Thursday, December 27, 2012

Lukewarm coffee and the pantyhose situation

I should rename my blog and call it "Lukewarm Coffee" because that's pretty much what I drink every morning. Lukewarm coffee. Which means that I haven't had (or taken) the time to drink it while it's hot. Which means LIFE is happening. And it's real. And messy. And I wish I could get my act together to drink it hot, but my act is just not that together. But compared to the I-must-be-perfect-and-put-together-and-never-appear-to-have-a-weakness former self, I like this girl much, much better. So, that's that.

Okay, onto far more important things like pantyhose. Pantyhose is far more than an accessory or necessity in my world; it's a situation.  Let's be clear about something: the last pair of hose that squeezed the blood out of my legs and made my waist bubble over happened about a decade ago. Or more. I can't remember. I do NOT wear hose. In fact, in the winter, I just wear pants every week to church because I can't for the life of me figure out how to pull off leggings and boots with a dress/skirt and I absolutely will NOT wear hose. But yesterday I had the honor of being at a very small wedding and since it was really, really cold and my legs were really, really pale and I only had short dresses in my closet, I did what I said I'd never do again: I bought hose. Even buying them (it?), I thought about how I'd much rather be buying a peppermint mocha with that $4.78. The act of purchasing them was almost painful. Not as painful, of course, as wearing them for hours and hours, but painful nonetheless. I also have no idea when it's appropriate to wear nude, black, opaque, or sheer hose, so I just went with sheer nude. Wrong choice, apparently, with a purple dress and black shoes in the winter (correct answer: sheer black). Don't judge--I grew up with all brothers so I have some clear fashion gaps and this is one of them. I pulled off the confident and I-meant-to-do-that appearance, but inside I was wishing my mom had given me a few more fashion tips. God, give me boys.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Three Things Thursday

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Thing one: I have a love-hate thing with sending Christmas cards. I have a love-love thing with getting them. As for sending them, I love taking time to let old friends know they're thought of and loved during this season and to update them on our lives. But I don't particularly love the work of it all. My Christmas cards sat on my dining room table from Thanksgiving until early this week when I finally got my act together and wrote and made copies of the letter and addressed, licked, and stamped the envelopes. It's fun when I actually sit down to do it, but it's daunting every year. I'm reminded each day when I get others' letters, though, how much all that work is worth it. I rip open the mail before I'm even inside just to see family pictures and read about the lives of people I love. So, if you sent me a Christmas card this year, thank you for taking the time. I really do feel loved.

Thing two: Micah took his first steps yesterday! Four of them. He's still a far too efficient crawler to make the jump to walking, but we're close!

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Thing three: Movie rec for you. Last weekend, Phil and I watched Safety Not Guaranteed and really, really liked it. It was a Red Box gamble, but we won this time. Starring Aubrey Plaza from Parks and Rec and Jake Johnson from New Girl, the 2012 movie was an artsy (but not too artsy) and quirky movie about magazine writers who go to interview a guy who wants to travel back in time. Underlying the rather ridiculous plot are deeper themes of the need for human companionship, healing from past wounds, and the nature of love. Definitely not a comedy, but not completely a drama either. So, a dramedy. or a comedrama. You pick. I think you might like it. Here's the link to the trailer.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

I'm back.

I'm back. Whew.

I get sick about once every other year (so thankful), but last Thursday I was due. I woke up at 2 a.m. with nausea and it decided to stick around for a while. Thursday morning, I dragged myself out of bed feeling weak, chilled, achey, and yes, nauseated. I spent the morning lying on the floor with a stuffed animal under my head while my child played around me. He thought the day was pretty great, actually, because he got to watch extra Baby Einstein movies and eat whatever the heck he wanted (read: puffs).

Phil got home that afternoon and sent me to bed with some nausea medicine. While I was in la-la land, Moo and his daddy went to the zoo--again, a pretty great deal for the little guy. I woke up a couple of hours later, forced down some saltines and water (all I had eaten all day), and was back asleep by 8 p.m.

Miracle of miracles, Phil was unexpectedly off work on Friday, so he took care of Moo and I felt significantly better after 13 hours of uninterrupted sleep. I wasn't completely back to normal, but my fever had broken and I could stomach the idea of food.

Good timing, too, because Phil and I had plans to go out OVERNIGHT on Friday for our anniversary. More on that later.

It took another few days for me to be able to eat regularly again. I knew I was better when I went back for seconds on ice cream the other night. :)

All that time in bed gave helped me formulate some blog posts, so here's a preview (in no particular order):

  • My declaration of independence (if you can guess what this is about, you're officially amazing.)
  • A movie rec
  • A comment on the tragedy in CT
  • Our 7th anniversary!
Stay tuned!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Three Things Thursday: Christmas Edition

Thing One: It goes against everything I love about December, but we're not decorating for Christmas this year. I can't believe I'm saying that. Part of me thinks, "It won't take that long to do and you'll love it once it's up." But the other part of me is envisioning how many times I'll have to say "no" to the 1-year-old trying to pull down the tree and how I still have other things to do like baking for neighbors and getting our Christmas cards out and how I really just don't have the energy to decorate this year, especially since it's already December 6, and that means my decorations won't be up even three weeks. Why do I have to be so dang practical? (Sometime I'll tell you the story of the lady who paid me to decorate her tree and then made me show up to take down her tree the day after Christmas even though I had the flu.) I do love Christmas decorations, though, so I may just put up the tree anyway. But probably not. We'll see. If there was ever a year not to decorate, this would be it, because after this year, our kid will be old enough to want a tree with lights lights lights.

