About Me

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I'm a child of God, wife to Charlie, mom to three beautiful girls, daughter to Dennis and Susan, and friend to as many as I can meet. (In that order.) Welcome to my bloggaroni. :) Follow me on Twitter: thatsmykimjay / Go to my site: www.kimjay.com

Monday, August 31, 2009

Just a few more days and then...off to the lake!

Today...was bearable. Nay, shall I even venture to say it? Enjoyable? What?!?!? Me? NOT whine?

Seriously, I would just like to apologize for the whining lately. Maybe hormones. Maybe stress. Maybe sleep-deprivation. Maybe just self-centeredness. Maybe all of the above. But, I admit it.

Today however, today was good. Beautiful outside! I opened the windows on our screenless house, and I haven't even complained about the flies buzzing around now. Peanut devoured dinner without a fight (albeit seriously messy!) The older girls actually GOT-ALONG. Nobody complained at dinner - even though we are at the END of groceries. Like, we have NOTHING in the pantry. (Ugh, gotta do the Costco run, and seriously...it might take two trips. We need EVERYTHING! It would be easier to make a list of what we DO have, than what we need at this point.)

I stayed up late again last night working on photos and got a fair amount done. So, life is good. Life will be absolutely PERFECT come Saturday morning when we get out on the BOAT! Cannot wait. The lake is my zanadu (only without Olivia Newton-John and skates.) I love, love, LOVE...the lake. Nothing else like it. Quiet. Warm. Fresh air. Rocking of the boat. My mama's food. Mmmmmm....cannot wait! It is worshipful.

Now, we have gotten a lot of grief in the past about missing church for the "lake." But, what people do not understand, is that we aren't the typical lake people. Well, let's face it, my parents aren't typical people. But, I can say with every bit of honesty in my human bones, that worship happens at the lake. Especially when the worship leader of all worship leaders is there...my mom. We have been known to sing hymns while cooking. We have been known to hold hands and pray at the boat dock, even if it is to ourselves. Being with my parents - living with my parents - growing up with my parents has been a lifestyle of worship. And, doggone it! I love it! Would have never admitted that as a teenager having to hold hands with my brothers and sing in the Smoky Mountain National Park - but I whole heartedly admit it now.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Taking a mommy break...

So, I have been dealing with a sick baby this week. And, a sick mom (me.) Whenever I get sick during one of my busy times, times where I'm so behind at work that I feel completely overwhelmed, I start having serious conversations with God that go something like this...

Me: WHY? Why do I have to get sick RIGHT NOW? Why can I not just get sick in January or possibly a Monday? No, I have to get sick when I have 10 sessions to edit, four sessions booked this week, and my baby is sick, too. God, any way we can just post-pone this little virus or whatever? I mean, isn't it kind of like adding insult to injury?

God: Are you insinuating that I made you sick?

Me: Well, no, of course not, but can't you do something? I mean, I haven't even had time to BLOG! (Well, except for showing everyone that trick you gave me about the fitted sheet.)

God: Seriously? I mean, REALLY?

Me: Oh dear, yes. Please forgive my selfishness. I'm sorry. I know there are worse problems in the world, and you ARE blessing my photography business in amazing ways. I'm just having a hard time coping with the whole working from home thing again, I guess.

God: I know, my sweet Kim. You'll be okay. I promise. Remember, I will not ever give you anything you cannot handle. I love you!

Me: Oh, I love you, too! You are the MAN! Just forgive me for not remembering that. Help me get a grip!

I probably have that conversation several times every day. Do I have short term memory loss or something? Don't answer that - it might come out the wrong way. :) So, anyway. I was filling orders, answering emails, processing photos this week when Anna was being especially good in my office playing. And it struck me...I haven't taken a picture of my own child in weeks!
She is so incredibly beautiful. Such an amazing gift from God.

Here she is, my little Peanut.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

How to fold a fitted sheet...

Okay, you asked for it, here it is! This is concrete and undeniable proof that I am the biggest nerd on the planet. I cannot cook worth a crap, or nurse a baby, but dang it...I can fold a fitted sheet!


Sunday, August 23, 2009

Women my daddy looks up to...

