Wednesday, February 29, 2012

In training.







Remember these two squirts?






Seems they've found a new recruit.....












1. Time flies.

2. So glad we only own cheap furniture.










Monday, February 27, 2012

Bodies.



Today I had my usual weigh-in at 
my 34 week check-up. It ain't pretty.

However, I sat in ease and comfort in the doctor's office, mostly confident in my inner-knowing of how to grow a child and eventually shed the excessive pounds resulting from the cookie binges that serve as reliable coping mechanisms during a loooong pregnancy. There was once a day when I would have declared that death was a better option than packing on forty pounds in a sacrificial effort to create life. I am so glad I am past that time in my life, but the memory is still fresh.


I don't know exactly what triggered it, but I began an unhealthy preoccupation with my weight at a fairly young age. Ironically, I would say I grew up in a healthy home with a mother who was an excellent example of womanly confidence. I don't remember hearing her frequently bad-mouth her body, obsess over calories, or enviously pine after the emaciated physiques of Hollywood elite. Never once did she mention or suggest anything contrary to the notion that my body was fine just as it was. Looking back there were the occasional intermittent and laughable exercise fads she bought into that included the trusty Thigh-Master, Suzanne Sommers, and a brief {unsuccessful} stint at serving our family vegetarian  meals. But beyond that, body image did not dominate the topic of female conversation or thought in my household.

I remember the day clearly when I panicked. I was thirteen, and my Mom and I went clothes shopping. I remember the size of pants I had normally worn no longer fit, and I moved into the next size category. Suddenly, I questioned myself...is this normal? Is this too big? Despite my mother's reassurance, I couldn't ignore the awful, sinking feeling overcome me in the dressing room. I felt out of control. Suddenly, new clothes didn't seem exciting.

It was that day when I decided my "size limit" and from that point on, remaining within that self-imposed size, regulating a self-imposed "weight" restraint, became my goal. And for the next few years it took over, the obsession of it all.

I guess I can proudly state that I never succumbed to a serious eating disorder. Which is weird really, given that I think my obsession was more hazardous than a legitimate stint at anorexia or bulimia. In my warped teenage view I considered myself worse than a bulimic, more pathetic than an anorexic...because at least they had the cajones to control themselves and drive their obsession to some foreseeable results! In my mind, I wished I had the discipline to be an anorexic. I envied the thought of people worrying about my bony fragile physique and urging me to eat and 'put on more weight'. I attempted bulimic behavior but never fully mastered the technique, and vomit just wasn't my thing. Obsession without a viable outlet seemed to be my only problem. I viewed it as the Loser's Approach to Eating Disorders.

Daily, from sun-up to sun-down, weight was on my mind. Exercise was a sort of self-testing punishment, a cathartic method of allowing myself the excuse to stake a claim as an attractive female. I could forgive myself for not being smaller or more muscular or sexier as long as I had drained myself a gallon's worth of sweat or hammered out 450 sit-ups that day. 

And looking back...gosh, how sad: I was pretty. To any outside observer, I was normal. Medically speaking, I have never been overweight in my life. But to a very distorted teenage mind, the slightest bulge was unacceptable. The fact that my stomach would roll over if I bent down to touch my toes was inexcusable. The media messages attesting to the power of female sexuality in the form of bodily exploitation were in full force (just as they are today, only worse) and I wholeheartedly bought into every perverted message coming my way: 
To have power
to have happiness
to have a male's attention
to have love
to have it all
you must. look. like. this.

Or in other more teenage friendly terms (and to embarrassingly date myself):

God wasn't really God, 
Britney Spear's physique was God.

What a dangerous message for a budding control freak bent on perfectionism.
You see, perfectionists are merciless. We aren't warmed or inspired by charming platitudes of "it's the inside that counts", and "love yourself", and "healthy at any size". Kindness to ourselves is nothing more than weakness if it means sugarcoating the cruel reality that weight and appearance appeared to be the main form of exchange to attain what is most valuable in life.

