March 31, 2009

Does This Burden Make My Butt Look Big?

I'm not only good at babywearing. There are many things- often too personal and private for writing here- that I sling on a daily basis.

Things that weigh much more than my baby.

Usually I keep it all clasped tight within my shirt, hiding it from even myself until it's resolved or forgotten or worth throwing away. Recently I opened my hand and stuck it out and I cried. And I was heard. And it felt good. And I could breathe.

I happened to get on the scale a bit later and I was FOUR POUNDS lighter than the day before. And I'd just had a sandwich and large Coke from Jimmy John's for lunch. (Since I'm being honest here, I admit eating some of those feelings might have felt good, too. It was an awesome sandwich.)

I wholeheartedly believe you should 1 Peter 5:7 the heck out of every heavy thing on your heart. But as a supplement, if only for the sake of just being real and child-like, I think having that good cry and confessing it out loud, releasing it from your own grip- the grip you are already losing hold of anyway- whether it is to your husband, friend, your cat...

It can breathe life and hope into your situation. Call your guard down and quit the pretending, let someone pick up one end, one corner, and get you a bit further along, even if just for a moment.

Maybe that's what is really keeping you out of your skinny jeans.

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March 30, 2009

At the grocery store, in the peanut butter aisle.

I stopped my cart and scanned the peanut butter. Which one was just recalled? Which one was recalled before that? Eenie meenie miney moe I was just about to choose and- Clomp Clomp Clomp Splat!

A tallish stringy-haired chubby girl in too-big Crocs sprawled on the floor beside me.

She looked at me and saw me looking at her, all youth and innocence and hurt and she ran to her Mother. Buried her face in her neck and it ached within my bones.

She cried loud and dramatic, like a child. I stood there frozen. I wanted to push my cart away and leave. I offered to get someone, was she hurt?

Her Mom whispered thank you and then mouthed I just think she's embarrassed.

I understood. As a Mom. As a little girl. And I wished I could have told her I fall, too.

I'm embarrassed from a hundred too many falls. In my too big shoes in my too big life.

I want to hide my face and cry in my Mom's arms every minute of every day sometimes. But I'm the Mom, and I'm the arms. The weight of things is just too much. The lightness hurts even more. The spinning, the bills, the dishes, the sticky floor.

Wounded and vulnerable and understanding in the peanut butter aisle and even that's too much.

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March 28, 2009

It's Too Shirty

A typical morning of getting Gray dressed.

He has a reason to not wear every single thing in his drawer. And I'm just giving you a short example of his shirts. There are many more, and his pants? Don't get me started. Don't even get me started.

The first shirt you see is Too Buttony.

The second is Too Collary.

Third, Too Churchy. (And I hope he means that it's only for church 'cause guess what? He's totally wearing it to church tomorrow.)

The fourth is Too Donutty

And the last shirt is Too Dinosaury.

Oh, and finally? The one I got him to put on after I took the photo? Just a simple long-sleeved tee made of soft cotton and NOTHING on it, no picture, buttons, collar... he said it was Too Shirty.

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March 27, 2009

This Post= Not The Post

I have nothing to write today. I've been looking through my archives for something to post because the post I really want to publish? I'm having second thoughts about.

Hubby says I should post it. I'm afraid of hurting feelings and turning people away. And really, this thing I wrote about probably isn't a big deal to anyone else but me. So that is why I'm going to hold off until I feel right about it and can handle the criticism in the comments.

Anyway. I think I'm going to head out to Target with all four kids where I'd much rather deal with criticism in people's eyes. We'll for sure be the show to see.

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March 25, 2009

It's All In The Eye Of The Beholder

This week's You Capture was themed Reflection.

A favorite print on my wall and one of my favorite children:

Ivy giving LeapFrog a shout out.

Me in the mirrors above my kitchen sink (a la The Nester). This is more than a mirror reflection of me wearing my Joshua Radin tee from Beth and liking my hair today. So fitting with the broom behind me and dirty dishes about to be washed. True reflection of my every day.

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March 24, 2009

They Might Be Neat But They're Still Piles

Piles. I have them everywhere.

In the bathroom, about to do laundry, I have the towels, the underwear and socks, and there are the colors. Piles of winter clothes, piles of outgrown clothes in the boys' room.

