Tuesday, September 29, 2009

and the award

for worst Mom of the year goes to

....JEN Maurer!

Yes folks, that's right! Jen not only had a short fuse for Jude yesterday because he was trying to type on her computer while she had a million thing to do for work, but - on several occasions was heard saying, "ugh! Jude!" as she swooped in to stop him from poking his eye out/eating dog food/standing up on the edge of the toilet, and all sorts of normal 10 month old stuff that absolutely did not warrant her level of frustration.

However, ladies and gentlemen, we here at the WMA (Worst Mom Academy) do recognize those behaviors alone do not qualify one has a truly horrendously awful Mom. No, friends, Jen earned her title by putting her son down to sleep in a crib that had not yet been lowered. That should have been lowered at least a month ago. Yes, folks, Jen's ten month old son fell (or jumped - the fact that she doesn't know which one earns her bonus points) over the side of the crib. Jen heard a bump and then she heard Jude's panicked cry. Upon entering the nursery, Jen discovered Jude on the floor, crying his scared little heart out. Please welcome Jen Maurer as she receives her Worst Mom of the Year Award!

Oh gosh, I'm so dishonored to have been chosen from such a group of truly awful Moms! Well, first of all I would like to thank my two jobs for stressing me out and my sad inability to handle stress in a productive way. I would like to thank my friend from the 6th grade - Tricia Bauman - for doing a cherry bomb on the trampoline one evening that caused me to go flying off the trampoline, straight onto my head. If it hadn't been for Tricia, I would've never experienced a concussion, and wouldn't have known the signs to look for in Jude. Thank you, Tricia - I couldn't have done this without you. Umm...who else? Who else? Oh! I'd like to thank my husband for calming me down when I called him in a panic, and I would like to thank Mike Bennett for rushing over to lower the crib. And finally, of course, I'd like to thank Jude for being the sweetest little daredevil I've ever met, and for smiling a huge grin and lunging towards me as I cried - sure that I'd given you permanent brain damage. (holding up award that is a bronzed figurine of OctoMom) This award will be stuffed in the back of my closet, hopefully to never be seen again, and this incident will never be spoken of again unless the conversation starts with, "My kiddo did that too, and has not suffered any long term brain damage." Thank you, WMA, this has truly been a dishonor.

I should add here that Jude seems to be perfectly fine and none the worse for his attempts at sky diving. He got a little cut on the side of his nose and has some small bruising right above that. The blood scared me, but it seems to be just a tiny cut. Jude's crib is now sufficiently lowered, I'm sufficiently humbled and embarrassed, and Jude has sufficiently stopped being a daredevil not been phased in the least.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Update-itty-dog

Yeah well, you try coming up with a more creative name for a family update.

So while you may pretend to be interested in hearing how Shawn and I met and ultimately fell in love...you may tolerate my musings on southern culture ...and you may even repress groans at my attempts at weight loss, you can't fool me. I happen to know the real reason you visit this blog.

That's right. You actually visit this blog for all the cuteness your monitor can handle.

So this sickness thing seems to be taking its toll on our little family. First Jude and I got it. Then we started to get better. Then Shawn got it. And now it appears that Jude and I have it again. Or we got something new. Either way - it's no fun and produces lots of neediness and whininess. And that's just me.

Other than the occasional snot factory and need for extra snuggles, Jude's doing ridiculously well. We took him to our doctor early last week for his fever (just a nasty cold...nothin' we can do but the occasional Children's Benadryl), and found out that he's still in the 1st percentile. He's 16lbs 12oz. As opposed to earlier freak outs concerns I had, I can see clearly that he's developing just fine and is obviously just a small baby. Still, it was nice to know that he hasn't dropped off the growth chart entirely.

Jude gets closer to walking with each passing day - which is simultaneously exciting and frightening. His favorite game is "PullEverythingOutofEveryDrawerICanFindAndThrowItOnTheFloor." No kidding, if he could talk - that's totally what he'd call it.

His hair has now grown to sensitive indie rock star lengths, which is downright adorable. He hasn't gotten called a girl yet, but I'm just waiting. It's okay though, the pain will fuel his song writing.

Speaking of songs and indie rock star, Jude loves my guitar. He's even figured out how to strum with his cute little chubby fingers, and will work on plucking the strings when the guitar is standing upright. Shawn is thoroughly musical, and I play a little guitar and can sing on pitch when nobody is listening, so we aren't surprised to see Jude already drawn to musical instruments. Still - we're trying to be intentional about letting him explore and love whatever he loves. Even if that means he loves huntin' and fishin'.

And Jude has also figured out how to wave. The first time he did it, he looked at his hand like he couldn't figure out how it was moving on his own, and then held it straight up in the air to show me what it was doing. Of course - he doesn't wave when we're saying "hello" or, "goodbye." From what I can tell, waving means, "Oooh - this food is yummy! Gimmie some more!" in Jude-language.

And that's just fine with me.

Friday, September 25, 2009

a northerner's guide to southern culture

You wouldn't think that moving from Indiana to North Carolina would've been much of a change in culture. After all, in my area of Indiana, schools were closed for the Opening Day of Hunting Season, and the Ford vs. Chevy truck debate was alive and well. In fact, my first ever job was shucking corn in Indiana corn fields for a summer. I'm no stranger to the "country" culture, and so I thought I was prepared for our move to North Carolina over four years ago. Besides, I reasoned, we were moving to Winston-Salem...which was on the northern most part of NC...which was practically Virginia...which was practically Pennsylvania...which was definitely the north. Oh my friends, was I wrong. Was I ever wrong.