And oh what a lie, lie, lie that is!!!! This massive, enormously evil, money driven lie that is spoon-fed to young girls from birth! It has taken years, a more developed spiritual framework, a healthy marriage, motherhood, and lots of introspection to yield the sort of 20/20 hindsight I have when I look back upon those years. 

I came across an article a year ago that made my head spin with excitement, from an author who I particularly admire when it comes to her perspective on women's issues (Katherine Soper, many of her essays can be found at Patheos , she is the founder/author of Segullah, and her personal website). I practically stood and cheered as I read her  perfectly articulated synopsis of what was at the heart of a female's struggle during those teenage years of mine:

"Our increasingly voluptuous bodies were reliable tools of status and control. The power was heady, but confusing, because wielding it always left us feeling empty and weak. And it was treacherous, because its force attracted not only the male peers we were aiming for, but also troubled stepfathers and leering strangers. But by the time we realized the perils, we'd grown dependent on this means of power. Of course it didn't yield true power, because it didn't originate within ourselves: it originated within the perceptions of the boys and men we hoped to entice. Yet in our economy of success, sexual attraction was the only currency we thought we held. And counterfeit money was better than nothing."  
(complete article found here)

Never in my life did I feel more empty and worthless then when I was obsessed with maintaining my body and my appearance as that "currency" for attention, for love, for acceptance. Boooooyaaaa! Thank you Katherine Sop-a-genius!! Bankruptcy is the ultimate end for this type of power play, this bogus monetary system.

It is a funny thing now, looking back on those years, because my evolution of self-image has so dramatically taken a turn. Don't get me wrong, I still don't enjoy weighing an extra forty pounds. I love to flirt and explore my femininity with my husband, the shoe department at Macy's could rightfully be appointed my second home, and health is a top priority. Or to borrow again from Soper's words, I am gaining a better grasp on the difference between utilizing a body to "express one's self" rather than to "secure a self". 

It's sounds really kumbaya-ish and weird to sum up in a nutshell as it was such a gradual process of discovering new truths about myself that would eventually redirect my energy to something amply more positive and fulfilling, but now: I can honestly say that I view a body as a celebration. (Kuummm baaa yaaaaaaa, my Lord, Kum baaaayaaaaa...anyone in the mood to belly dance?)

What a magnificent machine this is, I tell you! The way I can move and deliver affection and eat and spin around and fall asleep and wake up and swim in lakes and grow babies!?!. Are you kidding me?!!! Grow BABIES?!!! I can feel and see and laugh and do all of this crazy. stuff.

 For reals: this is NUTSO ya'll. 

Maybe it took examining my own daughters' little figures to see it as clearly as I do. Every morning as I help London tie her shoes or assist Lily in zipping up her dress or squish Ellie into her pants, I can't help but declare a variation of the same recurring thought: you are perfect! I love these little legs, these feet. Your eyes and your lashes and the way you stand. The way you breathe effortlessly. Your belly giggle. You are such a miraculous and wonderful creation! 
Don't you 
ever
ever 
ever
hate this. 
Don't you criticize this. 
Don't you misuse this.
Don't you harm this gift and put things in it that would cause you despair.
And especially, don't you dare get fooled into the exchange of it for fleeting and false power (Yo Mama will get reeeeally upset about this one.)

Run and feel and use this body for good
Move and exercise and eat nutritiously because you love your body, not because you hate it!

And if you don't, Mama will weep, because she worked so hard to help create it. It took a while to figure out, but I think finally your Mama sees it
a little bit more
how God sees it.


And that vantage point holds the best definition of body image a girl can get.













Saturday, February 25, 2012

Moments.





I have begun four separate posts this last week, all sitting unfinished in my reader.

Time time time...where do you go?!

I guess I can be glad that my good list of things I want to accomplish is never-ending.

Imagine if one really conquered everything they ever wanted to do? 
What a boring dead-end you'd find yourself staring at. 

Is this just a fancy rationalization for eternal procrastination?

I think not!