In my bedroom there's a pile of books, they make a tight pile in a stack. In the living room a pile of toys. It's a neat bunch in a basket. By my desk too many piles of too many things.

I have piles of children. Piles of friends. Family. Responsibilities. Piles of promises.

I keep them in their category. Sometimes I keep them from me.

On a clear day when the windows are open and I embrace energy with the heart of a lion, everything is easy and the piles are put away where they go. A place for them all and they fit in their place.

Clouds crawl by and my eyes are drowsy and it all spills out, into piles, again.

And it gets easy to make my map around them, to add on top of them, what's another onto the pile? But I find I only have mind to give attention to just one or two. So, the others suffer and grow like an infection.

The moments when they're smoothed from wrinkles, tucked and tidy, are so few. Out of habit, out of pride, out of need I try to satisfy. Every pile, a push and shove and kick-the-door-closed to keep them from spilling out again and again.

But they do.

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TWICE! And I Never Use The Phone

I remember my very first telephone. I didn't have my own line like a few of my more privileged friends, but I did have my own phone with a light up hold button, oh yeah. We didn't even have call waiting back then, but I had a hold button! In 8th grade!

I can't believe people still make phone calls these days. Especially to other people with small children and naps to take and quiet time to be had. Email makes so much less noise. And really- what is so urgent?? Because of course the phone only rings when I finally get that once in maybe never moment that my children are sleeping simultaneously.

Side note: It is spring break and at This Very Moment all FOUR of my blessed kids are still sleeping and although I would love to be sleeping, too, I couldn't go and miss out on this rare occasion. It's quiet here. It's amazing.

And that phone better not ring.

Anyway, I hardly ever make phone calls, but made a whopping two yesterday and BOTH TIMES when I went to dial, Noah was on the other end. This kid is addicted to calling Time and Temp. All the time. So much that the two times I picked up the phone to call I could hear him breathing through the other end and I had to yell, I need the phone!

Flashbacks to my Mom and Dad yelling the same thing to me. Hold please, I'd say.

And oh my gosh the phone just rang. !!!

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March 22, 2009

For Example

This morning I greeted Gray's scowl cheerfully and offered him some breakfast.


"It's breakfast time."


"Do you want some cereal or--"


"Tell me what you want me to make, then."


No way was I going to risk the wrath if I told him that was actually breakfast.

I've gotte
n some great suggestions regarding my struggles with Gray. Although I'd never wish this on any Mom, it is nice to know I'm not alone.

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I Started A Joke

Sometimes the blurry, off-focused, and unexpected moments in life have the most heart and are the most special.

We had a photo session recently for a contest coming up that I can't wait to tell you all about, and later the amazing photographer sent me this note-

"After hearing you talk about her spirit (which by the way was the sweetest thing I may have ever heard) - this photo just has a different meaning. I caught her in an in between moment of a laugh and a look. She has her eyes closed, and she's so happy. She looks like she telling a funny story to us, and it's the funniest thing she's ever heard.

Often times I'll end up with shots like this from a session. Ones that don't make the cut, but ones that I'll still just email to the parents. (Like when a boy pulls his pants off in the middle of the session and comes charging at me full force! Those don't make the session gallery, but how can you toss memories like that! LOL)

Yes, she has her eyes half closed. Yes, the focus is a bit off because I think she was discovering that the basket could rock. But, I couldn't toss this one. I just love it!

I hope you do, too."


Photo by Samantha Uphold Photography

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March 20, 2009

Denial Ain't Just A River In Egypt

As much as I have chosen not to believe it, and tried to explain and explain and explain it away, I think the problems that I have been having with Gray (and not really felt like I could write about) lately is that...

I think he's jealous of the new baby.

It could possibly explain so much. But until now I have not even allowed myself to consider it.

"Oh Gray is wonderful! He just took to the baby right away! He's such a good big brother! We've had no troubles at all."

Because it makes me feel so incredibly crazy heartbreaking guilty if it's true.

All along I've thought it's been defiance and just over all rotten, bad behavior, but could it be that he just has been feeling so many emotions with the coming of the baby that he doesn't know how to process or control what he feels? He went from being the baby (and he very much so was my baby) to, well, not the baby.

