Friday, October 5, 2012

God is Good

It bothers me when people say "God is good" when someone gives good news. Don't get me wrong. God is indeed good. He is good all the time. He never stops being good. He is good in the good times and the bad times. But people only say he is good when something good happens.

Take it from me. It is much easier to look at the happy times, the times when great things happen, when prayers are answered the way we want. But it is difficult to realize that God is good when bad things happen.

But God is good all the time.

God is good when I had 3 miscarriages in 2 years.

God is good when I got pregnant with Brendan.

God is good when Brendan was born not breathing and taken out of my arms.

God is good when Brendan was transferred 2 hours away to Children's hospital.

God is good when Brendan had heart surgery when he was 10 days old. 

God is good when we were told that Brendan's body was not built for this life.

God is good when Brendan passed away in my arms at 97 days old.

God is good when we picked up Brendan's ashes and found out that we were pregnant all in the same day.

God is good when I gave birth to a healthy little baby boy 11 months after his brother was born.

God is good.

He is not good just because we say so. God is good because that is who he is. 

We do not understand His goodness because it doesn't fit into our definition. 

Our definition is when something happens that we have asked for, when we feel happy with the results of something, when our prayers are answered the way we have hoped.

God's definition is preparing us, making us rely on him, and teaching us daily. Sometimes we have to learn how to live like Christ wants us to by going through hard times. The tough times are there to make us appreciate the good times. Because without hard times, we would never need to rely on God.

And I don't know about you, but I am so thankful for those hard times, because now I truly understand it.

God is Good.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Lessons I learned from my dad

(some colorful language, but I had to include to maintain the integrity of the post)

1. Opinions are like a$$holes, every one's got one, and most of them are full of s*%t.

2. You are never too old to surf. You are also never too young to learn.

3. Travel to Mexico often, buy cheap ceramic crap over the border and fireworks. Have fun blowing s*&t up.

4. You can't be the best at everything, but as long as you had a fun time trying, it was all worth it. That being said, excel in one thing you enjoy and find a way to make money doing it.

5. Gram Parsons is the man.

6. There is always room for Rainbow Stew.

7. Find time to be creative. Life is too short to waste on boring s*#t.

8. Listen to all different types of music, even if you aren't sure you like some of it. You will be better for it.

9. All music sounds better on vinyl. Except Kenny G, he sounds better buried in the backyard.

10. Don't be a fair weather fan. Stick by your team through thick and thin. (Go Lakers!)

11. Take care of your parents. They put up with your crap growing up, the least you could do is return the favor.

12. Make time for family. Always. 

Thanks for being there when I needed you, always answering the phone when I call, letting me make my own mistakes, and not making me feel stupid when I realized I had made them. Happy Father's Day Dad.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The joys of boys

How you know that you are a mother of a boy.

1. You turn your head for one minute and he is eating dirt. Or mulch. Or gravel.Or rocks.

2. He has bruises, scrapes, and cuts that you don't remember him getting.

3. He comes home dirty no matter what he has been doing. You could have spent the day at a soap factory, and yet your son still comes home covered in dirt and grime.

4. His nails are never clean. Never.

5. He wipes his snot on everything. But mostly on your clean pants.

6. He eats his snot. Gross, I know.

7. He destroys everything. Everything. Furniture, toys, your phone, the list goes on and on.

8. He manages to find the one mud puddle in the field of grass. And runs directly for it.

9. He farts in his sleep.

10. He loves his mama more than anyone.
My son eating a rock, yes, a rock. See #1 above

Friday, April 20, 2012

William Mayo February 26, 1918 - April 4, 2012

The speech that my dad will read on my behalf at my grandpa's memorial service:

Let me start off by saying that I wish very deeply that I could be there today. Bill is my grandfather, and his great grandson Dylan (my son) was admitted to the hospital the evening before I was supposed to leave for California. He is ok now, but he gave me a scare such that I didn’t want to leave him behind. I know that if grandpa were here today, he would tell me to stay home, because family is most important.
That is one of the great things about my grandfather, he loved his family very much. And there are a lot of people to love: 2 sons, 4 grandsons, 5 granddaughters, 2 great granddaughters, 2 great grandsons. And this is just the immediate family.
There are several things that I love about grandpa. He always made me laugh. I like to think that I got his sense of humor. Well, my dad got that directly from him. I think some of it trickled down to me.
So, with that in mind, here are 4 of my favorite memories about grandpa.