So, let me first start by telling you guys that I am well aware that you are probably sick of hearing how great my daddy is, but man! God just threw Himself overboard when He created mine. I have to say, I know how lucky I am. Both of my parents are incredibly wonderful in their own ways. And, I guess I don't give my mom enough props for her part of wonderful. But, I just cannot let today go by without sharing some more insights I have gained on behalf of my father.
Nadia Price Strid & Dennis Roaten (my dad)

Today my mom and dad and I attended a very informal, private, get-together to celebrate the 90th birthday of Nadia Price Strid. Now, I won't go into why she is amazing - go back and read my blog about her. Amazing. But, instead, I want to share how struck I am by the unusual way I was raised.

I was the oldest and only daughter of three children. The only granddaughter on my dad's side. A man's world. My mom had one chance for teaching sewing, cooking, and all those mom-things to, and she lost out on me. I got the sewing bug, but for the rest - well, I had more interest in helping daddy fix the car, cut the grass, build things in the shop, hunt, fish, whatever. My dad calls me the son he never had. (Then, he says my brothers are the sons he DID have.) And, even though I was the girl, he never treated me as such. Never told me to go inside and help mom with dinner. Never told me not to get my outfit dirty. Never expected anything less than for me to do anything I wanted in life. When my oil on my 1976 Datsun needed changing, he showed me how. When he needed more shingles on the roof, I hauled them up. When he worked on Saturdays, I was there. I was his shadow.

So, in my previous blog, I talked about how much my father looked up to Nadia (pronounced NAY-dee-uh), and how much he learned from her. Today during the party as he was introducing these absolutely BEAUTIFUL women to me, you could see and hear the respect and admiration he had for them. "This is Dr. Alys Lipscomb, one of the first women physicians in Memphis." "This is Nadia Price Strid, the first commercial photographer in Memphis." "This is Billy Price Carroll, one of Memphis' most famous artists."

Billy Price Carroll

Dr. Alys Lipscomb

Now, remember, my daddy is a guy.

Huh? You ask. Well, think about it. How many MEN do you know who have FEMALE role models? Seriously. During the cheesy "Olympic" moments on TV, how many men say their idols and mentors are women athletes? How many male TV newscasters name Barbara Walters as their role model? Usually, it's another woman giving the girl props. It is because of my daddy that I have this seed of inspiration deep down that makes me want to BE someone. That motivates me to try at least, to achieve. Because I am a woman, and I can. His love and admiration for the women in his life and in my parents' friendships have been the backdrop for my raising.

Friends like Nadia, who is an amazing photographer. Like Judy Sides who owns her own business at the salon. Like Linda Hamilton-Orr, the Avon World Sales Leader, who succeeds at everything she does. Like Nancy Willis who is an incredibly gifted teacher, friend, and mother. Like his mom, who took care of his dad and their household for more than 50 years. Like my mom's mom, who raised two girls as a widow before meeting Papa Tang. And, like MY mom, who he still thinks is the most beautiful woman on the planet (and I agree.) These are the women my dad has talked about my whole life. "So and so used to do this." "So and so once did this." "Oh, so and so can really do this." "You should do this." "You'd be great at this." And, on and on.

Men, take a lesson from my father if you are raising a girl. Teach her how to do what you're doing. Tell her who influences you and that you admire. (Not just the men.) Most importantly, LOVE their mothers. You'll have a wonderful daughter because of it. Hey, look at me! :) ( J/K - don't hate.)

Susan Roaten (my mom)

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The paparazzi...

Well, when people are more used to seeing you with a camera in front of your face than not, you tend to get a lot of this...talk to the hand. Seriously. I cannot tell you how many pictures just like these I have in my little Mac here. Tons. And, I really don't know who is worse. It is probably a close tie between Charlie (who, may I remind you, bought me the camera!) and Bradyn.

Okay, Charlie, I can kind of understand. He wasn't raised with a camera in his face like me and Bradyn were. I had my dad, and Bradyn had me AND my dad! But, it's a new thing for him. However, as long as we have been together, I've had a camera in his face. I mean, come-on! Have you seen you, Charlie?

