Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Whole Story

I got some bittersweet news the other day. I've been holding onto this story for awhile. I wasn't quite sure that I wanted the world to know my "stuff". More importantly, I want to go on living my life as usual, as opposed to "someone with..."

Well, let me back up and give you the whole story....

The day after I had Lillian, and while still in the hospital, I had what we are calling "an episode". I was laying in the hospital bed with a room full of visitors including friends and family (10 people to be exact), and I was trying to nurse Lillian. As I was holding her, my fingers started to feel numb. I thought "hmm, this is weird, I must have pinched a nerve or something". Then, my whole hand went numb. I immediately called Chris over to take the baby as I felt the numbness move up my arm. I still thought that it might have something to do with an IV that was in that arm earlier in the day. The numbness eventually moved through my arm into my shoulder and head, and down my torso and legs...all the way to my toes. My entire right side of my body went numb. When I started to talk, I could feel the right side of my mouth droopping. I pushed the button to call the nurse, and I could tell by the look on her face that she was concerned. She went to call the resident on duty. Then, as quickly as it started, I began to regain feeling in my fingers..then my hands and arms and so on. The entire "episode" lasted less than 5 minutes, but was pretty scary.

Over the course of the next day, I went through a few tests (CT Scan, EKG, EEG, Ultrasound, and MRI). The results all seemed indicative of MS (Multiple Sclerosis). So, while we should have been celebrating and taking Lillian home, instead, we had a bit of a damper put on our day.

Throughout this time, I was also telling everyone and reminding them of my family history with CADASIL.

As we left the hospital with the news that I probably had MS, I scheduled a follow up visit to the neurologist a few weeks later. The result of the follow up visit left me feeling a little discouraged, as the Dr. was pretty certain that I had MS and were ready to start my daily doses of protein shots. I once again reminded them of my family and CADASIL. I received a call a couple of days later requesting a genetic blood test and a Lumbar Puncture (spinal tap (which was not at all as painful as I expected)). The diagnosis was still MS, but the Dr's wanted to be sure to rule out everything.

Throughout this all, Chris and I decided to tell only some friends and immediate family. We did not want it to take over our lives, and we definitely did not want people always asking questions (especially when we didn't have answers). If you were not one of the people that originally heard the news, then I'm sorry...we were just attempting to rid our lives of any undue stress.

So, fast forward to December 8 (about 4 1/2 months after my initial "episode"), and I finally had another meeting with my Dr. The good news is that I don't have MS. The bad news is that I do have CADASIL.

Unfortunately, CADASIL does not have a "cure". I can potentially lower my risk by eliminating common risk factors in strokes, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes. I also have the pleasure of taking a baby aspirin everyday. I am choosing the grape flavor;)

While I was prepared for CADASIL, and am relieved that I don't have MS, I am still scared. I'm not so much scared for myself, but for my sweet, perfect little girls who now have a 50% chance of having CADASIL.

Well, I wanted to put this out there. I wanted it to be known, but I don't want to talk about it all of the time. This is one part of me, but does not define me.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Top Ten

After being a mother of 2, I've had some time to think and evaluate my job as a mom. So...I've developed my own Top 10 list of how you know that you are a mom....

10.) When your child looks like they might puke, you do not run away...instead, you form your hands into a cup, and shove them under your kids chin.

9.) You use your pinky finger to pick your childs' nose.

8.) You stop double checking your hair and makeup in the mirror before leaving the house, and instead, double check your back...to make sure there is no spit up running down.

7.) You wake up in the middle of the night, sleeping curled in a ball on the bottom of the bed, with no pillow...because your child is sleeping sideways on your pillow, and the bottom of the bed is the safest place NOT to get kicked.

6.) You switch purses, not to match your outfit, but instead to accomodate multiple diapers, juice boxes and toys.

5.) You have over 5 layers of nail polish on, because the only way your child would sit on the potty long enough to go #2, was to allow her to paint your nails...over and over and over.

4.) You've read more pages of "Good Night Moon", "Olivia", and "Go Dog Go" than you've read of any grown up magazines or books in the past year. (Hello...I have "The Lost Symbol", and "The Book Thief" sitting unread on the end tables).

3.) Instead of contemplating politics, world issues, or the meaning of life...instead you find yourself thinking..."why doesn't Little Bear wear pants?", or "Why is Dora's map so dang snotty?"..."Where the heck are Max and Ruby's parents?"

2.) You realize at 5pm that the only thing you've eaten all day was a spoonful of leftover mac and cheese and a half eaten apple slice with hair on it.....yet you still gain weight.

1.) You drive home alone in the car, only to realize that you were listening to your kid's CD the whole freaking way...AND singing along to 5 Little Monkeys...ARGHHH!

What would you add?


I love being a Mom. The End.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

National Coming Out Day

As some of you know, today is National Coming Out Day, and I am feeling compelled to come out in my own way. I want to come out as a full fledged, Ally and Advocate for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered individuals.

While I may not be gay, I believe that it is just as much my job to fight for equal rights for individuals and the individuals themselves. Some of the people closest to me are LGBT, and I love them, and I beleive that the overall world would be a better place if we were not only accepting, but celebratory about about all people. I feel that LGBT individuals not only have a place in our world, but make the world a better place by existing in it and being open and happy with themselves...so, here I am being happy with them.

Please know that while I use the term "coming out" as an Ally, I do not want to diminish the real meaning of "coming out", or make light of the importance of this day.

I bet that my audience of readers is split in regards to what they are thinking right now....

1/2 of you are probably thinking...well...duh Michele, we knew it all along, this is nothing new. You've seen me wear my "There are two types of women, Lesbians and those who wish they were" or "Gay...fine by me" shirts, or seen the Rainbow "Ally" Button, or "Safe Harbor" Sticker in my office. Anyways..to those that already know me in this capacity...welcome back...you can stop reading now!

For the other half of my friends, we may have never talked about this before. You may have never seen my shirts, stickers or buttons. We may not have talked since high school (when honestly...my views were quite different than what they are now).

So, why do I feel the need to "come out" as an Ally? Well, I think it's important for people to know where I stand. I think that as a straight person, I have lots of rights and priviledges that my lesbian and gay friends do not. The number one priviledge that I have is to sit quietly by, and choose to either care or not care about equal rights. My LGBT friends do not have that choice. Rights are removed from them everyday...from walking safely down the street ...to the right to marry. It's sad to me that people work so diligently to shut others' out...and remove their right to live the same way as others.

