Thursday, March 31, 2011


She wore her yellow sun bonnet,
     She wore her greenest gown;
She turned to the south wind 
     And curtsied up and down.
She turned to the sunlight
     And shook her yellow head,
And whispered to her neighbor:
     "Winter is dead."
A.A. Milne

(Much thanks to Tessa for the beautiful flowers and the delightful company yesterday.]

Monday, March 28, 2011

The Tale of HarriEd

There once was a girl whose name was HarriEd.  She was a very busy little girl who liked to scoot around on the floor, pick things up, study them for a moment, and then stick them in her mouth.  There were other times of the day when she liked to stick other things in her mouth that were actually appropriate for consumption.

Sometimes HarriEd went outside.  This location afforded even more interesting sights, smells, and textures.  Small sticks, grass, and dried leaves were assailed by her dexterous little fingers.  Only a passing squirrel or robin could distract her from her task of evaluating and eating.

Then at other times, HarriEd's mommy let her play on the kitchen floor with such exciting things as plastic containers.  These were fun to bang on the floor and unload from the cupboard, but they paled in comparison to teensy weensy sweet potato muffin crumbs that were hiding under her highchair.  Her mommy came to remove such minute specimens, and HarriEd happily scooted away to find her next adventure.

When not eating, HarriEd liked to tell stories.  She told stories about kitties, and babies, and daddies.  She also read stories.  She read Goodnight Moon and The Runaway Bunny and Barnyard Dance.  She also read Cat the Cat and all of the other Little Golden books on the revolving rack at Borders.

HarriEd liked to go to church.  At church she got to spend time with people besides her mommy and daddy, which usually resulted in lots of attention directed toward the cuteness of her person.  This she enjoyed very much, along with singing loudly and pulling herself up on the pew to talk loudly to the person behind her during the sermon.  All of this attention was almost as exciting as looking at pictures of herself on the computer - which became a nightly ritual.

And so HarriEd lived a happy life marred only by the occasional diaper rash, the infrequent absence of her mother and the inability to slobber on the xbox controller.

The End.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Random Friday Thoughts

  • Harriet was sick this past week and that's something I want to avoid in the future.  Even though I know that she is a child and will pick up all sorts of random germs, I still think that it will with worth the effort.  I also feel as though I have been elevated to the next level of motherhood.  Yeesh.  A sick H = A cranky H = Nursing all day = Needing Mom all day.  But I'm her mommy and that's what I'm for, right?  Thankfully she is back to her spunky, smiley self.
  • This whole sickness fiasco (the after-hours clinic on Sunday, the allergic reaction to the medication on Tuesday, the tracking down a local doctor on Wednesday) makes me realize how difficult and tiring it is to be in a new place figuring out New Things.  If you're not in the know, you just don't know.  Could I have told you that there was a family practice clinic in town?  Nope.  And no website told me that either.  Thankfully I was able to get information from a couple at church about a good place to take H.  I am grateful that the doctor was pleasant (despite the parenting lecture I received) and now we are "in" with somebody.  Hopefully this will make the next illness less of an issue.  (Wait.  I'm avoiding illness.)
  • I went clothes shopping yesterday.  We desperately need to spruce up our wardrobe since most of our clothes have been worn for 5+ years and are showing signs of extreme wear and tear.  They also make us look like we are in junior high (graphic tees and holey jeans, anyone?).  I went to Kohl's and bought lots of jeans for Steve, some basic shirts for me, and several outfits for the HarriEd.  I realized that I had never been shopping for her.  She has a lot of clothes from friends and relations, but I had never picked any of them out.  Our shopping venture yesterday opened another door in my love of dressing a little girl.  So, so, so fun!  The best outfit?  A onesie with a girl-y daschund on it and a ruffly pink mini skirt.  It kills me!
  • I've been really, really, REALLY struggling with contentment here.  And fighting off depression.  Most days I feel like I'm swimming in a molasses swamp in every area of my life: house cleaning, life purpose, healthy eating, spiritual walk, marriage relationship, blah, blah, blah.  It's hard to get up in the morning knowing that I'm facing another day of feeling hateful, then guilty, then depressed.  To be quite honest, things aren't as peachy keen here as I imagined they would be.  We don't really know what we're doing...and now it seems like we're being steered down another path and in a different direction.  I don't know what it means and I can't make sense of it.  Urgle.  I feel horribly isolated and out of touch with the kind of life I want to live.  So we continue to pray for clarity and patience and contentment.  (And sometimes that gets old, too.)
  • After that gut spill, I would also like to say that I am grateful for the Gs and that they are so generous with their time, washing machine, vehicles, listening ears, and support for us.  I'm also grateful for friends and family (mostly the latter)  who listen to my rants via telephone and continue to work through stuff with us.
  • Steve is starting a temp job at a cabinet factory in addition to his Wally World job.  This will give him consistent hours (!!) and better pay, and maybe maybe maybe he will be able to slip out of the Wal-Mart position.  Or just work 12-16 hour days.
  • I went to Zumba this morning (a regular class, not Zumba toning which I attend sometimes on Wednesday evening) and (shock!) had a good time.  Not only did I feel welcomed, but I enjoyed the dynamics of the class.  There were about 12 other ladies in the class and everyone was cheerful and enthusiastic.  The class is taught by a husband/wife team which was really cool because she demonstrated the more dance-y moves while he did a more athletic technique.  If I couldn't follow all of the elaborate hand motions, I just watched him.  They were both really solid teachers and knew their material well, so I felt confident about following their lead.  And it was real dancing - much closer to Jazzercise than some other classes I've attended.  
  • We were going to do something fun and refreshing out and about as a couple today since Steve works for the next 7 days in a row, but the weather is goopy.  I guess that means we'll do something inside!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Behind a frowning providence