But, Bradyn, well, she has no excuse. She's just so dang cute! And, she has had to deal with it from birth! Much like me. Only, boy, if I were to do this to MY dad, I'd be in big trouble. Why you ask? Because when I was a little girl, we were dealing with FILM. You know, that stuff you have to be real careful not to expose to light? That you kept in your fridge! FILM=MONEY. Now, my dad is, and always has been, a banker. I don't need to go any further with that explanation, now do we? Money is important. So, me and my brothers smiled and acted like we liked each other - or we got a knuckle on the head. Even if we looked like this:

Okay, so I wasn't exactly shy about smiling here. But, dang - if I had gotten a load of those knobby knees, yikes! I'd have been crying! But, in all fairness, my father DID brainwash me into believing that I wasn't the gawky redheaded buck-toothed goofball that I actually was. I thought I was as pretty as Dorothy Hamill.

Even the baby is getting in on the "talk to the hand" action. And, when she is not obviously and manually opposed to my photosession, she is oblivious to me completely. Like, I have YELLED at the nut to look at me. Jumped up and down. Shook my bu-twah (as Charlie puts it.) "Anna.... Anna.... ANNA!!!!!! Look at Mama! Hey Peanut! Helllllooooooooo! The isty, bitsy, spider.... How much is that doggie in the window..." UGH! Seriously. Until, finally, she just breaks down in tears from sensory overload...much like me on a Friday afternoon after toting Morgan and her girlfriends all over town with any number of Taylor Swift songs being serenaded to me the entire time.

So, to try another method. Distraction. Or, maybe focused distraction. How to get her to be distracted by something that is WHERE I WANT HER TO LOOK! Tried this (see below) with only about 5 minutes success. After an initial curiosity that probably went something like this, (My gosh, the woman has lost her mind!), she quickly returned to the 15 year old attitude of indifference. What can I say? She's an old soul.

Okay, so who wins the competition for best model? The one who just gives it their all every single time? I mean I don't even have to ask! They get in the shot any way they can, no matter what is going on. Almost, to the point of annoyance. I know you're thinking it is my sweet little 15 year old daughter, Morgan. Probably because she has not been mentioned yet. And, though Morgan is mostly a willing participant, she has had her days. But, the winner of the Camera Hog Competition: Jackson. The Donkey. Yes, you heard me correctly, The Donkey. I frequently take clients out to my parents' house which is on a few acres near my house. They have some sheep and now, a cute little donkey named Jackson. And boy, does he crack us up!

This picture is entitled, "I Had the Strangest Dream: there was a baby, and bubbles, and a donkey!" He is becoming sort of an institution in the Kim Jay Everyday Photography business. I have actually had people ask for me to include him in some photos. Well, he is happy to oblige, although I think he secretly enjoys the limelight solo. Last week, he stuck his head in the tire swing just after I removed a 2 year old from it. It was the funniest thing I've ever seen, so funny, in fact...I FORGOT TO TAKE A PICTURE!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, August 17, 2009

I'm flailing...

As you may have noticed, haven't blogged in several days. Partly because I have been so busy. Partly because I'm so tired. But, a big part because I just don't got nuthin' to say.

I don't feel witty, or clever, or interesting in the slightest right now. This whole blog thing is a strange world. When you start a blog, all you do all day long is ask yourself, "Should I blog about this?" Or maybe just a Tweet? Or probably a Facebook status update?

You kinda get caught up in it. Next thing you know, you're struggling with yourself about what you can blog about, and what you CANNOT! Let me tell you, there is a vast amount of stuff in my life I would love to blog about, but can't. So why even bother? Why am I spending all this time on something when I should be working? People in my life have been reading my blog, and they ask me why? Should they start one? Heck, my mom and my daughter did!

So, here's my list of "why's":
  • Because I start feeling very isolated and lonely in this little house all day. I need more conversation that is less-centered around my toddler's "beh-buh." (Belly-button)
  • Because I get the absolute nicest comments from mothers all over the world, and let's face it, who doesn't need positive feedback when you're a mom?
  • Because I like the attention. Let's not kid ourselves.
  • Because you can talk about yourself without offending anyone for hogging the conversation.
  • Because I think maybe, just maybe, I will make someone else out there feel a little less alone - as they make me feel when I read their blogs.
  • Because it is a way to constantly remind myself to be someone. BE SOMEONE!
  • Because I have grown to love all you people out there.
  • Because it is so free-ing to just be myself and not care what anyone else thinks. If you don't like what I say, don't read it. Easy, huh?
Now, I have also spent some time reading other blogs. My list of "why not's":
  • If you just simply cannot make it through a blog without publicly humiliating your husband or teenage children (infants and toddlers are fair-game because, well, they can't defend themselves yet.)
  • If you are hoping secretly that "someone" will read it so you can get away with telling them something through your blog that you should be saying in person.
  • To embarrass anyone.
  • To make money (you're going to be sorely disappointed here.)
  • To share intimate details of your marriage that should be only discussed in private or in counseling.
  • To annoy me. Ha, ha! Just kidding. Not really. Yes. No. Ha!
But, seriously...I digress. I just want to thank all of you who have encouraged me, read my blog, posted a link to my blog, re-tweeted my blog, or left a comment on my blog or Facebook. Thanks for your friendship, new and old. I've been blessed by you!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Post script to yesterday's blog...

