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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

{Insert Clever, Witty Title}

I was going to blog something or other...


Fred got sick.
Jason had a birthday.
Work got busy.
School started.
Catherine got sick.

And that's been over the last 24 hours.

So, no clever, witty blog for today.

Just a prayer request for healing for my two little ones and a request for the two of us who are trying to take care of them and take care of our school work and our work-work and keep the house going. And a thanks to the God who is keeping us going through all of it. :)

On a lighter note, when you can't do anything except snuggle with a feverish little person, you get to revisit your childhood and watch...

For the honor of Grayskull!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Bouquets of Sharpened Pencils

I've always loved going back to school. New lessons, fresh starts, cooler weather, pumpkin spice lattes(!), and, of course, bouquets of sharpened pencils. I've been going to school now for more than 25 years, and I've always been happy about going back.

Until this fall.

After such a tough spring, I couldn't even pick up a journal article without having a panic attack, much less think about going to class or writing.

It felt dreadful!

I was scheduled for one class online this fall and one class that met in Denton every other Monday night. Pretty typical but actually an even lighter load than I've had most semesters. I knew I should have been thankful, but I couldn't get past the anxiety.

Jason also had a Monday night class scheduled, and, even though it seems silly, I dreaded leaving our little one--especially since she's had so much sleeping trouble lately. After being away from her all day, I've come to really cherish our supper, bathtime, story, and snuggles in the evenings!

We were both just having a really difficult time getting excited about the school year, and there was a kind of cloud of anxiety whenever we talked about it.

But, in the last few weeks, God has been working. Through what I can only describe as His action, Jason and I both were able to work out a different class schedule--something that seemed like an absolute impossibility in the spring. With that part of the anxiety erased, I chanced digging into a bit of reading and research again, and I'm happy to report there have been no panic attacks. :) I've even started thinking more about dissertation possibilities.

It's been hard to put this post into words, but we've been overwhelmed by the changes--internal and external--that we can't take credit for. They've all come from God, and we're so grateful. It feels so much better to be heading into this last school year of coursework(!) with a positive, thankful attitude.

So, this fall, I'll be taking Project Management for Information Systems and an independent study related to scholarly and scientific communication. Should be even more fun than kindergarten!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Seven Months

Well here we are with another month!

Time does, indeed, fly! {Flying/reaching is a frequent pose these days.}

This little lady has been as busy as usual. Hovering around the same size as last month, 14 pounds-ish, she's sitting up on her own for a few seconds at a time {even though I haven't been able to catch that on camera yet}...

She's pretty consistently saying "hi" or "hey" when we {including Fred} walk in the room. And no "mama" or "dada" yet, but she is doing a "ffffff" sound along with the "hey." It took us a few times, but we realized she's trying to say "Hey Fred," which we do every time he walks by, so it's not a big surprise. We've also been working on "Roll Tide." That makes her smile, but she's not trying to say it yet.

We are still working on the "gentle with Fred" lessons, so he keeps his distance for the most part. Poor fella. ;) Still working on the "gentle with Mommy" lessons, too. Hair-pulling, eye-poking, pinching, scratching, kicking...None mean-spirited, of course, but sometimes I feel like I've been a few rounds in the ring after a simple feeding!

She moved up a class at church on Sunday, so that was neat. I remember what a BIG deal that used to be when I was a kid. She had no idea at this point, of course, and did fine with her new teachers. We're so grateful for all the hard-working folks in our preschool department that help us teach these little ones about God!

We are in "any day now" mode for crawling and for a tooth to pop through, but we've been that way for awhile. She'll get them on her own time. :)

She has started to really take an interest in Pooh {the biggest one who is about her size}. They seem to be good pals, even when she gets him in a head lock.

She was up to three "meals" each day {plus a bottle for a snack}, but about three weeks ago, she started having some sleep and digestive troubles {beyond the usual spit up, which is still going strong}. We're thinking they may be connected. Honestly, it has been one tough month for our previously solid sleeper. Up for HOURS at a time overnight, which does not make the next work day an easy one.

She was off of solid food for a week, but we're back to one meal/day along with some apple and prune juice. {I'll spare you further digestive details.}

She also slept through the night last night, so we're just taking things slowly and doing what we know to do. As first-time parents, that isn't much, but her nurses and our friends have been so sweet to help us out with suggestions. Feel free to offer any ideas!

I feel like she does 10 new things every day {all brilliant, of course}, but that's about it on the major milestones. Overall, she's just getting more observant, more interactive, more coordinated, more loving {gives hugs now!}, more busy {it's taken me four days to write this post}...

And she continues to be lots more fun {even when she doesn't sleep}. Now that's love!

{seriously. so in love with our little gal.}

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Got to Sit Down, Take a Rest on the Porch

As you can see, we have no front porch at our little house...

That is apparently because we live in Texas!