It's been almost two weeks since I last wrote a post and a lot has happened.  I've debated whether or not to blog about it because I don't want to be all sob-story.  But it's an important life event that needs to be shared.

On February 17, we found out that we were pregnant with Rodgers baby #2.  After the initial mental adjustment of Now I Have to Be Pregnant in a New Place, the rush of excited feelings descended.  Harriet would have a sibling close to her age - hooray!  But not too close - hooray again!  As I braced myself for the morning sickness fiasco, I looked forward to the fun of making maternity clothes, signing up for week-by-week emails, choosing a name, and most importantly, having a new little person to adore.

The morning sickness never came.  Aside from an overly sensitive nose and extreme exhaustion, I didn't feel badly at all.  This is great, I thought.  Maybe this baby will be a chill little creature and balance the dear HarriEd out a bit.  After several weeks of trying to schedule an appointment with a midwife here in IL (to no avail, I might add), I decided to make an appointment with my doctor back in Nebraska during the week that I would be home.  After everything checked out at that visit, I would announce our happy news to the world.

But sadly, that wasn't to be.  The day after my arrival in Nebraska, I started spotting.  This was the dreaded nightmare of my pregnancy with H, and now it was actually happening.  Trying not to panic, I made an appointment for the next morning and then tried to reassure myself that some pregnancies with early bleeding turn out perfectly fine.  I stayed up practically all night praying that this would be the case for our baby, but deep down I knew that it wasn't so.  (In a way I felt as though I were ten-year-old-chubby-Amelia again praying for her kitten to be found...and knowing all the while that he was probably frozen out in the December snow.)

The ultrasound and my physical condition the next day revealed that a miscarriage had occurred.  At first I felt very sad and disappointed.  The baby had died.  All of the hopes and plans were being destroyed.  To make matters worse, Steve was still in Illinois and wouldn't be able to come for another week.  While I was very glad to have the support of my family (and the help with Harriet) it was depressing to be going through a rather traumatic life experience without my husband.

