30 November 2008

Okay, so I've taken a bit of a hiatus from blogging these past two weeks. I realized today that I've only posted once since my bi-weekly "Not Me Monday" post. The truth is, I've been a bit lazy, quite a bit sick and a whole lot of busy.

And, now it's time to play catch up! I have about 25 photos to share to fill in the gap of the past two weeks. I could do this part Not-Me-Monday-style, but that would just be exhausting. I'll aim to do that later today. Until then, I hope you'll enjoy!

So, Ryan and I have picked up a big interest in rock climbing at the local indoor crag. We're loving it, and, in true Ryan fashion, he's already on the eBay hunt for us to have all our own gear!

In home decor news, I can finally set my shame aside as we have officially completed (most of) the painting of the living room, stairs and upstairs hallways. It's a huge relief to have it done. I'm currently considering tackling the dining room with Benjamin Moore's festive "million dollar red" for the holidays. We'll, of course, return it to it's regularly scheduled color once spring comes... stay tuned...
Also in decorating news, we've put up the tree and swapped the dining room with the living room. The dining room table is now in front of the fireplace. This switch initially took place to accommodate the Thanksgiving Feast, but we sort of enjoy it now, and we're considering leaving it this way for a bit.
Who needs leg warmers? Oliver asked Grandma to help him try on all of our stockings while I was working on the meal on Thursday.
When it was time for Scout to make her exit (also the time for our guests to make their entrance), Ryan called her outside to the van (she was supposed to spend the afternoon down the street with Derby, the Creech's dog in his yard). Anyway, she protested by hiding under and behind the Christmas tree.
This is our Thanksgiving table. Ryan made cards for each person with a small portion of Psalm 147 typed on them (the scripture I shared in my last post). Before the meal, we went around the table taking turns to complete the reading. Following Psalm 147, Ryan read the "Praise and Thanksgiving" prayer out of The Valley of Vision to bless the meal. It was really lovely.

This last verse was in the middle of the table for us all to read in unison.
When Beatrice arrived, the music was playing, and the kids actually grabbed hands and started dancing with one another. They really know how to get all the grown ups' attention!
My lovely sister and brother-in-law.
The handsome head-of-household. :)
My sweet Mama.
The whole group.
Rebecca was in charge of making the apple-cranberry potpies look beautiful.

After dinner, a walk.

This is what we've taught Oliver to do when he has to wait for something. I believe that here he is waiting for Auntie Rebecca to share some pumpkin pie with him.
So, I only took a few pictures of our three days in Ohio.
Here are my boys playing outside while the meal is being prepared.
And this is just as Great-Grandma Tilmant is pulling in the driveway. He was so excited and wanted to run to the car. Ryan told him to wait, and this is what we got. He's my dream kid.

27 November 2008

A hearty and happy Thanksgiving Day to all of you!

Today we are thankful.

Ryan is thankful for:
  • A years' worth of work
  • God's grace
  • Running water
  • Starbucks
  • The free Garmin gps we just got in the mail!
I am thankful for:
  • My dear and loving husband
  • God's beautiful, blue-eyed gift of life to us that is Oliver William
  • That I am currently "on schedule" for preparing the big feast
  • That 362 days of the year, God gives me a voice
  • Oliver is wearing undies today! (eek!)
  • Hope
Oliver is thankful for:
  • Mommy's make-up brushes (they make excellent toys!)
  • Balloons
  • Hot Chocolate (we are not above letting Oliver join in the holiday festivities!)
  • Mini Marshmallows ("two!" for each time he goes potty in the toilet)
  • The spaces in between his toes (he could examine them for hours)
Scout is thankful for:
  • The bath Ryan gave her yesterday which makes us all like her a bit more
  • Leftovers

"Praise the Lord!
For it is good to sing praises to our God;
for it is pleasant, and a song of praise is fitting.
The Lord builds up His people; He gathers the outcasts of the land.
He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.
He determines the number of stars; He gives to all of them their names.
Great is our Lord, and abundant in power;
His understanding is beyond measure.
The Lord lifts up the humble; he casts the wicked to the ground.
Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving; make melody to our God!
Praise the Lord, O you chosen ones!
Praise your God, O you people!"
Psalm 147:1-7,12

17 November 2008

Well, Christine, I'm with you on the bi-weekly "Not Me Monday" posts. What do you say we alternate? I, too have trouble being clever and witty every single Monday. :) I'm sure MckMamma would approve.