The house fell silent on Thursday afternoon for a few minutes too long. With small children in the house, one quickly learns that there is an all too brief window of time that transitions from a calm miraculous euphoria to the stark realization: "There is going to be hell to pay for this...."

{Think lipstick graffiti on walls, toilet bowl stuffed with toys, four packages of empty gum wrappers, or a naked baby covered in feces playing unsupervised on the front lawn....}

I stopped loading the dishwasher, turned down the Republican debate I had been listening to,
 and thought, "Wait, where's Ellie?"


I wandered the halls and inspected the empty playroom. Soon I found her, here:


Awwww, sweet girl,  plum tuckered out.


A day well-spent.



I know the feeling.




























Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The man.



It's his birthday.

love this man.

For so many reasons. I will list a few things I love about him today.



* I love that our daughters look so much like him. Turns out he makes an incredibly handsome man AND beautiful little women too.

* I love how he reacts the opposite to my emotions. It makes for a perfect blend. He is mostly laid back when I'm feeling uptight. He makes a joke when I'm on the prowl for a good fight. He diffuses my angst with life. His resting state-of-being is one of cheer and good-natured warmth.  A moody girl needs this sort of stability in her life. 

*I love that he knows when to be serious and thoughtful too.

*I love his big, strong man body. Rarrr. And that he's sportsy, even though I don't find myself particularly fond of sports. In fact I might hate them. But I'm glad he doesn't.

*Speaking of strong man body, the poor guy has ironically suffered with some foot issues in the past months. We've been seeing a specialist to get to the bottom of it, but it looks like it could have something to do with a hereditary arthritis/joint condition. Bummer. As I waddled into our bedroom last night and he limped over to the bed I asked him,

"If someone had come up to us when we were eighteen {and probably making out in his car in some undisclosed location...I imagine it would have been a police officer. We've met a few of those in our day.}, would you have believed them when they said that in ten years you would have four daughters and arthritis?"

We had a good laugh about that one.


* I love his quiet, humble commitment to good things. Things like faith and family and our marriage.

*I love eating warm peanut butter Hershey kiss cookies with him on Wednesday nights while watching television.We just stare at each other in ecstasy and shame as we shovel each cookie into our mouths and wash it down with milk, telepathically communicating with our eyes: We are so fat, we are so fat, we are so fat.

*He is the world's best father.

*I love that he is open. He is always up for new experiences and ideas. He could never be accused of being terribly closed minded, know-it-all, or stubborn. I notice this and can be glad that it is another part of our complimentary natures...because I've been called all three...in the same sentence...multiple times. Oh dear.

*I love that he likes to be with me, even if we're not doing anything particularly fun. I still find it shocking that  he finds my company enjoyable. I don't even find my company enjoyable.

*I love him. Tyler. The name that represents all that makes me happy and hopeful. 

February 22nd, 1984 was my lucky day.





Happy birthday my love!














Monday, February 20, 2012

Growing.





Last night Tyler and I caught ourselves up on the Twilight saga epic movie event of the year Breaking Dawn Part 1!!!
The fact that I still retain a spouse after forcing him through each installment is beyond explanation.
DON'T WORRY, I have no plans to do a movie review here.

Anyways, i got caught off guard by a moment in the movie that left my mind wandering in an abjectly heartwrenching epiphany.
It was the wedding scene. 
Suddenly it occurred to me....

Rae: Husband, someday our daughters will get married.

Ty: Um, yep. Probably.

Rae: No. NOOOOOOOOO.

DO YOU REALIZE WHAT I JUST SAID?

SOMEDAY.....OUR DAUGHTERS....WILL GET MARRIED.

What does this mean?!!! What is happening here?!!
They won't be little! They won't have floppy ponytails and be giggling in the back room when they're supposed to be going to sleep, ignoring all of our empty threats to ship every last toy back to Santa Claus after their fraudulent stint on the nice list!
They will be grown and tall and think for themselves 
and leave LEAVE LEAVE!!!
We won't have little girls anymore. 
We won't. have. little girls. anymore!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

By this point I had rolled off of the sofa and was writhing in apocalyptic moans on the floor, shaking my fists  in protest at Bella and Edward and their completely bizarre {but nicely decorated} wedding scene before running to my girls' bedrooms to lock them in forever.....

so I'll go ahead and leave the recap of the weekend at that.