I hope that I live my life in a way that opens doors for others as opposed to closing doors. I pray that Chris and I are able to raise Avery and Lillian to be a caring, loving, open individuals. I want this next generation of children to be able to erase hate from the world, and fill it with child-like innocence and love. I know that if one or both of my girls come to me someday and tells me that she is lesbian, gay, bi, trans, or questioning...that I will open my arms to her, love her even more for her strength and continue to work to make the world a better place for her and everyone else.

Well, with that said...

Happy National Coming Out Day everyone!

MLDB

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

8 weeks later

There is a blog I love. I've mentioned her before at dooce.com. She is hilarious and poignant and all over sassy. I dig her.

ANYWAYS...the reason that I bring her up (again), is because she has 2 daughters too, and had her second daughter was born about 4 weeks before Lillian. In one of her earlier blogs, she described having two kids as
"...to imagine having a jazz band blasting an improvisational set in your left ear while listening to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir singing Christmas carols in your right ear, and there you are, a drummer in a rock band, and you're on stage in front of 30,000 people trying to keep the beat to an acoustic version of "God Save the Queen" by the Sex Pistols." (Could you find a quote MORE perfect for our family?)

Now, I wouldn't be that dramatic about it, because in all honesty, Lil is easy. She's a laid back baby with lots of patience and a sweet sweet smile that even makes her crying cute. Being a mom of two seems pretty natural. We've found the rhythm and are just praying that one of the girls doesn't all of a sudden go off the charts.

Our schedule is getting there. We're attempting to keep the beat. It's Marching Band season, which means that Chris is busier than normal, so I get to do more things on my own. Here's our normal week:
Monday- Wake up at 7:30-ish...shower and pump before kids wake up...Cal comes for the day....hang out all day with Avery, Cal and Lillian...stay sane. Have dinner ready by 5:15 so that Chris can be out the door by 5:30.
Tuesday--Wake up at 7:15-ish...shower and pump before the girls wake up...get Avery up and ready for school. Drop Avery off at school...work out...come home or hang out for 20 minutes, pick up Avery. Have dinner ready by 5:15 so the girls can make it back to campus for class.
Wednesday-Same as Monday
Thursday-Wake up at 7:15-ish...shower and pump before the girls wake up...get Avery up and ready for school. Wait for Cal to be dropped off. Drop Avery off at school...work out...come home or hang out for 20 minutes, pick up Avery. Have dinner ready by 5:15 so the girls can make it back to campus for class.
Friday-Same as Monday and Wednesday (without the rush on dinner)-BREATHE!

The nice thing in all of this is that the girls are making it pretty easy on me.
Like I said, Lillian is a pretty easy baby. She is happy to sit in her swing and just chill. She will lay on the floor and watch the kids run circles around her. She is on a pretty regular schedule of eating about every three hours. She starts stocking up at about 7pm, goes to bed at 9:30-ish and will sleep for about 6 hours before waking for her next feeding. We are lucky.

Now, that's not to say that there aren't challenges. Avery's bedtime has been a little difficult when Lily is wide awake. I've started giving them a bath together (Lil in her baby bath, while Avery is in the big bath with her). I'll read books to Avery with both girls on my lap, then attempt to lay Lillian down while I tuck Avery in (and lay down with her for a few minutes). It's tough to try to keep both girls happy enough to fall asleep at the same time. By the time I come downstairs to clean up, I'm exhausted. BUT, I don't dare go to bed because only God knows when I'll have a little time to myself again.

Tough time #2 is dealing with not having my body to myself. I feel like if I'm not hooked up to a pump, then I'm holding a baby, or having Avery climb all over me...it's tough. I love loving the kids, but sometimes, I need a little space.

I was so worried about having the love and time to spend with both of my girls. I've been proven wrong once again. There is no way that I could love either of my girls any more than I already do, which means that I make the time to give them that love. I can't believe that I am the mother of 2 beautiful little girls, and amidst all of the craziness, I know that I am blessed beyond belief.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Pumping....

nope...not iron. I wish. I should totally be working out more. Instead, this post is about pumping milk. I know..gross right? Well, suck it up, because being hooked up to a pump takes up such a large chunk of my life right now that I can't think of anything else to blog about.
Well, of course, there are my adorable and sweet little girls, and I should blog about them because I know that you would prefer to hear about them instead of my boobs. But...my boobs are the topic today...so deal.

I spend 20 minutes every three hours of every day pumping. That means that I spend about 200 minutes a day pumping hooked up to a machine that extracts milk from my body. Because of this, I have set up a pretty comfy little station upstairs in our bedroom. As I pump, I usually turn on a show from DVR or see what's on TV. The worst times are the times either in the middle of the night or when the DVR remote isn't working, and I can't watch TV. Do you know how long 20 minutes are when you're just sitting there? Well...it's long!
When the TV is working, I've watched hours upon hours of CSI (I LOVE THIS SHOW, and luckily it's on Spike almost all of the time), I've also watched lots of reruns of America's Next Top Model, even though I know how they end. It really sucks when the DVR remote won't work, and I'm stuck watching Wow Wow Wubbzy or some other Noggin show....arghh...and I can't change the channel...double ARGHH!

Other things I do to keep myself busy when the TV doesn't work are:
-Attempt to recall of the winners of ANTM (and runner's up)
Adrienne (Shannon)
Naima (Kaitlyn)
Eva (YaYa)
Nicole (Nik)
Danielle (Joni)
Caridee (Melrose)
Jaslene (Natasha)
Saleisha (Chantal)
Whitney (Anya)
McKey (Samantha)
and...I stopped getting CW, so no more ANTM :(

-Make up recipes in my head (only to fall asleep and forget them)

-Pretend I'm exercising and in turn getting skinny.

-Singing all of the words to various songs. Songs that I tend to sing/hum at night are:
Amazing Grace
Oh Canada
Baby Got Back
and others...

-Daydream about upcoming events
Sean's wedding
Avery starting school
Grocery Shopping
My next haircut

...oh yeah, and sometimes I fall asleep..only to wake up 45 minutes later with really sore boobs.

The End.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Birth Story


The day before Lillian was born

Lillian Michael Bookie was born at 8:16am on Monday, July 27th. I, her tired and slacker mother am just getting around to posting about it. I can't blame my lack of posts to the new baby, because I haven't posted since July 7th...I am just a slacker. The end.