It's an entirely different world down here. Let's start with the vernacular, shall we?

Bless 'er heart

You may not realize it, but somewhere there's a verse that goes something like, "If ye do so choose to gossip, ye only need to end your gossipy tidbits with 'bless her heart,' and it will be like ye never gossiped in the first place." I know, they didn't share that part with us northerners in church, but everybody knows southerners are closer to God anyway.

Ya'll

It's pretty obvious, but it's crazy how easily that one slips into your vocabulary.

Showin' Out

I can't lie, I'm still not 100% sure what this means. Southern friends, would you like to comment? It seems to be used most when referring to children, and usually when they're misbehaving. As in, "Shew, we had to leave Target 'cause Jude sure was showin' out."

Wide Open

See, the southerns have a great capacity to say something harsh in a way that makes you want to thank them. It's like pouring sugar on brussel sprouts, and the phrase, "wide open" definitely falls into that category. It's basically a nice way to say, "she's crazy."

Pocketbook

Apparently the word "purse" is a little outdated down here. I've been told that "pocketbook" or "handbag" are how you may correctly refer to whatever you choose to carry your keys in.

Now moving on, let's discuss the food...

Grits

I don't know exactly what they are, but I do know 1)They're gross and 2)It's not an outdated stereotype...people down here really do eat them.

Sweet Tea and Barbecue

These two things get lumped into the "things southerns are abnormally fanatical about" catagory. I could take or leave both these, but I dare not utter that out loud.

Chick Fil A

Oh, Chick Fil A. Me and a #1 on wheat with diet pepsi have kind of a thing going. Just trust me. Oh, sweet Chick Fil A.

Everything is better on a biscuit

This isn't a particular food persay - just a generally held belief system. Grits, gravy, barbecue, chicken, coleslaw, beef...if you want to take your food up a notch...put her on a biscuit!

Okay, so if you come to visit, you are now prepared to speak southern-ese and can adequately navigate your way around a menu. But, you ask, what about the deeper cultural differences? Let's discuss the two that stand out most (to me, at least).

Friendliness and Genuineness

People down here are super friendly - it would not be strange for someone I barely knew to come up to me in the supermarket and say, "Hey! How ya'll doin'? How's that baby of yours? You guys doin' okay?" and it's not an easy task to navigate from Sunday School to the worship center on Sundays with all of the, "how're you?"s and "what's goin' on?"s. I love that when I have family visiting, they are never without someone making conversation with them when we're with friends.

In the north, if you're walking and are passing someone walking in the opposite direction, you stare at the ground until you pass. If you know them, you might venture a curt nod and "hello," but you're just as likely to completely ignore them. If you do that in the south, people will think you're either clinically depressed or just plain rude.

The double edged sword of this friendliness is that - in my experience - southerners can be very difficult to get to know. It's not an easy task to crack through someone's veneer of friendliness and get to who they really are and how they really feel about things.

Jesus is still alright by me (Jesus is still alright, oh yeah)

Oh, excuse me. I thought it was 1992 there for a second.

Having faith - especially Christian faith - is surprisingly acceptable in the south. Northerners tend to have a much stronger separation of "church and state," and the weekly church go-er is the exception, not the rule. Shawn and I are still shocked when we see news coverage of churches or the things people are doing because of their faith. Most of the teachers in the public school system down here are Christians, whereas Christian teachers are a minority in the north.

Again - this has both a good side and a bad side. There are five churches on every corner, and it can sometimes be difficult to ask people to step outside their complacent view of God and church. It's a widely held view that going to church every Sunday makes you a good person, which means you'll get into heaven (regardless of how life is lived outside the church walls)- and truthfully - that's not easy to combat. On the other hand, it's encouraging to know that Jude has a great chance of being taught by Christian teachers, and that he's very likely to have strong Christian influences in almost every arena of his life.

So there you have it - my humble and completely incomplete northerner's guide to the southern culture. So ya'll go grab your grits, put 'em on a biscuit, and drink up that sweet tea. Bless yer ever lovin' heart.

sharing the love

This is a post that I've also put on the Serwa Chic Blog, but I'm so excited to share some of these sites with anyone who cares, that I just couldn't help but put the information here, as well.

Being a work at home Mom (or WAHM) is not an easy task. It's difficult to get your name out there and make sure you're separated from the scammers or just plain lazy. Beginning a business can be time consuming, confusing, and of course - expensive. Most WAHMs rely almost solely on word of mouth...someone ordered from you...loved what they got...and told someone else. After all, we can't compete with big firms who have large budgets for advertising or years of brand recognition.

So I thought I'd share some of my favorite work at home Moms - Mammas who are turning what they love doing into a way to help take care of their family.

MocoCreations - I'm lucky I don't have a little girl, or this Etsy store would do some serious damage to my wallet with those adorable hair bows! As it is, I'm already in love with her earrings and necklaces and actually just ordered a pearl necklace and earring set. And her jewlery makes for great gifts...hint hint.

HandmadeByHollysMom - Check out those carseat covers! In honor of NFL season, I ordered a handmade Steelers cover with our last name stitched across the back. My husband is going to flip with excitement, and hopefully it'll make cleaning up my son's toxic spit ups easier, too!

Mama A La Mode - I especially love her wall words and customized stick families. If we were in the market to re-do our son's nursery, we would definitely be ordering some wall decorations from her. She's super creative and flexible - from what I understand, she can take any image you send her and make it to into a decal for your wall, car, etc.

bellepapillion - This is actually where I got the idea to put snaps on my son's pacifier clips (though I don't see any paci clips in her store at the moment, I'm sure she can whip 'em right up if you shoot her an email), and her embroidery work is awesome! Once again may I state that I would spend significantly more money if we had a girl - this stuff is so cute!

