Honest to Blog

>> 8.31.2009

Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self.
Cyril Connolly

I took a little break from blogging this past week to give me some time to adjust to my new (and relatively insane) work/school schedule.

Blogging has made me aware of an interesting trend:: there is something about motherhood that creates in women an urge to blog. I have stumbled upon numerous "mommy blogs" in my pursuit of knowledge these past few months.

It seems that many mothers feel a need to share their experiences and express their opinions; they are often looking for other women to connect to through their writing. They soon become marginally famous because other women relate to their experiences and enjoy their writing style...
then they write a book, go on Oprah, and start selling various homemade goodies and/or motherly advice.

There also seems to be a big debate within the mommy blogging community about "blogging with integrity." Whether accepting sponsers and selling ad space on your blog makes your blog less honorable...but I am not entirely sure where I would stand on this issue, in case you are dying to know.

I suppose it sounds like I do not approve of mommy blogging- but that would be rather silly, wouldn't it? Obviously, I understand the urge to express your feelings about such a huge life-altering experience. I have yet to lay eyes on my son and he has already filled me with so many overwhelming emotions I am not entirely sure what to do with them all. I am also suddenly in need to be in constant contact with other women: instead of being "one of the guys" as I have been my entire life, I find myself joining online communities of women, calling my mom daily and longing for close female friends to talk to.

In fact, I follow two "mommy blogs" ( Soulemama.com and dooce.com)with some regularity and I enjoy them both very much, thank you.

On Fridays, I volunteer in the teen center at the local library. I am meant to be supervising the teens... but as you can imagine, teenagers who spend Friday evenings at the library to not require copius amounts of supervision. As a result, I spend the majority of my time aswering questions about the next anime day, providing change for the copy machine, and staring at a computer so heavily filtered the pope would probably find himself blocked a time or two. Lucky for me, blogs are not (yet) blacklisted so I often find myself browsing other people's thoughts- primarily the two I just mentioned.

These two blogs are written by two very different women with very different personalities and very different writing styles leading very different lives. But I find them both equaling entertaining and informative.

I am not sure you could lump either of them in the same group as the millions of mama bloggers who freckle the world wide web with the ramblings of their daily lives considering they have both written books, have numerous sponsers, and have been featured on various media spots due to the popularity of their blogs; however, I don't see how any of this makes their experience as mothers any less real or their writing any less enjoyable.

But that would just be my opinion, wouldn't it?


The Inevitability of Change

>> 8.20.2009

We change, whether we like it or not.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

So far, I have to admit that I have done a pretty terrible job of documenting this pregnancy. After being slammed by about 28 life-altering events in the span of 3.2 seconds, it can be a little hard to find the energy to savor the moments.

I am honestly not sure where my ultrasound pictures are- floating around in my car somewhere, perhaps. The pregnancy organizer my mother got me has three or four sentences hastily scrawled in the margins. My desire to keep a journal of letters for Liam keeps getting put off until "after the next appointment" due to a deep-rooted fear of getting attached to a baby not meant for this world.

However, the drastic changes in my body are the one thing I can neither deny nor ignore- it's happening whether I like it or not.

At 2 days shy of 20 weeks various body parts are expanding in ways I never thought possible. I am finding it difficult to adjust. It is not just the areas I prepared myself for either. It's everything!

My toes are disappearing.

And my face is big and round like the moon.

I have also graduated to the rubber band: looping a rubber band through the button hole in your jeans can give you a couple more weeks in your regular pants. It is quite a trick.

While I cannot say I am thrilled with my new figure, I am attempting to find some comfort in my expanding waistline. I rub my big, round belly and it reminds me that our little gremlin is still growing big and strong. Occasionally it dawns on me that an entire human being is being formed inside of me. He is with me all the time and changing every day. That's pretty much amazing... if you really think about it.

I am still not entirely used to the belly. It is like... I look in my closet and say, "Hmm.. I think I will wear this today and look fabulous," and then as I attempt to pull it down over the mountains and valleys of my body, the belly replies, " OH NO, YOU WON'T!" over the din of ripping seams and popping buttons... and I shriek in terror as the belly laughs an evil laugh.

Or... at least that is how it happens in my head.


Know. Learn. Be. Follow. Find. Feel. Grow. Live.

>> 8.19.2009

If you have love in your life it can make up for a great many things you lack.
- Ann Landers

Today, I am overwhelmed by all I want for our baby boy.

::know that he is loved fiercely and unconditionally.::
::learn to be true to himself- and follow his heart where ever it might take him.::
::be open-minded, kind, forgiving, happy, thoughtful, generous, hopeful, and hones
::find his soul's passion.::

::feel safe, secure and confident.::

::grow strong and healthy.::

::live fully.::

.. and so much more than this.

