the sixth november

The dust is settling from a crazy, busy, wonderful week and half filled with family, birthdays, holidays, and kiddos…lots and lots of kiddos. It's fun to see our family growing and changing, but it sure is getting loud.

I realized recently that this is the SIXTH November that I have been blogging. Albeit I'm not blogging as well now as I used to but, SIX!, none the less. I love being able to look back and see how my life is constantly expanding and changing.

I started this here little corner of the internet as a place to put my writing and let my family check in on me my senior year of college. Little did I know it would turn into the monster that it has, but I'm thankful I have it. Someday soon I hope to get it printed into some sort of scrapbook do-hicky to have and to hold in my flesh.

For those of you that have been with me since the beginning: thanks for hanging in there. For those of you who have joined somewhere along the way: I'm glad you somehow stumbled on over. Thanks for all your comments that keep me plugging away. And for those of you secretly reading that have never made your presence known: you're still welcome here too, I suppose! :)

And now here is a glimpse at the last 5 Novembers:

November 15, 2007
I got my packet for student teaching last night at a meeting. That was weird--not the meeting so much as getting the packet. In this packet are 3 folders for teachers I will be working with, containing observation reports and checklists and requests for letters of recommendation [yikes!]. The reality is setting in that I am really going to be doing this:I am really going to be teaching soon.

I know deep in my being that this is what I want to be doing...that this is what I'm meant to be doing. I have videos of me teaching when I was 8 years old, alone in my room with stuffed animals and a chalkboard. I know how much I love being in front of students and how much it means to see them "click" with something.

But there is a part of me that winces when I think about turning in the pink sheet in the back of my packet--the pink sheet entitled "Record of Student Teaching" that I was informed, last night, is vital to my graduating. Why is this? I think it is several reasons: I think it is knowing that this part of my life is done. This part that I've hated and loved and wrestled with and grown through--- When I hand in that pink sheet I am, in turn, handing in a part of my childhood.

I know I will be a good teacher, and I think to go into this profession you must know that simple truth. I know it might take me a little bit to get there, but I know I am capable. And I know I want to be a teacher. But I also know I will let go of that pink sheet at the last possible moment.

November 10, 2008
Last year when I shared an apartment at college with 3 other girls we decided we would be wise and buy the huge bottle of refill soap for our hand dispensers in the kitchen and bathroom. We bought the big refill bottle in September or October of 2007. I was the last to move out at the end of the school year, and found that all three of them had left the refill bottle behind. There was still about a third of the bottle left, so I decided to pack up the little dispensers (which, yes, cost about 90 cents at WalMart) and the big refill bottle. I first hauled all this home, and then I packed up and hauled it to Kentucky. Yesterday the dispenser in the bathroom ran out, and I noticed the one in the kitchen only has a few squirts left in it. That dang refill bottle lasted us this long! Man...my roommates sure missed out!
[after this post I received several bottles of soap in the mail!! One of the first time my blog readers have been so generous! :-)]

November 29, 2009
Maybe it was that first Wednesday when I went to school without first strapping on a backpack, walking in trying to appear confident but wondering why I still felt like I should be sitting in the hard plastic seats. Or possibly it was that Thursday evening when I cleaned the house for no other reason than because I wanted to. But I believe it was many accumulations of such small and big moments that have happened over the years of my life that have throttled me, without warning, into the arena of adulthood.

My friends and I used to say that "growing up is for quitters," that we should hold fast to our innocence and joy of being teenagers. I thought I had. I thought I was still gripping the rope of dependence but that first time the car broke down and my husband was at work made me realize I had unknowingly let that rope slip through my fingers and as it unraveled at my feet I saw that I was up to my neck in the water of responsibilities that I didn't think I was quite prepared for. The sea of adulthood surrounded me and for awhile I grasped for a lifeboat, a new rope, even water wings would suffice. But maybe that kick in the rear I received when I was unpacking boxes in our new apartment in a city I couldn't even pronounce like the locals made adulthood take its true shape. Although I don’t know that I needed a major event such as that move, since lustfully tasting the words of Steinbeck and Shakespeare continually remind me I have passed teenage magazines and romance series.

Maybe my maturity face-lift came that sunny day I realized I would rather walk with my husband around a golf course than go shopping. But I've also learned this refining and maturing happens through trying, struggling and frustrations, which I seem to be greeting daily as of late at the attempt of teaching hormonal adolescents to write with the passion of the gods, and at the attempt of trying to be better today than I was yesterday. But those days that I feel like an adult come and go. It's sort of like how on Friday I enjoyed conversation over coffee with my similarly aged friend, Micah, but on Saturday found conversation with my mother just what the doctor ordered. And it's sort of like how I still enjoy some koolaid from time to time, but most days let the bitterness of coffee say to me, "It's official. You're old."

