Weather and a Sleeping Baby

Austin is cold!

But there is hope...after the rain moves out tomorrow.

Cora was so out of sorts this evening. She would fall asleep in my arms but wake up screaming when I tried to lay her down. She cried like she has never cried before. Here it is, 12:38 in the morning, and I'm typing this one-handed with a sleeping baby in my other arm because I'm afraid to lay her down.

There's a bit of sheen under her nose from dry snot and a salt stain in the corner of her left eye.

She is so beautiful.

Hey Texas!

We're packing the last bit of stuff on our list, and then we're off to Austin for Christmas!

People I haven't seen in too long and love dearly.
Temperatures in the 60's...and maybe 70's.
Perfect.

As I look out the window and see the gloomy greyness that is this morning, I think I might pack my swimsuit and layout some time this week. ;)

My Super-Cute Family


This was taken in Holdenville, OK on Thanksgiving Day by my super-cool brother-in-law, Parker.

Names

Have I ever mentioned how much I love names?

Oh, hmm.

I LOVE names. LOVE them. LOVE LOVE LOVE names.

Did you get that?

I've named or had a part in naming a few human beings, aside from the one I've created thus far. It has been a passion since I was a small child. I also name inanimate objects. Or are they? "I've always thought flowers had souls."

Focus.

Jake and I made a list of names for our children before we were married. We've changed a few.

Our current list:

Cora Adeline Grace [heart,maiden - noble, kind - blessing]
Jacob Benjamin (Ben) [supplanter - son of my right hand]
Magnolia Jane McInnes [flower - gracious, merciful - island]
Atticus Zebedee [father-like - gift of Jehovah]
Oliver Blaine [peace - yellow]
Phineas Steele [oracle - prayed for]
Apple Anabel Bliss [fruit - grace, favor - happiness]

The Truth about Cereal

I've eaten cereal for at least 2 meals everyday for the last 4 days. I just finished off a bowl of Kix.

I love it.

There's something about the crunch. We have 'real' food, but Jake hasn't been home for dinner any night this week, and since I'm perfectly content with the prize of our pantry, I haven't bothered making any.

I'm certain I would be able to eat nothing but cereal for the rest of my life.

A Day, or two.

I didn't brush my teeth when I went to bed last night.

Cora got her immunizations on Monday and woke up with a fever yesterday morning. I got a message from Jake around noon letting me know that Mammy (his dad's mom) was being taken to Baptist Medical Center in OKC because they thought she had a stroke. Cora was sleeping, so I hopped in the shower, got ready, and we were on our way to meet Vaughn (Jake's dad) and Mammy at the hospital. She looked really good when I got there - she was still in the emergency room. Her left side had gone numb, the numbness worked its way from top to bottom in stages, when she got to Holdenville Hospital, the numbness was gone. They sent her to the city for some tests to make sure there weren't any other clots lingering around her heart or in her corroded arteries.

While we were at the hospital, Cora's temperature got to 101 under her arm (you add a degree to underarm temps to get the oral temp), so it was like 102. I gave her some Tylenol, and then checked it in 30 minutes and it was 101.7 (102.7). I called a nurse at our dr.'s office. She said that it took an hour for Tylenol to work, and she asked if any of the injection sites looked irritated. She had five of them! Four immunizations and the first round of her flu shot. Two sites on one leg looked a little irritated, so I put a warm rag on and waited. When we got home, I gave her more Tylenol, and her temperature kept creeping up. It got to 102.8 (103.8) and I called the dr.'s office, after hours, and they paged the doctor. That was at 9:20. The doctor called at 11:15. He more than doubled the amount of Tylenol and stretched it from every four hours to every six hours. I started that dose at midnight, and we went to bed. Cora woke up crying at 2:40. She cried and cried and cried. It was really for about 20 minutes, but she never cries, so it seemed like forever. Jake gave her a blessing, and she calmed down and slept until 8:30. Her temp was 99.2 (100.2) when she woke up this morning. I gave her some more Tylenol. She is sleeping right now, but was in much better spirits. I hope her fever is completely gone soon!

When I went into the bathroom for my ritual morning tinkle, I discovered my period had returned. My last one was in June 2007. A year and a half with no monthly visitor. I felt like I was 11 again, when I was certain I'd joined the upper echelon of womanhood. As if producing milk wasn't womanly enough. Cora still nurses about every three hours, no matter how much food she eats otherwise, so I'm bit surprised, even though I know she's eating a little less milk because of her solid intake. The presence of a period is either welcome or unwelcome during active family making time. In the year we spent trying for Cora, it was terribly disappointing to see it come again and again and again. Today, not so much. When I noticed it I can't remember if I said, "Oh, wow!" or "Oh, yay!" Jake and I have been pretty open with one another about ditching our "baby every two years" plan. We want a large family, and I day dream a lot about Cora having a little brother or sister around in the near future.

Sweetheart Tag

What is your husbands name? Jacob Vaughn Johnson

How long have you guys been married? Almost 5 years, CRAZY! [Jan 3 2004]

How long did you date? Tricky Question - We knew one another for almost 9 months before we were married. We met in April, we were already discussing wedding dates in June, he "officially" proposed in October, and we were married in January...All the while I was in Arizona/California and he was in Oklahoma.

How old is he? 23, 24 on Nov 28!

Who is taller? Jake. He's 6 inches taller.

Who can sing best? It's a toss up.

Who is smarter? Both of us.

Who does laundry? Lucky me. Thursday is laundry day.

Who pays the bills? Both of us.

Who sleeps on the right side of the bed? Facing the bed - me.

Who mows the lawn? Someone else mows our lawn for us. One of the perks of renting. Though when we are in charge of our lawn, I hope it's me!

Who cooks dinner? Me.

Who is the first to admit when they are wrong? I'm never wrong. ;) Yeah right, I'm pretty good at stubbornly conceding.

Who kissed who first? I'm pretty sure it was mutual. We were watching I Am Sam. We were wearing pajamas. He still had braces, I was wearing my retainer. Perfect.

Who wears the pants? Both of us...One of the many reasons I like us so much.

My Baby has SIX teeth

Cora has been working so hard this past week. She went from two teeth to six teeth during that time. Four teeth on top came through all at the same time. Teething equals stuffy nose. Stuffy Nose equals difficulty sleeping...for all parties in the Johnson house. She never cries, but wow, it's like we've been living with a stranger baby. I think she's even a little smaller because her appetite has also been altered. Today was better. I hope she'll continue to return to her normal self now that all four teeth have finally broken through the gum. I have been enjoying her extra cuddles.

She also has a little shiner. She fell into the corner of a safe that we were organizing in the living room. She didn't cry a lot, but man, I felt like it. Rough week. I'm sure she'll be happy that her teeth came in a hurry later this week when we celebrate Thanksgiving!!

Really?!

I was watching the Today Show this morning and they said that letters with white powder had been sent to LDS temples. I felt like I was watching Weekend Update on SNL, and that any minute Seth and Amy would come out and say "Really?!" as they do with other unbelievable headlines that come across their news desk.

I am baffled. Not by the protests, and not by the fact that they're being directed at the LDS church, but what is it exactly that protesters hope to accomplish by concentrating their efforts on the "mormons?" What can the people in the temples or the church as a whole do to overturn the proposition? I think their energy could be better spent working on coming up with a new idea.

"Mormon bashing" has been going on since the beginning of the church. This tradition of ignorance as to what the church is really about is nothing new. I say ignorance [the condition of being uneducated, unaware, or uninformed.] because of the signs I've seen at the protests outside of the Los Angeles temple: "You have 3 wives, I want 1." "Bigots" and something about "Magic Undies." Let me tell you, the only thing magic about my undies are that they never ride up and I never have to worry about panty lines. Bigotry is the complete intolerance of ideas and beliefs that don't align with one's own. The LDS church states that it supports rights for same sex couples "so long as these do not infringe on the integrity of the family or the constitutional rights of churches and their adherents to administer and practice their religion free from government interference." Bigots, I think not. I hope that anyone reading this realizes the foolishness in the first sign I brought up. The LDS church does not condone polygamy. I don't know if that will ever fully sink in with society as a whole.

Bigotry, however, is when the idea of tolerance is skewed to mean you're either with us or against us, period. The backlash is out of hand. It's aimed at the wrong crowd. It turns my stomach to see images and read accounts of vandalism, obscenities, and physical abuse against the LDS church and its members who, as a whole, are some of the most peaceful people in the world.

