30 July 2009

Oh yeah

A big breakthrough on Macauley's camping trip with Ryan's parents: he rode a bike without training wheels! So as soon as he got home tonight, it was off with the training wheels on his own bike, something we've been asking him to try all summer. I knew he'd go for it in his own time, the way he's reached most milestones over the last six years. When he feels like it, not when the rest of the world (including mom and dad) says so.

We are so proud of Brother, aren't we Booker?

Baby Grant

Macauley and I went to St. John's this afternoon to meet baby Grant, the very new son of my very old friend Tonya. Grant was born a little before midnight last night and we got to hang out with him for a bit on his very first day in this big world. Macauley was in charge of the camera at the hospital, which is why you can barely see the little guy. Tonya and I were inseperable our entire 8th grade year, and remained friends all through high school and the many years since. Now we're both moms...

We took him a gift of comfy onesies and pants, and one of my favorite things to have when Macauley was born: baby gowns. They made diaper changes in the middle of the night so easy.

Macauley took lots of pictures of the room, and asked me several questions about how Grant got here and how the yellow machine to my left got milk for the baby...He is too inquisitive to go for made-up, half-hearted answers, so I told him I would explain it all to him sometime soon when it was just the two of us...

The new parents on my birthday last summer at Kandi's wedding, blissfully unaware that in less than a year's time, their world would be completely changed. For the better. Grant's a little cutie. Just perfect.

Without even trying...

I found some great stuff with just a quick swish around STD yesterday after taking a few more things to my booth. There is no information on the graduation photo...the three arched entryways behind the graduates remind me of Clara Thompson Hall at Drury, but I don't know if it was taken there or not. The clock and plate are both damaged, but I love them nonetheless. Also found two small ironstone pieces, a small engraved silver creamer, a small wooden box with two sections and another Economy jar.

29 July 2009


Macauley has been camping with Ryan's parents this week, and I have used my solo time to do a little shopping for my booth and making some things. I got lots of colorful goodies that I plan to take over today, but I think I will keep the toile shams I found for now, 4 of them for $1 each.

I put together this magnetic board with the domino magnets and this other metal altered art photo collage, both for the booth.

And I jumped in and started scrapbooking and got these layouts done. I actually had a lot more of Macauley's 5th year completed than I thought I had. I know have all sorts of spreads stacked around everywhere and I need to put them in some actual scrapbooks. Which means a trip to Hobby Lobby today! I need a couple of them and some refill pages.

Ryan and I ran again last night and both thought it was a little harder this time. We did the same route but added the hill from the trail all the way to our front porch. I think tonight we are going to try a cute little restaurant in an old house in Nixa and then run when we get home. Macauley will be back tomorrow afternoon. He's usually okay to help me at the flea market, but I think I'll go ahead and drop off my stuff without him. And at some point, I need to do some actual work on the online classes I teach, but that kind of productivity isn't nearly as much fun.

28 July 2009

Babies are bella

I remember being in the shower the morning of 3 December 2002 and thinking, This is my last shower, my last morning, as the person I've always been, the person I've always known. The next time I wake up in the morning and take a shower, I will be someone's mom. I went to St. John's that afternoon to have Macauley Lane Fraser by scheduled c-section. He weighed 9 lbs. 2 ozs. and was 21 inches long. My parents and sisters were there, Ryan's parents and his Uncle Paul and Aunt Debbie, and of course, Ryan, who opened the door of the family waiting room, peeked his head in and simply told them all, "He's here," and then came right back to me. And our son.

Several months later, on a sleepless night, I got up and wrote my baby a letter, something I've done a couple of other times since but should really do more:

My Macauley:

At 4 a.m. you woke up crying. I was having trouble sleeping tonight for some reason, and I had heard you roll around and make little noises a couple of other times as I tossed and turned myself in my bed across the hall from you. I think one of the cats had pushed your door open and was exploring your closet, waking you by crinkling paper and crawling on boxes. But this time you cried, sounded upset. I shuffled to the kitchen and made you a bottle, went back into your room to see your head raised up, looking for me, I think.

