Monday, December 31, 2007

Created Beautiful - Chapter 2

The media's unrealistic portrayal of women is destroying us from the inside out.

In May 2004 a panel of "experts" (makep artists, photographers, beauty and fashion editors) decided - for the world - that Audrey Hepburn was the most naturally beautiful woman of ALL TIME. She was 5'7', weighed 110 lbs and her measurements were 32A-20-35 - from the time she was 23 until the end of her life. (at least I have the 32A part right;)

In ads for White Rock mineral water, the White Rock Girl changed from 5'4" & 140lbs in 1959 to 5'7" & 110lbs in 2000.

We are bombarded by media - tv, movies, magazines, videos, billboards, advertisements in the mail, etc. I feel like I can't get away from it. And IT is showing me what the ideal American woman should look like. Women are self-destructing because of it - we are either going to extreme measures to achieve "it" or feeling guilty/shameful because we're not "it".

Mothers play a critical role in developing a young woman's body image.

This makes me even more determined to work on this. I don't think that I have a horrible body image, however, there are times when I do (usually when I'm not working out). I want to have a healthy self-esteem - for my girls. It is what I want for them, so I need to work on it for myself.

I compare myself to myself.

For eight weeks I wrote this phrase on a piece of paper everyday. It is probably the single best thing that I took from the book Burn The Fat, Feed the Muscle. I compare myself to myself. Not to anyone else.

Do you know what that does? It means that when I see a shorter girl with an athletic, cute body and think, "that is how I would like to look" I immediately change my thought to, "I compare myself to myself" and remember that comparing myself to someone else only leads to disappointment and a jolt to my self-confidence. Because I will never look like that particular girl - or any other girl I come across, actually. Not a single one of them. I will always look like me.

One of the questions from the book: Complete this sentence - I am content with my body until I compare it to:

This was revealing to me. I'm not going to post my answers, but it made me sit back and think about it. Why does comparing myself to these people change my perception of myself? It is their confidence and seeming lack of self-image issues - not necessarily their bodies. Truthfully, none of these women have bodies that would be considered ideal - there are flaws in each of them, but because they are so confident it makes me self-conscious about myself - feeling like she is thinking I look horrible and am fat. That is fascinating to me. And now that I've identified several of these people in my life I can work on not allowing myself to feel that way - it truly is my issue, not theirs.

The last exercise in this chapter was to sketch a picture of myself and label 7 body parts in a positive way. I had trouble getting 7, so I settled for 6. According to Cornbread it is a pretty accurate sketch.

It was a good exercise - I may not hate my body or think negatively about it all the time, but to come up with POSITIVE adjectives was tough. I am okay with my body - would I like it to look different? Yes. Would I like it to change? Yes. Will it? Not sure. But I don't hate it or loathe myself or think badly about myself. It was still difficult, though, to describe it positively. Good exercise.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Created Beautiful - Chapter 1

Advertising companies have found - based on research - that including a beautiful woman in an ad increases the amount of time a person spends looking at the ad by 14 - 30%!!

Holy cow! No wonder every magazine ad, television ad and billboard has a woman on it! When I think about this I realize that I probably stop and look at the ads with the women in them, too. Why? I wondered this while I was reading through this chapter - why would I - a woman - stop to look at another woman? Is it to compare myself to her? I don't really think so. I'm pretty aware of the fact that these women are airbrushed and photoshopped to perfection for the print ads - so why do I stop and look?

I think we all are interested in beauty - its pleasing to the eye, it makes us feel good. Right now, it is snowing and I cannot tear my eyes away from the freshly fallen snow in my backyard - it is beautiful. But days ago, when it was old, melting snow I couldn't turn away fast enough (no need to remind myself of the swamp back there and the mess that would be brought into the house by the Woof). What is it that captivates us so much that we stop and look at these ads, stop and watch the snow, read pointless entertainment magazines, etc. Beauty - it captivates us and holds our attention. Even for small periods of time...

What makes a woman beautiful vs. a man? I think we can agree that there are some really good looking men out there - but are they beautiful in the same way that a woman is just inherently beautiful? Women are curvier, their features are softer and gentler to the eye, skin and hair are smoother and softer looking. Somehow we find these things beautiful without really being taught that they are... so is it a woman's weight, figure, hair that makes her beautiful or is simply because she is a woman? I think it is the latter - although women do A LOT to try to improve upon their inherent beauty.

One scripture passage that is explored in this chapter is Song of Songs 7:1-9. If you read through this you find that Solomon finds the following features of his wife beautiful: feet, legs, navel, waist, breasts, neck, eyes, nose, head, hair, stature, breath, and mouth. He doesn't talk specifically about her weight, her figure, the size of her thighs and bum - no her legs are graceful, not slender and toned, her waist is like a mound of wheat, not flat as a board with a well-defined six pack showing.

In Song of Songs 1:6 the Shulamite woman is ashamed of her tan - her skin has been darkened by working in the vineyard. I found this amusing... in the 21st century women go to tanning booths, they even get tans sprayed on them. This woman was ashamed of the fact that she didn't have fair skin like the women in the palace. Makes me rethink my abhorrance for wearing sunscreen on my face - I like a little color in my face in the summer and I am frightened of what the oil may do to my already oily, breakout prone skin. Now I may look at it differently.

Think about this -
1. Do you believe that God spared nothing when creating you? Why or why not?
2. In your estimation, how valuable is God's opinion of you?
3. If you were honest with yourself, whose opinion do you hold in higher esteem than God's? A friend's? A man's? Society's? Your own?

