May 21, 2013 § 3 Comments
NOPE. NOT YET.
WE WILL NOT BE RUSHED.
Let’s not pretend we’re thinking about much else, mmmkay? Who would we be kidding? It would all be a farce, a ruse, a big show.
Instead, we wait.
Did I ever mention that I’m not all that great at waiting?
So I’ll show you a picture. Because pictures are fun in lieu of something shiny.
This is how we start the week where we’re too tired to plan a menu, don’t know when we’re going to the hospital, and nothing else is on the calendar besides another midwife appointment and….um. Well. Have a baby.
I apologize for what I’ve been reduced to. I realize how low I’ve stooped. Pictures of dinner. There’s still intelligent life in here somewhere, I promise. But I figured I’d avoid following through with my threat from last Thursday by distracting you with something completely irrelevant.
I realize this may be the last post before Peanut comes (though I’ve threatened that before) and I will have shown you food and my husband as a walking Pemco commercial, “Socks With Sandals Guy” (not to mention the rest of the ensemble). There were others posts in the queue, but seriously. This is where I’m at.
Give an overdue mama a break.
May 16, 2013 § 1 Comment
Yup. Still here.
Packed. Ready to go at a moment’s notice. Bracing myself at every twinge and tingle that feels out of the ordinary. Wondering if every night’s sleep (if you can call it that) will be the last without night feedings and stage whispered pillow talk.
Considering my mother was three weeks overdue with my brother and they say you take after your maternal side (and she also craved milkshakes while pregnant, so…), I may be in for the long haul. It’s just science.
Peanut’s doing awesome, I’m feeling good, but it’s hard not to feel like an invalid, at home and playing this waiting game.
Thus, I need to refocus my attention and have thereby drafted a very important list. I give you:
Natalie’s List of Distracting Things To Focus On In Lieu of Having a Baby
•The book 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess by Jen Hatmaker is a MUST READ. My book club recently inhaled it (along with some excellent Indian food to fuel the discussion ala the culinary talent, Ms. Kendra) and we are all fans. Jen is hilarious, honest, and really gets you thinking about the areas of excess in your life without shaming you into “And why haven’t you given away everything you own yet, hm? Sinner.” It’s realistic and encouraging, reminding the church where it came from and opening eyes to the traps we all fall into as consumers. Read. It.
•We are now down to three chickens. Out of a possible five. In case you missed it, we lost one a few months ago to (we think) a possum. Then, said possum learned not to mess with my husband or the end of his club. [True story: he totally used a homemade club, circa caveman days. Proud? Disturbed? I still haven't decided.] Needless to say, we thought we’d taken care of any backyard predators. Alas, that was not the case. Another one bit the dust somehow, some way (just…feathers everywhere) which resulted in a stormy Kenny and another burial ceremony.
“Good-bye, Henny Penny. Thank you for the eggs, for keeping spiders out of the house, and for pooping all over any shoes we left by the back door. You’ve been a good chicken.”
R.I.P. Chicken bum on the left.
Photo by the lovely and talented Shannon Hannon
This comes after more than one day of chickens escaping and roaming the streets, resulting in neighbors calling us/knocking on the door to let us know they were out and about or in their yard.
Moral to the story? If you want to meet your neighbors, get chickens. Bam.
•”I think everyone should be poor for a while.” These wise words were stated recently when interviewing couples for my aforementioned newlywed project. At the time, I chuckled and completely agreed, fondly looking back on the time right after the wedding that Kenny & I referred to as “Poor Time.” We even put it on the calendar with affection. However, as we’re gearing up for this little babe, something tells me we have no idea what “Poor Time” really looks like. Here’s to more VHS evenings and fro-yo coupon cutting for date night. Oh wait–we already do that. Maybe we’re more familiar than we thought. Good-bye, fro-yo…
•Peanut butter and chocolate is just about the best combination in existence. Amen? Amen. Plus, Kenny’s allergic to peanuts, so I don’t have to share. Win.
•On a particularly rough day recently, my mom showed up at my door with a smile and flowers “for the sad girl.” Then, we went for milkshakes (naturally). It’s always uplifting beyond words when someone slides right into your darkness with milkshakes and flowers. I want to be that kind of mom.