{Lundy girl and her cute peepskeeks}

Last week as I dropped Lily off for piano at her teacher's house (yes, technically speaking I am a piano teacher...and yes,  i am sane enough to know i have no business teaching my own offspring). 
She hopped out of the car with her piano books in her bag and skipped up the driveway.

She briefly paused and began swinging her book bag around.
She twirled and laughed as her ponytail lifted behind her in motion.

I yelled out, "Hurry Lu! You don't want to be late to your lesson! Go up to the door!"

But for a few seconds she just kept spinning, mesmerized by the motion of her body and the force pulling her bag outward as she whirled in circles, entertained purely by the simple sensation of feeling dizzy and weightless.
She was smiling.

I sighed as my shoulders shrugged in surrender. I couldn't help but smile back as I watched her, finding myself in another one of those weird moments when I want to cry and spontaneously combust. Nothing seemed more darling and little girl about her than that moment. What a precious child. Thank you, thank you, 
thank you, God. For her.

I never want to forget that. 
I hope she'll always find the time to twirl.




......................................................


Another thing I don't want to forget,





Her special school project: 100 things/Lily's Lollipop Garden.

Sorry blogosphere, not much of an explanation to give on this one other than to say there are so many things about her that I love on this project board, it simply must go down to family record forever.










Thursday, February 16, 2012

Nuts.





 {First snow}


Paranoia is my psychosis of choice.
This morning while lying still in bed, I thought I couldn't feel the baby move. Concern quickly catapulted to panic (my personality finds the two emotions remarkably interchangeable). I shifted my belly and poked and prodded until finally...after what felt like an eternity (9.5 seconds)...I felt a kick and tug in response. If she wasn't injured before she certainly is now after the beating this poor babe took through the womb as I pushed and jiggled and belly bumped around trying to summon her movements.


I can no longer pretend like this is not happening: Crazy is settling in to stay for these last few weeks till push-day. I can sense it as my emotions go into high alert and I am often reduced to tears by 7pm daily. I cant ignore feeling it, the achy sensation of a body in constant expansion. I'm slowing down, irritation levels are rising, and the novels in my head are in full force. 



Years ago, shortly after the birth of Lily, I decided I needed to see a therapist. Just one appointment, I told Tyler over the phone, I just need to sort this weird anxiety out. The influx of completely paranoid thought over this babe had started to overwhelm me. I wanted so badly to protect her and consequently found myself noticing every possible threat lurking, whether real or imaginary. Never before had death and pain seemed more possible then after the entrance of this new life and joy. While showering I would picture a killer breaking through the window and harming her. While cooking I would foresee the pot of boiling water sprouting robotic legs, walking 25 feet across the room, and dumping itself all over her little fragile body. While walking outdoors I'd anticipate a wild mountain lion springing out of the suburb edge, bounding forth to devour a meal of fresh human flesh. And the images were always vivid in detail, so detailed that when I would try to paint the picture to Tyler illustrating the horror of this thought process that left my heart pounding and knees quivering, he would respond with "AAAA!! Stop telling me this...it's freaking me out!!"
Imagine how I feel!
I was in a constant state of survival preparation mode: escape routes, fire exits, stocking a lower cupboard with self sustaining Gerber veggie puffs and a blanket so the baby could survive inside when I was forced to hide her in it so I could  fight off the house intruder with a butter knife and pepper spray. I figured Tyler would eventually arrive home to find me beaten and bloodily martyred but whew...at least the baby would be safe.



Yes, Tyler agreed,  $200 was but a small price to pay to a therapist devoted to one hour of rediscovering sanity. 

After listening to my rambling, the therapist felt confident that this was most likely a hormonal issue sorting itself out in the postpartum phase, and medication wasn't necessary. However, he did provide information that put me at ease and summed me up perfectly:

You write novels.

he said.