Wasn't planning on blogging today, because I have TWO toddlers running around my house today. Anna's best friend, AnnaGrace, is over to play:

But, I have been completely overwhelmed and inundated by messages from soooooooo many of you, that I feel like I should thank you all and give you the update on my funk. I think I gave you the impression that I was still depths of it. Probably because of the fact that I cried ALL DAY YESTERDAY. Well, okay, so I might still be on the tail-end of it, but for the most part I am much better. This is due, I think, to the fact that Anna is older and mobile and able to entertain herself for longer stretches so that I can get stuff done. And, that my photography business is going so well, doesn't hurt things. So, thank you, thank you, THANK YOU! To all of you who have sent me kisses and hugs and prayers and just shared your stories with me. It means more than you can know.

I think my main problem right now is the residual guilt over what I missed last year. Charlie and I talked a bunch about this (because he had the misfortune of calling just as I was about to hit "PUBLISH POST" yesterday - BAWLING!), and I have come to grips with what I have lost...that year of firsts. The joy of a baby at home. The excitement of the milestones. I grieved it all yesterday, and now I'm just going to give it to the Lord and be a front-seat audience member to today's adventures.

I wanted you all to know that I am coming out of it, because many of you have told me that you are still in the pits. I want you all to know that it won't last forever. It won't. Trust me. I know, because I went through it with my second daughter - and it lasted much longer, and was much worse. (It took meds to get me out of it, and if you are fighting against meds yourself, DON'T. There is nothing wrong with them, and it will probably help you get over that bump in your life which feels like a mountain right now.) Mine was 11 years ago and I had already kinda forgotten about it. So much so, that when it hit me again with Anna, I was unaware of what was happening.

Today my prayers, and thoughts, and hugs, and kisses go out to all of YOU! I'm here for YOU today! Thank you for being there for me yesterday. I love you all!


Psalm 71:

1 In you, O LORD, I have taken refuge;
let me never be put to shame.

2 Rescue me and deliver me in your righteousness;
turn your ear to me and save me.

3 Be my rock of refuge,
to which I can always go;
give the command to save me,
for you are my rock and my fortress.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

My name is Kim Jay, and I am recovering from post-partum depression...

I feel so sad today. I feel so weepy. At first, I wasn't sure why on earth I just feel like crying. The girls are all gone. I have the day to myself again to get a bunch of work done. Why do I feel so icky?

As I was driving home from dropping off the Nut, I was thinking about how much better this year is than last year. How much I love that sweet child! And, I was thinking about a conversation I had with one of my best-friends-in-the-world this morning. She confirmed what I was thinking - that I am recovering from post-partum depression. She told me she knew it all year long, and I guess I did too. So, why cry? That's great! Right? I'm recovering! Well, I guess now, I'm kind of mourning the loss of Anna's first year of life. I am realizing that during her first year of life, I spent a large part of it wondering, What the heck have I done? Why did I have a baby? What was I thinking? Make it stop!

The tears are streaming down my face even as I type, and it's gonna take me awhile to get thru this. But, if there is anyone reading this that might be helped by my admission, I'm willing to confess these horrible thoughts. The enormous amount of guilt and pain and shame is so heavy on me right now. I really don't understand this whole motherhood thing. We have enough on us without those damn (yes, I said "damn") hormones putting the last nail in our sanity coffin.