Definitions

I've been thinking a lot about proposition 8 since it passed last week. I've gone back and forth about it because the church I belong to and love has become the the target of frustration and anger of people I love because of proposition 8's failure to fail. I've been trying to justify both sides, and in doing so I couldn't come up with an answer, until about 2 days ago. Everyone is so riled up (rightfully and wrongfully so on both sides) over what we think is the big issue, but I think that maybe the big answer to this is really simple.

We're fighting over a word. I know this is going to throw some people for a loop, but go with me.

Marriage is just a word - one word in one language. It has traditionally been the word used to define a heterosexual union, a joining of a man and a woman as husband and wife. So why not let marriage officially be defined as that. Then we can come up with another word that is used to define a homosexual union, a joining of a man and a man as husband and husband. We could go even further and come up with new names for husband and wife in this newly coined term. It could be really fun, and if you think I'm joking, I'm absolutely not. I've been thinking of a few things: Skadoodle, Unification, Zeziz, Vieret (okay, the last two I just thought really hard about because it would be super cool if it was a completely new word - and I didn't check to see if those words really do exist - my profound apology if they do and have a super lame-o meaning). The difference in terminology would keep either side of the argument from continuing to step on one anothers constitutional toes.

Even groups who oppose same sex "marriage" support the same rights as "married" couples be given to same sex couples...Like my friend, Barack. Obama also doesn't believe in a constitutional amendment to define marriage. His position would still leave people stuck, despite what would have been his "No" vote on Prop. 8. For so long, same sex couples have been looking to the term marriage as the end all be all in regard to relationship status equality.

"Marriage" means is different to every couple who makes the choice to enter into it. To me it is sanctity, loyalty, a love that is unconditional, understanding silence, potty time is private time, letting go of certain aspects of myself to gain so much more, becoming a sort of expert on 20th century minimalist music, part of motherhood, a blessing of womanhood, a prayer together in the morning, always having a fan of my shenanigans, how I want to spend eternity. I could go on and on. The important part is that it's mine and Jake's. Our relationship belongs to us. I was "married" before our ceremony ever took place. I knew I needed to be with Jake to experience real joy - the biggest kind you can imagine. Instead of calling my union marriage, I might like to call it Orange. And it would still mean the same thing to me.

Definitions have to exist. Our world needs some sort of order, and language is how we do it. It would be easier if we could all be lumped up into a few definitions like people, brothers, sisters, etc, but the world would be far less colorful. White is not black and black is not white, and I celebrate their differences and everything in between. Let "marriage" and "skadoodle" both define a joining of two people, and let both terms carry with them equal rights. I know the term civil union exists, but we can be so way more romantic. If people in 3 states voted to officially define marriage as something between a man and a woman, then let them keep that traditional institution which is sacred to them. Let's make a new tradition. A tradition that will help us all stop being so afraid of and hateful towards one another.

Some fun facts

I was looking up some info on breastfeeding when I came across this interesting tidbit:

About 25% of energy intake goes towards making milk.
About 20% of energy intake goes towards making the brain function.

So making milk takes more out of me than making my brain work. It all makes sense.


Something else I came across a while ago:
A woman can lose up to 8% on her brain mass when pregnant depending on the amount of good fats she's getting. I knew I was scatterbrained, but I didn't know it was because my brain was shrinking.

Rina Fitria

A beautiful young woman's spirit left this world last night. She has been in a fight against lymphoma since March 2007. Rina was a student at OSU, and through a devoted effort of friends to raise money for a bone marrow transplant, her story was shared with people, like myself, who have never met her. This kind act has touched my heart.

I hope that many prayers are offered up for her family, who have been in the trenches with her.


This is Rina's personal blog:
http://fitriajourney.blogspot.com/

America

I am proud. I can't put it into words yet. The easy part is over. I'm ready to get to work. It's more than just voting. It's beyond party affiliation. A shared history, an optimistic vision for the future, unity. Yes we can.

Halloween Festivities

We carved our Jack-o-lantern.
Cora threw the seeds everywhere.

The seeds stuck everywhere.

After seed clean-up and removal, Cora suited up.



It couldn't be more fitting that my child was a chicken for her first Halloween.

I do, after all, have a great affinity for the word.

A Full Account

I've been blogging on myspace since 2004, but just opened a blogger account earlier this year. I spent all afternoon and into the early evening transfering all of my posts from myspace to this account.

Much Better.

One is still missing, but I'll add it in when I have the mac to transfer pictures. It's been fun glancing at things I'd forgotten. I started blogging right after I got married - so much has happened! I am a bit embarassed at how often I start my posts with "So." I love having a record of the last 4.5 years.

Whimsical

I fancy myself a woman of whimsy.

(It should be noted that up until recently there was a small war inside my head when it came to identifying myself as "woman." I generally stuck to girl or gal.)

The other day I was in the company of two friends. Cora was doing something silly, and Friend One said, "I can't believe how much she's laughing." Friend Two said, "She's goofy like her mother."

That was probably one of the biggest compliments I've ever received.

I let them in on a secret. There were two things I prayed for before Cora was born. They weren't necessities for love or anything, but just random requests. One: "It would be okay if she has chubby cheeks." Check. Two: "It would be okay if she's a little weird like me."

Check.

Dialogue

Jake: (sitting on the opposite side of the couch studying vocab) What are you checking out?

BrieAnn: Blogs

Jake: (excitedly and almost in my lap) DOGS!?!?

BrieAnn: (staring at Jake) B-logs

Jake: (sinking back to his spot): oh.

A Bit of my Day

There are times when you stumble upon something that unexpectedly takes your breath away.

Today was such an occasion.

I went to the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum for play group (Admission is free on Wednesday through November 19th). I'd looked up some of the exhibits and saw "Craft in America." I was really excited to see it, but had no idea how amazing it would be.

I was instantly greeted by a wooden double rocker. It was a warm piece. Almost like sun peaking through the clouds of this rainy fall day. It brought all of my senses to a heightened state. The entire exhibit is a mixture of old and new. Quilts on walls near metal works. I love things that a are handmade. There is an extra bit of life about them. There was also a tapestry that I couldn't take my eyes off of.

Two red roses have grown up in front of the moon.

I close my eyes and imagine a woman sitting in a chair, a rocking chair, made of smooth wood. She has done plenty of needlepoint before, but this time it means something more. She's rocking, thinking about her day, savoring this quiet moment. She enjoys the night for this reason - it becomes her time. Her image comes to life one stick and pull at a time.

A Decision Made

Last last week, my old principal/boss called and offered me an English teaching position. The hours were great. I could have had my planning period at the end of the day, and I didn't have to do my planning at work, so I could have been off at 12:35. Not bad.

And I considered it.

For a week I went back and forth over pros and cons...

and prayed.

I definitely loved teaching. I returned a projector to Northwest Classen about a month ago. As I was walking up to the main entrance I did have a few tears in my eyes. I felt so glad I had a good excuse to stop by. Cora was on my hip. I miss the students, and listening to their ideas and sharing new ones with them. The wheels would start turning and important points of conversation would fill the room. I miss the interaction with so many different personalities. Most of my thoughts of teaching came when Cora was sleeping. Then she would wake up.

And I couldn't stand the idea of not being there to see that toothy smile.

Needless to say, I will not be returning to the classroom, not outside of my living room anyway. It was a way bigger deal before I officially said no. I was flattered to receive the offer. It was nice to feel wanted/needed in my "professional" life. But when it comes down to it, that flattery pales in comparison to the way I feel when two tiny hands attached to two tiny arms are reaching out in my direction.

...or wet kisses on my cheek
...splishy splashy bath time
...singing lullabies and watching heavy eyes close
...coded conversation
...trips to the park
...swinging
...bird watching
...new food expressions
...army crawling
...10:00 AM and 2:00 PM nap times
...lovey dove-in' on someone who always thinks I'm great.

Rooty Toot Toot

Cora has been dabbling in "real" food for about a week now.

So far she has had rice cereal, which she doesn't really care for,
bananas, grapes, strawberries, sweet potatoes, and a bit of honey dew.

She doesn't like eating from a spoon so much, she'd rather feed herself. Yesterday when we were eating bananas, I had a bowl.

She had a bowl.

I would eat, she would watch, and then she would dig into her bowl. I actually did the feeding, but she got to take advantage of the texture. It worked so much better than her first banana experience.

That involved a whole lot of gagging.

I exclusively breastfed until she was 7.5 months old. I appreciate the intuitiveness that comes with being a mother and knowing my child. It's a bit empowering to not follow everything "the books" suggest. I love picking up on her ques. She's my little partner. It might go back to how I felt when I was in the hospital for a few weeks before I had her. She became really real to me then, she was my only focus. We were a team in making sure she got here safely - I enjoyed falling asleep to her heart beat.