But he loves Ivy! He's so helpful! And caring! He adores her.

Except at the same time he is this little very angry person. A grumpy old man in a three-year-old body.

And I thought he was just mad at the world. But I think he's mad at me.

This is so hard for me to admit to you. But I really could use your help. What can I do to reverse this? I don't want these feelings he has to fester and affect him for the rest of his life. And especially my relationship with him.

Since I've come to this realization in just the past day or so, I feel like things have been a bit better. I am more mindful of it. We still co-sleep and he knows he's still my peanut and will always be my baby but there is something else there keeping me from reaching him, from meeting his emotional needs as a Mother should.

Maybe it's the guilt?

Have you been here? Have you any suggestions, books, directions for the way out?

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March 19, 2009

The Ultimate Blog Party, Come On In

Hi, I'm Stephanie and welcome to my party. If we were meeting for the first time in real life, here are some things that you would soon find out about me.

As a little girl I dreamed of being a writer or a teacher or singer or an actress. I ended up going to college for all those things and didn't finish any of it. But I do use what skills that I did learn pretty much every day of my life as a Mom.

I have three boys but you'll most often find me blagging away about my new daughter Ivy LaRue. I try to explain why here.

But speaking of the boys, I can see chocolate on the wall from where I sit, or maybe it is blood, or...? We haven't had anything chocolate in a while and no one has bled recently, so...


I am still trying to figure out this being a Mom of four deal as well as deciphering just who I am as a regular human being despite the Mom persona, and, well, who I want to be. All the while wearing my baby along the way. Or is she wearing me? Whatever. At least we're in style.

Are you going to BlogHer? I will be attending, (wearing cute shoes and Ivy, of course- probably in a ring sling or a mei tai in case you were wondering) thanks to my full sponsorship by Tiny Prints.

Addicted to Twitter like everyone else? I'm there, too.

So, what would you tell me about yourself if we just met?

Oh, and so nice to meet you. I hope that we can be friends.

Tomorrow I'm admitting something personal that I could use your help on, too.

If you would like to be a part of the super awesome Babywearing Bloggers blogroll, check that out here.

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Photo by Beth Fletcher Photography

Ultimate Blog Party 2009

March 18, 2009


The highlight of my day? Buying new cloth diapers online.

How is it possible to fill 15 hours up until now, the moment I can sit here and stare blankly with the quiet finally, wondering just what did I do all day?

What didn't I do?

I took a shower -highlight number two- and actually styled my hair (I blew it dry with a brush! And put a little pomade in it.) I met with my child's teachers and made a really important decision. I managed melt downs and breast feedings, failed at nap time and succeeded at snacking and watering all the kids of the neighborhood.

Overheard Noah trying to sell his friend on coming to our house for dinner, "we have the best food."

Dirtied pots and pans and cups and plates, juggled homework and housework, and Ivy called me Ma for the first time.

Had not one moment to myself- just as I got the kids and baby to sleep, hubby pulled into the drive way.

Wanted to do so much more. I did what needed to get done now and put off what can be done tomorrow. Tomorrow doesn't have a lot to compete with. But I still feel like I did the best I could.

And it was a pretty good day.

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In Unison

I can't even begin to try to caption these... feel free to go for it!

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March 17, 2009

Shadows And Light

Beth's You Capture challenge this week was "shadows" and I thought I'd join in. I love shadows. That means there must be light around.

This first collection of shadows found me while I was lying in bed nursing Ivy. Taken with my iPhone.

Then I went searching for shadows and found:

y lilac bush. Adding a little Ivy made it even better.

One, two, three, four. All my children.

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March 16, 2009

Home Again Home Again Jiggity Jig

My Mom used to always say that to me and my brother as we'd come home from someplace when we were little. Some time ago I started saying it to my boys every time we'd pull into our garage, and it stuck. It's our thing.

I was all of eighteen years old the first time I moved out of my house, headed for the big city and an apartment of my own. I held three jobs and went to school. Many mornings I'd get an iced cappuccino from the diner by the el and many nights I'd have a pb&j sandwich with day old bread from the bakery around the corner. The same posters hung on my walls, same thrift shop clothes hung in my closet. But it never was home.