Let me start by saying that this birth story is leaps and bounds different from Avery. Here's the brief version of Avery's story: I was 4 days overdue, went into labor at 1am (before I fell asleep), labored for 19 hours at the hospital, then begged for a C-section. Avery was born at 9:36pm at 6lbs 6oz, and was very anemic. All in all, it was an exhausting and emotional event. I was dramatic, tired, and overwhelmed. It was wonderful in it's own right, but it was pretty intense.

Lily on the other hand, was a totally different story. Chris was painting the basement until 10pm on Sunday night, and we left for the hospital at 5am on Monday morning...to say we were busy was a huge understatement. It was so different to KNOW exactly when we were having the baby. We hardly slept at all, and when I woke up at 4:15 to shower and pack, Avery woke up too...she stayed awake until we left then met us as the hospital at 6:45am with my mom. It was so surreal. The house was quiet, and we knew that we were leaving in order to have a baby...so odd.

Not my best look

We got to the hospital at 5:30am, where they were waiting for us. I spent about an hour filling out paperwork, and getting prepared. Brandie and my family started getting there around 6:45am, and we sat around waiting for my turn in the OR.

Everyone waiting (not so patiently), and Avery boinging her curls.

Finally, at about 7:45, I was escorted down to the OR, where I walked in to find 5 people getting everything ready. It was pretty indimidating to see all of the sharp instruments sitting on the table and to know that they were going to be cutting me open shortly. I was so awake and aware of everything, whereas with Avery, I was drugged, tired and blissfully unaware of what was going on. I walked in, sat on the table, and they started the spinal block. I was completely aware of how naked I was, and how many people were in the room with my bare butt exposed. I was laid down on the table, and Chris came into the room. I didn't feel anything. I made Chris talk to me so I wouldn't hear any weird noises, or wouldn't hear what the doctors were saying. The next thing I knew...there was a baby cry! It just happened...they said it was a girl, and I became aware of how sure I was that I was going to have a boy...I mean, I was SHOCKED to have another girl...very happy, but SHOCKED! She looked exactly like Avery, and I swore that I must have given birth to twins, just 3 years apart. She cried immediately, which was a great sound (Avery didn't cry..just sat and stared for a while), and I was able to hold her right away. Simply amazing!

Can you tell who is who?

After everything was said and done, we went to recovery, where we waited for about an hour until I was taken to my room. I got to feed Lillian for the first time (or try), and held her forever. It was such a surreal, and perfect experience.

We were taken up to our room, and everyone was finally able to meet her. We held everone off for a minute, and had Avery come in first. We wanted her to be the first one to hold Lillian. Avery brought in a bunny that she made for Lily at build a bear, and Lillian "gave" Avery her gifts (a baby doll and a book). Avery was as sweet as could be and didn't want to let go of her "new baby". There were lots of kisses shared and Avery thoroughly inspected all of Lily's fingers and toes.

She's the best big sister!

We had 10 more people pile into the room with us, so it was a little "much", and I got sick (for the first time). But, it all passed, and we were able to sit and relax a little with the new baby.
The rest of the hospital time was good. There were some ups and downs (which I'll blog about later), but all in all it was nice to "relax" a little before we came home. I sent Lily to the nursery for a few hours every night, so we got a little sleep. The nurses came in every hour or so, so it wasn't the most restful sleep, but it was sleep. Speaking of the nurses...they were great! I can't say enough about the nurses that helped us out. (Here's the shout out to Jessica, Kim, Sue #1 and #2, Barb, Bridgette...and the others that I am forgetting.) They were all wonderful and so attentive.

So...Lily is here. She is wonderful, and sleeps well, and is now eating well (I am pumping, so she is eating from the bottle...and eating a lot!). She lost 9.6% of her weight while in the hospital, so they almost didn't let us leave. She was also a little jaundiced, so we really needed to pack her full of food. I'm proud to say that she came home at 5lbs 9oz, and was 6lbs 1oz 4 days later. She weighed in at a whopping 6lbs 13oz at her 2 week appointment...so she is packing on the pounds, and growing like a weed!

Here's our Lily-bug.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Gro Babies Cloth Diapers

Chris and I have decided to cloth diaper the new baby, but are still researching the options out there. My sisters used cloth diapers as babies, but the new types of diapers have come a LONG way! Now, they have removable inserts, snaps, velcro and can be used from infant all the way through toddler/potty training. We figure that we will save at least $400-$600 by using cloth diapers. The biggest reason that I plan to cloth diaper is for environmental reasons. I used disposable diapers for Avery, and I figure that I've added way too much to the landfills already.

With all that said, I'm debating between a few different types of cloth diapers. I've received positive feedback in regards to BumGenius diapers, and have heard good things about Fuzzibuns too. I'm really intrigued by diapers made by work at home moms, but it's hard because they don't come with a lot of referrals. I also really like the idea of GroBaby diapers. We found them at our local baby boutique yesterday, and I love that they are organic, natural and come with snap in liners, so I only have to change the liners instead of the whole shell every diaper change. This leads to a lot less washes. Also, because the shells don't have to be changed everytime, we don' t have to buy as many diaper shells.

GroBaby is doing a free giveaway right now, so I am hoping to get a diaper to try out for myself. http://www.thenaturalbabyco.com/grobaby%E2%84%A2-ic-11_16.html

Let's hope it all works out! I still have to convince Chris about the cloth diapering...I think he's a little tentative about dealing with the nastiness.

Any suggestions out there are readily accepted!

Oldies but goodies

When I was pregnant with Avery, I started a blog over on MySpace (which I rarely use anymore). For whatever reason, I decided to check it out this morning and reread some of the blogs that I posted over there. I know that this is cheating by not posting a new blog, but here are some of the oldies from my pregnant days with Avery.
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Sunday, September 03, 2006
Hello friends and family,

First of all thank you all for your thoughts, prayers, visits and phone calls. It is amazing to Chris and I how lucky we are to have you all with us! Well if you haven't heard already, our little baby girl was born this past Thursday. So let's cut to the chase and give you the facts.

Avery RoseLea
Born: 8/31/06
Time: 8:38pm
Length: 18 1/2 in
Weight: 6pds 6oz
Her middle name is the combination of both of our mothers' middle names. His mom's name -Rose, and my mom's - Lea.

