11 June 2012

The End....For Now

Obviously, I haven't written in awhile.  Or awhile before that.  Or awhile before that.

Let me be clear: I love writing.  I love this blog.  I love anybody who reads it because that means that you also like me or my writing or my blog (....okay, maybe you don't but if that's the case I don't want to know).

You know those commercials by Johnson & Johnson?  The black and white ones that show moms and dads doing things with their kids that they never thought would be interesting until they actually had them--giving them baths, having a night in, that sort of stuff?  They usually end with some sort of phrase like "Boys' night out could never compare to boys' night in" or "You've always been the tall, dark and handsome type, so how can it be that the love of your life is short, fat and bald?" that sends pregnant women waddling for the tissues and makes new (and perhaps old) parents tear up with a moment of self importance.  They were right: everything changes when you have a baby.  I knew that, but what I didn't expect was for everything to change when I had mine: my health, her health, our house, my marriage, my faith, my body, the contents of the photo stream on my phone (okay, maybe I expected that one).  It was all affected not only by her wonderful, glorious presence, but also (and more so) by the terrible, traumatic way that she entered the world.  And I will be honest:  it was a LOT worse than what I wrote about on here.  I censored quite a bit.

I'm still reeling.  I'm still healing.  I went on a hike yesterday and limped my way back to the car because my C-section scar still hurts and that ruined tendon in my hip still aches on long walks (and sometimes for no reason in particular) nearly two years later.  And it's just too much to write about.  It's too personal, too raw, and as much as I started this blog to inform (mostly family) about my life and travels and adventures, this is something that I cannot live with inside a fishbowl.  And it's also something that I can't yet compartmentalize enough to write as if everything's hunkey dorey.  

I've thought about this blog every day for the past five years, and I hope to come back to it faithfully someday.  Maybe that'll even be sometime soon; things have a way of rebuilding themselves after you declare that it's over.  It just takes the pressure off, I guess.  But for now, I'm hanging up my keyboard.  I'm still writing--I've been cheating on this blog for months with a beautiful leather bound journal, I've become quite the email queen, and I've actually started to write a book.  It's just time to live (and write) a little more privately.  

So thanks for the love and support and comments and prayers.  I'll see you later.

30 March 2012

Things I've Learned Since Finding Out Ainslie and I Are Both Allergic to Wheat:

2.  Despite #1, there is actually a lot of really good stuff that doesn't contain wheat.  I'm starting to stockpile it.
3.  Gorilla Munch cereal (from Trader Joe's) is SO MUCH BETTER than Kix.  I don't know what it is (or probably more like what it isn't, since there are only three delicious ingredients and I can pronounce all of them).
4.  Those red bumps on the back of my arms weren't just obnoxious leftovers from the hormone-craze that was adolescence---they were a sign of the allergy, and they're totally gone now
5.  I really miss Bao.  
6.  Thinking to one's self a week into the no-wheat thing, "Gosh, I'm probably not really allergic, I can have this cupcake!" is a spectacularly bad idea

That being said, I need to do some serious internet/library research about good gluten free recipes.  I specifically want to learn how to bake gluten-free because I really don't want Ainslie to be "that kid" who brings in celery sticks for her class on her birthday because she's allergic to cake.  Also, I want to figure out how to make gluten-free graham crackers.  Because making graham crackers is awesome.  What, I haven't blogged about that yet?  Get ready, it's been almost a year long obsession now and I'm ready for the world to know about it.

27 March 2012

Adventures in Mary Kay, Part II: The Bridal Gala Blues

Why I thought it would be a fantastic idea to kick off my new business by getting into the bridal niche, I'll never know.  Wait, that's not true.  I thought to myself, "Hey, what's a group of women who really really REALLY go nuts about skin care and makeup?  Well, brides of course!  Sign me up for a bridal show!"

It seemed like a good idea at the time.

I researched shows and came across one that fit into my budget.  That should have been my first clue:  it fit into my budget.  I showed up on the morning of the event in my business best, ready to make the world more beautiful.  Here's how it went:

Hour 1:  I say hello and chat a bit with my friend Jenn, who is there with her husband promoting their fantastic photography business.  Swing on by and check them out here:  Captured in Moments
Hour 1.5:  I set up my booth and, in the course of trying to hop over a chair, bust the tack on the slit in my skirt, turning my booth from "I'm professional and cute" to "Come check out my goods, baby" in 0.7 seconds.  I vow to stand completely still for the rest of the show.
Hour 2:  Show opens.  One bride saunters through.  I keep emphatic eye contact in an attempt to make her not notice my skirt.
Hour 3:  I realize that I'm two booths down from the sex toy lady.  I turn about fifty shades of red. 
Hour 4:  Two more brides.  The vendors are like hungry lions on the Serengeti.
Hour 5:  Desperate for business, the vendors start trying to sell to each other.  Sex Toy Lady tries to sell me some "goodies" for my across-the-continent husband.  I turn fifty more shades of red and politely refuse.  
Hour 6:  I have officially made it through my first bridal show, and I kept my heels on the entire time to boot.  I slip into some flats, dismantle my booth and drive home with no sales, no bookings, and only fourteen names when we were told there'd be 100-200 brides in attendance.  Yay.

