White below the waist.

23 03 2010

My mother has always referred to me as “primitive”…at best I am unorthodox.  I only have regard for etiquette that makes sense and even though I had an inner envelope for my wedding invitations it was only to honor my grandmother. There is so much I love about the south but the ridiculous rules of social etiquette drive me nuts. At heart I really am a rule follower…as long as they are ones that work for me…just call me Pharasarah.

Not my legs...sadly.

So what I am about to tell you will be inconsistent with my established set of values and principles. Are you ready? I do not, I can not, I will not, wear white below the waist before Easter. It’s true.  I don’t mean to sound sacrilegious.  I do love Jesus and His death and resurrection are what give meaning to my life but in all honesty I mostly look forward to Easter so I can start wearing white pants and shoes. Last year was such a bummer because I had a really cute pair of  white maternity pants that I only got to wear once because Dexter was born the week after Easter. To me jeans and khaki colored pants water down the dynamic possibility of every outfit.  I am sometimes ok with gray but black & white with a pop of color is the scheme that makes me feel most alive.  Now that I have 3 boys we end up using denim or khaki as our base color for coordination (which we rarely do anyway now that Bradley has a mind of his own) but it is never my preference. Also there are so many colors that can’t be worn with denim and khaki but you can really wear almost anything with white. As Bradley would say, it’s just glorious.

Silly little post I know but I really am so excited. For the past two days I have tried on white shoes in the morning (just to imagine) and my white pants and skirts are about to jump off their hangers.  It’s been a long time since labor day and we’re all ready.


A hiatus.

18 03 2010

Mommy loves Bradley, Bennett & Dexter

Things have improved around the Pay household since my last post but I haven’t had much time for blogging.  The rain has slowed, the sun has been out and the days have been warmer and longer (in a good way) so I’ve been able to zero in on the thing that is still driving me crazy. Fighting. Between B1 & B2. It’s at an all time high. It’s really frustrating but I remember one year ago exactly when Keller & Coleman, Lindsay’s two oldest, were fighting like this.  I remember how on edge she was and it makes me realize this is normal and hopefully just a phase.  So now that I am out of consignment sale hell (that’s were I’ve been putting all my energies over the past two weeks) I will spend my time either reffing fights or making sure the boys stay away from each other until they learn to play together at which point B2 and Dexter will start fighting.

First tooth, first cig (it's chalk but I did do a double take)

I don’t often do little updates but since it’s been a while I think that would serve my blogging purposes best. The biggest news is that Dexter cut his first tooth and has started scooting around.  B1 & B2 both cut teeth and started crawling on the day they turned 9 months.  Dexter waited until 11 months but a few nights ago it occurred to me that he was still sleeping in the Travel-lite crib that most infants move out of by oh probably 3 months.  He literally did not have room to roll over.  So we switched it out for a regular pack and play and you would think we had given him a king sized bed the way he spreads out now. The night he cut a tooth was like labor. He was up all night but in the morning he was the proud owner of a little tooth. We still can’t really see it but it makes a sound when it hits the spoon.

The King sized bed (aka a normal sized pack and play)

A week ago Bradley got the stomach bug.  We had never been struck before so I guess we were due. It wasn’t fun but it was short-lived and no one else got it. I had planned a full day of activities that were all cancelled but it was actually kind of nice doing nothing but caring for a sick child all day.  It sort of felt like a snow day. I let them watch PBS kids for hours and when Joe got home Bradley said, “the good thing about being sick is you get to watch all the TV you want. We watched so much that it started over.” (meaning that a show they watched in the morning came on again in the afternoon) I found out that Bradley is nearly as scared of throwing up as I am so I hope it doesn’t happen again anytime soon.

A comfy spot on the kitchen floor to recover from the bug.

Let’s see…the consignment sales were pretty good.  They take an awful lot of time to prepare for but I guess it’s worth it.  I think you get more efficient the more you do it. I usually try to do several in a row so that the effort is worth it. The fact of the matter is people will only buy so much at each sale so if I try three times in a row I have better luck and get rid of more stuff.  Honestly having the opportunity to shop the sale is a bigger deal to me.  Up until now I have bought 90% of all our toys and clothes at goodwill and consignment sales but I see that coming to an end. 5T boys clothes in good condition are hard to come by.  They are growing at a slower rate so they wear their clothes longer and they’re much harder on them. Plus, if you have several kids of the same sex they’re probably dated by the time they get to the sale.  Bradley is also starting to be more particular about what he wears and is asking for specific toys.  It’s highly unlikely that you’ll find Legos or John Deer boots at a consignment sale. On the flip side there are tons of great shoes for me because 12-year-old girls are NOT rough on their things.

He's also starting to be shy around girls. Seriously. He's 4.

What else? Oh, Joe & I had the opportunity to attend a marriage seminar put on the Barnabas Center at our Church. It was actually a really great experience.  Fortunately we were not attending as a reaction to current struggles so it was nice to talk through things and have good conversations in a relaxed environment.  The best part of the weekend, however, was getting away for the night. My parents kept the kids and my mom got us a room at the Duke Mansion. I don’t remember the last time I slept that well or had a breakfast so wonderful. I am a carb girl and they had every breakfast carb you could imagine. I ate some of everything and all of some things (totally cleaned them out of biscuits). Many many thanks Mommy & Daddy.

Last but not least B1 & B2 got haircuts a few nights ago.  We had been planning to do it for some time but it’s such a production and things kept thwarting our plans. (things like poop disasters) When we finally got around to it I cut Bradley’s hair while Joe cut Bennett’s. Then I cut Bennett’s. Bennett lost a lot of hair.

Bad picture. They were not having it plus I hate matching shirts and Bennett had bed-head.