Well, for starters, I feel that I need to clarify a few things:

You know that lovely blue color that we painted our living room last April but left the highest parts of the walls (16' and up) to do a week later when we could find a taller ladder? It is definitely not still unfinished eight months later. And, the cool brown color we chose for the stairs and upstairs hallways more than four weeks ago? The new trim and moulding detail we thought would only take a week? That is certainly not sitting in limbo right now, a blaring banner of our tendency to start projects then take our time, for anyone who comes into our house to see first thing.

I'm so glad we cleared that up.

And, while we're clearing the air, I can say with firm conviction that I definitely did not wake up last Thursday morning and randomly decide to potty train my newly-two-year-old son in a day. That would be completely ridiculous, absurd and just setting myself up for defeat! But, for the record, he did not have 4 wonderful successes that day, and is not now a potty training champion. (!) And, for the record, he does not look absolutely ADORABLE in his tiny 2T boxer briefs running around the house celebrating life's small victories. Not Oliver.



Speaking of our little victor; I did not leave my wallet next to the computer this morning only to return to find it empty of my driver's license, debit card and credit card. I furthermore did not witness said 2-year-old proceeding to stick my library card in the disc drive of our iMac, cluing me in to where my other missing items may be found. And, I would be so incredibly frustrated if this did not actually mean that I am now sans 3 important cards and a disc drive for my computer. Seriously folks, if that had happened, if my driver's license were somewhere in the middle of my computer that I am currently typing on, so close, yet so so far away, I would feel a little crazy and desperate right now. So glad that did not happen this morning.


On a lighter note, I'm not planning to go rock climbing with my husband and good friends this weekend. And, if you want to join us, please don't feel free to give me a call. It would definitely not be the more the merrier.

I didn't go shopping with my Mom for Christmas gifts for my husband and son on Saturday. And, while I was out, shopping for gifts for others, I did not come across a great deal on jewel-toned sweaters at Old Navy and pick one up for myself while wishing myself a very Merry Christmas. I feel like that would have been missing the point of the outing. Good thing I controlled myself.

I didn't get to sleep in until almost 10:00 today because I just wasn't ready to start the week.

When we used to put Oliver down for naps, locking his door from the inside was not a great way to keep him committed to nap time (with a key hanging on the outside of his door, of course). He has not recently observed how we lock/unlock doorknobs, and learned how to escape rest time yet again. Because of our little Houdini, I did not cleverly devise a way to (very stylishly, of course) layer many angles of scotch tape over his door knob, completely and thoroughly covering the lock so that he could no longer escape the locked door.

This afternoon, I did not forget about my clever jimmy-rigging and close his door behind me, locking myself into his room while Ryan was gone for a meeting. The joke was not on me. I did not stand at the doorknob for several minutes, picking at my fancy tape job with my fingernails, sure that Oliver was watching and learning this new escape tactic.

After replacing the tape job and reading and singing Oliver into la-la-land, he did not, minutes later, do just what he'd seen his Mama doing and greet me in the hallway with a grin. Aw, man. Not again! Tape and locked doors is definitely not just a clever disguise for lazy parenting.

I am not totally excited about hosting Thanksgiving at our home next week! And, I am not that person who goes to Williams Sonoma, picks up their annual, free Thanksgiving planner complete with menu, recipes and a grocery list and then just does exactly what they say. That would be so consumerist of me. I am not a sell out!

Good thing we won't also have a traditional Thanksgiving meal in Ohio on Saturday to make up for the less traditional blue cheese spread appetizers, snap beans with caramelized shallots and Smoky Bacon-Biscuit Dressing.

It has not been 222 days since I first laid eyes on my sweet Evie-girl. It has also not been 222 days since I kissed her and smelled her, felt her weight in my hands and told her how much her Mama loves her for the last time on this earth. I have not missed her terribly this week.

All my love, my friends.
Do not go forth into your week with the grace and peace of Christ our Savior. (but really, do!)

12 November 2008

There have been many times in the two years that I have had the privilege of being Oliver's Mom that the Lord has used parenting moments to teach me beautiful things about His character.

Yesterday was one of those moments.

I was working on cleaning the kitchen in preparation for making supper and Oliver was milling around the downstairs, getting into things, asking for juice and various favors and so on. He was particularly interested in the jar of Halloween candy that was sitting on the countertop (he likes to say in his most delighted, surprised voice, "There it is!" when he sees it). He was asking for candy and I told him that he needed to wait for supper.