•And finally, our elderly cat is currently limping about as if stricken with polio. She’s only getting smaller and can no longer jump up on the couch as she approaches her 18th birthday. Friends, I don’t know how to say good-bye to a beloved pet. Our cats growing up either ran away or passed away without me present.
Zoya makes me want to feed her cheese and popcorn all day (her favorites) and strap her in Peanut’s Moby so she only feels comfort and love. I know this should not be done. What I can do? Most days she just stares up at me, unblinkingly, either begging for mercy or my leftover cereal milk. I want nothing more than to be a cat whisperer to know what she’s thinking.
Well, expect a tribute to this long-living feline soon enough. She has been awesome and deserves one last post. However, if we say “good-bye” to her, too, in the coming days, you can bet it will be more emotional than a chicken funeral. To say the least.
I think that about covers it. I was successfully distracted from the forever-in-utero Peanut for quite a while, composing that list of books, animal deaths (past and pending), moms, money, and heavenly flavor combos. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.
Lord help us if Peanut still isn’t here by next Tuesday. I will by then have resorted to truly contemplating my protruding naval and we’ll all be in trouble.
May 14, 2013 § 7 Comments
I cried three times on Sunday.
- During a video at church of kiddos talking about God, featuring my niece. I had no chance. To curb the onslaught of sobbing threatening to overwhelm me, I had to think about band aids. It worked.
- In front of the flower stand at Trader Joe’s when I realized I left our canvas grocery bags at home. Curses, Seattle.
- As I read the sweet, sweet card from Kenny & Peanut for my first Mother’s Day.
Guess which of these had anything to do with legitimate emotions and which ones were more hormonal? Yeah, we’ll just pay attention to #3.
It wasn’t that I would have been a wreck had the card simply said “You’re great.Love you.” I would have. But it did have other words that held my gaze and hit me harder than I ever thought they would.
These are words of great magnitude, immense significance, that always applied to other women. Not me. It’s been almost three years and the word “wife” still gets me. Knowing someone so completely, so intimately, yet seeing “best friend” attributed to me is still an honor.
And now mother. That one still scares me. It’s merit has yet to be tested. So far, the extent of my parenting includes successfully going about my business while not randomly indulging in excess alcohol consumption or picking up a smoking habit, thereby not compromising a healthy environment i.e. womb for Peanut, but I’ve really had nothing much else to do with it. Needless to say, the title has yet to be truly earned.
But I hope the gravity of these words never ceases to level me. The day I take them for granted is the day I lose appreciation for the gifts, stop looking around and taking in the beauty, and forget that it wasn’t always like this. The roads from whence we came often lead us to gratitude for where we’ve arrived. And within a simple card I saw it–what had changed, what’s been gained, what I wouldn’t compromise for the world.
Today is Peanut’s due date. It’s a surreal thought. And soon we will actually know, for the rest of our lives, if it is a boy or a girl. The mystery will be solved, this unknown we’ve lived with for nine months which my dear friend, Kendra, reminded me of in the midst of looming labor that has overshadowed this fact for me. I would have forgotten to really think about these days before we meet.
We will soon introduce ourselves and be a family.
And as others vie for this child to be born in their timing (which keeps me up at night with stress and if they only knew how that, in fact, prolongs the labor process, ahem) I do have to chuckle at how much God isn’t interested in our timing and how happily I have relinquished any control over it. Now the challenge is just ignoring the pressure from others, truly exercising what I’ve believed all along–that I can have the best plan ever for this birth and child’s story, but it’s ultimately out of my hands.
And if I have to turn off my phone and lock myself up in my house in order to maintain my state of zen, I just might (which would probably be a good decision on more than one level, because I currently fit in just about no clothing I own).
I know these particular posts will come to an end soon. Peanut will arrive and then this space will have some “mommy blog”-ness to it, which I’m not super excited about because I don’t really like stories about other people’s children (but I’ll keep that in mind and try to filter through to just the positively entertaining ones without exploiting the poor thing. A bad blowout? I’ll probably refrain. But an anecdote with me as the embarrassed receiver of grace? Probably too good not to write about).
Thank you for sharing this season of life with me. I’m in no position to fully grasp what it means to have this child outside of my body, but it’s been fun capturing Peanut’s journey so far and sharing the ups and downs with you.
It’s not over. LIKE I SAID, Peanut’s not even here yet, but I know the clock is seriously ticking and all will change. You might meet ThisChickadee: Harried Basketcase the next time I post. But only time will tell. Until then, I’ll work on preparing lucid posts and enjoyable material sans breakdowns.