This is my THIRD child, for goodness sakes. Shouldn't I be a pro by now? Does that Duggar lady ever get post-partum? The year was so stressful in so many ways. Newly married, I was struggling with the loss of complete freedom I had experienced as a single mom for that brief two years. After 12 years as a stay-at-home-mom, I had returned and earned my degree, and was managing a bank! A grownup job! I felt so validated and useful. Although the stress was rough, the paycheck, and the raises, and the sales, and the promotions - I was hooked. Completely addicted to that life. I DID NOT enjoy getting up and putting on a suit, but otherwise, I really enjoyed working.

So, soon after we got married I found myself pregnant and then we moved back to Memphis, and all of a sudden I'm back to stay-at-home-mom again. Which, would be wonderful if I were one of those women who live for it. But, for some reason, in my DNA, God put that little gene that makes me want to produce - a product - for feedback. That gene does not work well with the selfless, sacrificing, honorable job of being a mom. And, now more guilt for wanting what I do not have. For not being that woman. That is the whole reason for the photography career. I love to have something to show for my work. To be compensated. To be admired and encouraged.

So, last year as my sweet little Peanut was growing out of her baby-hood, I was wishing it away. I knew it was happening and I tried to be conscious of it. But, I did it anyway. And, now, that wonderful little girl is so grownup. Which, for me is a good thing, but still I feel the guilt of letting her first year go by all while I was busy moaning and groaning about the lack of showers and rest. The guilt of actually having the thought, Why did I have a baby? Now, I'm into the "ugly cry." If only you guys could see me now! I will most certainly have a crying-hangover from all this weeping.

I had a family member comment that I was always trying to "get rid" of Anna, trying to find someone to keep her. Was that how my pleas for help were interpreted? That I didn't want my baby? That I didn't love her? I just feel so awful that my actions caused others to think this way. But, gosh...if I could tell you all anything, and have you believe every part - I would shout it everyday and night:


So, please, in all of my rantings about being a mom, and being tired, and being frustrated, and out of ideas...PLEASE know that I love those girls with everything I have. My life is theirs, and I will try to be more faithful to the job God gave me.

And, now, some memories from last year...

Monday, August 10, 2009

It's the most wonderful time of the year....

And, now, a little tune for your Monday morning enjoyment...

It's the most wonderful time of the year

With the kids’ school bells ringing

And all the moms singing

It’s finally here!

It's the most wonderful time of the year

It's the hap-happiest season of all

With those first day of school greetings

And, an end to the pleadings,

“Let’s go to the mall?!?!?!?”

It's the hap- happiest season of all

There'll be quiet for thinking

Fresh coffee for drinking

And, getting dressed all by myself

There’ll be lunch dates for meeting

And, good books for reading

And, peeing without the little-elf!

It's the most wonderful time

It’s the hap-happiest time

It’s the most wonderful time…..

Of – the – year!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Well, I know I should feel a little guilty to be soooo happy to have my children out of the house. But, dang it. I just can't muster it up. Does that mean I love them less? I mean, really? My mother has told a story on more than one occasion, and I can't help but wonder if she's hinting to me, or jabbing me a bit. She tells the story of a time when my brother Matt overheard her tell someone that she was going to miss us when we went back to school. Matt told her (as a young boy - mind you) that it really made him feel good that she missed us when we were gone.

I can't help but wonder if she means that I should never ever WANT to be away from my children. That, to do so, means there must be something wrong with me as a mom. Okay, I have to pause, because I know she's reading this right now, and my phone is about to ring. I don't think she has done this intentionally, nor do I believe she thinks I'm a bad mom. I just maybe think she feels that way personally about herself. That to enjoy solitude without us there - had always been accompanied by guilt. Well, I'm here to plead the case for those of us who enjoy a little "time off."

Seriously, as I was driving back from dropping Peanut off at school, I was wracking my brain trying to think of a single scripture verse that says, "Thou shalt never want to be physically away from anyone you love. To do so would mean you do not love them." Heavens! Even Jesus had to walk away from the disciples just to think!

I do miss them when they are gone. But, I know for a fact, a proven fact, that when I have time alone without my kids - extended periods of time alone, not just potty breaks or runs to the grocery store for milk - I am a better mom for it. Last December and January, I was a wreck. I had not seen sunlight in weeks. I had not had a break from Anna, who was still very little and very dependent on me for everything. Charlie regularly came home to a sobbing mess of a wife on the bathroom floor. Despondent. He said, "I gotta get you out of the country, don't I?" If I had been a dog, my left ear would have twitched and stood up, as if to say, Did someone hear what I heard?