These questions really got me thinking. I believe that God created me beautiful and in my head, I know that all were created equal and that he "spared no expense" when creating me, however, it is difficult to internalize that and truly believe it with my heart since there are so many other women out there who are much more beautiful than I am - in terms of looks. I'm not fishing for compliments, its simple truth. So its easy for me to believe that God had great fun creating Angeline Jolie or Vanessa Marcil, but by the time he got to me, he had run out of steam and just threw something together;) But truthfully - and this is what I'm learning through this study and these books that I'm reading - he had great fun creating me and I am his masterpiece also. We all are. He hasn't singled one out as his greatest work of art - we all were created in his image and when he looked at us he said "Very good." Not just "its fine the way it is, I don't feel like working on that one anymore, I'm kind of sick of this... I'll just finish this one real quick and move on - I need a rest." No, he created each of us and we ALL are "Very good."

The other shocking realization I had was trying to figure out who's opinion I held in such high esteem and who I am trying to impress. What a question. I want to look good for Cornbread - definitely - but I know he loves me and I don't always work very hard to impress him. He actually finds me most attractive when I have a high amount of confidence - regardless of what the scale says or what size clothes I'm wearing. I'm pretty sure I'm not trying to impress my friends - we're friends because we're friends - not because I'm hot and have a killer body (right? I mean I always assumed that wasn't the reason we're friends ;) ) So I guess it is society's opinion... Random, strange people that cross my path in some way. And how stupid is that?

In reality, God says I'm "very good" (Genesis 1:27, 31). He looks at my heart - not my outward appearance (I Samuel 16:7). He takes great delight in me (Zephaniah 3:17). And he bought me for a price (I Corinthians 6:19-20). Wow - I must be very special and beautiful. It is only right that I should value his opinion more than anyone else's - this is a shift of focus that I need to make.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

You are beautiful

Do you believe that? I don't. But I need to. And I'm learning.

In the last couple of weeks I have begun reading several books that relate to this subject. It is time for me to begin loving myself - including my body - and stop comparing myself to other women. We're not shaped the same way. We're not made the same way. Why in the world should I look the same as you? Or you as me? Why should I be trying to attain Jennifer Aniston's arms when she lives a completely different life than I do - one which likely involves a personal trainer, a personal chef and long workouts. Why am I allowing New York and Hollywood to determine what I want to look like when God has created me to be me?

I've picked up each of these books separately, but they all relate to the same idea - I've been fascinated by this:)

Captivating, by Staci Eldridge
Feel Good Naked, by Laure Redmond
Created Beautiful - Bible study on body image, by Focus on the Family

While the Laure Redmond book is not faith based, it relates to the same theme - we are created beautifully and it is time to celebrate that and time to stop hating ourselves and criticizing ourselves to the point of destructive behavior (extreme calorie restriction, negative self-talk, horrible eating habits etc).

The other two books have similar ideas in them (as far as I've read) - women are inherently beautiful and we are CAPTIVATING. God created us that way. Why do we continually convince ourselves of the opposite? Negative self-talk - always looking at ourselves critically and deciding that this needs to change or that needs to change. How can we learn to be joyful in the way we have been created - to realize that we are beautiful - simply because we are women?

I also just completed the Bible study, Becoming a Woman of Excellence, where I learned that God calls women to be disciplined, discrete, to have a quiet & gentle spirit, to be pure and wise. These qualities are beautiful. Interestingly, there are NO scripture passages where God calls us to be a certain weight or to have specific measurements - Zero.

So this is my quest - to learn to love myself and my body. I will be going back to weight watchers as I would like to lose a few pounds, but I am not going to be as focused on that as I have been the last year. I would like to be a healthy weight - and I have high(ish) cholesterol which needs to be tamed, but my focus is more on being healthy and in shape and being in tune with my inherent beauty and captivating nature.

Now that I'm wireless it will be much easier for me to blog/journal about my Bible study and reading. If you would like to join me, please do! I got the Created Beautiful book at Family Christian Bookstore.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

What kind of present is this??

Georgia is #3 - third child. We often joke around that she will do whatever it takes to get attention for herself. Even if that means destroying the house in a record 5 seconds. Or screaming at the top of her lungs. Or climbing on furniture, standing up and flinging her arms out to the side and yelling "Ta-DA!"

She tries so hard to keep up with the big girls, but most times her little feet just physically can't move as fast as theirs. Or those feet some how fly out from underneath her and she spends too much time picking herself up off of the ground to gain any ground on her sisters. She's a good sport about it all and never complains, just brushes herself off and goes off to find out where they've gone.

Last night, though, showed her true determination to keep up with them.

Lets recount...

Spring - Ryann in ER for dehydration.
Summer - Nora in ER for broken elbow.

It only seems fair, then, that Georgia should take her own turn in the ER, right?

The scene:
I'm sitting on the couch watching my new Planet Earth DVD. The girls are playing around me. They're creating a cave (because we were watching "Caves") by draping a blanket from the end table to the arm of the couch - right next to where I was sitting. This was good and they were having fun. Georgia was trying so hard to be a part of it, which wasn't going over too well with a certain cave designer (Ryann). So what does a girl do when she's being left out in the cold? Shows them whats up...

Georgia climbs on top of the end table that they're using and yells, "Ta DA!" I tell her what a great job she did and then ask her to get down. She's so excited about everything and how close I am that she decides to walk to me from there... Blanket is draped from table to couch arm. She thinks it is a solid surface. Mom knows it is not and is quite aware of what is going through her head and tries to reach out to stop her before it happens. Mom feels like she is in a spider web because of the blankets on top of her and children on the floor holding them down. Georgia, in slow motion takes a step, mom reaches out, Georgia falls and hits her head on the table, mom finally frees herself and picks her up. All is well. Until I moved my hand and saw the blood.

Panic ensues.

I brought her to the ER... by the time we got there 20 minutes later she was fine and was climbing on every piece of furniture in the waiting room, bound and determined to split her head open even more. I considered going home - she seemed fine, they were SLOW, and I know that the head bleeds A LOT compared to how big a wound is... so under that mass of dried blood and matted hair, it couldn't be too bad. Uh, wrong - I'm glad I stayed.