This isn’t goodbye. You might hear from me Thursday, swollen and feeling bigger than a beluga. Or it might be quiet around these parts for just a little bit. But I’ll be back. We’ll be back. Because this blog has grown into more than just any ol’ blog. I love communing with you, hearing from you, and having a place to hold on to memories.
And boy, we’re just getting started.
May 9, 2013 § 2 Comments
I know, I know.
There has been a lot of God Talk around these parts. At least once a week, I can’t help but feature what the Lord is stirring up. Because it’s good stuff. And because I can’t help but praise Him for it. And because it’s my blog and I can do what I want.
I don’t even have a picture for this post. Because it’s about so much more. Such a rebel.
That being said, YOU GUYS–GOD IS BEYOND RIDICULOUSLY GOOD.
And you just have to know. I have to share it. Like when you discover where you can get really great ice cream. How can you keep that to yourself?
[Okay, maybe that's a bad example b/c I can be the most "get your own, bub" when it comes to good ice cream, but you get it.]
As has happened before, I was in the middle of a few other posts, composing and tweaking and editing, with other life events unfolding around me as I worked, and then God pretty much took it ALL over and delivered crazy blessings all around me in an instant and deserves so much praise and glory from this girl, it’s not even funny.
Needless to say, posts remain in the Drafts folder and here we are, with me resisting writing this whole post in CAPS to emphasize my incredulous awe (because that would just be obnoxious). And I’m not yelling at you. I’m just THAT EXCITED.
Behind the scenes, Kenny & I have been dealing with some yucky business stuff for a little while now. Never fun to have to be serious grown-ups, it involves paperwork and government and finances and professional mumbo jumbo. To say it’s been a drag amidst baby prep and Kenny’s busy season would be an understatement. Absolutely no fun, but a learning experience and an opportunity (as happens with trials) to both feel beat down by life at times while grasping for God’s grace in it all. There have been days that have felt out of our hands and hopeless while others were strewn with security and assurance. But most recently, we were left a bit overwhelmed, over our heads. And facing a complete unknown.
We just kept praying over it, for peace, resolution, to do the right thing. There was nothing else we could do.
And then I got a call from Kenny that stopped the presses as he shared the most unlikely of outcomes that we had been praying for.
After anticipating the worst, it was over in an instant. And we couldn’t have designed it better. It still brings a smile to my face as I think about it. We were given the gift of peaceful resolution in the best way.
Really, there is NO REASON why things should have worked out the way they did. The odds were not in our favor to have it work out1. Which is when you fall on your knees (or take to your blog) and only feel gratitude for the absolute way that the Lord MOVED and crafted EXACTLY what you needed when you needed it.
Is everything solved and tied with a bow? No. Are we now completely carefree and frolicking through the meadows of enchantment because it all worked out? Ha, no. There’s still more to do. But boy, getting a peak at God’s provision when were only shaking our heads, wondering, “What is God up to in this?” is pretty awesome.
And reminds me…when things feel out of our control, He is never out of control. God is never in over His head.
Man. Yes, this just may be the most vague, incoherent post ever published, but I don’t care. In big and small ways, the Lord keeps reminding me that He doesn’t go ANYWHERE, never excuses Himself from the table and sticks you with the bill. He is THERE. ALWAYS. Even when I find myself thinking, “Well, there’s no way this can work out and I just have to be okay with that.” He’s WORKING in the situation I’m facing, working in the OTHER PERSON, moving all the way through every part. And ready to BLESS.
And I just had to tell you that.
May 7, 2013 § Leave a Comment
Last Friday night/morning, I couldn’t sleep.
Awake at 3:30am for my usual potty run, I knew I was not to meet sleep again for a while. So I got up, poured a bowl of Honeycomb, and watched an episode of “Nashville,” I’m only kinda sorry to say. After setting aside the remnants of cereal and closing my computer, I peaked outside at the dawn. So quiet, so still. I pictured more company than the cat soon to join me in those wee morning hours, a little Peanut in my lap. I wandered the house in the dark, sticking my head into Peanut’s room and imagining just how many crazy hours will be spent in there.
I felt pretty peaceful, saying good-bye to 5am until we meet again soon.
