Friday, September 30, 2011

Scream Queens Night Out

There is not much in the world that compares, for me at least, to preparing for a girls night out... or any night out for that matter. Sometimes the prep far outweighs the event. But it's worth it... something about knowing in advance that you're going to have a chance to let loose and do nothing but have fun... something about getting dolled up, because you can. And no one can compliment you quite like your very best girl friends, and it would be a lie to say that you didn't look forward to that, that you didn't need it a little now and again.

In a few short minutes here I will be heading out to meet up with my best friend since High School to go see a horror movie opening up tonight based on an urban legend we both grew up with, since it revolves around some train tracks pretty darn close to our home town. We both love horror movies, her and I. Though I lean toward cheesy 70's and 80's flicks while she's down for more modern fare more often than not. It's a dynamic that pretty much sums up our entire friendship and I love it. We seem to always like slightly different versions of the same thing. Rock music for example, we both like a little bit of most of it's subgenres she leans towards metal and I always seems to circle around and come back to alternative. Olives I'll only eat black... she likes the green ones. Why I'll never know. But it makes me love her all the more.

It's only fitting that we go see this new movie together it's first night in theatres. Who knows I may do a review after the fact, though I have a feeling it'll just be one of those movies we see for novelties sake.... Munger Road is said to have been home to pretty heinous school bus vs. train collision in which none of the children made it out alive. It's said that if you stop your car over the tracks and put it neutral for a minute those children supposedly push the car, in attempt to save you from a similar fate. Many a teenager from my home town tempted this stunt after coating the bumper in baby powder to aid in identifying small hand prints afterwords. I went there one myself with a friend, baby powder ready and waiting but we chickened out.

The movie seems to be more about non-paranormal events that just happened to find four teenagers on when they were testing the legend, but either way it should make for a fun evening.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Schizophrenic Style: Feathers and Stardust

Some days I feel like nothing in my closet is quite 'me' enough. Others I feel like it's best to embody one of my style notions to the fullest extent possible and leave my other leanings and inspirations for another day. Some days I'm polished and others a mess. But most days I'm a mix. Most days I'm not 100% of anything.

Great hair day and great outfit in one? That usually equals a makeup free face
Makeup maven and hair to kill? = Not an accessory in sight!
Awesome accessories and statement lipstick? Almost always means sub-par clothes.

But it all balances out in the end right? Life is lived mostly in our "off" days. The times we really feel we've got it all together are the exception and not the rule. So here is one of my "off days" Outfit? I loved it. Lipstick? Awesome (newest addition to my mini collection and first time wearing it out)! Eye makeup = done in car (passenger seat I promise) sans my trusty primer potion... hair?? major mess. Dye to be applied tonight.

So there you have it... me, NOT having it all... and still loving life, fashion and mostly my family... check out this little ham of mine in the photos below!

"Mommy? Mommy? Mommy!!! Let. Me. OUT!!!"

"Freedom at last!"

T-shirt/Tank/Jeans - Target
Blazer - Modcloth
Shoes - Urbanog
Lipstick - Chinchilla by Lime Crime

Saturday, September 24, 2011

80 Years of Awesome

Today we celebrated my Grandma's 80th birthday with a big party... which is only fitting as she has long been known as "Never Miss A Party Sue". There was singing, food, speaches... and I, nervously got up in front of everybody and read this:

"There are people in your life that you come to know and admire through the eyes and experiences of others, maybe purely for the fact that they have already done so much and been so much to so many people before you had the chance to know them. Any amount of time spent in building up an isolated knowledge of them through one on one time could never add up to the robust understanding provided by the stories and memories shared by those who were blessed enough to share the years with them before you even showed up.

My grandmother is one of those people to me. Through my personal experiences with her in my early years I knew that I loved her and enjoyed her company... but it was through the people who had known her much longer than I had been alive that I came to respect and admire her for the woman that she is, to me, but also for who she is in their lives. I was born into a family who, from as far back as I can remember revered her as their cornerstone. I may have been off galavanting with my cousins, seemingly not paying attention during most, if not all of our family events, but it's hard not to pick up on such a unique relationship as was had between her, my Aunts, Uncles, Mom and Dad. Even non-blood relatives feel drawn into this family, to this mother, Grandmother, friend... to the feeling that she gives off. If any person could be accurately be described as feeling like home it's my Grandma.

