Around the homestead

This morning I woke up thinking about painting my laundry room. WHYYYYYY?! I don’t know what’s wrong with me. Spencer said I have a sickness. I don’t want to paint the laundry room. But when I wake up in the morning with a vision of pretty light blue walls with white cabinets and trim, I know that I am stuck. The laundry room will be painted. I just can’t say when. It’s not like I’m bursting with energy over here. 

Oh, did I mention that in May we moved to my grandparents’ old house in my old home town? Well, we did. And there was A LOT of work to be done. That’s how I know I’m not real blogger material. I mean, I have painted, scrubbed (oh, heavens, the scrubbing), slip-covered and carpeted. And I didn’t take one picture or do one single before-and-after post. It’s shameful, really. But if anyone cleans double-pane windows, I am willing to pay. I have no interest or confidence in my ability to carry a ladder around and remove glass without breaking something. Not to mention how sweaty I would inevitably become. For now I just close the blinds and pretend there aren’t water spots, June bugs and cobwebs in them.

Speaking of home improvements, the amount of ugly wood furniture I have that needs painted is overwhelming. I guess I probably won’t do any of that until the boys are both in school. And I hire a manservant to carry heavy things for me. I’m also coveting this comforter set from Bed Bath and Beyond but I’m thinking maybe it will go on sale one day? It might not look that exciting, but let me tell ya, she’s a comfy one. Very comforting, if you will.

But really, the “have to be done immediately or I will die” projects (like painting the baby’s hot pink room to a more manly white) are pretty much under control. I just remembered that I also had a dream about the guest bathroom curtain. There currently isn’t one and apparently that is weighing heavily on my mind.

I’m going to go look at bathroom window coverings now. And possibly paint samples. Have a nice day.

Jack turns two

It’s the second anniversary of the day we met Jack. What valleys and mountain tops we have traversed! What lessons I have learned! God has used him to make me a new person and to bring smiles to everyone he meets.

Here’s a little about how Jack lives his life as he turns two.

1546237_10152150842316857_3930052283850017778_n

He sleeps in a toddler bed and every morning when he wakes up, he comes and stands in our doorway and waves. Sometimes he says “Goo morning!” and sometimes he wails “I need milk!!!”

He is a runner and jumper and climber, down inside himself, from the start. When he was about four weeks old, my dad held him on his chest and said “He will crawl early.” Grandpa Timmy was right- he’s a mover and a shaker!

He’s a nosy one. He gets that from me. I prefer the term curious, actually. He has already started asking “why?” about everything. I thought that would come later. It’s tiring. Aw, and I just remembered how the nurses were laughing at his checkup when he was twelve days old and he was holding his head up, looking around (I guess he wasn’t really looking since they can barely see at that age, but he was trying). I was so new to babies that I didn’t find it strange that he could support his head already. He just needs to know what is happening at all times!

288543_10150959441956857_1726807240_o

He says funny stuff all the time. The other day he told me that a baby bug had left our porch to go to church and play with Play-Doh. The cat also goes to church a lot (which, I think is good for him because I’m pretty sure he has some questionable night time activities).

He pretty much loves everyone he knows. I used to think, “Boy, he really likes them, he talks about them a lot.” But then I realized he talks about them all a lot. He wants to go visit everyone everyday. Especially his cousins Sophia and Colt even though they all fight and are not that into sharing with each other.

He loves the water park (the one at Pauls Valley. It’s really good!) and goes down the slide all by himself, but I have to catch him at the bottom because he cannot handle water spraying him in the face. It’s melt down level five. He is a sucker for anything soft that he can cuddle up to. He also loves trucks and balls. And watching cartoons. He has been a tv head ever since his eyes could focus.

I have no idea what school-type things I should be teaching him at this age but he knows his colors. He hates the alphabet. I have no clue why but he just gets aggravated if you try to get him to sing it. But he likes songs that also have motions.

He asks for ice cream every time we pass a Braum’s, see a Braum’s cup or anyone says the word “ice” or “cream” in his presence. I think I will take him to get some later since it’s his birthday and all.

He still calls our house the “new house.”

1077042_10151509360796857_2077788349_o

We aren’t really working on potty training. It’s called me being lazy and luckily I found a blog post that makes me feel okay with that. I still promise never to post potty training details on FB.