By the next year my dad was parked behind that apartment, with the sticky balcony rails to ward off pigeons. We loaded up my belongings and that little girl bundled inside my big-girl-self. I was going home, headed down Lake Shore Drive, back to Indiana. On our way- with as much love as sternness in his eyes- he said Next time I move your things, it's for good.

And the next time was. A few years later I was coming home from my honeymoon to a brand new house, shingles and carpet color chosen by me. Years later this house had those same shingles but new carpet. And along with the additional "artwork" courtesy of Crayola, the walls now tell stories of babies and heartache and joy and first days of school.

To three little boys and another child on the way, this is home. Someday a truck with their things might head off to the unknown, pieces of my heart along with it, and they will always be welcome to come back, for at least one more try.

We've filled it to the brim, some would say about our little dwelling.

I say, what a great use of space.

It may be small, but it's plenty. And it's home.

Originally posted April 4, 2008

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And Then I Laughed Until I Cried

I have been waiting to post something until I had a funny story to tell. I just feel like being funny and unfortunately nothing funny has happened worthy enough for me to really write about. Or at least funny enough that I don't have to tell you the story I am about to tell you.

The other day I was just minding my own business about to do my business and somehow the short walk in my teeny tiny bathroom caused my feet to become all tangled up and I thrust forward first hitting the toilet and then trying to correct myself fell butt-first into the shower. Taking down the curtain and all.

It was one of those moments I was so glad no one was around to see or hear.

And so of course that is why I'm telling you. Because it's almost more embarrassing that I did that and no one saw. It was hilarious.

I'm in need of a good laugh. Please tell me the last thing that made you laugh so hard you cried.

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March 14, 2009


Birthed right here at home,
every pinch of pudge from her only nourishment of my breasts
the light on her face
and smiles in her eyes
because of all our love and affection.

Ivy LaRue, 6 months old

Her birth story (and see how tiny she once was!)

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March 13, 2009

Shake It Like A Polaroid Picture

Ivy's got some dance moves. My favorite is about 12 seconds in. Isn't she a hoot?

The song playing on the iPod is Hey Ya by Obadiah Parker

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March 11, 2009

For The Boys

So, you're thinking it. Am I all Ivy all the time now?

I certainly am pretty much her entire world. But she's not all of mine.

There is so much I wish I could write about my boys, especially the older two, but as they get older I feel I should be respectful and limiting with what I can share and what I keep just between us. The sweetest of prayers, secrets in their classrooms, humbling and often embarrassing observations about life. And what goes on in the bathroom.

The tales I could tell.

Noah wears the same sweatshirt everysingleday to school. And it's not a sweatshirt he wears in place of coat. It's a sweatshirt that never comes off so it looks like he wears the same exact thing every day in a row. But if he doesn't wear his Tony Hawk Sweatshirt to school he won't be in the Tony Hawk Sweatshirt Club. Or something like that.

I sneak and wash it as much as I can and attack him with baby wipes in between that. And a little piece of me dies inside when he heads off to catch the bus each morning.

Carter lost his tooth in the car yesterday. And I mean he really lost it. We still haven't found it. Which means the Tooth Fairy is off the hook this time! Mean? No way. There's a TOOTH lurking around in my car.

Grayson. Oh dear. I need to start a whole other anonymous blog just about Gray.

So, sometimes, to be on the safe side and also to keep some super special things for my heart only, stories about my boys might be few and far between.

Someday I will be saying that about Ivy.

And then what will I write about?

Will you still be around when I have grandbabies?

A very favorite photo of my boys, by Allen Photographic

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March 10, 2009


I aim here only at revealing myself

who will perhaps be different tomorrow,

if I learn something new which changes me.


Photo by Beth Fletcher Photography

Dress by Prairie Mama

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March 9, 2009

Wishful Thinking

I'm going to break from the usual and actually write something! And I'm going to get a bit bloggy on you for a bit. But bear with me. Here comes my version of a nice rant.