Your little toes were cold (you had kicked off your covers as you usually do, and have, in fact, done since the day we brought you home from the hospital, never wanting your arms pinned down by the blanket or to be swaddled as most other newborns prefer), so I tucked you in next to me in my bed and curled around you, gave you your bottle. I held both of your tiny feet in one hand to warm them up, and you grabbed one of my fingers with your left hand and held it while you drank, both arms resting on your forehead.

I tried to close my eyes during your feeding—there were many times when you were younger, when you were getting up more than once in the night for food, that I fell asleep during this same routine, waking up panicked that I had smashed or suffocated your tiny, tiny little body, realizing an hour or more had gone by. When you were very small, from the time you were a few weeks or so until about three months maybe, you wouldn’t sleep in your bassinet, so for all of us to get a few hours of sleep, I laid you on my chest every night and slept half sitting up in bed, worrying all the while that I would drop you or, again, smash you…but your dad and I were so tired. You seemed to like listening to my heartbeat, like you were reminded of being back in the womb. I wondered if you would ever sleep in your crib, if we had failed as parents, spoiled you so that all three of us would be crowded into our queen size bed for years. Some nights I wondered if I’d ever be able to sleep on my side or stomach ever again. But, one day, you napped in your crib, and eventually started sleeping more and more in your own room and bed, until you didn’t even really like to sleep on my chest anymore even while we watched TV. Now, when your dad puts you down asleep in your crib, he says you smile when he pulls the covers up around you. He’s right. I’ve seen it too. So I’m free to toss and turn as I please, and most nights that’s a relief. But sometimes, a lot of times, I would love to sleep sitting up again, your sweet-smelling head tucked under my chin, our hearts beating in rhythm.

Tonight we went to a minor league baseball game--your first. It was hot, but you were so good. You wore your jean shorts and a light blue t-shirt and your navy blue visor that makes you look very preppy and adorable. I carried you around the stands when you got bored or fussy, and your dad gave you a few bites of his hot dog bun. You watched the players and listened to the announcer and crowd, with this look you have that I will never forget, a kind of wide-eyed, open-mouthed wonder, always taking everything in. Having you look at things, at everything, this way has made me do the same. It’s overwhelming the way I want to show you everything, to tell you about everything in this world and see what you think of it all. I love taking you places. We can’t go anywhere without at least two or three strangers stopping us to talk to you and to ask how old you are, what your name is, how much you weigh, to say how adorable/attentive/beautiful/handsome/big/tiny you are. I tell your dad it annoys me, strangers breathing on you, grabbing your fingers and giving you germs, but I’m really so proud. You are mine.

When the game was over, they turned out the stadium lights and there was a fireworks show. I stood in the dark by our seats holding you, and your dad came over to stand by us as the sparkles started filling the sky. We were both watching your face, your expressions, having both seen fireworks many times before but never our own son’s reaction to them. You were mesmerized, not even jumping when there was a loud boom. The three of us sat down on the steps, your dad’s arm around you and me, his hand on my knee and yours on my arm, and I felt unexplainably happy. This is my life, I thought. Our life. The three of us.

You didn’t really drink much of your bottle tonight (this morning!), but didn’t want to let go of it when I tried to take it out of your mouth. Your breathing was deep and slow, and I knew you were asleep again, but I didn’t want to take you back to your crib. I rubbed your face and hair and hands, just amazed by you and I couldn’t help but cry, softly though so I wouldn’t wake up your dad. Sometimes that’s all I can do when I look at you, I am just so overwhelmed by all the emotions I feel for you that tears are my only, sometimes irrational, release. You were completely relaxed, and your mouth looked just as it did in the ultrasound we had just a few days before you were born. I may never be able to make you understand how I felt that very moment looking at you…

I’ve heard when you can’t sleep it’s better to get up and do something instead of just lying there miserably, so I thought I’d write. I’m not sure I’m any sleepier having done so, but I feel contented that I got at least an impression of the way I’m feeling tonight down on paper. I should do that for you more, Macauley; I will try to…Time is going by so quickly; your third tooth is coming through now, your fine blonde hair is growing over your ears and into your eyes…you’re turning into a little boy. My baby. Even now I know there will come a time when you don’t want me to think of you as such, but you need to know I won’t be able to help it. You are my baby and always will be. You are loved more than you will ever comprehend.


