Monday, March 29, 2010

C'est Moi!

(Photography assignment: Take a self portrait that tells us something about you)

Not everyone gets to wake up on the morning of their birthday to find a tick embedded in their leg.

The first time I heard about these blood sucking creatures was when I was a teenager in a camp-preparation meeting where they warned us that ticks were hiding in the bushes and trees ('so don't get too close to a bush if you're peeing on it' was their warning), and that leeches were lurking in the lake. I was terrified, and a little obsessive about checking myself for the unwanted parasites. My sister got one at camp that year...on the top of her shoulder where her hair fell. I felt sorry for her, but secretly felt glad it was her and not me.

Even when we moved to North Carolina, I've managed to escape the ticks. Our friends have had plenty, McKenzie has had two, but I have had none - - - until my birthday, that is. Right on the outside of my thigh.

Oh no. No, no, no. I thought to myself the moment I spotted it. Are you freakin' KIDDING me?

You could say that I have a slight wimpishness when it comes to killing bugs. I don't like the way it sounds, and I don't like the way it feels. When McKenzie had a tick on the back of her ear, we waited hours until Daddy came home, 'cause Mama just couldn't handle it. But here I was faced with a grim reality: I could spend my whole entire birthday with a tick in my leg, or I could grab it with a pair of tweezers and get it out, knowing full well that I would probably end up crushing the life out of it. Neither option sounded like a true winner.

In the end, I decided it would be best to get it out - so I summoned up my courage and recalled some research I had done on it last year. Some of my favorite lines from the webpage I remembered were,

"Do not be alarmed if the tick's mouthparts remain in the skin..."
(What the WHAT? I do NOT want any 'mouthparts' in my skin, thank you very much!)

"Throw the dead tick away with the household trash."
(Whew...I was hoping they'd have disposal directions...)

And then, this picture:

Well, there was a lot of muttering under my breath, 'stupid, disgusting tick, this is crappy, crappy tick'...but in the end, I was successful. I even managed to keep the mouthparts attached to the tick instead of me! I only had one freak-out moment which resulted in me dropping the tweezers with a startled yelp. Who knew that when I grabbed the tick's body, all eight of it's legs would move?! Disgustingly terrifying, if you ask me.

Thankfully, the day could only get better from there. I came out into the kitchen and was greeted by beautiful roses, a birthday banner, balloons and streamers - - - it was obvious that my sweet hubby had gotten up extra early before work.

And, it was great to pull the birthday card for an entire day. Whenever a fight broke out between the kids, all I would have to do is start singing, "Happy birthday to me, happy birthday to me..." and the fighting would grudgingly stop. I learned a very important lesson that day about those kids: they do know what I want!

How long do you think it would take them to catch on if I put up balloons once a month and told them it was my birthday?

Thursday, March 18, 2010


It's okay if you pause for a moment and take in his handsomeness. :) This man is a happy-maker. Carefree, laid back, down-to-earth, honest, and 100% genuine. A fellow medical friend once said of Brian, "You know what one of the greatest things about him is? He's just Brian. You see him at church, he's Brian. You see him walking though the hospital, he's Brian. You bump into him at Kroger, he's Brian."

I'm so lucky to be married to a man who treats everyone with kindness; who doesn't hesitate to sing the wrong lyrics at the top of his lungs; who enjoys putting the kids to bed at night; who makes friends wherever he goes; who will often be found totally submerged underneath a blanket while telling a story to two giggling kids; who thinks logically and clearly through anything; and who loves me so unconditionally, I never question.

Happy 30th Birthday, love. I truly am the luckiest.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Priority Shift

It's the summer of 1998. I'm 16 years old and sandwiched between two of my favorite young women leaders in the cab of an old beat-up truck. We're on our way to girls camp and they're listening intently to me as I tell them about my boy problems. I feel safe, loved, secure, and absolutely excited to be spending a few days and nights up in the mountains of Utah with some of the best women I know.

It wasn't until about halfway through the 4-hour drive that I noticed it. Quickly doing a double-take, I confirmed my fear and felt a rush of embarrassment for my leader. She must not know... I figure. Oh, how embarrassing.

Hair. Blond hair, half an inch long and sticking straight out from her bare knee. It looked as if she hadn't shaved in 5 whole days! And, she was wearing shorts! I vowed to not let it affect our conversation and silently imagined her terror once she figured it out.


It's March 2010. I've had a busy day. I made all the beds, tidied all the rooms, read a sparkly firefly book to my baby, showered, finished washing the dishes, vacuumed my floors, did the laundry, played trains with my son, chopped down a row of bushes outside, raked the leaves, read a few chapters in my book, helped my daughter with her homework, and had a hot dinner on the table when my husband walked in the door at 6:00.

As we sat down to dinner I quickly looked at the clock. One hour before I need to be at the church for Young Womens. After dinner, I had 10 minutes to get ready before heading out the door. I glanced in the mirror and did a quick assessment. No makeup; mud-stained T-shirt and jeans...from chopping down the bushes, no doubt; and hair falling out of a loose pony tail. Oh dear. Well, I thought, I've gotta pee, I should put some fresh clothes on, and hopefully I'll have time to throw on some mascara. I finished my priority list, and even had a minute left over to attempt to cover up the dark circles under my eyes. As for my hair - - - well, that was just going to have to be ignored.

Taking one last look in the mirror, I smiled to myself as I remembered my own Young Women leader 11 years ago. You know, she probably did know that her legs weren't as smooth as silk.

I bet she didn't care.

(I took the first picture off of my parents back deck in 2004. I'm pretty sure it was the first picture I ever kept that didn't have a person in it! The second picture was taken last month off the same deck.)