Monday, January 31, 2011

Day 5- Fun Fact

Um...? I'm not a super interesting person, to be honest. My life has followed a pretty straight path, and other than the semi-interesting, semi-sad fact of having been pregnant so often for a person my age, I'm having trouble coming up with something.

Wait, I thought of one. Apparently when I was four years old, I memorized The Velveteen Rabbit in its entirety and recited it to anyone who would listen to me. I actually have that famous "Real" passage from it framed in my kids' bedroom now (my mom found it for me!)

Oh, and here's something else kind of fun. Or FUNNY. I used to alternately plan on being, when I grew up: a nun (too many Sound of Music viewings) a missionary to India, or... AMISH. Or an actress, of course. A famous Amish actress! (Insert eyeroll here.)

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Day 5- Favorite Quote

I read a lot, and the best writers are the ones that are not afraid to quote OTHER writers, so... I know a lot of quotes. When thinking about my favorites, however, I referred to the journal that I kept while I was pregnant with Addy. About a week before she was born, it occurred to me that all I'd written about so far were the mundane details of pregnancy and of our preparations for her arrival. I thought it might be wise to give her something of my life philosophy to read one day, rather than just knowing what I craved and how much weight I gained and what color we painted her nursery. So here are the quotes I wrote down for Adelay five years or so ago.

They were mostly about God, faith, and spirituality, something I am always wrestling with and mulling over. I suspect I always will be, but the older I get the more ok I am with it. The more I wonder if in fact that how it's supposed to be. If I had a faith that I could simply sit with for company, well, I might be tempted to forget it was there, no? (Forgive me if I'm getting long winded here. It is Sunday- old habits die hard.)

I think a lot about the story from the Bible in which Jacob wrestles with an angel the night before a terrifying confrontation which was awaiting him. They fought all night long, and Jacob finally said, "I will not let you go until you bless me!" Jacob was by no means a paragon of virtue, but his tenacity seemed to keep him always on speaking terms with God, something I find pleasing whenever I hear his story. Abraham may have found God by faith- Jacob seemed to find him by dint of sheer stubbornness. But it was the same God, either way.

"We both believe and disbelieve a hundred times an hour
Which keeps believing nimble."
-Emily Dickinson

"For the God who fills human hunger is at the same time the Unknown, the Stranger. Only his absence-presence allows a person to be oneself."
-Jean Sullivan

"The other gods were strong, but Thou wast weak
They rode, but Thou didst stumble to a throne
But to our wounds, only God's wounds can speak
And not a god has wounds but Thou alone -Edward Shillito

"We know God exists because we miss Him."
-Perin Ireland

"Unclench your fists
Hold out your hands
Take mine
Let us hold each other.
Thus is His glory manifest."
-Madeleine L'Engle

"And the end of all our exploring
will be to arrive where we started,
And know the place for the first time."
-T.S. Eliot

Friday, January 28, 2011

Days 3 and 4

Whoops! Forgot to post last night- I was distracted by the FIVE sitcoms I watched all in a row, accompanied by a block of cheddar and glass of wine. How I love comedy night on NBC! How I love fattening, fattening cheese. AND how I love the fact that Jameson goes to bed easily and allows us to actually have grown up time at night. (He did actually fuss a bit last night, but he's been sick- of course!- the last few days, so it was an aberration from his norm, which is to coo while being swaddled, sigh and close his eyes once his back hits the crib mattress, then turn his head and fall asleep. Miracle child!)

Anyways, so: favorite TV show. At the moment my favorite show is probably 30 Rock. I mean, it never fails to deliver. And Alec Baldwin is so deliciously detestable, on screen and off, no?

But I kind of think the point of these sorts of blogging projects is to let people get to know you a bit better, so I'm actually going to reveal an OLD favorite show, which I watched reruns of in high school. You've almost undoubtedly never heard of it, and there were only a few seasons, but for whatever reason I LOVED this quirky show. (It was also on this show that I first heard Sarah Mclachlan's music, so it had that going for it too.)

I present to you... Due South

This show is also one of the reasons that Benton is permanently on my list of possible boy names.

On to day four! Favorite book. ACK. I have no idea, so I'm just going to tell you about the book I'm currently reading and love: Amazing Grace: A Vocabulary of Faith by Kathleen Norris. I've never read anything of hers before, and picked up this book by chance from my in-law's coffee table while I was nursing Jamie and looking for something to entertain me. It is SO GOOD, you guys. I thought it was going to be some kind of devotional, Bible study type book- which was fine- but it is so much different, and so much more fascinating, than that.