So what about you? Do you have a favorite WAHM site to share? Don't keep it to yourself - tell us about it!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

can you handle it?

...the cuteness, that is

video

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Monday, September 21, 2009

videos!

So I have had the most difficult time uploading videos to blogger lately. It takes seriously half an hour to upload a two minute video...frustrating to say the least. I finally got a couple to load - so enjoy!

Jude and Coletrane - they have a mutual agreement of annoying one another.


video



This video is actually from today (or well...yesterday, by the time I get to posting this)! Jude was making these cute kissey faces, except he was sucking his lips in instead of pursing them out. He doesn't do it until the video's almost halfway over, but hang in there...it's cute.



video

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship

If you've missed the first two installments of our love story, feel free to catch up with Part One and Part Two. If you have no desire to go back and read previous posts (and I can't blame you if that's the case), let me summarize.

1. I'm stubborn and think I know best for my life.
1a. My first impressions of Shawn included truly profound and insightful thoughts about his height and his hair.

2. Shawn had the hots for a girl.
2a. This girl was not me.

The phrase, "has the hots for," is really an underused phrase, by the way. Right along with, "totally tubular," and "okey dokey artichoke-ey."

So strangely enough, that misguided walk around campus kind of broke the ice for Shawn and I. We began casually talking about life when he came over to hang out in the lobby, we started sitting next to each other during chapel, and that walk was the first of many around our small campus. I wish I could remember what we talked about when we hung out - I'm sure it'd be funny to reminisce about, but alas - I have only a smattering of memories.

I remember sitting on a bench and Shawn playing a song on his guitar. Now - if you're from my particular small college (or attended a similar one), you're rolling your eyes right now. The image of a guy, sitting next to a girl, with a guitar, playing either

1)Dashboard Confessional or
2)Any worship songs that probably consist only of the cords D and G

is an image that is cliche in this world. Because usually that guy is trying to woo a girl, not realizing how ridiculous he looks. In this case, however, Shawn was not trying to woo me, so Dashboard and everyworshipsongunderthesun were not what he chose for me that particular evening. Instead...he played, "Hey Mickey." I vaguely remember him showing me that it was the same cord progression as another song, but laughing at Shawn as he rolled his eyes and said (said...not sang) in a deadpan voice, "Oh. Mickey. What a pity. You don't understand."

We talked about homework, we chatted about school stuff, and we discussed our lives. But there are two things that I remember talking about the most with Shawn. 1.) God and 2)The opposite gender. And not necessarily in that order.

Boy, I'm all about listing stuff today, huh?

See, like a lot of college students, Shawn and I were both working out what we believed...in whom we believed, and even sometimes IF we believed. We inadvertedly found in one another a sounding board for hidden doubts and unspoken uncertainties. I didn't know it at the time, but we were laying a foundation for a marriage that was centered in our identities as children of God and our ability to challenge the other to knowing Him better and more intimately.

And we just thought we were chatting. Sheesh.

Now as to number two in my list of stuff we talked most about. You might think that what with all of this talking and walking and singing we were doing that one of us started to develop a crush on the other. You might think that Shawn would've come around to noticing my sky blue eyes, or that I might have picked up on how charming his smile is, and you might think that one of harbored secret feelings towards the other

...and you would be wrong.

Sure, I thought Shawn was a keen fella (...another underused phrase), and I'm sure he'd say he thought I was a swell gal. In fact, as we got to know one another better, our respect for the other only grew...and grew. I remember thinking that I would love to date a guy like Shawn - I just wasn't interested in dating Shawn. And Shawn tried to hook me up with at least two of his friends - so apparently he found me somewhat interesting and attractive - but not for himself.

I really couldn't have given two hoots what Shawn thought about me physically. Most of the time when he was hanging out in our lobby, I was in old pjs and a hoodie. I didn't care if I had makeup on, I didn't care if my hair looked right, I didn't really even care if my breath was funky. But man - I cared a lot about what Shawn thought of my character. I respected him. And so I respected what he thought of me.

Because of this interesting dynamic to our friendship - we naturally began to ask the others' opinions and thoughts on our romantic interests. I was very interested in a good friend of mine, and found myself asking Shawn why the guy did this, said this, acted like this, didn't say this...and how I could best show the guy that I was interested. Eventually this guy (we'll call him Kevin) and I started dating, and Shawn continued to be my one stop source for understanding the male mind.

Shawn on the other hand, was interested in several girls during the course of our friendship, and never failed to ask my honest opinion of them. And boy, was I honest. My opinions ranged from, "Well, I'm not sure that she'd really get your sense of humor," to, "Seriously? She just emailed you a picture of herself from the shoulders up in a strapless shirt. Do you realize she's trying to make you think about her naked?" I knew that Shawn didn't see in himself what I saw in him, and I knew he had no idea how manipulative complex females could be.

We were friends. Good friends. Good friends who respected and trusted the other. I wanted Shawn to find a woman who was sweet, wise, beautiful, and a great complement to him, and I wanted to be the very happy girlfriend and maybe even future wife of Kevin.

But then something changed. And for the record: I blame Chris Tomlin and Maybelline.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

the sickies and other stuff

It looks like Jude and I both have the sickies. He's been running and on again - off again fever for a few days and is coughing pathetically, and I'm a little achy and have a sore throat like nobody's business. We took Jude to the Doctor yesterday because - quite frankly - I'm a little paranoid about this whole swine flu thing.