Oh, one last thing. Dexter got a bath. I feel like I can’t publish how few he’s had in his life but if you’ve ever bathed a cat you would understand. I have the usual number of fingers and I can count them on my two hands. I think we’re going to start just sucking it up with hopes that  it will get better with practice.

Our little cat.

Hopefully I’ll be more consistent with regular posts in the weeks to come. I need to remember that a little blurb here and there is better than nothing.


4 03 2010

…today sucked.  And so did yesterday.  And the day before that wasn’t very good either.  Yesterday we had 12 continuous hours of heavy snow and none of it stuck, my hair is horrible in every way. It makes me want to cry. My Mom called me today on HER birthday before I got to call her, Joe forgot to do the trash last night (happy morning to me), either my computer or our router has been so slow for three days and my children have clearly sold their souls to the devil. The day after I wrote that post about how much I am enjoying Bradley he took on an alter-ego that he presented when he was two. He has been as disobedient as he has ever been and he’s even been lying at school. I know DSS is going to come after us soon because today he told his teacher that Daddy has real guns all over the house and that he gets to play with them.  We don’t even have a gun (unless you count the staple gun or nail gun).

How early can he go down for a nap?

We have had so much wining, crying, screaming and fighting in our house over the past few days that I seriously think I’m going to crack. Add to it my mysterious exhaustion (still not sure what is wrong with me) and voila…we have lost all perspective.  It’s amazing how I can go from being focused one day to lost the next. From being encouraged and hopeful one day to despairing the next. It’s so sad…overnight I can go from living like a daughter to living like an orphan.  It’s days like today that I REALLY need Jesus but I REALLY don’t want Him.  So…I’m writing this for me. The truth is the spring is almost here. February is never a very good month. Soon we will have more light. If I take a shower and blow dry my hair it will look better and sadly that will make me feel better. At least I have hair. The computer will be faster tomorrow.  At least I have one.  My Mom will forgive me for not calling earlier. She has been where I am and is gracious to me (and I am so much more gracious to her now that I am here).  I am so grateful for my crazy boys.  I hope the day never comes that they handle conflict with silence. And I really doubt DSS will come after us. Even if they do they’ll be more likely to get me for the dirt under my boys’ fingernails than the imaginary guns.

Did not have the energy to fight that battle. Just happy for the moment of quiet.

So I will recount the bright spots…There have truly been some redeeming conversations with Bradley over the past few days. I have had plenty of opportunities to teach him about repentance…about grace…about discipline. We have talked lots about our common struggles with being human. I have seen God’s hand at work as His Holy Spirit has moved in hearts through conversations, prayers and circumstances. I have experienced the love of my friends as they have prayed for me, surprised me with undeserved gifts, and been gracious when they watch me fail at being consistent with my kids.

Fortunately I don’t spend much time on this side of the fence.  I am grateful that God has gifted me with decent mental health, good perspective and an even temperament. I tend toward optimism. Thankfully. But I learn so much when I cross over to this side. I am more vulnerable…more fragile…more needy.  It’s good. It reminds me how dependant I really am and it forces me to rehearse God’s faithfulness to me. I hope that tomorrow will seem like a better day.  If the sun is out and everyone gets along better I’m sure I’ll feel like a different person. I waiver so, but thankfully He is the same. Yesterday. Today. Tomorrow.

Farewell to the Olympics.

1 03 2010

My station during the Olympics.

I’m the first to admit that I can be dramatic and even exaggerate at times, but when Joe & I say we don’t watch much television we don’t mean that we only have one or two shows that we watch on a regular basis or that we don’t just keep it on for background noise. What we really mean is that we don’t watch any television…like we totally miss out on news of the latest natural disaster or most current story of a politician’s infidelity or athlete’s drug use. Unless some kind soul takes the time to say, “Did you hear….” then we didn’t. The blank stare you get from us when you mention the name of your favorite TV Drama it’s not a put on. I know it’s sad. I guess it’s not all bad but it’s definitely not a point of pride. We actually wish that we would make time to indulge on occasion. we’re not completely media deprived however. We both spend a fair amount of time on our computers and we do get to listen to NPR every so often (when we’re in the car without kids…for me that’s just once or twice a week).

But…the Olympics are the exception. Since we don’t watch television I had no way to know they were coming, but when I heard they were on I was glued to the TV for two weeks straight.  The first night was accompanied by so much anticipation for me but also the sad thought that once they were over it would feel like the passing of Christmas when everyone had dispersed and the space is filled with loneliness. The post-production lull I guess. I knew they’d go by fast so I missed very few nights.  I got annoyed with the networks for making you watch all evening to see the glamor sports but it was worth the wait each night.

While there were the usual tear-jerker stories this year some of them seemed bigger and more profound than in years past. They served to create unity and encourage the Olympic spirit. I know that you go to the Olympics with hopes to medal but overall the athletes seemed to be fairly laid back this year and the pervasive attitude was more fun and gracious than I am used to (except for Men’s Figure Skating Silver Medalist, Evgeni Plushenko who presented as a total ass).

Now they are over and we missed the closing ceremonies.  We went to turn it on and nearly cried when we realized we missed it. We didn’t get to say goodbye. They had been some of my favorite games ever so I felt particularly sad about missing those culminating moments.

So after it’s all said and done I still don’t know how parents with small children find time to watch television. I am so exhausted from late nights of watching the olympics and then doing all the normal tasks that were neglected during “prime time” that I can’t keep my eyes open. Even three strong cups of coffee aren’t doing the trick.  I’m so tired that if I didn’t have an IUD I would feel sure I was pregnant. I’m pretty sure that it’s not safe for me to be driving like this so I’m off to take a nap if they’ll let me.