In your head. 
When you worry, in this very normal stage of parenthood when you experience so much love and hence feel vulnerable, you begin composing a story. A BIG story, full of lots of chapters.






It was so true. And that single bit of information has made a world of difference as I've consequently experienced the same waves of paranoia (and amazingly at the same intervals in each cycle/stage of pregnancy and postpartum phases...he was right about the hormones too.)

I notice it frequently and often command myself, Rachel: stop the novel.



This morning as I unnerved myself over the imaginary doom that had befallen my unborn child, the script was legendary. It was dramatic and upsetting and full of sweeping trauma unlike the world had never seen before.    Small details, big details: the despairing saga ran relentlessly through my head until I ordered myself again to

Stop the novel, Rachel.




Or better yet,  rewrite the story.


I imagined instead her healthy body kicking and her first screams as the doctor holds her up. Her pinkish warm body and crinkled face, grumpy with the world for disturbing her warm enclosure inside of me. 

I fast forward sometimes even further, imagining weddings and the four of them in old age encircled by hosts of happy grandchildren and blissful contentment. There are big oak trees and family reunions with red and white checkered table-cloths strewn with chicken and pies, a summer breeze blowing through as a large family photo is taken.




So maybe the whole paranoid hormonal novel writing disorder isn't always such a bad thing.   


                                                              


                                                             Heaven bless therapists. 
Angels equipped with comfortable sofas, those people.
{Now if only I could find myself a free one.}


























Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Ambassador.




Dear Elliotte Jane,


I love to think about how each of my children have expanded me.

Figuratively speaking.

And, oh bother, come to think of it: figure-a-tively speaking too.

 {your funny little toophers charm the socks off of this household, especially with the crooked smiles}

Each night I feel your little sister kicking with a vengeance.
It brings me peace (and mild discomfort at 11pm).
It reminds me she is coming, getting well and ready to make her entrance into this big beautiful (and sometimes scary) world. After a day chasing you and your older sisters, it can be the only time I have to connect with her.

And sometimes as I'm squishing you in my arms and chewing on your neck rolls, I realize that my time with you as the baby of the house is winding to a close. Soon you will be an older sibling, and that makes me cry a little. Not out of sadness, I know these things have a wonderful way of aligning the way they are supposed to. But change is hard on a Mama. You want addition, you want expansion, but good grief you don't want it to involve change!! I want you to grow and be and do and see and stay exactly the same all at once. Is that really such an unrealistic request?!



I've learned in my line-up of childbearing years that each child serves as the ambassador to the next child. After your first child, you can hardly believe that you could love again the way you do. The second serves as solid evidence of your grossly shortsighted understanding of the capacity to love. And because of the second you start to get a little crazy, greedy even, believing in the possibility for the third.  And now with you - our third messenger - I rest in a quiet, strong confidence that our fourth will be nothing short of miraculous.

Because you are. 
We need our Ellie Jane. 
We love our Ellie Jane. 




Love forever and ever and ever
and ever and ever and
ever and ever
and ever,

Mama









Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Friends.



I am convinced there is nothing more formidable in the 
world of human interaction than that of female relations.




And I'm not speaking solely of the blood-related kind.
When I say female relations, I mean the all encompassing 
experience of one female encountering another throughout a lifetime.

On the one hand, the interaction is nothing short of poetic and beautiful. The satisfaction that comes from female kinship, validation, understanding, and camaraderie can be the very bread and butter of a girl's existence. Women can circle wagons around fellow women in such a way to provide a bulwark that even the nastiest of enemies couldn't hope to penetrate. Our ability to lighten another's load, cry with those who cry, and gently ease each other through life's most difficult passages is nothing short of miraculous. We are warm, charming, funny, engaging, playful, and intensely interested in the plight of others - others ranging from our closest relatives to complete strangers halfway across the world. Day to day, the world is continually lifted from small and large actions that act as the undercurrent, the very immune system of humankind - all often propelled by women: sisters, mothers, daughters, wives, friends.  I'm convinced that inside of each woman lies a quiet giant of Nobel-peace-prize-worthy charity and strength.