Thing Two: I've been drinking my favorite Christmas drink (besides peppermint mochas): Chai lattes. I buy the Tazo concentrate at the grocery store and mix with milk at home for a delicious drink that tastes like Christmas. Mmmm.

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Thing Three: I did set out our advent wreath--my favorite Christmas decoration of all. I spent my childhood December nights around the advent wreath with my family, reading a devotional about the coming Christ, singing Christmas hymns, and eating little waxy chocolates out of cardboard advent calendars. More than tradition, I love the symbolism of the advent wreath, the candles that remind us of the coming Lord and the time set aside to anticipate Him, both as a baby in a manger and as a King who will come again.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Why I don't write

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There are two kinds of writers in the world: those who are naturals and those who have to work at it. I'm captain of team Work At It. And while I'm okay with that, it also means that writing is often more of a discipline for me than some sort of inescapable outpouring of words. And while I'm a pretty disciplined person, I find myself incredibly undisciplined when it comes to writing. Probably because it's really, really hard work.

I mentioned before that I've been reading a little book called How to Write a Lot by Paul J. Silvia. Confession: I haven't actually picked up the book since I wrote about it last month, so I've still only read one chapter. But that chapter kicked my butt. What it said about writing was right, but I just don't want to do it. It's like meeting with your doctor and having her tell you that you need to lose weight or eat better and you know she's right, but please, please don't make me give up my ice cream.

Chapter one is about all the excuses we make for why we can't write. The one I identified with most:"I don't have time" or "I'd write more if I had big blocks of time." The author argues that our mistake begins when we try to find time to write instead of allotting time to write, and defending that time once we've allotted it.

I've never really allotted regular time to write. Instead, I've been what Silvia calls a "binge writer," putting off writing until I feel so guilty and anxious about it that I make myself write for a few hours just to get it out and and feel better about myself....until another month goes by.

The truth is that I haven't read past chapter one because I haven't allowed myself to allot time to write. There's a part of me deep down that needs to be convinced that writing is worth my time, and while I know in my head that it is, I still struggle to see it as "productive." Often, I'd rather do laundry, write a letter, return emails, make baby food, or clean my house than write. Why?

Because I can see my progress. 
Someone will appreciate it. 
I can check it off a list. 
I feel productive. 

Writing doesn't usually give me that. 

It's never done. 
Most people will never see it. 
The goal is almost never certain. 

I found this from something I wrote back in the summer of 2010: What I love and hate about being a writer is the discipline of it all. Hate that it rarely comes to you quickly. Hate that it's easier to do just about anything other than write. Hate how it isolates me for hours on end--all for the sake of a paragraph! But love how I discover myself. Love how the pages accumulate like layers of quiet snow. Love the feeling of moving people with words. And I couldn't do the love part without discipline, which I often lack as a writer. I was writing every day then, and it shows.

So, if I'm really convinced (and I amthat I'm a writer and that using my gifts to write is an act of obedience and worship to God, then writing is absolutely worth my time, and that time is absolutely worth defending. 

So. Now I have to do the tough work of deciding on what allotted writing time looks like. Once a week for 30 minutes? More? Less? I worry about committing to more than I can follow through on, but I also don't want to commit to so little that it's just a lesser form of binge writing. And I have to learn to leave my cell phone in the other room, the dirty dishes in the sink, the face unwashed if need be so that I can make writing the priority it needs to be. I need to quit being a slave to "productivity," need to believe in the worth of my writing. But how? My friend Melissa sent me a great New York Times article by Silas House that touches on the answer, I think. Click HERE to read it.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

We've had some days.

We've had some days over here.

Some yes-I-just-fed-my-child-a-hotdog-for-breakfast days.
Some why-are-you-awake-at-5:00 a.m. days.
Some do-you-really-need-to-cut-two-teeth-in-one-week days.
Some we're-going-to-the-grocery-store-because-we-need-something-to-do days.
Some is-that-guacamole-on-my-cell-phone days.
Some crooked-haircut-because-that's-the-best-I-can-do-with-a-wiggly-one-year-old days.

That's where we've been. And during nap times, I've just been trying to keep up with the rest of life, which felt very busy because we've been out of town two weekends in a row, and I don't like that, being so busy.

So, this week, we're taking it easy. No trips. Lots of playing outside at home. Lots of normal, uninterrupted routines. And it's been good. For all of us.