Lest I throw too big of a pity party, out of those fourteen names I got one great new client who I love, and I also now visit a local law firm almost every week to drop off orders and take new ones--the firm was a vendor at the show promoting their POA/Living Will package, which is kind of smart if you think about it!  So all was not lost.  But I'm sure in twenty years it'll make a great story at a conference.  In retrospect, I should have just owned the whole busted slit thing and pulled an Angelina-Jolie-at-the-Oscars type pose.  (If you don't know what I'm talking about, Google it immediately.  See also: the "AngiesRightLeg" Twitter feed)  

15 March 2012

Oh Baby, Baby.....for Ainslie, Not Me

First off, I have ABSOLUTELY NO plans to have another baby any time in the near future.
Keep that firmly in mind.  
However, the day I saw Ainslie pick up one of the baby dolls at daycare and rock it before putting it in the (real baby-sized) bouncer seat and bouncing it up and down, my heart melted into a big puddle of parental gooey-ness.  Since then, it's been all "baby, baby, baby" around these parts (again, for her, not me).  

Soon, Ainslie and I embarked upon a hunt for a baby doll that didn't cry, wet itself, or dance every time you walk past it.  This is a very difficult proposition, let me tell you.  A couple stores and a lot of creepy "Dance with me Elmo"s later, we found a small one at Target with no bells and whistles, just a whole lot of cuteness, and Ainslie instantly adopted it, hugging it and rocking it all the way through the store.   

I lure you in with my bold colors and then erupt into a cacophany of noise when you least expect it, muah-ha-ha-haaaaaaa

To spare you from a long post of all the ways Ainslie is super cute taking care of her new "babies", I have made a list:
- In addition to "Lily", the doll we got at the store, we rediscovered a plush doll that my mom had gotten for Ainslie when she was born.  I asked Ainslie what the plush doll's name was and she responded "Didi" with a mater-of-factness that insinuated that she'd already given this as much if not more thought than the average pregnant couple does.  I half expected her to tell me what Didi meant in Hebrew or what sort of family significance it held.  
- She regularly walks around the house calling "Didi...DiiiiiiiDiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii..." until she finds one or the other of her dolls, and then gasps in delight when she finds them and rocks them and holds them until she, distracted by another toy, drops them on the floor.  I never said she was completely maternal.
- Lily must be swaddled.  MUST.  If aforementioned swaddle comes undone, it's a TRAGEDY.
- Didi and Lily have a "bed" (just one, because I could only find one empty shoebox and hey, we're a co-sleeping family anyways) lined with old burp cloths and receiving blankets.  
- Before bed most nights, Ainslie will gently tuck them in and slide them under her crib.  Tonight, she leaned down and gave Lily a kiss on the cheek and looked at her with such affection.  I'm not ashamed to say I cried a little, it was so darn cute.

13 March 2012

Of BC and MK

So, we didn't think it would take this long for Kip to get a job out here.  
And things have gotten really hard because of that.  
Budgets and stress levels had to be reassessed, and we made some cuts where we could.
And one of those cuts was Boston College.

I'm simultaneously heartbroken and at peace (and aware of how much of a contradiction that is) about going on a leave of absence from BC.  On the one hand, every cell of my body feels alive when I'm doing theology.  On the other, traveling twelve hours a week for one class while also being a single mom was starting to take a toll, and that nagging little voice in the back of my head saying, "I'm pleased that you want to bring Me glory, but I know that you know that this is more about you than it is about Me" was starting to be hard to ignore.  

Theology is really one of those fields where you have to be in it for the right reasons (as opposed to, say, math, which doesn't care if you're in it for the fame or the love of a good prime number), and as much as I am definitely working for my master's so that I can help advance Christ and His kingdom (ooo, Wheaton reference), I think that that work would be much better done with more humility and wisdom than I currently possess.  

And those qualities tend to come with age.  

So I'm putting it on hold for awhile, and I think that's what God wants me to do too.  

In the meantime, I'm looking forward to getting involved in a ministry at church and doing some private reading and actually having a personal spiritual life, because as I put it to my mom on the phone, "I can tell you tons of stuff about the Bible, but I can't tell you the last time I read it purely because I wanted to and not because I had to for school".   

Also, I'm compiling a list of people who didn't bloom in their careers until later in life, like Julia Child.  Other examples are much appreciated.