It was as if an angel had come down from heaven to lift me up and dust me off and take me away. "Yes!" I answered. "Please, for God's sake and the sake of our children," I begged, "Take me out of the country! Somewhere warm, and sandy, and with yummy fruity drinks brought to me by latino pool boys." And, that's just what he did. On the plane flying back into the country he mumbled, "Well, I guess I need to just put this in the budget every year in January." I love that man!

Today feels very much the same. I feel that hope of sanity creeping in. Just a few hours of solitude go a long way. Of course, by about 2:00, I will be ready to get my little Peanut. I am praying for Bradyn all day, my little Brady-Lady started Middle School today. I can't wait to hear how it was. And, Moey, well, she is growing into a beautiful young woman. With college info arriving in the mail already. I can't wait to hear about all the boys in her classes that I will have to attach GPS tracking devices to this year.

But, before then...sushi...with NO highchair present!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Burning the midnight oil...

So, be careful what you wish for. Be daggum certain of what you pray for! Or, rather, what you have your Mama pray for. :)

A year ago almost, I jumped over the threshold into professional photography. How nervous I was taking money that first time! Sweating now just thinking about it. And, I have to say - LOVE IT! Not the money part, although I am looking forward to, at some point, making a profit. Surely, someone please tell me I'll eventually make money! Just gotta stop buying gear! But, I'm afraid in my case, buying gear is worse than most women's problem with buying shoes. Although....today I got a new pair of shoes that are OFF THE CHAIN! (Yay! Been wanting to use that phrase in a sentence for forever!)

But, so now, God has decided to bless me in yet another way. Add it to the blessings of my beautiful daughters, Morgan and Bradyn, my hot hubby - who is 6'4"tall - tall enough for me to wear heels, and my sweet little Peanut, Anna. He has blessed my biz. In a huge way. Like, I'm booked. So booked in fact, that the sessions are coming in faster than I can process them. Woo hoo! It is SO fun! But, now, I find myself even more "frustrationed", as Charlie puts it.

Frustrationed, that it is 12:55 a.m. and I'm just now getting to blog. Because I hate making my clients wait for their photos. That I hardly ever spend any time just goofing off. That I don't have more alone time with the afore mentioned hot hubby. My hot hubby, who comes up to my office every so often to ask me if I wanna see his dance moves. To which, I nearly always reply, "Heck yeah!" Then, he breaks it down, I smile at him ever-so-sweetly, and then he runs off to find and torture Bradyn with his favorite song. "BRAH-deen, MAL-won, BRAH-deen, MAL-won." For those of you scratching your head right now, which I'm sure is ALL of you except my immediate peeps, that comes from a waitress at a Mexican restaurant who miss-pronounced Bradyn's name one time. Sweet Little Brady-Lady will hear that song until she dies, or Dancin' Jimmy does, or I take them both out.

I LOVE being with clients. Today, I got to shoot a pregnant couple. Well, she was pregnant. Not so much, the dude. They were so incredibly cute! They took me out to where he proposed. So incredibly sweet! And, she said it was his idea for the session! Wow, that girl's got her a keeper! Anyway, I love holding those sweet babies! I love playing with little ones, high-five-ing, and when all else fails I break into Little Mermaid, "Look at this stuff! Isn't it neat? Wouldn't you said my collection's complete? Wouldn't you say I'm the girl - the girl who has - everything! Look at this drove..." Ugh. Okay, I'll stop. Once I start, it's so hard not to keep going all the way through, "Part of your world!!!!!!!!"

I will admit, however, that although I LOVE MY JOB, I am feeling the job part of it, the more I get into it. And, the busier I get. I think maybe it could be that I still feel not-so-good at it. Like a poser. Ha! Get it? Poser! I pose people. But, I also feel like I'm posing as someone who knows sumpin'.

I'm thinking a time-management intervention may be in order. Or, maybe if everyone who is reading this could stop - say a prayer - that God would recreate me right this minute into one of those %*&^@$ morning people! Sorry. I won't go down that road again right now, promise. I just seem to be constantly running. Constantly. In fact, right now as I sit here, it dawns on me that there are wet things in my washer I need to dry. And, I know very well that I cannot let them sit there until morning. Just can't do it.