Breastfed babies are totally decent in the diaper area. Not very smelly - something like vinegar. Honey-like consistency. Did I mention not very smelly?

Add just a little bit of food...

It started with her toots. Phew. You know the smell when bean residue that has dried gets wet again? It's something like that. And it lingers. This morning was her first poop with a fair amount of solids. Thicker than honey. Thicker than gravy. Not sure yet.

Smelly.

Really smelly.

Heaven

Our Palin Names

Sarah Palin Baby Name Generator

BrieAnn: Nam Guadalupe Palin

Jake: Flack Gobbler Palin

Cora: Krinkle Bearcat Palin

Tag

Thanks, Tori.

8 T.V. Shows I Love To Watch
***I don't have cable***
1. Sunday Morning
2. Nightly News with Brian Williams
3. PBS Specials
4. Criminal Minds
5. The Office
6. Today Show - Not with Hoda Kotb and Kathie Lee.
7. Extreme Makeover: Home Edition
8. Just about any design/cooking show

8 Things that Happened Yesterday
1. I made pumpkin cheesecake for the first time
2. I went to Pumpkin Bonanza
3. I carved a pumpkin
4. I talked to Bonny's 10 week old inutero baby.
5. I laid Cora in her crib when she fell asleep for the night. She was still in her crib at 7 AM this morning. It was her first all-nighter.
6. I was carried to bed by Jake
7. I got a bruise on my elbow from running into a doorway while being carried to bed.
8. I turned down a job offer.

8 Favorite Places to Eat
1. My mom's house.
2. My house.
3. Ortiz's Taco Shop
4. Christy's Donuts
5. OB People's Market
6. Sprout's
7. Sauced
8. Ironstarr

8 Things I Look Forward To:
1. Morning
2. Seeing mi familia
3. New ideas
4. Cora's smile when she wakes up.
5. Driving
6. Live music
7. Church
8. The changing of seasons

8 Things on My Wish List
1. Organization
2. To end up at a good school in a good location.
3. I'd like to get in shape
4. Cora's happiness
5. Inspiration
6. A farm
7. Never to worry
8. More trees

8 People I tag (in case you don't know what "tagged" means it indicates that you will post a blog with your own list of all these '8 things':
Whoever...

Yay for Thesis Research

We are on our way to California on Thursday. Jake is doing some research and interviews for his thesis. I can't even begin to express how glad I am that his main research interest is not in the Dakotas or Wisconson, or any other land locked state. We will be in San Diego and Los Angeles. I love the ocean. I was always a little jealous of my sister's name, Marissa, because it means "of the sea."

I'm super excited that we'll be staying at the hostel in Point Loma again. It's close to the beach I've deemed my favorite: Ocean Beach. I loved meeting everyone at the hostel the last time we were there. My favorites were two sisters from Ireland, Caroline and Adele. Caroline had finished up a semester abroad in Michigan, and wanted to spend some time travelling around the U.S. Adele came to join her for her travels. They loved giving "cuddles" to Cora.

Royal Blush

So I have this little problem. It started when I was pregnant. I would be in the middle of a normal conversation, and then out of nowhere I could feel my face getting hot. I would just start blushing for no reason at all. I decided it must be because of the increased blood supply in my body that comes with pregnancy. Well, I'm not pregnant anymore, but it still happens. It seems to be happening more often lately. I don't really get embarrassed, I never have. I'm not timid or shy around people either.

When I feel the blood rushing to my face, I get embarrassed, and not about a word or action, but about the fact that I know my face is turning red. In essence, I'm blushing over blushing. It's so weird, and I'm not fond of it.

My Little Baby

Cora got her second tooth three days after her first one. We had a break, but I think her little mouth is back at it. She is always the best baby...so happy and funny...she only ever cries when she's tired. For the past few days she's been "yelling" and really clingy. She starts this yelling when I leave her sight. She won't lay down unless I am right next to her. I'm writing this quite awkwardly as one arm is having to maneuver around her head. She only took one nap yesterday, and she's on number one for today. I'm a little worried because I'm going with the youth to the temple tonight. Jake will be here, but last night she wouldn't stop yelling until I went to bed with her. As soon as I laid down, she curled up next to me and was out. I also think she's going through a growth spurt. So I have a sleepy, teething, growing, yelling, runny nose (having to do with teeth) baby. I feel random seconds of internal hair pulling in certain situations, like when I feel like I can't go to the bathroom, or get something done on my "to-do" list - then I just look at her and scoop her up and know that most of the hair pulling feeling is because I can't make her feel better instantly. But there is something immensely rewarding about being able to comfort her. And while helpful, I've never really cared for living my life through lists anyway.

Los Politicos

This election is so exciting to me, as I'm sure it is for everyone else. I couldn't wait for 9:00 PM to roll around for the past two weeks so I could see the important speeches from both conventions. I've been following all of the issues for each candidate (and all of the ones who've been "weeded out") since/as they announced their intention to run. I was sad to see some go, as well as ecstatic to see others finally concede. Overall, I think we're left with two fair contenders, and I can't wait to see how it will all play out. I'm pretty certain about who I'm going to vote for. For a while I kept going back and forth, still leaning to the side I'm leaning on now. One candidate really speaks to my everyday life, while the other speaks to my ideals. I've always called myself a Conservative Liberal. On government size and fiscal matters, I swing to the right side of moderate. On social and environmental issues, however, I would be lying if I tried to keep any part of my middle of the road stance. I am the same girl who always knew when Earth Day was coming - and treated it with a sort of reverence. I love, though think it was far too long in coming, that it's now "cool" to be green. And I am the woman who says to myself "Humanos son Humanos" when the subject of illegal immigrants comes up.

I have contained fire in a jar

I made the hottest batch of salsa ever tonight.

Word to the wise: Watch out for the jalapeños from the Asian Market...they're fiery...even without most of their seeds and that other part inside that makes 'em hot.

Kick Boxing kicked my Boo-tay

I went to a kick boxing class at YMCA today with a super cool gal from church. Thanks Karen!! Oh my goodness, I've never been so exhausted...or instantly sore. It was something like hiking the Superstition Mountains. I haven't used so many muscles in such a short time in my life. I could hardly raise my leg to kick the bag towards the end...and yes, I was relieved when someone came to get me because Cora was crying. She saved me, aww. I'd had a little anxiety the night before about leaving her there, and admittedly, when I handed her over I felt tears sort of well up in my eyes. I was really telling myself "don't cry, BrieAnn." When went in, they were changing her diaper, she was red and wailing. After I had her for like two seconds, she was fine. They said she did really well and was playing and having fun when she just broke down. She was super tired.

I loved being able to go today. I enjoy working out, but I haven't done so in a long time. I love to sweat, and know that I'm pushing myself. A while back I thought about running the OKC Memorial Marathon. I'd love to run the half marathon next year. I hate getting back into shape, but I know it will be so gratifying. I miss running sometimes. I was pretty good in high school. I had some scholarship offers to run cross-country in college, but I was ready to be done with running competitively for a while. I like the idea of running for myself much more than for a team...though sometimes the team is nice motivation. Some old stats: 3.1 miles in 19 minutes; 400M in 60 seconds; 8 miles in about 60 minutes.

I've got some work to do, and hopefully my lungs will cooperate...asthma is the bane of my running existence. I'm excited, and hope I can stay motivated!!!! Watch out road!...and treadmill.

Future Tooth Fairy Contribution

Cora's first tooth made its way to the surface yesterday. Jake found it around 8:00 last night while we were lying on our front lawn looking up at the trees.

She'd been fussy on Monday and Tuesday, which is really unlike her. She had some vaccinations on Wednesday, and ran a mild fever. Then she seemed okay again. I feel bad about vaccines and a new tooth all in the same week. I think diente dos isn't too far off.

A Rare Gift?

We got home from Illinois Wednesday evening. I turned on the TV after we got settled for our 5:30 ritual of watching Nightly News with Brian Williams, and a crazy LOUD buzzing fills the air. The picture and sound are still there, but are completely overshadowed by the buzz. We looked it up on-line, and everything we saw indicates our TV is dying. We looked up new models, we had one we really liked. We woke up the next morning and were going to go get it...that's when I said, "Maybe we can hold off for a while."

Haven't you ever wanted to get rid of TV? I've thought a lot about cutting the cord, but I didn't want to sabotage my friend (or foe). So here we are on day FIVE of no TV. Which also means I haven't watched the Olympics in FIVE days. I don't know that I want to be at home all day without it, but, for now, why not?