He likes to have a job. Everything is “Me help too!” When he asks “What do today?” and we tell him what we did and then ask what he did today, he always says “Work hard.” I love it.

Not that I would post bad things about him (because that would be kind of mean wouldn’t it?)  but he’s pretty easy to get along with most of the time. If he’s being super cranky then he is either hungry or needs to go to bed. He gets his fair share of swats for testing me on things he knows are naughty but usually that is all that is required to reassure him that those really are the rules. He takes it in stride.

We love our little munchkin and today, on his second birthday, I’m going to go pack a hospital bag for when his brother decides to join us. His world is about to change so much but it has been pretty sweet being a family of three the last two years (mostly-but the hard times were worth it).

Here’s his birth story if anyone else is feeling nostalgic today.

Why we aren’t on welfare

I started to write this as a Facebook post but then it got too long. So I’m writing it as a blog post from my phone. If you’ve never done that, I don’t advise it.

Anyway…

Today Spencer and I got to talking because we were both thinking about the same topic today- people in need. And I had some of those thoughts that wouldn’t go away just by talking about them. I have to write them out.

We should help people in need. Always. Even if it’s inconvenient and costly for us. But the thing is, a lot of people who think they are in need are actually just in want. In want of free things. But nothing is free. Just because you don’t pay for it doesn’t mean no one does.

I was thinking about it because I was calculating in my head as I was driving (very dangerous, I apologize) about how much we were going to pay for our doctor and the hospital for this baby after insurance (last time it was about $3500). When we were talking about it the other day, a friend suggested we try to get SoonerCare to pay for our part. But, we shouldn’t.

Let me say, my husband makes a nice income but it’s not outrageous. I have no income. So, we are not rich. We are so lucky that we have insurance through Spencer’s work. $3500 is a buttload of money for us. But, with budgeting and self-control, we can come up with it. And we have satellite tv and the internet and smart phones and we drink cokes anytime we feel like it. Oh, and I don’t have an income. So, to me, there is a lot we can cut out if we need to in order to pay our bills. And that should be our first response.

Maybe we look at things this way because we both grew up without material excess. We had what we needed but we knew what it was to be broke. So we can deal with not having everything be easy maybe. We know we can trim the fat and not die.

Another time, someone suggested we should apply for WIC. I asked why. “It’s a great program! And you probably qualify.” To me, that’s not a reason. We don’t want to have the attitude that we want to get everything “free” we can get just because we can get it.

Listen, I don’t want anybody to go hungry. Nobody. That’s why I’m glad these programs are available for the people who need them. Which I thought was people who couldn’t afford groceries. Trust me, we aren’t about to starve, praise The Lord. And I’m not against signing up for them because I’m too proud. I just want it to be there and available to those who need it rather than abused by those who want it because they can get it. I’m not judging you if you use those programs, I’m just explaining why we don’t.

I don’t know other people’s situations but I know ours. And it’s just troubling to me- especially when I think about what kind of world our kids will live in- how much the prevailing point of view (that I keep hearing) is that you’re crazy if you pass up the chance to get more from the government. It seems more greedy than needy to me.

And we don’t always do the right thing but we really want to try. And for us, this is the right thing. To work and sell and cut out the extras when times get tough. Because we can and that is such a blessing that we don’t want to take for granted.

Love y’all. Have a happy COOL July week, my friends.

In which I am starting to lose it

I’m somewhere around 22 weeks along in this pregnancy (sorry, second child. I haven’t been keeping up quite as obsessively as last time when I always knew exactly which fruit Jack resembled that week) and have been feeling kicks for a few weeks. But last night Spencer got to feel one and that is always just pretty sweet.

As I sit here drinking my coffee this morning (again, second child…caffeine schmaffeine, I say) I just SAW a kick. I feel like we are pretty early along to be seeing this boy already. So then that made me think he’s probably gonna be a whopper (there is no evidence to support this theory).

So then that made me worry what if he is huge and he catches up to Jack in size and then wouldn’t that be weird for Jack (he was a smaller baby-6lb 12oz-because of being born at 37 weeks and still isn’t very big. He’s not like a midget or anything)?