I am not about to hate on some great opportunities I've been offered or, ahem, considered for in the past. But, it is very frustrating when the initial email greeting is flattering and "I love your blog I read it all the time and it was so cute what you wrote about (fill in fluffy summary of the latest post I wrote)" and yet I have to remind them that I have a 5 month old baby. And she'll need to be with me at all times. And then they aren't cool with that.

It's nice to hear that someone likes my blog! But it's even nicer to know someone is being honest. Don't pretend you know all about me and read everything I write if you really don't. I'd much rather someone say Hey, I'm new here but I can't wait to find out more. Or I just stumbled upon your blog and am interested in working with you.

It really doesn't have to be much. Just truthful. And real.

I don't want to seem ungrateful for some great offers I've had come my way, but it is disappointing when I get excited about something that we think you and your blog are perfect for! and then find out I don't qualify for some reason or the other. If only they could have figured that out before getting my hopes up or having me ask hubby to request vacation time.

So, I was so superly duper excited when I received the awesome and warm invitation to visit Hallmark's World Headquarters with a small group of fabulous bloggers for an exclusive Mom e-vent. Not only is it Hallmark, whom I already love, but there was something different about this email that gave me hope. It was personal, and the gal from Fleishman-Hillard acknowledged my first priority of being a Mom.

And offered for me to bring my older kids, too!

I especially loved this part :
I’m sure Ivy isn’t leaving your side at the moment, so we hope you’ll feel free to bring her along!


I know it can not be easy for the wonderful people (many are Moms and Dads, too, and many are not) in public relations to reach out to the busy and harried and crazed and often ranting Mommy Blogger. And they certainly aren't lacking in learning (or fear) from others' big mistakes in the past.

How confusing it must be- as I am only speaking from my own personal wants- when what I strive for or think appropriate might be totally different than the next Mom Blogger.

We are a sensitive sort, but for good reason. And, yes, we are Moms. We have kids. Flying off to events and fun escapades is great. But what about the children?

They want to hear my opinions and create a buzz within our community, yet doing so takes me away from the very responsibility they even want me for in the first place. I have to be Mom.

I want to be Mom.

My rule of thumb is that I will not do anything or go anywhere unless my husband can be home to take care of the kids. Thankfully he has ample vacation time (and is eager to use it here and there) for when I might get to jet off somewhere fun in the name of my blog.

I understand that not every event and blogger outreach can accommodate children, and- let's be honest- I like it a lot when I get a Mom's night out or even weekend away. Just please, as someone that does not own a breast pump (scary!) and desires to keep her baby close at all times, be sensitive to nursing mothers.

I've decided to only take Ivy with me to the Mom-e-vent @ Hallmark next month, but I've already heard that some of the other bloggers are bringing their older kids. I am really excited to be reunited with some of my favorite online friends and new ones I've yet to meet. And how fun to be able to see them in their Mom Blogger element: laptop and/or iPhone in hand, ideas in their head, and child by their side.

Maybe we really can do it all... anything is possible.

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March 8, 2009

Princess Ivy

I call her Beauty. And my Love Love.

Before this little girl became my daughter I didn't realize how much I would enjoy the ribbons and the bows. All the frills and the pink.
Ivy LaRue is The Picture Princess. It's in her name, it's in her eyes. It's in my heart.

I'd love to fill Ivy's closet with every one of the
little girls and girls dresses from shabby baby (and my closet longs for a shabby apple wardrobe, too!)

This is our entry into a sweet little contest that would be so very fun to win.

These gorgeous photos mean so much to me and are by Beth Fletcher Photography.

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March 7, 2009


Photo by Beth from I Should Be Folding Laundry

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March 6, 2009

Bow Chicka Bow Wow

Ivy & Asher

Photo by Beth of I Should Be Folding Laundry

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March 5, 2009


The following is the philosophy of Charles Schultz, the creator of the "Peanuts" comic strip.

1. Name the five wealthiest people in the world.

2. Name the last five Heisman trophy winners.

3. Name the last five winners of the Miss America pageant.

4. Name ten people who have won the Nobel or Pulitzer Prize.

5. Name the last half dozen Academy Award winners for best actor and actress.

6. Name the last decade's worth of World Series winners.

The point is, none of us remember the headliners of yesterday. These are no second-rate achievers. They are the best in their fields. But the applause dies. Awards tarnish. Achievements are forgotten. Accolades and certificates are buried with their owners.

