Remind me…

I constantly find myself thinking about things to write about here.  All. The. Time.  I should really write my ideas down, but I’m more of a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kind of girl.  So I don’t.  When I sit down to write, you get what’s on my mind.  I kind of like it that way.  It keeps things more journal-like.  I like that I can go back through my blog archives and see precisely what was on my mind a year ago.  I find it amazing how my perspective shifts without me even realizing it.

Lately I’ve been thinking about my marriage.  Well, more like I’ve been trying to remember how I even got here.  Not to say that I don’t want to be here…I very much want to be here, but this relationship kind of came out of nowhere 6 years ago.  I wasn’t even this same person.  In fact, I think back to things I said and did 6 or 7 years ago and I don’t get why I thought the way I did.  It’s weird.  I wasn’t very happy then.  I was looking for anything and everything outside of myself to make me happy.  Whether that was a person, a place, a job, a possession…anything.  And then I met Mark.  At work.  He didn’t make a very good first impression and he made plenty of negative impressions after that too.  I knew him for about 3 months before I started to like him at all.  A year after we met…almost to the day, we got married.  Mark was 37 and he had never been married.  I was 28 and newly divorced.  My line of thinking in the last few days has been something I think every married person should think about on a regular basis…what was it that brought us together?  Why did I fall in love with this person?  It’s so easy to lose whatever that “magic” was in the course of everyday life.

Mark was different than anyone I had ever dated.  He was older than me by 9 years.  He lived alone.  He knew how to take care of himself.  He knew how to pay his bills.  He knew how to cook.  He knew how to clean.  He was very much independent, but he seemed pretty lonely and unhappy.  He made me feel needed, but not because he needed my help with anything.  He just made me feel like he needed me there.  That was a pretty big deal to me.  He didn’t need me to be his maid or his mother.  Awesome.  I admired his dedication to his family’s land…the house and the farm as a whole.  I admired the way he could fix anything, or at least, is never afraid to try.  We didn’t/don’t have much in common on the surface, but we have complimented each other well.  He has (somehow) settled me down…and I think, really, I’ve done the same for him.  I feel more grounded and content than I ever have, and really, I can’t ask for much more than that, can I?

We don’t talk about these things much.  Mark is an intensely private person, and that’s ok.  It wasn’t at first, but it is now.  Every now and then he’ll open up a little, and the fact that he does that – for me – makes it even more special.  I’ve learned not to fight the way he is, just to respect it and let it go whenever possible.  He does the same for me…and that is what has made the difference.  That is what helped me to calm down and stop fighting so hard against what I am and what my life is, and quit trying to make my life whatever way I thought it was supposed to be.  He may not have taught me to live in the moment, but he has made it so much easier for me to do just that.  That is where I am most content.  That is where I find happiness…it’s really not in a person, place or thing at all, it’s in just living…going with the flow.  He has allowed me to be me on a level that I had never quite experienced, and in doing that he allowed me to see how frivolous, even ridiculous some of my ideas on life were.  Not that he ever ridiculed me for thinking those things, but the contrast in his views and mine was so stark that it made me think.  And after I’d think something through I could see his perspective and understand it…my perspective began to shift…and here I am 6 years later, a much happier person.

When I thought earlier today about writing this post I considered waiting until our anniversary which is about a month and a half away.  I decided against waiting.  I don’t need a special occasion to remember why I married my husband.  It’s not been a smooth, problem-free 6 years, but I can say, without a doubt, I would do it again in a heartbeat.  I love you Mark. 🙂

Parental anxiety

Parenthood is fraught with fear.  Sometimes even terror.  Always anxiety at the very least.  No one tells you this ahead of time…not that you’d believe them anyway.  Before I became a parent I had the same ideas everyone has before they become parents.  I thought I would have way more control than I actually do.  The truth is I have very little control and it freaks me out all the time.  For example, tonight I was getting William dressed after his bath.  He was lying on our bed…or rather he was supposed to be lying on our bed.  In reality, he was rolling all over, bouncing around and doing naked back-flips.  He came dangerously close to the edge once & I caught him and yanked him back over towards me.  As I was attempting to get a diaper on him, he rolled away from me again, and then it happened…he did a back-flip right off the other side of the bed onto the (hardwood) floor.  My heart lurched.  He was screaming immediately and he was in my arms seconds later.  It happened too fast for me to stop him and it could have been bad…very, very bad.  As it was I kept him up later than normal just to watch him.  He seems fine.  No bumps or bruises so far.  His speech was fine.  He was walking fine.  It’s been over an hour and I just went in to check on him…tried to wake him slightly.  He seems fine.  I’m still going to worry all night.

