Saturday, August 25, 2012

Looking for Some Inspiration


I've been meaning to talk to you, honestly, but every time I try, I think, "What is there to say to my friends?" Let's face it!  When you spend most of every day looking at the four walls of your bedroom, wondering if you can work up the energy to load the dishwasher or perhaps carry the folded laundry up the stairs, you become less than a stellar conversationalist.  I actually considered googling "things to talk about" yesterday until I decided that might just be one of the saddest searches in google history.  Turns out, friends, it does not even come close!

I checked.

Here are some real winners:
1.) Is it okay to put a sock in a toaster?
2.) Do little people have night vision?
3.) Why do I get so sweaty when I watch "Cops"? 
4.) Wolves are taking all our women.
5.) I accidentally slept with my sister. (Oops!)
6.) Why is my husband's poop green? (Do I even need to say anything?)

Yes! These are actual google searches, people.  Turns out I'm NOT the only one with too much time on my hands.  Here are some of the crazy things that people are searching for (and you can actually buy!)

1.) pet hoodies
2.) zombie apocalypse survival kit
3.) adult unicorn masks
4.) two person underwear (we might have to look into this!)
5.) anatomical leggings (allows the world to see what your legs would look like without skin)
6.) bird's nest bed (fits up to 16 people at once)

You too can check out some of these awesome purchases at Dude I Want That. So take heart! The next time you find yourself home with an infectious disease or just spending one of the saddest Saturday afternoons ever, just remember... there is always someone searching the internet, far more pathetic than you.

 My unfortunate condition (mono or the "awful kissing disease," if you are my Dad) has been a learning experience.  The trick is to remember that just as there are always more pathetic people out there, there are also, sadly, sicker people out there.  My illness may force me to be a social pariah for awhile, but eventually, I am guaranteed to feel better.  Like my Mama has always told me, "If it ain't cancer, quit complaining."  That sounds about right to me.  If you have cancer, you are automatically entitled to a bitch pass for as long as your condition lasts.  They should pass it out in the waiting room. 

Now, this is going to sound a little woo-woo to some of my readers, so bear with me.  I believe that God knows what is best for His kids, just like we do (except for some of us who frequent judgement).  You know that saying, "If you want to make God laugh, tell Him about your plans"?  Well, as always, I had some pretty sweet plans laid out for myself this fall, and God just scattered them to the wind, which is pretty typical.  The difference between Kate ten years ago and Kate today is that I listen a little better when He's telling me something.  This is what I've been hearing lately:

"Hi there. You know your big ideas about working on a hot bod at the gym, doing various volunteer activities, being all around greatest mother/wife, and perhaps creating another child? Yeah, that's not working for me.  Scratch all that stuff and let's spend some time together.  Just you and me.  Oh, and you've got some issues we need to work on, so get ready!" 

You know what happens when everything is stripped away for awhile?  Well, at first, if you are me, you explore every possible pop culture distraction that is available to you in your bedroom.  Get you mind out of the gutter, you creep!  I'm talking about a mountain of books (single handedly supporting my local library with late fees) and 500 cable channels.  I can provide recommendations, if you need them.  But, one can only survive on a diet on junk food for so long.  Eventually, I felt a longing for something more substantial.  So, I, who talks about the Bible but rarely reads it, picked up my kindle and opened my women's Bible.  Here is what I found that first morning.

Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love, 
for in you I trust.
Make me know the way I should go,
for to you I lift up my soul.
Deliver me from my enemies, O Lord!
I have fled to you for refuge!
Teach me to do your will,
for you are my God! 
Let your good Spirit lead me on level ground! 
Psalm 143:8-10

That little bit of inspiration, that little scrap of poetry that was written thousands of years ago, was enough to release the anxious knots that had been residing in my stomach and quiet the negative thoughts that frequent my head.  It was powerful enough to say, "You are safe.  Don't worry about today or tomorrow because you are mine and I will look after you."  

I'm going to be honest and say that committing to reading everyday was too much for me initially.  So, I gave myself a seven day challenge to see how God would use scripture to work on me.  Some days I read five minutes and others I read twenty.  But, it is so EASY! Not what I expected.  It is like a breath of fresh air in a world of smog, and  it leaves me feeling like we are tethered together, He and I .  What might happen if you took a seven day challenge, ten minutes a day?

I challenge you!! Mostly because I want someone to hold me accountable.  So, ask me, please and if you like, I will ask you. Especially, if I am sounding like a Debby Downer.  Say, "Kate, you're not reading your Bible are you?"  Because I have ADD and am just a wee bit forgetful and easily distracted by shiny objects. 


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Lazy Days and a Little Comedy

Well, Dear Reader, the first couple of weeks which kicked off our 2012/2013 school year did NOT go as planned.  I had all these fabulous plans of hitting the gym every morning (by now I was already expecting to see some results!),  joining MOPS, meeting with the elementary school music teacher to discuss how I can bring my musical/photocopying gifts to the table, etc.  It was going to be an amazing kick off to the school year and I was going to be mother of the year.  