When it was finally cleaned up it was pretty ugly and big and deep. She got only 3 stitches and was terribly upset that the nurse had to hold her face down while she got them (I would be, too). But I guess the big ol' teddy bear that they gave her makes up for all of that.

So my family should be excited to see the blood matted hair on the back of her head at our Christmas party tonight (we can't wash it until Sunday morning).

Nothing says Merry Christmas like dried blood, right?

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Memory Exercise

Cornbread's cousin, Amy, has this on her blog and I enjoyed reading it and thought it would be a great memory exercise for me - since I have such a poor memory:)

I am not going to look back at my calendars to figure this out - just straight from my head...

Today - December 19, 2007:
Christmas shopping is done, presents are wrapped, cards are in the mail, cards are being received and taped to the backsplash in the kitchen. We've celebrated Christmas with my in-laws already and are looking forward to a pretty relaxing celebration weekend with my family. We'll be celebrating with our friends on Monday night, setting out cookies for Santa, making reindeer food and waking up on Christmas morning in our own beds to see what surprises are under the tree. A full day of just our family playing games by the fire - I can't wait!

Emotionally, right now, I am restless. I feel like I should be doing greater things, but then struggle with the fact that being a mom is a great thing. I'm looking forward to moving on in life - to all the girls being in school so I can go to school and start working. Yet, I'm trying to balance that with enjoying them in the moment right now. I think the best word for me right now is Restless. Trying to discern what God is calling me to do - is He calling me to be content as a SAHM right now? Or am I using that as an excuse to indulge my introverted tendencies to hole up in my house and stay home?

Nora is 5, almost 6. Ryann is 3 1/2. Georgia just turned 2. Each one is adorable in their own way.

Nora LOVES school and riding the bus and has so many neat stories of things they do at school. She has gone to one birthday party and has been invited to another one. It is fun to hear her talk of her jobs at school and the friends she is making. She is living her own little independent life away from home for 3 hours a day.

Ryann loves her school, too, although I don't have a very clear picture of what goes on while she's there:) I can't tell if she's making friends or not. She is definitely the most shy and introverted of our three girls. She often tells me that she played with "nobody" at school - and she's not upset about it, its just a fact. And somehow it doesn't surprise me. She adores one of her three teachers and talks about her often. She is becoming her own little person - not just the tag-along to older sister. She initiates play with Nora or Georgia and does her own imaginative stuff - not just copying what Nora does. She is obstinate and hard-headed and the thing that infuriates me the most about her is that when I'm scolding her she isn't listening, she's trying to talk over top of me "Mom, I have to tell you SOMEthing." I can't stand it:)

Georgia brings me to my knees more than any one of the three. Prayers begging for patience, for calmness and certainly just as many thanking God for the little surprise He sent us:) Our friends have decided that there are a few natural disasters in the world: Hurricanes, Tornados, Earthquakes and Georgia. She is a human wrecking ball and can destroy anything in a matter of seconds, turn around give you the cutest look and make you laugh at the horrible thing she's done. Right before she turned 2 someone flipped a switch in her and she started talking like mad. She doesn't pronounce things very well and I keep telling people that she's british - she says things without the middle consonants like: Da-Eee (daddy), Mon-Ee (Monkey), Mar-Er (Marker), Na-In (Napkin). I think its hysterical and I try to speak British, too. She is very snuggly and loves to give kisses and hugs - and its a darn good thing she does, because it may very well save her life one of these days LOL!

The Woof just turned 8. His life expectancy according to dog experts is 21 years. His life expectancy according to me is about 8 1/2. He was almost banned from our house a couple of days ago - he took off out of the house right as we were leaving for preschool. I won't go into the story, but lets just say a phone call was made to Cornbread with me telling him that we no longer had a dog and I wouldn't be looking for him. He also steals cereal dishes off of the counter and table on a daily basis - and while he tries to be gentle and graceful in the process, he always flips them over and I end up cleaning a HUGE milk/soggy cereal mess off of the floor every day. You can ask my why I don't do something proactively to prevent this and I will remind you that I have 3 kids, one of whom needs her diaper changed which means the other two are not being supervised and can leave their dishes at the table without me telling them to move them away from the edge... all this to say that his days are numbered.

1 Year Ago - December 2006:
Nora was almost 5, Ryann was 2 1/2, Georgia just turned 1. Ryann was potty trained at that time and I think we were still struggling to get her completely potty trained. We had gone to Memphis for Thanksgiving and came home to our water heater transformed into a fountain. Cornbread's car had died that fall, too which was another large amount of money spent. We were very overwhelmed with the additional large expenses at that time - seemed like his job was going well, but we just couldn't get ahead because of these huge one-time, non-negotiable expenses. I remember talking to my dad, the mechanic, our friend, Cornbread numerous times about what we should do about that car - fix it or bite the big one and get a new one. We decided to spend the money to fix it. It was hard to spend that kind of money on an almost 10 year old car and have faith that it wouldn't break down again 6 months later. As it turns out, it stayed solid at least that long and within 6 months, friends of ours asked if we knew of anyone who needed a 1995 Toyota Camry... We DID! They gave it to us for bluebook value (which was next to nothing) and we were able to give our car to our friend who would be getting his license in August. God surprises us again.

5 years ago - December 2002:
Wow - only one child at that time! Nora was almost 1 and we were celebrating her first Christmas. It was exciting and was filled with lots of useless toys that probably never got played with:) The holidays took on a dramatic change that year as we now got to look at everything through the eyes of a child. The snow looked different. The lights looked different. Presents were fun to open again. Cornbread was in midst of a good career at his final mortgage company. He was finally at a company where he felt like he could do what he wanted to do in order to create and take care of business. We had moved to our current home that summer and he was actually trying to move his business from our old area to our new area. It was a huge challenge that involved a lot of trial and error in terms of advertising and marketing. He was also looking for a way to get out of our house as Nora was becoming too difficult to work around. She was a total daddy's girl and wanted nothing to do with me, unless she had to. My feelings were hurt many times by this, but things eventually changed.