A few moments later I came across a bowl full of dumdum suckers that I had had enough with moving from place to place, so I tossed them all in the trash in an effort to gain back a bit of square footage in my kitchen. Oliver saw me do that, and for the next several minutes walked around the downstairs repeating in high and low tones "SU-cker. su-CKER. SU-cker. SUCKERRR."

This was not the time for a sucker. This was time for a healthy (I use this term loosely) supper with Mom and Dad.

I left the room and when I returned, he'd upset the trash can, unwrapped a sucker, and was cheerily enjoying his forbidden fruit.

I know I should have taken it immediately, but I didn't. I let him have a few good sucks and pretended I wasn't looking. (I feel this should be included in my "Not Me Monday" post). Eventually, though, I confiscated the sucker and informed Oliver that after eating supper, he could have one chocolate chip as a treat.

After a few moments of deep grief on account of the now absent sucker, he was placated enough by the chocolate morsel promise to carry on with his milling cheerily.

I left the room a second time to hang up a few things in my closet, and when I returned, he had upset the trash can again and was clinging for dear life to a second sucker.

This was clearly an issue of direct disobedience. No more "Mister pretend-I-don't-notice Guy".

Now, before I tell you what happened next, I feel a bit of explanation will be helpful. Ryan and I believe (and, let me be the first to say that we are not perfect parents!) that in situations like this, rather than prying the object from Oliver's hands, the proper thing to do is to require him to surrender it voluntarily. (It's our two-year-old version of the "confession, repentance, forgiveness" concept).

I confronted Oliver on his offense and asked him to place the sucker in my hand. No dice.

Next, I sent Oliver to his white chair and knelt in front of him (he, of course, is clinging for dear life to his contraband). I sat there facing him for quite a while, with my hand extended, gently explaining his disobedience and why he needed to put the sucker in my hands. He cried and wailed and clung tighter and tighter to his little prize. I remained near him, hand extended, waiting for him to surrender what he thought was everything he could ever want.

As I sat there, watching my sweet child weep over the decision to let go of something he wanted so dearly, I realized that Oliver was not the only one being taught a lesson.


"Oh, Lord, that's me, isn't it? I'm the child, clinging to what I think I need, unable to trust that you have something so much better in store for me."

It was an incredibly convicting moment.

I wondered that evening, what are my suckers? What am I desperately unwilling to give to God? What am I so certain that I need, so unwilling to trust God about, so sure I know the very best for myself?

Oh, my.

One of my greatest "suckers" is the idea of what my family should look like. Several weeks ago, after Claire photographed our family, she and I sat together and looked over the proofs. As we came across one photo of the three of us, it just caught my breath. I had such different ideas of what our family portrait would look like in October 2008 than what it actually does. I thought there'd be a 6-month-old baby girl, or at least the bump of a tummy. I imagined that Ryan and I would have children close together in age. We "planned" that we would just have our children all in the course of a few years, then leave childbearing behind us to focus on parenting only. We've really clung tightly to that, but God has just sat with us, His hand extended, asking us to give our family portrait to Him.

We're learning to do this. There's been a whole lot of kicking and screaming and clinging along the way. But, as we're learning to let go, He's teaching us that He is in control and that Has great plans for us.


Well, after a long time of quietly sitting with Oliver while he wrestled with his choice to obey, he did finally place the sucker in my hand (tears still streaming). Believe it or not, the moment he placed the sucker in my hand, the relief was visible on his face. I commended him for his decision and he thrust himself forward out of the chair and into my arms. Reconciliation is so sweet. :)

And, only a few moments later, Grandma called and invited us to join her for pizza at Mellow Mushroom downtown for dinner! Who could have known what a special treat of good food and fellowship awaited Oliver on the other side of that doggone sucker? :)

Grace & Peace, friends.

04 November 2008

Today was a gloriously, wildly unpredictable and delightful day. I have to share!

5:00 am - My alarm goes off, and without delay, I hop out of bed ready for a exciting day.

5:35 am - Out the door and on the road. I enjoyed some lovely Bach on my iPod as the sun came up and I made my way to Nashville on a full tank of gas.

6:17 am - Arrive at Centennial Hospital where I connect with my mentor midwife Susie to meet J and her husband T as they are being admitted for the birth of their 3rd child. J was 6-7 cm dilated yesterday, 100% effaced and 0 station. She decided with her doctor to have an AROM (artificial rupture of membranes) to kickstart labor. At almost 41 weeks and with a Bishop score like hers, I was completely on board.