Your mother
22 August 2003
4:39 a.m.

"I'll love you forever.
I'll like you for always.
As long as I'm living
my baby you'll be."

Happy Baby Shower to you and your family, Bella! Thanks for the chance to share, Debbie.

27 July 2009

What the heck?

What did I do? The font all down the sidebar and on all my previous posts just totally changed. Any expert bloggers know a quick fix? I keep going to Fonts and Colors and it looks the same as I had it all along, but suddenly everything is different. And I don't like it. Help?


I've been in the mood to scrapbook lately, and I'd even printed off a ton of pictures at Walgreens, spread them all out on my worktable and took inventory of all my supplies (way too much but never enough, you know?). But it was only today (after going to see My Sister's Keeper with my good friend and fellow scrapper Janice--we were the only people in the theatre and we were disappointed with the film but still both needed the tissues we'd brought) that I put a page together. It's been quite a while since I've scrapped. In fact, I don't know that I've done anything for the fifth year of my son's life and he's well into his sixth. But I'm not going to beat myself up for what I haven't done and I'm not going to backtrack and try to start from way back when. I'll get to it all when I get to it. I think blogging has freed my mind on that...I'm able to document so many little things here that the scrapbooks will just be another venue for whatever memories I'm able to grab, and I know it won't be all of them.

I found myself to be quite rusty after all this time, but I do love the photo of my boy and I hope he always follows his heart. That's another revelation that's been freeing to me: to let my son just be. Just be himself and not me or not his dad or like his friends. We'd both like him to play sports because we both enjoyed them so much growing up, but we just haven't pushed Macauley to do a bunch of stuff because everyone else is. Maybe we should nudge him a bit to try some new things, but he's only 6 and he'll figure out where his heart is in his own good time. At least that's how I see it as of now.

I hesitate to even put into words my newest goal, because then what if I don't do it? I had intended to start doing this at the beginning of the summer and now it's 2/3 gone. And I don't want my blog to be about fitness or weight loss or any of that Debbie Downer, non-lovely, uncreative stuff. But...I decided today was the day I started running again after a long hiatus. This made me feel rusty, too, but not as awful as I thought. I was hoping I could run a minute without collapsing, but I was able to chase after Ryan on the trail through the woods behind our house for over 13 minutes without stopping! And I kind of felt like, after some inital tinges of cardiac arrest, that I could have kept going. (Fun side note here: We found, at one of the trail we don't usually walk to and right behind our house, a rope swing into a spot in the creek with murky water that looked deep enough to swing into and Ryan tried it out. The water turned out to be over his head and freezing. He said it wasn't like me not to try it, but I didn't. Something about water where I can't see my toes is really creepy to me. I'll try it before summer is over, maybe.) We decided that we would try to go every night this week to try to ingrain some kind of habit, and that running the trail in the woods, with all sorts of branches and roots and rocks to watch for is a good way to start...you think so much about watching your feet and not tripping over anything that you almost forget how out of breath and old and out of shape you are. I'm not really sure why I haven't been able to consistently make fitness a part of my life in my 20s and 30s. I loved playing sports in high school, and I played intramurals and even took a half-marathon training class at Drury. I worked out fairly regularly after having Macauley, but it's been spotty since. I would say I am an athletic person, but I guess I miss playing volleyball or doing something to "win" or be part of a team instead of exercising just to not get fat(ter). That's no fun to me. But neither is looking at pictures of myself and seeing someone different than the me I see inside my head. A much puffier version. An older and wiser version with better hair and eyebrows and clothes than the 18-year-old me in my head, but puffier nonetheless. I'd like to run a 5K this fall, something I've done before just not in a while, maybe with my dad, who runs all the time and has done so for well over 25 years I'd say, and maybe with my sister Lane, who recently took up running herself and is doing really well with it. So we'll see.