1. He always made time to hang out with me and my brother whenever we came to visit. I remember spending a ton of time at the pool. They had the most amazing pool in their neighborhood. Grandpa loved taking us to the pool. Shaun and I would be playing (or, more than likely fighting) and grandpa would show up in his swim trunks and ask us if we wanted to go to the pool. We would spend hours there. Going back and forth from the pool to the spa. But this is what I love about grandpa, he called them the cold pool and the hot pool. I have no idea why, but this is something that I am pretty sure every member of our family still calls the pool and the spa to this day. Hot pool and cold pool. So every time I take Dylan swimming in the years to come, I will call it the cold pool and explain that his great grandpa used to call it that.

2. When I was a little older and in college, grandma and grandpa wanted to take me out to a nice lunch for my birthday. They invited me to their club. I had never been there, but thought that I would just come straight from class. I gave very little attention to my outfit that day. I woke up late and had a test that I could not miss. I threw on the first thing that didn’t smell offensive and ran out the door. That afternoon when I arrive at the club, late by the way which I am sure didn’t bode well at the time, grandma took one look at me and politely said that we would have to have lunch somewhere else. There was an awkward pause while I looked over my outfit: jeans that covered my legs, tennis shoes, and a shirt that covered more than most. I didn’t get it. I mean granted, I didn’t look like I was going to a ball, but I didn’t look homeless either. I thought that I looked fine. Grandma broke the silence of my internal scrutiny and said that jeans were not allowed in the club. We were all hungry (even more so because of my tardiness) and now we were going to have to go someplace else for lunch. I felt awful and knew that grandma was annoyed with me, but grandpa leaned over out of her earshot and told me that I looked beautiful, held my hand and walked me to my car.

3. Grandpa had a liquor cabinet in the house. He would have a drink of whiskey once in a while.  I would ask him for a sip every time I saw him drinking. One day when I was about 6, he gave in and gave me a sip. I, being 6, thought that it was apple juice, of ginger ale, so I chugged it. Immediately my mouth was on fire. I thought that I was going to throw up. I may have spit it out on the carpet, I do not remember. All I remember is that my mouth was on fire and the flames were reaching down my throat. This was the nastiest juice I had ever tasted. How could grandpa drink this? Grandma came in and I am sure gave grandpa an earful. She handed me a ginger ale to quench the fire. Grandpa was laughing. I never once asked for another drink from him. I made sure that every drink I got from that moment on came from grandma’s hands.

4. My wedding day, November 20, 2004. It was during the money dance (a dance where you pay the bride and/or groom to dance with them). I had a purse in my hand that everyone was supposed to put the money in. Once the dj announced that the dance would begin, grandpa rushed to be the first in line. I have never seen an 86 year old man walk that fast. He had the biggest grin on his face, asked me if I would dance with him, and then shoved a $100 bill down the front of my dress. That was by far the best dance of the night.

There are many memories. But these are just a few.

Grandpa, you will be missed. But your memory will live on. Every time I go swimming, every time I feel a bit underdressed, every time I drink whiskey, and every time I look on the mantle and see the picture of us dancing at my wedding. But that’s not all, I will think of you when I play with my kids, and when I sit down for a holiday meal. I will think of you whenever I see a golfer on tv. I will think of you as I raise my kids and eventually my grandkids and I will be grateful for the example that you gave me. You taught me how to be a wonderful parent and how to love my family. And not only did you make it look easy, but you reminded us all that family always comes first.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

The rules of Mommyhood

1. It is totally appropriate to have chocolate for breakfast. The more children you have, the more you can eat throughout the day. Chocolate keeps you sane, and lets be honest, it's better than drinking before noon.

2. Feeding your kid pizza for dinner is nutritious. It contains the 4 main food groups; grains (dough), veggies/fruits (tomato sauce), cheese (dairy), meat (pepperoni).

