Friday, June 24, 2011

The Lost Files: Ice, Ice, Baby

To combat the 100 degree temps of late, a post from the archives:

Monday, January 10, 2011

Friday, June 17, 2011

3 Things on Friday

The Grocery Shopping 

Stop the presses: I have figured out my grocery shopping situation!

I know ya'll were on pins and needles just waiting for that, huh? Ha!

Several things worked to my favor and I was able to keep my Wednesday shopping tradition alive and make it through the store--with kids!--and my sanity still in tact. The near-death experience that my wallet felt is another story, however. For the past two weeks, G has been able to stay with my mom at her daycare after lunch so that the big kids and I could tackle the beast that is the Wal-Mart Supercenter.

I first plied them with fast food and a quick trip through our favorite thrift store. I figured that chicken nuggets and 59 cent tchotchkes (that we don't need) would soften them up like nothing else. I guess it worked because they were FABULOUS at the store both times! And also possibly due to the fact that we used that behemoth shopping car with the two molded seats in the front so I could strap them in they would have somewhere to sit when the inevitable boredom induced tiredness set in--which occurred approximately 97 seconds after entering the store. I didn't particularly enjoy pushing their near 100 pounds of combined weight around (although I did get quite the arm workout), but it was better than the alternative.

This past Wednesday, however, I went shopping with my sister after J got home from work sans kids and it was like a slice of heaven on Earth. I don't know how often that'll happen, but it was great. I got a much-needed break from the house and kids and I got to take my sweet time reading labels and comparing prices, both of which just seriously float my boat.

The Sexyback11 Challenge 

A couple of guys on twitter, @loswhit  and @AnIdolHeart, decided to start a 12 week challenge of getting their summer sexy back. Now, I'm not sure I ever had sexy to begin with, but I decided to join up and tag along. I've been working on my own mini campaign to get myself in better health by walking every day and eating healthier the past couple of weeks and I figured the accountability of a group effort is exactly what I need! Because, let's face it, Mama would not be up early every morning walking 3 miles to the next town if I had to do it by myself. My sister K, who is an avid walker and much more proficient at it than me, claimed it was easy gently prodded me to start.

My blood pressure, though, is what provided the giant shove in the direction of better health. I recently discovered that it was high again--higher than it's ever been!--and I began taking medication for it again. I know that a proper diet and enough exercise can go a long way in keeping my BP under control, so I'm determined to use those weapons in addition to the pills I hate swallowing every morning. (And  yes, I still cut them up in tiny pieces because I'm a freak when it comes to not being able to swallow pills.)

I created a little posterous account, Mama Gets Fit to post my progress and house the daily updates that you  know I'll be dedicated to doing. I realize I could just post all that here, but I'm a blog addict apparently. I'm guilty of creating them and ditching them, or more precisely, forgetting the username and/or password. But, I'm hoping this one will be different and I'm counting on support from all the Twitter peeps that are working this challenge, too.

The Blog

If you've ever been a reader of my blog (and chances are you haven't because having readers has never been my claim to fame), you'll notice that I have changed it once again. (See above sentences about creating and ditching. Yeah.) The truth is, I love to write. And I've grown to love to take pictures. Blogging offers me the chance to do both of those, so that's why I blog. I love that my blog had become a scrapbook of sorts that chronicled all the big events of our life and all the little events, too. It's so much easier to see the joy in ordinary life when you're publishing them with your best words and pictures. I love that aspect of blogging.

What I didn't like is how exposed blogging can make you feel. It started right after I participated in an ultimate blog party thing that allowed thousands of other bloggers find your blog. Sounds great, right? Isn't the concept of blogging to garner as many hits or followers or comments as possible? Isn't it a good thing to have your blog publicized and out there? Sure, I guess if you're promoting a business or trying to make money, but that's not (and has never been) my motive. I didn't like the idea of my family, this precious little band that I've been blessed with, all out there.