Rare Vintage

The powers that be out there that market clothing or decide what stores should sell have it totally figured out...put characters beloved in childhood by the parents on clothes and those nostalgic parents will buy them for their own kids. Such was the case with Smurfs tee I found at Target the other day and didn't even hesitate before throwing it in the cart.

As I was helping him get the shirt on to go to Incredible Pizza with Aunt Linds and Tyson's family last week, he said, "Mom, wouldn't it be funny if these were called Sniffs instead of Snurfs? Like you sniff your nose?" I told him that the SMurfs were a favorite of my sisters and mine growing up, when cartoons were only on Saturday mornings and not round the clock on twenty channels like they are now. When they were something special. A treat. He wasn't all that interested until I explained that the Smurfs were so small they lived in little mushrooms and that an evil human named Gargamel and his cat Azrael hunted them to make stew out of. Ryan is looking for some episodes to download for him. But he won't experience it the way my sisters and I did, in one episode a week, on the RCA console TV my family had for years, with a wooden case that made the television a piece of actual furniture...

The little shirt sent me into quite the blue-tinged reverie over at http://www.bluebuddies.com/, where I found all sorts of info on characters and storylines I had totally forgotten. I also took the Which Smurf are You? Quiz and found it to be quite the psychological inventory. Some fun memories...

23 July 2009


After only a few hours reading, I just finished The Reader by Bernhard Schlink. I haven't yet seen the movie, but I probably will, since I guess it was knowing of the film and Kate Winslet as the star that drew me to the book in the first place. The story is written in such a succint, straightforward style, with references to Nazi concentration camps and guilt and abandonment phrased in such a matter-of-fact way. The book and the amount of reading I've been able to do this summer makes me wonder: What is the world like to someone who cannot read or write?

One passage I marked:

"Her handwriting never became fluid, but it acquired something of the severe beauty that characterizes the writing of old people who have written little in their lives."

I immediately called up images of the bits and pieces of handwriting I've seen from both my grandfathers, one who is alive and well and one who is not. Both men I consider wise and probably wiser to the ways of the world than I will ever be. I just haven't seen much from them by way of handwritten (or typed or otherwise put together) notes, so the ones I have seen I remember.

My mother's father was usually spoken for by my Nanny, who often wrote me letters when I was young and who always sent out birthday cards signed for the both of them. My dad's father has been a widower for many years. He sent my sisters and me some money via my parents one July a few years ago with a letter that said he'd heard of Christmas in July before and just wanted us to have something. The letter wasn't long, but my mother had photocopied a copy for each of us. He said it had been a sad and lonely winter since his longtime friend and companion, who he had fished with and eaten with and been kept company by for years since my grandmother died when I was three, had been put in a nursing home after a stroke that left her unable to communicate. He simply, in mostly capital letters, spelled out what he was thinking and what he wished for us and I still think about that letter.

This past Christmas, I didn't get to see him, but I mailed him a card and a gift certificate, since I always think of him and want to give him something but never know just what. He sent back a clear and simple thank you in a card he must have made a special trip to buy for me--written in pencil as the other letter was--saying he had been wanting a drill and that the card "just covered it" and that he was "real proud of it."

I don't know for sure that either of my grandfathers are people who "have written little in their lives." They both, after all, lived through the very war (and the atrocities and crimes of that war) the book I just read explores. They probably wrote home. I know they both read. They've seen the world in a way I never will. Thinking of the few snippets of their handwriting I've seen just makes me wistful...

This is also how we roll

21 July 2009

It was about time...

I have so neglected my little flea market booth this summer, but I finally went today and put in some new things and marked almost everything else way down in price. I almost kept this shabby alarm clock for myself.

The black and white theme always carries over to my booth, but I also grouped together a bunch of colorful stuff, all of it 50% off.

