Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Pretty in Pink

As a stay at home mother that has received a BA in psychology from Georgetown College and who is currently on hiatus from pursuing a Master of Divinity in Pastoral Care and Counseling from Baptist Seminary of Kentucky,  I try my best to pay close attention to how I raise my own daughter in this ever changing world for women.

I want my daughter to grow up knowing that she can do ANYTHING, ANYTHING that she puts her mind to.  

I must admit that it is a bit strange for me to tell people that I am a stay at home mother, that I have CHOSEN that for myself and in the same breath try to explain how feminist I am.  In fact, I would like to believe that I am so feminist that I see it as a woman's right to stay home to raise her children if she so desires.

I get REALLY aggravated at other feminist women who take it upon themselves to pity me for staying home to raise my children. I feel that some feminist have gone over the edge when they completely dismiss the caring vocation of a mother for her own children.  I LOVE being able to care for their simplest of needs while they are still young.  Although some days are better than others I truly feel being a mother to these two children is my vocational call  at this point in my life.

I digress......  

I want to raise my daughter to value BRAINS over beauty.  
I don't want the disney princess to eat her (a reference to a book ).  
I want her to be raised to know her true inner value as a human being.  
I want her to be strong and confident in her woman hood.  

A friend posted a link on facebook to this article about how to talk to little girls.  I found it to be a good reminder to bite my tongue when I feel the urge to give Anna more praise for dressing in her little princess dresses than I do when she is sitting under a shade tree reading a book.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

A Kentucky boy and girl in Tampa

The house is quiet, clean and a load of laundry is in the wash.  
It is that peaceful eerie calm that I can't manage to fully enjoy.  
The kids are at the grandparents (they've been there for 9 days), Roger is at a meeting and I am already in my PJ's at 5pm.

I miss the noise.
I miss the kids.

Roger and I just got back from a week long stay in Tampa.  

It was wonderful!  

The most wonderful part, besides the getting to spend time together IN TAMPA without the kids, was the fact that our flight and rooms were paid for by the scholarship that Roger has through his seminary.  

It is a pretty sweet deal!  

The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship has selected Roger as one of their leadership scholars so they help pay for seminary AND fly him out each year for the General Assembly of Cooperative Baptists.  
Each year I tag along. 
We have a blast acting like newly weds without kids!

Tampa was everything I expected it to be. 
Beautiful, Classy and HOT.  

It made this Kentucky girl feel as if she were in Hollywood.     
Palm trees, MASSIVE personal boats, sports cars I have never seen before, restaurants with crazy looking marble statues in the middle and people actually wearing white suits.

Not to mention surf shops with REAL LIVE surfer dudes who actually caught sharks with spears.  WHAT??  People still do that?

But alas, I am a sucker for Kentucky.  
I just love this place.  
I love that no matter where you are you feel like you are in the middle of nowhere.  
I love the green....... trees, grass, weeds.   
Palm trees are just not my thing. They remind me of Dr Seuss books so I keep looking for the Lorax and I can never manage to find him.

When our plane touched down I could smell the GREEN of Kentucky!  
As we were driving home I was in awe of the beauty of I65 lined with rolling hills full of massive green trees, thick with green weeds.     

HOME!!! We're HOME!!  

I prefer the lake and a creek to the ocean.
Don't get me wrong I understand the beauty of the ocean but the beauty of a small creek lined with trees is more ME!  
Give me a cabin on the lake and I'd love ya forever.

We pulled into our drive way a little before dusk.
Before walking inside to rest my tired little head I stood on the front porch bare foot listening to the crickets, smelling the approaching thunderstorm and watching the flashes of those funny little flying bugs.  
All the while thinking to myself "This is where I belong! This is MY happy place!"

Saturday, June 18, 2011

The Simple Life

I just pinched my leg with the lap top.  Have you ever done that?  OUCH.

I'm so giddy!!  
I'm sittin' here in the house COMPLETELY ALONE ( no children, no husband), snacking on some delicious pretzels, thinking about the awesomeness that happened to me today.