10 years ago - December 1997:
This is hard:) We were in our senior year at Calvin. We were engaged and I think we celebrated that year in Aurora with Cornbread's family. No children on either side of the family yet. I was basically done with school and I was getting ready to start looking for a full time job. I had to take one class the following semester in order to graduate, because my internship counted for both of my majors and counted as the credits that I needed. I registered for a night class given by a detective that I worked with in my internship at the Kentwood Police Department. I had all of my days free which gave me the time to work during the day. I had quit my job at the gas station and was also finished working at the police department. We had a date chosen for our wedding and most of the major stuff planned and couldn't really do anything more at that point. Cornbread was looking at a terribly busy semester which included almost no time to work and earn money - which meant that he had no money to spend on cigarettes... which meant that he needed to quit. That was a tough couple of weeks.

15 Years ago - December 1992:
I was a junior in high school and was in a long, serious relationship with my one major high school boyfriend, Ben. We had been dating almost 6 months at that point and would date another 6 - until the day after our 1 year anniversary. I had a job at a local gas station, which I just loved. I was getting college brochures by the handful everyday in the mail and no intentions of even applying at Calvin. I was pretty set on going to University of Michigan for pre-med. I believe it was around this time of year that me and my friend, Becky, decided to go to Honduras that summer for a mission trip - this was ultimately the thing that ended my relationship with Ben.

20 years ago - December 1987:
This is a stretch... I was in 6th grade. I was entering the most treacherous period of my social life. Sixth grade was rough and junior high was worse. I had the worst teacher of the three in our grade, but I made life fun for myself by goofing off with whomever I was sitting near in class.

30 years ago - December 1977:
I was 1 1/2 years old. Obviously, I have absolutely no clue what was going on in life at that time. I'm going to take a stab and say I was walking and following my sister everywhere she went;)

Monday, December 17, 2007

I'm back online

So our computer died last Thursday. I mean died. It froze and then would not start back up or even shut off. We got that computer right before Nora was born and it has been a pain in the bum for the last 2 years - but it worked for what we needed it for (um, internet).

So we went out shopping for a new one on Friday. Right after I had a meltdown of major proportions... Jana is definitely not super-mom and had a really bad afternoon on Friday. Sure, I have all of my Christmas shopping done, cards in the mail (Ha, Kim!) and seem to have life figured out and am totally pulled together, but its simply not true. Jana can become an emotional wreck on a given notice just like any other mom (hello, right? other moms do lose it sometimes, too, right? I'm not the only one - RIGHT?). Three children wear on the nerves sometimes and I just lost it on Friday and cried the entire afternoon. Perhaps I was really just going through internet withdrawl. Whatever the case, I am lucky enough to have a husband who listens and cares and a very close friend who is a therapist and available via phone whenever I need him... I will be getting a real therapist soon, though, because I believe everyone could benefit from therapy - including me.

So I wasn't planning on going into all of that:)

Back to computer shopping on Friday night. We found a couple of decent, inexpensive laptops at Best Buy, but decided to shop around and see what they were going to have on sale on Sunday (around here we get the Sunday ads already on Saturday afternoon). We picked up the Sunday Tribune on Saturday night and saw that they would have two laptops for sale - one for $549 and one for $399. The salesguy told us that if we wanted to get a cheap one we'd have to get there at 7am on Sunday. Uh not happening. But Cornbread was willing to get there at 8 and he got the LAST ONE for $399!!!! A laptop for $399???!!! That rockes, eh?

I finally plugged it in and am back online. However, I've lost everything - all of my favorite bookmarked websites, all of my photos, all of our financial records, etc. But we're going wireless and I am going to get out of the NW corner of my house, but I'll be in a corner somewhere:)

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The countdown begins

I feel the need to anounce to all who care that I'M DONE!! I bought my last Christmas gift last night. I've purchased the cards and the stamps and am waiting for them to come in the mail. I'm waiting for a couple of other gifts to come in the mail, but other than that I'm finished. All gifts in the house have been wrapped and are quietly waiting in my closet for the big day when they make they're debut (with Georgia around, there is no way these gifts are going under the tree until Christmas Eve after bedtime).

My in-laws are coming this weekend for the first round of Christmas celebrations. I will be making appetizers and a nice dinner and it will be festive and joyful:) The following weekend we'll be traveling to my side of the family for the next round - I'm very excited because we'll have one full day to spend with my parents, my sister & BIL and my nephews with no other committments to get to - we have NEVER had that before! And Christmas Eve will be spent waiting for Santa, making cookies, and listening to music. I'm very excited about Christmas this year.

Oh yeah, Cornbread told me he figured out his gift for me - and it costs a lot of money. Hmmmm... he's not usually good at keeping secrets or surprises, so I'm going to have to start asking some questions:)

And now, for the photos you will NOT see on our Christmas cards this year:

Monday, December 10, 2007

I wasn't claustrophobic and didn't have a panic attack until I was pregnant with Nora

I can clearly remember when I had my first panic attack. I was 25 and was only 2 months pregnant with Nora. I had never experienced anything like this before that, but it was the first of what would soon be many episodes (I had quite a few within that first year).

Cornbread and I were leaders of a college youth group in our church at the time. As one of our fun things to do we all went downtown to watch the July 4th fireworks (which the city of Chicago holds on July 3rd). In addition to the fireworks, the city hosts The Taste of Chicago at that time every year. July 3 is traditionally the busiest day at the Taste due to all of the firework watchers.

I had been to the Taste before, but never on the 3rd. I had no reason to believe that any of this would be an issue. And it wasn't at first.

