Friday, April 30, 2010

If Valerie can come back to Blogland, guess I can too.

When last we met, Anna Marie was surprising us all with her sudden interest in wearing things that FIT and did not involve baggy jeans and one-size-too-big T-shirts.

There's a little of that still going on - she wore a dress to school yesterday - but there's something much deeper going on in my life than that.

On Easter, our church started this study called the One Month to Live challenge.

And what a challenge it is.

The premise is this: if you had just one month to live, what would you do differently? We each had the opportunity to purchase the book of the same name for a discounted price, which has 30 days worth of chapters in it. (Thankfully, the chapters are only about five pages long!) Each week, our pastor's sermon takes its theme from the upcoming week's readings: Love Completely, Learn Humbly, etc. Then, each day we read a short chapter comparing life to something - a hurricane, or a roller coaster, or GPS.

Our pastor joined Facebook about this time, and he posts his thoughts on the chapter each day. We can then discuss them in the comments.

It's very, very, practical stuff. And very thought-provoking.

We're also wearing some nifty green wristbands to remind us of the challenge. Several people have commented that they've had "green wristband moments," where they've stopped what they were "busy" doing (usually watching TV, or, I don't know, maybe Farmville) and spent quality time with their families.

Because really, no offense to the Farmville folks, but if you only had a month to live, would you want to spend it feeding imaginary farm animals? Or would you want your kids to remember you spent time with them?

We're a little over halfway through the book, and each day I'm made more aware of how I'm spending the most precious commodity I have: my time.

So, I'll leave you with this challenge today: if you had just one month to live, what would you change?

Monday, April 12, 2010

Well I'll be a monkey's uncle

(Just kidding. I'm not a monkey's uncle. I'm not actually anyone's uncle, come to think of it. I just couldn't think of a more appropriate way to express my shock.)

So, in the nearly 10 days since I last blogged (that incredibly depressing post, as I look back on it now) Anna Marie has made a mockery of my muddling.

This picture is from an amazing photoshoot my sister did with Anna Marie on Easter. Since she didn't want a dress, we compromised on a nice capri set. And she let me fix her hair - a HUGE deal for us!

The afternoon after I wrote that last post, I went to my favorite children's consignment shop, Jack N Jill. I had mom bring Anna Marie over so she could 1. Try on a couple of things, and 2. Make sure she'd wear them, since they have a no-return policy.

We picked out a cute pair of peach and olive flowery camouflage-type print (GAP) capris and a peach (GREEN DOG) shirt to match ($12 total!).

And - an Old Navy denim dress.

Yes. She picked out a dress, and would have had a couple of denim skirts if my budget would've allowed it.

And she's worn that dress twice already - once to school, and yesterday to church. Both times it was her idea. She had shorts on underneath, naturally, but still. A. DRESS.

Today? She's wearing a skort she picked out on Saturday. Not quite a dress, but it's halfway to being a skirt! And her hair is done today as well. I think she only allowed it because I told her it was Lucy's hairstyle in The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian. I really must try replicating the hairstyles of more of her favorite movie characters.

So there you have it. My daughter, the enigma wrapped in a mystery.

I don't know what has gotten into her, but she can prove me wrong like this anytime.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Muddling through

(By the way, y'all don't let me forget to go plug up my iPod when I get finished typing this. It's battery died a couple days ago, and I keep forgetting. I really wanted to listed to some stuff on it at work yesterday, but had to resort to Pandora instead. Thanks!)

Am I the only parent who feels like she's muddling through raising her child? I mean, I knew before I had Anna Marie that they didn't come with instruction manuals, but jeez Louise, I think my child is a bit more difficult to understand than most.

For starters, she's both book smart (like me, ahem) and interested in a lot of other stuff. I can't wait to get to a couch somewhere and watch TV or read a book, but her first thoughts run to MOVING - especially basketball these days.

And artistic - I can't draw a straight line with a ruler, and neither can Jason. But I can't tell you how many times I walk into a room and she's got the floor covered in drawings of imaginary animals, cartoon characters, or (increasingly these days) horses. Yes, she's into horses! We, of course, don't have any horses, unless you count those three beasts who live in the backyard and take up a sizable portion of my bank account with their food and care.

(Have you PRICED heartworm meds lately? Oh my stars and garters. And we have three dogs!)

She's just so very different from me, and Jason, that if she wasn't his spitting image I'd think someone at the hospital gave me the wrong kid.

She really doesn't like to wear dresses, or anything that's not a baggy T-shirt and jeans, these days. We came to a compromise on her Easter outfit - a pretty blue capri and tank set, with a sweater to wear over it.

But I'm trying not to worry about it. I'm trying to tell myself that if she isn't over-sexualized at the age of 8 (like a LOT of girls her age are getting to be) then maybe I won't have so much of a struggle when she's a teenager. It's getting increasingly difficult to find modest, age-appropriate clothes for her in stores, so that T-shirt and jeans look may be working for her for a while to come.

Her legs are so long, I can't even really buy her shorts these days. I'd prefer that her little butt cheeks aren't hanging out the legs, thankyouverymuch. Thank God for capris!

I think I've mentioned before, I had kind of a hard time "bonding" with her. I didn't feel that overwhelming rush of love when she was born, and because her stomach needed to be pumped immediately, she was whisked away to the nursery just about as soon as I gave birth. Breastfeeding was extremely difficult, and while I did it for three months, I'm not sure it helped us connect because it was so hard. She's never been a "momma's girl." Or a "daddy's girl" for that matter. She's more like a "gramma's girl," because my mom is the one she's most attached to.

But as she gets older, I'm starting to be thankful for the little moments we have together. We spend most every Thursday night alone, because Jason is at praise team practice at church. I try to make that time special.

She's recently become interested in lip gloss, of all things. Which is good, because she has very chapped lips most of the time and I can't get her to use Chapstick!

Monday night, we went shopping to find her some Easter shoes and me an outfit. We were in Dress Barn, and she was helping me pick out things to try on. And she asked me to wear something blue so we'd match! I probably could've found something to wear that night that wasn't blue, and told her that she was being silly - but considering the nature of our relationship so far, her request seemed like a HUGE thing to me.

So I found a blue shirt to wear, even if I have to wear a pair of pants I already own. Because that didn't seem like too much for my daughter, my only child, to ask of me this year.

A kid who asks, "Who wants to go to church looking sloppy on Easter," and then follows up with "But what if you went to church in a costume looking like a cross? What about that, mom?"

Muddling through - I guess we all do it from time to time in our children's lives.

And it looks like this weekend, we'll be doing our muddling in baby blue.