Avery and I are both doing very well. I had a C-section so we were at the hospital until this (Sunday) afternoon. Let me tell you, the birthing process is the scariest and happiest event of my life. After over 19 hours of labor followed by a C-Section, my baby girl was here...and nothing else mattered. Now, don't get me wrong...there was pain, but seeing her little face was the best drug in the world!
The second best thing in the world...seeing Chris as a dad. He is the best dad. I wasn't able to do much moving around, and he cared for her and I both for the entire time that we were in the hospital. He's so great!
Avery is perfect. The minute that I saw her, I knew that she was both beautiful and smart. I can't believe she is ours. She was much smaller than I expected. I mean...really, look at Chris and I...we were expecting at least an 8lb baby, so when she came out less than 7, everyone was shocked..even the Doctors.
Avery was a little pale when she was born, due to anemia and low hemoglobin counts, but she is doing much better. Her counts are up, and they aren't too worried. She also has a touch of jaundice, so we were sent home with a bilirubin blanket that she wears all the time. She is our sweet little glow-worm.

Talk to you soon,
Mama, Daddy and Avery
P.S. Chris is working on putting together a page of all of her pictures. We have taken more photos in the past 2 days than we did on our entire honeymoon.
--------------------------------
Sunday, August 20, 2006

Arghhh... no baby yet. I've realized that I have to preface every phone call, voicemail, e-mail and conversation with "no baby yet". I am one week away, but I have been praying that she will come early. If she is anything like her mama, she will be late because she is still trying to pick out the perfect outfit.

We've officially attempted everything to get labor going. I won't go into complete details, but we tried spicy Indian food...long walks, and some other stuff...and no baby.

AND....I ate a whole McDonalds cheeseburger today. I'm not sure what type of drugs they add to those things, but GOD it was good. Now, I just have to wait to see if I get ill tonight. On the other hand, if I go into labor tonight, it's back to Mickey D's all the way!

So, in the meantime, here we are...Chris and I...just waiting. I love this man! He rubs my swollen puffy feet, and doesn't make fun of my waddle. He even takes the blame when I burp in public. He's the best, but I know that deep down, he is hoping and praying that he will get his pre-pregnancy, less hormonal wife back soon.

So, hopefully the next blog will be a happy announcement.

Until then....the end.

MLDB


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Monday, July 24, 2006

I've hit the 5 week mark. 34 days to be exact! The nursery is done, her diaper bag is packed, all we need to do is insert the baby into the picture and we will be one happy family.

For those of you that have been following this pregnancy, here is what I have learned in the past few weeks:

1.) Once a stomach sleeper..always a stomach sleeper. I try to roll to my belly every night, only to find that I am laying on top of a bowling ball.

2.) Being pregnant gives you many rights that you never had before, like: taking the elevator up only one flight of stairs, eating ice cream ANYTIME you want, getting the front seat (even when someone else calls shotgun), and most important...acting crazy (blame it on the hormones).

3.) People will touch your belly whether you want them to or not. I figure...let em' touch it...shoot...I'm sure I won't even want to look at it once this baby is out.

4.) Pregnant clothes are MUCH more comfy than regular clothes. I am afraid that I won't want to make the transition back to button up jeans once it's time.

5.) Waking up 4 times to go to the pee is normal. Falling asleep on the toilet...is not, BUT-it's pretty darn convenient and saves you that extra trip to the bathroom later.

There's my Deep Thoughts..by Michele Lynn-Dick Bookie.

The End.

------------------------------

Thursday, June 29
Fryburgers

I have a problem. I haven't had red meat/pork in about 14 years. Now, at almost 32 weeks pregnant...I want a McDonald's cheeseburger.

As I am explaining my dilemma to my friend Brandie, she tells me about the fryburger.

You order a cheeseburger (no meat), and add french fries. So...I tried it!

It's not exactly what I remember a cheeseburger tasting like, but I do believe it did the trick! I don't want cheeseburgers...or fryburgers anymore!

So, when in doubt...make do. Now, if I can only find an adequate substitute for the ice cream that I want every minute of every day.

The End.

-----------------------------------
Wednesday, June 28, 2006

The nursery isn't done, and I'm still a few weeks from having this little one, but I think I am done. I'm not sure, but I think that I have experienced almost everything there is to experience in regards to pregnancy. I wake up AT LEAST 4 times a night to pee. I toss and turn all night. I can feel my little girl stretching into my ribs and my pubic bone at the same time. Sometimes I feel like I might have a foot-shaped bruise imprinted just to the right of my belly button. Only about 8 weeks left, but I sure hope they go fast..or I wish that I could at least sleep them away.

Being pregnant has been pretty easy, so I can't really complain...but I'm ready to be done for sure.

The End.

M

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Friday, May 12, 2006

...I am nesting. Well...not your traditional nesting, but I am shopping/nesting.

It's garage sale season. I have never been a big "saler", but I have become addicted. My child still has about 3 more months of belly time, and I have purchased more clothes for her than I have for myself.

I think I have a sickness. My baby is going to be the most frugally, but best dressed kid around.

So, if you see me lurking in your neighborhood, call Baby Clothes Anonymous...because I need help.

The End

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Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Current mood: contemplative

When I was in high school (and smaller than I am now). I wore this cute little two piece bathing suit to Cedar Point. I remember standing in line with my friends, and measuring who had the deepest belly button. I won by a landslide.

Now..I am six months pregnant. You would think that this baby inside me would help push the belly button out. NOPE. I still have a CRAZY deep belly button. It's insane to me...I swear that if I push in it, I will turn inside out.

That's my pregnant rant for the day. That...and my unborn daughter keeps kicking me directly in the "you know what".

The End

---------------------------------

Monday, April 10, 2006

Current mood: excited

GIRL!!!! We are so excited. I'm not surprised. I had a feeling all along that we were having a girl. I think that Chris is still reeling from the idea of having a daughter. He's already starting to "bulk" up for her first date. We got to see her kicking and punching and rolling all over the place. I think she is going to be a drummer just like her daddy.

Have fun everyone.

M

Friday, June 26, 2009

My MJ Memory

Thriller came out when I was in the first grade. My parents bought me the record, and I would open it to expose Michael in a white suit with the tiger cub, and give him little kisses.
My elementary school hosted a MJ day, where we were encouraged to dress up as Michael OR wear all of our MJ paraphernalia. So, I dressed in my 3/4 sleeve screened t-shirt, one woven glove and a zippered coat with lots of MJ buttons.
The principal came around to all of the classrooms and asked those of us that dressed if we were ready for the big contest. I (being 6), got in line and followed all the rest of the kids to the music room. As I stood with the other kids in the music room, I listened as each kid was introduced to the stage to be in a MOONWALK CONTEST...WHAT? I thought that this contest was to determine who had the best clothes? So, I cried. I walked over to the principal and told him that I didn't want to Moonwalk...I wanted my mom.
You know...I never did learn how to moonwalk.