I walked down there with 3 of our college girls. We were making our way through the fairway and trying to figure out what they all wanted to try. We were in the middle of a HUGE crowd - there were TONS of people there, but it still wasn't a problem. It became a problem when a long beer line intersected the fairway and stopped the through traffic (which we were a part of). We had several people in front of us, but they weren't moving - they couldn't get through the beer line. The crowd in front of us stopped. We stopped. The people far behind us, though, didn't know what was going on and they weren't stopping.

This is when I began to panic. Suddenly the whole idea of a mob mentality raced through my mind. Being trampled. I couldn't breathe - I was about a head shorter than anyone around me. I was pregnant. I was responsible for 3 college girls who were skinny and little. I couldn't breathe and I couldn't move and the people in front of us weren't moving, but we were feeling a slight push from the crowd behind us. Something had to give. I couldn't breathe. My chest was tight and I didn't know how we were going to get out of that situation.

Eventually things opened up and we were able to continue walking forward. The whole event probably lasted less than 5 minutes, but it was a looong 5 minutes for me.

I still don't know why this happened or what the root cause of all of this anxiety is. And I don't know why that specific situation kick started a true anxiety issue in me. I haven't been back to the Taste on the 3rd since then - I really should try to go and conquer at least that fear.

QOTD: Have you ever been to The Taste of (anything - any city)? If so, what was the best thing you tried?

getting to know me in 100 days - day 29

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

I'm a miracle worker

Because somehow I've managed to duplicate yesterday in the overall pleasantness of our house. What the heck am I doing right lately? Perhaps my husband should do more business traveling because surprisingly while daddy is away everyone is very enjoyable.

Hmmm. I'm in desperate need of adult communication.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Now... how did I do that?

My girls fight. They argue with each other. They whine over who gets the pink bowl and who gets to go first with this or that. Some days I just want to tear my hair out and send one of them away so that life will be just a little quieter - I don't care which one, any one of the three being gone for a while will result in a quieter, more laid back atmosphere.

I don't understand why they fight and I think a lot of the reasons are absolutely absurd. Its hard to not completely lose my patience and start going on and on to them about how dumb this particular fight is. However, I feel it is better to not get involved and I just tune them out instead (unless it gets too bad then I do step in).

And then there are days like today. Days where all three of them are incredibly pleasant and happy. They are kind to each other and actually seem like they genuinely enjoy playing together. I have not heard any whining. No arguing. No "mine". No tattling. It is absolutely enjoyable around here right now.

Makes me wonder - what did I do right this morning? What did I do differently today that resulted in this? And HOW IN THE WORLD CAN I DUPLICATE THIS TOMORROW???!!! Not likely to happen, but its worth thinking about:)

Saturday, December 01, 2007

I'm spending entirely too much time...


Who knew that the Fight Club DVD would be so popular?

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

I'm claustrophobic and have panic attacks

I hate this - I hate that I have this issue to deal with or even think about. I hate that it affects me the way it does. I have panic attacks when I feel enclosed and unable to escape. I don't know that I'm necessarily fearful of small spaces - just spaces or situations where I can't escape.

In my mind I think this is absolutely idiotic and insane - I hate it. Its stupid - what is going to happen to me? However, at the moment itself I have such a physiological reaction, that it isn't something I can stop or prevent - it happens in the moment and it begins as a physical response and progresses to include a mental response.

My chest feels like it is imploding. It isn't painful, it just feels crushing and tight - like the photo above. I have a hard time breathing and my heart races. My mind also begins to race and I start to panic - how am I going to get out of this? What am I going to do? What if there is no way out? Panic, Panic, Panic. I hate it.

I've had panic attacks on a busy El car - I had to get off and get on a less crowded one. I've had them in an extremely slow McDonald's drive-thru line. I had one this summer when we bypassed the Boerman Expressway when it was flooded, as did everyone else and the roads in Lansing were at a standstill and we had nowhere to go. I recently had one in an elevator that I thought had stopped - I don't normally care about elevators, but I thought this one had stopped. I've had them in heavy expressway traffic - I have to drive in the outside lanes.

I also had one at the Daughtry concert we went to a couple of weeks ago. It was a small venue, there were 130 people in the room. It was fine - I was fine. Until the host announced that we needed to get up to go to the bathroom now, because once the show started the doors would close and we wouldn't be able to get out. BAM - physical response: chest is tight. Mental response: panic. I spent the first half of the concert intentionally calming myself down and assuring myself that it wouldn't be a long concert and we would be able to get out - and if I really, really NEEDED to leave, they would HAVE to let me out.

I had one while I was on the phone scheduling my MRI last year - on the phone, just thinking about the MRI. Does this look horrible? It really isn't, but I was scared to death and ended up having to take Valium before the test.

Sometimes I panic because I don't feel like I can escape, sometimes I panic because I'm scared of a mob mentality if an emergency would happen - like the Daughtry concert. Sometimes I get the physiological response just from watching something that would terrify me - my chest got tight when Meredith drowned on Grey's Anatomy last season, I can't breathe when the immunity challenge on Survivor involves going under water for as long as the person can (breathing through a tube or at the top of a screen while the tide comes in). Its not even happening to me and I begin to panic!

I hate it. Its stupid. But it isn't something I can prevent - some day I will get therapy.

QOTD: What are you scared of?

getting to know me in 100 days - day 28

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

I would love to live in the city

I LOVE Chicago. I really do. The city has so much to do and has so much energy - unless you're in a business district after 5pm, then not so much energy:)

When we were first married, Cornbread and I would load up a backpack with some snacks and some bottles of water and drive into the city, park by BFWW's place and walk. And walk. And walk. We didn't have any kind of agenda or plans, we just loved to walk around the city. I still do, but we don't have the opportunity to do so like we used to.

I don't have many regrets in life - truly, I can only think of one... I wish we had moved to the city when we first got married rather than buying a boring house in the suburbs. I long to live in the city - even if just for a little while - and someday we will.