On the other hand, it is a friggin' nightmare. Nobody can wreak havoc in a female's world like another female. I lack hard data but am willing to go out on a limb and boldly declare that almost every instance of the most supreme heartache in a girl's life has at its root the actions or presence of another female.
In war, we can learn about the difference between overt versus covert tactics. Overt operations are done openly, un-secret and not hidden (think dropping a bomb on a city capital for instance...pretty hard to miss or misinterpret the message intended). However, rather than an all out bomb-dropping, you can also have the subtle -often amply more effective - covert operations, defined as "so planned and executed as to conceal the identity or permit the plausible denial by the sponsor". 

And here we go with bold claim numero dos, also completely unsubstantiated by hard data: women are the masters of covert operation. We are the soldiers of manipulation, gossip, back-biting, jealousy, and cruelty of the most sinister and often unrecognizable order. And thus, inside of each women's inner sanctuary...right next to that fluffy white robed Nobel peace prize lover playing harps and whispering kind promptings in your ear geared towards more good deeds and altruistic behavior...ironically lies a primitive jungle hunting biotch. She's a mixture of insecurity, competition, and skill: skill which she employs to shoot toxic little arrows expertly targeted to the Achilles heel of the unsuspecting little harp player in white. 

Am I speaking a bit harshly here? They didn't invent the term 'frienemy' for nothing.  If you are a girl reading this and all of my personal assessments seem wildly off the map I submit to you this: you are one fortunate human being, or you are still under the age of 17 months. You'll soon learn my dear, I sadly promise.

I suppose what I am speaking of is the ever classic battle of the two sides of human nature. You know, all the stuff commonly referred to in scripture smacking of "the natural man is an enemy to God". There is no shocking revelation in what I described above: women can be wonderfully wonderful and miserably miserable. I also don't mean to make it sound like all women are equally divided into some sort of 50/50 wonderful : miserable ratios. There are too many saintly women I know who would completely turn such an evenly divided hypothesis on its mistaken head. I am merely making the blanketed assumption that the two sides are there, they exist. Whether one is more dominant than the other is up to the female holding the reigns.

I wish I could say to my daughters that navigating the female interaction department gets easier with time and more experience on a school playground. Unfortunately I have not found this to be the case. Instead, I shall present my evolving philosophy and corresponding strategy in dealing with my female counterparts. Whether it is good or bad or even accurate is up for question, but what isn't up for grabs is that fact that it really did evolve out of a myriad of personal experiences ranging from pain to happiness to inspiration to frustration to defensive technique. It is pretty straight-forward:

Recognize the duality in your own nature first


Let's give some names:

Sheera!, your inner jungle biotch
 and 
Lula!, your lovely harp playing sweetheart: 

Both have something to teach.
{Do you like my names? they are good names.}

Sheera is sometimes needed to recognize the other Sheeras out there and not succumb to their tactical strategies. For example, it is she who will recognize primitive behaviors and can act as a siren to alert you of other jungle biotches sounding mating calls to your man while pretending to be your friends. She also provides you with the fierce biological urge to protect and defend your young, coaxing your protesting and groggy self out of bed at 2am to breastfeed a crying infant for the nineteenth time in an eight hour period. But be careful because Sheera's nature is almost entirely physical. She recognizes no greater achievement than self-preservation and domination of other jungle biotches. Sheera was designed to be the ultimate contestant on The Bachelor. Therefore, she can be ruthless, hateful, and entirely self-serving. The best way to keep Sheera contained to her rightful compartment in your soul is self-awareness. Recognize the gnawing jealousy within your heart when she observes another woman's success, notice how she does a victory dance upon hearing of another rival female's troubles, and call attention to her incessant whisper that you can only achieve final domination of your livelihood once you are ten pounds lighter or look more like so-and-so. Sheera ducks for the bushes when you notice these inclinations in your nature, because remember: Sheera can only operate under mostly covert conditions.