34 months and 34 weeks

I get a weekly e-mail from babycenter.com, and have been getting them since I was pregnant with Avery. They send updates about pregnancy or child development. Since I've been pregnant this time, I've received 2 e-mails a week (one to chart the pregnancy and one to chart Avery). Anyway, there was a theme is this week's e-mails. Avery is 34 months and I am 34 weeks pregnant. I know it's meaningless, but it seemed like such an odd coincidence that I thought it was blog-worthy.

This coincidence also got me thinking about what it's going to be like to bring another baby home, and how different it will be this time. I feel like I spend more time thinking about Avery and her feelings and reactions to this child than I do spend thinking about the baby itself. I know that she is going to be a great big sister...I have no doubt. She plays baby all the time, and is always interested in helping (especially if a baby in involved). On the other hand...I love her so much that I can't stomach the idea of her feeling left out of anything. Tears are in my eyes right now as I think about the fact that she won't be able to spend the nights in the hospital with us. I'm so excited for her to meet her new brother or sister, but scared to death that my heart might explode from loving two kids too much.

I'm overwhelmed today. I have a million things running through my head. I haven't done ANYTHING to prepare for this child. Well, I guess I've done a few things (like gestating), like returning Avery's old bottles for BPA free, and dusted off the swing, and sorted through Avery's old cloths. But, other than that...nothing. Avery and the baby will be sharing a room, and we never took the crib down when we moved in...so that's done...but, that's it. I feel like I did so much preparing for Avery's arrival that this baby is getting the short end of the stick.

I'm also a little nervous about how I'm going to be able to balance it all. I'm really hoping to breast feed (better than I did with Avery), so how do I go about my normal day with a kid on my boob? I want to teach Avery patience, but I don't want to tell her "wait" all of the time and make her feel like she is second. I'm so thankful that I'll have Chris and family here for a few weeks (and my sisters moving in in August), but I also understand that it will be up to me to keep a lot of these balls in the air. It's going to be interesting at the least, and I'm sure there will be a meltdown or two along the way.

I know that I've mentioned my favorite
blogger before. Well, she recently had her second child, and gave a vivid (and very appropriate example considering our family's love of music and Chris's profession) about what it is like to bring a second child home.
"I think the best way to describe what it's been like to bring a second child into the family is to imagine having a jazz band blasting an improvisational set in your left ear while listening to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir singing Christmas carols in your right ear, and there you are, a drummer in a rock band, and you're on stage in front of 30,000 people trying to keep the beat to an acoustic version of "God Save the Queen" by the Sex Pistols."

Oh God....what have I gotten myself into?

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Daddy's Girl

I am really blessed to have a husband that is really involved with parenting. He is a great husband and an even better dad (even when he does Avery's hair in a CRAZY ponytail, and dresses her in old t-shirts). I realize that being a stay at home mom would never work for me if Chris weren't willing to come home and pitch in. He sweeps in, takes care of business, and usually gives me a much needed break.

On the other hand, I'm jealous. Because Chris works everyday, Avery has an opportunity to miss him. She never misses me (because I'm always here). Between Avery missing Chris, AND her developmental phase (hello Freud)...she is going through a HUGE Daddy phase. I can't compete. She wants him for everything. He has to put her to bed. He has to give her a bath. She wants to be next to him, holding hands and snuggling all the time. Don't get me wrong...she still seeks me out when she needs a drink, or gets hurt, or is tattling on the other kids. I just don't get the snuggles as much now as Chris does. I have to wrestle her in order to get a goodnight kiss.

This Daddy phase may be really good timing, as we prepare for the new baby, maybe she won't get as jealous when I have to spend time with the new baby. She'll have Chris's attention..but maybe she'll start to miss me a little too.

Part of me is happy for the relief, but the other part of me hopes she grows out of this stage soon.
I love this little girl more than I can explain...I make sure to tell her everyday, and I'll wait until she wants to be Mommy's girl again.


Thursday, June 18, 2009

Great Wolf Lodge

We had fun...we played in the water...we were tired...we came home...the end!

Avery was a daddy's girl for most of the weekend.


Here's the bed that Avery never slept in. She insisted in sleeping in our bed instead. No romance for Chris;)


Avery's favorite activity was sitting in the "warm pool"....she's definitely my kid! (Please ignore the overly large woman sitting next to sweet Avery. She showed up in the mirror one morning, and won't leave until after July 27th).


Avery had a "friend pick-up line". She would go up to little girls and say "Where's your mommy?" in a concerned voice. Then she would say "what's your name". It was sweet. After meeting the friends for a few minutes, she would give them a hug and move on.


Here's the slide that we spent HOURS on.


All in all, it was a great weekend!

Avery wants to be married...

Last night, all three of us were in the kitchen. Chris had a glass of soda on the counter, and I helped myself to a drink.

Avery watched and said "Mommy, you drank Daddy's pop."

I said "it's ok Avery....Mommy and Daddy are married...he has to share with me!"
Avery said..."Oh, I'm married too",

so I replied "nope, Avery, you are not married to us yet. We are a family and you are my daughter...so we are all together, but only Mommy and Daddy are married."

Avery immediately made a sad face, and started crying.
All she could say was "I want to be married too".

This poor kid hates being left out!
As I tucked her in last night, she was still talking about being married.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Our vacation activities....

We got a much needed break last week. I was SPENT, so it was a welcome change, and a great opportunity to just relax for a couple of days.

Avery and I went to Romulus to spend some time with my family while Chris was hiking. We got into town on Saturday and picked up my Grandma to go to my cousin Joseph's grad/going away party. He has joined the Army, and will be heading out to basic training on July 1. The party was fun, and Avery made new friends...and blew lots of bubbles!

After the party, we went home with my mom, and had a nice relaxing evening at home, with just the three of us. It would be the last night before my sisters came home! My mom was a saint on Saturday night, as she took Avery for the night, and I slept all night in her bed....it was amazing!

On Sunday afternoon, we went to pick up Jessica and Jennifer from the airport. They were gone for 4 1/2 months, and we really missed them. It was so good to see them both again, even if they did come back skinnier than before. They both looked very European as they showed up with cool little funky hats. We didn't give them much time to relax, as Grandma came over right away to see them, then we all went out to dinner for Stephanie's (my future sister-in-law) birthday.

