that friendships should not be conditional.

Everyone said that having twins would be hard at first (and they certainly weren’t wrong), but that eventually having two children exactly the same age would be easier than having two children close in age. The constant threat of two people having a dramatic public meltdown simultaneously is always there, which once you’ve experienced you totally understand why God designed it so most families have one toddler at a time, but in a lot of ways it seems like I’m dealing with easier things than my friends who have children spaced more than two minutes apart. It’s not like when I’m reading a book one of them gets annoyed because she feels Elmo is for babies or that one of them needs three naps a day while I’m struggling to get the other to take one. Plus, I get to have a lot of moments where I have to hold back my hysterical laughter because of some of the things they come up with that I am forced to come up with a serious parental looking response to. For example, Monday I was making dinner while L and E ran around playing what I call “RUN, RUN!” because of the dramatic shouts of “RUN! RUN!” they make while they run around with the excess energy that they get from the methamphetamines I am assuming that they have somehow managed to acquire. Suddenly, the happy shrieking turned into agonized wailing from the living room. L was crying her “I’m really hurt cry,” while E’s sounded more like her “I’m freaked out by something” cry (kind of an “Enhhh! Enhhh!). Because L was hurt, I made it to the living room amazingly quickly for a non-athlete. L was sitting on the floor by the couch holding her head and weeping; E was sitting on the floor shaking her hands and looking panicky. L’s need was greater at the moment so I pulled her into my lap and asked her what happened. “Eh-wee pull Lah-wen’s hair and Lah-wen feels sad,” she choked out between sobs. So I turned to E and asked, “Why are you crying? Did L do something to you, too?” And she said “No, Momma! Eh-wee has Lah-wen’s hair on her fingers. Want it off.” And looking more closely, she did indeed have a handful on L’s hair tangled around her fingers. She spent a few minutes in time out and then we had the talk about how if it skeeves you out to have hair on your hands, you really just shouldn’t pull hair. Because, frankly, if you have issues with, for example, blood, you won’t receive a lot of compassion when you complain about freaked out you get when you stab someone and they get his or her blood on you. It’s a hard lesson, but one I’m glad their learning now, rather than later.

Speaking of hair, here are some pictures of E and L’s first real haircut. (Please bear in mind that I like longish hair on girls- just the ends need some evening up. I am particularly sensitive about this because I rarely look at pictures of myself when I was small and think “Man, I wish my parents had cut my hair shorter).

E and Colby:

L and Colby:

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

How Tiger Woods and I Are Not Alike

There are many ways that Tiger Woods and I are different. In addition to the obvious things like his being male and playing a lot of golf, I mean. After his US Open win last week, everyone kept talking about how he is an amazing sportsman, perhaps the greatest golfer ever, a spectacular athlete that plays through the pain and so on. It’s quite probable that he is all of those things. But I was struck more by how differently Tiger and I would have handled the same situation. Because, please believe me when I say that the minute I began to experience the pain of a torn ACL, I would not have gone on ahead and an played a total of 54 more holes of golf and walked that extra fifteen miles. Go ahead and call me a lazy, non-athletic, namby-pamby pouty pants in the comments if you wish. Please don’t get me started on the things I would not have done upon beginning to feel those first twinges of a tibial stress fracture. Too late: I would have withdrawn from the US Open before you could say “swing a metal stick at a ball.”

Instead, when I tore my ACL, I would have followed my usual “fairly significant physical injury” protocol. I would have thrown up. Next, I would have proceeded to my couch where I would have phoned my two-part orthopedic medical care team- my father-in-law, who fortunately for me, was thinking ahead to having a daughter-in-law with knee problems when he was 18 and decided that he wished to become a physician specializing in bones. And then my sister, Erin, a physical therapist, who will tell me that no matter how much better heat feels on my injury that I must instead ice it. Like Mr. Woods, there would be many decisions I would need to make over the next few days; however, none of mine would involve my continuing in a major. Could my parents or in-laws watch the girls while I received appropriate medical treatment? How could I convince E and L that just because they don’t like Mommy’s knee brace that they should not hit it as hard as possible with a book (this actually happened during the “knee incident of December 2007")? Should I take the narcotic pain medication left over from my c-section? (It was good medication. I probably would). I would need to assess with Rob how much he has left to write on the dissertation and try and make a convincing case for our getting cable television, since, obviously, I would need to lie around so much. But I really wouldn’t consider continuing my theoretically planned, twice weekly five mile walks with my friend Julia or any other of my normal workouts. All of which to say- I was duly impressed by Tiger Woods, let’s call it “endurance,” but, frankly, a little perplexed. I mean, if he had never won a major tournament and it was his big chance, if he needed the money to support his family, or if the other golfers had been making fun of him for his game or something- but really- just to drive home that he is the golfer who has dominated the sport since he first started golfing professionally at age 5? I just don’t get it.