 First let me start off by explaining that I get PURE JOY out of the simplest of things. 
 I mean, seriously, I have had people look at me SO STRANGE over the things that make me so giddy.  I'm not too good at hiding my emotions so my joyful EXCITEMENT tends to take the form of me jumping up and down yelling "WOW I AM SO HAPPY!!! THAT IS SOOOOO EXCITING!!!"

My daughter is the same way.  Or maybe it's just that she is 3 years old.  
oh my gosh.  
Do I act like a 3 year old?   

Yesterday I decided to knit Anna (my 3 year old) a cardigan. I loaded her on the back of my bike, in her little seat, and we headed off on a short bike ride downtown to the yarn shop.  

Back to the simple things.  
I seriously get PURE JOY out of riding my bike places.  The world seems to slow down, the trees become even more green and I morph back into a small child who thinks she is a character in a story book.

Anna sat in her little seat with her little helmet on, holding my purse.

When we got to the yarn shop she went straight for the purple yarn "I want this one.  oh mom it is SO gorgeous."  She picked up the purple yarn, gave it a big squeeze and started to dance.

Yep!  That's my daughter!

Today on my way back from dropping the kids off with the in laws I stopped at a consignment shop that I have admired from a distance since November.  
It is a consigment shop that sits a little off the road between Elizabethtown and Somerset called Classy Consignments. I drive by it EVERY TIME I go to my parents but every time it has either been closed or the kids have been asleep in the car.  

Today, oh glorious today, the stars aligned for me. 
 The kids were at the in laws, the consignment shop was OPEN and my mother in law had just given me money for my birthday/anniversary/mothers day!    


The majority of my wardrobe is second hand.  I LOVE THAT!!!!

Not only is it good for the pocket book but it is also a wonderful way to help the local economy by not support harsh working conditions that so many of our clothes are made in over seas.  

I love the thrill of the hunt!  LOVE! LOVE! LOVE! LOVE!

here are a few of my finds









These are all name brand clothes at INCREDIBLE prices!!!    And it was SUPER fun to find them!

Simplicity is just so fun!   

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Son Of a Stitch'n Bitch

I am so giddy right now!! 

 So so so so giddy.  

My pattern book came in the mail today!!!     

I have been looking FOEVER for a good cardigan pattern for Roger.  
He is quite picking when it comes to cardigans.  
He basically wants something that screams "OLD MAN" or as I loving refer to it "WENDELL BERRY."

Do you know how hard it is to find an OLD MAN/WENDELL BERRY cardigan pattern?

Well, it was hard.

I've had several friendly knitters looking around for me and one of them actually FOUND IT!
"Renee, I could kiss you on the lips right now I am that happy you found it!"

Last Friday I ordered the book Son of a Stitch'n Bitch.
Today, right after I put the kids down for a nap and made myself a cup of white tea, the mail man came.
"HE HAS A BOX!!  I wonder if that's my book?!?!"

And it was.


Man, I get way too excited about this stuff.
I got to sip tea while looking through a NEW PATTERN BOOK and the kids didn't jump all over me!

 Tomorrow I will be dragging my ALSO VERY EXCITED husband to the yarn shop to pick out the type of yarn he would like his WENDELL BERRY sweater made with.

I think I'm going to call the cardigan wendell.
"If ya need me I'll be in here working on wendell."

Here is the photo of the finished product.  Roger will more than likely go with a brown or gray color.

a photo of me and the Tree and the rushing river.
Just because.

Happy Knitting!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Road Trip Part 3

click HERE to read part 1

click HERE to read part 2

One of our first major stops of the trip was the Gettysburg Battlefield
I had mixed feelings about taking the kids to see a war site. 
We are trying our best to pass down our nonviolent values to our children so I was a bit nervous about introducing them to the fact that people kill one another.

I want them to remain small innocent children for as long as possible

Children that believe that everyone in the world works and lives together in a pleasant little community.

That everything is sunshine and butterflies!

But that isn't the REAL world now is it?

When I was little the civil war was a big part of my raising.
My Dad, the history buff that he is, was part of a group of Civil War reenactors.
I remember, as a little girl, getting all dressed up to go to a reenactment.
I didn't care much for the fighting part like my brothers but I loved getting all dressed up in my old fashioned dresses and walking around looking at all the women in their camp sites.
I can still smell the gun power and horse crap!