Ice Pick Headaches...

I've been having sporadic sharp shooting pains on the right side of my head ever since Cora was born. They don't come at regular intervals, and each individual pain only lasts for a few seconds, but there can be several in a minute. They came more frequently in the first few weeks after she was born. I haven't had any for a while, but today has been awful. I haven't even looked into them until today. I'm going to talk to my doctor about them when I take Cora in for her vaccinations next week.

Yes, really.

My sweet little baby is 6 months old today.

Slow down, Time, slow down...!

I was Made for Public Transportation

I am in love with Chicago. I can't think of a thing I didn't like about it. There were some definite differences, but fun differences. The University of Chicago was amazing. Jake was able to speak with the director of graduate studies for the music school.

I always tend to form rash decisions about cities depending on whether or not it's sunny on my first encounter. There were occasional clouds that blocked the sun, but for the most part, the sun was a shinin'.

My favorite part of it all was mass transportation. I love the CTA. I've always been a people watcher, so it was wonderful to be temporarily locked in a metal car with such a variety of people. It's such a stark contrast. There was a man sitting behind me on the Red line who was in pretty bad shape. He smelled heavily of cigarettes and alcohol. He was behind me for two stops, when he made his way off and straight out to the trash can outside our car. I'm sure that is his main existence - living on the subway. One stop after he got off, a well-dressed man came and filled his seat.

We went to the Museum of Contemporary Art. One exhibit reminded me of a porn mag. I didn't spend much time with it, but there were three others that were awe inspiring: Sarah Sze Proportioned to the Groove, Alexander Calder in focus, and I can't remember the the last one - they were x-rays with random material objects inside - it was actually my favorite. I was too busy looking at the pieces to look at the name or titles.

And finally, a piece of Champaign, IL. The best bookstore I've ever been in so far is in downtown Champaign: Jane Addams Book Shop. We were there almost two years ago when Jake auditioned for the University of Illinois (when he was going to go for Collaborative Piano). Last time we found a James Agee poetry book we'd been looking for for some time. We also got the Carter Family biography. This time I found two Anne Sexton poetry books: Love Poems and Transformations. I could spend hours and hours and, oh yes, more hours looking through all of the books.

Spontaneous

Jake and I woke up around 9 this morning, packed our bags, and now we're in a hotel room in Urbana, IL.

He's doing some research at U of I here tomorrow. On Tuesday we're going to see Chicago. Yay for free museum days. We're thinkin' Wednesday looks good for getting home.

I'll tell you later why this makes me giddy...when I haven't just driven for 12 hours with an almost 6 month old...

I Heart the Olympics

I've always loved to Olympics. There are two weeks every two years when I am glued to the television feeling inspired, motivated, proud and connected to the world in an extra special way. We spent this evening at our friends' house eating kabobs, playing Cranium, and watching the Opening Ceremonies. Oh my, China. What I watched this evening left me speechless. I've never seen anything so magical unfold before my eyes. I cannot wait for the events to begin, but I know I will never forget, and will continue to be in awe of what China presented to the world for these summer games.

Small Victory

I have been going around and around with the billing office for my doctor's office for along time from when Cora was born...As in things from the hospital almost 6 months ago are still up in the air. In desperation (almost), I called the billing office for the hospital where I delivered. While that billing office and the one my doctor uses aren't related, the gal the the Hospital BO got me in touch with a supervisor from the other one. She sent an email and no more than thirty minutes later I was talking to a real human being. And we're actually on the road to a resolution!

A few weeks ago, I got a statement in the mail from a collection agency! We always pay all of our bills within a few days of getting them, so I was shocked. The billing office had turned us over without me ever being able to speak to them - not without effort (and lots of messages) on my part. The big mix up has been submitting the proper primary care physician to insurance, insurance misreading the physician sent, and the billing office being impossible to get a hold of - and me, a mere layman being caught in the middle. The worst part was that I couldn't schedule an appointment for Cora's next round of vaccines until the debt was taken care of, which was and is being reprocessed. After speaking to my supervisor friend, Kerrie, I was able to call and schedule Cora's next appointment. She will be getting poked with needles August 20th at 10:30. Victory is almost entirely mine...Muah HA HA

Post-Pregnancy Bod

This has more to do with one aspect of my body after growing a baby inside: my scar.

I look at my scar a lot...even though it's a lot less now than it used to be. I was never grossed out or weirded out by it. I never wish that it wasn't there. There's just something intriguing about it. A baby came out of this line in my abdomen. I know mine is a little bigger than most. The first time I saw my regular doctor after having Cora, she said, "Wow, your scar is really thick." I suppose I wouldn't have known the difference. I'm allergic to adhesive, something we found out in the hospital. My skin was irritated for a few weeks after, so my "wound" was healing on irritated skin. I also wouldn't have thought anything of that, but I was talking to a teacher who said she could hardly see hers, but had a friend who had a thicker scar than hers who had my same adhesive problem. I can see the actual incision line amid the reddish purple thick line. I assume that's what most people are left with. The incision line is maybe a half a blade thicker than an x-acto knife, and white. There's a one-inch segment that has the white line with a light pink wider line. If I cover up all but that section, then I can hardly see it. I wonder what the scar on my uterus looks like.

Aside from the scar, I have 10 pounds I'm still hanging on to. My waist is still 3 inches thicker. My rib cage is smaller. It's like wider and flatter rather than narrow and thick. I have some really light stretch marks on the ladies...which aren't much bigger now, they were just stretched beyond capacity when my milk first came in and was getting regulated. I think I fared pretty well overall. I wonder what the stat comparison will be when my baby making days are through.

Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing

This hymn and Be Still My Soul are my two favorites. I love this arrangement of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir singing it. I've also posted the lyrics because they're my favorite part. The part I love most: "Prone to Wander, Lord, I feel it. Prone to leave the God I love; Here’s my heart, O take and seal it, seal it for Thy courts above."



Come, Thou Fount of every blessing,
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace;
Streams of mercy, never ceasing,
Call for songs of loudest praise.
Teach me some melodious sonnet,
Sung by flaming tongues above.
Praise the mount! I’m fixed upon it,
Mount of Thy redeeming love.

Sorrowing I shall be in spirit,
Till released from flesh and sin,
Yet from what I do inherit,
Here Thy praises I’ll begin;
Here I raise my Ebenezer;
Here by Thy great help I’ve come;
And I hope, by Thy good pleasure,
Safely to arrive at home.

Jesus sought me when a stranger,
Wandering from the fold of God;
He, to rescue me from danger,
Interposed His precious blood;
How His kindness yet pursues me
Mortal tongue can never tell,
Clothed in flesh, till death shall loose me
I cannot proclaim it well.

O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be!
Let Thy goodness, like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.

O that day when freed from sinning,
I shall see Thy lovely face;
Clothed then in blood washed linen

How I’ll sing Thy sovereign grace;

Come, my Lord, no longer tarry,
Take my ransomed soul away;
Send thine angels now to carry
Me to realms of endless day.

I Like My Oatmeal Chunky

My gallbladder, that I lovingly refer to as Gally, has been in serious need of removal for about three years. I remember the first time I was aware I had a gallbladder, it was October 2004. Our insurance was super stinky at the time, so I waited. I can't count the nights I've spent up in pain - downing ibuprofen, Pepto-Bismol, and water in hopes of some relief. I finally got a job and great insurance, but I was pregnant. Doctors don't like to operate on pregnant ladies. I'm no longer pregnant, Gally is still there, and my insurance goes away at the end of August. I have a referral for a surgeon, but I need to have an ultrasound done so they can see what they're dealing with, and so I wait...I've called my doctor to get a referral for an ultrasound...that was last Thursday...and yesterday again.

So in the meantime I eat oatmeal. Gallstones can be made up of cholesterol, and oatmeal is supposed to reduce it. My favorite flavor is Maple and Brown Sugar. I never put as much water as it says I need, I like it a little chunky.

Bloggers in My Neighborhood



My friend Annie did this on her blog. I liked it.

Someone on my blogroll survived Girl's Camp at 32 weeks in the family way with her 6th baby

Someone on my blogroll lets her little boys do super cool things like art with chocolate pudding

Someone on my blogroll has a tickety tight backyard

Someone on my blogroll had a VBAC at home with a midwife

Someone on my blogroll is fighting for her life

Someone on my blogroll has the most beautiful eyes I've ever seen

Someone on my blogroll got into a fight with a lawn mower when she was young. One time she said it won, but I think she did.