And that is how my anxiety is doing these days. As soon as we found out it was another boy I started worrying all about sibling rivalry and people comparing them to each other. And I know it’s nothing to fret over but ya know, these hormones just do this to me.

So this is my life as a mother. Worrying someone will get their feelings hurt and be scarred for life. WHAT IF I HAD SENSITIVE, EMOTIONAL LITTLE GIRLS?! Oh, mercy….

Introducing a name

Well, Baby Boy #2 has received a name! Drumroll please…

He shall be called Flint.

The middle name is still a little iffy. Jack’s middle name is Aaron, after his dad and grandpa so I wanted this child to have a middle name after someone in my family. We have talked about giving him the middle name Condict (my maiden name) but, I mean, that is a weird and hard to spell middle name (the second “c” is silent- I have no idea why). So, we have also tried to think of middle names that started with “con” just as a way to kind of honor or remember Condict without taking it all the way. So, we are considering Conway. Plus, I mean, Conway Twitty.

Flint Conway Brown. What do you think? No, I don’t mean that. Keep it to yourself what you think. Unless you think it’s an awesome name. Then, totally feel free to express yourself! That’s one good thing about posting it on the internet- everyone who doesn’t like it can just make their judgy faces behind their screens and I won’t have to get all defensive about it. How dare you not love the name we have picked?! You have no idea what we have been through! It’s really none of your business! Just joking. I’m not that hormonal yet.

It’s so hard to name a baby.

I would post one of his adorable ultrasound pics so you could admire him but we are moving and I have no idea where they are. This is one reason that I am thankful God has given me boys. They probably won’t hold it against me if I lose their ultrasound pictures during a move or if I forget to take their picture on their first birthday. Which I am liable to do. I considered just posting one of Jack’s ultrasound pics and pretending it was Flint (it has a ring to it, right?) but you know I really hate to say or do anything that’s not 100% genuine. So, I couldn’t bring myself to trick y’all like that. What a nerd.

I hope you all have a lovely and not too sweaty weekend.

The birthday post

Welp. I do not expect to get through a full blog post before Jack wakes up from his nap but we’ll see.

Today is my 30th birthday, Jack has been napping for two hours and I can’t think of anything else to do besides clean or do laundry which I am boycotting because it’s my 30th birthday. It’s kind of a dumb idea, since I have nothing else to do and it will just create more work for me tomorrow but I mean, it’s 1:30 in the afternoon already. I can’t just go changing plans like that right in the middle of the day.

My first plan was to take a nap (even though Spencer let me sleep an hour late this morning, I am just worn plum out every second of life right now, what with being 30 and all) but we have the Rowdy Bunch working under our house today. Under our trailer house. Which means I can hear every hammer clang and F-bomb that goes on. Let me tell ya, I do not consider myself sheltered about cussing. I have spent more than my fair share of time in dive bars. But there are dive bars and then there are the places these guys must hang out. I think it’s the places where people get stabbed. And besides the cussing, I am just intrigued by their choice of music. If you saw these guys, you would probably not peg them for the kind who like to listen to rap songs about hoes tryna get they money. Anyhoo, these charmers are keeping me from taking a nap. If my mama was here she would probably go out there and explain to them about manners but she’s not and I’m too tired (and a little scared?).

He did wake up. And we went to get fries. And he wore pajamas, a bass pro cap and Spider Man shoes. So stylish.

He did wake up. And we went to get fries. And he wore pajamas, a bass pro cap and Spider Man shoes. So stylish.

So. I thought I would write a blog post about life on the Brown front lately. We got to see our new baby BOY on Monday, which I have been having my moments about. It really was so cute to see him sucking his thumb and I just love that I’m having babies in a time when we get to see them so  early thanks to technology. Now, the name situation is not coming along real smoothly. I thought I was keeping myself right in the middle of the road, not leaning one way or the other about gender (even though I did have that one dream that it was a boy which I didn’t want to acknowledge or tell anyone about) but it has become clear that I was only thinking about girl names. Suggestions welcome.