7:05 am - Bag of waters is broken. Still no contractions, still no pain. 7 centimeters, folks!

10:15 am - After a few laps down the hall and back, some blue and black cohosh, and other methods of labor augmentation, J is finally having some good contractions, making progress, and handling them beautifully.

10:17 am - Doctor threatens to start pitocin at 11:00 if no progress, which only makes us all the more determined.

10:20 am - Phone call from Ryan: my client that is due Thanksgiving weekend is in labor, her water broke at 7am and she is at 5 cm.

10:25 am - I leave J&T at the hospital with Susie and head south of Franklin to Columbia, TN.

11:15 am - Arrive at S's hospital room and greet her and her husband M. S is at 6 cm an is laboring beautifully and is really happiest laboring alone. After getting her settled, doing a bit of charting and talking with her nurses, I run out to WalMart to get some sweet oil, contact solution and a yoga ball (no time to stop at home for the necessities).

12:30 pm - Return to hospital room and meet S's midwife Carol from The Farm (S was only 36 weeks gestation, so she was unable to deliver at The Farm as planned). We talk about S's labor, listen to her work through her contractions and inflate the birth ball.

1:45 pm - Nurse checks S for progress - 9.5 cm - she's in transition and definitely beginning to need our help.

2:00 pm - Pushing commences. Carol and I work with Dr. to help teach S how to push.

2:52 pm - Using sweet oil and warm compresses, I'm actually right in there with the doctor easing the head out slowly and carefully. (coolest thing I've done in a long time!!)

3:02 pm - It's a girl! Baby C is born and weighs 6 lbs. 4 oz. and is 19" long. Even as a first time Mom and with a fast labor, we managed to help her deliver her baby without injury to herself. So cool!

5:37 pm - The big parade: S walks from her delivery room, past the nurses station and to her postpartum recovery room (I could have sworn there was a bit of a hop in her step). You should have seen the look on all the nurses faces - in a hospital with a 98% epidural rate, it was priceless! (We later referred to it as her victory lap.) :)

5:45 pm - After getting the new family situated and establishing nursing, I head home to Franklin. On my way back I check in with Susie and hear that J&T had a healthy, 8lb. 3oz. baby boy about 2 hours after I left them.

6:19 pm - Drive through Wendy's for some much needed nourishment and spend what seems like an eternity waiting for my chicken sandwich and fries.

6:33 pm - Finally leave stinking Wendy's.

6:46 pm - Pull up in front of my house long enough for the boys to jump in and make a mad dash to the Westhaven Clubhouse in hopes that we'll make it in the doors before 7:00 to vote.

6:59:51 pm - Fufill my American duty - vote! (I'll not here that we were the ONLY people in the voting facility that weren't workers. We walked right in, gave them our IDs, and went straight to the polling booth. Folks, this is the way to vote!) As Ryan and I clicked "confirm vote" on our screens, the poll workers were counting down in unison the last ten seconds of the open polls.

7:06 pm - We arrive promptly at Five Points Starbucks downtown to enjoy our free brew as a reward for voting. We call Mom and she walks from her house to join us. I go ahead and order a coffee for myself, in spite of the fact that I've never had coffee a day in my life and don't intend to.

7:16 pm - Ryan proudly exits the Starbucks with one up and one back. :)

7:17 pm - We walk down the street and find our place at the back of the line at Ben & Jerry's to collect our free ice cream as a reward for voting. (This voting thing really pays off!)

7:47 pm - (the line at Ben & Jerry's was long!) We all sit down to our tasty voting treats (yes, they gave one to Oliver too) and the littlest one of us proceeds to get sticky and cold and ready to go to bed.

8:03 pm - Drive everyone on our van to Mom's house. Oliver makes his case for spending the night at Grandma's house. The 1 little person makes a good case and the 3 big people concede.

8:08 pm - Ryan and I head home, 1 person lighter, and with less than a half a tank of gas.

8:15 pm - I sit down to my 21 emails, upload the photos from my camera and begin to lay out my day in this post.

And to close, I'll share this photo from my day. I'm still beaming from the cool, cool thing I got to be a part of - working with two incredibly skilled and experienced midwives, actually helping a baby's head as it enters the world, and, of course, getting free coffee and ice cream for voting!


03 November 2008

Here it is Monday and I didn't even realize it until it was almost over!