Here's what happened instead. The mono (yes, I am 33 years old and NO I am not kissing any frat boys on the sly) that I thought was behind me did not appreciate my efforts to travel, throw a party, nurse my kids back to health, etc.  It decided to rear its ugly head and slow my ass down.  Did you know that a cup of coffee followed by three coke zeros does NOT qualify as a treatment for mono?? No! It just causes acid reflux!  I tried it.  And my gym membership?  Well...I lasted about thirty minutes into my first cardio class and then used the step (hate those things) for the rest of the class as a bench on which to sit with my head between my knees.  Awesome!  

I've spent the last few days laying like a vegetable.  I have watched every premium channel series I possibly can. I am emotionally involved with some of the characters now. (When did "True Blood" become a parody of itself? It's like a really bad soap opera where everyone dies daily. And the shape shifters need to just disappear all not interested.) Today was a big deal because I made it to the Post Office without passing out.  Now, I feel just good enough to be really freakin' bored.  And a little crazy from the isolation.  How do people do this crap for like three months?  Or six?  I would be talking to myself and knitting dog sweaters by then.  And don't even get me started on my reading material...just let me know if you need an update on the Kristen/Robert love saga summary. I wish I could tell you that I have been dutifully reading my Bible and spending lots of time in prayer, but I sort of have to be walking or standing to pray right now.  Otherwise, I fall asleep.  It's no wonder my brain cells are deteriorating with a steady diet of intellectual junk food!  

Enough of my pity party! There are some highlights to this painfully slow week.  My convalescence has saved our family some money.  You see, when I am unleashed with my children upon the world, I like to buy stuff, mainly food and caffeine, at every opportunity.  Now, I have developed quite a talent for eating the contents of my freezer (I am not one of those people who loses weight when ill...or ever).  And Daddy had some really great quality time with the kids this weekend.  He has a gift for keeping the rugrats entertained in creative ways at home (dressing and teeth brushing is always optional).  As for my perks, the slow pace of my movements right now has allowed some time to appreciate the wonderfully, absurd things my children say and do every day.  Every day at about 5pm, we will stroll over to the neighborhood pool and I stretch my sluggish body out on a lounge chair, and enjoy the view: my two girls frolicking and splashing as they share stories from the day and try to impress me with their bravery and prowess in the water.  Here is a taste of the what comes out of their little mouths:

Lulu: Mama, why do all of your shirts make your boo-baas look so big?  Is it because Jesus made your shirts like that or because he made your boo-baas really fat??

Nana: Lilah, do I look mysterious? Lulu: Savannah, I have no idea what that means.

Nana: This is the hardest maze in the wholly spirit world!! It is work that only a genius could do.  

LuluSavannah, do you want to borrow my Chucky Cheese (stuffed animal) to help you sleep?  Nana: No thanks.  Lulu: Why? He's a good guy!!

Lulu: I'm only going to gymnastics if everyone tells me that my leotard is gorgeous when I get there.  And they never do!

Lulu: I just said hi to Freddy (our dog) and you know what he said to me?  Nothin', Absolutely nothin'!  

Now, it's off to the pool for a little swim and some comedy.  As I vegetate, counting the hours until Daddy comes home, I will try to stop and smell the roses, or chlorine, as it were.  Because soon we'll be moving a mile a minute, juggling girl scouts, gymnastics, play dates, and homework, and I will be thinking longingly about the slow pace of the last few days, when my most stressful decision was whether to eat the frozen orange chicken or the chicken noodle soup for dinner. 

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Still the One

Happy Anniversary, Baby!  11 years ago, today, I walked down the aisle on my Dad's arm.  He told me I was the best daughter he could ask for, and I helped him walk in time to the music.  My Uncle Frank photographed us; Dad looking dapper and glassy-eyed, me looking nervous and giddy.  There is a photograph, taken a few minutes before the ceremony, of us seeing each other for the first time that day.  My eyes are closed as we embrace, desperately seeking each other for reassurance in the madness of a 450 person wedding.  At that moment, you told me I was beautiful, and you must have gotten something in your eyes because tough, Macedonian boys don't cry.  I remember thinking that in holding you, I was hanging on to all I'd ever need.  

Just look at us!  In this picture we are two college kids at the beach.  You flew in for my senior formal, looking lean and delicious in your baggy jeans (do you still have them??).  I was pretty and round from too much cafeteria food and late night pizza.  In less than a year, we would be married. Did we have any idea how hard it would be?  No.  If we had, we might not have done it.  But looking back, I know that it was the best decision that I've ever made...second only to the decision for Christ.  None of this journey went the way we thought it would.  Didn't follow our adolescent plans.  You know what?  It is so much better than I ever could have hoped for.  