Seriously, not a single house we looked at here {and not one in our neighborhood] has a front porch, a staple in Alabama. {A few vintage shots I found highlighting my cousin's wrap-around porch in the middle picture.}

Where do Texas girls kiss boys? Where do their dads wait for them and those boys when they get home from dates? Where do they sit on a swing with their moms and discuss everything from school to friends to the meaning of life?
{our porch at home in Tuscumbia}

I try to keep our little front area festive with a wreath, a welcome mat, and a clean sweeping {none of which are present at the moment}, but there's not a lot to do for it beyond that.

I have noticed that some of the {much} older houses here do have porches. One day, when I can talk Jason into it and when we have lots and lots of money to fix it up, we'll buy one of those. And we'll promptly install two rocking chairs and a swing...even though Catherine won't be allowed to use them without strict supervision. NO kissing boys! ;)

{linking up with Kelly's Korner}

Friday, August 17, 2012

More Five Years of Fort Worth

This week, we're marking five years since we moved to Fort Worth. I mentioned in the previous post that this is the longest I've ever worked in one job {even though that job has changed over the years}.

This is also the longest amount of time Jason and I have lived in one city {as a married couple}, and we really love Fort Worth!

It has a bit of a slow-paced, small-town feel but with a lot of big-city amenities, too.

It would be great to see more of Texas in general, but it's been hard to venture out when there is so much to do right here in the DFW area.

We're actually pretty happy in our little pocket of Fort Worth. Our favorites are all close by, we bump into our neighbors and friends at the grocery store, and it really does feel like we live in a small town sometimes.

But if we get itchy, we can always roam around downtown, go shopping in Dallas, or head over to Rockwall to visit my college roommate and her little girl.

We haven't gone exploring much since we had the baby, but we're hoping to do a bit more of that when the weather cools off.

A few of our favorite places to explore around here?

Too many restaurants to name...and the zoo has been on our list for five years now. We're going to have to go soon--no excuses!

Here's to the fabulous Fort Worth!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Five Years of the Library

This week, we're marking five years since we moved to Fort Worth, and I started a new job at the library at Southwestern Seminary.

I've worked here longer than I have anywhere else, so it's been interesting to be with an organization for {what feels like} a long time.
{after one month on the job} 

There have been a lot of changes, of course. I was supposed to start work as the assistant in the Serials department of the library but ended up not working a single day in that position!

Instead, the day before I was to report, I was assigned to supervise the Audio-Visual and Computer Learning Centers. The next year, I took on the Circulation department, and a couple of years after that, I started supervising the Reference department as well. We've since combined all three departments into one big Public Services area, which is what I manage now.

My supervisors have been incredibly supportive through those changes as well as with the doctoral program, the baby, and just the day-to-day issues of life. They've also been great mentors to me as I learned the ropes of academic libraries and of management in general. 
{with my Reference workers--and baby C--in December}

We often remark that the library feels like a family, so it's a nice place to be on campus. And we help represent the Alabama contingent pretty well.

Aside from working for Catherine at home, I can't think of another job I'd rather have. ;) What a blessing!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Five Years of Fort Worth

This week, we're marking five years since we moved to Fort Worth, so I'm planning to do a few reflecting posts since we've seen so many changes in that time.

Actually, I'm sure everyone changes a lot in five years, but these have felt like really BIG ones to us. 

We arrived to a teeny tiny apartment in the summer of 2007, still feeling like newlyweds after being married for only two years. We had a handful of stuff, a small car, and one fluffy puppy.

Fast forward five years {and it does feel as if we've fast forwarded some days}, and we're in a house that seems huge after that apartment. We have a couple of handfuls of stuff now, a smaller car, a still fluffy puppy, and a sweet baby girl. 

And, I tell ya, there are times that this guy still makes me feel like a newlywed.

So here's to five years of Fort Worth!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Out of Sorts

I was going to show you a few pictures of how we decorate our tables around here {mostly with big bowls to catch all the junk and not get in the way of using the tables}, but I left my camera at a friend's house in Rockwall.

And that's pretty much been a snapshot of how the whole week has gone.

Catherine the Great has decided to petition for a later bedtime {one way past her mom's} with the occasional middle-of-the-night partay. Combine that with the general stresses of life, and I've been tired, a bit cranky, and fresh out of blog ideas!

So here's to a new week, more sleep, and good friends who help you through it all!

Monday, August 06, 2012

Overachieving on the Internet

A couple of recommendations for those of you who might be thinking about some of the same things I am these days.

This article sums up why I'm not on Pinterest. {"Hey look! A perfectly adequate cake!"}

I have a hard enough time with "homey" blogs {that's their category in my Google Reader}. If I spend too much time dwelling on and pinning all of the awesome things other people are doing {or what I perceive they're doing}, I start to feel that every meal, every outfit, every interaction, every day has to be Internet-worthy. And it's OK to have just a day...just an ordinary day. {That Vanessa Carlton can straight up play the piano, right?}

On a similar note, Jason and I have already started thinking about what kind of stuff {sports, music, classes, etc.} Catherine could be involved in. Yes, she's only six months old, but this stuff starts early! And it all seems like sometimes.