So, add it to the daggum list. That list that begins with my priority time with God, then the weight, exercise, and now time management. That list that seems impossible. Like, will I ever achieve success in any 0f these areas? Guess I'll just have to be content in the fact that I am good at building stuff. Oh, and organizing. Oh, and according to my 15 year old, doing the Cameron Diaz "butt thing." So, there! Now for some 1 a.m. laundry!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Weighing in...

So, I've been thinking about doing this for awhile and I have to admit, I'm still not sure this is a good idea. BUT...I just feel this constant tug inside of me to open this part of myself up to my blog-friends.

It's a subject we women talk about nearly 90% of the time. Yes, more than we talk about our children, our husbands, our shoes, and our moms.


More specifically, body image. I clarify, because I really have no particular issue with my weight NUMBER. I will tell you. I weigh 155 pounds. There. I said it. And, yes, I am 5'10" tall. So, no, my actual WEIGHT is not a problem. The problem comes when you consider distribution.

Distribution is a problem in many facets of our life. When four lanes of traffic are trying to merge into one, you have a distribution problem. When 100 people are leaving a movie theater with two doors, there is a distribution problem. When there is still plenty of toothpaste in the tube, but it still takes you a full minute to get to it, distribution. When you roll to the middle to cuddle with your sweetie, and you have to roll up a "hill" where neither of you regularly occupy the mattress, distribution.

When you are still trying to fit into your size 8 jeans when your butt belongs in a 12 or 14, for me, distribution. My ankles? Still the same size. My wrists? Still the same. Feet? Same. Length? Same. But, well, my butt, my gutt, my hips, and my back...they are the only areas on my frame that fluctuate in volume.

Oh, to be tall, you say. Oh, to be so skinny, you say. Well, yes, I am tall. And, I must admit, it does help camouflage the middle section. And, I do have some freaky skinny fingers, arms, ankles, toes, and shoulders. Thank you, God. Seriously, I'm thankful. But, how many times have I wondered how I would look if I could squeeze the fat in my butt and back into those skinny appendages and even it all out? Probably a kadrillion.

When Charlie and I met online, we talked a bunch, exchanged a ton of JPEGS (photos for those of you who are not quite as geeky as me), and we both imagined meeting each other in person. What does this person REALLY look like? Then, when we met (in March - thank God for jean and sweater season!) I asked Charlie what about me surprised him the most. His answer: my "spaghetti arms." Really. (To be pronounced as they do on SNL's weekend update.) REAAAllleee?!?!?

The conversation went on to him very thankfully approving of, even being attracted to, my body. This led to my feeling the need to give him a very clear, concise disclaimer: "Objects in tight fitting jeans may not be in reality as they appear." I explained to him that as a marketing person, it's all about packaging. Let's face it, french fries in a little white paper envelope with yellow arches on them, look better than those that come out of your oven. A sundae with a cherry on top looks better than a cup of icecream. Manure when it is ground up and added to some topsoil looks better than the turd your neighbor's dog left in your yard. You get the point - and so did he....on our first diving trip that involved me in a BATHING SUIT! I can't tell you how many times I felt the need to remind him that I had pushed two humans through this frame!

All that's to say, I'm really kind of bumming lately about my weight. When Randy left, I couldn't eat for weeks. I could not make myself eat. It was wonderful. I know. Very unhealthy, but dang! I got sooooo skinny! I went from 159 pounds to 129 pounds in two months. I know. VERY unhealthy. But, oh man. I had not worn a size 8, and sometimes a size 6, since high school! That summer I was in 14-16's! I had no idea how big I had gotten until I started losing it. To be honest, the few weeks of not eating was only responsible for about 10 of those pounds. To deal with stress, I walked. I walked and talked to God for hours every single day. The girls were in school, I was job hunting, and walking, and praying. I ate healthy for a change. And, instead of drinking Cokes all day...water.

I'm rambling now. I'll get to my current state. Post-baby. Ugh. I'm so friggin' tired all the time, I'm craving sugar, which is making me crash, then crave more. I'm lucky to get a shower, so I feel to exercise first would be a luxury that is completely selfish given that the laundry is not done and there are rings in my toilets. Not getting that daily Bible time in. Not to mention my photo-biz. But, I also feel like I might have inadvertently done the ol' bait-n-switch on Charlie. He married this cute little size 8. And, now...size 12. Not so bad, but there is a whole closet full of 8's I just can't seem to part with. I did give some jeans away. And, some shirts. But, I'm hanging on to the nice stuff. I still have a pile of jeans that have no business being in my closet anymore.