Like I said earlier, I have argued with myself whether or not to share this rather personal experience.  It feels weird to type it up like it's just some normal day in the life of Amelia, instead of the weird, surreal and saddening experience that it really was and continues to be.  But there are some reasons for sharing that outweigh the weirdness:

  1. The miscarriage exemplifies God's provision and loving kindness.  It happened in Nebraska where I had access to my doctor who know my medical history.  It reduced the stress by a million percent to not have to figure out where to go or what to do back in IL.  I had the tremendous support and comfort of not only my immediate family but my extended family as well.  I had siblings and parents who were willing and eager to help with Harriet on the yuckier days.  Those same siblings and parents provided a healthy distraction and external focus so that the clouds of depression didn't stay for long.  Our substantial tax return came several weeks early so Steve was able to come to Nebraska just a day after the miscarriage.  And I didn't have any prolonged physical difficulties.  So in the midst of it all God is very good.
  2. I want to be real to the people around me - and that includes the relationships that this blog supplies.  Being real means sharing the hard stuff as well as the jolly stuff.  It's a stripping away of all of the Fake Amelia which so often dominates my relating to others.  And honestly, I don't think I could be all hunky-dory on here without mentioning the miscarriage...because it effects how I feel and how I experience life.
  3. Our society deals with loss through miscarriage so poorly.  I wanted to share because I believe that no matter how many weeks a baby lives, it is still a person with a soul who was once alive.  Because of our culture's view of the sanctity of life, pregnancy (and miscarriage) becomes such a sterile and purely physical event.  Our baby wasn't just a blighted ovum that failed to bury into the uterine wall.  It was a baby...a person.  Even though we never knew that baby in a real sense, we can still experience the loss of a life that was close to us.  And while the grieving process may be different, it can still exist.
  4. I want to help others.  Even though I hope that none of you will ever experience a miscarriage, I want you to know that if you do, I'm available.  If you don't know what I've experienced, then you'll never know that I can be a listening and (hopefully) understanding ear.  

I still do feel sad and disappointed at times, but we're really doing okay.  Having the drama of a sick Harriet helps with that. :-)  All of this has led me to really think about what it means to let God control your family size.  He really does give children and take away children.  Just because a couple chooses not to prevent pregnancy through birth control or NFP doesn't mean that they will have a baby every year.  Some couples are blessed with many children close in age.  Others struggle to conceive or deal with miscarriages or just with long spaces between each munchkin.  God is truly the one in control.

I find it ironic that our miscarriage happened on the day of the earthquake in Japan.  It was hard to think about an entire country getting crushed when my small little world was being shaken up.  But a post from the Desiring God blog in response to the earthquake and tsunami also served as a personal encouragement to me.  At the end of Piper's prayer was this statement:

O let them not judge you with feeble sense, but trust you for your grace. And so behind this providence, soon find a smiling face.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Harriet at Eight Months (Media Intensive)

(Wow, I've written 150 posts on this bloggie bloggie in its year-plus duration.  Not too shabby!)

HarriEd will be eight months old on Wednesday.  That, my friends, is old.

New Trick:
HarriEd figure out how to crawl in a most efficient way: she sits on one hip, sticks the other leg out to one side and then propels herself around the room.  This half-crab-walk is quite ingenious because never has to get out of a sitting position.  Once she arrives at the desired Small Choking Hazard she is already sitting up and ready to consume.

New Foods:
H has been trying lots of new foods lately including yogurt, carrots, apple-cranberry-turkey dinner, and sweet potato muffins.  I have been attempting to sneak protein into her diet because her love of pears and oatmeal doesn't get her very far into the day before the sugar crash hits.  (Thus the apple-cranberry-turkey dinner - which, quite frankly, grosses me out.)  Thanks a very detailed book on making healthy baby food, I learned that it is now quite safe to include a mashed up egg yolk in H's meals.  Brilliant!  Or so I thought.  Maybe it was the crankiness of the morning, or maybe she really doesn't like egg no matter how it is disguised behind sweet potatoes and oatmeal.  But in any case, H stuck out her tongue and said, "Bleh."

New Toy:
The most brilliant discovery of the month occurred at the St. Louis Art Museum's gift shop when we happened upon Indestructibles.  If you know HarriEd then you also know that she loves loves loves paper and she hates it when paper is removed from her clutches.  Board books hold no charm when she can get her hands on a Real Book.  (This is why I had some explaining to do when returning Redeeming Love to the library last week.)  So we found Indestructibles, a brand of books created from some miracle fiber that feels like paper and tastes like paper and crinkles like paper BUT it doesn't rip, tear, or otherwise combust.  The books are non-toxic and completely washable.  And the simple colorful pictures of happy little farm animals are an added bonus.