On Monday, I was able to sleep in with Avery, and we spent the afternoon shopping for bridesmaid's dresses for Sean and Steph's wedding in October. To be accurate....we shopped for Jessica and Jennifer's dresses, while I sat by...all large and pregnant...wondering how the heck I'm going to find a bridesmaid dress that fits and doesn't make me look like a magenta house. Jessica and Jennifer looked wonderful in all of the dresses that they tried on. Maybe I'll do a post with all the pictures of them in their dresses so you all can vote!
During this time, my dad was in Texas for a week, so Avery and I surprised him at the airport to pick him up on Monday night, then went directly to Jessica and Jennifer's softball game for the last inning.

Since everyone had to work on Tuesday morning, Avery and I went out on a date morning. We saw Up in 3D, and did a little shopping. Avery picked up a new backback for our upcoming "vacation", and had snacks and came home to relax.

We woke up and left on Wednesday afternoon, (after eating Captain Nemo's for lunch) and came home to find THIS!

Luckily, our vacation wasn't over yet. We left on Thursday for Great Wolf Lodge up in in Traverse City for 2 nights. This week was a MUCH MUCH needed break, and I am so happy to have had a few days to relax and spend time with my family.

Look what Daddy did!

Avery and I went to Romulus for a few days since Chris went on a hiking/camping trip with 20 5th graders (bless his heart). We left on Saturday in order to make it to my cousin's grad/going away party. Chris didn't leave until Monday, so he had 2 days to hang out around the house by himself. He promised me that he would get the house cleaned up. When I came home, I found that the house was picked up....and I saw THIS in the backyard. Avery LOVES it, and we are excited for hours and hours of fun times out here!






By the way...stay tuned for a more thorough report on our Romulus visit.

Stuck in a well....

Um....er....I mean, I was lost in the jungle...or uh....caught in traffic somewhere...yeah...that's it..I was caught in traffic...that's why I haven't written in a while.
The real reason that I haven't blogged in awhile is because of this...


Yup, you're seeing correctly. There's the usual suspects, Avery and Cal...plus 2 more. Maddie (who is 2 months) and Mason (is 3 and is Baaaccckkk). So, for about 3 weeks, I had 4 kids during the day (5 if you count Alex afterschool), all while 7 1/2 months pregnant, and tired. Needless to say, I haven't really been up to blogging, or cleaning the house, or eating, or doing laundry for that matter.

So, you take 5 kids, and a husband who decides to sledgehammer the basement, and what do you get?....an ornery pregnant woman. On a positive note, I got to see how Avery was going to handle being a big sister. She is going to be great. In fact, the first thing she asked when she woke up this morning was "Where's Maddie", and looked sadly at the empty baby swing. She was very helpful...wanted to help feed the baby and change the baby. She even learned to unsnap Maddie's onesie so that she could zerbert her belly. Maddie loved Avery too. She would lay on the blanket on the floor, and watch Avery and the kids play and play. Avery would stop every few minutes, and give Maddie a kiss...and keep on playing. It was all very sweet.

After everything is said and done, I think we are ready for our little one to get here. The hardest thing about watching a 2 month old was keeping the big kids out of her face. Hopefully, we are just as lucky in 7 weeks when our baby is born.

By the way...I'm still ornery and tired...just not as much;)

Friday, May 22, 2009

Klompin' Dee



I'm way behind...I admit it. The Holland Tulip Time festival was the first week in May, and here I am...weeks later...finally posting about it.
For those of you that don't know, Tulip Time is a HUGE event around us. While I've only been to the parade (and ate lots of good food), this year, we made our way out to see some good ole' fashioned Dutch Dancing. It was a lot of fun...the costumes were really something to see and the dancing was really interesting!


I have to admit that the real reason that we went to see this fantastic spectacle, was because we know our very own DUTCH DANCER! Chris's stepmother, Denise, participated in this year's alumni dance. They performed every evening for a week (and sometimes twice). I didn't know what to expect...and this really surpassed any expectations that I might have had. There were hundreds of dancers that lined the street and did the same dance. Some were VERY serious, while others seemed to have a lot more fun (Dee included). We were so proud of her, and felt very authentic walking around with her in her costume and eating carnival food after the dancing.
....and the best part about the whole night? CARNIVAL LEMONADE! I could seriously drink my weight in carnival lemonade. I mean..it's equal parts sugar, lemon juice and water...how much better can you get?
Oh yeah...back to the dancing...it was great fun! Here...see for yourself!

video

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Two Avery from today....

Me: Avery, you have to put on pants to go outside.
Avery: I don't want to wear pants...it's warm out.
Me: Everyone does not want to see your bear butt.
Avery: Jesus loves my butt


Today is the first time that I let Avery go outside to play without me. She thought that she was pretty hot stuff! Of course, I watched her closely from the window and had my shoes on, ready to run outside. Avery spotted me spying on her and said "Mom...don't watch me. I'm BIG!"

You spin me right round like a record

I often say that there are certain phrases that I should just record so that I can just push play nad save myself the breath. Here's a list of the multiple phrases that I say OVER AND OVER AND OVER to the kids on any given day:

Don't pick your nose.
Go get a kleenex.
DO NOT put your finger in your mouth!
Stay in the backyard.
Please use your nice words.
What do you say? (answer: Please or Thank You)
Practice your patience!
Please sit down to eat.
Two more bites.
Please chew with your mouth closed.
NO MEAN HANDS!
Put Maggie (our kitty) down.
Choose your attitude carefully!
1....2.....3....
Be Gentle!
Slow down.
Hurry up.
You're being silly.
Time Out!
I Love You!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Happy Birthday Brandie!

Today is a very special day...it is one of my closest friend's birthday. Brandie and I met in grad school at NCSU. She was my host when I came to campus to interview, and we were able to become friends when I came back the following fall. After knowing Brandie for just a few days, she decided to "swat" me on the bottom (baseball player style). I didn't realize this, and stopped in my tracks...causing her to take a handful of my butt. Brandie was afraid that by touching my butt, she had lost me as a friend forever, but I knew that I had made a forever friend! In honor of my butt-grabbing bud, here is a top 10 things to know about Brandie:



1.) She is a fashionista (who also wears Crocs and Uggs and old T-shirts)
2.) She has an enormous shoe collection. ( Luckily, we wear the same size, although my feet are much fatter!)
3.) She is married with 2 kids (Alex and Cal...you should recognize their names).
4.) She and her husband are just like Carrie and Doug from King of Queens.
5.) She worked as a hostess in the food industry for ONE day, but has been able to work with college students for over 12 years.
6.) She was a dancer for many many years, and can still do a jitterbug-type dance that leaves us on the floor laughing.
7.) When something is really funny...She has a contagious, crazy and very LOUD laugh.
8.) She has an eye for a bargain. She finds the greatest stuff at garage sale prices! She also has the patience of a saint when it comes to waiting for something to go on sale at Target.
9.) She can bake a MEAN brownie!
10.) She has become an additional sister to me. Avery LOVES her, and we all consider her family.