My favorite reenactment was at Shaker Village.
We got to spend the whole weekend pretending to be mid 19th century town folks!
That year was the first year I experienced a thing called "Blackface"
Dad snuck me into an underground gathering of the Confederate Army.
It wasn't until college that I finally figured out what in the world they were doing.

OH MY!  ***** GASP*****

Back to the road trip......
Our initial plan  was to pull up, hop out, look around, then get back on the road.
When we got to the battlefield we were amazed (not sure why) at how touristy it was.
I had in my mind this big old farm with a few historical markers.
Instead we were greeted with a MASSIVE museum and an ungodly amount of people.

As we were walking up the path to the main entrance we were pushed along by the crowds of school children participating in class field trips, slowed down by the older people with canes and wheelchairs and in a total panic trying not to lose Paul and Anna.

It was NUTTS.
My claustrophobia and the anti social part of my personality began to flare up.

In the main lobby of the museum we spent a small amount of time trying to decide what to do.
We didn't want to spend any money (wow that place is EXPENSIVE) and we didn't want to take a whole lot of time at the battle field (WOW that is a LONG tour), so we opted to ask for driving directions to Pickett's Charge.

Roger and I grabbed a quick coffee.  I needed it after the stampede of people.

On the way out we bumped into Honest Abe!

Abe thought Anna was adorable and said YES for a quick photo!
Paul thought Abe was creepy. He insulted good ol' Abe by refusing to take a photo with him.

When we finally found Pickett's Charge I was stunned at its beauty.  
The day was foggy, overcast, with a small mist falling from the sky.  
I couldn't help but stand there thinking that "THIS is what it must of looked like on the day that SO MANY people lost their lives."  
The fog could have easily been gun smoke.  

Brother against Brother. Father against Son. Friend against Friend.

I couldn't stop asking myself "why do people do such awful things to one another?"

Anna made sure to bring her Dora the Explorer map and Princess Camera!

We took the kids to the top of the hill and explained to them the awfulness of war.
Anna had no clue what we were talking about.
Paul however, was very moved "why Dad?  why do people kill each other? That is just so sad."

After spending a lot more time than we had anticipated, staring out over the field, taking in its beauty, imagining the horrible scene that once played out on the very spot we were standing, we hopped back in the car.

Roger, the map king, looked at me with a big smile "we are super close to Amish country."
"Are you kidding me?!?!?
"We HAVE to go!"
"We HAVE to go!"
 "I have always DREAMED of going!"

  Lancaster County, PA here we come!

Check back next monday for Road Trip Part 4

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Our Weekend Through Paul's Eyes

I've noticed I have been typing out a lot of blogs lately. 


I need to get a new journal. 
 I used up the last pages of my old one during our vacation several weeks ago.   

I get the same old black moleskin journal every time so I'm not quite sure why I haven't gotten a new one yet.  

Oh well
Moving on

This weekend has been a much needed CHLL OUT!!!

All last week we had Vacation Bible School. 
It was a LOT of fun.
Seriously.... a LOT of fun.
Everyone was laid back, all the kids were fabulous and the weather was glorious.
It was a joy to be able to hang out with the church family every nigh!

Being able to show up every evening to a church full of smiling faces was so uplifting.

I got to make new friends (we're going to meet every thursday to swim) and catch up with old ones (she found me the sweater pattern I've been looking for).

Ruthie might think I'm nuts for saying this but I'm going to miss sitting under the craft tent in the 90 degree weather.

I'm not going to miss the hot dogs.

Oh goodness am I NOT going to miss the hot dogs.

I don't think I am going to eat another hot dog for a long while.

Back to our weekend....

Roger even grilled us some shish kabobs.

Here is our weekend through the eyes of Paul

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Paul the Soccer Player

When Paul turned 2 I began taking him outside to play ball.

My first love is volleyball so naturally I started him off with that.