This is also an opportunity to kill two birds with one stone: taking a break from school for awhile enables me to go full steam ahead with my Mary Kay business and therefore contribute to the family budget a little (or a lot, depending on the week).  

I'm really quite the Renaissance woman.  Next up: ventriloquy!

Take Me Back, Mozart!

I came across this gem while I was listening to the classical music station in the car today.  It was one of those moments when I was driving and realized that my fingers were playing along with the piece and then--WHABAM--it hit me...this was the piece I played for my scholarship audition at North Park.  Seven years ago. (What?????)

Anyways, it brought me back to those days when I actually played two instruments before I ended up injured by the clarinet and had to quit to preserve my cello scholarship.  My only regret is that I didn't wear a snazzy tuxedo jacket like this guy's at my audition.  Although if I remember correctly, I did not wear shoes...

14 January 2012

Adventures in Mary Kay: The Rookie

And thus begin my adventures as a Mary Kay Independent Beauty Consultant:

It's not that I've never worn makeup before, it's just that I never really got a full on professional lesson.  Yes, there was that time in high school when I bashfully asked my mom to take me makeup shopping and she complied, but I never really got the down low on when volumizing mascara is necessary and what colors should be applied where and when and things like no, you can't just apply dark brown eyeliner but no mascara to speak of when you have blond eyelashes (a glamour sin that still haunts me...no wonder I didn't have a boyfriend through most of high school, sheesh!).  So as I sat down with my Senior Consultant, Vicki, to do a "color consultation", it was with a level of confidence somewhere between "I'm America's Next Top Model" and "I look like Bozo the Clown".

Well, until we started, that is.

"It's really good that you're not wearing any makeup today, that way we have a fresh canvas" she said as she sat down at her kitchen table with a glass of water.  I didn't tell her that I'd spent ten minutes longer than usual that morning on my makeup.  
"Uh, yeah, that's what I was thinking too."  (And the confidence meter tips toward Bozo the Clown.)
"Okay, well let's get started!" 

An hour and several embarrassing moments later (for example, the moment in which I, having never used concealer before in my life, looked up from the mirror and all Vicki could say was, "See, that's a lot..." before coming to my aid with some face wipes and a more practiced hand), I was a vision.  I memorized the techniques Vicki had taught me and headed out into the world, ready to make it more beautiful.

03 January 2012

Ten Things Tuesday

Ten Things That Made Me Smile Since I Last Posted a Ten Things Tuesday (let's be honest here...)
1.  On Christmas, my dad gave Ainslie a new outfit and she, without any prompting, turned around and gave him a hug and a kiss and said "Thank you" in her little Ainslie way.  It was probably the best present he got, too.
2.  The cookbook that my sister gave me:  "Cooking from the Farmer's Market".  It has amazing recipes, descriptions of different produce, even rare ones, instructions on how to pick out and use aforementioned produce, and photos so beautiful that it has now replaced my first edition of "The Art of French Cooking" on the countertop display stand.
3.  My new project!  I was down in the dumps one night and decided that I need something that's Mine.  Something that has nothing to do with being a mom or being a wife or being a student.  Something that I can do regularly, that's fun and makes me giggle.  Something I've been wanting to do for awhile.  So, I am now an Independent Beauty Consultant for Mary Kay Cosmetics.  It might sound out of character or tacky, but it's really neither; I've said for years that in an alternate life I'd love to be a makeup artist, and this is something fun and girly that will also help me feel like I'm contributing financially to our family, which has been driving me nuts lately.  I'm SO excited, and I already made my first sale, thanks to my fabulous sister!
4.  Speaking of my fabulous sister, our family Christmas last Friday was AWESOME.  Alli and Ainslie were really cute together, following each other around and playing.  Gifts were exchanged, cookies were baked, nieces were cuddled.  It was everything a family Christmas should be and totally made up for being so sick on real Christmas.
5.  Kip scheduled Lasik surgery for himself on February 3rd, which means that he can move to the next step of becoming a state trooper!  All I want for my birthday is him to move here, so I'm crossing my fingers that they'll hire him for April.
6.  Before he starts a new job, though, we've got a date to keep; Mom and Dad gave us an all expenses paid trip to a resort in Texas for Christmas!  They'll watch Ainslie for a couple days so we can go away and not have to be serving sippy cups and singing "The Itsy Bitsy Spider" all day.
7.  Speaking of "The Itsy Bitsy Spider", Ainslie sings a super cute version, including hand movements.
8.  And speaking of Super Cute, you haven't seen Super Cute until you've seen my daughter playing with two kittens.  Seriously, it was an overload of cuteness.  I can't even describe how cute it was.  If you are Facebook friends with me, you're privileged enough to see the photo I posted for posterity.
9.  The box of Christmas cheer and letters that I got from Kasey.
10.  I'm still psyched about my car and the car starter that it now contains.  Still.