Back in bed, my mind wasn’t tired yet. It started to run. Baby names, leftover To-Dos, plans for the next day…and finally–purpose.
Always a whopper and never a good idea to ruminate on within the confines of the covers and insomnia.
I must have left my peace in Peanut’s room because my mind took a detour into unsettled. I struggled, in vain, to sleep. The darkness of the bedroom soon fed the darkness of my wandering mind…
What am I doing, really? What is my purpose? What am I contributing to this family, my community, this world? Not enough. Let’s face it–I can’t keep up.
I can’t do this. Or this. Or that.
Whoa. I knew it as it was happening, that I was being swept up into the shadows of my mind, anxiety building, with no way of getting back to the light until it came.
I wanted to wake Kenny up and share my wicked thoughts, have him calm me. But it wouldn’t have been fair–he had an early wake up call and I couldn’t justify stealing him from slumber just to indulge my insecurities. I struggled with sleep for a few more hours. And then it happened.
The sun came up. The birds were singing their song and my stomach was growling again and coffee was calling my name and all I was feeling was very pregnant and hot and thirsty. The darkness was banished. A new day had begun.
It always does, doesn’t it?
You, Lord, are my lamp; the Lord turns my darkness into light.
2 Samuel 22:29
In the sunlight, I saw around me all the good, all of the possibility. With my eyes open, I saw that truth couldn’t live in the darkness, but was undeniable in the light. Things were good. I’m not useless. I’m loved and blessed. God wants me to rest in that, always. And then get some proper shut-eye.
I remembered that I wasn’t supposed to worry away the hours with concern for how I don’t measure up. All I am to do is embrace the daily measure of grace I’m given.
In the morning, there was peace again, that unconditional love in which I can walk. And sleep.
The reality is that 5am is a dangerous hour and we should never indulge our minds in the dark, in which we are never left for long.
Always wait for the light. It will come.
May 2, 2013 § 4 Comments
We had no idea that in the spring of 2010, we were going to find the house we’d start a family in.
We needed our first place. And didn’t think about how long it would last.
You know how it goes–after years of nomadically moving around from dorm room to apartment to parent’s house to apartment, with new roommates, old pets, and never landing anywhere for long, you’re conditioned to homes being temporary.
And by Year Two of this marriage thing, it started to sink in that, well, we weren’t going anywhere. We weren’t packing up once again and hunting for a new space due to a school calendar or someone moving out.
We were here to stay.
And I would say that it took us that long, a good couple of years, to really feel settled. And now, into year three, we can’t even picture bringing Peanut home anywhere else.
Since moving in, we have acquired chickens, an elderly cat, big furniture, and still no dishwasher. We’ve purged and reorganized, decorated and rearranged Craigslist finds. We’ve been getting to know this house for some time and I can say that it truly feels like home. Our home.
I just wanted to stop and appreciate that, this place where our family started and will continue to grow.
To consider the mark on the wall where the shelf fell down on the cable guy.
The tiny corner of the carpet with a burn mark from where an ember escaped while we were listening to The Count of Monte Cristo and sipping wine by the fire.
The cabinets we spent a weekend repainting.
The pine needles I’m still finding from Christmas trees of yesteryear.
We’ll always remember our first place. Where we first had milk delivered, let our chickens roam, and met Peanut.
Looking around at the walls that contain so many memories and knowing it’s just the beginning is an overwhelming and blessed feeling.
The Lord has always provided for us and this house holds the most precious ways He’s done that. Food, clothes, dish soap, internet, water, electricity, a bed, a crib, heat, a yard, each other. To name a few.
And even though it’s just a house and we’ll one day move and make new memories somewhere else, we’re happy here. And that’s all you can ask for.
Photos by the lovely and talented Shannon Hannon
April 30, 2013 § 1 Comment
For weeks, we’ve been going, going, going.
If you took a look at our calendar for April, you wouldn’t have been able to tell when we had time to eat and sleep. Even though it was all good stuff, it was a pace we couldn’t sustain. You know you’re running around too much when all you can think is “I miss you” as you sit right across the table from your spouse.
That being said, we’re working hard at slowing down this month, the month in which Peanut arrives, mind you (nutso). It’s a fight, to be sure, to say “no” and keep things clear, but we know it has to be done for the greater good.
SO it was with no guilt whatsoever that we spent a Friday night on a date and a weekend puttering around the house, with no other agenda besides just being together.