And can I just say that I'm refusing to call it H1N1? Apparently several months back, people were thinking that swine flu was contracted by eating pork, and the pork industry was seeing a decrease in sales. So the media decided to call it H1N1 so as not to confuse us. This leads me to conclude two things:

1. Americans are stupid. All you had to do was watch the news for two minutes to see that the swine flu was not contracted by eating pork. Pick up a paper, people!

2. The media is also stupid, and I'm a little obnoxious about being told what to do. Seriously. When the news anchor on our local channel says, "don't change the channel, we'll be back after the break," my usual response is, "You don't change the channel. Don't tell me what to do," with a very indiginant presssing of the channel button. That'll show him, huh?

So, because I feel like the media is telling me to call it H1N1, I'm continuing to call it Swine Flu. Fight the man, friends, fight the man.

So Jude and I are sick, and poor Shawn is left trying to care for two pathetic sickies (and will most likely end up sick himself), and we're just trying to putter through this week as best as we can. Oh, and it looks like Jude does not, in fact, have swine flu - just a bad cold that will likely develop into an ear infection.

Jude's begun standing up by himself every once in awhile! The first time he did it, he and I were in his bedroom, playing on the floor. I was reading him a book, and he was completely ignoring me and playing with his blocks. He crawled over to my knee, pulled himself to standing, let go of my knee, and stood for a good four seconds before he fell down to his cute cloth diapered butt. Of course I gasped, and squealed, "Jude! Do you know what a big deal that is?!" He acted all nonchalant and wrinkled his brow like, "Seriously, Mommy. If you keep reacting like that, I'm just gonna stop reaching milestones, alright?"

And Jude has also begun dancing, but only when he's sitting down. If you give him a musical toy when he's sitting, he starts rocking back and forth and grinnin' like it's the best thing ever. And you know what? It is.

Just because I'm so excited, I feel the need to share with you this:



You see, Jude has some pudgy feet. It's one of the first things the nurses commented on after he was born, and getting shoes to fit those feet is not easy...or cheap. I've basically been keeping him barefoot or in socks most of the time, but I've known the day is coming when he'll be walking and will need some kind of foot apparel for those Flinstone feet (Shawn's words...not mine!). Shawn and I have checked out a few stores, but it is seriously expensive to buy baby shoes - especially in sizes large enough for Jude to wear.

Which would be why I was so excited to receive that in the mail. A ton of shoes from Jude's cousin, Noah! Thank you, Noah, for sharing your super adorable shoes with Jude! Everyone comments on how cute they are, and Uncle Shawn and Aunt Jen are thrilled to not have to spend so much money on Jude's footwear!

And finally, I'd just like to share a pacifier clip I made for Jude. The colors chosen for this clip may or may not have something to do with Shawn's NFL loyalties.




So here's hoping your family is making it through this season of everyone being sick a little better than ours!

Monday, September 14, 2009

waking up in vegas

Let me just get this out of the way - this isn't the latest installment of our love story. I have never woken up in Vegas...or gone to sleep in Vegas...or even been to Vegas.

Most of the time when I'm driving, I'm either 1)On the phone with my Mom (I know...I know...I'm getting one of those little ear devices so it's more safe) 2) Listening to my iPod, or 3)Listening to NPR (nerd alert!).

But last night, on my way home from church, I decided I wanted to hear something different. So I started station hopping - looking for something fun with which I could sing along. I found our local top forty hits station, and figured that was just about the right place for such a fun, sing along-able song.

Then I heard a song that made my face contort like I'd just smelled a skunk. Some of these profound and insightful lyrics include,

You gotta help me out, it's all a blur last night. We need a taxi, 'cause you're hung over and I'm broke. I lost my fake ID, but you lost the motel key. Spare me your freakin dirty looks, now don't blame me. You wanna cash out, and get the he** outta town. Don't be a baby, remember what you told me.
Shut up and put your money where your mouth is. That's what you get for waking up in Vegas. Get up and shake the glitter off your clothes now, that's what you get for waking up in Vegas.

Wow. Seriously?

I'm fairly certain I got gonorrhea just from listening to that.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

walks around campus

Remember me telling you about the absurdities of a small Christian college? One of those is this often joked about "rule" that if you walk around the campus with a guy so many times...you're engaged. But...it's one of those jokes that's funny because there's so much truth to it. You see, at our school, guys and girls had completely separate dorms, and never the twain shall meet except 1)Each dorm had a lobby and there were certain "lobby hours," during which members of the opposite sex could enter, and 2)Open dorm nights. I think these happened about once a month, and meant that for about three hours a month, you could have a guy in your dorm room. Never fear, though, your door had to be opened, and both persons' feet had to be on the ground at all times. Hanky panky was strictly forbidden.

As such, if you were interested in a guy or girl, but not quite ready to do the official asking out on a date - your only real option to get to know them was to go on a walk around campus together. If you were seen walking around campus several times in one week...well then...it was just assumed that you were starting a relationship.

Believe it or not, you actually need this background information to understand why it was such a big deal when Shawn called me one evening to ask if I wanted to go for a walk, and I answered a quick, "Sure."

I guess Shawn and I officially met each other during RA training week (my junior year, his sophomore year). Beyond the "no way is that guy going to fit under the jumprope" incident, my only other memory of him is as we were waiting for the freshmen to arrive to help them unpack. We were chatting, and I have no idea what led us to this point, but I distinctly remember Shawn telling me that he wanted to marry a girl with a "good" name. When I asked him why, he went on to tell me that he just couldn't imagine waking up in the morning and saying, "Morning, Gertrude...or Helga...or Hildred."