Lula is needed to transcend. She knows how to build bridges, reaching out to the other females of the world to find commonality. And she finds it, wherever she goes. Other Lulas. They are delightful. She is a constant reminder that all females are better served in formation as allies rather than splintered as enemies. Lula understands that differences, be it age or life vocation or marital status or parenting technique or outward appearance, are often windows of opportunity to look through for learning and inspiration rather than cautionary markers of foreign or enemy territory. Lula also knows that each woman carries with her a message, and Lulu seeks it out and listens. And she finds that the more she listens, the better she feels.  Lula perceives that the core yearning for both herself and of most women is clear: we want to love and be loved. Our female nature finds most satisfaction and meaningful depth in that simple desire, even if it can be woefully misdirected at times. Creating security for herself  doesn't involve the ransacking of others resources to stockpile her own. Tribes and silly female allegiances are useless to Lula, as she comprehends that the exclusion of other females never works towards forming a lasting peace.  Lula is the best version of woman.


Once you've discovered these elements {or self-titled personas masking an underlying and very serious multiple personality disorder..?} in yourself, they become easier to discern and either forgive or appreciate  in other women. Everything becomes less serious once I've viewed relations through this dichotomy, this split-screen way of interpreting interaction. It's made my life much more simple as I try to emphasize the Lula in my persona and keep better guard of that devilishly wicked little Sheera.


And when you really think about it, it's a marvelous thing to be a little complicated...isn't it?!
If we weren't, then what would the world be left with?

Boys.

And heaven knows we can't have just that.






















Tuesday, February 7, 2012

S.O.S.



We're having an S.O.S. day.

Sick.of.School.




Well, not really.
Ellie Jane did wake up feeling feverish this morning.
And it being a Tuesday and all, I decided it was the perfect time to declare
Break needed!

That whole ambitious Monday thing really did us in.
I should have seen this coming last night around 10pm, when after tossing and turning and attempting to get comfortable for the night I suddenly jumped out of bed and ripped every last article of clothing off of my body. Tyler looked up like, "Well hey HEEEEEY!"

"Don't even think about it, buddy. You stay. away."
Look at what you've done to me!
I need out of this...this skin! This body!!! I'm suffocating in here! I'm like Jonah being swallowed by a whale...only I'm AM the whale!!!!



I usually save such sort of surrender until the end of a week well spent. Tuesdays are usually are the pinnacle day of my motherly momentum.
Schedules, bedtimes, healthy meal plans, supplements, piano practice, reading lessons, story time, to-do lists, doctors appointment, library visits, grocery stops, walking, laundry folding, household cleaning, gymnastics classes, play-date rendezvous, writing, family night, dinner time, baths....




I pride myself on being an efficiency beast. 

We don't stop. Especially on a Tuesday!

Breaks are for sissies!





Ladies, in this household...we achieve.
We do. hard. things.


{Love that Ellie put one of her shoes on...just one...in her pajamas...in bed.}

However, the freedom of an S.O.S. day allows me to focus on more substantial tasks often left un-prioritized. 
Like pictures and blogging. Hooray!

We made hot chocolate.


Have you ever seen one of these awesome machines?! Courtesy of Nonna and Papa (you can find them at William & Sonoma). And the princess mugs: Gramma and Pop. My girls are hot chocolate fiends. In fact, each time they go to my parents' house they know they are in for an unlimited supply of warm cocoa prepared by Pop...served in baby bottles with pacifiers on the side. No joke. It is one of their favorite things. My Dad likes to think of his home as a real life version of Neverland: you don't have to grow up there.



We splurged and had pancakes with strawberries and whip cream.
The girls request such breakfasts daily, but normal rushed weekdays mornings only provide items with lean proteins, frozen berries, flaxseed and such.



Ellie has developed an independent streak and freaks out if she sees you chopping her food.
I've slowly let her handle the chewing process, carefully watching her every bite for size and chompability.


As you can see, she's handling it really well, only dainty little bites for this babe:








We'll pick up all of our pieces and get going again tomorrow. 
Until then, happy TUESDAY!