You know, I sometimes cannot wrap my mind around how blessed I am to have Ryan in my life. There are moments when I look at him and honestly wonder what he sees in me- why he chose me. I am hopelessly mediocre. He is going to change the world... and I am going to have the best seat in the house. He is beautiful. He gives tirelessly of himself. He loves with every ounce of his being. He has a quiet wisdom that astounds me. Creativity pulses through him in ways I can't even begin to understand. I have never known anyone to meet him and not see that something sets him apart.

In the three years that I have known him our lives have been turned upside down more than once and in ways that really could not be considered fair... but he is my hope. He is not perfect and he does not always have the answers.. but he is always constant. He is always loving and gentle. He is always quick to apologize and to forgive. He always listens. He always loves.

Ryan is going to make the most amazing father. It takes my breath away to think of it. He will fill our child's life with love, understanding and magic. He will never judge him harshly. He will never be pushy or over-bearing. He will never lose his temper. And I can honestly say these things with complete confidence. He is going to be an amazing role-model; I do not worry about the kind of man Liam will become if he chooses to emulate his father. Our son is as blessed to have Ryan in his life as I am.

We are both so excited to fill this little boy's life with love, creativity, music, books, adventures, comfort, hugs, kisses, laughter, dancing, memories, and life. I want so much for him already that my heart is bursting with it all.

We know that there will be tears and heart-ache. We know we will sometimes miss the peace we now take for granted. We know there will be days when we feel like tearing our hair out and screaming. We know that we will make mistakes- big mistakes- COLOSSAL mistakes....

But we also know that our love for Liam will be stronger than this. I am a firm believer in the power of that love. There are so many choices a new parent has to make about how to raise their child. Priorities have to be set, values have to determined, and life-altering decisions have to be made... then made again, then made again and again and again as life shifts- throwing you into new situations before you even have a chance to adjust to the old ones.

We are all human. We all make mistakes and we all choose different paths in life; however, if every decision you make is made from your heart out of love for you child.. then I truly believe you can do him little harm.


Do You Know the Muffin Man?

>> 8.18.2009

Nothing would be more tiresome than eating and drinking if God had not made them a pleasure as well as a necessity.
- Voltaire
In most ways, my mother and I are nothing alike.

I am still attempting to figure out how it is possible for me to actually be the fruit of her loins... The contrast between her olive complexion and wispy blond hair in comparison to my own dark, thick mane and light skin tone (commonly referred to as "death") hardly begins to touch on the differences between us.

However, my mother did manage to pass on to me two things: wide hips and a tendency to love with food. I am still not entirely sure how I feel about the hips.. but the latter I can live with.

I prefer baking over cooking. This is probably due to my heated and sometimes volatile love affair with carbs. Sigh.

This morning I stumbled across a recipe for Cinnamon Banana Bread Muffins (You can find it here). After a morning of scooter-riding, finger-painting, book-reading, and make-believing, the kids were suffering from a severe case of, "What are we gonna do NOW, 'Chelle?" so we threw on aprons, washed our hands and got baking.

The muffins turned out fantastic! The recipe was simple and the instructions were easy enough for two ambitious pre-schoolers to follow. The final product was moist, delicious.. and with only 3/4 cup sugar in the recipe, not really something to beat yourself up over. Definitely two thumbs up.

At home, I would more than likely replace the white flour with wheat, substitute applesauce or soy substitute for the egg, use organic cane sugar, and add some fiber, wheat germ or walnuts to make it a little more substantial (health nut, anyone?) but I had to work with what I had on hand. Either way they make a nice little treat and, more importantly, helped kill an hour.


I Struggle with Forward Motion

>> 8.17.2009

Life is like a bicycle. To keep your balance you have to keep moving.
- Albert Einstein
Today is the first day of my last semester of college.
What a trip.

My college experience has been less than average and I can't say that I will particularly miss it. I started out at a local university which the kids at my snobby, private prep school un-affectionately referred to as "13th grade." Although my grades had been good enough to go pretty much anywhere my little heart desired, my parents' hysterical laughter at my inquiry concerning funds left my choices limited. There was also this boy...

I took night classes and worked two jobs during the day. After about two semesters, I was feeling burned out... and old.. and tired of that boy. When the family I was working for decided to move to Chattanooga and asked if I would like to come along- I pounced.

I attended a local school for two semester and loved it. It was old and prestigious and had the college atmosphere I had always wished for. I started taking day classes and wearing sweaters- doing homework in coffee shops and eating in the cafeteria.... and felt like a real student. But paying out-of-state tuition began to take a toll. I had been receiving a scholarship at my previous school and the money was still sitting there... After watching my account go red for the 28th time that year, I knew what I had to do. But my life is Chattanooga was something I was not willing to give up- so I started commuting.

Then I did the unthinkable- I changed my major six months before graduating.