Also, we are moving to Purcell! Really, the address is Wayne but it has a Purcell phone number so it’s one of those in-between places. And not only are we moving back to my hometown, which is just a treasure to my heart in itself, but we are moving back to my HOME. We are buying the house that my grandparents owned all my life and where I lived in high school when we moved in with my grandpa. After he died, my mom kept living there and I was in and out as a nomadic and wandering youth can be. Now my aunt owns it and has been renting it since my mom moved out when she got married a few years ago and we are buying it from her. And I just think that is the neatest ever. We are set to close on our current home on May 15th and I HOPE that we will be able to move into the Purcell house by then. If not, pray for us as we will probably be sleeping in a storage unit with all our belongings.

I think I’ve covered all the major updates…Getting old, new baby and moving…Yep, that about covers it. I’ll let everyone know when we pick a name for the new guy.

I hope you all have a glorious Easter. Love ya bunches.

God didn’t tell you to get an abortion

Recently, Oklahoma state Rep. Doug Cox, a doctor, expressed his support for abortion in an interview. This isn’t really new news since the republican lawmaker has told us before that he is pro-life but also pro-abortion (I know). And I don’t take the time to write about every pro-choice legislator’s comments.

 It was something specific that Rep. Cox said in this particular interview that I haven’t been able to get off my mind for days. One reason is because it’s completely illogical but another reason is that it is something I am positive that many Christians (or at least churchians) have thought or said.

“Behind the closed door of an exam room, when I have that parent with that daughter there saying, ‘I’ve never viewed myself as pro-choice. I’ve never supported abortion. But my daughter’s 14 years old and she’s pregnant. We talked about it, we prayed about it, and we think she wants to have the pregnancy terminated. Where can I go?” (bold, underline and italics are mine)

 And Dr. Cox wants to be able to tell them where to go to kill the baby. I mean terminate the pregnancy (That sounds better, right?). Now, keep in mind that he is pro-life and continually states that he would never actually perform an abortion (you know, because he thinks it’s wrong and he doesn’t want to kill a baby or anything).

So even though that’s pretty illogical, it’s still not the worst part. The worst part is that I know he’s telling the truth about that conversation. I bet he’s had it a whole bunch of times. And it doesn’t make ANY sense.

I just want EVERYONE to really think through what they believe about abortion and why.

 Since the parent says they prayed about it, then we can assume they believe in God (because we are in Oklahoma and that is what it means for the vast majority of us) (unless they were just saying that which is also probably pretty common). Since they believe in God, we can assume they believe He is their Creator. So, what I’m wondering is, when do they think He created them? When they were born? Well, surely not. Everyone knows there’s a baby in there long before it presents itself to the outside world. Do they think that God doesn’t get involved with the creating part until a certain magical week of pregnancy? Maybe, but there’s no reason to think that other than it’s convenient.

 So, then, these people realize their daughter is pregnant with a person created by God, in His image, and they are concluding that because it will make their lives harder, He wants them to kill the baby He has created. He must not have realized how much this would disrupt their plans. Or, they know they shouldn’t do it but tell themselves “grace covers me and I’ll be forgiven,” not taking into consideration potential consequences.

 Come on, Christians. Don’t be like that. Don’t use “we prayed about it” as a scapegoat (for anything). And please, please don’t ever think that God wants you to have an easy life. That kind of Osteenian theology will ruin your life.

“Rescue those who are unjustly sentenced to death; don’t stand back and let them die.”   Prov 24:11 NLT

***As always, let me remind you that I am not judging anyone who has had an abortion, who has performed an abortion or who has coerced their daughter (or girlfriend/wife/one-night-stand) into an abortion. I am saying that abortion is wrong. (I also realize if you don’t believe in God then each person gets to decide their own right and wrong- I’m directing this conversation toward Christians.) If you have had an abortion and are suffering because of it, please know that help is available to you! You can google places in your area or email me theheatherbrownproject(at)gmail(dot)com and I would consider it an honor to help you find healing.

Respectful and civilized comments are always welcome and will be responded to. If anyone has questions or would like to keep their comments between us, just email me.

Jack Attack: 20 months old edition

I haven’t done a Jack post in awhile and I have been meaning to. He just gets cuter and funnier all the time. Now that he can talk better we can communicate pretty well and let me tell ya, the stuff toddlers think up can be pretty crazy.