Romantic beginning, huh?

So once the freshman arrived, the RAs were split up into groups and assigned a group of freshmen to show around campus, talk about the rules, get to know, etc. Shawn read his group The Berenstein Bears "Messy Room," which - if you know Shawn - is just about right. Shawn ended up deciding to have an ongoing Bible Study with his particular group of freshmen, so they started meeting once a week. By chance (*cough* God's plan *cough*) most of the females in his group were in my dorm. So once a week, they met in the lobby of my dorm to do their study.

Now this was my first year as an RA, and some genius decided to place me as the Head RA of a dorm full of freshmen. Sherry was assigned to the dorm with me (we were both first time RAs), and I can't lie - we were scared out of our minds. This was no ordinary dorm full of freshmen. One of the girls one night decided to tie everyone's door knobs together so that when they all woke up the next morning - nobody could get out. Two of the girls had a bet that they wouldn't shave their legs for an entire semester (and insisted on showing anyone who would look - it was not a pretty sight). And then they decided to do the inaugural shaving in the school's hot tub. We had a mudfight in front of our dorm one particularly rainy day that included lots of sliding down the large hill out front, and they declared Mondays to be "Mismatched Mondays," which meant wearing the most ridiculous get-up they could find and parading around campus like they didn't look strange in the least. They were regularly making up raps, making messes, doing experiments, and well...just being fun. Despite their mischievousness, I loved those girls. If you can believe it - they had even more passion for God than they had for finding ways to get into trouble - and that has made for some awesome women of God.

Shawn's section, on the other hand, was comprised of several guys with whom he'd lived the year before. They were good guys, they loved Jesus, and Shawn's biggest problem was something ridiculous like having to remind them to flush. Me, on the other hand? I was having to talk the Dean of Women out of expelling my girls because their semester long leg hair clogged up the hot tub.

Apparently Shawn took pity on Sherry and I, and came over to hang out a couple of nights a week. He usually ended up doing stuff like fixing the thermostat, getting rid of a mouse, and laughing at the girls' latest shenanigans, but Sherry and I just felt better having someone else around. At first, Shawn and I didn't really talk much. Until he called me. To go on a walk.

I said "Sure," without really thinking, to be honest. Even as I was throwing on a hoodie and putting my hair up into a ponytail, the thought of this being anything significant didn't dawn on me. Until... I walked out of my room, where a few of my girls were watching TV in the lobby. "Where're you going?" they asked. When I said I was going on a walk...with Shawn...the room was suddenly filled with, "oooh!" "a walk with Shawn?!" "hoooow romantic!" My heart stopped cold.

Dang it. Shawn wanted to go on a walk. Freakin' eh. What if he asked me out? What if he told me he liked me? Man - I'm gonna have to just tell him as gently as possible that I'm just not interested. That's what I'll do. I'll just tell him that I'm not really looking to date anyone right now. Geez. Hopefully we can still hang out and it won't be awkward.

So with new found nervousness, I met Shawn outside, and we began our first ever walk around campus. We started off making small talk, I'm sure, and after we had walked about a half a mile, we sat down on a bench. I kept trying to talk about anything I could think of...just to avoid the awkward moment where Shawn reveals his feelings for me, and I have to break the poor guy's heart. Shawn wasn't messing around though, and he dove right in.

"So I actually had a reason for wanting to talk to you tonight."

"Oh yeah?" Great, here it comes. There's no way out now. Just keep your poker face. Ugh, you have a crappy poker face. Okay, maybe if you don't look him in the eyes...

"Yeah. See...I know this is kind of weird..."

Augh! Don't say it! Don't say it! Do NOT say I have feelings for you, Jen! DON'T say it!

"I was helping out at this church last weekend with worship, and there was this girl there."

He's going to say it! Oh geez! Oh...wait...church? helping? I don't....remember...being....

"And I was just kind of watching her, and was just kind of amazed by her. I know your good friends with her, so I was just wondering what you could tell me about your friend, Candace (name changed for privacy)."

Ummm....what? Candace? But that's not my...You mean you haven't been secretly falling in love with me? You haven't noticed my contagious smile, my sense of humor, or my sky blue eyes? HAVE YOU SEEN MY SKY BLUE EYES??

And so, relieved - but a little offended - I went on to tell Shawn about what a wonderful girl my friend Candace was, but that I wasn't in the business of match making, so if he were interested, he'd have to ask her out himself.

That settled that business, and Shawn and I continued our walk around campus for another couple of hours, talking about school, families, RA stuff, faith, and well...just life.

And so - a friendship was born.

I really thought I was going to get through our story in this post, but Jude has woken up from his nap, so life calls. I actually decided to blog about our love story so that Jude and other future potential children would have it in writing before Shawn and I get senile and started making up details. Because of that, I may well have it break it up into a few more different posts, if you don't mind.

So are you dying to find out what happens next? Did Shawn marry Candace? Did I get fired as an RA because my girls went too far? Did Shawn stop hanging out in our dorm, and did the thermostat remain broken forever???

Can you handle not knowing?!


To make up for making you wait, I've included another video of sweet Judeabug. He was on the verge of needing a nap, so excuse the fussiness. Oh, and this was taken on the same day as the red crate video...so he's still pantsless.




video

Friday, September 11, 2009

a letter to jude

Drooly McDroolerson. Most of your shirts get soaked by noon.