Cornbread - not so much. He would like to have a weekend home in the city and we've made that a goal of ours. He has no desire to live in a building and take the elevator to his home. He wants his yard and his grass and his car. But he also wants all of the fun things to do and doesn't want to deal with the traffic on the way there or on the way home. Thus, he wants a place where we can go for the night or the weekend when we want to go to a White Sox game or to the fireworks or to a concert or festival.

I'm sure I have a romantic view of city living - one that doesn't quite acknowledge all of the negatives, however, it all looks good to me. Walking everywhere. Taking the el places rather than driving a car. Living in a building and seeing the same neighbors in the elevator everyday. Saying "good morning" to the front desk person and nodding hello on my way up in the evening. See? Romantic, lovely view of city living. And I don't want to know about the downsides - I'd prefer to sit here in my chair with my perfect - albeit ignorant - image of how it is going to be when we finally get a place in the city.

QOTD: Have you been to Chicago? If so, what was your favorite part?

getting to know me in 100 days - day 27

Monday, November 19, 2007

I drive a Toyota Camry with 3 carseats in the backseat

And I'm back... I'm going to try to finish these out - I've got at least 74 days of blogging material here:)

This is the car that I drive: A 2001 Toyota Camry. We bought it some time between Nora being born and Ryann being born. It has a pretty big back seat and four doors. Cornbread was very excited about the leather interior. It's a nice car.

We cram 3 car seats in the back of it - so the back seat isn't so big anymore:) The girls look like this:

They're pretty cozy back there, eh? Imagine adding the Woof to the mix when we travel - its altogether wonderful!

I've never ever wanted to drive a minivan. Never. I thought that some sort of SUV - perhaps a Durango - would be a better choice. I just don't like the looks of a minivan. I never wanted to drive one - until now.

I still don't want to drive a minivan. I still don't like the looks of them. But now I would really love to have one. I'm sick of cramming them all in the back seat and having a tough time buckling Nora in. Moreso, I'm sick of them being so close to us when we're driving anywhere and trying to have somewhat of a normal conversation between the two of us - TWO of us, not FIVE of us.

However, the reason we cram 3 carseats into the backseat of a sedan is not because of my vanity, but because we just are not in a financial position to get a van. We're trying desperately to be wise with our finances while going through this new business situation. Could we get a van? Yes. Should we? No. Financially it doesn't make sense for us to get a van right now. When the Camry is paid off, then we can start thinking about it.

A van. I would much prefer an SUV. However, we would still have the same issue since many of them do not have a third row. But more importantly - for us, is we don't think it is a wise use of our money to get an SUV when we get to that point. We travel to Michigan too often to use up that much gas. Environmentally I'm not sure it would be a good decision, either. At some point responsibility has taken precedence over my vanity. I'm old, huh?

QOTD: What kind of car do you drive? What kind of car would you like to drive?

getting to know me in 100 days - day 26

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

She's officially TWO

Even though she's been acting two for quite some time, Miss Georgia Buggly officially turned two on Friday of last week. I've been ultra lazy about getting some photos up here to share with the world (mostly because I knew this was going to take forEVER to do:)

As we normally do on the day of the birthday, we brought the girls to the mall to play in the play area (moon & stars) and then continued on to Nestle & Co for cookies. Its not much, but its a special way for us to celebrate the actual day as a family - and the girls love it and look forward to it.

Georgia was hysterical!!! She has this thing she does that will be hard to describe... When one of the girls is bugging her or just being silly with her she puts both hands in the air like a preacher, spreads her fingers really wide and yells "Noooooooooo!" at the top of her lungs. It cracks us all up because she's doing it to be goofy more than anything else. Well, this little goofiness was on full display at the Moon & Stars every time any unsuspecting child had thoughts of climbing up the slide that Georgia claimed for herself.

Here even a mom is trying to fight her for slide time for her son:)

She perched herself at the top of the slide, would not go down it herself unless she felt like it, and prevented any other children from going down. We alternately laughed at her and scolded her - it was just too funny. And she knew it. One thing about his child - she knows when she is being funny and is amusing her parents and she definitely plays that up.

On her perch - knowing exactly what she's doing:

On Saturday, we all went to the circus with Nana and Papa who had flown in from Virginia to celebrate Buggly's birthday and take us all to the circus. We ALL loved it! I think she was a bit too young to truly enjoy it, but she had fun climbing on to the chairs, eating cotton candy and taking her shoes off and walking on the super sticky floor in just her socks (which were thrown away as soon as we got home:)

Beware - there are TONS of pictures coming:)
Our girls and their Papa waiting for the Greatest Show on Earth

These silly hats and a bag of cotton candy can be yours for the low price of $12!

We celebrated with cake and more presents after the Bears game on Sunday evening:

I assume any mother of more than one toddler understands what is going on in this photo:)
Papa - totally obssessed with the Sponge Bob yahtzee game that he and Nana bought for Nora and Ryann:
24 Fun Facts about Georgia:
1. She answers to Buggly
2. We sing "Georgia Peorgia pudding pie..." to her daily
3. She has dissed Turkey the Leopard recently
4. She has slept in a crib longer than her sisters by a week already
5. She takes her pajamas off every night before she falls asleep
6. She demands that the straps on her chair be fastened before she eats
7. She would prefer cottage cheese with peach/pineapple salsa to a Jo Jo cookie or pizza
8. She loves rotisserie chicken
9. She takes her pants off for no reason throughout the day
10. She often shares a taste of her candy with her sisters (or her mom) without being asked
11. She loves to see the picture on the camera after it is taken and says, "I see?"
12. She loves to play with the Woofy by throwing his toys for him
13. She spits the skin of her apple out wherever she is at that moment
14. She takes a nap for 2 hours and 45 minutes every day, but could sleep longer - on the weekends she naps for 3 or 4 hours
15. She goes to bed at 7:30 and has her own private routine with mom or dad - pick out a book, read it on the rocking chair, into bed, turn on Baby Tad, turn off lights, shut the door (then at some point she undresses)
16. Her hair is halfway down her back already
17. She loves to have her picture taken
18. She walks up and down the stairs without holding onto a railing
19. She loves to clean the walls with baby wipes
20. She is having fun taking care of her new babies
21. She loves her eggs in the morning
22. She is the ultimate scavenger - she finishes whatever the other girls have not eaten at every meal
23. She still loves her David, but is okay with him putting her down (now)
24. She brings her dishes to the counter when she is finished eating
Happy Birthday Buggly! You have been such a delightful surprise in our lives:) You're exhausting at times (okay, a lot of times), but you more than make up for it with your giggles, your smiles, your humor and your snuggles! We love you Georgia Peorgia!