Someone on my blogroll is a new mom with an entrepreneur spirit.

Someone on my blogroll is my favorite example of woman and mother

Someone on my blogroll is always having fun

Someone on my blogroll is a friend I need to see more of

Someone on my blogroll graduated from Law School a few months ago and has the buffest husband ever.

Someone on my blogroll has five kiddos and finds time and motivation for spiritual strengthening

Someone on my blogroll was hit by a deer - yep - I still can't believe it.

Someone on my blogroll rocks pink hair way better than anyone else I've ever seen.

Someone on my blogroll is always having fun

Someone on my blogroll shares my affinity for Patty

Someone on my blogroll is kind of shy in the beginning, but after a bit of time she warms up and is full of interesting conversation

Someone on my blogroll just moved to Boston with her hubby and animals so he could attend seminary

Someone on my blogroll takes beautiful photographs

Someone on my blogroll was the first married woman to move into the ward who was younger than me

Someone on my blogroll always goes the extra mile - especially when it comes to people

Someone on my blogroll gets to know her kiddos in super cute ways

Someone on my blogroll is my weekly fun companion

Someone on my blogroll is about to go to college

Someone on my blogroll is a friend from elementary school who joined the LDS church somewhere between 7th grade and a few years ago.

Someone on my blogroll changed me forever when she said, "I don't feel like crying, I feel like rejoicing," even though I know it's probably much more difficult than that most of the time.

Someone on my blogroll is about to have her first baby

Someone on my blogroll is a guy I used to call Queeny in high school

Someone on my blogroll dresses up her dogs, and I love her even more for that ;)

Someone on my blogroll looks amazing with blonde hair

Everyone on my blogroll is someone who I love.


Try it. You'll like it, too.

Admiration

Cora is growing so quickly. I just never realize how much bigger she is until I see someone else holding her. I think she's about to outgrow her 1-2 diapers. I remember thinking she'd never outgrow her preemie diapers.

She loves trees. Our neighborhood is old (our house was built in 1925), and it has parks that run through the middle of it with lots of big trees along the streets. When we go for our walks, she just stares up into the leaves and branches.

She talks to the wind. When we were in San Diego at the beginning of summer, she started cooing while we were at the beach. It only took a few times to realize she only did it when the wind would blow across her face.

Water is a good friend of hers. Whenever she is in any form of water she completely relaxes.

I call her my little nature girl.

She also loves books. "Are You My Mother" and "Chicka Chicka Boom Boom" are two of her favorites.

She only rolls over her left side. I've seen her roll over to the right once or twice. I lay on her right side and try to coax her to come to me. She rolls over to her left and when she gets around she looks at me and smiles really big and then rolls to her left again This pattern repeats until I just can't help but scoop her up and give her kisses.

She likes to hang upside down. Not by her feet or anything, but she always puts her head backwards over my arm.

She can't sit through church. In fact, she only likes to sit if she's reading a book, playing, or watching TV.

She loves to dance with us and talk, and stare at the ceiling fan.

Her hair is fuzzy, and occasionally looks red.

Bon Qui Qui

I love this sketch...

A Mouse in our House...

Cora and I were playing with some toys on a blanket on our rug in front of the couch. She was talking a lot, so I called my mom so they could talk a little.

While we're on the phone, I look under the couch and see a mound of grey. It doesn't moves, but billows a little bit. I grab Cora as I'm jumping up and yell to my mom there's a mouse under the couch. Cora and I are on top of a chair at this point. My mom is asking if I'm sure it's a mouse, I'm not, so I get down to where I can see, and it's not there...it's even closer to the front of the couch...a baby mouse staring right at me. I jumped up and said I had to go and ran to our bedroom and got on the bed. All the while Cora is tucked under my arm. I call some people for some moral support (Thanks Vaughn, Angie and Ashleigh!) after leaving a message for Jake. I decided I was just going to go to OCU where Jake was until it was time for him to get off. I have Cora's car seat and diaper bag on our bed, and I'm just about to put her in her seat when Jake calls. He's on his way home. Phew. We both look under the couch and he sees it. We make a plan. We both get a broom and he's going to shoo it out. My role is to make sure it stays on course until it gets out the door. He moves the couch...the mouse is about to come into the light, and THERE IT IS!!!....a Gigantic dust bunny.

To my credit: It had two little black lints for eyes, and a piece of our shag rug for a tail. ;)

Late Nights

Jake is playing for music camps this summer. There are three two-week camps. Tonight is the last night of camp number two. He gets home at 10:00 PM, if he gets out on time. This week he has been getting home after 11:00. We have been going to bed way past our bedtime. We like to spend a little time together...I didn't mention that he has to be there at 10:00AM...so we watch the news and then Frasier comes on at 10:30 - and again at 11:00. We're in bed between 12 and 1. Cora likes to eat somewhere in the 6:00 AM hour. ;) She starts talking and feeling our faces when she's ready ready to play with us. And deservedly, she usually goes to bed between 6:30 and 7:30.

Jake has two weeks left of getting home late. I love this summer job for him just not the schedule it requires. Cora is an amazing sleeper who sets her own schedule...we need to follow her example.

My Friend, Patty

Patty Griffin is definitely my favorite singer/songwriter. She is also one of the best poets of our time. Her command of language always amazes me. She is the master of personification, rhyme (that isn't over the top), and my favorite of her traits, imagery. Her songs are familiar to me - they're most like my thoughts. Her songs are how I see the world. I've added my Patty Griffin playlist for your listening/thought provoking pleasure.

There are three songs that aren't on the playlist that are wonderful. Here are the Youtube links:

Making Pies
Kite Song
Mary

Mary is my all time favorite. I think the photo montage is a little cheesy in its over-sentimentality (you don't have to watch it, you can just listen to the song). If I made a photo montage it would be of several different statue Marys. There's a photo of a Mary statue in Cora's room that I took in Hawaii at the Painted Church. I'll tell you the story of the painted church someday.

The picture in Cora's room...

A Throw Back

We went to San Diego at the beginning of June so Jake could research his thesis topic at UCSD. We stayed in a cute little hostel in Point Loma. We really loved San Diego. On our way across Imperial Valley (the really flat spot right before you go through the mountains that stand between the ocean and the hottest kind of heat), I had a thought. I suddenly felt a random sentimentality for high school...not wishing to go back, but just how different I am now. You have to understand that high school was my last bit of social life before getting married, as I was married at 18.

I was SO self-conscious in high school...about everything. It wasn't just in high school, it was in general. It was weird because I in no way secluded myself because of it, I was just terrified before everything I did. And I did everything! Let's start with my overall biggest debilitator - Sweaty Arm Pits...Okay, there's one before that - Acne. I didn't actually have acne in high school, but I started getting it in 5th grade - way before anybody did. It was horrible through the end of 8th grade. I had bangs to cover part of it (probably a big cause of it), but I never thought I was pretty because of it. Sweaty arm pits started in seventh grade...some girl made fun of me for it in home ec. So I never raised my arm all the way in high school, and I knew what colors and fabrics showed sweat the least. Grey cotton was my worst enemy.

In Track and Cross Country I was always afraid I was going to be last. I was far from it. I could run 400m in 60 seconds, and I ran state in cross country. In CC, I rarely came in under 10th place, but before every single race, I had to talk myself into not giving a million different reasons I had stored away for why I shouldn't run.

Then there was flag and show choir. That's obvious, I didn't want to sing a wrong note or drop my flag, and before anyone starts the flag jokes, we were the best in state my junior and senior year. I'm still terrified to sing in front of people. The fact that I ever auditioned for choir is a miracle. I'll always be glad for Mrs. Wharton filling in at the end of the school year - she wasn't so scary.

I never just wore my hair in a ponytail because I thought it looked too stringy. I was always myself around people, but not always true to myself around me. I dated a boy for way too long. When it was all over, I felt about 2 inches tall. I'm sure that had a lot to do with it. When we broke up I dropped down to 89 pounds. I just couldn't keep anything down. That was also the year my best friend died in a car accident. I slept a lot in class because I couldn't sleep at night. I was always smart, but my grades didn't show it anymore. Chemistry and Algebra III don't make a lot of sense when you're not awake.

I was always the "cute" one. Girls coveted my 23 inch waist, and I didn't want to be defined by my looks, or my ditzy front that was easy to put up to avoid anyone seeing the most important parts of me...the most important parts to me. I wanted to hold myself sacred even if I was afraid to show it to most people.