Well, it's time for me to join MckMamma herself and pen my very first "Not Me Monday" post.
  • When trick-or-treating with my two year old I most certainly did not coach him by directing him away from the suckers in the big candy bowls and instead in the direction of the chocolate chocolate chocolate.
  • Furthermore, I did not return home at the end of a fun night with my family only to complain that Oliver didn't score me a single Butterfinger bar.
  • Last week, when emptying Oliver's diaper pail I did not notice a perfectly new and clean diaper sitting on top, and upon further (very stinky) digging I did not ultimately recover EIGHT perfectly new and clean diapers from among his dirty diapers.
  • (This, of course, does not help to explain why on earth we are going through diapers so quickly in our house!)
  • When sitting down to plan my weekly grocery list I do not always ensure that a 1-lb. bag of Twizzlers makes it on the list, then into my shopping cart and ultimately into my Twizzler-loving tummy. Not me, that would be so disgusting!
  • At this very moment I do not have a doula client who is nearly 7 centimeters dilated and still not in labor. I am not planning to meet her in Nashville in the morning where her doctor will break her water and I will have the privilege of helping her give birth to her third child.
  • I am totally not stoked about this and I am most definitely not having a hard time sleeping tonight in anticipation.
  • I an definitely not planning to add "Butterfinger" to my grocery list directly beneath "Twizzlers" to make up for the gross injustice that was done me on All Hallows Eve.
  • This week for lunch I have most certainly not been lazy and fed Oliver non-nutritious meals such as Ramen noodles or Macaroni and Cheese with hot dogs. No, I'm very together and would never feed my sweet child anything short of a complete, balanced, nutritious meal from all five food groups.
  • This week I did not have two sweet high school girls come to my house to spend time with me and Oliver and immediately put them to work sweeping and moping my floors. Not me.
  • I do not consider a bowl of Cheerios and raisins an abbreviated food pyramid and offer it as a "lunch won't be ready until 2:00" substitute.
  • And, as for Oliver and me; we do not spend most days until 4:00 in our pajamas because the only person who sees us is Ryan.
  • I do not confess to having a small amount of anxiety about being in a labor and delivery setting tomorrow for the first time since Evie's birth. I'm sure that that is not contributing to my sleeplessness as well.
  • I did not sit down to read my Bible during Oliver's nap today and completely conk out for 2 hours and never actually get around to reading my Bible.
  • I definitely am not leaving the latest issue of J.Crew on my dresser because it coordinates with my bedroom so beautifully and I do not consider it a new bit of free decor.
  • And finally, I most certainly did not spend a considerable portion of Sunday's sermon daydreaming about how I can improve my creamed spinach recipe. Nope, not me.
Whew! That's all. I feel so much better. :)

Blessings to you all. And, do not forget to vote tomorrow!

01 November 2008

Okay, these first two are for my sweet friend Ginny and her family. She and Owen stopped by this week with a train set for Oliver's birthday. I'm not sure who is enjoying it more - him or us (Ryan and I LOVE to play with the train tracks!). Anyway, thanks so much to the Morrisons for an awesome birthday gift for the entire Myers family! :)

Yes, he's got a toy ice cream come in his hand - it's a favorite!

And, now, for the feature presentation (and, posted tonight per Christine's request!):
The cowboy and the ladybug!
I am not too proud to admit that, really, though Oliver was a cute cowboy, Beatrice absolutely took the cake. She really was the cutest ladybug I've ever seen. Oliver has really run the cowboy circuit this month - he's been wearing his cowboy gear quite regularly, and so, it was no surprise what he would look like on All Hallows Eve.
We could tell the Beatrice felt like she was wearing something special.
She actually walked with a bounce most of the night.
We took the kids to the pool house for face painting before going door to door, but they were both too scared to let anyone touch them with a paintbrush. Bea let me put spots on her cheeks, them proceeded to smear her right cheek into a black, smeary mess. (Caleb is cleaning her off, and she went the rest of the night with spots on just one side)
We wanted Oliver to have a handlebar mustache, but he did not consent.
Bea's three surviving dots:
Rebecca and I opted out of dressing up
- despite the pressure of the 30-year-old Little Bo Peeps and wenches. (tempting...)

We really didn't want the kids to say "trick or treat", but it made for awkward moments when people opened their doors expecting a certain script. Instead, we had Oliver practice saying "Howdy!" (which sounded more like "whoody"). Oh, well, at least they remembered to say thank you to about 95% of the people.
Okay, that's eleven photos of two sweet children that I love love love.

Have a blessed weekend!