So, what do I do? What is the most important thing? What gets dropped off the list? Nothing seems negotiable right now. I can starve myself, and make my family hate me, and be a bad example of self-esteem to my girls. I can just live with the new me. I can have surgery (seriously considering a tummy-tuck - another blog for another day.) It just seems like there are so many demands on women these days to be everything. None spoken. We put it all on ourselves. I'm sure Charlie is more than happy with me just as I am. But, there is that voice in my head that says, Or is he just being nice?

We all talk about it all day long - about all the things about our bodies we do not like. What is the RIGHT thing to do? I really would like to talk to Jesus in person about this one. Are we all running around obsessed with our bodies to the detriment of our relationship with Him? Probably. I am at a total loss and would appreciate any of your thoughts, opinions, suggestions. Note: I am not in any way asking for anyone of you to complement me or make me feel better in any way. Nor, am I insinuating that there is ANYTHING wrong with a size 12. There was a point in my life that I jumped up and down to be a 12. It's just that right now, in my "season" of life, I feel icky and unhealthy. You are all beautiful just as you are. And, that's the truth!

With a boat-load of love,


Monday, August 3, 2009

Hail, hail! The gang's all here!

Yay. All my peeps are back! By peeps, I'm referring to my neighborhood girlfriends. I just want to take a minute to tell you about this past year. One of the hardest years of my life, but also one of the best.

We moved to Richmond in June of 2007, after our wedding on June 9th. Two months later, I'm pregnant. Nine months after that, Peanut. Eight weeks after she bounded into our lives, we moved back to Memphis and brought Charlie and the Nut with us. Let's just say, my brain was hurting by the time we got here. Then, unpacking with new baby, Charlie in a new job working from home, new neighbors, and a small case of post-partum going on.

So, am I crazy? Yes. Am I as crazy as I could be right now? No. Thanks to my new neighbors and new best friends here in my little burb. I cannot tell you what these girls have meant to me and Charlie and the girls. Here's a small list of what they did for me last year:
  • Took Anna for us while the movers came (Donna.)

  • Brought over a high chair, boxes of girl clothes, baby toys, everything (Misee!)
  • Took Anna for me while I walked, trying to shed baby-fat before our trip to Maui (Sara-Anne.)
  • Took Anna for me while I cut the grass, took a shower, had a tantrum, or just plain felt like running away (Misee.)
  • Kept Bradyn for us and got her to school while we were in Richmond mourning a friend's death - then again while we were in Cancun (Donna and Sara-Anne.)
  • Came over with a bottle of wine when I was particularly stressed out and needed to vent (Sara-Anne.)
  • Made dinner for my family COUNTLESS TIMES ALREADY! (Misee and Britt.)

  • Kept Anna during a photoshoot (Angie and Dr. Jay.)
  • Took Brady-Lady to the pool because I was too busy (Donna and Sara-Anne.)
  • Helped get my photography business started (MISEE and ANGIE!)
  • Listening to me vent for probably hours on the phone and at the pickup spot after school (Angie, Donna, Sara-Anne, and Misee!)
I'm sure I'm forgetting most of the other stuff these women have done for me and my family this year. I cannot even begin to tell you the extent to which these beautiful, amazing, women have been used by God this past year. Not to mention, the men! The daddies have all been involved in toting kids here and there and watching the kids while we mommies play.

So, here in our little neighborhood, everyone is busy having fun in June. But, July rolls around, and it's like a ghost town. Everyone leaves for LONG periods of time and we miss them. Bradyn mopes around. I keep picking up the phone to see if someone wants to do lunch. Pitiful. :) But, school starts again and the gang's all here. I feel complete again. I feel like I can function. I have my back-up! I will, however, miss meeting all the girls at the stop sign to pick up our elementary kids. Heck, I may even go just to hang out! I love my neighbors!

Thank you God, for Britt and Misee, Jay and Angie, Brian and Sara-Anne, and Dave and Donna! Thank you!