I have seen her display kindness and joy and strength... but it is through the stories my mother told me of her own childhood that I know of what a wonderful wife she was. How she always held the line on her priorities when it came to raising her children, cultivating her marriage and mostly in serving her Lord. I also heard told through countless recollections from countless different people how she always had room for someone new in her extended family, the network of people bound together by the shared impact she has had on their lives. I've heard from others of her cleverness, resourcefulness, her work ethic, dedication and wit. I've seen first hand through her just what it means to truly feel joy for another person, to take pleasure in the successes of our fellow man. She embodies what it means to be alive.

Since becoming intimately involved in the process of bringing a new generation of the Oldenburg family tree into this world I have found myself on multiple occasions thinking what would my Grandma do. She managed to raise six children all of whom didn't go in the way of the world... all of whom have rose above the moral and character deficits so common of our day... if I am to raise my son to do the same than I must find a way to carry on that legacy. I am one of the lucky ones who had a mother capable of teaching me what it means to be a mother myself... and that is no doubt because her mother taught her. What more of a blessing could anyone give to this world? What more noble thing than the type of legacy that she has begun?"

I am far better at writing than I am at publicly speaking, so all of you reading this here are getting a much better deal than those in attendance today got there. But the sentiment remains the same. She is an awesome lady and I love her very, very much.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Pumpkin Farm Take 2

As a little girl I loved summer just like all of the other kids but, though I may not have always admitted it I longed for Fall... I waited and waited until it was just the right time of year to pull out the Halloween decorations and pick out our pumpkins.

As I got older I looked forward to what it would be like to take my own children to the pumkin farm. Last year Bastian was barely a month old when we went and though he didn't put up a fight during the family rocking chair photos... he didn't really have a clue where he was either.

This year he didn't cry when we set him down amidst the pumpkins for a photo op... though he may have fussed a bit when we lifted him back out.

He took in all of the sights and sounds, as if is were a brand new experience.

Because, really? It was.

And it was new for us too, through his eyes. We got down on all fours to see it all from his perspective, crawling to be like him even though now he walks and runs.
We may be ahead of him in years but we still seem to always be one step behind him.
Forever playing catch(up).

Three generations of Autumn lovers taking in the crisp air, casually bantering back and forth over which breed of pumpkin we like best. The green, the orange or the white.
Checking to see what it is that has caught the littlest ones eyes this time.
The corn stalks, the wooden fire engine... maybe the big petting zoo sign.

And as we all know good things must come to an end.
There are naps to be had and long drives home.
Songs to be sung.
Stories to be read.

Goodnight pumpkins...

Monday, September 19, 2011

Not Your Average Monday

Today is my husband's birthday and though I got to celebrate with him on Saturday with a really fun show and some great company today he went in to work and I stayed home with our little guy as per usual... so needless to say there's (currently) not much going on the way of festivities.

just for you... 

But, that doesn't stop me from taking a moment for a little public/internet display of affection. For those of you that don't know me personally you likely don't know our story. The way we met and began dating was actually pretty funny. At least in my mind it's genuinely entertaining and not just one of those "oh that's a funny story" beginnings that is more mildly interesting than truly amusing... but then again I am biased. So you be the judge.

My father knew my husband long before I ever did... he was his boss. And when I became a senior in high school he became my boss too (my dad that is, Jason also became my boss at one point but that was short-lived and is irrelevant to this story). I had quit the telemarketing job I had previously held for multiple reasons and was looking for something that didn't require being on the receiving end of a verbal smack-down every few minutes. My dad, not knowing what this would lead to, asked Jason whether hiring me would be nepotistic to which he immediately replied "no, but you know that if you hire your daughter I'm going marry her right?"...

...not having EVER met me.

As a joke.

Because that's the kind of relationship they had (and still have).