See how you do on this one:

1. List a few teachers who aided your journey through school.

2. Name three friends who have helped you through a difficult time.

3. Name five people who have taught you something worthwhile.

4. Think of a few people who have made you feel appreciated and special.

5. Think of five people you enjoy spending time with.

The people who make a difference in your life are not the ones with the most credentials, the most money, or the most awards. They are the ones that care.

"Don't worry about the world coming to an end today. It's already tomorrow in Australia ." (Charles Schultz)

Originally posted November 4, 2006

March 4, 2009

Normally I Was A Well-Dressed Child

My Mom had a good laugh about one of my favorite childhood photos I posted:

And I captioned it, "This is my cousin, brother, and me (on the right). Where are my brother's pants? Were half shirts for toddlers "in" back then? And why is my fly open?"

In her defense, she said:
1. That shirt did fit you but just needed to be pulled down.

2. Your brother never really did like to wear pants.

I thought I should show proof that normally my brother and I were well dressed children:

Hairstyles... now that's a different story.

Originally published October 19, 2006

March 3, 2009

I'm Breathing

I am standing on the edge again, unsure of really anything lately,
of big and small things, in a good way. Like life is speeding by and I don't know when to jump in. Or if I even should.

The sense that I could fly whichever way the wind carries me and I'd be ok with it. Or maybe I'm completely content to stay still and watch it all go by. Is this how it truly feels to let go and let God? It's adventurous. A bit unsettling. And I feel so alive.

Originally posted July 6, 2008

March 2, 2009

Miracles Do Happen Even At Target

It was a hot summer day. Nothing out of the ordinary in any way. Realizing that my days are soon to be spent only outside with the kids, I wanted to be sure that they all had the right size bikes and ride-on toys. I needed to add at least one Big Wheel to make sure everyone was happy and there would be no more complaining.

I decided to save time and gas- bypassing Freecycle and yard sales and went straight to Target.

I can remember calling to hubby asking if he needed anything while I was there. It was odd that he said nothing. He always needs something from Target. But off I went, happy to be going to somewhere on my own, to find a Big Wheel.

As I was getting out of my car, I ran over the list in my head of what I needed. Surprisingly, all I needed was the Big Wheel. Nothing else. No soap. No greeting cards. No snacks. So, I'd go straight to the toys and be out in a flash!

I walk in. And head straight to the umbrella display at the front of the store. Ooh I need a new umbrella. But they were ugly patterns and $12.99! The last one I got was cute and only $4.99 at Marshalls. So, I think no- I'm going straight to the Big Wheels. I get a little further through the store until I see the floppy sun hats on sale. I need a large brimmed sun hat. But these might be too small. I move on. To the maternity clothes. Ick. Not loving. And I remember- again- I'm supposed to go Straight.To.The.Big.Wheels.

Almost there. I make it and find one left on the shelf. It's a nice price, too. I put it in my cart and find myself- for the first time ever- not knowing where to go next. It just doesn't feel right... do I just go straight to the checkout? What, no passing the domestics department and seeing what dishes are on sale? No glancing at the clearance items on the end caps?

It feels so strange, but I do it. I go directly to the checkout. I briefly glance at the gum. And the magazines. And take my one item to the cashier. It turns out it's even on sale!

The rush doesn't hit me until I am finally handed the receipt. I didn't think it was possible.

I bought only one thing at Target.

Originally posted June 8, 2008

Too Many Voices In My Head

I started this blog back at the end of 2005 and while many bloggers started way before that, I still feel like an old fogey at times.

I seriously can't keep up, and never could have imagined this thing that brings me so much fulfillment would even require me to.

And if it's only what I make it then I've sadly made it way too hard on myself. Just what is so urgent and important that I feel lowly if I am not constantly connected or communicating?
I can't hear my own thoughts.

It's too much confusion and you know what? I don't need that in my life right now.

I need some quiet time and solitude so that I can hear my heart beat and my baby breathe, so I can see the beauty in a simple day, and, honestly, feel better about myself.

I will still write here because that is what I originally intended to do. But I am closing the door to everything else until I feel it's time- and right for me- to take a look again.