It's written by a woman who was raised a Presbyterian, left her faith for twenty years, became an author, writing teacher and poet, and then by happenstance ended up spending considerable time at a Benedictine monastery and in the small town church in which she was raised and had long ago left. She is now a pastor as well as a lay Benedictine- so she's Protestant AND Catholic, something I didn't even realize was... a thing. This particular book is about the language of Christianity, and each chapter examines a "scary" word that is often off-putting to both Christian and secular audiences- judgment for instance, or hell. (There's also quite a bit about feminism and religion, which I really found interesting.) And then she gives her own take on it, from the context of her considerable theological and church history studies as well as her own experiences.

There is SO MUCH I didn't know or realize about, for instance, how different the King James Version is from the original Greek and Hebrew texts, how much gets lost or mangled in the translation. So much I didn't know or understand about Catholicism. It's just a great, fascinating, eye opening book that makes you consider things in a totally different way. It's gotten wonderful reviews from lots of different sources, most of them nonreligious, so I can tell you even if you have no interest in Christianity per se, I think it's very interesting simply as a collection of historical and cultural essays. I (obviously) highly recommend this book. IN FACT, I love it so much that anyone who leaves a comment on this post today or over the weekend will get entered in a contest to win their own copy. (Seeing as how I need to order a new one for my father in law anyways, as I spilled my coffee on his copy. AHEM.)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Day Two

A favorite movie is a tricky thing to choose, MAYBE even trickier than the favorite song question. (Let's not even talk about favorite book. I think it's becoming clear that I am not a person given to choosing favorites.)

So anyways, let's just say I love many, many movies, but I'm going to cite my FIRST favorite movie, First Knight. The one I watched every single day for a month the year I was fourteen. The one in which I first discovered the concept of having a crush on an actor based purely on perceived sex appeal. (And now I have died at my keyboard of profound humiliation. Oh Richard Gere... I'm still waiting for you.)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Day One- Favorite Song

So I jumped on board to do this thirty day blog challenge thingie a lot of you all are doing too. I always avoid that national blog month business because what if I seriously have nothing to say? But since topics are provided in this challenge, I'm good.

So. Topic for day one: A favorite song

This is really hard, because I can think of at least five that I would call "favorite" right off the top of my head. Plus, there are at least five MORE that I am NOT thinking of but that, if they got played on the radio at the right moment, would totally be my favorite right then. Seriously, this question makes me about as twitchy as someone asking me to talk about "a favorite" child or sibling. JUST ONE? So anyways, this is a list of "favorites." Sorry, I'm breaking the rules already!

(The first links are to the lyrics; the second link is the music video. I really recommend The Killers' video if you only have time to watch one.)

-"Only Hope" by Switchfoot

-"For Me This Is Heaven" by Jimmy Eat World

-"When You Were Young" by The Killers

-"One Headlight" by The Wallflowers

-"Sunny Came Home" by Shawn Colvin

Sunday, January 23, 2011

January: Two Thumbs Down

So. Clearly I did not resolve to blog more often, or more interestingly. Ah well. Here's what's going on with me: everyone in the house seems to be taking turns being sickly, in varying degrees. Addy and Eli have both had flu, been running fevers on and off, and then ear infections (including a very traumatic trip to the doctor that involved having to hold Addy still while a nurse irrigated her tiny ear canals.) I fortunately got put on a proactive dose of Tamiflu when Eli was first diagnosed with influenza, so I've basically just been fighting it off. I felt run down and my throat hurt for several weeks, and it still does some mornings, but usually feels fine by the afternoon. Jim's finally getting sick now that the kids are mostly recovered, but fortunately the baby never had more than some sniffles and a bit of a cough.

UNFORTUNATELY, Eli seems to have some kind of intolerance for amoxicillin, because he has had diarrhea for days and days now. It started at the tale end of his antibiotic regimen, and he's been off it for twenty four hours now, so I'm really hoping the tummy troubles will clear up in the next day or so, or I guess I'll have to take him BACK to the doctor to see what could be bothering his system besides the medicine.

As you may imagine, this has all really thrown a wrench into my plans to spend every spare moment with my sister and Baby Smith. Stupid winter. Stupid germy disgusting winter.