It’s not just the physical injuries I fear though…it’s the less visible emotional injuries.  I know they are going to get their feelings hurt.  I know it’s unavoidable and even sometimes necessary.  I just hate the thought of them hurting for any reason.  I worry about us screwing them up as parents.  Does every parent worry about that?  The worst part is I know that no matter how much knowledge and wisdom I amass in my lifetime I can never give it all to them.  I can never keep them from making the very same mistakes I have made.  The mistakes I’ve made are countless and some of them are huge.  The thought of my children going through what I put myself through absolutely kills me.  Kills me!  I know there is no way I can 100% prevent them from going down those same roads.  I have the advantage of knowing, at least to a large extent, what led me down those paths.  I just can’t control how they will internalize things, how they will deal with being hurt emotionally.  I can’t control what is in their genes any more than I can control what is in mine.  The chances of one or both of them dealing with serious depression are pretty good.  I hope it’s caught early, and I hope they understand through watching me that it’s ok.  Depression certainly doesn’t have to be the end of the world…it sucks, but it can be dealt with and people (like me) go on to have happy, pretty normal lives.  It weighs heavily on my mind though…and my kids are still so young…there are plenty of other things for me to worry about.

I look at my kids pretty much every day and wonder what they will be like when they are older.  Of course, I would like to think that they’ll be angelic, perfect teenagers and wonderful, productive adults.  Then I remember –  I know their parents, and that’s  really unlikely…not to say we aren’t productive adults, but we certainly weren’t angelic, perfect teenagers (as if there is such a thing)!  So the thought of my children being teenagers terrifies me.  Completely.

I see why people tell me to soak up all the sweetness while they’re so young, even though I’m usually looking tired and frazzled when people are telling me this (because I have 2 toddlers).  I see the sweetness everyday.  Sometimes it’s just glimpses amongst the chaos that my little bundles of energy create, but it’s there.  And I do try to take it all in and soak up every ounce.  They’re growing and changing so fast and it’s exciting and terrifying all at the same time.

Weekend progress

We made some progress this weekend on our big project.  It doesn’t look like as much as it is, but at least we’re moving forward.  Mark spent yesterday finishing up the siding…even redoing some so it looked more even, which on our old, crooked house is quite a feat!  Then he caulked and painted the bottom half in preparation for building the deck…which he did today.  I helped where I could while the kids were napping, but I’ll get to what I got done in a minute.  Here’s a picture of the outside just an hour or 2 ago:

He still has to build the railings and the steps, but it’s nice just to have even this much done.  It makes getting in & out of the house a lot easier already.  Now he just has to finish the deck, finish caulking & painting the siding and fix all that nasty looking stuff around the roof line.  It has been slow-going, but it has also been hellishly hot, so I can’t complain really.

Somehow I managed to get all the laundry done yesterday morning, so I had a little more free weekend time than usual.  So I started painting the ceiling.  The ceiling is old beadboard, which makes a lovely ceiling.  What you should never do is paint a ceiling like that a dark color.

When we painted this room before, we wanted the ceiling to be blue.  Mark bought the paint & when I said “sky blue” this was his interpretation.  I wanted something a lot lighter, but whatever…we never should have painted the ceiling blue AT ALL, even if it was a much lighter shade than this.  In our quaint, old house it looks totally garish and ridiculous.  The bad part is, since it’s beadboard, you can’t just roll the paint on, especially if you’re trying to cover bright blue…it doesn’t get into all the little grooves…so you have to brush it on, which is a pain in the neck…literally.

I got the first coat on about half of the ceiling.  Ugh…it’s going to take awhile!  It’s amazing what a difference the white ceiling makes, though.  It completely transforms the room.  Of  course, walls and a floor would also completely transform this room, but we’re getting there.

