Friday, June 14, 2013

Daddy Day!

Happy Father's day to my wonderful hubby Chris!  I love how great you are with Casey nurturing the sides of him that I can't like throwing him up in the air and helping him take manly risks! I can't wait for you to meet your daughter, I know your heart is just going to melt.  I know she will find a compassionate comforter and a patient listening ear in you because are that for me.  I love you sweetie!

The Other Half

I recently posted pictures of Camille's side of the room and promised to post Casey's side once I was done.  My mom made this beautiful baseball quilt for his little bed and it turned out so great!  His bed is from Ikea and we love it because it's close to the ground but also has the bars on the side so he can get in and out with ease but not roll off at night.  However unless you like the strange bedding that Ikea offers for this bed you have to find a way to have your bedding customized, because it's wider than a crib mattress could fit and not as wide or as long as a twin.  So I am blessed to have both a mother-in-law and a mom who can sew!

Casey boy just turned 2 in May and he is a very fun little toddler!  Right now we're working on developing his language and he is using new words every day.  Some times I feel like he's behind a little bit with it but every one develops differently and I feel like it's always positive when I can see that progress is being made!  It's so fun as a parent to watch your child develop as an individual!  Right now he spends probably equal parts of the day being energetic and crazy running all over the house and yelling words I do not understand, he's very dramatic in his play, and then being quiet and calm playing by himself or wanting to be cuddled.  Honestly I enjoy both sides, it's fun to see him imagining and playing even if it gets loud.  Discipline is still something we are working out.  I'm pretty fortunate that he doesn't like being in trouble so one time-out a day usually reminds him that he has to chill out on some things.  But I know this is just the beginning of the "terrible-twos" so although we have chosen not to spank I know that I'm going to have to get creative but always stay consistent.

I'm looking forward to watching Casey become a big brother in just a few weeks. I felt even as a baby that Casey possessed the kind of sweetness my brother has and that he'd be a great big brother for a girl.  I used to jump on top of my sleeping brother on Saturday mornings and wake him up to watch cartoons with me by opening his eyelids, so unintentionally terrible of me, but he was very good-natured with me. For a while I was nervous about having two kids and how I'm going to deal with it.  But I am trying to find peace and comfort in the Lord and just telling myself that my children will adjust to each other and we will all be learning together.  I don't feel like last time I was very easy on myself, I think that fed into my anxiety.  This time I am going to take it day by day and try and remind myself that everything is going to work themselves out.        

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Thoughts on Cooking

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Growing up my dad was the one who prepared the meals.  My mom is a nurse and when we were little she worked a lot of night shifts and it fell to my dad to feed us kids.  He did a good job but mostly I can recall pretty basic meals.  I don't think anyone ever taught my mom to cook like some families do, I think my dad was taught a little bit by his mom...but that teaching how to cook was not passed on to me.  I didn't care, I had no interest really in cooking until college.

As I've mentioned before I was an art major being raked over the coals for not being "good enough" so I turned my creative forces in a different direction.  I started to learn to cook.  How wonderful cooking is for creativity!  What is similar about cooking and making art is that you take a little bit of knowledge and then you essentially take a leap of faith that your knowledge as skill will be there.  It's exciting sometimes when I am drawing I am making decisions with my hands as I am moving them, something unplanned is always happening, it's a thrilling feeling.  Freedom! 

When you draw for example, you need to have knowledge about how to go about carving an image into or out of the paper.  Part of this is natural skill and part of it is watching teachers and learning how they go about it and trying to do the same.  I would describe this knowledge as pretty vague, hard to put into words probably because it stems from the right (non-verbal) side of the brain.  In cooking you need to have knowledge of what flavors go together along with technique.  I learned all this through the miracle of the Food Network. I soaked up everything I could, the new revelation about putting salt in the water you plan to boil your pasta simple but I knew nothing!

For the past few months I have committed to making every dinner at home.  That means meal planning and everything!  Not letting ourselves go out is forcing me to grow as a home cook.  And the joy and the thrill I got from art is coming out full force.  Last night I just winged a meal purely from a picture I saw, crossing my fingers that all the flavors would come together, with out any instruction, and it did and it felt awesome!

The best part of this whole thing is that my son is always around when I am cooking.  And even though he's only 2 he loves to help, smell everything and put things in the pan.  I love that I'll have something to pass on to him.  What a gift something like cooking can be!