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Apparently its too much to ask...

for fireplace ashes to stay in the fireplace.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Red, Anne and the strawberry

Halloween 2007

We dressed in costumes.

We had school parties.

We trick 'r treated with our friends.

We were the cutest on the block.

And there is waaaaayyyy too much candy in our house. Who made all of this up anyway?
We had fun.
I am allowing myself one piece of candy tonight - I just need to decide:
100 Grand?
What would your choice be?

Thursday, October 25, 2007

A few suggestions

Here are a couple of links that I find interesting:

1. I have been "complaining" to Cornbread about "this" for a really "long time". I had to laugh when I saw this blog as a featured blog on the blogger dashboard. It "is" brilliant!

2. We have one of these around here. And I get mad at myself everytime I look at it, because I can't stand it - but its like a trainwreck - I know I shouldn't look, but I just HAVE to - and then I regret it.

3. Cornbread received one of these the other day and it sent him into kind of a tizzy for a few hours. Annoying.

4. This drives me absolutely crazy - out-of-my-mind. Seriously. When a newspaper shows up in my mailbox and the reporter doesn't know the proper use of they're, their, or there and the EDITOR doesn't catch it, their is a problemo.

5. Thank you Doni for this one : Clearly Clockwise for me. How about for you?

PS - you've gotta keep on your toes, people! I'm a blogging maniac - 2 days in a row.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


I have a very, very poor memory. Long-term, I guess. I'm not quite sure what the deal is, but I just don't remember details of situations - or movies or books. I don't remember much of my childhood - not that it was bad, but I just don't remember much of it. I don't remember much of high school - not that it was bad, but I just don't remember much of it. I'm beginning to realize that some of my memories of college are on their way out, too. This makes me a little upset, but I also understand and embrace the fact that I can't - and shouldn't - live in the past. It was what it was. It would be nice to revel in the joy of the good memories, but boy it would suck to wallow in the bad memories. So I guess this works pretty well for me:)

To a certain extent this is part of the reason why my posts here are so fricken long at times. Okay, okay, most of it is because I'm chatty, I like to talk and I like to write. But there is an element of wanting to capture everything about the moment - the feelings, the descriptions - so I can read it years from now and remember it, or at least try to remember how I felt when I wrote it or experienced it.

Recently it dawned on me that I will no longer have babies... I will never again have my own 18 month old and pretty soon I won't ever again have my own 2 year old. Maybe I'm getting sappy or mushy, but it occurred to me that there are some moments in life that I just never want to forget, but I'm sure I will. I adored Nora and Ryann as toddlers and they were so cute and fun and funny, however, I don't remember them as toddlers anymore. I barely remember Ryann before she started talking (maybe because she never shuts up now). I barely remember Nora as 4 years old. I think that sometimes I'm just trying so hard to get through the moment - the NOW - that I fail to pause and take it in. And Nora's moments and Ryann's moments are as fun and exciting now as Georgia's will be at the time simply because they'll be the "last time I experience this". So I am trying to be a bit more intentional about capturing photos of moments I don't want to forget - not just the exciting things we do like go to the zoo, or to grandma's, or this thing or that, but the everyday things that create such joy in my life. The everyday things that fill me from head to toe with a sense of peace and joy and wonder.

Here are a few recent photos that I took, just for this reason - not because my kids are so incredibly cute and I want to show them off, but because it was a moment that I never want to forget:

Ryann showing me what a beautiful princess she is. She dressed herself up and was so proud.

This is how Georgia looks every afternoon when I put her down for her nap. We go in her room, get her pacifier from the bookcase, and I lay her in bed on her pillow. I show her Turkey the Leopard, she smiles and grabs for him, hugs him and I pull her blankie on top of her. I start Baby Tad's 6 minutes of music, give her a kiss on the forehead and say, "Goodnight Buggly, Love you." THIS is how she looks:

Ryann has a bed. She doesn't often fall asleep in it. Many nights we come upstairs to find her sleeping on the floor next to her bed, or sleeping in the threshold of her bedroom door. This night she fell asleep hugging her soccer trophy:

Every time I ask Nora what she likes most about school, her answer is "Riding the bus." Her bus comes around 12:25pm. We sit outside and wait for it together - just me and her (and sometimes the neighbor boys). Sometimes we listen to the ipod together, sometimes she just rides her bike while I watch. When we see the bus come around the corner a block down from our house, she stops whatever she's doing, grabs her backpack and RUNS to the sidewalk to wait until it stops in front of her. She patiently waits while the stop sign and the arm come out, the bus driver says, "You can cross." She crosses the street - never looking back - only looking forward.

Ever since reading a book about DW losing a tooth, Nora has wanted to lose a tooth. I think she willed this tooth to become loose by just wiggling it until it did. We spent several weeks checking how loose her tooth was. One day, she ran off of the bus and yelled, "I LOST MY TOOTH!" It was an exciting day for all! She got a little tooth box at school and put it under her pillow that night for the tooth fairy. Apparently the tooth fairy comes, waves her magic wand and turns the tooth into money (this is what she told daddy - who relayed it to me when I asked what I was supposed to do with the tooth - leave it there with the money or take it.) The tooth fairy magically turned her tooth into a golden dollar that night!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

October 10th

Today is our anniversary. I wish I had a scanner so I could include some photos of the gorgeous bride and groom... perhaps I'll be able to do that next year:)

Our wedding day was perfect. It was sunny and about 70 degrees. A fair breeze and a virtually cloudless sky.