I know I will probably get a little ugliness here from people like Phil, who are passionately committed to sports of any kind, whether they personally like those sports or not, you know, the sports-for-ESPNs sake sort of people. (Much as I have here at home, from Rob, who just looks at me incredulously and says something like “and that is why you are a therapist and do not play for the PGA)” One of my more memorable community group dinners in Atlanta was a discussion of how collegiate sports are money makers for universities (Rob and Phil’s position), as well as being fascinating in their own right, especially Razorback and Gamecock sporting events-have I mentioned Rob being a Hog’s fan here before? My position (and the fact that Rhianna and Christy are scratching there heads attempting to remember this at all is emblematic of how they totally didn’t come to my aid in this discussion) is that it doesn’t seem fair to give scholarships to athletes at an academic institution when there might be people who would benefit from a scholarship to study. And it seems suspect that as much money is spent on sports complexes, arenas, and all of that as appears to be spent on all of the actual academic workings of the Division I schools. Please understand that 1.) I was only arguing this not because I believed it, but because I had just had an agonizing night the night before with Rob sighing a lot while I was trying to sleep because someone who had committed to play for Arkansas had changed his (presumably) mind about playing football and was probably going someplace like Alabama, which is what would frustrate Rob the most, I think (in fairness to Rob, he only laid awake at night worrying about this BEFORE we had children. Now he is too tired.) and 2.) I have seem the ads before every major college football game that I have seen over the past 10 years that there are something like 600 million NCAA athletes and 590 million of them will be going pro in something else. Sometimes it’s just satisfying to see committed fans of college athletics look stunned at the lack of comprehension of the importance of football/basketball/golf.

And I could discuss golf as a professional sport here also. Again, I completely get that you must, for the most part, be able to walk a fair distance and move your arms in a swinging motion and that not everyone is able to do this, I just feel like it’s not the most “athletic” of all of the sporting events. I’m just saying that, say, for example, soccer players, probably wouldn’t play as well if they were overweight or couldn’t run consistently for 45 minutes. Whereas you don’t look at the guys on the PGA tour (I’m generalizing- in the interest of full disclosure I only know a few of the major players and did not pull up pictures and information about the physical fitness of any of these people). But John Daly and Phil Mickelson aren’t people that you look at and think “Man, I wish I was in as good a shape as that guy.” Although, in my post baby having days, I am in no way suggesting that I am in better shape than they are. So while I’m not saying my official position is that golf is not a sport, I am saying that we should probably sit down and discuss this issue while PGA players and college basketball players run sprints and just see. If all of this enrages you, please look at these calming pictures of my children:

L. having a swing in our backyard one Sunday:

E. having a pre-church camel ride last weekend:

Thursday, May 15, 2008

A Quick (I Know! Atypical!) Update

When we were in my hometown a few weeks ago, Rob and I took the girls out to the Rose Garden in a local park. We have a lot of happy memories there and the girls are enjoying making dramatic sniffing sounds every time they see a flower, whether in real life or in a book, so it seemed like the sort of place where they would have a good time. E was more amenable to the picture taking that day, so I've included a few more of her here; being busy climbing up and down stairs without parental support is difficult work and L could not be bothered to sit still for long periods of time required for photography.
I still have pictures I've been meaning to post from their second birthday party, so let's hope I'm able to get those up before they turn three.