Checking out the fountain at Kernel Kustards with Daddy



Sweet Judeabug,


Today, my son, you are ten whole entire months old, and you're getting cuter and cuter by the day. I'm pretty sure that by the time you're a year old you'll be so cute that Daddy and I won't even be able to stand it. We're watching you change before our eyes and grow in independence and personality. Do you know what you did just this morning? Probably not - you're gonna be like, nine years old when you read this and will have no idea what I'm talking about.

So let me tell you. I needed to put some socks on your pudgy little feet before we left the house, so I sat down on the floor, a few feet away from you. I said, "Come here, bug," and you came a-crawling on over. You pulled up into my lap, turned yourself around, and then sat right smack in my lap and let me put your socks on your feet. I know, I know...it doesn't SEEM like a big deal (hopefully you've got the socks thing down by the time you're reading this), but it is. Right there...before my eyes...you grew up.



So let's talk about some of my favorite memories of the past month, okay? Well first of all, you started saying, "deh deh," this month, which thrilled your Daddy's heart. And don't think I haven't noticed that you say, "Mmmmaaa," with a distinct whine in your voice, whereas you whisper, "deh deh," with a quiet reverence. Hmph.


One of my other favorite memories was going to a Pool Party with you in late August. You looked pretty sweet in your board shorts and swim diaper, and baby - you LOVED the water. You loved splashing and kicking (and splashing...and splashing...and splashing some more) and would've done it all day had I let you. You even did great when you got splashed! You're quite the water bug, and if you continue to be for years to come, I think we'll have some swim meets in our future.



MommyDaddy love watching you push your lion around right now, too. You can really motor with that thing, and sometimes you'll be all the way down the hall before we realize you took off! Sometimes you take one hand and put it on the back of the lion, and then the other and put it on the front, and you kind of side step your way through the house. It's super cute to watch you do that and try to get your lion into tight spaces. It looks like you're parallel parking, and you take it very seriously. Daddy says all that side stepping is good practice for being a short stop...but we'll see what you end up loving.



You're getting better and better at getting to where you want to go, and there's not much that you're not able to reach. You've certainly figured out how to open the drawer on the end table and reach straight for our outlets and cords. You have a special fondness for "helping" me sew by pushing on the foot pedal of my sewing machine.


You're also ever-so-close to popping through two of your top teeth. I can actually see them pushing on the gums, so I'm excited that they're going to come through any day now. Goodness - you'll look so old when you get them! I've really just been hit this month with how quickly you're growing. It's wonderful to see you conquering milestones like they're nothin', and I love watching you grow into the little man God's created for you to be, but sometimes I like to just hold you tightly, take a deep whiff of your baby smelling hair, and kiss those sweet baby cheeks until you insist on being released. I love to see your chubby baby hands holding on tightly to my finger, because I know that one day that hand will be bigger than mine, and that feeling is a little bittersweet.



Happy ten month birthday, Jude. Daddy and I are proud of you, and we can't wait to see what God does in you, through you, around you, and in spite of you. We love you, sweet boy.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

i never wanted to be a minister's wife

Shawn and I both attended and graduated from a small Christian college in Kentucky. So many things about the world of Christian college are absurd, not the least of which is that many young women go to these colleges to get their "MRS" degree.

See? There's even a clever little name for the absurdities.

But me? I was different. I was going to get my Counseling/Psychology degree, and plow straight through to my Master's in counseling. Then I'd work in a private counseling firm for a few years. In my plan, I'd meet the love of my life in my late 20s...we'd date for a bit, get married, and then have kids. Once we had children (when I was in my very late 20s or early 30s), I'd start a private practice out of my finished basement (that was a part of my very expensive home) - a la Jason Seaver.

This was my plan, and I pursued it with tenacity and stubbornness. This plan very purposefully excluded getting my "mrs." degree and most especially excluded marriage to a minister. See, most of the guys at my small, Christian college were planning on going into ministry and to me, marriage to a minister meant this:


...having to keep my hair up in a bun, learning to play the piano, being required to be at the church every time the doors were opened, and having to learn to bake at least thirty different kinds of casseroles.

In college, my hair wasn't long enough to put in a bun, I played guitar (but only in the solitude of my room or during section devos), and I struggled to boil water correctly. Minister's wife-ery? Not for me.

Even worse was the thought of youth minister's wife-ery. Most of the guys I knew who were majoring in youth ministry were basically big kids who wanted a job that meant they never had to grow up. They were the guys always breaking curfew, trying to sneak beer into their dorm room, and throwing water balloons from the top of the dorm. The thought of having to answer to elders or submitting to church leadership was nary a thought in their little self-obsessed brains. To them, youth ministry meant lots of pizza, a cool haircut, and finding a vague coorelation between the game "knock-out" and Jesus.

Just listening to those guys complain about the no earrings for guys and hair length rules got under my skin...much less marry and do ministry with any of 'em.

I can count on one hand the times that I saw Shawn my sophomore year of college (his freshman year). He was working in the cafeteria one Saturday morning. My thoughts? "Wow. That's a lot of hair underneath that bandanna." We had a class together second semester. My thoughts? "Hey, that guy knows Audra." During RA training week, we had to do these ridiculous team building exercises. One of them included getting several people to jump through a long jump rope at the same time. My thoughts? "No way is that guy fitting under that jump rope. He's like eight feet tall."

So you can see that Shawn didn't make too much of an impression on me early on. And truth be told, I didn't make too much of an impression on him, either. I can say with confidence that Shawn actually noticed me even less than I noticed him that year.

So how did we get from barely noticing one another to this?