I  got one of those small cheap little kid balls. 
I threw it to him, he would bump it back to me.
As he would play he would yell  "let's go ladies!  side out!"
cracked me up every time

He is now getting to where we can volley a little bit.
Maybe one day we can have our very own family team

If Roger can figure out how to bump the ball in the direction he wants it to go.

Then came baseball.
I threw the ball, he hit it.
I remember being AMAZED that a kid THAT SMALL could hit a ball THAT FAR.

That child has an arm on him!

No kidding. 
Paul has great hand eye coordination.
unlike his Father

This year was the first year that we have actually signed him up for an organized sport.
At 5 years old we decided he was ready.
He KNEW he was ready.

"mom, I like playing with you but I really need a team!"

He chose soccer.

Boy oh Boy was he ready.
He LOVED every single second of it.

Even when he wasn't part of the action on the field, he would jump around in anticipation of the ball coming his way.

His little mannerisms while playing where so fun to watch.

If I do say so myself, he did a fabulous job.

Soccer might be his sport!
unless I start up a coed elementary school volleyball team 

Friday, June 10, 2011

Explorer Paul

 Paul, at the moment, is all about adventure.  

He is constantly talking about going on an adventure, exploring the world, the back yard, the house, the church, the CAVES.  He wants to know any and everything there is to know about EXPLORING.  

"I am an explorer. I am exploring the lives of all kinds of creatures."

Mr. Mike from church, a grown up explorer himself, heard how intrigued Paul is with adventure and decided to bring him an REAL explorer whistle.  
The whistle is equipped with a compass, a flash light, a magnifying glass, a mirror and a secret compartment.  

Paul is in awe.

Early this morning Paul came running into our room, jumped in our bed and got right up in our face.  

"well, this compass is a REAL compass.  This is not pretend.  This whistle is REALLY loud so that I'll never get lost in the woods.  I'm going to be exploring the house today. Learning about the people who used to live here. See if they left any marvels."   

This went on and on and on until I finally climbed out of bed, leaving Roger and Paul there all by themselves

It is now 10am and Paul is STILL talking about the whistle. 
He has been following me around all morning telling me about it. He spent a good deal of time outside walking around talking to himself, blowing the whistle, using the magnifying glass. 

The child believes himself to be a REAL explorer.  
He's been a JOY to watch.

 Even if he keeps repeating himself over and over again.
"Hey mom! Did you see that I have a REAL compass?"

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Summer: Then and Now

Last Summer and the summer before that and the summer before that were some of the hardest summers I have ever endured.

The summer of 2008 I had just given birth to a preemie baby girl after 3 months, 3 MONTHS, on strict hospital bed rest.

 Paul was smack dab in the middle of the TERRIFIC TWO's

And I was suffering from a horrible bought of postpartum depression.
Oh my gosh that was HORRIBLE

The summer of 2009 was spent TRYNG to survive the wrath of a 3 year old and a 1 year old.
Every evening I sat staring at the clock, just praying for the time to tick away so that I could put them to bed.  
I remember feeling like someone had beat me with a bat.
Day in and day out trying to keep up with a 3 year old and a 1 year old was taking its toll on me.
I vividly remember sitting in the living room floor, in tears, thinking "I can't do this. I just can't do this anymore. I am exhausted. I can't."

You have to keep in mind that we do not live close to family, at that time we weren't near anyone who could help me at a moments notice and I was home ALL DAY with no break.
And on top of that, we were moving towns.
We had just bought our very first home and I was stuck with the task of tending to two CRAZY kids AND packing.

I was completely and utterly ALONE.
Completely and utterly EXHAUSTED
It was a horrible state to be in as a young mother of two young children.

The summer of 2010 was a little bit better. 
a LITTLE bit better.
At that time Roger was working as an associate minister of a church.
Paul was 4 and Anna was 2.

Anna was a HANDFUL (still is) but Paul was very chill (still is).
We had a few people (3 families) in the church that acknowledged my presence.
The rest of the church COMPLETELY ignored me.

No seriously, for real.

I would be at the playground or out at the store and they would try their best to avoid me.

It was the worst on the playground. .

It was like they didn't want their children playing with the minister's children.
And heaven for bid I say Hi to them. They would look insulted that I even acknowledge their presence. It was like I was the hired help and had NO RIGHT to talk to them.