This is a sweet picture of E hugging L. Sometimes they are kind to each other like this. Which makes up for the time they are rolling around the living room floor attempting to bite on another like crazed wolverines. They must have learned that from Rob. But in our family, love DOES mean having to say you're sorry and give hugs when you have injured someone else, whether on purpose or accidentally:

L or (Lah-When as she is sometimes called) is in the blue and E (or Elh-We)is in the melon.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mother's Day Number Three

My very first Mother's Day as a mom, the girls were three and half weeks old. At some point during the day, Rob looked at me and said "I'm sorry I didn't have a chance to get you a Mother's Day present from the girls and I." And I said, " I'm tired of your lame excuses lately for not getting me gifts and I demand you go out right now and purchase me something." No, actually, that's a total lie. Because, you know, neither of us had slept for more than three hours at a stretch and I wasn't what you might call the picture of emotional stability just then. I probably considered it a present that he had taken time to go hang around the mall when I needed him at home. What I really said was, "Not having to leave church an hour early to come home to cry is all the gift I needed." (My love language is not so much gifts-although pleased don't misunderstand, I do in fact like receiving gifts- I just don't tend to get my feelings hurt if you don't get me one. So feel free to do so). And you know, I meant it. During the three Mother's Days that we were waiting for the girls, the day was almost unbearable for me (and consequently, I'm sure it was no barrel of laughs for poor Robert). I have been so elated to get to be a part of the holiday and not have to try and avoid it for these past three years. I still find myself tearing up when I'm in the middle of something and not expecting it when one of the girls calls me "Mama" . I am incredibly blessed to be their Mommy and not a day has yet gone by that I have not been grateful.
We spent the weekend in my hometown and had EARLY lunch (in the sense of beating the 11:00 rush) at what E called "Wed Lop-sper," which is my grandmother's favorite restaurant. Afterwards, we headed over to the pond near my grandmother's apartment to feed the ducks. Despite having eaten what for a 27 to 30ish pound person has got to be an extremely large meal, sharing our bread with the ducks without having a bite of it ourselves proved harder than you would imagine. Part of what was enjoyable for me was the way they would yell "thwo toast" (throw toast) as they tossed the bread out onto the water.

Here they are eyeing the ducks and geese (I'm the one in the green skirt):

L getting excited about the ducks and having a quick snack:

E thinking about sharing her bread, but then thinking better of it:

Friday, April 04, 2008

Good News About Oklahoma versus Arkansas

I was going through editing some of my more egregious typos earlier and noticed a couple of comments I hadn't seen before on my "five weird things" post. Special thanks to Kim, my cousin-in-law for pointing out that Sam Walton is actually an Oklahoman, thereby giving me another point in the OurLastName household's running competition. Try not to worry, Kim, even if you end up here long term, there is a large supportive underground community of fellow Oklahomans/non-Razorbacks to help you remain true to who you are, even under pressure. Special thanks, too, to Sarah, for pointing out the obnoxious "Bridge May Ice in Cold Weather" signs, which is what put me over the top here in points! Currently, we're at Oklahoma 6/Arkansas 5. For those of you in Georgia, who may still be bitter about our moving back here, now would be a great time for you to get on the internet and see how you could score us non-Arkansans some points.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Belated Easter

Since we had all recovered from our bout with the plague, we celebrated Easter this weekend. Without further ado, here are some pictures for the grandparents of the girls in their Easter clothes.

Some of L (note the shoes I wore this morning and her surprisingly good attempts to walk in them):

Here are a couple fun ones of E:

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The Great Nose Apple Incident of 2008

First, if you’re family and checking in to see what the girls wore on Easter, I’m sorry. Not as sorry as I was when Robert, E. and I were throwing up violently all of Easter weekend, but sorry nonetheless. I feel like our greenish tinge and old pajamas make us look less than celebratory. Maybe next week, I’ll be able to post some cute pictures of the girls in their Easter attire, because we’ll be celebrating with them next weekend. (L just felt bad all weekend, but her body appeared willing to accept at least some food).

Anyway, we had a family incident last night. Rob was sitting with the girls at the table, talking with them while they ate (he and I are both feeling better, but not so much like eating). I was cleaning in the living room when I heard him say “Oh, E, don’t put that apple in your nose.” Naturally, I looked up in time to see E, who had been, apparently, rubbing a piece of apple against her nose, decide that “Yes! What a good idea, Daddy! I will, in fact, stick this fingertip sized chunk of apple up my nose!” I was also watching 30 seconds later when she realized that the sensation of apple in one’s nose is not necessarily as pleasant as she had initially imagined. When she began her hysterical crying, Rob and I both rushed over and attempted to extract the offending fruit, but this caused E to cry harder and snort the apple further up into her nose. L continued to calmly eat while keeping her eyes glued to the scene unfolding before her. You could tell she totally thought it was better than the Baby Einstein videos they get to watch in the car. I got E calmed down and we did what we always do when we have a medical question about one of our daughters- we called Rob’s dad. God bless my father-in-law, who always refrains from rolling his eyes and mentioning that if he had known about the sort of issues his grown children would be calling about when they had children, he might have done another fellowship in pediatric ear, nose and throat, because his orthopedic and hand fellowships were a little vague on the exact steps one takes when a toddler snorts something up her nose. He was, as always, gracious to us when he suggested watchful waiting and seeing how E. felt. Which just then, was, as near as we could tell as she was turning the volume on our stereo system way, way up, completely fine.

