Wednesday, May 24, 2017

A Mother's Day to Remember

"Welcome to your first Mother's Day," my sister said to me with a smile while we were standing on the sidewalk outside the restaurant, in an effort to pacify my 10-month old while we waited on our delayed meals. 

Though our reservation was for lunch, my first Mother's Day had already proven to be a real doozy. 

Caroline spiked a 102.5 fever the evening before. We spent the evening and night checking on her. At 4:00 AM she decided to start her day, fever and all. I rocked her from 4:00 - 5:30, when she finally went back to sleep. But Cody and I didn't. 

This was also the Sunday that our church moved to new service times. Our later service time had been eliminated, so we planned on attending an earlier one. No problem, right? Unless you've got your little one on a strict schedule. It threw our whole morning off. That, and lack of sleep. 

We made it to church on time, tossed Caroline into the loving arms of some woman in the nursery, telling the church ladies good luck, and went two floors up to our beloved balcony seats. We try to one-up the back row Baptists. The service about mothers was wonderful, I of course cried, and in no time we went back downstairs to retrieve Caroline. We were met with this: 
"We made her a bottle but there were no tops in the bag, so we couldn't feed her. She's ready to eat!" said the gal working the nursery. 

Strike One. 
How do we pack for a Mother's Day out, without packing the most important part of the bottle? 

Between church and lunch we stopped at K-Mart to buy the missing parts we needed. K-Mart is a shell of what it used to be and barely keeping the lights on; still, it took Cody 15 minutes to find something suitable to feed a fussy, hungry 10-month-old. 

We arrived to The Olde Richmond Inn (mom's favorite) fifteen minutes early so I could feed and change Caroline before the rest of our family got there. Except, Caroline was having absolutely no part of the new K-Mart sippy cup and there was too much going on around her for her to want to eat anything from a spoon, at all. 
She was hangry and defiant: A dangerous combination.
So, I decided to cut to the chase and change her diaper. 
Except the diaper tote wasn't inside the diaper bag. 
It was sitting on the dinning room table at home. 

That's right. 
Strike Two. 
In our haste to make the earlier church service,  we planned a Mother's Day Off the Farm without any diapers. 
Not one diaper. 
No wipes.
No cream. 
I thought he grabbed them. 
He thought I grabbed them. 

By the end of the two-hour lunch (wait service was shoddy), Caroline was 12 pounds heavier and soggy as a swamp. Anyone who wanted to hold and kiss her was warned that their clothes would need dry cleaned. 
No one seemed to care, but me. 

The lunch itself...
We love this restaurant, but this meal was so disappointing. My medium-rare filet was so over-cooked that my throat closed and I spent 30 minutes in a bathroom stall trying to get a tiny (look at the size of your middle finger nail - it was that small) piece of over-cooked beef dislodged. It was awful. 

But then came the voice from one stall over...

I knew she was over there because she was having one heck of a time getting her panty hose pulled back up. Misery loves company and on this particular day mine came from the next stall. 
"Honey, you need me to tell someone out there that you need some help?"
"No ma'am, I'm fine. Thank you," I responded, quite embarrassed. 
Suddenly, a loud and unsolicited prayer came from a stall away:
"Lord Jesus we need you! Lord Jesus protect this lady; and Jesus please make it end soon. End It Soon Jesus! Amen."

I stood there in my Sunday best, staring at a framed mid-century postcard that needed dusted inside a wallpapered bathroom stall and thought to myself: Happy Mother's Day, indeed. 
"Amen," I echoed Miss Daisy. 

That evening I did dishes as the sun slowly moved behind the milk house. 
I could hear Cody zipping around the farm on the Kubota, working another hour before dark. 
I was thinking that it's a shame I didn't double my supper recipe so I could have lunches this week. I was thinking how our kitchen window needs replaced so badly; I can't even see the tree where Caroline's swing hangs. Maybe it just needs washed really well. I was thinking about how I went to church and town without diapers. I can't believe I did that. 
And then I felt two little hands 
grab ahold of my leg, tugging with gentle force and with great confidence. I stopped with my hands in a sink full of soapy water and looked down at a little face so full of joy and pride, as she stood hugging my leg. 

And it was in that moment that I realized - despite the fever, no bottle, no diapers, throat closure, stall-sister prayers - this was the best Mother's Day of my life. 

Thank you, God, 
for showing mothers grace 
on days that we 
don't think we deserve it. 

Side note:
 I came home yesterday to a new kitchen window. I'm serious.
I believe God truly hears the desires of our heart. 
And every once in a (great, great) while after enough complaining,
I guess husbands do, too. 

Trim from the Compromising Crib

Saturday, May 13, 2017

I Had No Idea

Friends, family and readers of this blog gave me plenty of really great motherly advice and insight as I transitioned into motherhood. I listened to each bit and truly tried to absorb it while mentally preparing myself for what lied ahead. 

I learned early that there is no preparing for motherhood. You learn from day-to-day just how much you don't know. 

I had no idea the joy I would find in watching someone sleep. At what age does this get weird for Caroline?


I had no idea that mobile babies are most curious when you enter the bathroom. Is this a proven science? What is it about the bathroom that attracts tiny fingers and toes? I can be across the house, in the bathroom washing my face, and I won't get the suds rinsed off before looking down to find this face waiting on me. 
How did you find me and what do you want?

I had no idea how important rest is to your body and mind. I believe I started motherhood behind the eight ball, having been in labor for 27 hours then not sleeping afterwards (I think my body was in shock). Cody was awake and very present for every second of those 27 hours. When I told him I was exhausted, I'll never forget him responding with: "At least you got to pass out between pushes!"
Like....that is my life.  
All I want for Mother's Day is a nap. 
Which is so cliche, and oh, so real. 