Oh, also Jim's doing this Biggest Loser-type diet with his coworkers so we've been eating a metric ton of fruits, vegetables, eggs, and whole grains around here, and no one's had red meat in two weeks. Jim's lost almost fifteen pounds already, but he's also come close to blacking out a few times, so, uh, my jury's still out on how nutritious this is as a long term lifestyle. I also think I'm putting red meat back into my own diet because I noticed my milk supply taking a noticeable dip about a week into the Healthy Food Project. (Worst part about the milk decrease? Baby, who had been going to bed routinely around ten and not waking until four or five, suddenly awake and hungry three to four times a night again. Ouch.)

Fortunately we got that sorted out, mostly by my, uh, eating more, and drinking more water, but also eating oatmeal twice a day and drinking a giant Guinness one night. Who knows if those things actually help that much, but it feels better to be Trying Things rather than just nursing and nursing and hoping eventually things will pick back up.

Also! Early this month I lost my wedding ring, and was feeling really tragic about this, though I tried not to mourn it too much vocally because the kids would either get all sad for me or chastise me for losing something so special. Which, uh, is basically what I was doing myself. But lo and behold, Addy found it tonight! And guess where it was? Tucked into a tiny rip in her bedspread, nestled between the top quilt and the backing. A spot which I keep meaning to fix but haven't, and in which I've seen Eli ferret away little treasures of his own many times. So uh, I'm pretty sure how it ended up there, but I couldn't even muster up the anger to care because I was just SO HAPPY to have found it (and to not be the guilty party in misplacing it, since obviously it got put there by LITTLE HANDS NOT MY OWN.)

And... that's about it, for us. Basically the highlight of this month for me, other than Smith's birth, obviously, has been the return of The Office and 30 Rock Thursday night. Livin' the dream, here.

Monday, January 17, 2011

In A Perfect World

I so wish kids had some kind of hidden healthometer so that you could just flip a panel, glance at the screen and see whether they are:

"perfectly healthy but hungry and/or tired"
"perfectly healthy but needing some attention"
"feeling a little under the weather but sucking it up because they want to go to school"
"feeling a little under the weather but being a giant drama queen so they DON'T have to go to school"
"feeling horrible due to a raging ear infection but are backpedalling and saying they feel fine because they don't want to have to take more medicine."

Gah. Also, I'm already officially sick of winter.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

A Mother Is Born

Dear Baby Smith Eliot,

Yesterday was your birthday! You arrived so quickly you had everyone in shock- you must not have gotten the memo that first babies are supposed to take their time. You were six pounds six ounces, twenty inches long, and arrived about a week and a half before your due date. I like your birthday. January tenth has a nice ring to it.

You are super cute, and look almost exactly like your dad. But I think you have your mommy's eyes. And we all think you have her feet! You were very alert from the second you came into the world, and only cried for a minute before settling down to stare at all of us. Not because you weren't healthy - you got two Apgar scores of nine, much to your parents' relief. Your birth went about as perfectly as a birth could go, though, so I bet that helped. Your mom's water broke at ten thirty in the morning (while she was on the phone with the OB discussing whether or not her contractions were the real thing!) and you had emerged by ten after one in the afternoon. Everything went so fast your mom didn't even have time for the epidural she had finally decided she wanted. By the time the anesthesiologist got there, she was already pushing, and sent him away with a sigh of resignation.

She did so great though! I think the transition phase was the worst for her, the part which I unfortunately missed because I had gone home- when she was still just at four centimeters!- to drop off the baby and get a quick lunch. By the time I had come flying back into the room, she was ready to push, and had really figured out how to listen to her body. She closed her eyes and rested very deeply between every contraction- so much so that she almost seemed comatose sometimes!- and then when it was time to push, she got right down to work. Everyone kept saying how amazing it was that this was her first baby, because she really seemed to know what she was doing, and was being so brave!

And then there you were, and your mommy's face just lit up. She has been waiting to see you for so very long. When I came back later, after everyone was cleaned up and settled in, I swear my baby sister looked just a bit different than I remembered her. You have made her a mom, and I am so proud of her, and so happy to welcome her to the club!