Our wedding was exactly as we wanted it - my dad did an amazing thing for us when we got engaged. He told us we had a set amount of money and we could spend it as we wanted... he gave us the license to have our own wedding - not the wedding of my mom's dreams or the wedding of my mother-in-law's dreams - OUR wedding. We knew how much we could spend and anything over that we had to pay ourselves - anything left over, he would give to us in the form of a check.

Fortunately, we are fairly simple in our tastes and desires and our wedding cost almost nothing compared to today's weddings. I had my dress made - and never did the wedding dress shopping thing. I had my bridesmaid dresses made and they were my favorite color (the exact color of this blog, in fact). I had gerbera daisies as my flowers. I had candlesticks instead of candleabras. And I had no opinions from anyone else - just mine and Cornbread's. All of these things made me very happy:)

Our reception was at Cannonsberg Ski Lodge. It wasn't fancy and it wasn't beautiful (although the picture in the link is much prettier than it was 9 years ago), but it was FUN!!! Our guests sat at long banquet tables, not round tables. The carpet was threadbare from ski boots being scuffed over it all winter. There were wagon wheel light fixtures and not chandeliers. We had cans of beer instead of draft or bottles. But we had the most fun DJ's, and we had a wall of windows behind the bridal party so we could see the trees with the changing colors. We had a huge deck on the back so we could hang outside in the wonderful weather. We were young and just out of college and our reception became an extension of the parties we had had at Fuller in previous years. All of our friends were there. We were the spotlight couple for the night and we had a BLAST!

But the best thing about that day wasn't the wedding of my dreams or the fun reception, it was marrying my Davenid. He IS and was all I have ever needed and wanted. He is my best friend. He is love and he has turned out to be so much more than I could have ever asked. He is my favorite person of all time:) He is the best father and constantly strives to be the best husband. He works to improve upon what he already is - not because he's deficient in anything, but because he doesn't want to be complacent, he wants to always be working on himself. And he inspires and pushes me to do that for myself. He works hard so he can be successful at his job - want to know why? His goal is to make enough money so that I can do whatever I want - not so we can have tons of stuff, but he wants ME to be able to make my own choices in life. He loves me and respects me so deeply, it brings tears to my eyes.

Every year I tell him that I've heard that marriage is difficult and I'm still waiting for that to happen. I'm sure we will have our downs, but I feel like we have had 9 years of ups so far.

I promise to love you with all of my heart;
I promise to be faithful to you;
to listen to you;
to pray for you;
and to put my trust in you.
I promise to cheer for you when you succeed, and to lift you up when you fail.
I promise before God and everyone here
to respect,
and to serve you
for as long as we both are living.
I can honestly say that my husband truly fulfills his vows. My hope is that I do, too.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Yesterday we ate lunch...

with the flamingo's (Its hard to see, but they're in the background):

Cornbread and I had a fantastic weekend away in South Haven while the girls enjoyed themselves at grandma and grandpa's. When we initally began planning to go away that weekend we decided that it would be nice to do on the weekend of Columbus Day since the girls would be off of school that day. That way we could take our time getting home on Sunday and then we could all have a day at the zoo on Monday after missing them oh so much over the weekend:)

We LOVE going to the city so Lincoln Park Zoo was the destination. We had such a nice day together even with the heat and humidity. The animals were really active - which is a huge change from every other trip I've made to the zoo. And the zoo is much bigger than we remembered from the last time we went (couple years ago)... I was exhausted by the end of the day (had no idea I was also getting a head cold). And the girls all napped in the rush hour traffic on the way home.

This was Georgia's first trip to the zoo and her reaction to every new animal was the same: A really loud shriek and the following look on her face directed at one of us - like "Oh my gosh, LOOOOOK!!! Mom and Dad - LOOOOK!!!" We laughed and laughed with her - it was awesome!

We saw everything - even though I tried to skip a few (who wants to see wolves and black bears anyway?)

Nora's favorites were the anteater, the deer and the giraffes. Ryann's were the giraffes and the zebras (even though that is the one animal that we missed). Georgia's favorites, apparently, were all of them.

Cornbread also got to witness one of those disapproving other mom situations... We were walking out, Ryann was in the back of the double stroller and Georgia was in the front - I was pushing. Georgia decided to stand up for some reason (she had not done this at all prior to this) and she fell forward and got her foot caught in the front wheel. Now, she wasn't hurt all that badly - no scrapes or scratches, she didn't hit her head, but it was 3:15 and she had not had a nap and was tired and a little over extended - of course she cried. I stopped immediately to find out what happened and to help her - another mom rushed over to see if she was alright, I told her she was and she walked away, rolled her eyes at Cornbread and said in kind of a self-satisfied tone of voice, "She wasn't strapped in." I wish I could duplicate the way she said it - I was quite annoyed.

Do people REALLY strap their kids into the stroller at the zoo? Come on? They're in and out, in and out the entire time - do you REALLY take the time to strap them and unstrap them every single time? If you do - I'm really happy and proud of you, but we don't - obviously.

I had a situation previously while Cornbread and Nora were somewhere else. It never ceases to amaze me how much people feel a need to butt in and comment on the way I take care of my kids - perhaps instead of clucking in disapproval and hovering over top of me to make sure that I take care of things the proper way, one should instead say, "Oh my - you only have two hands and two small children climbing all over a stroller. I can see you may need help - what can I do?" Hmph.

It was a good day - with those two exceptions:)

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