So we're driving through Imperial Valley, and I'm thinking all of these things in a flash, and I just had this peace sweep over me. I'm still the same, but I'm different...and I found Certain Dry 5 years ago, which is a miracle for sweaty armpits. It's amazing how I continue to grow more comfortable in my skin as time goes by.

Random

I want a 1990 Volvo 240 Wagon.
I wonder if I could make it a hybrid...

And a Vespa (I've wanted one of these since high school)...

And a Beach Cruiser.
I can't decide if it should be orange, aqua, pink, or mint green...but it needs a super tricked out bike trailer behind it.

And finally....A trampoline.
Man I miss having one in the back yard.

Brittany tagged me.

How To Play This Game of Tag: Post these rules on your blog.List: 3 joys, 3 fears, 3 goals, 3 current obsessions/collections, 3 random surprising facts about yourself. Tag 5 people at the end of your post by leaving their names. Let them know they are tagged by leaving a comment on their blog!


3 JOYS
1. Mi familia
2. Summer evenings
3.

3 FEARS
1. Things that are out of my control.
2. Not making the most of each day.
3. Thorns in my blackberry cobbler - OUCH!

3 GOALS
1. WRITE MORE! and then get everything ready for grad school.
2. Study the scriptures more often.
3. Stop eating so many chocolate chips! AND lose the last 10 pounds of pregnancy weight.

3 CURRENT OBSESSIONS/ COLLECTIONS
1. I haven't really had time to be crafty in the last long while. I'm obsessed. I want to do so many little things. I need to find some great vintage fabric. My current craft: A butterfly mobile for Cora's room. Jake has never really seen this side of me. It's weird because it feels like I've found a long lost friend.
2. Recycling. I just can't stop thinking about it. I'm the girl who used to make posters and other random celebratory trinkets on Earth Day when I was in elementary school. I'm going to get a smaller trash can for garbage and use our normal trash can in the kitchen for recycling. OKC just allowed a lot more things to go in our "lil' blue." I think I can fill up at least two a week if I just get going with my system. AND I've been looking up the bus schedules. There used to be a stop a block and a half a way from my house, but it's no longer running (POO), the next one is farther than I want to walk with Cora, so I'm going to see what I can do about having that reinstated...AND Walmart has reusable shopping bags for $1.00.
3. I am obsessed with my baby. I can't help it. It's like falling in love - all of the sweet, giddy, crazy brain, jumpy heart stuff.

3 RANDOM, SURPRISING FACTS ABOUT ME!
1. Let's see...I'm a tortilla snob.
2. I make just about every pasta dish with macaroni.
3. I take long luxurious showers - hmm - I USED to take long luxurious showers. Now I hope I can finishing rinsing before a certain someone wakes up or is tired of entertaining herself.

PS: Brittany - I also LOVED nursery. A few Sundays ago I was telling Jake how I missed it.

Now I tag...
Everyone. Go ahead, you know you wanna.

YAY

Today was the grand opening of a new Walmart Neighborhood Market. It's so close to our house. I might just say goodbye to the Super Walmart forever. It comes at a good time, too. I went shopping at a Super Target the other day, and it was wonderful. I didn't know how I was going to face the cold linoleum floors at the big WM again. Just as Target has, the new neighborhood market has painted contrete floors...a rich brown. My shopping experience will never be the same. The cheapest stuff in ideal surroundings. It even has a drive-thru pharmacy!

Questions

Why do we have to worry about insurance covering medical costs when all we should worry about is living healthy lives? (and why am I continually the middle man between my insurance and doctors...aren't they getting paid to do it right?)

Why are we so persnickety about our water when our tap water is some of the best in the world?

What am I supposed to do with all this time on my hands?

Why is gas $4.00 per gallon?

Why do we still use gas?

Why did someone yell "F- the [something having to do with being gay]" as he drove past the Pride Parade?

Why do Oklahoma drivers licenses expire after 4 years?

Why don't we have any popcicles?

Why haven't I read a book yet this summer?

Where's the best place to look at Stars in OKC?

How high is the tallest swing?

Would it be weird for a 4-month old to start finger painting?

Why do we build so many new things when there are plenty of beautiful old things still full of use?

Why are our trash cans bigger than our recycle bins?

Why don't I write more letters?

Father's Day

I enjoyed Jake's first Father's Day. I felt bad because I didn't get him anything, I was totally willing, but my license expired at the end of April (we found out not very long ago), so I was stuck. We just got home from San Diego on Friday, so we'd been together for a week and a half, and I do not think that far in advance...nor did I know when we left that my license was expired.

We went to Stake Conference and then to Rusty and Melinda's house in Wetumka for a BBQ. After the BBQ, we went to Meemaw and Peepaw's to dig potatoes from their garden (one of my favorite things to do).





Jake is an amazing dad. He is so sweet with Cora. He went from telling me while I was pregnant that our baby wasn't going to poop to being an expert diaper changer/bath giver/baby dresser. I'm proud of the way he is with her. They have a special bond. She loves him. She talks to him in a her own secret code.



I Think I Need Our Baby

Cora was asleep in her crib last night at bedtime. While I was getting ready in the bathroom I kept going back and forth as to whether she should stick it out in her bed or if I should bring her in.

I went into our bedroom and Jake said, "Do you want me to go get her?" I told him I didn't know. I stood there for a second and I said, "Let me try something." He said his prayers and climbed into bed.

He got settled and I curled up against him (what I wanted to try). I haven't been able to really do that in a long time. It was nice. Just as I was thinking about how I missed Cora right there by us, Jake said "I think I need our baby." I smiled. He went and got her, still sound asleep, and put her in the middle. I turned out the light, and we both snuggled around her.

Cora's Nursery

We finished Cora's nursery on Memorial Day. Jake and Vaughn (Jake's dad) set up the crib last week, and we've been filling in the gaps. It's to the point where I shall declare it good.

Jake and Vaughn putting the crib together.

Cora hanging out in her bed, even though technically her bed is our bed. We love our cuddly/sleep with us baby!

Another View




Cora's art. The one on the left is a modified picture of a sculpture called Resurrection. The other is a statue of Mary at the cemetary of the Painted Church in Hawaii.

I think she likes it.







Life

A student of mine, who came to this school just last week, just said something as she was walking out the door. I just had her and another student in my class so we'd been talking about everything from clothes to pregnancy (one girl just found out she wasn't, phew).

The girl said, "I ain't gonna lie, my whole family is in gangs."

"Are you?" I asked?

"I'm not about to get killed over a color."

I'm so proud of her for that simple comment. She said some people in her family got mad at her when she said that to them. I congratulated her on using her brain as she left for another class. Two of my favorite students are pretty hardcore gang members. One of them told actually told me about how he was involved in a shooting. Some rival gang members were at his cousins house, so he and 5 other guys went and showed them what was up. When I asked if anyone got hurt he said "No." There was a pause, "Well none of us." He's a good, very bright young man, but he's caught up in a gang. My other one, I'll never forget him for my whole life. He watches National Geographic and the History Chanel, and he irons his pants. His mom moved him to a different part of the city so he wouldn't be in the thick of the gang. Just because he moved doesn't mean he gets to be out. He still has to wear the colors and be a part. Not doing so could get his family hurt. He's the man of the house, which is probably how he got involved in the first place. So many of my students are in or have family members who are in gangs. It's a life I don't understand, well, I get the actuality of it, but I don't get the mentality of it. It's a lot bigger than I thought it was, but it's still rather insignificant - unless you're in the middle of it.

My girl who left summed up the mentality of it...when it comes down to it, it's about what color you're wearing.

Pumping at Work

I pump milk for Cora twice a day while I'm at work. I have the Medela Pump In-style Advanced in the backpack version (I LOVE this pump). I have to clean some of the parts after I use it. It's so funny to see women's reactions vs. men's reactions when they see me with my little black backpack. Women just get it. They give an agreeing nod as I go by. Men, on the other hand, always say something. Yesterday, I had two in a row. First man, "Are you heading home for the day?" This is at 8:30 in the morning.

"No, not yet."

"Oh, I just thought with the backpack and all..." He motions as if he's pulling on the straps of his imaginary pack. I didn't want to just come right out and say,

"No, it's my pump." Not because I care, but I think he might blush. As soon as I pass him, another guy asks

"Where are you going?" Now with him I'm not so shy, and I'm already tickled at the irony...

"To the bathroom."

"Oh, and you need to take your pack." This could have been awkward for all kinds of reasons. I just said,

"Yep." Then he just wanted to talk, so we're talking in the hall for like 5 minutes, all the while I'm trying my best to keep inching my way to the restroom.