Love you Brandie...Happy Birthday!


(By the way...I totally stole this blog idea from Anne!..Thanks Anne!)

Monday, April 27, 2009

Little Reminders

I had a rough day today. There wasn't much in particular that made it a hard day. I woke up on the wrong side of the bed (after having a really weird, disturbing and "off" dream...maybe I'll blog about it later). The day just seemed to wipe me out from there. Avery woke up a little earlier than usual, and as soon as Cal got here, they started arguing. I don't know if this can be blamed on the pregnancy, or just grumpiness, but it was just a yucky day. I mean, we did some cool stuff, so it should have been a good day (lunch out, gymnastics class, Alex's spring program), but it was rainy and dreary, and I was just crabby. Then...when we got home, Avery was just demanding. She yelled about "needing a drink and a snack", and when I told her to practice her patience, she said "no...I will not practice!". I was tired, and I needed a break from kids (where no relief was in sight until Chris got home). I started feeling annoyed with Avery, which is a feeling that I rarely have. I finally told her that she was not being nice to mommy, and mommy was NOT going to get her a drink or a snack until Avery started being nicer. She turned her behavior around and was sweet as Chris took her off to bed. I, on the other hand am still grumpy and teary eyed (for no reason). I need to go to bed and start over tomorrow.

Before I go to bed, I feel the need to refocus. I need to take a second to write down the things that I love about Avery. I need to remind myself that the things that annoyed me today are also the things that usually make me proud to be her mommy. She has an opinion, and stands up for herself, and will not be ignored. Here's a list of her unique opinions the reasons why I need to suck up my issues and foster her opinions more, instead of squashing them.

She wants me to blow on her clothes, to warm them up a little before I put them on her. She wants to buckle herself in her carseat, and tighten it. She wants to go potty by herself, and tell me "I went without you." She does not want to hold my hand in a parking lot, nor does she want to be carried, but will grab on tight as soon as she sees a car. She wants me to warm up her blanket "just to warm it up a little" in the dryer. She wants one, specific story before bedtime and no other story will do...lately it's been a book of nursery rhymes. She wants to use Mommy's lips (lip gloss). She wants her crocs. She does not want to share her balloon with Cal, nor does she particularly want him to hold the bubbles or choose a movie. She does not want anyone else to fetch something for her. She wants to set the table herself. She tells you "one second" if she's not ready yet. She does not want to wear socks. She does not want help getting in the tub. She is "fimming;" she does not want to get out of the tub. She does not want to go to take a nap because the "sun is still awake". She "can do it myself." She "did it!"

She is a spitfire, and because of all of these things, and more...I love her spunk. I love her independence. I love her opinions. I love her stubbornness. I love her sassiness. I love her.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Lighten things up a little.

Well, since my last post was a little on the heavy side, this post will be a little lighter. Well, I guess if you consider my "top 5 people I want to punch in the neck" as a lighter post. I find if funny that my follow up post to the "religion post" is so violent. I guess I didn't want to lose my "edge". My inspiration for this post came from a facebook thing that's been floating around, and ALSO from food network. I just came down from putting Avery down for her nap, and one of the most annoying people EVER was on TV....which leads me to the.

#1 person that I want to punch in the throat- Sandra Lee. This arrogant, snotty, patronizing woman drives me up a wall! Unfortunately, she has some pretty good, easy recipes, which makes me even more mad! I HATE that she decorates her stupid kitchen to match her stupid theme for the stupid day (who does that? Who has a kitchenaid mixer in every color? who has time to go to the craft store just to get something to match her pea risotto?). I HATE that she never does the back of her hair (does she think that she we won't notice when she turns around? If you have the time to match your outfit to the color of the kitchen, then please find the time to run a brush through your hair!). I HATE that she thinks that everything she does is "the best", or "perfect", or "brilliant". (seriously...it's peanut butter and jelly...using a cookie cutter does NOT make it "brilliant"). Finally, I HATE that her "tablescapes" all have to have a theme, and are typically butt ugly. I don't have the time or energy to make a separate table cloth to match each type of meat I make. I don't have the energy to make placecards out of seed packets each time my parents come to visit. I definitely DO NOT CARE enough to make sure that I have a centerpiece that is made from a mixture of dollar store crap, Michaels junk, and tulle. Stuff if Sandra...if I met you in an alley...I would punch you in the neck (then I would ask you how to make your famous Beer Cocktails).

#2 person that I want to punch in the throat- Ann Coultier. Enough said. I don't think I've ever heard anyone who is as hateful and condescending as her. If I weren't so afraid of her amazonian stilletos, I would totally challenge her to a cage fight.

#3 person that I want to punch in the throat- Donald Trump. I get it...you're rich and successful...but that does not make you better than the rest of the world. He's' arrogant and rude. He makes people feel bad about themselves, and places judgement on people like his name is Judy. Of course, I watch the Apprentice when I can catch it, but I do not watch it from the kneeling position, awaiting the opportunity to kiss his feet. With all that said...I would LOVE to borrow (ie...have) about a million dollars from him.

# 4 person that I want to punch in the throat- Mariah Carey. I know that her relationship to Tommy Matolla was not good. BUT, I miss the Vision of Love Mariah. I miss her one skimpy black dress, and big curly hair. In the past few years...she's been a HOT MESS, and I'm not just talking about her "breakdown". Have you seen the crap that she has been wearing? It's getting shorter and nastier. The worst part is that she does this crazy dance (that really isn't a dance) that makes it look like she is having sex with herself. The dance screams (HELLO...I'M REALLY INSECURE WITH MYSELF, AND I NEED TO BE OGGLED IN ORDER TO FEEL IMPORTANT!)

#5 person that I want to punch in the throat- Paris Hilton. Has she made any real contribution to the world? I know that there were some sad people that wanted to be her friend on VH1, and she was so important that she could only choose one. BUT, what makes her important? I'm confused...why is she considered someone to watch? Why do people care what she wears or says, but more importantly...why do people want to be her friend? I guess I understand a little...I mean, if I were her friend, I would totally borrow her jewelry and purses (because that's the only stuff that would fit me), but other than that...I don't get it. She seems to have ZERO personality, and even less charm or worth to the world around her. At least I know that if I ran into her in an alley (and she didn't have bodyguards or Brandon Davis around to call me fire crotch), I could totally take her...all it would take is a kick to her skinny shin, and she would drop her drink and say "that's not hot"...and cry.