We still have a lot of thinking, talking, and praying on this because there seems to be a tension between encouraging kids to develop and investing in their strengths but not pushing them too much. For instance, it's not really important to us that she become an Olympian, but it is important to us that she does something other than watch television and eat Oreos all day.

Surely there is an acceptable middle ground. ;)

So here we have an article and a podcast talking about that middle ground. {Seriously, I cannot recommend Think enough. I think Krys Boyd and I would be BFFs in real life. jk...kinda.}

Anyway, just a few quick links for those of you who struggle, like me sometimes, with feeling like you're doing all you can do, but it's never enough and for those of you who want to make sure your daughter knows that she is ALWAYS enough.

I'm so incredibly thankful that my Father invites me--His daughter--to come to Him when I'm weary and burdened, and He will give me rest. I can learn from Him because He is gentle and humble in heart, and I find rest for my soul.

Saturday, August 04, 2012

Window Treatments

Can I just say that I giggle a little when curtains are called window treatments?

I'm sure it's the Alabama girl coming through, but I always think it sounds like we're about to give the windows a mani/pedi and facial. So they'll always just be curtains to me. ;)

We actually just used makeshift kinds of curtains in the apartment, so the whole covering-the-windows-with-something-pretty was a new thing for the house.

But I had trouble finding much of anything I liked, and I knew making my own wasn't an option {despite all those easy DIY claims from you super-crafty types}. ;)

So we finally settled on simple, solid brown for the library...

with something a little more fun for the living room and kitchen...

{closer view with a younger Baby Girl and Grandpa}

Catherine's is light and lovely and reminds me of spring at my grandmother's for some reason...

{all courtesy of Target}

I have a piece of fabric that I want to use for our bathroom {with someone else turning it into a curtain, of course}, and I've mentioned before that I despise our bedroom curtains for some reason. So that's on the looooong house project list.

Can't wait to see yours! {Linking up with Kelly's Korner}

Friday, August 03, 2012

Big Numbers Update

I'm happy to report that I'm back to my pre-Catherine weight! Woohoo! {This is where I started.}

It has been a different sort of week here, with my dad coming in, the baby and I both being on the puny side, and a lot of work-related stress. So I took the week off to "celebrate."

We ate out more than we have all summer and ate a bit more junk than I've been used to. So I'm also happy to report that I actually did not feel great afterward! Maybe my body is adapting to healthy living.

What's next?

Well, even before I got pregnant, I was carrying around a bit more weight than my small-ish frame should. So I'd like to fix that. I have a goal of losing another 40 pounds, but I'm willing to adapt those numbers if needed. That will be a starting goal, though.

As I've mentioned before, this is all about me being healthy--not skinny. {I really mean that!} I can feel the difference in my energy level, my posture, and my attitude. Life is generally just better if I'm eating and moving as I should.

I have to admit that I haven't been super-strict about keeping track of my foods or about exercise, so this second round of weight loss should give me fresh motivation for that, right?

I'll be sure to keep you posted {y'all are my accountability here!}.

One more question. Even though I've lost the weight, why don't my jeans fit right?! It's crazy!

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Winnie-the-Pooh Love

We love Winnie-the-Pooh around here. {And by we, I mostly mean me.}

C is about to grow out of her Pooh jammies, so I thought it would be a good time for a mini photo shoot with, her...collection.

The little one in front of C was mine when I was just about her age, and the fellow on the far right was actually Jason's {hence the distance from our spit-up machine}...

{Piglet wanted in on the fun.}

We watched the newest movie this weekend {OK, Dad and Jason watched while she and I dozed}. And I can't wait until she's old enough for us to read The Complete Tales of Winnie-the-Pooh, one of my pre-baby book splurges!

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Babies in Church

One more thing to file under the "eating my words" heading.

When I was an arrogant young adult {before kids were even on the horizon}, it drove me crazy to hear a "disruptive" baby in church. I'd think all sorts of "Why can't you keep your baby quiet or at least take it outside?" thoughts. Then, as I got a little older, I came to appreciate the idea of the whole family worshipping together and scooted to the other end of the arrogant spectrum, thinking things like "It's ridiculous to separate kids out from the rest of the will they ever learn to worship? That's just a joyful noise they're making!"

When will I learn? {sigh} ;)

So far, Catherine has done great in church...because she has generally been asleep. {Same for her Sunday school class.}

But the last few weeks, she hasn't fallen asleep by the time we get to church, and she gets ready for her nap about the time the preacher starts giving his message. And she's a bit, um, noisy when it's naptime. {Think very long, loud, high-pitched "LAAAAAAA."}

It's kinda cute at home, not as much in church.

I'm sure that partly depends on the church climate. We go to our church's more traditional early service, so it's kind of an older crowd with few {if any} little kids or babies there. It's also a little more formal. {Not really our preference, but we like the earlier time. And you can worship God in all sorts of styles, right?}

Anyway, we're thinking now of putting her in the nursery during the church least until she gets old enough to understand the concept of "shh." :)

What about you? Does it drive you nuts to hear babies during a church service? Fellow parents, what's your "normal" for your babies in church?

Read from the beginning...