With lots of love to you both,

Aunt Sarah

Saturday, January 08, 2011


Welp. Eli has an ear infection and tested positive for influenza b at the doctor's office. Addy now has the flu too, and is complaining of ear pain, so, probably another ear infection coming. They're both on Tamiflu, which by the way tastes TERRIBLE and is not easy to convince grouchy preschoolers to swallow. Baby's been sneezy and fussy, but thank God no fever yet. PLEASE DON'T GET THE FLU JAMIE. I feel like crap, all clammy and weak and achy, so the doctor put me on a prophylactic dose of Tamiflu to try to head it off. Which means that today at the pharmacy I spent.... drum roll of doom please... three hundred and seventy dollars. That makes me want to barf, flu or no flu.

On the plus side, I finally realized/remembered that if I need to hold Jamie to keep him happy, and am wishing to get on the computer at the same time, I can PUT HIM IN HIS CARRIER and still type with both hands while he's on my lap. Whew.

Also, I recently read an awesome book called The Piano Teacher. Jim picked it for me at Christmas, and I really really liked it and was so bummed when it was finally over. Don't you hate that about good books, how you can't put them down but then they're finished way too fast and you just wish you could go back to being only halfway through and still on the edge of your seat?

On the other hand, at least I'm not accidentally staying up until two thirty in the morning reading.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Personal Best in 2011, or, Mission: Lose The Sweatpants

So, resolutions... I'm never even sure if I want to make any, but I did think of a few that seem kind of important, not just "oh it's resolution time so I'd better come up with SOMETHING to better myself." They are important because the fact that I even have to MAKE these resolutions speaks to a tragic lack of self care bordering on lack of hygiene, even. It's pathetic. But here goes:

-Go to bed before midnight, preferably by eleven, even if things aren't picked up and tidy yet. Sleep is more important to my sanity even than a clean house, which became painfully clear the last few days when, after a stretch of three nights when I didn't get to bed until after two am, I was nearly incoherent with exhaustion. Also, not very patient or polite with my immediate family members. So. More sleep.

-Get dressed in something I wouldn't be embarrassed to wear in public by ten am. This is the one that's particularly sad and tragic, here. I realized it was becoming a problem when we were playing a game called ImaginIff with our friends the other night, and my question was, "Imagine if Sarah were a type of clothing. What would she be? ...And everyone chose BATHROBE. The choices were business suit, jeans, bathrobe, thong, and I think evening gown, and I blithely assumed everyone would choose jeans. Nope. Went to right to the bathrobe. Not a good sign.

-Make sure kids' faces are washed and hair is brushed each morning. More sadness here. But it's true that sometimes they can make it through a day without either thing happening, if they haven't eaten anything messy and it wasn't a Bath Day.

-Stop stressing when the house isn't tidy or I don't get around to deep cleaning stuff. I feel like the things I worry about are the things only I notice or care about. As long as everyone else is fed, has clean clothes and can find a path through the floor, they're happy, so I don't know why I fret so much about how regularly the tub is getting scrubbed. I need to focus more on things that effect everyone's general mood rather than just my own.

-Kind of on the flip side, I DO need to pay a little more attention to what triggers my descent into Bad Moods and then head them off at the impasse, so to speak. My own happiness is in fact very important to my kids, because once I'm grouchy there's not a chance the kids are going to stay pleasant and cooperative very long. It is in the entire family's best interest that I take care of myself to at least the extent that I don't feel exasperated/exhausted by the end of the day.

-Try to stay more connected to the two sisters who don't live nearby. I'm terrible about things like checking email and making regular phone calls, but I really need to make more of an effort to stay in touch with them beyond random text messaging. I feel sad and miss them when I DON'T make a point of talking. And, you know, I assume they feel the same. One hopes.

-Stop being late to everything, ftlog. I chronically underestimate how long it's going to take me to get out of the house with three kids. EVERY TIME, I underestimate. I need to just give in and PLAN on it taking a half hour from starting to get shoes on until we're actually pulling out of the driveway. Though, uh, I'm pretty sure I made this resolution last year. And every year since I got my driver's license and started being in charge of my own timeliness.

-And finally, enough of all this noble junk. No less than three of my friends from high school are getting married in 2011, and I am a bridesmaid in one of the weddings. I am WICKED excited, and I hereby resolve to have myself a darn good time, IF YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN AND I THINK YOU DO. I had a fairly lam-o bachelorette party personally, as all of my bridesmaids and I myself were under twenty one. And I was pregnant and on bedrest when I finally did turn twenty one. So this is my year to atone for those tragic personal losses in my young life. My mission is to be mistaken for a single, childless person without a care in the world at least once. :)