3. If it doesn't maim them it only makes them stronger. I am a firm believer in letting Dylan climb on the couch and tumble off the back. I will be right there to make sure that he doesn't break his neck, but I also know that if he gets scared enough he won't do it again. Although, with this tactic you run the risk of you child actually liking the activity and then you have a huge problem on your hands. But I am still a believer in letting them make mistakes and learn from them. Especially if it means you get to say I told you so. :)

4. Caffeine is essential to every mother's survival. Dylan has only been sleeping through the night for a couple of months now. And even once or twice a week he is up in the middle of the night. That means that for 15 straight months my child was up 2 to 4 times a night on average. This is not even counting the times he was up more than that due to sickness. If I didn't have a diet coke, or a cup of coffee before 7 am, there was no way that he or I were going to make it through the day.

5. Messes happen. I am not talking about toys here or there, dirty fingernails, food stuck to the side of their face that you apparently missed at lunch, or a spilled drink. I am talking about being completely covered in mulch from head to toe, including in their mouth. I am talking about dirt that is so embedded under their fingernails that a band saw and a soak in the tub is the only way to remove it. I am about about falling and scraping their knee, touching to boo boo and wiping it all over their new outfit. I am talking about sneezing and projectiling snot across the car into the backseat. I am talking about dipping their fry into the ketchup, licking it off and dipping again and being covered in sticky red goo by the end of the meal, and realizing that your child is not only covered, but in one meal has managed to consume only ketchup.

6. Sweatpants and a t-shirt are acceptable clothing options. Listen, I am all about trying to look cute and making myself presentable, but if Dylan and I are just going to go over to a friend's house to play, I am not going to put on my Sunday best. I am going to put on a pair of capris and a tank top and hope that I don't melt in the Tennessee heat. The rule is: as long is it is clean, it covers your butt and flabby tummy, and is easy to nurse in, you can wear it. And even the clean aspect is up for debate. Just scrape off the dried food from the day before. Or just do what I do, if someone comments on the food stuck to your shirt, exclaim "Oh my, that must have just happened at (insert most recent mealtime here), I just did laundry!"

7. Laundry is an inevitable evil that multiplies exponentially when you have kids. Ignoring it doesn't make it go away (trust me). Complaining about it doesn't work either. Here are some tips to help make laundry an easier task for you: a) wash a load a day (or more if you have multiple kids or if you use cloth diapers like me) b) leave the clean clothes in the dryer. This way, when your husband says that he has no clean underwear, you can make him sweat for just a minute and then tell him to go look in the dryer. You get to look like the hero without having to fold a thing. c) eventually you are going to have to fold the items, but if you followed point "b" above, you will have significantly less to fold. d) once you fold the items, make sure to leave them in the basket for a few days. This gives the allusion that you accomplished something without having to actually put everything away. e) and finally once you do put everything away after letting the clothes sit in the basket for days, you will have less to put away. Everyone wins.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Just a mom

I have friends that have important jobs. They have jobs that require lots of schooling, lots of work and dedication. They have accomplished so much since high school.

One friend is a movie director, another is a fancy baker who is going to be on a Food Network show, another is married to an actor who was recently on Criminal Minds. I have several gorgeous friends who are models (I secretly hate them). I have another friend who has had her own Christian singing career since I can remember. A couple friends are awesome photographers. Another friend is a musician and has been playing all over the world. One friend from high school is a pastor. I mean seriously, I can't compete.

I am just a mom. I clean bottoms, do laundry, make breakfast, lunch and dinner for my family, and keep a tidy house (most of the time at least). I play with my child, laugh with my child and ensure his safety all day every day. I get up with him every night at least once. I teach him, talk to him and read to him. I fix his boo boos and snuggle when he needs it. I breastfeed him when he wants to, and make sure that he eats his vegetables. I make him hold my hand when he crosses the street. I am just a mom.

I am just a wife. I iron and clean shirts, I make dinner for my husband and make sure that there are bananas and orange juice for breakfast. Since he is allergic to eggs, I make pancakes without eggs for him on Saturdays. I wake up in the middle of the night with Dylan and quiet him so that my husband can have a good night sleep. I rub feet, shoulders and his back. I make dinners that he likes, (and some that he doesn't). I make sure to save him at least one Double Stuf Oreo from the bag and make sure that there is always a bottle of his favorite wine in the house. There are always ingredients for eggless chocolate chip cookies in the cupboard. I am just a wife.