I live in a college town, and it’s back-to-school time.  Generally I don’t love this time of year, but this year I’m kind of enjoying watching the college kids.  Crap.  I just called them kids, which makes me old.  Awesome.  Anyway, working at city hall I see lots of college kids during the course of my workdays.  When I go anywhere in town right now I see lots of them.  For some reason this year it’s making me nostalgic.  I remember moving into the dorm at the beginning of my freshman year of college, moving into my first apartment at the beginning of my sophomore year, transferring to a new school in a different town at the beginning of my junior year.  It was so exciting, so new, and maybe just a little scary…every time.  It was such an optimistic time, though…it felt like the beginning of my “real” life.  Ha!  Wasn’t I clueless?  🙂  And these college kids are no different.  Last week I made a quick trip to Wal-Mart at lunchtime.  The parking lot was full…the store was packed, with college kids.  I could practically feel the excitement, optimism & enthusiasm oozing from them.  It made me think of just how carefree I was during my college days.  It was nothing to go to Wal-mart at 11:30am…or 11:30pm.  It didn’t matter, my responsibilities were so few.  Ahhhh…sometimes I miss that.  If I could only go back and SHAKE that girl that I was then…and tell her everything I know now…it would’ve been even better!  And speaking of responsibilities…


Our big project is making very, veeeerrrrryyyyy slow progress.  Here’s a little progression of the work done on the outside.  The first picture was from 2 weeks ago, the 2nd from last weekend, the 3rd is from today…

As you can see, there is still some siding that isn’t done…none of the trim is done  & the eaves need fixed still…Oh and we still have to build the deck & stairs.

Inside is not very done at all…but just for fun, here’s a few comparison shots of the interior:

To the right is the window that went into Anna’s room…that’s gone now, which gives her a little more privacy & makes her room quieter & darker for naps/nighttime.

The most dramatic transformation (inside & out) and the whole reason for this project was to replace the door.  Not just replace, but reposition…here’s the interior before & after of that.  I really like the new placement and the new windows look so much nicer.

Here’s my floor currently:

Are you jealous?  It takes shabby chic to a whole new level!  We’re such trendsetters!!

Seriously…I’m hoping a real floor is in my near future because this crap is splintery!  And that’s all the update I have for now…fingers crossed there’s more progress within the next week!

This weekend was the weekend of the big project.  The kids and I left right after work/daycare on Friday afternoon to travel 3 hours to my parents’ house.  The kids behaved much better than I expected and we made good time.  I had 2 very tired kids when we arrived, but Anna did her best to stay up as late as I would possibly let her.

I slept pretty poorly Friday night and William was up at the crack of dawn.  I was so tired, but I had so much that I wanted to do while I was there…not that I accomplished 1/2 of it.  I put the kids down for naps Saturday afternoon & left them with my parents while I went to run a few errands.  In the course of my errands, I did a lot of thinking…this happens when I’m in the car alone!  🙂  All I could think is the place where I grew up is no longer the place where I grew up.  The change is astonishing when I think about it.  The “progress” had started before I left almost 10 years ago, but it has since gone into overdrive.  Every time I go visit there is something new or different.  I miss the fields that used to line the roads between Hendersonville and Gallatin.  I miss the long stretch of road that didn’t have any traffic lights.  It’s long gone.  Everywhere you look now there is stuff.  It’s not that it’s bad stuff…just stores, restaurants, office buildings, etc…there’s just so much of it.

I suppose if I still lived there, maybe the change wouldn’t seem so drastic.  The contrast between the small town where I live now and the much bigger town where I was raised makes all the changes…all the stuff seem especially crazy.  It just feels so alien to me now.  I know the small town atmosphere I am so immersed in now makes this seem so much worse, but I just don’t like all the stuff, all the traffic, all the people.  It’s just so more, more, MORE!

Still, as much as I don’t like it, I’m drawn to it.  I miss the town where I grew up…I miss the city in general.  It’s still so much a part of me.  I guess I do know that, deep down, if I were to ever go back there on a permanent basis (not that I see that happening!), I would fall right back into the pace of city life.  I would even like it.  I would be fine.  Of course, then I would just miss the farm & the peacefulness of a more rural life.  The grass is always greener, isn’t it?


In “big project” news…I now have a room with 4 new windows and a new, relocated door…I also have a sub-floor on the inside, but that’s about as far as it’s gotten.  The magnitude of this project is starting to freak me out, but if/when Mark gets his momentum back with this project, it’ll come together fairly quickly…or at least it will get to a point where I feel like I can help (aka- to a point where I can do work on the room while the kids are sleeping).  We still need to finish putting siding on the outside walls and drywall on the inside walls…the floor still needs to be installed.  Then we get to the fun part of finishing drywall (ick).  Soon enough we’ll be on to painting & that’s where I’ll be most comfortable helping.  Right now it just feels like it will never be done and the list of home improvement projects that needs done next is ever-growing.  Gotta love an old house!