But then, as you all already know, he did. roughly 4 years later. And though I discovered very quickly that I was not built for retail, I am so, so, SO grateful that I took a job working with my Dad despite my concerns about the whole bosses daughter dynamic... because while it was really, really rough (as I had expected) I met my husband, my hero, the love of my life.

At my Senior Prom

I could go on and on divulging funny tidbits regarding our fun and slightly awkward path to coupledom but what fun would it be to tell our whole story in one post?

Suffice it to say that I am one seriously lucky lady, and from my couch to his desk I am sending him happy birthday vibes, because my life just wouldn't be the same if he hadn't, you know... been born.

So babe, if you're reading this; HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!


Friday, September 16, 2011

Grasping for Grace

If The Apostle Paul truly believed himself to be the foremost of sinners (and I do believe that he believed that) then I have some hard realities to wake up to in my life. I need to strive even harder to be vulnerable before my Father. I must know my sin to truly know the sweetness that is God's grace. No wonder I have been entirely underwhelmed by The Spirit lately. I have been hiding from my sin and therefore have hidden the magnitude of His gospel from my own sight. I cannot feel it, I cannot see it because what I think of when I think of God is from a reference point of my own abilities. My own strengths. My amazing yet non-existent qualities. I am nothing apart from the gospel. I am nothing apart from the mercy of Heaven.

It is an uplifting thought, not depressing as it may appear on the surface. To claim wretchedness would logically seem to be self deprecating and self destructive. And in one sense they are. Because self will not bring me joy. Self will not bring me eternal life. Self holds no claim to the lifespring that is the Gospel. Yet even though these admissions do in fact devalue my self, they build a different core of strength within me. It lifts me much higher than I could have otherwise lifted myself on my own efforts, no matter how valiant.

Still, sitting here... believing every. single. word. I am typing, I am upsettingly underwhelmed by it all. Not so far as indifferent. But far too close to it for my own comfort. I would like to be able to honestly say I am more Christ-like than that. That I feel the reality of my own sin to the point of bitterness, thus revealing an even deeper sweetness through my real knowledge of the Gospel... but I am nowhere near that yet. I am still far too unaware of both.

"Till sin be bitter, Christ will not be sweet." -Thomas Watson

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Soulful Silence

As if I needed any confirmation... today has only solidified in my mind just how crucial alone time is for me. And not the I'm going to go hang out in another part of the house by myself, or the baby is napping and I've got the whole downstairs to myself brand. Like, really truly alone. Able to scream at the top of my lungs without alerting anyone if I wanted to, alone. And generally being that form of alone seems to cure said urge to scream. But again... I could. And that is what matters.

I love people. I love being around people. I really. truly. do. I especially love my husband and my son. They light up my world. But, the fact remains. I can only continue on for so long, in a sane fashion, while being constantly connected. Sometimes what I need is silence. And when the silence gets to be too much, music. Which to me is a different form of silence. A beautiful soul lifting silence. Even ground.

I can think. Clearly. The fog lifts... peace settles in. Even a small dose (but not an hour or two small) can carry me on into a week, even a month of constant interaction with a better head on my shoulders. Refreshed. Rejuvenated. Reawakened. Rekindled... that fire of self back and burning strongly.

Image C/O fotologic
The thing about it however that is so healing to me is quite a paradox; sometimes I must force myself to be physically alone to really truly know that I am never, ever spiritually alone. It takes quite to hear the most powerful voice of all... over the noise of my mind.

Truth is... I am not alone. And neither are you. Settle into the warmth of that knowledge for a moment, soak it in. Breathe deep. And move forward feeling more alive.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Schizophrenic Style: Free Falling

   Somewhere between giving birth and becoming a mother I found myself again. Not that I had been really lost beforehand. But pieces of me were missing. My style and artistic self expression had been lacking. The last time prior to motherhood I had felt like myself in my own skin was on my wedding day. But it shouldn't take a major occasion to prompt one to reconcile the image they see in the mirror to the person they know to be inside that face, that body. 