About half and hour after we put her down, she began calling “Uh-oh, Mama! Uh-oh!” which is my usual cue that a.) Donkey has fallen out of the crib as he mysteriously does from time to time or b.) the barrette we use to hold her hair out of her eyes while she sleeps has come out. But when I went in, she pointed at the nose and said “Nose apple, Mama,” in a sad little voice. So I brought her back out into the living room and Rob got out the otoscope his dad had left at our house in one of his previous home visits as our personal ENT. E was initially pretty excited, because she loves what the girls’ favorite pediatrician at their new practice calls the “ear looker.” And she was even game when her dad used it to look up her nose. However, when he spotted the apple and got out the tweezers and attempted to remove it, things turned ugly. She was crying, I was crying. Several calm downs and repeated failed attempts at apple extraction later, she eventually snorted the apple far enough back that we could no longer see it and immediately fell into an exhausted slumber, vowing never to tell Mommy if nose apple was troubling her again. Another call to Rob’s dad confirmed that probably the apple would dissolve on its own and unless E seemed in pain or to have an infection, he would not be overly concerned. Not overly concerned, but I would guess thinking about how he might change his phone number or require his sons to begin calling him only during normal business hours unless they actually needed him to examine a possible broken bone.

There was no evidence of the nose apple this morning and E didn’t say anything about it when she got up. I assumed, even, that she didn’t remember. But when she woke up early from her nap this afternoon (unusual, because L usually gets up first), and we were cuddling on the couch, she looked up at me and said sadly, “Mama, Daddy bite nose. Daddy bite nose.” Not thinking, I laughed and asked, “When did Daddy bite your nose, sweetie?” It hit me as I was telling Rob about it later, that your dad putting tweezers in your nostril probably feels a little like a bite (not to be critical of Robert’s surgical technique or anything). So we had a good laugh about how what E is probably telling church nursery workers about what goes on in our house and what they must think of us. Here's a picture of E a few months ago wearing my nursing cover, currently in use by my sister, as a toga and another of E and the much talked about "Donkey." Who may look much like Eeyore to many of you. You will notice one of E's violent preferences in this picture: when her dad is wearing athletic socks, which now that he's professor-ing, he pretty much only does on weekends, E likes to make him put a pair on her also, which I think gives her a cool 80's toddler in leg warmers look.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Tired Ramblings of a Newly Verbal Toddler

This afternoon, I was driving back from "kneehab," the knee physical therapy I have been undergoing since The Kitchen Incident wherein I slipped on one of the girls water projects and badly dislocated my knee. I haven't described it here, but I should also be considering counseling for the post-traumatic stress disorder that whole incident has caused me. On kneehab days, MiMi and Granddaddy watch the girls at there house and we eat lunch there and make it back to SmallTown around 1:30 and hence go down for afternoon naps about half and hour late. I know L and E are exhausted when we get home, but I wasn't sure how in tune they were with the fact they were so very tired until today. As we were driving down the highway, I saw some cows and, like a good mom pointed them out "Look girls, cows!" And E looked out of the car window, waved and, in the most weary voice you can imagine said "Moo, cows. Night Night." I just wanted to record it for posterity. Here they are before church a couple of Sundays ago, although L is the one who looks tired here and is, as she likes to do, is avoiding the flash by squinting:

Sunday, February 10, 2008

More, Part II

Like I said, we decided to use a few signs, but not make a big deal of it. So about two months ago, I was sitting at the kitchen table folding laundry. We have an open floor plan, so it's really like sitting in the living room itself some of their books. It was right after breakfast, so both girls were still moving a little slowly and were sitting on the floor reading while I worked. After a few minutes, L. brought one of our nursery rhymes books over. This particular book strikes me as odd, in the sense that besides Humpty Dumpty, I don't really consider the contents to be nursery rhymes- they are actually all children's songs, like Row, Row Row Your Boat and I'm a Little Teapot. So for the most part, I sing a lot of the book, just to avoid the unnatural feeling that comes with saying in a nursery rhyme voice, "Twinkle, twinkle, little star." I know those of you who have heard me sing are considering how much time you have later this afternoon to contact child protective services, but in my defense, you would totally do the same thing if you had to read this book eighty times a day, which I did, because it was L.'s favorite book that week. So, anyway. I assumed that L. wanted me to pick her up, set her in my lap and read the book to her. But when I tried to pick her up, she squirmed away and put the book in my lap, patting the page she had it open to. I started to sing Itsy Bitsy Spider, because it seemed like that was what she was wanting me to do. She immediately ran two feet away into the living room and started to dance. ( I may not have mentioned this before, but L. is a wonderful dancer). When I finished the song, she ran back over and said and signed "mohwwer." I sang the song again, and again, she ran back over and asked for more. After my third version of the song, she just looked up and signaled more so as not to interrupt her dancing by manually asking me to sing. She was obviously in a groove and needed the music to continue. After my sixteenth time (really!) through the song, she was done and came over and took the book out of my hands and continued on to her next activity. Hands down it was my favorite stay-at-home mommy moment to that date (more on my new favorite moment in another post). Here are some pictures of L. If I muster up the courage, I may attempt to post some video footage of her lovely dancing at some point, but as it stands, I'm always forgetting that I can even use hyperlinks, so don't be disappointed if you're her grandparent and that takes awhile.

L. having a pre-church snack.

L. helping with clean up after said snack.
L. playing with her new tea set from Grammy and Gramps at Christmas.
Rob and I wonder where she learned to down her drinks this way.
L. with her sister, riding on camel. I just think she looks beautiful here.

Friday, February 01, 2008

5 Weird Things About Me

Because I know you come here for the weirdness. I've been getting some harshness in the comments about my lack of posting. There are a few more parts to my "More" series in the works, but I interrupt that to bring you this important post. I have never before responded to being tagged by a fellow blogger, but, well, there's a first time for everything. It might be helpful to jump over to my friend Heather (of the Chris and Heathers at left) and scroll back a couple of posts to see her responses, because some of my weird things are sort of the opposite of hers. Maybe it's why we're able to be friends. So five weird things about me:

1. Psychologically, I really have to shower every day. I feel sort of creepy and filthy if I go to bed without having showered and shaved. On one level, I love the idea of camping, but as I overheard Rob telling my mom over Christmas when she was talking about we could take the girls camping a lot in the new tent my parents got him " Emily will probably only be a good camper when I figure out how to lug a bathtub into the wild." It's probably true, and that makes me sad for Rob, who loves camping and not showering. I encourage myself by saying that I bring other things to our marriage besides cleanliness and a natural camping disability- but I don't know., maybe I don't. For the record, though, I am willing to camp and I have gone without showering- it's just that I have to walk around skeeved out by my unclean self the whole time. While I was on bedrest and permitted only 30 minutes a day upright, which included bathroom trips and eating, I would hoard my minutes so I could spend 15 minutes of them bathing. And I was on bedrest during the winter- so it's not like I was working up a sweat or anything like that. As I write this, I know I sound like I have OCD and that I would probably benefit from some therapy, but I'm just trying to be honest.
2. I really like my feet. Like all teenage girls, I had some things about myself I was really insecure about, but I was always unnaturally confident about my feet. About once a week or so (actually much less since I had children), I give myself a mini-pedicure, because I enjoy feeling that my feet looking pretty. I can't tell about E yet, but L definitely has my feet, so that's nice for her.
3. I enjoy bacon (almost as much as Christy)! In college, Jennifer (of the Michael and Jennifers) and I would go to Subway for lunch on Monday, Wednesday and Friday before our 12:30 campus ministry meeting and I would always get my favorite, a "B" sandwich (with no "L"or "T) on wheat, toasted. Two years later, at the same Jennifer's wedding rehearsal dinner, one of the Subway employees was waiting tables at the restaurant where the event was being held. It was really quiet at our table when she yelled "Hey! I know you! You're the Bacon Girl!" Even if you like bacon a lot, I don't know of anyone who is female who would care to be known as the bacon girl. Or a lot of men who'd want to be called "Bacon Girl" either, now that I think about it.
4. I'm irrationally competitive with Robert about Arkansas versus Oklahoma (the states, not the schools). But in life, I don't care, because I can acknowledge the failings of my home state. Most recently, for "the Holidays" as we refer to my birthday week in my family, Rob drove me to "the City" as people who live in Oklahoma City call Oklahoma City (see- when I'm being rational, I can make fun of Oklahomans- it's just when Rob does it that it irks me) to see a concert. We had a wonderful time and as we were driving home, the whole debate flared up again. For those of you not blessed to come from the Sooner State, to understand the following incident you need to know that Oklahoma does, in fact, have an inordinate number of toll roads and it makes Rob crazy that you have to pay to drive there. He likes to complain about this, even when he's driving in one of my parents' cars, as we were this particular evening, where he has a PikePass. Anyway, in addition to that Oklahoma, apparently, has hired some sort of marketing firm to promote the state and there are these billboards up everywhere boasting about people from the state, things that have been invented here, etc. And we passed one that said "Oklahoma- The Parking Meter was Invented Here." I saw it coming even before he said it " it just seems natural that you guys would be proud of the fact that you'd found a way to charge people just for having their cars sit still, given that you're still trying to find a way to charge them for driving up their own driveways." So now Arkansas is up by two points in the score keeping, which makes me sad. And a little mad.
Speaking of billboards, this reminds me that there is one that drove me absolutely insane in Atlanta (forgive me if I've blogged about this before). At the intersection near our church, a local hospital had an ad that showed a middle aged man with the quote "Blank Hospital literally gave may a new lease on life. (emphasis mine)" Because they have a heck of a legal department there.
5. I have good head theology that I am constantly having to use to correct my crazy heart theology. There was this guy in a high school English class I took who was a member of the debate team. One day, Mrs. H., our teacher, asked as part of a class discussion, if anyone had any superstitions or things they did to bring them good luck, like lucky socks or whatever. God bless him, he raised his hand and said that before he had a big debate, he would grab a stick of deodorant and make an X across his chest. I remember thinking, "even if I did something like that I would never say it out loud," but in my old age, I've come to respect the power of saying the bizarre things we believe we can do to control the universe to help us give some perspective and help us snap out of it. For a long time, I secretly believed that the reason Rob and I could not have children was my lack of spiritual discipline. From the time I was 13 years old, I had been fairly consistent about taking time to read Scripture daily and pray. When I was 22, I went on staff with a campus ministry where there was an expectation, on the part of my supervisor at least, that I would spend an hour a day in prayer and an hour in Bible study and devotional reading (which was probably fair, given that it was part of my job). He actually used to say, "No quiet time, no breakfast." I'm glad that wasn't my rule; since having the girls, I would spend a lot of time hungry (yet probably fantastically slender)- because, well- before breakfast? I'm lucky to be out of my pajamas before 9. Anyway, it was a big transition for me when I left staff to return to graduate school. I don't know about you, but even when I was just in grad school and married, I didn't have two hours to devote to that every day. And for the first time, when we moved to Atlanta, I would occasionally have a day or two where I didn't get to pray or I didn't get to read (or make time to) and I was plagued with guilt about it. When we weren't getting pregnant, part of me knew that it was because there was something actually physically wrong. But the part of me that's theologically a little off was fairly certain that it was because I was missing time with God and wouldn't be a spiritually fit mother (because as a quick look at Peopl*e magazine tells you, that's the criteria God is using to decide which people become parents) these days). Friends like Heather and Rhianna indicated that perhaps that was faulty reasoning in the sense they both conceived easily and had occasionally missed a quiet time (I may have misunderstood them- I have no concrete evidence that either has ever gone a day without deep prayer and meditation on Scripture). And the thing is, if you had come into my counseling office at this time and told me YOU believed all of this in your heart, I would have empathized with you and pointed you to Scripture to help you correct your thinking; but I just wasn't admitting it out loud yet. It was only when I was about 32 weeks pregnant that I began to give up the notion that my private devotional life had anything to do with God's long term plan. I remember clearly lying there on the couch thinking "if my babies don't survive this pregnancy, it's not because I didn't try." It was one of the most spiritually convicting moments I have ever had-I was trying to work hard enough in my relationship with God so that my children would live and that was a sad commentary on the kind of character I thought God had and my own egocentrism that I could do something that would guarantee life for my kids. Sad for me that I was working that hard rather than enjoying God's grace and probably a source of grief to the Lord that I was acting like if I made a wrong move He would take my children. Please don't send me an e-mail telling me that spiritual disciplines are just that disciplines and I will reap great benefit in my relationship with God if I'm disciplined- I know that. But I've been enjoying the new freedom that if I don't have a quiet time today God won't hear me and respond to me- that even the desire to spend time with Him is a gift and He can enable me to do what I need to do to grow spiritually without living in superstitious fear of what He will do if I don't work at it hard enough. It allows me to do super-spiritual things like I did this morning, where my quiet time consisted of pretending to be asleep on the couch while E and L climbed up on my stomach to read and praying for 7 minutes while they took turns pointing out my eyes, ears and nose to one another (don't judge me Rhianna). I had to stop, though, when they began working together to create a tower of books to use to climb high enough to open the refrigerator themselves, one of their new life goals.
As another example of my faulty thinking about who controls what, I always have to get a Coke from Son*ic on my way to teach this course I'm teaching on Thursday nights at the university where Robert works, because the night I taught my first class where I had a Son*ic Coke went really well and we all know what might happen if I don't have one. Ironically, this is a a class on methods and statistics where a big theme is "just because two things correlate, doesn't mean one causes the other." Oh, well. The bad theology thing is just a work in progress, I guess.
I hereby tag Rhianna, Christy, Brea and my sister Erin (although I'd love to tag Erin PhD, she's got a lot going on!!!).