I am just a mom. But no one can love my family the way that I do. And although I am not a famous singer, or traveling the world, or starring in a TV show, I think that I have the most important job in the world. My family needs me to do the mundane things like laundry and cooking. Because lets be honest, if I weren't here, my boys would be eating Indian Food and Top Ramen, and wearing dirty socks. As a mom and wife, I am saving the world one casserole and clean sock at a time.

My boys:

Sunday, January 15, 2012

How my life has changed since becoming a mom

1. I can quote the movie Cars in its entirety, from start to finish. I can sing every song, every note, and every background noise. I hear Mater and Lightning talk in my sleep. I sometimes catch myself singing the opening Sheryl Crow song while I clean the house.

2. There are socks everywhere. Little, white socks. They fall out of the laundry basket, and because Dylan hates to have them on his feet, they end up stuffed in very random places: the couch, my purse, his mattress, his toy box. And there is always one missing once I remove the laundry from the dryer. I have started counting the socks to make sure there is an even number going into the washer. And every time there is one missing. It drives me crazy.

3. I have bags... in more ways than one. There are bags under my eyes, there is a big saggy bag where my cute tummy used to be, there are 2 bags hanging from my chest that used to be all nice and perky. I also have diaper bags, wet bags for cloth diapers, purses (big ones that can hold sippy cups, snacks, toys, and the occasional renegade sock) everywhere. Each bags has a separate purpose. My life has been taken over by bags.

4. My life has also been taken over by laundry. I need to talk to someone from MIT to understand the mathematical equation that occurs when a family of 2 with 3 loads of laundry a week grows to a family of 3 with 9 loads a week. I don't get it. He is so small, and I have said it before, but, HOW CAN ONE LITTLE PERSON CREATE SO MUCH LAUNDRY? It is astonishing. And annoying. I hate laundry.

5. My conversations with adults have been reduced to snippets here and there between yelling "Dylan look out!" and running to get Dylan out of some sort of trouble. I haven't had an uninterrupted conversation since September of 2010. When I hangout with my girl friends who have kids as well, it is even worse. It takes us about 30 minutes to tell a "quick" story. We keep having to pause to tend to our little ones, then it takes a minute to remember what we were talking about, then, because some time has passed since we started the story, we usually have to recap part of the story to refresh the audience's memory. It is really quite taxing.

6. I haven't been out of the house past 7:30 pm in 16 months. Okay, I have been out a handful of times with Jeff on dates, but for the most part, we are home by 7. I used to make fun of parents who let their child's nap and bed time dictate whether or not they go somewhere. Now, I am a slave to his naps and bedtime. I will sacrifice a night of fun for a calm night in, because it means that the next day Dylan will be happier and less likely to drive me crazy. Although a little crazy is a constant in this household. And we like it that way.

A picture of my crazy little man playing the the dirt.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Forget everything you thought you knew about Carrie

1. I run. I didn't used to. I actually fainted in Jr. High. I used to only run if I was being chased. And let's be honest, I wasn't getting chased that often (these love handles, stretch marks and all the other visual gifts given to me by my 2 boys prevent the men from doing much chasing anymore). You can read all about my first run here.

2. I like to clean. I know I know! My reputation is at stake by admitting such truths, but I cannot hold it in anymore. I like to clean.

I got a new vacuum and it sucks. I mean seriously, it is awesome. The first time that I used it I was disgusted by what was in the canister. I vacuumed with the old vacuum only 4 days prior and thought that the house was relatively clean. Until I saw what was sucked up by this awesome, sucky vacuum. I was appalled. My house was filthy. 

Now however, the vacuum works so well, that the carpet looks awesome. This is a problem. Why? Because now, when something gets on the carpet like crumbs, dirt, or the dreaded black sock fuzz from Jeff's terrible socks, it is more noticeable. So now I have to vacuum more. I have become obsessed with keeping the carpets and floors looking perfect. It makes my day to see the lines in the carpet from the vacuum. I am a loser. A loser who likes to clean. Just call me Monica.

3. I only eat 3 to 4 Double Stuf Oreos in a sitting. I used to be able to eat 10, and when I say 10 I mean 20, and when I say 20 I mean the entire bag and Jeff would get mad because I left him no oreos, the only cookie in the house that he can eat that doesn't have eggs, and he would look at me with disgust, and a little bit of horror, but mostly awe because he has never seen anyone eat that many oreos in one sitting without being paid or without being at a county fair. Speaking of county fairs, did you know that they have deep fried oreos there? Oh my gosh, so good. 