Any way........ moving on

This summer, the summer of 2011, has been FABULOUS so far.

We are living in this incredible home with a MASSIVE back yard.

It so much more enjoyable to take care of the kids when you have such a nice backyard.

We have a membership to the Swim and Fitness place with a MASSIVE but not too crowded pool and a glorious amount of treadmills.

We are surrounded by the kindest people I have EVER met.
Like seriously, I never knew people could care so much for one another.

The kids are MUCH more manageable.
Anna is 3 and Paul is 5.
Going places is almost a piece of cake.... they BOTH can put their OWN shoes on.
Carry their OWN stuff.
And climb in and out of the car in record speed.


No more diapers.
No more bottles
No more strict nap times
(even though most days they nap from 1 to 3, I don't WORRY about it if we are having too much fun and miss a nap because we are at the pool or at the zoo)
No more lugging car seats
No more diaper bags
No more CHASING a toddler.

It's not ALL bliss but it is pretty close.
I can, get this, sit in the yard, soaking up the sun, reading a book, while the kids play.
 I thought THIS day would NEVER come.
I'm sitting!
I'm reading!
I'm having fun!
The kids are having fun!

The world all of a sudden seems like a GLORIOUS place.
My job as Stay at Home Mother seems like HEAVEN.

Except on days when every one, including me, is cranky from lack of sleep.

So, all of those words to say that I am having a WONDERFUL summer with my two little buddies.
I almost feel guilty for having so much fun. 

I'm enjoying every single second of NOT being on any sort of strict schedule.
Kindergarten starts the first week of August and THAT, my friend, is when the strict schedule for life starts.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Road Trip Part 2

(read part 1 of the road trip by clicking here)

When I was younger I always dreamed of taking a leisurely road trip.  
The key word being ALWAYS. 
Ya see, It NEVER happened

Being the only girl in the family, a lot of my ideas were vetoed by the boys. 
They would declare "oh that is dumb," followed by "it would be better if we did...." 

On the rare occasion that my parents decided that my ideas were awesome, I would hear my brothers complaints the whole time "oh this is boring."  

Like the time we drove all the way to Memphis from Kentucky to see Elvis Presley's  GraceLand.
I was in LOVE with Elvis.

 I was excited to head to Grace Land. "We're going to see ELVIS!"
I packed my video camera (always wanting to document even at a young age), several Beetles Cds, and of course Paul Simon's Graceland (i don't think my brothers realized how clever it was to listen to that song on the way there).  

In my mind we were going to have a ROAD TRIP!  

You can imagine my disappointment when my parents informed me "we are driving 5 hrs there, not stopping AT ALL, staying  only ONE NIGHT, then driving back home."  

We were a weekend vacation family with a  strict SCHEDULE to stick to.

Both of my parents are accountants if that tells ya anything about their strict personalities.

As we drove through Nashville I yelled out "HEY can we stop to eat in dowtown NASHVILLE. Maybe we'll see a STAR."   

The answer was "that's not on the agenda."   

While in Memphis I said "Hey!  While we're here lets go downtown to see Sun Studio where Elvis recoded."  

"Nope. That's not on the agenda."

So, with that said,  our Jasper family road trip had no agendas.  We had one destination of course, that being Hancock, Massachusetts (15 hours away) but we had all the time in the world to get there.

And we took all the time in the world to get there.
"hey, that looks cool. Let's stop there."
"oh look at that. what is THAT?  Pull over and let me look at that."

At 3 in the morning, after a day full of packing, driving and sight seeing (we stopped in West Virginia at 9pm for coffee and let the kids play in this cool place near Marshall University that we just happened upon. It was a very lovely evening) we pulled into Maryland to a little hotel run by a mean Arab dude.  

And I do mean over the top rude
He was cranky.
The crankiest Arab man that I have EVER met.
Cranky. Cranky.

We had called before hand to reserve a room.  

We told the man we who would probably not be arriving until after 1am.  

When we got there, completely exhausted, to check in, the Arab dude looked really mean at Roger and said "you were suppose to be here at 1am.  It is 3 am and you are here just now. why is that?"   