Now, there are a lot more people that I believe could use a nice punch in the throat, honorable mentions go to:
Sean Hannity
George W. Bush
Dennis Rodman
Heather Graham
Celine Dion

I know that this post was not nice.

The End.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Getting something off my chest...

So, there's been this "thing" rattling around in my brain for awhile. This "thing" is difficult to talk about because I'm afraid that it might hurt some feelings, or rub some people the wrong way. This "thing" is church. Now, I know that most of you that read my blog, know me. You may or may not know some or all of my history in regards to church and religion. Some of you might have attended the same church as me, or still attend the church. While, I have never been hurt or persecuted for my beliefs, I haven't always felt comfortable with the part that religion played in my life.

For instance, growing up, church was never a decision that I made for myself. For awhile, I was driven to church , because I was too young to make the decision. I liked it...I got to hang out with friends, and be a "part" of something, even if I didn't know what that "something" was. I did have a few issues and struggled with a few different teachings. Two in particular really scared me. I grew up Baptist, and my best friend attended church next door, which was Catholic. On more than one occasion, it was said that "our neighbors (insert pointing gesture to the Catholic church) may not be in heaven when we get there, because they a.)put too much emphasis on Mary, b.) don't believe in the same things that we do or c.) have not been saved". Now, to a young kid, this was hard to grapple with. So, what I am hearing is "I won't get to spend time in heaven with my best friend?" The other issue I had scared me even more. After my great-grandmother died when I was only about 10, I realized that she never really talked about going to church, so...did this mean that she wasn't "saved"? Was I really never going to see my Great-Grandma again? This was really heavy stuff for a kid to deal with.

Moving on toward high school, I remember feeling lost and left out because I went to a public school. I didn't feel like I was a "good enough" Christian, because I didn't attend the Christian school. I even begged my parents to send me to the private school for my Senior Year. (thank goodness my mom said no!). I dated boys that were not Christians, and brought them to church with me. It was always tough...I never felt like we were "welcome", nor that it was OK to date. Church still wasn't an option for me, other than something that I was either forced, or guilted into. As I look back, I don't think that attending church was ever a decision that I was able to make for myself. To this day, I still feel horribly guilty if I choose not to go to church when I stay at my parent's house. (Let me interject, that my mom was never a part of the pressure, in fact...she was just the opposite).

When I went away to college, things really started to change. I started thinking that things didn't "jive" with me. Specifically, I struggled with the pro-life/pro-choice debates and the anti-gay stance that the home church had. When I moved in with two male friends for a summer, and was told by a few people (and heard other rumors about me) that originated in the church, I knew that the church wasn't for me. I felt judged for doing nothing wrong. I felt like an outsider, and was made to feel like a bad person for living with people that made me feel safe. Seeing petitions at the back of the church, and hearing the anti-gay sentiments further confirmed my belief that I could no longer be a part of the church.

Now, being a part of the church was not all bad. I've met some really great friends, and people that I look up to. The late Mrs. Simonds, Mrs. Anderson, and Mrs. Dobbins are still some of the most caring and honest people that I have ever met. All three of these women were strong in their own ways, and regardless of their beliefs, lifted each person up. I have a lot of really fond memories of my times at church, but very few of these memories have anything to do with feeling "good" about what I heard from the pulpit, or feeling "moved" by the various testimonies. The reality is that with as many friends that I met through the church, there are just as many, if not more, people that I really struggled with. I had a really hard time with the gossip, back-talking and overall meanness and guilt.

The church that I grew up in split twice. The first time was in 1987, and while I don't remember much, I remember that there were a lot of hurt feelings and animosity around the split. When it happened again just a year ago, I couldn't believe it. I won't go into the reasons for the split, but I will say this- If you love your Christian brothers and sisters in the church as a family, then allowing another church "split" is never an option. It's the opposite of love...it's selfish.

I've realized a lot lately. I realized how imperfect people are. I look around everyday. I read the news, and listen to the radio. I watch TV, and interact with friends, neighbors and family, and see imperfections. I see how we people have harmed our planet, and hurt each other both physically and emotionally. I see how we have interpreted the Bible for our own good, and use it against one another when convenient. I see how people judge one another to make themselves feel better, and, how mean we can be.

On the other hand, I witness God's perfection every day. Each time I look at Avery, or feel my belly move from kicks, I know that God is perfect. Or, every time that I see the rain, or my tulips pop through the ground, I know that God knows what he is doing.

It always seems to be a little arrogant to assume that imperfect people can understand a perfect God.

For the past few years, my dad has said repetitively "you and Chris need to find a church", or "Avery is really smart, she needs to be in a church" My response has been "I'm not hiding from God, but I am in hiding from the guilt, judgment and people that inflict these things." I know that my dad is doing what he thinks is right, but that doesn't mean it's right for me. I don't think he has seen or realize what I've felt or gone through. All he cared about was that I was in church. I'm a little tentative to jump with both feet back into a situation that didn't feel good before. I'm definitely going to protect my daughter from feeling the same way that I did. She will never be forced into something that she doesn't feel. Church and religion is something that I have to come to on my own terms. I will give Avery the chance to make up her own mind too. I have a lot of religious baggage to shed before I can open myself back up to people in a spiritual way. My relationship with God is still strong...it's his people that I don't always trust.

With that being said, I decided to attend church yesterday. It was the first time in a LONG time that I decided ON MY OWN to attend. I wasn't pressured into it, but walked in with my eyes wide open, and was still skeptical. I did a lot of research ahead of time, and talked to a lot of people about their experience. I had a great time. Mars Hill is HUGE, so I can disappear when I want to, and be involved when I want to. I don't have anyone looking to see what I'm wearing, or if I'm singing along. As the pastor said, they "are aggressively non-partisan", so I won't see any petitions, or watch any anti-gay skits there. The church is focussed on Love and Service to all people (not just loving and giving to other Christians). It was refreshing. I liked to look around and see everyone in jeans and dreadlocks, and piercings and tattoos. Apparently, there are about 11, 000 people that attend the three services every week, so there are LOTS of different people in attendance. I liked it. I liked it a lot. I'm not prepared to put my name on any member rosters yet, but I might go back...or I might not.

Either way, it will be MY decision this time.