Well, Jude needs to put down for a nap, and I have a million things to do around the house today, so the answer to that question will just have to wait for another post.

Until then, please enjoy this video of Jude wearing a band-aid for the first time:

video

Saturday, September 5, 2009

accountability

I let it out there, I admitted that I wasn't happy with how I looked and that I was perfectly capable of doing something about it. I COULD just let it slide, not really post any other thoughts about it, and pretend like it never happened - but I'm determined, and so I know I need to follow up. Maybe even on a weekly basis.

So good news, medium news, and bad news. Let's get the bad news over with. I haven't walked or run this week. At all. I did some crunches one day while Jude was playing (which he thought were hilarious), and haven't exercised one iota beyond that. The first morning, I genuinely didn't hear the alarm go off and slept right through it. The morning after that, I was having a super stressful week and decided I needed to spend time with God. The mornings after...well...I just didn't want to get out of bed.

The medium news is that I've done better about what foods I'm putting into my body. Not perfect - but better. I'm also very seriously considering signing up for the Mistletoe 5K. It was the last race I ran before we found out we were pregnant with Jude, and it's super fun. People wear jingle bells on their shoelaces, run with reindeer antlers, and even dress up as Saint Nick himself. Anyone wanna run it with me? (And by "run it with me," I mean...most likely run way ahead of me).

I'm thinking that not embarrassing myself at a race will help with some of that "I don't want to get out of my cozy bed, put my shoes on, and run," feeling.

Okay, and the good news? I lost two pounds. Yes, my friends. Two down. Just twenty-eight to go.

So moving on a little bit - Shawn and I have been so blessed to have gotten some time alone together lately. My parents were down a couple of weekends ago and one night, Shawn and I put Jude down, and then headed out on a date. Jude slept just fine that night and didn't make a peep, and it was so nice to see there really IS life after 9:00pm. I suppose I forgot that stores were open, restaurants were open, and people were still OUT at that ridiculous time of night. We got some pizza and ice cream and just talked. And only a very small bit about Jude. We talked and held hands and cuddled and kissed and laughed and ate and just remembered why we fell in love with one another.

A few weeks ago, Shawn asked if I'd be interested in going to a Lincoln Brewster concert with him. My response was, "Um...I don't know. It'd mean someone else has to put Jude down for the night, and we've never had anyone do that, so I'm not sure." Shawn took that as, "Sure! Sounds great!" and got us both tickets. I wasn't thrilled at first, but Shawn's really good at kind of forcing me to do things to stretch myself, and ultimately - to take care of myself. So we enlisted the help of Terri Christie, her daughter Kayla (one of my amazing small group girls), and son Brandon. I left very detailed instructions and stayed entirely too long at the house, trying to make sure I remembered to tell them everything, but they were amazing and Jude did just fine. They said Jude didn't cry one tear and only got a little fussy when they were putting on his pjs. Even if they WERE lying just to make me feel better...we really appreciate that we were able to trust them with our Judeabug.

Shawn and I (and several friends) left at 4:00 to drive to Charlotte, and got back around midnight. Do you know how much time we had together? Eight hours. Eight hours! Do you know the last time we had that much baby-free time? I don't think we've had that much time together since Jude's been born. It was wonderful. I enjoyed the concert, but truthfully - I enjoyed that Shawn was standing right next to me and that I felt like his bride again...instead of just his partner.

Are you ready for some more Jude cuteness? We have apparently raised a very environmentally considerate little boy, because he's very concerned with making sure all of our doors are shut. I can just hear him saying, "Hey! We're not air conditioning the outside, are we?" So please enjoy Jude's fascination with our bathroom door. AND...know that ridiculous noises I'm making are because we were playing a game. He'd hide behind the door, and then peek out...I'd make the ridiculous noise you hear, he'd laugh...then hide again. You do it, too - you just don't put your ridiculousness on display for the world the see. Me, on the other hand? I have no shame.

video

Thursday, September 3, 2009

...and stuff

I had intended to post a couple of the one million videos I have of Jude doing super adorable stuff, but alas, I'm being foiled by Blogger once again. Instead, allow me to share a couple of random pictures of Jude just being super adorable.

Also, I wanted to let you (and by "you," I really mean my Mom) know that I'll be on a radio show this Saturday from 2:00-3:00! The episode is called Labor Day, and Rhonda (my amazing doula) and I will be talking about labors of love. It's called The Encouragement Cafe. Here's the link if you want to find out how to tune in: Encouragement Cafe.

I think Jude has confused himself with Cole lately. He loves to take his transitional sippy cup, put it in his mouth, and crawl around the house.

...crazy kid.

Jude discovered grass at our Annual Pinedale in the Park. He appears to especially love eating it...






Oh wait! One of the videos worked! This is pants-less Jude vs. the red crate. Who won? You be the judge.


video

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

micah 6:5

One year ago today, I wrote this post...



Doctor, Doctor, Gimmie the News


Shawn and I had another eventful night on Saturday night. I'm not even sure where it started, it's a little bit of a blur right now. During the day on Saturday, I did my best to "take it easy," as I've been told. I did some laundry, did the dishes, and just slowly worked on getting some things done around the house. I felt a couple of small contractions early in the day, so I cancelled the coffee date I had and put my feet up until I couldn't feel anymore. Around 9:00 or so, I started to feel more contractions, so I parked myself on the couch for the evening and started timing them. I think they were coming about every 20 minutes or so, but I was really having a difficult time knowing what would be considered a contraction. I was starting to be concerned, but didn't want to stress myself into having even MORE contractions, so we did our best to stay calm.We decided we'd make it an early night and went to bed around 10:45, hoping that some sleep and further rest might stop them.

