Friday, August 12, 2011

Quick Trip to KC

The girls and I spent Sunday-Thursday in Kansas City, Kansas with my dad. He was attending a conference over there. We decided that 5 hours is a heck of a lot closer than 14, so we made the journey over to visit with him.

When Grandpa wasn't in meetings, we go tto hang out and play tourists. We went to the Kansas City Zoo, the Kansas City Children's Museum, the Agricultural Hall of Fame, and Harry Truman's home in Independence, Missouri. The girls and I had a good time with Grandpa (or BaPAAAAAW as Gabriela calls him) for sure!

Who had more fun in the water room at the Children's Musuem, Gabriela?

Or Grandpa?

Gabriela is especially enamored with elevators and requires lots of reminding of which buttons are okay to push (the one that takes us to the lobby, for example) and which she cannot (like the emergency call button...again.) After a lengthy conversation about why she can't call the nice operator, again, the Texas cowboy on the elevator looked at us and asked, "so where y'all from?" I smiled and casually responded, "We're from Iowa". At that moment, the elevator stopped and he got off. As the doors shut behind him, I realized what he was really wanting to know was what language I was speaking with my child and why. I suspect I might have left him confused about the geographic location of Iowa. "Well, dang, I coulda sworn that Iowa was a US state..." Oops.

I made it a point to regularly loudly say things like, "Lilian, you can sit over there next to GRANDPA, and Gabs can sit with me." Dad and I noticed we got lots of looks when we were together...I used to get the same looks back when I was in college and he'd take me to supper anytime he was in Athens for a meeting. Back then I could just call him Dad and straighten out any confusion. Unfortunately, when there are two young children involved, me calling him "Dad" just seems to make people think he is the father of the babies. And that I am a major gold digger.

Along those lines, I think my Dad got a good reminder of why 50-somethings don't normally have babies. Gabriela's super-human energy wears him out just a little (he seemed more ready for naptime each day than she did! hehe) and Lilian always surprised him with her go-go-gadget-arms that can reach anything she isn't supposed to have. There is no doubt he enjoys his grandbabies...but I do get the feeling that he, like most grandparents, appreciates that he gets to send 'em home when he's done with 'em! :) (Too bad you have to actually raise your own kids before you get to enjoy that's just as annoying as that whole having to work 30 years before you're allowed to retire. Why do old folks get to have all the fun?!? hehe)

We got back to Burlington in time for a friend's 5th Birthday Party (a pool party) yesterday afternoon. After returning home from that last night, more than a little exhausted after 5 days without Papai and a 5+ hour solo journey with the kids, I was harassing Eric about not having the garden picked, flowers watered, yard mowed, or laundry done. I might have gently suggested that had he left me alone with no children for 4 nights I could accomplish all kinds of things...I might have even gone so far as to suggest that he give me the opportunity to prove it. ;) He urged me to go into the storage room in the basement before I said anymore. Which is where I noticed he had changed out the water heater.

The water heater was on our to-do list as our old one was a little undersized and we recently came across a large high efficiency model on clearance and, with the available tax-credit and energy company rebate, it was only going to cost us $75 out of pocket for the upgrade. It's a natural gas unit and the existing water heater was completely hard-plumbed with copper pipe, so we knew it was going to be a quite time-consuming undertaking. Which it was, I am told. Turns out he didn't just goof off while we were away. I spent the remainder of the night apologizing and thanking Eric for getting it done solo. I plan on some serious relaxing in the jacuzzi tub with a glass of wine this weekend now that we have a water heater capable of filling it up!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

After 29 years, I have a passion!

Throughout my life, I've never had a single passionate interest or hobby. I was one in high school that was an active member of pretty much every extra curricular club. I was in FFA (formerly Future Farmers of America), FBLA (Future Business Leaders of America), FGE (Future Georgia Educators), Math Team, and 4-H, among others. I showed beef cattle, was in the Optimist Club's speech competition, and was a cheerleader. You name it, I was genuinely interested in it (so long as it had nothing to do with music - I have no talent at all in that department! The 6th grade trombone experiment proved that once and for all.)

The broad scope of my interests continued in college, not only in my extra-curricular, but also with my major work. Which might have had a little something to do with the six years and countless credit hours...but that's another story we won't take on today (or probably ever).

All that has made me, what I consider to be, a pretty darn well-rounded individual. I know a good bit about a lot and have a very unique set of experiences. I've changed the lower element in an electric water heater by myself. I've made my own wedding cake. I've designed and installed a complete landscape. I've sewn my own formal gown. There are a ton of things I enjoy doing and learning about. What my Renaissance soul has not been useful with, however, is being passionate.

I witnessed my older brother, Travis, pick up a guitar in high school and teach himself to be an awesome player; 15 years later, he can still be seen rocking out in establishments around Statesboro with his band, Dirty Uncle Bob. I watched as my middle brother, Justin, built a log cabin all on his own (using only hand tools) with trees he cut down himself and have seen the him make incredibly intricate wooden creations. They both are incredibly passionate about their hobby (which also sort of turned into a major and then career for Justin). I've always been a bit envious of them in that regard. And it's not that I think I'm not good at anything, but I've never been really awesome at any one particular pursuit. I've never been totally focused and consumed with one specific interest.

But after 29 years, I have found a passion. Something that I want to learn everything possible about. Something that amazes me, that inspires me, that brings me an immeasurable amount of joy. For the last 18 months, every book I've read has been about pregnancy, birth, or babies. I've attend classes, workshops, online discussions, and community programs about birth.

I love being pregnant. I love giving birth. I love newborns. Eric tells me we cannot have 20 babies of our own. He's pretty firm on the no more than a dozen thing. ;)

So I've found that the next best thing to having the experience over and over again myself is being involved with other families and witnessing the miracle of a new life entering the world and watching as two people's lives are transformed as they become parents. My work this year as a birth doula has been incredible. And it is nearly impossible to put into words how much I adore what I am doing.

My main priority remains my family and our home. As long as we have young kids at home, I will limit the number of clients I take on and how many classes I teach. It's fun to have a hobby I'm truly passionate about though. (And making a little play money with it isn't all bad either.)

I have a real business now (Mãe Amor Birth Services). And a real website ( My doula certification is caught up in a backlog and waiting to go before the review committee. But I did receive my HypnoBirthing Practitioner certification last month and will be teaching my first official class beginning in a couple weeks.

Business is good. The girls are growing and doing great. Life is truly grand.

I'll try to be around here a little more often to tell you all about it!