There's a trend in blogging to be real, to be exposed and honest and not-leave-out-one-tiny-detail. I don't think that families necessarily have to be that way. And, for me, as a wife and Mama, blogging is about my family. I want to treasure the sweetness and innocence of my kids. I don't entirely want their faces and names all over the internet. I don't want women all over the world drooling over hot photographs of my hot husband. ;-) I want to be one of those fun blogs that people like to read, that shares the little joys and triumphs of life and God and motherhood. But, I want to do that without revealing every little single thing about us. I want to keep some things sacred and private.

And also I'm super paranoid because I watch too much Criminal Minds (which is totally Shemar's fault, by the way.)

So, after making my blog private for a while, I realized that I also enjoy the community aspect of blogging. The relief in meeting of people who are frazzled, devoted Mama's like me, and the inspiration of meeting those who have it all together. So, I changed things up once again. All of the pre-private era posts are gone and you, lucky reader you, get to start fresh.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Lost Files: The Motorcycle

Labor Day, 2010

Several days ago, I had the realization that, somewhere along this way, I've gotten off track.

It was Labor Day evening. We'd just spent an hour or so at the park, letting the kids watch the rocket that my Dad built blast off.  I took pictures with my mom's camera and the slowly setting sun made for simply gorgeous shots. They were mostly blurry and grainy because she just has a point-and-shoot, but the light could not be passed up.  Taking pictures has quickly become one of my life's loves. John and I then took the truck back to his shop, so that he could retrive his motorcyle.

Motorcycle rides at sunset are my favorite. The traffic on our quiet country roads is nearly non-existent  and the entire Earth seems more serene at that time.  The sights and sounds are relaxing, the hum of rubber on asphalt soothing, and the small tingling of the Guardian bell comforting, sounding even over the roar of the engine.  The sun has begun it's multi-colored descent, spilling swatches of orange, red, and pink across the western sky. Hues of purple backlight clouds, giving them sharp edges. Night is coming.

The road that streches between John's shop and home is 12 miles of country. Fields of crops, wheat-colored grasses reaching higher than our heads for the sun.  Freshly planted pine and pecan trees dot small areas of the landscape, as do an occasional house or two.  Places where you can see for miles, it seems. Acres of green crop, rolling into hills, then flattening into valley. Areas of dense forest huddle tightly between fields, hang over the road and the standing-water creeks that have gathered below.  Field becomes marsh. Crop becomes lawn.

And the smells. The smells are fascinating. Deep earthy scents where the land has become damp with dark soil and mulch. Fresh, crisp and green where rows of bushy soybean line the side of the road. Prickly pine and sweet honeysuckle, the wind carries them all. So close, in the open air, I feel like I can reach out and touch them. So natural, I want to lay open in the thick grass of a field and breathe in God's world.

The air changes, too, as we ride. Where the land is flat and open on both sides, the air is warm and thick, like the best blanket you've just pulled out for fall. It's comforting, like the first warm touches of spring after a long winter, like wrapping in a sweater that smells like home.  But, then, when the shadows creep in and the trees hang over the road, the air cools instantly. It's a breathy cool, not crisp like Fall, but dank and wet and shivery. As we cross over the creek and marsh and water puddled in damp earth, it nearly cuts to the bone. It's harsh and unrelenting and feels like bony fingers reaching, grasping.  In seconds, though, it is over, and the next field brings back the warmth like a blessing.

I relish every second.

My eyes took it in. My heart took it in, and for a moment, all I wanted in the world was my camera. I wanted to capture those moments, those feelings, those settings. I felt as close to nature and to God as ever, and I didn't want to lose not even a breath of it.  My wind wandered and I giggled at the thought  of riding on the back of a morotcycle at 60mph with a camera in hand. And then, it came to me. I HAD captured it all.

All the while as we rode, with each passing touch of scenery, each smell, each wisp of wind and hair on my cheek, that the thoughts had splled across the corridors of my brain, each emotion, each feeling in glorious, breathy, beauful words. 

My whole life has been a story of words. 

Not pictures, not painstakingly taken photographs. Words.

I don't think or breathe or feel or ache or heal in pictures. No photograph, no matter how much I fiddle with a camera I don't understand to get the absolute most perfect shot,  can rival the sheer weightiness of words. 

I've been fooling myself all along.

And the words are coming. Again. Finally.