Monday, June 3, 2013

Camille's Room

I haven't blogged in so long some of you might not know that the Fletcher family is growing! We are expecting a little girl due July 11th.  But I hope she comes sooner because it's hot and I'm ginormous and she is a dancing fool pretty much all the time that she is awake!  Last time I was preggo I did not have that nesting feeling.  People would talk about how obsessive I'd become about cleaning and getting everything ready.  But at the time we knew we were going to move almost right after Casey was born so if I had the feeling to nest I just ignored it and the desire to clean didn't really come.  With this baby though I am nesting full force!  It goes beyond getting things ready for her...I am like literally excited to clean.  I'm cleaning everything and then like the other day I looked down and saw that my blanket was machine washable and I was like "Ooo I'm going to clean it!"  This is beyond crazy for me, but I like it.

This weekend we got Camille's half of the room ready for her.  I hope to post pic's of the kids shared room soon but I'm not done with Casey's side yet, which will be a baseball theme.  I just loved the way it turned out!  I got those old hankies at an antique store back I think when Chris and I were just barely married and I told the lady what I was going to do with them. I said I was going to hang them up over my baby girl crib if I ever have a girl.  And she was like you'll probably only have boys then.  Don't you just love people like that?  Boo.  Anyways I am proud of her room!

I've been getting a lot of comments on how unusual the name we picked for her is.  I know Camille isn't very popular but that's what I like about it.  My name is Megan and my husbands name is Chris.  I had at least 2 Megan's in my class all growing up, and everyone knows how common Chris is.  We always had to be known by our last name's initial. I hated it.  So I wanted both my kids to have familiar yet different names.  Also I never expected my husband would even like the name Camille.  We had kind of settled on Alice for her but I just didn't LOVE it.  So wrote out a list of names and put in Camille because I'd been watching a British show and there was a girl on there named Camilla and I liked that but I like the french version of the name better. So I slipped that name in and he liked it best! I really couldn't believe it!  But we both love it.  Camille means perfect and her middle name is my sister's middle name, Claire which means pure.  I would love for her to have a pure heart!  I just love name meanings especially when the child matches the meaning! Casey means brave, and boy he is very brave, willing to do anything and take any risk.  It's very fun!  I can't wait to meet her!

Friday, May 31, 2013

What does that mean?

 source photo

Recently I started watching "So You Think You Can Dance." A show I haven't watched for years, some because my husband doesn't care for it, and some because I just never caught it enough to care about the contestants.  But I used to love it and as I was watching I remembered why I loved it.  I loved it because they are a group of artists and I love and understand their desire to take a feeling on the inside and express it on the out side.  I wouldn't say I'm "an artist," even though I have a bachelor's degree in it, because if I learned anything from school I learned I'm not good enough (whatever that means) to call myself that but I do have that artistic personality and relate to these performers. As I'm watching these kids create I become super sad that I've been ignoring that side of myself for years now.  I never create, unless creating a human being counts, cause I've done that :)

I graduated from college super happy to be done.  Because although I love learning so much, I hated being a part of a major that was so incredibly rigid.  The message of my art teachers was "do it like this or don't do it."  And I basically spent that whole time trying to fit my square peg into their round hole.  Doesn't that sound totally backward for art, something most people would call vague and hard to define.  Well let me tell you someone has a definition, they didn't tell me what exactly it was but just that I didn't have it.  So I put it all away.  I didn't touch it, I didn't look at it, and I surely did not display it.  Things that I loved became my shame.  And the kicker is, is that I worked my way through school, paying for...this.  ha ha.  But I moved on.  Around this time I got engaged and my mind and heart was filled with new dreams and hopes.  I didn't miss it.

Once I was married I had a new identity.  I was now a wife, which meant that my mindset was on my hubby and taking care of him and being a good partner.  And I also was slapped with a new label "pastor's wife." Yikes what does that even mean, I still don't know, but again one thing I was sure of was I wasn't doing that right either.  My hubby and I knew nothing.  We were at a small close knit church and we went into it like little babies.  The head Pastor was not a good mentor because he basically encouraged us to be like he and his wife, co-leaders, partners, every thing my hubby and I should not be, but we had no clue there was any other way.  Don't get me wrong my hubby and I love each other, we just are not meant to be co-leaders.  I love supporting him but being out of the spot light.  And I love being involved in my own things.  It was terrible for us.  We fought every Wednesday on the way to Wednesday night youth group.  We'd be yelling, open our doors, get out and say "Hey!" with big old fake smiles.  It was an icky point in our super young marriage.  During this time I lost a baby my husband had scary health issues, and all the while we were encouraged by our "mentor" to do the job, complete the task, preform our duties as Pastor and Pastor's Wife.  So hard, I don't even know how we came out of that! Yes I do, God!