When we were newlyweds, I used to wish that we had the same interests or vision for the future, but in my maturity, I have come to treasure what we have.  It is a love that only gets better with age.  You are still the one who can make my cheeks flush just by thinking about you.  You still make me laugh harder than anyone at the ridiculous sense of humor you passed on to Savannah (poor kid).  You still are the most selfless, tender hearted person I know.  And I love that I am the only one who knows that closely guarded secret. Thank you for always trying to love me better, even after 16 years together.  I may not be great at too many things, but I am great at loving you.  After all, honey, I was born to do it!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Part Two of Chicago (and Other Stuff)

You have been holding your breath, anxiously awaiting Part 2 of my Chicago trip.  Settle down, settle down! My apologies for any mental anguish the wait has caused you.   But I feel as if my head has just now stopped spinning since that trip so I will attempt to put together my thoughts in an organized fashion for the first time since we got home.  

Maybe you read the first post about our travels to the windy city?  Well, this one will not sound nearly as exciting because I am about as energetic as my four year old is for her gymnastics instructor...not at all.   Once our plane touched ground, I kicked it into Turbo Mommy Gear to make a pinkalicious princess party happen in forty-eight hours.  Big deal for this Momma who has never actually hosted a birthday party at home.  We just didn't have the space in our last house.  After every little girl was adorned with princess paraphernalia and all partied out, it was time to tend to the causalities.  Lulu had spiked a fever during the party and like a good sister she shares EVERYTHING with her sibling.  Soon all the females in the house were struck down with a case of the grumpies/uglies. So, don't be misled by my seemingly apathetic attitude.  It's just that being an unwashed zombie tends to bring a girl down (note to self: it is never a good idea to watch "Contagion" when you look like one of the cast).  

Chicago was...perfect.  Everything I didn't know I needed it to be.  Welcoming and unexpected like the fleece from college that still hangs in your parents' closet after all these years, just waiting for you.  

You always hear people say, "There are so few surprises in life!" Can I just say that I categorically disagree with that statement!  What is life, if not one big, crazy ride full of surprises.  They used to scare the crap out of me and now I am learning to embrace the crazy and throw my hands up on the way down.  Chicago was one of those true surprises and the biggest surprise of all? My heart broke just a little bit when I had to leave. 

Where to start?? How about the place where little girls' dreams are made and mommies' wallets are broken?  I'm talking about the American Girl Place located on Chicago's Magic Mile, a beacon that attracts girls from all over the country.  Lilah and Savannah decided for their August birthdays that they each wanted an American Doll, complete with adorable outfits, a bathtub full of pink, plastic bubbles and a doll potty (to use after the dolls have had too much $10 tea to drink at the American Girl Cafe).  Rather than blather on about my empty wallet, I will share our day in pictures.
Jessie, me, and the girls as we make our entrance! 

The Lovely Ladies Themselves
Might I interest your doll in some $10 chocolate milk?
Mommy and Grandma enjoying the doll food!
What a day! Nana, Lilah, and "Baby" Ana take a little breather with their dolls. 
As much as I like to walk around squawking like a senior citizen about what a racket this American Girl thing is, I have to admit that it was such a lovely day.  Exhausting, but lovely.   I got to spend the day with some of my favorite people and it is a memory that my girls will carry with them forever.  I know!  I still remember the trip I made to Babyland General (home of the Cabbage Patch Kids) as a little tyke.  And you know what?  I don't remember what my mom spent that day on dolls.  It really doesn't matter if she bought me one or not.  What we remember is the time we spend making memories with the people who love us.  Look at those sweet little faces!  They had a good day and that is priceless. 

After long, happy visits with the people who love me and love my kids, I began to experience the first nagging waves of anxiety that were long overdue on this trip.  The serenity bubble that I had been floating along in throughout the week finally popped as I began to pack our bags.  You see, there was no doubt in my mind that our departure would be a painful one for Grandma, Grandpa, and the rest of the family.  This was our first trip back in a year, and we have no immediate plans for another visit.  Mom and Dad are who I believe God had in mind when he asked us to be the salt and the light in this world.  The just oooze love for my babies and me, and we miss them every day.

And the friends.  Oh, the friends.  There is a knowing between old friends that have seen the good, the bad, and the ugly together.  An understanding that says, " We may not pick up the phone every week because we have jobs and husbands and little people, but if you need me, I am there.  In a heartbeat."  That will never change.  Maybe I was a little scared that after a year it had.  But, no.  These special girls that I can count on one hand are the kind that will always know me and call me friend.  Amen.

Now, it is back to the real world.  School out here practically starts in July (what's up with that?) so this week holds the promise of wading through the masses of disgruntled mothers at Walmart, all searching for the 3 ring/1 subject/ 90 paged/ wide rule notebook with just the right design on the cover.  I tried to get Savannah to carry the "Jesus is my homeboy" notebook, but she wasn't having any of it.  This year I will join the PTO (total deadbeat last year) and maybe volunteer for the music teacher and try to ignore the fact that I am doing nothing with my musical training right now.  There is also a gym membership in the works so prepare to see pictures of my new rockin' bod in a couple of months.  Don't laugh!! 

How was your summer, friends? I hope you feel refreshed and perky and ready for the fall.  No?  Then, I hope you have some sweet summer memories to carry you through the cold months.  Cherish them.  These seasons of our lives seem to pass in the blink of an eye!