Apparently, I have been declaring that I was going to be a teacher since I was three years old. I don't actually ever remember this declaration but after hearing it for years... and years... and years... and years... declaring my major as ECE seemed like a no brainer. Well, at least until I started TOSS and realized that if I had to spend my life in a classroom I would probably end up slitting my wrists or punching a child or watching soap operas or.. something equally horrifying.

So I switched to English and suddenly my life was complete. Professors started handing me books and telling me I HAD to read them... and I HAD to give my opinion on them and how could I have possibly spent a minute of my college education doing anything but this?!

I am now 9 credit hours away from graduation. In December I will waddle across the stage and get my diploma. It seems surreal and if Liam were not joining us only a couple of weeks after (for some reason the saying, "There is no rest for the wicked" keeps coming to mind.) I am not entirely sure I would know what to do with myself.


They Say Time Flies...

>> 8.13.2009

The only reason for time is so that everything doesn't happen at once.
- Albert Einstien

I am a nanny. I have been a nanny for five years. I basically love my job and you are jealous, I know.

As a freshman in college I just happened to decide to go listen to a public speaker on campus who I had heard was very good, and I happened to sit down next to a professor who had come to see the same speaker. And he happened to ask me what my major was and I happened to tell him Early Childhood Education. And it just so happened that his wife was getting ready to go back to work after the birth of their second child...

"You aren't looking for a job, are you?"

And... it just so happened that I was looking for a job- a second one. I needed a car and my current job as kitchen bitch at a local pizza place just was not cutting it. So I said yes.. and the rest is history.

I soon found myself in charge of a 21 month old toddler and 6 week old infant. I was 18 years old and at that point in my life I do not think I had laid eyes on a 6 week old baby. Sometimes, I wondered if these people were crazy...What were they THINKING leaving me with their precious bundle of joy? Everyone knows teenagers are ridiculously careless. What if I broke him? What if I dropped him? What if I left him somewhere and forgot where I put him?

But I did have copious amounts of experience with kids in general thanks to my mother's insistence that I get CPR certified at the age of 12 so she could loan me out to all her friends in need of cheap childcare... and I was a fast learner.

Five years and two additional kids later- and I have this thing pretty much down. There have been moments when I wondered what the heck I was doing with my life. Much of my college years have been spent soaked in various bodily fluids, singing "The Itsy, Bitsy Spider" and reading The Cat in the Hat so many times that I can recite it from memory. But I absolutely love these kids with all of my heart and with Liam on the way.. I now find myself even more grateful for the experiences I have had. I know that being a first time mom is not going to be easy under the best of circumstances, but I certainly have a head start.

It is just so strange to look back on these last five years. I feel like these kids have been a part of my life forever.. and yet the time has flown by. That six weeks old baby will be five on Saturday and his older brother... started first grade today! When did that happen? The little princess just turned three.. and the baby... is crawling. I hope that I will always remember how quickly things go when Liam arrives and will savor every day I have with my precious boy.


The Beginning

>> 8.12.2009

What we call the beginning is often the end. And to make an end is to make a beginning. The end is where we start from.
- T.S. Eliot

When attempting to begin a running account of your life it is hard to know where to start. Do I start at the beginning? Do I start with today? I haven't got a clue...

Many films begin with a wide shot of a skyline or a sweeping shot of mountains and valleys... usually set to some Top 40 song of the moment. It is practically a staple of mainstream movies. This is used as an orientation for the viewer- so that he or she understands the location of the story.

Because location is important, you know.

So... I, for one, am located in Chattanooga, Tennessee. In my opinion it is quite a lovely place to live- a nice mixture of big city and small town. There is a lot to see and do and plenty of good old fashioned Southern hospitality. You should come and visit sometime.

I have lived here for approximately three years, since right after my 20th birthday when life was beginning to bore me. I moved here... met a boy and fell in love. We got married, adopted a schnoodle and moved into an apartment. Three months later we found out that we were going to have a baby so..... we panicked, which seemed to be the only logical thing to do.
We also bought a house.

But.. maybe there is a bit more to the story than that.

Our son is set to arrive on January 9th, 2010. This is ironically one day before our first wedding anniversary. His name is Liam Eliot, he is quite determined to make it to this world, and he is the most beautiful fuzzy, black and white profile I have ever laid my eyes on. He is also the only person on the planet that can kick me repeatedly in the gut and make me love him so much

Ryan and I are young. We still have those stars in our eyes and great big dreams in our heads. We still listen to loud music, watch cartoons, pierce random body parts, and laugh when someone farts in public. And we still say words like "fart." Maybe we aren't ready for all of this... but I am not sure I have ever met anyone who was.

Life is taking us in a direction we never saw coming and there are ups and down and loops that make my stomach drop to my knees... but we are doing our best to enjoy the ride.


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