He’s 20 months old, which is so close to two that I’m dying over it. He is so sweet and he minds pretty well but he’s also got a sneaky side. He hides behind the curtains or in my closet when he’s trying to do something he’s not supposed to. Jack loves to copy adults and so he’s always pretending to drive or talk on the phone or making his stuffed animals take naps or something. He has an absurd amount of energy and loves to run, jump and climb on EVERYTHING. He gets around pretty good for a little guy. He tells everyone he sees “hi” which is real fun at the grocery store but if a stranger talks to him first he clams up.

He tries to sing the ABC’s which is adorable because he just says a few of the letters over and over but it seems like every few days he adds another one or two letters in. He also really likes playing guitar, piano and the drums and sometimes we make up songs to sing along. He really likes songs that say things like “yeah, yeah, yeah, woooo, woooo, woooo, dada, dada, dada.” So, he will probably be a famous song writer any day now.

His favorite things in life right now: Milk, his blankies, going to the park, airplanes and trucks, pretending to be a dog, his kitty cat, Mickey Mouse and anything containing sugar. I mean, he is a sugar fiend.

So, that should be a nice little record for us to remember what he was like at this funny age.

Podcasts I subscribe to

Today I want to share a list of the podcasts I subscribe to. I love to listen to these while I’m doing housework during nap time. I hear they are good for workouts too but I wouldn’t know about that. Someday maybe I’ll exercise again and if I do, I shall surely listen to a podcast and let you know how I felt about it.

  • My first and favorite one is The Big Boo Cast. It is Big Mama and Boo Mama just chatting about their day to day lives and while I can’t say it offers a lot of educational information or helpful tips, it is just fun to listen to because they have such great senses of humor. It’s majorly random as far as when they have new episodes, so it’s kind of exciting to see a new one is available.
  • My next favorite one is kind of the opposite of The Big Boo Cast. It’s Kat Lee’s Inspired to Action podcast and she has great content and adds new episodes frequently. On each episode, she interviews a mom about their area of expertise. It is pretty motivating as well as interesting because she covers all age ranges and areas of the country. Now. My warning about these is that there are a few minutes at the beginning and the end where she just talks about what’s going on with her and gives you the Texas weather updates. Hang in there until she gets to the interview!

Now, the rest of these don’t get listened to a whole lot because I only have so much time for podcasts but I think they are worth checking out.

  • The Be Cast is a group of three ladies who pick one action word each episode and discuss how to Biblically apply it to their lives. Some examples of  the words they go over are “gentle,” “hospitable,” “humble,” “joyful,” etc. They get distracted and giggle and stuff sometimes which annoys me because I’m TOO task-oriented but their conversations always give me a lot to think about.
  • How They Blog is another one of Kat Lee’s interview projects and it is designed for bloggers. She interviews successful bloggers about their techniques. Clearly I haven’t put any of them into practice here but ya never know when I’ll get ambitious!
  • The Bible Answer Man Broadcast by Hank Hanegraaff is the same broadcast as his radio call-in show. It is so good because he’s kind of the Rain Man of the Bible. I don’t listen to it much, though, because I usually tune in to his program on Bott Radio when I’m in the car.
  • God Centered Mom is by Heather MacFadyen and a lot of times she is interviewing people as well. It’s for the mom who is trying to make life less about herself and more about Him.
  • Smart Passive Income with Pat Flynn is really interesting and informative. It’s kind of a businessy-blogging podcast and I haven’t taken any of his ideas, either, but I feel smarter about techy stuff after I listen.
  • Living Inspired by Tricia Goyer is another interview deal and pretty much all the episodes are dedicated to trying to live inspired. Hence the title.

I would love to hear which podcasts y’all like and why. I know I’ve asked before but feel free to leave a comment so that others can see it if you have something you’d love to share! I like to listen to new ones and see if I can keep finding gold!

 

 

I was made for this (kinda)

Hola, amigos!

Guess what. Things are settling down in my world which leaves more time and energy for the thinking which leads to the blogging. I don’t have much time to write this morning but I did want to share something I already wrote. I prepared this piece for a little bloggy thing called Listen to Your Mother and I even had my friend, Jillian, proofread it for me. That’s how you can tell I was serious about it. But after I submitted it, they sent me back an email wanting a headshot (yeah, like I have that), a resume and for me to come do a live audition.

I got tired thinking about it. And judging by these requirements, heaven only knows what manner of practices and dress rehearsals and voice warm-ups and what not I would be expected to participate in.  So, I decided to put it on ice. But then I remembered how much y’all just love to savor every word I write so it seemed selfish to keep it all to myself. Just joking.