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

More, Part I

I feel like I’m not capable of starting a blog entry just telling the story I’m sitting down to write without given an excessive amount of background information. Anyway, Rob and I decided we weren’t going to spend much time working on baby sign language with the girls. Not that either of us were opposed to it- it just seemed like the research on it suggests that it’s really sort of neutral for your children. And I tend to be the type of person that is- what’s the word- obsessive compulsive about things I’m committed to and I didn’t want to feel like a flash card mom who was spending too much precious hanging out with the chickens time pressuring them to sign or talk. Now I have speech pathologist friends who feel extremely intense feelings on both sides of the issue. Some of them imply that by using sign language with children, you are cursing them by ensuring they won’t learn to talk before age five because they rely too much on it. Others feel that every child should be able to use American Sign Language fluently by age 2, thereby insuring they will be bright enough for automatic admission to an Ivy League university by the time they’re 15. We sort of landed on teaching them a few signs, starting around 6 to 9 months that would help reduce their frustration in trying to communicate with us until they learned to talk. So we started using “more,” “please,” and “eat” in a really half-hearted way around that time. Imagine our surprise when they actually started using them. By the time they were around a year old, they were able to say the words, but they’ve continued using their signs, which has led to some fun moments that I want to be sure that I write here.

This fall, it was raining pretty hard out off and on for most of the day, so L, E and I had spent most of the day indoors. When Rob got home, he thought it was warm enough to take the girls outside to play in the rain. So we did- and they loved it. They were both running around and giggling like crazy and playing “chase Daddy,” a family favorite. Suddenly, they rain stopped and both E and L simultaneously looked up and waved at the sky and said “bye-bye!” Then E. turned to Rob and said “mohwer, mohwer, Daddy!”all the while making the more sign. And Rob, while I’m sure he was flattered that E had such faith in his abilities, had to tell her, “I’m sorry, E, honey, but only God can make the rain.” God, however, heard E’s request and started the rain again a minute later. So now, of course, she still believes that Robert can make the rain. And he is a very talented teacher and writer, but not as much of a meteorological miracle worker, so we’ll have to see how that plays out as she get older.

Here are a couple of shots of E and her Dad playing in my parent's backyard:

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Christmas Pictures

Here's L. doing her new thing that she does (squinting) whenever she sees the red eye reduction light on the camera start to flash.

E. and L. playing in Grammy's living room.

Sweet picture of E. Her hair has gotten so curly!
Baby James, L, and E cuddling with their Grammy.
And here's a final shot of L. Isn't she just enormously tall?
(Pictures courtesy of Em's sister, uploaded by Erin to motivate Em to blog)