Ah well life moved on as we quickly realized that even though we were forming bonds with the families of that church it was not a good fit for us.  Then we decided to move to the bay area for the first time and become live on campus seminary people.  Whatever that means, again I don't know but we always felt very isolated, mostly because no one else had any experience in ministry and we just had a terrible one.  It was hard for us not to be bitter at that time or at least cynical.  But this was also the time when I became something I've always wanted to be, a mother! Oh how I loved it, and still love it.  I am obsessed with him!  The more I get to know him the more I like that little man of mine.  But even as happy as I was I still feel like I am missing something.  I miss myself.

As a mom we devote ourselves almost entirely to others.  Even if you're not working (as I am not) your entire day revolves around taking care of others.  It's so easy to not do anything for yourself.  I think that is a struggle for most mom's. I know that my sisters and I talk about not showering very much because we are too tired to care about it.  It's a good thing because we are focusing on what really matters but it's a bad thing if like me, you don't do anything for yourself.  I fantasize about what I will do with myself when my kids are in school.  I love that my son is a little older and I can entertain ideas of things that are just for me.   I crave the time when I can rediscover and define my identity beyond wife and mother.  Why can't I do this now...I'm just too tired.  Babies are a lot of work and I'm afraid I don't have as much energy as other moms do.  Right now I have to choose to take care of them to the best of my ability over my artistic side.  One day though.  One day :)

Do you ever feel like you have a label on you, that you just don't quite understand yet?  This could very well just be me, maybe not though...      

Thursday, May 30, 2013

A Letter to the Taylor Swift Generation

Dear Sisters,
When I think of Taylor Swift I think that she is beautiful, talented, passionate about women, and an influential figure in the lives of girls in the teens and twenty-somethings.  When I was in college she was just emerging on to the music scene with some sad songs dealing with break-ups and some really sweet and happy songs about being in love.  As I watched her career evolve I have seen her shift from the hope of a fairytale romance to writing a songs dedicated to a nameless ex-boyfriend who did her wrong and at first I enjoyed with glee as I too have wished to rip and ex apart in such a public way.  But the more she went on to write a song about yet another ill-fated romance the more I started to cringe.

I started seriously dating at 21, which is really late by most standards.  But I was pretty shy and a bit of a late bloomer so it took me that long to feel confident enough to put myself out there.  Also as a Christian girl I felt very aware of the fact that in order to maintain my purity while dating I needed to be strong in myself before entering such a confusing and emotionally charged stage of life.  I found my husband by the end of my 23rd year, but I crammed a lot in those years.  One thing I can say as I look back on those years is that I was Taylor.  Every time one of my dating relationships ended I didn't write a "pay-back" song but I did verbally eviscerate every one of them.  Tearing these guys to shreds believing myself to be justified because they had "done me wrong" in some way.  I was really proud of myself too, no I wasn't making millions with my fiery words, but it felt good that I could just say whatever I wanted and never have to see them again.

Taylor Swift said in an interview with 60 Minuets that she believes she is responsible for "raising the next generation" through her music.  Which don't get me wrong much of her music is positive and lovely.  But I have a problem with these "revenge" songs.  My problem is how being like this makes you feel later.  Years later. I look back on all the conversations I used to be so proud of and I am so ashamed and dissapointed with myself.  Because those bad habits have made their way into my marriage.  When my husband and I have an argument my vicious tongue comes out and I can say some hurtful things.  The problem with that is that I love my husband and it's not like I'm not going to see him ever again, I live with him!

What I wish I would have done when I was dating is be graceful.  Not in like a good coordination kind of way but in offering that person a forgiving hand.  (Or in the very least kept my mouth shut!)  Because dating is what it is, you get hurt and you also hurt others too, not matter how hard you try not to, it's the risk you take when you're looking for love.  However, you hurt and get hurt when you're married too.  It's not like that goes away! And there is always going to be an opportunity to handle being hurt by slicing down your spouse or handle your hurt with grace.  I will tell you that giving grace feels so much better and eviscerating leaves you both hurting later.

As I prepare to have a daughter in just a few weeks I know that I am responsible for guiding her as best I can to be a beautiful person on the inside out.  I just want her to learn from my mistakes and forgive and offer grace all the time.  We all need to be forgiven, we all need understanding from others because we are all constantly making mistakes.  Girls, dating is hard.  I get that.  I know what it is to be cry like a baby in your mom's arms at 21 years old.  But for your own well being and for the health of your future relationships, don't be like me, have your cry but hold your tongue and give grace instead of a biting word.  Hugs to all!