Roger and I were both dumb founded.  I kinda felt like I was being scolded by an angry parent and reverted back into my childhood state of "sorry pouty face."   

As we were pulling our luggage cart into the elevator by the front desk the man yelled out in his rude voice, "you bring that luggage cart back immediately.  Other people need to use that."      

We smiled, nodded our heads.
When the elevator doors shut we both rolled our eyes and I gasped "Dear Lord how rude can ya be?" before laughing hystarically.

The kids joined in on the laughter even though they had no clue where we were, what was going on or what we were laughing about. They were still in that dizzy, kinda drunk looking state of being half asleep.  You know that funny state that kids morph into when you wake them at a ridicules time and force them to walk?

Pretty funny.

The next morning I was expecting to be completely exhausted with two whinny kids.
 I was pleasantly surprised to wake up feeling well rested surrounded by a smily, giggly family that was extremely excited to be on the Road!

Anna and Paul jumped around singing to the top of their lungs "we are on vacation!. We are on vacation!"

While we were enjoying a wonderful free breakfast provided by the hotel Roger looked up from his Iphone and yelled out in excitement "WE ARE RIGHT BY GETTYSBURG, PA!!!   We could go see the battle field"

I smiled really big, looked at both the kids and screamed out
"well, LET'S Go!"  

Paul responded "To the Battle Field!"
Anna joined in "To the Battle Field."

(Check Back next Monday for Part 3)

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Summer Reading

I love making a summer reading list for myself.  

Well, to be honest, I have a reading list for all seasons. 
Actually, It is just one big ol' long list a list that keeps on getting longer. 

I used to fear finishing a book. 
I would take the last few pages and drag them out over days and days. 
I had this fear that I would run out of good books to read. 
Books that grabbed my interest, got me excited and felt incredible to read

You know those books?
Therapy for the soul!

Life feels empty if I don't have something, SOMETHING, delightful to read.  

I wait all day long to snuggle up SOMEWHERE to read.  It is my nightly ritual. Put the kids to bed and READ until my eye balls hurt. 

Books take me to far away lands. To a life that is so poetic that you dream it was really, real.

I had a friend, who also LOVES to read, ask me the other day "Where is MY Steel Magnolias?"   We both LOVE the movie Steel Magnolias and separately daydream about living in a community surrounded by caring, loving, sometimes annoying southern women.  You know, the life that tends to only happen in books or movies where the people have all this time in the world to sit around, sipping tea, chatting it up, while the kids play in the sprinklers.

I LOVE the thought of that!

 I LOVE reading books like that. 

Books that take you into a world, a life, that you can really only dream of because people don't actually have THAT MUCH TIME to chat with small children around.

I just got back from my neighbor's house.   

We tried for a little over 3 hours to have a conversation. 
I think we managed to have one FULL conversation. 
Not sure though. 
So many conversations were started but I'm not quite sure that we ever finished one.   
There was however a point, for like maybe 5 minutes, that the kids were playing in the water and we were able to sip tea and coffee while talking about knitting.  
That was delightful.  
While it lasted! 

Kids are a LOT of work.  

Ya see, the parts the books and movies tend to leave out is what happens when the 3 year old starts having diarrhea  all over herself, the 2 year old goes crazy with the water hose, the 5 year old declares "I'M BORED" and the baby starts screaming for food.  
THAT my friends is REAL LIFE.   

Life, it seems, is all about survival and trying to find the humor in the craziest of things.  

Back to the summer reading list.

I want my reading to be light. 
I need LIGHT.  
With small children in the house LIFE its self is HEAVY. 
Fun! But HEAVY.
There are times when I literally have to drag myself through the day, either physically or emotionally.
2 little ones depending on me, ME, for all of their physical and emotional needs.
That is a lot of responsibility for little ol' me.  

The BEST way to compile a summer reading list is by asking around.
I have bothered so many people with the same ol' question "whattcha been reading lately?"
Then I snatch up their book ideas!

So, without further ado, here is my reading list for this delightful summer season!

Wanna join me?!?!?!?
What are you all planning to read this summer?!?!