Wait, what was I talking about? Oh yeah, I only eat 3 or 4 in one sitting now. Because running with a stomach full of oreos makes me want to throw up, and throwing up doesn't make me look good while I run. And let's be honest, I need all the help I can get, because not only do I look like I am about to pass out while I am running, I also jiggle a lot from all the excess, ahem, skin. Again I blame the boys.

So those are some things that I never thought would become me. I have changed. I am grown up. Sorta. I still like The Little Mermaid and I collect magic wands. Because some things never change. 

Friday, January 6, 2012

The last cookie

I was eating cookies tonight. This is something that is a regular occurrence in my house (well, recently I have been eating just 2 or 3 because I want the size of my tookas to decrease in 2012). But tonight, something terrible happened. 

You see, Jeff and I were watching The Office. Not the recent episodes that are lame, but the ones with Michael Scott. The good ones. The funny ones. Anyways, as we were watching, I was eating my second favorite cookies: E.L Fudge Double Stuffed (yes, double stuffed is always better). *Side note: there are 6 or 7 Walmarts in Knoxville. Only one carries these amazing cookies. One. And it is not very close to my house. They all carry the regular E.L Fudge cookies, just not the Double Stuffed. This is not acceptable. Therefore I am forced to drive about 30 minutes out of my way just to get the double fudgy goodness. I think that I am going to write to my congressman.* Anyways, I was reaching my hand in and grabbing the cookies one by one. I was enjoying them, but was distracted by Michael Scott and his shenanigans.

I had eaten 3 cookies when I realized that there was one cookie left in the bag. I was looking forward to eating that last cookie. I was prepared to fully enjoy it's chocolatey goodness, fully prepared to savor the double stuffiness, when something awful happened.

There were no cookies left. The cookie that I thought was still in the bag was just a figment of my imagination. I had already eaten the last cookie. And I didn't get to fully enjoy it.

It is a sad day indeed.

I had already eaten the last cookie.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

I went running today

I don't run.

Seriously. I passed out in 8th grade and came to with Mr. Tarr standing over me making sure I wasn't dead.

I don't run.

Unless I am being chased. And I don't get chased that often.

I can run for about 10 feet before I feel like crawling into a hole and dying.

I can power walk. I am great at power walking. I am great at power walking  while pushing Dylan in the stroller or carrying him in the backpack carrier. But I do not run.

Until today.

My neighbor called this evening and said that she was going for a run and asked if I wanted to join her. She was at lunch with me today and saw me eat like 5 pieces of pizza. If I said no, she would judge me. And if she didn't judge me, then I would judge her for not judging me. It's all very technical.

I said yes.

And I ran. Okay, well it was not running as much as it was slowly jogging while simultaneously trying not to trip and keep up with Angie.

I ran a mile. I actually ran a mile and I didn't trip. 

I ran for the first time since 8th grade. 

And guess what? I didn't die.

I may have to try this running thing again. Because those 5 pieces of pizza are not going to burn themselves.

Mommy's arms

I am watching Grey's Anatomy. There was a patient that went into multi-system organ failure and they had to unplug him. It reminds me of Brendan. Granted, we didn't have to "unplug" Brendan. But he was very sick and we chose to let him go to heaven peacefully, without machines beeping and tubes attached to his little body. 

I am glad that Jeff and I made this decision. Brendan had 2 great weeks at home and he went to heaven while in my arms on the couch. We both fell asleep (I tried to stay awake and talk to him and tell him not to be scared until he passed), but at 4 am I couldn't take it anymore and I just closed my eyes for a few minutes. When I woke up, Brendan was already in heaven. 

I think that God did this on purpose. If I watched Brendan turn blue and stop breathing I may have tried to bring him back and keep him here. That was not God's plan. Brendan needed to be home with his Father. I am so very glad that we got 2 weeks at home and that my first born son died in my arms, snuggled up warm and tight. 

That's what we all want, after all isn't it? When we are sick and not feeling good, we just want our mommy. And I am glad that the last thing I did for Brendan was to be there for him and let him snuggle in his favorite place in the world: my arms.