After 6 years, I feel like I my official indoctrination into rural life is complete. 

Today…I shucked corn.  Quite a bit of it!  And it was grown in our very own garden.

We froze enough for 25 meals…we also had some for dinner tonight.  It was tasty.  I figured the cost of the seed (and fertilizer, etc) vs. the cost of 25 cans (or the equivalent frozen) & I think we came out pretty far ahead with the corn!

I also picked, snapped and froze a few meals worth of green beans all by myself…also from our garden.

So, I have officially accomplished my goal this year of actually preserving (by canning or freezing) some of our harvest.  I’m just a little bit proud!  🙂

The garden isn’t done, of course, we’re still picking zucchini and cucumbers on a regular basis.  The cucumbers we eat fresh or pickle…the zucchini we grill or saute.  We had grilled zucchini with onions tonight…along with the aforementioned corn (also grilled) and steak.  Mmmmm…

The tomatoes…why do I never have good luck with tomatoes?  Ahhhh…I’m doing my best to baby the 4 plants we have.  I weeded the heck out of them this weekend and just finished spraying them with organic plant food.  We’ve had a very wet summer and the weeds have been taking over quicker than I can get rid of them.  After I weeded the tomato section yesterday I discovered that we just might have some tomatoes this year after all…if I can coax these into turning red before too long:

When I looked at this particular plant again this morning I counted 12 tomatoes…on just this one.  Maybe there is hope for my tomato-growing aspirations after all.  I guess we’ll see!  I have no pictures of these, but the next tomato plant down from this one is a Cherokee Purple…an heirloom variety I’ve always wanted to grow.  It’s got at least 3 green tomatoes on it too!  Fingers crossed they keep growing!

We’re still waiting for our melons too…but they’re coming along very nicely.  So far I’ve counted 7 cantaloupes:

And at least 5 watermelon, here’s the biggest:

I got plenty more accomplished this weekend that didn’t involve the garden, but I’ll save that for another post.  I just had to share my excitement about my gardening success!

Up and Down

The title sums up the last 96 hours of my life.  My kids have both been sick.  Their temperatures fluctuated, their moods fluctuated…and so did mine.  Dramatically.  They had tantrums, they had sibling spats, but their were sweeter moments as well.  Much sweeter.  William started feeling better a day or so before Anna did, and William seemed very aware that Anna didn’t feel well.  While she was flopped on the couch watching Nick Jr, waiting for her latest dose of ibuprofen to kick in, he’d go give her kisses, he’d find her lovey bunny and give it to her, he’d bring her sippy cup and give her a drink.  He was oddly and sweetly attentive.  That said, after about 15 minutes of this Anna just wanted him to leave her alone!  It was so nice to see though.  They aren’t always nice to each other, but you can tell they love each other a lot.

Up.  By Saturday morning their fevers were gone for the most part and they had been stuck inside the house for 2 1/2 days.  Anna hadn’t eaten anything put popsicles and a handful of fruit snacks in 2 days.  I took them outside for a bit.  They had popsicles for their morning snack, then I loaded them both up & we hit the McDonald’s drive-thru.  McDonald’s is a rare treat for them, so I was hoping to coax Anna into eating a little something…and it WORKED!!  They each had 2 chicken nuggets (Mcnuggets…whatever) and some fries.  Anna drank part of a berry smoothie too.  Success!  They napped, I grocery shopped and then we all made a trip to Lowe’s later in the afternoon…more supplies for the big project!  By Saturday night I was feeling good.  It wasn’t the most productive day ever, but the kids were so well- behaved!  I was proud of how well they did at Lowe’s…(Anna is a big fan of selecting paint colors).  I was glad they had a good day after feeling so yucky the 2 days before.