   If my plan was to teach my child and future children to develop and maintain a strong sense of sense self, and to be confident in who they are, then what kind of example would I be providing if I hid away all of my aesthetic preferences and dressed as someone else would... something a responsible, professional person would wear. Interestingly enough I act more responsible and professional, and well, confident when I know I look like the person I feel myself to be. In fact I am finally able to forget about my appearance 99% of the time and focus on the people I choose to spend my time with. I say this a lot about my new realizations and experiences but it really is a freeing feeling. Funny how as I take on more commitments in my life I feel more free. It's been all about a shift in the type of commitments I'm willing to make. 

I commit to my husband and my son. To being a wife and a mother. I commit to writing and reading daily, whether I feel inspired to or not. I commit to my dreams and my future. To my art. And yet I feel like I have wings not chains or handcuffs. I am not tied down. Sometimes permanence provides the most freedom.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Putting the Health in Unhealthy

Health seems to be a touchy subject lately. It may be due to the fact that the term itself has become so subjective. I am not a big fan of our current cultural leaning towards the blanket belief that absolutely everything under the sun is subjective. One person's "right" is not another person's "right", always, period.

I don't buy it.

We are all subjected to certain rules, reality that applies to everyone whether they want to believe it or not. I won't get into how I feel that truth applies to morals or "worse" religion... but at the most basic fundamental level you cannot deny that things like gravity and our need for oxygen and water are not subjective.

They are also not controversial. And so we disregard them. They don't help us justify the stance to which we have already emotionally committed ourselves, in any number of different topics.

Health is controversial my friends. At least in our modern world where obesity has become an epidemic and yet  body acceptance is at an all time low. Bullying, peer pressure and name-calling have morphed and replicated into a word-spewing pandemic that is eating away at the hearts and souls of not only our nation's young girls but girls and boys alike. Adults. Men as well as women. It's hard to have an honest discussion about health without going too far in any number of different directions... taking the conversation itself to an unhealthy place.

If we're unhealthy we tend to have unhealthy reasons and excuses that lead us to become that way.
If we are healthy, we are likely doing it for unhealthy reasons.

It's off limits to voice concerns for those we know who's level of dysfunction in their physical health is affecting their happiness and sense of well being in other areas of their life, a life we care about. One we desperately do not want to see shortened. But it is somehow ok to mock "fat" people on TV, in the hallways of school or work, behind their backs and oftentimes to their faces?

Being unhealthy gets backlash. Internal and external. Attempting to get healthy gets backlash. Because we're all just so. darn. defensive. And correct me if I'm wrong but the commentary has gotten out of hand.

Things I've read in the past 24hrs on health blogs:

  • "I want to be skinny so that I can find a boyfriend who will love me for who I really am"
  • "She must be starving herself"
  • "Everything in moderation" (As an argument against removing junk from one's diet... when really it means I don't ever plan on giving up my Cheetos and as long as I believe what I'm saying then I won't feel like I have to.)

Doing the right thing for the wrong reason. Doing the wrong thing because it feels right. We sense that the people we see around us swimming against the current may have vain reasons for doing what they do and so we automatically discount their efforts... and their results. At the same time we have those same desires ourselves. I know I do.

It seems to me that our thoughts on health are rather unhealthy. Don't you think?

Thursday, September 8, 2011

The First Birthday Blues

Today is my son's first birthday, and well I really thought I would have spent most of the day reminiscing, going over every memory of that day. The day I had waited for, for what felt like so long. The day I finally got to meet my little guy face to face and see with my eyes the being that had been growing inside of me for nine months... But I didn't. Instead I spent most of the day allowing myself to become overwhelmed by insignificant things. I sit here typing away on my laptop at 9:04pm while he sleeps. His birthday is over. For him anyways. For me it just started.

My motherhood experience seems to crystallize for me at night after he's gone to bed. I have never been very good at living in the moment. I tend to have a fuller experience of an event when recounting it later, from a safe distance. It may be the writer in me, it may be that the emotions are too much to let run free in the moment they should be felt... or it could be that I'm just scared.