I had no idea that someone who can't even enjoy pepper jack cheese would be so sneaky with the refrigerator. Cody can strangely hear me open the freezer for ice cream three rooms away, but I can't hear Caroline open the refrigerator and pull out a jar of salsa while I'm washing bottles 5 feet away? How does that work?

I had no idea the wave of sadness that comes over a mother when she begins folding clothes with little grippers on the bottoms of the footie pajamas. 

I had no idea that there were so many crazy drivers on the road. If you come within 8 feet of my vehicle while Caroline is in the car, I'm calling 911 and reporting reckless driving. 
Our local department has added me to their Do-Not-Call list. 

I had no idea that food intake and output was so important. I have documented more ounces and textures than I ever imagined.
What did I eat yesterday? A banana and cup of coffee on my way to work at 7:15. No idea after that
What did Carline eat yesterday?
6 oz. bottle
Cereal and bananas
Turkey, whole grains and sweet potatoes
1/16 of the Jungels ad in the July 2016 Shorthorn Country
4 oz. bottle
Pears and Corn
Hawiaan Delight
2 ladybugs
6 oz. bottle

I had no idea that the same person could be completely overjoyed because she finally got what she wanted and terribly sad at the same time.

I had no idea the kind of man I married. I knew he was a good guy, I didn't know he was made to be a father. I can count ONE TIME in 10+ months that Cody did not get up with Caroline and I in the night. Only once has he actually slept through her cries. Every other time he (was either 1,000 miles away sorting bulls or) had his feet on the floor and was changing diapers with me. That's a stand-up man. Thanks, Chris & Sharee

I had no idea how much I would miss certain smells: newborn skin, lemon Pledge, Windex, a freshly mopped floor. 

I had no idea how bad shots hurt when you aren't even on the receiving end. Who has cried more during shots: Caroline or I? That's a question I'm not willing to answer. We're raising one tough chick. 

I had no idea about the things that can run through your mind in the quiet darkness while you're rocking a baby:
Paying for college
Car accidents
Mean middle school girls
The possible consequences of swallowing a sequin
Study abroad trips
Strep throat
That chick on Dateline back in January
Shopping with a daughter - when I absolutely hate shopping
Social media
Our future son-in-law

I had no idea how much I would look forward to a simple Sunday in May. Mother's Day has a much sweeter meaning for me this year and will for the rest of my life. What an honor and blessing it is to be entrusted to raise this little girl. 


Happy Mother's Day to the women who 
guide, raise, nurture, discipline, coach, console, encourage, and love -  
whether you've given birth, or not. 

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Cleaning out the Caboodle

I woke two weeks ago with this realization: I need a change in my life. 
My first tattoo? 
NO. I prefer my ink on expensive paper. 
Back to my crazy college hair cut?
NO. It was semi-OK at 22. 
At 32 it's called Mom-Hair. 
You and I both know I don't have time for a straightener and pomade. 

So we're clear - this is a dated sorority photo and has been cropped. 
I was definitely wearing a shirt. 

Instead, I decided to rid my life of the excess baggage that lives within the confines of our home. 

Yep. Time to clean out the Caboodle. 

I have tried a lot of beauty products over the years. Much of the arsenal I've built over time stems from my years as a little sister, five years younger than Laura. If she tried it, I tried it after she went to bed. Then when she moved to IU, I bought my own - whether it broke out my face, or not. We all want what we can't have  - - - and I always wanted to be 5 years older. 

As a mother and wife, I'm embarrassed to report that 80% of our bathroom storage is full of products I don't use but I can't throw away. 

So when I recently woke with this strange urge to toss, I ran with the feeling. 

Here is what I found:

The "ALL SKIN TYPES" banner is ludicrous. It barely worked when I was 15. At 32: disaster. I used this tub of St. Ives Apricot Scrub two Sundays ago and Caroline still won't quit licking my face. Which is weird because she refuses to eat Gerber peaches. I guess if I add some sand to it she will be all-in? OMG. We're raising the girl that eats glue in kindergarten. 

I found three different Herbal Essence bottles. Two have since separated contents, the third wants to but she hasn't found the right Gwen Stefani song to solidify her decision. In an effort to make room in our bathroom, I poured all three into the bottle with the best top - you know, the one with the cap still attached - and created my own 1997 Shampoo/Conditioner-in-One. It smells like moldy clover and vinegar and makes my scalp tingle. Should I patent  this?

I found more lip products than I care to write about. Apparently I thought it appropriate to spend a small fortune on  Mary Kay Satin Lips. Today I spend $3.00 every five years on a 4-pound tub of Vaseline and call it done. But don't you worry. I found three LipSmackers that are already in my computer bag. Only two of them have melted into the cap.

I'm hanging on lemon Sun-In that is so old it would probably be better suited as Drain-o than it would hair product, at this point. But there is 2/3 of a bottle left and I hate to just pour it down the drain. 

Exclamation wasn't great in 1994 and is 3493 times worse in 2017. I spritzed this in the barn cats' water and walked back to the house with my fingers crossed. Stay tuned. Never know. 

I've hated both cucumbers and watermelons since 2001 and it wasn't until I cleaned out this bathroom storage that I realized why. I slathered my body in this green balm for 4-ish years. I can smell it from across the house as I type this. 
I'm gagging. 
I can't. 
I trashed it. 
25% full. 
Please don't tell my mom. 

Even with these products consolidated or tossed, I got ready for work this morning and realized I still have a long way to go. While trying to find a particular shade of lipstick that was part of the Clinique free gift in 2002, I ran across three open jars of Noxema. 

I then ran to the kitchen and laid out a rubber spatula for my after work project.
Waste not, want not.