New Word:
True to form, H's favorite word is Da-Da.  Da-Da this, Da-Da that, Da-Da everything.  When we are singing or talking or watching a movie, her goal seems to be to say Da-Da as loud as she possibly can and thus receive the desired attention from everyone around her.  Her other word of choice is the word Hey, which either refers to herself or as a salutation.

New Person:
HarriEd was very glad to receive her aunt Eleanor as a visitor this week.  (And I was very glad to receive sister Eleanor and her helpful spirit as well).  They get along splendidly and spend many hours unloading the toy box.  Eleanor possesses a knack for baby-watching and has no qualms about taking the screaming child and entertaining her.  This is sometimes an absolute God-send.

New Clothes:
Thanks to a free afternoon and an agreeable spirit, Harriet received a new spring jacket courtesy of my sewing machine.  The bright colors are so cheerful during these dreary last days of winter and, I must admit, she looks a-dorable.  This is why having a little girl is the best thing ever!

Yep, that's pretty much HarriEd in a nutshell: adorable, irresistible, easily angered, inventive, demanding, charming, creative, delightful.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Up Early

I'm up before everybody else this morning.  Steve has a late start at work, and Harriet seems content to snuggle up with him letting me sneak out of bed.  I really really like sitting in the dark by myself.  Sometimes I think about how many hours I spent alone, by choice.  I would grab a book or my journal or my Bible and just go sit on my bed and get some serious space from the noisy chaos of life with the Heathens.  It's a wondrous thing how God can slowly change me from needing that alone time to really being able to survive for a long while without it.  It's a good thing, too, since HarriEd refuses to be left alone and neither does Steve, especially after a day at work.

Eleanor is here this week.  Mom dropped her off in transit to Jacob's dog grooming competition in Atlanta.  I truly believe that until women have children who are old enough to be a help and not a hindrance, a mother's helper is the way to go.  Eleanor plays with H for hours (which is exactly what she wants), helps me with meals and cleaning up, and reminds me that there are other people in the world over the age of seven months.  What will I do when she leaves?  Go with her, of course!  The plan is for me to hitch a ride back to Nebraska when the fambly drives back through here in a week.  Then I'll be able to visit not only immediate family, but the extended family coming from Colorado and Texas.  Hooray!  Plus there's going to be Jazzercise again and Bunco and tea time with Kylie and just...people that I already know.  

(But Steve will be all by his lonesome, which makes me feel sad.  Ah, life.)

Be praying about Steve's work situation.  He is only scheduled for 20 hours a week now, which at minimum wage (plus the 40-minute car drive each day) will most certainly not pay the bills.  At all.  It's frustrating because he is trying so hard to apply for all kinds of jobs, and absolutely no one is hiring him.  Now he's filling out an application for a Christian school, and while that's the job he would love to have, it's hard to get our hopes up that they would hire a teacher who has minimal experience and, frankly, doesn't know anybody in the school district.  Because apparently to get a decent job you have to a) have a degree that means something besides the ability to preach the Bible, and b) know somebody who can land you the desired job.  Granted, the Wally World job is a job and it's giving us a slight boost in the financial department.  Something else just needs to turn up, and rather quickly.

I'm absolutely loving my kitchen experiments with the Food Matters Cookbook.  Love, love, love that cookbook.  I've made three dishes from it so far and they have all been inexpensive, healthy, simple to prepare, and beyond delicious.  The emphasis on fresh vegetables giving the meals bulk is brilliant because we  can have something fun and filling without going broke.  And the combination of flavors is incredible.  So far I've only made skillet dishes and a soup, but I want to try some of his bread and muffin recipes today.  Eee!  I simply must buy this cookbook, especially since I now have access to an Aldi (!!!) which seems to keep fresh veggies and fruits in stock at ri-doink-ulously low prices.  I seriously get all giddy in that store.  It's so exciting to get everything I need to make healthy and tasty food for $25 UNDER my grocery budget.  It's the most cheerful thing.

Maybe I should eat before the masses arise.  And read my Bible.  Have a splendid day, everyone!