Either way, the fact of the matter is that a year ago today I gave birth to this amazing, awe-inspiring creature who today is walking, laughing and in the process of learning to clap his hands in joyous approval of the antics of his father and I. And remembering that isolated event is hard for me because, it was so, so, SO wonderful and scary in that incredibly rewarding and exhilarating way, but it transitioned almost immediately into many hard days, that lead to many hard weeks that made up several very trying months. Things didn't feel right for quite a while, and the fact that they didn't feel right just didn't feel right to me. It wasn't how it was supposed to be. I loved my son, with my whole entire heart. But it took time for me to grow the love that I now have for being a mother.

We didn't bond immediately. But we did bond.
We didn't recognize each other right away. But the recognition that occurs between us now is tangibly sweet.

And though I smiled and felt a kind of happiness on the day he was born it wasn't until later, looking back, that I experienced every one of the incredible, overwhelming, otherworldly emotions I had prepared to feel in the moment of his arrival. At the correct time.

Sometimes we need a delay, because we're not ready, despite our preparations, for the floodgate to open.

I sure wasn't ready today. But the damn has broken and the water is flowing freely now.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Snippets; Sad and Happy Tears

Birthdays are for celebrating
And for parents in some ways they are also for mourning.
So many moments, those lived and those missed are gone not to ever come back
But each day new opportunities for living unfold
Our children are, before our eyes growing old

Still a baby, in some ways, not all
each day more a boy, a personality on toddling feet
smiles that constantly seem to be revealing new teeth
Hands and knees once used for crawling now aid in climbing
just about everything in sight 

Knowledge tangibly forming in repetition
mimicking, recognition.
An enthusiastic wave in proper response to someone's 'Hello' 'Hello'
Mamma's and Dadda's with purpose 
Intentional hugs
Intentional disobedience

We celebrate with parties, and presents
with those we love around us
food and fun and story after story of a memory filled year
but the mourning, it happens alone
After everyone has gone, wrapping paper strewn across the floor
that once small bundle, sleeping on his own upstairs
in his very own bed
one with bars, pacifiers and stuffed animals contained within 
but a bed nonetheless

Counting down the days 
not wanting them to pass
360, 361, 362...
Tell me how a year can go by so fast.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Preoccupied By Party Planning

It amazes me every time just what goes into throwing a party. Even our housewarming party which we did without decorations, a theme or any of the things that usually excite me so much about those kinds of shindigs, it took a lot more prep work than I had anticipated.

...But a birthday party for a one year old? Even a small "informal" gathering... it's gotten a little crazy. I have all these awesome ideas, that sound simple, and seem like they would be cheap. Let me tell you, they are not. They never are. Those DIY decorations that are supposed to save you the big bucks? It's a hoax. Or at least that's how I'm feeling in this moment, as I sit here overwhelmed by all the projects that I of course put on my own to do list. Maybe it's because I have made roughly 4 trips to JoAnn Fabrics this week, and now that we live out in the middle of nowhere that is quite a trip to make just because you ran out of glue sticks for your trusty glue gun... because yes I am indeed glue gun happy.

But then I stop for a minute, take a deep breath and look at my creation, though it may still be in progress, I feel a sense of accomplishment. Excitement. The little girl from my parent's home videos holding the cracked but colorful Easter egg high up in the sky exclaiming "I made dat!!" ...or maybe that was my sister. But either way I share the sentiment entirely.

And there is always the fact that these things can be repurposed and reused year after year. I don't want to give too much away here so that, no matter how silly it may seem, my family will be surprised... because I really still am that little girl. But here is one non-theme related creation I am just about finished with, that I have to say I am pretty darn proud of:

Inspiration Credit: Pinterest

Please excuse the horrible photo quality... phone + bad lighting = that. But you get the idea. I will be using this wreath for many, many birthdays to come. Probably all of them if I'm being honest. Which I am.

Do you buy your party decorations at the local party supply store, get custom stuff made online or DIY. Or maybe a combination of those... maybe none of them. What's your go to party preparation formula / method? I'd love to know that I am not the only crazy one out there! 

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