Down.  Then Sunday arrived…and with it came whining and tantrums.  Anna didn’t nap at all.  She didn’t eat much.  William was a little wild man.  The highlight was some family time spent in the backyard.  Mark set up their sprinkler in the shade of the pecan tree.  We sat and watched them run through it…somewhat half-heartedly after the first few minutes, so I took the sprinkler off and just sprayed them with the hose.  This they liked!!  We played that came for quite a while before the kids were worn down and Mark and I were dripping with sweat.  It was downhill from there.  William didn’t go down to bed very easily.  I left to buy some ice (we made more ice cream!) and while I was gone Mark gave Anna her bath.  To say she was resistant might be putting it lightly!  She was screaming when I got home.  I took over.  I tried to help her settle, I tried to read her books (as we usually do just before bed).  It wasn’t happening.  I ended up putting her in her crib kicking and screaming.  Less than 30 minutes later I peeked in her room to see if she was asleep, her crib was empty…completely.  She had thrown everything out, and then climbed out herself!  She was lying sound asleep on the floor with her head on her pillow.  I was shocked.  Why?  She’s 3, right?  Most 3 year olds don’t sleep in cribs anymore, but Anna has always loved hers.  She has only gotten out of it one time and that was purely an accident on her part (she was only 8 months old or so).  She’s never climbed out again.  I’m not against putting her in a big girl bed, but we wanted to keep doing what worked for her.  Mark is in the process of cleaning up his old twin bed for her.  I think she’ll love the bookcase headboard, and I’m going to let her help pick out some bedding of her own.  I just can’t believe how “little girl” she has become suddenly.  *Sigh*

Down some more.  This morning she didn’t want to go to daycare.  AT ALL.  She fought me from the time she got up until I dropped her off…and by fought I mean she had a ridiculous tantrum.  It lasted at least an hour.  She wouldn’t eat breakfast, she wouldn’t keep her shoes on, she wouldn’t let me fix her hair…it was a nightmare.  Once we got to daycare, she went right to Miss Amanda (thank goodness!) and I made a hasty retreat.  I felt rattled.  And I felt like that all day.  I had 2 1/2 days of catching up to do and I had a hard time.  My focus just wasn’t there, but I made significant progress just the same.

Up.  As for William, he’s been a trooper for the most part.  He’s not wanting to go to bed nearly as easily at night as he used to.  He’s such a big boy too, though.  He’s been asking to sit on the potty and while he’s only been marginally successful at going in the potty once, he still likes to try.  I’m more than fine with that…Anna still isn’t all that interested and she’s 3!  He’s also likes to be my helper.  He helps me pick up laundry and put in the basket.  He loves to “sweep” the front porch.  If I drop something, he runs to pick it up.  If I ask him to get something for me, he’ll go do it the majority of the time.  He likes to put his cups and Anna’s dishes in the sink after snacks and meals.  He’s such a neat kid!  He’s still a wild little man, but he’s got a helpful side too!


Down.  In other farm news…our house & yard is now surrounded on 3 sides by 9-foot tall walls of corn.  This doesn’t allow for a breeze of any sort.  I don’t love it, but since that corn pays at least the taxes and the insurance on the farm and house most years…I guess I’ll get over it.

Up (mostly).  Our garden is making progress.  We seem to have suddenly lost a squash plant over night…it just shriveled up!  Our peppers look as awful as usual, but we have still had some good peppers anyway.  Mark grilled some poblano’s stuffed with a cream cheese/sausage/mozzarella mixture the other night and they were goooood!  We have lots of green tomatoes, so despite the appearance of the plants, I’m still hopeful we’ll have a decent tomato crop.  Our corn is almost ready…Mark picked an ear tonight and it looked rather perfect…it was so sweet too!  The cucumbers and zucchini are producing at a steady pace.  We need to make at least one batch of pickles this week (bread and butter maybe?) to use up the cucumbers we’ve already picked.  Then there are the melons.  Ah…they look so promising!  We have probably 7 cantaloupes and several watermelons.  I’m so excited about them!

And ending on an up!  I’ve been on an ice cream making kick since my family visited on Memorial Day weekend.  We made cherry ice cream that weekend.  I made some banana a week or 2 later.  I’ve always used the same recipe, so I decided to try something new.  I did some internet searching and came up with a very rich, very fabulous (very unfat-free) recipe for peanut butter & chocolate ice cream.  I loved it!  This weekend I made mocha frappuccino ice cream.  It turned out really well too…Mark seems to really like this one!  I took some liberties with both recipes…I didn’t use heavy cream for either, but they both turned out very well.  Yum!