I mean I have to be grown up, right? Borders bookstore is my favorite hang out, but then again I do insist on taking a peek around the corner in the children's section, and if no one is looking, sit on the fuzzy orange bean bag and read "Where The Wild Things Are" one more time.

But please don't get me wrong, I still mainly feel like an underdeveloped girl as I walk in the shadow of woman whose very scents smell like comfort, confidence, and motherhood. When I look in the mirror, I put my hand over my heart and it still pounds with youthfulness and still believes in prince charming and the shoe fitting and a ball room dance at the end of it all. But through the small and big moments that have happened over the years of mylife I believe there has been many important ones that have given me that "Oh, crap I’m really all grown up" feeling. And those moments are when my independent heels must dig into the dirt a little deeper. These moments may not be noticeable to the naked eye, but it happens when the burger isn't cooked and I have to be the one to take it up to the counter and say, "Excuse me but could I get another?" It happens when my pants are just a little too long and my grandma is just a little too far away and I have to crudely, but independently, hem them myself. It happens when the power goes out in the city and we are blessed with the gift still and so I open my home to others and cook and clean and dig my heels in at the thought that I can do this, and deeper they go into the soil of adulthood and change.

Those days of independence are the days I can easily taste my adultness and what my character has developed into, proving I must have accumulated some of my parent's wisdom through osmosis over the years. I know I am grown up when I finally realize that every day when the sun comes up and peeks through my bedroom window that I have to be the one to get myself out of bed.

Some days I feel like a goofy girl who believes with every fiber of her being that the world is not a bad place, that all her dreams will come true, and that the road to Oz is paved with gold. Other days I feel like the almost 24-year-old woman that I am who is frantically trying to hold it all together in order to keep the dream alive. And even though I have seen everything from Jamaica's hurting outcasts to the beauty of a down-syndrome girl's first steps, I am fortunate enough to have those rare days when I wake up, feeling all the ages I've ever been, and whisper to myself under the covers, "Growing up is for quitters."

Yes, I am mostly all grown up, too mature for my own good, but I am not quite an adult.

As I attempt to take on woman hood, and adulthood, and parenthood, and spousehood I find myself held captive by my ability to return to my innocent imaginings of youth. Sure, everyday I am reminded that I am growing up still-- after all I did find my first gray hair this week-- but I know that I still have a long way to go. So although I am no longer searching the horizon for a lifeboat and am kicking my feet with a bit more confidence, I have decided I am okay with not being a kid anymore, but I've discovered this doesn't stop me from being the girl I am. And as I dig in my heels with the confidence that adulthood brings my way, I am discovering the very ground I walk on is made up of the barbies that used to be strewn across my bedroom floor, and the dress up clothes in the trunk downstairs, and it is made up of that first painting I made in preschool and that Christmas play my sister and I put on for our parents. Yes, I am an adult now and as much as I want to say "growing up is for quitters," I realize growing up is for those that are brave; for it is the brave-hearted that realize they cannot face back and move forward. It is the brave-hearted that realize that each step is one that is uncharted and unsure. But it is the brave-hearted that are not afraid to hold onto all the ages they have been, the good, the bad, the broken hearted teen, the smart-mouthed daughter, the curly headed lump of a toddler, because only then will one truly be brave enough to face the unknown waters of adulthood.

And I'm almost ready to be that brave-hearted woman.

November 5, 2010:
Why My students write:

I write for the fun, the joy, and the need. I need to write my ideas and dreams like a baby needs milk, or anything needs air. Ever since I learned to write, I have been writing. If I do not write I become sullen and, eventually, withdrawn. The safe haven that is a pen and piece of paper can be found anywhere. Growing up around noise, I slowly lost my vision—I have begun to find silence in writing. It seems unlikely I would be sane without the ability to write.
I write because…
each day I take another step in life and feel it should be on paper for everyone to read
- the sun comes up and then goes down every day
- the sound of a pencil on paper is like a song playing joyous music that sets your heart at peace
- words are a miracle
- I want to show the world I can
- my mom and dad don’t know how I feel
- I want something to show for myself
- I mean something
- I want to be loved
- it seems like I’m the only one who understands
- every day is the same
- my life isn’t all that easy
- the hurt is too much sometimes
- I’m crazy
- life is numb
- I need it
- it’s fun
- I’m trying to come alive
- I want people to know that I’m not just a quiet and shy person; there is someone else behind that shell
- I want someone to be impressed with me
- my real dad wants nothing to do with me
- I’m not perfect
- I want to have dreams
- I want other people to see a change in me
- it is my happy place
- it makes others smile
- I can tell a story when there is no one else to tell
- it’s my only escape
- I have a fire burning deep inside me that won’t burn out
- once the pencil hits the paper I can’t control it
- my life depends on it
- my singing is bad
- my heart tells me to
- I am different than everyone else
- I have a say in the matter
- we only live this life once
- the more I write the more I open up
- the world depends on it
- I have to say something
- I take one step at a time
-, just like hunting and fishing, it is so fun to catch something new with my words
- I care what I have to say even if no one else does
- if I don’t my thoughts will drive me crazy; if I do I can escape them
- if I didn’t no one would know who I really am and what I’m actually thinking and feeling
I write because…
- I want people to know what it feels like to be alive
- I want something for people to hold onto
- sometimes writing will give me the right answer
- it gives me the chance to get to know myself better
- I want people to feel what I felt
- I feel used and stepped on by people around me
- what I have to say is different than what you have to say
- I have to out-do my sister
- I am lonely and the notebook is my company
- I am not afraid to express my true self when I write
- I feel an urge, a compulsion to reach for the pencil and paper
- it is my place to speak, rather than listen
- it is a hiding place; a sanctuary I can go to and feel okay
- it lets me live in a new way
- I am happy
- I’m a klutz
- I’m changing
- I sometimes feel ignored
- I miss the people who have left me
- I want to be the voice to someone
- I love to make up stories
- I have something to say
- I love my family
- I want to be the girl little girls look up to
- I want the world to be a better place
- it makes me feel like I can do anything I want
- I want to be the girl people will never be mad at
- there are no boundaries
- it’s the best kind of therapy there is
- I want to be recognized for something
- I feel ignored
- I feel incredible
- I’m unstoppable
- I feel others’ pain
- I am normal
- it helps me realize what I have
- I feel all eyes on me
- these boots can only take it for so long
- I have questions but can’t ask them
- I’m an idiot and believe I’m the best writer out there
- I know who I am
- I have an imagination in my head that just won’t leave
I write…
- to stand up for the things that bother me the most
- to heal the hole in my heart
- so I can start a revolution
- so I can tell the world how I cope with all the changes I’ve gone through
- so my parents will actually be impressed with what I do
- to share my memories
- to get my anger out
- to get better at it
- to hear from the past and the future
- to expand my horizons
- to keep my imagination flowing
- to change my attitude
- to make a difference
- so I don’t feel so lost
- to have fun
- to create something I want
- to prove a point
- to confuse you
- to have something to look back on when I’m old and frail, because I will have forgotten
- to find a friend—one that offers more room for me because she’s interested, friendly and can’t beat me
- to fill up a page
- to feel human
- to make my day better
- to be creative
- to remind myself that there is a ‘before’ and ‘after’ to my story
- to be somebody
- to show others I exist
- to share the story others couldn’t
- so I won’t explode on the people around me
- so I can inspire others
- to ask questions
- to feel alive
- so I can be remembered as someone

November 22, 2011
dear baby,
you just keep growing and growing! keep it up! i can't even believe that it's already been almost 5 months since you first began to form.

the big news this week is that your dad finally got to feel you kick. one night after supper you were persistent in your punches, and i was nearly certain he should be able to feel you from the outside. and sure enough you gave a big one on my lower right side and he looked at me and was smiling from ear to ear. please be that tenacious more so he can feel you again.

people are starting to feel the need to touch my belly more now too, but i don't really mind. i'm awful proud of you already so you can just flaunt yourself all you want, okay?

i hope you like thanksgiving food because i plan on treating you right this thursday as we celebrate our first one together. for the time being though, keep whirling and twirling away in there for as long as you would like!

love, mom
And there you have it: SIX NOVEMBERS. My how my life has changed since 2007 when I was nervous about finishing college and student teaching. Two moves, 4 years of loving teaching, a baby, a new job at home… God is faithful. Here is to trusting Him for the next 6 Novembers. 


six and seven months of BLYTHE

I decided to start clumping months together. I will do another "outfit picture shoot" at nine months for comparison though.

Click HERE to see previous months. 