I woke up to contractions a few times during the night, but again, tried not to worry. Around...I guess 2:00 or 2:30, I could tell they were coming more frequently. I fell back asleep, and around 2:45, I woke up again and started timing them. From my best (and very sleepy) guess, they were coming at about every 10 minutes...or 6 per hour...the threshold for when our Doctor told us to head into the hospital. I wanted to stall as long as possible and give Shawn a chance to rest (and maybe give the contractions a chance to miraculously stop), so I tried everything I could think of to stop or slow them - deep breathing, emptying my bladder, drinking some water, etc. I realized around 3:15 or 3:30 that they were only getting stronger, so I woke Shawn up and told him that I thought we probably needed to head in. Rather than being grumpy or upset (like I probably would've been!) Shawn kind of paused for a moment, sleepily said, "okay," and gave me a reassuring sleepy smile. So off we went.

We got to the hospital around 3:45-ish. When we checked in, we saw Rhonda Smith, who is the mother of one of our high school boys (who is very dear to Shawn's heart) who was also on Worth the Wait for two years. I can't tell you how comforting it was to see a familiar face. She checked us in, and told the nurse to take good care of us. :) Throughout the night, she popped in to make sure we were okay, got Shawn coffee, asked me if I wanted ice chips, and just gave us a chance to get our minds off of what was going on. I was hooked up to the monitors and had my blood pressure, temperature, etc. taken (all normal). Baby Maurer is NOT a fan of the monitors, by the way! The nurse would no sooner get his heartbeat when he'd move to the other side, and she'd have to pick it up again. Then he'd move back, and she'd have to move the monitor again. They played this game several times before he finally accepted his fate and stayed somewhat still. :) Once they strapped the contractions monitor on, he proceeded to directly kick at it a few times every hour...just to make sure we remembered that he didn't like it, I guess. :)

The monitor was showing that my contractions were about 2-3 minutes apart. They checked my cervix, took a urine sample, and gave me a shot of Tributelene. The shot once again made me shaky, but it lessened the contractions. While they continued to monitor, Shawn read a magazine (we were smart this time and brought things for us both to read), and I dozed on and off. Awhile later, the contractions came back. They weren't showing up as very strong on the monitor, but they were more painful than they'd been. The nurse moved the monitor a couple of times to see if they could get a better read, but as strongly as I felt them, they never did show up quite as strong on the monitor. Regardless, it meant that the contractions were coming back. So...I got another shot of Tributelene and an IV (I guess in case the latest contractions were because of being dehydrated). We then waited awhile longer while they monitored us and waited for the Doctor to see me. This time, the shot made me super shaky, but it seemed to be working. Then we had to wait for the doctor...and wait...and wait...and wait...or at least that's what it seemed like to us. Hence the blog title, because all that waiting made me sing out of sheer boredom. :)

She did eventually come, checked my cervix (thinning slightly, but not enough to concern her), and discharged us. So we waited awhile longer for a nurse to come around and take the IV out/take off the monitors. I think we left the hospital around 10:00am-ish. Apparently having contractions makes me super hungry, so we again grabbed some breakfast (Bojangles, in case you're wondering) and headed home. Poor Shawn had to grab a shower and head to church, but I was able to head straight to bed and sleep until the afternoon.

So a quick word about my husband. He is the most amazing man ever. He's taken AMAZE-ing care of me and has been nothing short of selfless and giving. I felt awful, really terrible, about dragging us to the hospital on a Saturday night (he gets up super early on Sundays and works from 6am to late), and he's never made me feel guilty or badly. He has been so calm and reassuring for me, even though I'm sure he's worried inside, and he's been a safe place for me to cry and vent my fears. Since we've been home, Shawn's been taking care of everything so that I can be on semi-bed rest. He's seriously done everything...from the dishes, to taking the dog out, to getting stuff ready for the baby, to fixing the carpet threshold (which is what he's working on right now). He makes sure I have enough water, have enough rest, have enough food, am comfortable, and am safe. He prays over me and our baby when I start to feel contractions and is constantly reminding me that God knows things we don't and has everything under control. Even beyond that, when it's the middle of the night and I'm on a hospital bed, looking rough and scared, he tells me that he thinks I'm beautiful and am doing an amazing job of taking care of our baby. And even though I know he doesn't understand why that makes me cry like crazy, he holds me while I do so. I know that's a little more personal than I usually write in these blogs, but I just wanted those of you who are Shawn's family to know that you've raised an amazing man...one whom I pray that our son looks and acts like. And to my family, I want you guys to know that I'm very well taken care of.

So...that's what we've been through lately. I had a handful of contractions on Sunday night, but they slowed with rest and eventually stopped with sleep. I'm trying to use the holiday weekend to force myself to keep my feet up as much as possible. Our next appointment is Thursday at 11:30. I'm eager to be seen again, to make sure that everything is okay, and that nothing is dilated or effaced. I'm also a little worried that I'll officially be put on bed rest, as I'm not sure what that would mean for my job.Please continue praying for us as you think of us. Please pray specifically that Baby Maurer would be in there as long as his healthy for him and will be born in God's perfect timing. Pray that God would be growing and developing him so that he'll have as little time as possible (or maybe no time at all!) in the NICU. Thank you so much for loving and supporting our family.

My people, remember what Balak king of Moab counseled and what Balaam son of Beor answered.Remember your journey from Shittim to Gilgal,that you may know the righteous acts of the LORD."