I wrote this before I was pregnant. Imagine it read aloud, monologue-style (heck, go ahead and read it out loud if you want, ya weirdo). I hope you like it.

I Was Made For This

I’m overly confident. Sometimes I’m even arrogant. Anything I want to do, I just assume I can do. I don’t know whom to blame this disease of my character on, I just feel certain it’s not my fault. It’s likely something I contracted in early childhood before I can even remember. Maybe it’s genetic. But no matter how I got it, I am happy to report, I have found the cure. Yes, friends, I now know how to fix over-confidence. Just become a mother.

Nothing has ever rocked my sense of competency or driven me to Jesus like having a baby. I never questioned my choices, my emotions or my ability to just keep staying alive until I had another person to keep alive. Everyone knows having a baby changes your life. But I knew it in a clichéd type of way. “Becoming a parent will change your life.” Blah, blah, blah. “Of course it does,” I would think. You used not to have a child and now you do. Yes, that will make things different. But I had no idea what I was getting into.

I always knew I would be a mother and with my own mom as an example, I assumed I would excel at it. To encourage my belief that I was made for motherhood and would probably be nominated for numerous awards on the matter, I got pregnant as soon as we started trying and experienced a complication-free pregnancy. I never even had morning sickness. Clearly, I was made for this. This was my thing.

The first clue that I might not be in control of every little detail was when my water broke but my body did not go into labor. This was a pretty unnerving reality check for me because, of course, I had planned a natural delivery. Well. After a day of walking up and down stairs, hot showers and nipple stimulation not one contraction had appeared. Eventually I gave in and with the help of Pitocin and an epidural, I delivered a baby boy. But not without a dramatic exclamation about what a failure I was.

See- it had begun. But, my spirit wasn’t broken that easily and when nursing happened naturally, it puffed me back up and reassured me that, yes, this was my thing. I mean, I hadn’t even needed stitches. I clung to that reminder of how I was designed to be good at this.

Then the hormones crashed. And the sleep deprivation set in. And even without those two factors, the overwhelming amount of change and the impossibility of how much I loved this little person who seemed to be trying to kill me was bound to get me. I can’t imagine the devil being any happier about the way I felt in those first months of motherhood.

I experienced every emotion there is, including ones I’d never felt before. I’ve always been an emotionally-stable person. But suddenly, I would walk past a mirror and burst into tears at the sight of myself. One night my husband let me sleep for a few hours in a row but when I got up to start my shift and realized he had left the pumped breast milk out to ruin, I envisioned myself ripping off the kitchen cabinet doors and breaking every window in the house with them. I was now terrified that this man who inspired such rage with an innocent act of forgetfulness would be killed in a car accident and leave me alone to raise this child. Now taking a shower was a risky activity in which I might slip and hit my head, leaving the baby crying in his crib until his dad got home that evening. I fantasized about sneaking out of the house and going to sleep in my car. Not previously a worrier, I now expected that I would give my child autism or SIDS with one wrong move.

When I took Jack in for his four month check-up, I was so exhausted that I didn’t feel human. I remember answering the doctor’s questions and doing everything I could with my eyes to convey to him that I was in over my head. I was silently pleading with him to notice my distress and tell me what to do about it. He didn’t.

Eventually, I called my own doctor and begged the nurse to finagle me a prescription for post-partum depression without making me come in. The office was a forty-five minute drive and I wasn’t so sure they wouldn’t commit me upon arrival if Jack happened to scream the whole way there. The medicine made a world of difference. I weaned myself off it after a few months with no ill –effects. I want other new moms who are suffering to hear this statement: You are not alone and GET THE DRUGS.

Now that my son is a year-and-a-half old, we’ve decided to try to get pregnant again. I’m feeling confident again. I keep reminding myself to be afraid but it’s not working. I keep trying to make sense of how I can know, know, know that I will likely feel awful for a few months, I will not sleep and my stress level will be off the charts yet still have such a longing for another child. It doesn’t make sense, I guess.

And this is motherhood. It doesn’t make sense. It’s beautiful and terrifying. As the saying goes, having a child is life-changing. And, clearly, I was made for this.