Maybe men are far more nosey than we give them credit for.

What a Blessing

Cora was blessed by Jake at church on May 4th. It was such a wonderful day. We had lots of family come in that weekend for the event. They were also there for my birthday! Yep, I'm now the big 2-3. We went to Cattlemen's because I wanted some Prime Rib. I cleaned my plate. We also went to the Oklahoma City National Memorial. I've been there a few times, and every time I can't keep my composure the whole way through. The part that always gets me is when I see Ashley Eckles's little light up shoe in the display case of shoes they found in the rubble. This time a picture of Bailey Almon really got to me. Most of you probably remember the picture of the fireman carrying the little girl. That is Bailey. It wasn't that pcture, but the one that preceeds it. A rescue worker is handing her off to the fireman, and her mouth is wide open. I wonder what was going on to freeze it that way. Was she crying out or gasping for air? I suppose the most heartbreaking part is knowing she didn't make it. I can hardly stand all the devestation human beings are capable of, mostly that the devestation is carried out against living things. I've always been really sensetive to such things, but being a mom puts it all of overload. The most powerful thing is that it makes me want to be a better person.

4 Generations

Grandpa and Cora

Cora's blessing was amazing. I'd been anticipating it for weeks. I was so excited for her and Jake to share such a special moment. There was a such a sweet, strong spirit that filled the meeting. I bore my testimony at the end. I've been thinking a lot about the power within the bonds of family. I love that I belong to a church that proclaims to the world that the family is the fundamental unit of society. I feel more a part of eternity than I ever have before. All of my senses are heightened. Being a mom is seriously the greatest thing ever. I could have never imagined how fulfilling it would be. I loved celebrating my first Mother's Day yesterday.



Summer is almost here! Jake's finals week was last week. He is officially done with the first year of his master's. One year left! I'm getting so sad about leaving Oklahoma! We're going to San Diego when I'm done teaching so Jake can do some research for his thesis at UCSD. I'm excited to be going through Arizona. We're going to stop and see Lance and Deb (my biological father and his wife). We've never been to their house before. I'm excited to see Lance's studio (he's an artist), and all of his books, and their dogs. I'm also excited for them to meet Cora!

video

Cora at 12 Weeks

Overwhelmed

I am overwhelmed in the best kind of way. My husband is amazing. We have the sweetest little baby girl. Everyday I love her "gigantically" more. It just grows and grows, and I love how the happiness completely consumes me. We're blessing her at church this Sunday, and I'm so excited. I just finished reading about how well my friend, Angie's, first pregnancy doctor's appointment went. She has a sweet littled girl, but has not had an easy time with pregnacy and miscarriages in the past. I loved her excitement, and I know how wonderful and reassuring it is to see that little alien head moving around and being alive inside.

And now to the tip of the iceberg, the cherry on top, the whip in my cream - on Sunday, Mhari called me from the airport after having been at Seth and Kiersty's graduation. She asked when we were going to bless Cora, I told her, and she said that she and Jame and Kiersty and Seth might come. Kiersty called last night and said they were still working it out, and even if things don't work out, the fact that they are even considering it means so much to me. I'm technically an only child, but I have these five cousins who are my sisters, and while we haven't been in the day-in-day-out stuff, there isn't a place in my heart big enough to hold all the love I have for them. And I can't even begin to describe how it makes me feel that they love me that way too.

ABC's Tag

I've been tagged by Kiersty... Here it goes:

A.ATTACHED OR SINGLE? Attached
B.BEST FRIEND? Jake
C.CAKE OR PIE? Pie...unless it's CHEESE CAKE - which is much more like pie than cake anyway.
D. DAY OF CHOICE? Friday.
E. ESSENTIAL ITEMS? Haha, these days: burp rag, pacifier, shield.
F. FAVORITE COLORS? Black and white.
G. GUMMY BEARS OR WORMS? Worms.
H. HOMETOWN? Apache Junction, AZ
I. INDULGENCE? Art
J. JANUARY OR JULY? July
K. KIDS? Cora Adeline Grace
L. LIFE ISN'T COMPLETE WITHOUT? My family
M. MARRIAGE DATE? 3 January 2004
N. NUMBER OF BROTHERS AND SISTERS? 2 Brothers, 1 Sister
O. ORANGES OR APPLES? Oranges, generally...but I LOVE Pink Lady Apples.
P. PHOBIAS OR FEARS? I only fear things that are out of my hands.
Q. QUOTE? "...Almost the whole world is asleep. Everybody you know. Everybody you see. Everybody you talk to. He says that only a few people are awake and they live in a state of constant total amazement."
R. REASONS TO SMILE? Sunshine, the Memorial Marathon going on behind our house, Cora learning new things-Jake teachng them to her.
S. SUPERMAN OR WONDER WOMAN? Super Woman ;)
T. TAG 5 PEOPLE- Whoever...
U. UNKNOWN FACT ABOUT ME? Um, I have a birth mark on my tummy that only shows up when I get some sun.
V. VEGETABLES? Yes?
W. WORST HABIT? I never close drawers all the way...sand I don't even realize it.
X.. XRAY OR ULTRASOUND? Ultrasoud because little babies show up on them.
Y. YOUR FAVORITE FOOD? Mexican
Z. ZODIAC SIGN? Taurus

Hypnotist

I haven't met my biological father's mother.

Her name is Kathrine.

I think about her everyday. I dream about touching her, hugging her, listening to her stories. Lance, my bioogical father has been trying to call for the past few days. I called him back. We talked for a while about apples, and his friend Patrick, and I can't remember what else.

And then he casually states that his mom is flaking out.

She's in the hospital because she took too many pills and drank too much alcohol.

I've never faced her mortality as much as within the last 40 minutes or so. I need to meet her - I NEED to.

I always knew that maybe that wouldn't happen, but she called me right before school started and left a message. I called her back, left a message, and repeated the pattern a few times.
She hasn't called me back yet.

I've heard her voice. And that voice, that somehow was very familiar, said that it had always loved me. She's the one who is short and blonde, like me - like her. I never thought that she would be the one who would instigate her death. I thought it might be something more like getting trampled by a horse, or attacked by a bear (she has held the record for killing the largest bear in Arizona).

I don't feel hurt, but I do. I don't know her, but I do. I feel sad for her. She called the police and they came got her help. What does it feel like to know you're dying?

I'm tired of coming from a broken family line. My father doesn't know his father, and I went a good deal of my life without knowing mine. His grandpa lived about an hour away from me in Oklahoma, and I never knew until I read his obituary on-line...less than a month after he died. And now this elusive women who has me under some sort of spell is about to destroy my dream of holding her hand and secretly breathing in her hair. I want to go hold her in some hospital room in Arizona. Whenever Cora is sad I tell her that I'm scooping her up. And soon she is better.

I want to scoop my Kathrine up and tell her how much I love her and kiss her forehead.

Five Things About Me

What were you doing 10 years ago?--I was in 7th grade and adjusting to a new family. I was also about to make the big 3 block walk to church, something I hadn't done in 3 years.

5 things on my to do list

1. Write more - I need to get my portfolio for grad school ready.
2. Finish the painting that I left on the shelf in our dining room MONTHS ago.
3. Look into breastmilk donation because I have a huge surplus of it.
4. Lose the muffin top left behind in pregnancy's wake.
5. Write my little talk for New Beginnings tonight. I know I should be doing that right now!

5 snacks I enjoy

1. Jamba Juice - Pomegranate Paradise
2. Homemade bread with butter
3. Pink Lady Apples
4. Chips and Salsa
5.

5 places I've lived

1. Mesa, AZ
2. Eagar, AZ
3. Apache Junction, AZ
4. Lake Comanche Village, CA - though it was more an extended vacation.
5. Oklahoma City, OK

5 jobs I've had

1. KFC - that's right
2. Ceramic Pot Painter
3. Visitor Services @ OCU
4. Financial Aid @ OCU
5. High School English Teacher

5 things you may not know about me

1. I love Sunshine, Cicadas, Lightning Bugs and Mud between my toes.
2. I'm proud that I'm one of the weirdest people I know but have an exceptional knack for acting normal.
3. Chicken is a fun word that I randomly say out loud for the joy of it.
4. I want to live on a farm some day...and have a cow, or two so they'd have a friend...and a HUGE garden.
5. I still believe I can fly.