Blythe is changing and growing everyday. She is a happy little peanut: 14.5 pounds at her 6 month check up, and just shy of 17 pounds last we checked. She started solids right at 6 months and hasn't looked back! She LOVES eating. It is hard to know how much to feed her at times because she will eat anything I give her for as long as I give it to her. She really likes peas, sweet potatoes, squash, pears, prunes, and plums. When she knows it is time to eat she starts smacking her lips together. She still nurses four times a day as well. 

She is taking two naps, and sometimes a short third one in the early evening if one of her previous ones was too short. She has adopted an earlier bedtime, and is usually ready to snooze between 7:30 or 8 and wakes up any where between 6:30- 7:30. 

She has such a sweet little personality. She is sometimes quite serious, studying new faces and surroundings, and sometimes so full of laughter she almost explodes. Some of her favorite things right now are bath time, her lovey blanket, standing up and playing [she is getting quite daring and lets go and holds on with one arm], and eating.

Still no crawling, but she rolls and rolls trying to get to something and pushes herself up and backwards…and then gets mad that she is going in the wrong direction! 

Brent and I often simply refer to her as "baby girl." We are quite smitten. Brent recently said he can't imagine ever loving another child this much. 

And now, since I don't really have time to organize these pictures…here is Baby Girl at six and seven months of age: 
also, her "birthmark/ bruise" is very noticeable in some of these pictures. If you don't know about this, that bruise on her forehead has been there since she was born- she didn't fall or anything. Her pediatrician said it's totally normal. Now, Blythe, just grow some hair and everyone will stop thinking I dropped you!

Oh sweet hand dimples

With big cousin, Caroline, in their matching pjs. Caroline LOVED it. 

One of the few pics I have with her…sheesh! 

So true. 
With her friend, Wyatt. 

Her PopPop

Helping PopPop, in her overalls, put in the new dishwasher. 

Just listening to Daddy 
This was the morning after our first "up all night" adventure with her. from about 1-4 she simply wouldn't go to sleep. So we hopped in the car and took some back roads for an hour and the gravel soon lulled her to sleep. I guess I will forgive her since she has only done that once in 7 months :) 

She experienced Halloween for the first time: from pumpkin carving to trick or treating!

Happy girl after eating

She is loving toys more and more as she can manipulate things so much better 

Helping me dry off pumpkin seeds before baking them!

Helping me grocery shop. She causes a lot of people to stop what they are doing when we walk by. 

If Papa is in the area he HAS to swing by for a minute to say hi. Here he is one morning after hunting. They were  studying a leaf

Hilarious. This lazy girl is clearly proving she is my daughter. 

A family tradition on Brent's side. His dad LOVES this trick. [And don't ask me what she is wearing?! Ha.]

Halloween #1 before we flew to Nashville. Cutest bee I ever saw!

Quite the face

Getting ready for her first airplane trip!

Pretty great crew was there to pick us up on the other end! [on Halloween day…Caroline doesn't usually wear pumpkin attire]

Trick or treating: an owl [age 3], a lady bug [age 7 months], a peacock [age 14 1/2 months]

"Mom, if I can't eat candy, what's the point of this thing!"

We got to meet up with several great high school friends before Brent and Brandon ran their marathon! All of the guys here graduated together, and us ladies have joined the picture since then…as well as Gabe and Blythe [Gabe, curly hair in front, was smiling but just looking the wrong direction :)] 


cousins. More about this trip when i get my camera card! 

First attempt at swinging at the park…Don't worry I took her arms out but this was too funny at first! 

Our family knows how to rock PINK like no ones business

"Hey guys, I just rolled under the coffee table!"

Too adorable

First tractor ride with PaPa

Papa thought this was a great idea!

He didn't get much work done, though :) 

She loves her leg warmers…and pill bottles. 

Just playing peek-a-boo with Nana and Mama

Blythe has always taken a bottle really well for a baby that nurses the majority of the time. Recently she started holding her own bottle, which I just think is the cutest thing ever. The other night she didn't want to let it go though and Brent sat her down and she just sucked and sucked…and those are some fancy tights, are they not?

First time to Cracker Barrel with grandparents and great grandparents

This may just be my favorite picture of her yet. 

Sweet, sweet face

And, as always, at some point I remember I have a good camera, and that I should snap some pictures with it. Here are some shots right at the end of six months:

Don't you just want to bury your face in those sweet neck rolls?

This is her model pose. 

See, she's not ALWAYS perfect… :) 
With Great Granpa AJ on his birthday 

Baby Girl, we love you so much.
Thanks for letting us smother you in kisses and squeeze your chunky thighs.
Thanks for filling our days with joy.