Macauley and I cruised through but we didn't bring anything home with us (except for the Hershey's bar that I told him he didn't have enough money for but he thought he did and went up to pay anyway, in a huge line, and was 10 cents short so I had to rush out to the car for the dime I told him I didn't have or want to go get).

I did like the grouping on this chippy green shelf, and I thought the metal stairs would be great somewhere...

I was also inexplicably drawn to this baby doll, and the little cradle...maybe it's all the baby showers I've been going to. I thought the cradle would make a great cat bed for my giant gray kitty Alice Cooper.

We left empty-handed and went to check on our old house only to find that an entire field of grass and weeds had grown up in the flowerbeds alongside the house. I pulled weeds for over an hour, which did nothing for my somewhat cranky mood or the crick in my neck I've had for 3 days now. I am so ready to be able to walk away from that old house with no strings and no responsibility. I really love that little cottage and I wish someone else would start taking care of it so I can just let go. And not pull weeds. Then we did our grocery shopping in a cart with a crazy wheel that kept dragging and made the whole cart roll bumpy. Macauley was already loaded with all the stuffed animals and Blankie strapped in so we didn't trade up. Perhaps the dinner I have planned tonight with my teacher friends Lori and Sarah at Touch will cheer me. If those bacon-wrapped dates don't do the trick, I don't know what will...

19 July 2009

Just like I remembered...

Excitement in the neighborhood yesterday when the ice cream truck (jeep) pulled through. We raided the change jar with a sense of urgency, not to be passed by. The whole scene reminded me of being a girl with my cousins running from the backyard of my grandparents' house to greet a similar vehicle cruising down South 24th Place.

We've been a little stir-crazy around the house this weekend, but today Macauley and Megan have been busy saving the world. They've been following me around everywhere I go (still in their pajamas in the middle of the day) asking me to give them "missions." After it taking them all of 1.5 minutes to rescue Flippy the Dolphin from being tangled in a commerical fishing net at the bottom of the sea (and tracking down the boat that irresponsibly dropped the net) and then about the same amount of time to find Michelle Obama's diamond ring somewhere in our yard, I told them their next mission was to find something else to do far, far away from me, as I was out of imagined precarious situations and needed space. They're off to the park now and I might go check on my booth. Or just flop down and read some more, which is what I've been doing most of the weekend.

Another Jodi Picoult...this time The Pact, about a girl and boy who grew up next door to each other their whole lives and the discomfort and intimacy that develops as their brother/sister relationship evolves into something more mature. Who knows where these two superheroes will be years from now, or what they'll be to each other then, but for now, they are permanent fixtures in one another's worlds.

I can always find a little something in Picoult's writing that registers with me. This time it was the teenage boys description of how he knew he really loved the girl he'd known his whole life:

"There was an attraction," he said carefully, "but it was more than that." He chewed on his lower lip for a second. "Once, we broke up for a while. I started hanging out with this girl who I'd always thought was hot, this cheerleader named Donna. I was like, totally infatuated with Donna, maybe even when I was still together with Em. Anyway...every time I was with Donna I realized I didn't know her too well. I'd hyped her up in my head to be so much more than what she really was...When Em and I got back together, I could see that she had never been less than what I'd figured her to be. If anything, she was always better than I remembered. And that' what I think love is," Chris said quietly. "When your hind-sight's twenty-twenty, and you still wouldn't change a thing."

I've only know Ryan half of my life, actually a bit less, but it seems like longer since I was 19 when we got together. So young. I wonder what would have happened if I'd grown up knowing him instead of meeting him in college. What if we'd actually met when we crossed paths at a track meet in high school, as we've figured out we must have over the years? What if we grew up chasing after the ice cream truck together with beach towels as capes? I don't know. But I do know he's never been less than I figured he would be. And he's always even better than I remembered.

18 July 2009

Turning over a new page

I do like the blog background I've been using for my first 200 posts, but I was ready for something different. I am still tweaking it all a bit, but I got the new background and the comments art from http://blogsnsuchgoodies.blogspot.com/ and I got the image for my header from http://itkupilli-cutencool.blogspot.com/. Thank you to both for the free goodies.


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