Oh my goodness

I'm a nursing machine - all hours of the night and day. I got up at 2:40 this morning, went the the bathroom really quick and then grabbed Cora and went into the kitchen to get something. I looked out the window to see if our neighbor was home because he's been gone for a few days. As soon as I look out there is this man coming out of our garage!!! It freaked me out! I jumped, and looked out again, and he's just walkin' away. He never saw me because we live on the second floor. Our garage is open in the front. It's enclosed besides that with a storage room behind it that can only be accessed through the backyard. The fence the the backyard was closed, so he was just in around our cars.We park our Fit in there, and the alarm never went off, so I wasn't too worried. I don't know if he was sleeping in there or what, but I feel so violated. It's strange knowing that someone is where they're not supposed to be when it infringes on your space...at 2:45 in the morning! We always have our front porch light on, which means it wasn't a totally dark decent up our impressively long driveway. The odds of me seeing him were so slim. Of all the times to look out the kitchen window...

Nacha

23 Mar 2008

I don’t know where Jake and I are going to end up for good after school is through. I’m not even sure where we’ll end up for his doctorate and my master’s. Jakes asked me about the "long run" place a few days ago - I just instantly said "I want to be somewhere with cicadas and lightening bugs." Realizing that left out pretty much everywhere in the West, I said, "And mountains." I still harbor a definite sentimental attachment to the terrain and memories of growing up in Arizona. Roxaboxen, after all, is still my favorite children’s book. I also really love where we are now, which leads me to believe I’ll love wherever we end up. It’s a pretty deep love considering how five years ago I naively questioned what people did in Oklahoma. That was when I met Jake and found out where he was from. The second he said it I envisioned grassland for as far as the eye could see with some cows in the middle of it. The schools we’re looking at for our next stop are:

North Carolina - UNC/Greensboro
Florida
NYU/Columbia
Chicago/Roosevelt
Berkeley/San Francisco
UCLA

There are a few more, but as you can see, we have a wide variety. It’s exciting, mixed with just a tiny touch of scary.

We’re going to Holdenville for Easter. It’s Cora’s first trip. I’ve been trying to pump for the car ride there, but I have no reason to pump because she’s been eating when she’s supposed to, and my milk supply is perfect for her right now. Breastfeeding is a delicate balance. You always have what you’re supposed to. I could increase my supply by pumping more often, but I don’t need to just for this trip. Even when I go back to work...I want to have a bit stored away, but breast milk looses 40% of all of its good stuff when it’s frozen, so what I pump at work when she should actually be eating will be what she eats the next day so it doesn’t have to go through the freezing process. I say all of this because I just fed her and tried to pump after she ate, but I didn’t even get an ounce. I think I’m stressing about it a bit too, which makes it even more difficult to get milk to come down. I’m hoping we can just leave right after she eats for both "big" rides there and home. I love breastfeeding, but it is hard when things get in the way of our schedule...our schedule being Cora lets me know when she’s hungry which is ever 2 1/2 to 3 hours...that’s from the beginning of one feeding to the beginning of another. Enough of that...

I call Cora by a different nickname almost every time I talk to her. I was on a website/message board with lots of other pregnant ladies. When the were coming up with names they would say the name and the nickname they planned to use...Like Mia for Amelia, and Maddie for Madison, etc. I believe nicknames are something you earn based on a particular trait you posses...like Breezy. Basically, you can’t plan one in advance...one just forms around you. I’ve been jokingly comparing Cora to Nacho Libre because she passes the most amazing gas, like it stuns Jake and I - we are completely amazed by the sounds her little body makes. I’m already completely prepared to be accused of passing gas in public (a stretch, I know...this coming from a girl who used to have farting contests) because no one will believe it was her. Back to my point - Nacho Libre is a gas passer...I even made Cora watch it with Jake and I...and she did, but her eyes were closed most of the time. My nickname for her today, which is now yesterday, is Nacha. Feminine of course. I like it. It suits her for now ;)

With Heavy Heart

14 Mar 2008

I just told a person I admire more than almost any person on the earth that I wasn’t going to be returning to a job I love next year. I want to cry. Not for the decision I’ve made, but for having to tell my principal about it. I was on the phone with her trying to find a time to come in. After a little bit, she said, "You’re not going to tell me you’re not coming back are you?" I was silent for a second or two.

I said, "Well, I won’t be back next year." I really have my dream job as far as teaching is concerned. I work at the best school with the best administration and the best students. But I have a Sweet Cora. I think the weird part is that Jake and I have been discussing this for months. I’d made my final decision a few weeks before I went into preterm labor, but it was mostly between Jake and I. I’ve had to hear good teacher friends telling me about all the things "we" were going to do next year. I went into school earlier this week and another wonderful woman in the educational field ran a course idea by me for next year. In a way I feel like I was lying to them somehow...but the time wasn’t right yet.

My principal told me she adored me and to let her know if I change my mind, and that anytime I want to come back I’d have a place there. Man...I know this is the right thing, but the actuality of it is so heavy.

An Introduction to something old

I have always been an avid blogger on myspace, but decided that maybe I should try a different approach - an approach that will most likely consist of me copying and pasting my myspace blogs here or these blogs there. With that being said, I'll start with a quick introduction of our family.

Jake and I met in April of 2003. April 11th, I believe, in Winter Park, Co. We were there at a music festival at the end of our senior year. He was with his band, I was with my show choir. His group was staying at the hotel where the competition portion of the festival was being held, and it just so happened that they didn't have anything planned, so they were in the ballroom watching. After we'd performed and changed, we went back in to watch the other choirs. Through the night we made our way from the back of the room up to the front. I was the first one to move up from my group. I saw this boy...It wasn't until a break in the competition that I heard someone say, he should get up and play piano between sets. I turned around out of mere curiosity, and I don't remember how the conversation began, but the piano player was the boy who I later found out was Jake. We started playing "the people game." I was on a hot streak, I've always thought I was a bit psychic, about guessing what some of the people's lives were like in the second row. We spoke until their chaparone came to take them back to their rooms. When I saw him leave the room, I turned to my best friend and said, "Sarah Keller, I didn't even get his last name." Her reply, "Go follow him." I thought about it for a moment then responded, "No, that would be way too stalkerish...if I see him tomorrow on the slopes, it will be fate."

Well, after I fell down the side of a mountain at the ski resort the next day, fate stepped up. I was waiting at the bottom of the main lift for Sarah so I could get the key to our locker and get my shoes because I was so over ski boots. I was standing with another friend who was also done (she went through a fence at the bottom of a run) when I spotted Jake. I tugged on her shirt and said, "there he is."

"There's who?" she responded loudly. He looked over and I turned my back to him! I shushed her. I was not a flirty, boy crazy girl, but I had that riduculous (and wonderful) fluttery feeling in my heart, and needed a minute to catch my breath. I told him the boy from last night. When I got over being giddy, I turned around to face him, and he was gone. My heart instantly sank. I turned back around to see where he'd gone, and he was right there facing me. He said, "hi," and I said, "hey," and we spoke for about 10 minutes until his friends lost patience and wanted to go eat lunch. I looked at my friend and said, "Maybe we should give skiing another shot." I was on my way out of the locker room when he came scooting up beside me. We spent the rest of the day together, with all of our friends of course. We happened to be sitting of the lift together when he pulled a piece of paper out of his coat pocket. He said, "I don't normally do this, but I knew I'd kick myseld if I didn't. Here's my information, you can do with it what you will." I opened this piece of paper he'd put together before he left his room that morning. It had all of his contact information on it.

After we left for the day, we saw one another again that night at the block party/awards for the festival. I'd scribbled my info on the backs of friends as we made our way to the "block." When he left that night, I could hardly stand the idea of never seeing him again. we left the next morning, I was sick the whole way home. When I did get home, I parked my suitcase in the living room and went into the computer and sent him an email first thing. To make a really long story a little less long, I went to Oklahoma to see him in July, he came to Arizona in August, and again when he "officially" proposed in October (another really great story). I went to see him in November for his birthday, Thanksgiving, and his baptism, and then we were married in Arizona on January 3, 2004. If you did the math, we were actually physically in one another's presence for about 3 1/2 weeks before we got married. Relationships are pretty amazing when you get to talk to someone for 2 1/2 hours (the life of his battery) every night.


Since then, we both went to and graduated from Oklahoma City University. He majored in Piano Performance, and I double majored in English and education. Jake is working on his master's in musicology at the University of Oklahoma and working as an accomanyist at OCU. I am a 9th grade English teacher at a great high school. I'm only working through the end of the school year and then I will stay at home with our sweet baby girl. Cora Adeline Grace joined our family on February 15, 2008. She came five weeks early, but with zero complications, except for a little jaundice. We are in absolute awe of her.

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