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Monday, December 14, 2009

Tiger Woods-- a murderer?

I heard on the news last night that the now infamous golfer is taking an indefinite furlough from his sport. I heard that his mistresses are coming out of the woodwork at an alarming rate. I also heard that there has been confirmation that he is not actually human, but was sent here as a wee little alien from a distant planet to redeem the sport of golf for his native home and deflower all the young virgins.

Actually, I didn't hear that part. I made that up.

Anyway, it would seem that Tiger Woods is a great big douche-bag, after all. All of America started at this news-- so shocked that an All-American hero--their golden boy and idol-- could be capable of such atrocities. As his sponsors scurried to distance themselves, one question sizzled across the air-waves: How could he do this vile thing?!

I think a more appropriate question is: Why haven't I done this vile thing? Why haven't you? Why haven't I stolen that which I coveted? Why haven't I beaten my children? I mean, when we get right down to it, why haven't I whipped out my .45 and gone on a crazed killing spree at the market?

Grace. Beautiful, undeserved grace.

Our media scorns that which they also glorify... in their movies, their magazines, their advertisements, they celebrate the lust and sensuality which has been the undoing of this sports legend. Observing this duplicity, I feel oddly compelled to examine my own. I have never cheated on my husband... But I have murdered him.

You see, Christ abolished the distinction between the seed of sin, my thoughts--and their fulfillment, my actions.
"You have heard that it was said, 'Do not commit adultery.' But I tell you that anyone who looks at a [man] lustfully has already committed adultery with [him] in [her] heart."
and,
"You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, 'Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.'I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgement."

By the Savior's definition, I fit those titles. Textbook example.

Tiger Woods, an adulterer? Not just an adulterer, but a murderer, a thief, a liar, a blasphemer... a sinner. Tiger Woods is a wicked, wretched worm of a man.

And I am a wicked, wretched worm of a woman. In fact, I am the worst sinner I know. By far.

But because these charges were leveled at Another, I go free. I am pardoned while the Son of Man bears the shame of my adultery, my fornication, my lust, my murderous thoughts. This grace is a profound mystery to me-- that the King should wear my scarlet letter while I am declared clean. A mystery, indeed.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Put a Sling on It...



Seriously wish I had come up with this.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Hibernation

And so begins my season of hibernation.

Until about January 6, I have no plans of leaving the house. I will mail-order my toilet paper and milk, walk outside to my chicken coop to get some eggs, curl up with my babies and watch Frosty the Snowman on the couch.

But I am not leaving.

I will not be fighting with the large lady with the cane and motorized scooter at Walmart over the last package of canned pumpkin. I will not be standing in line at Target for four hours to buy Evie a Zhuzhu hamster, orwhatevertheheckthey'recalled.

I will not be joining my crazy, over-the-top, chicken-farming husband at 4 am on Black Friday. $10 off a circular saw just isn't worth battling an angry, sweaty, greedy mob of Christmas cheer.

Don't get me wrong. I love Christmas. But running with these bargain-crazy, credit-card toting, New-Jersey-driving (sorry) in a sweaty, over-crowded mall where "Feliz Navidad" is playing on repeat at eardrum-bursting levels--- just makes me want to come home, curl up on my changing table and go to sleep. Like this girl:

Friday, November 13, 2009

Didn't know how much I'd need You...

Five years ago, in a small Outer Banks ceremony, I became Chris Strayer's wife. Well, to be technical-- it was five years and 1 week ago (but we won't mention how I forgot our anniversary [and Chris didn't], 'cause it's just not relative to the story). The point is-- I was young, in love with Jesus, in love with a boy from Pennsylvania-- in my mind, there was no way that this wouldn't work. We were in love and we were Christians, so it had to work. It had to be easy.

I am at my Mom's house this week, visiting with my sister and her family who are on furlough from Haiti. In a desperate quest to find something to read after everyone else had gone to sleep, I stumbled across a binder of stuff from my wedding. And on a crumbled sheet of computer paper, I re-read vows I made to Chris five years ago. And I realized-- wow, I can't keep these promises:

"Chris, it is with great joy and anticipation that I enter into this new life with you. I am so excited that you have chosen me to belong to you, and I promise to be a wife worthy of your confidence and trust. Because I have known the example of Christ's unconditional love for me, I promise to love you regardless of our circumstances: whether well-fed or hungry, whether in plenty or in want. I pledge my time, my attention, my affection and my faithfulness to you. I promise to listen to you, pray with you, care for you, and spur you on toward love and good deeds. Recognizing that God has given you authority over me, I vow to honor, obey, respect and submit to you. I promise to be a Godly mother to our future babies, and I promise to be your best friend. It is my earnest prayer that as your wife, I would always encourage you to seek and to love the Lord above all else. Forgetting what is behind and straining toward all that Jesus has for our future, I promise to be by your side for as long as the Lord grants me breath. Chris, I know that I am unable to keep these promises in my own strength, but because Christ has promised that His grace is sufficient even in our weaknesses, I vow to be to you a loving and faithful wife. May God deal with me, be it ever so severely, if anything but death ever separates you and me."

In reading this, I was immediately floored by the magnitude of my failures, the depth of my depravity... the myriad of times I have chosen to love myself instead of Chris, to follow a fashion instead of the Savior. But I was also struck by the depth of mercy of my God. I can get so consumed with the day-to-day, the diapers, the electric bills, the house, all these lilliputians of life that sneak in to destroy my joy--- that I forget that my marriage is not about me. It's not about my husband. It is about Christ. He cares about my marriage more than I care about my marriage. Yes, this union was designed by God for my enjoyment and refinement; but more, it was designed to show me (and the WORLD), the heart of God towards His bride. This is the Gospel-- the goal that Christ be glorified, not that I be comfortable. I thought, despite what I had heard, that it would be easy. That it would come naturally. Instead, it has thrown me to the foot of the Cross at every turn, casting my only hope on Jesus; I didn't know how much I'd need Him.

What would my vows have looked like if I had written them after being married for five years? Probably something like, "I promise that (I'll try) not to kill you." :) My failings are abundant each day, His mercies are new every morning. My righteousness is dirty rags, His grace is sufficient. Great is Your faitfulness, oh Lord. Great is Your faithfulness.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Missing joy...

She slipped out unnoticed one day when I forgot to latch the door.

And so I rise each day and nurse babies and make breakfasts and shopping lists and play-doh pizzas; I kiss boo-boos and sweaty little baby curls. I wipe up spills and runny noses.

But it's mechanical and dutiful and forced. These are beautiful things-- beautiful children. My God has blessed me abundantly. So why is it such a chore?

Oh, Jesus-- soften my heart. Make me content.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Cana's first 'do

It's Beauty Parlor Day at the Strayer house, what with blue-painted fingernails, flat irons, and THIS:

Piggies are running amok 'round these parts:


*sigh* I love having girls.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Crunchy Tribal Goddess Mama

THAT is how I would like to be referred, from now on, please.

'Cause no, I didn't clean the bathroom today.

No, I didn't fold the laundry.

Yes, I fed my kid Cheerios for breakfast (again) instead of our *ahem* usual diet of sprouted grain toast and organic tahini topped with ground flaxseed toppy.

But darnit, I got my infant on my back with a long piece of fabric. And nothing but a long piece of fabric.



Just like the crunchy tribal goddess mamas do.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Panic

That's what I felt when I woke up in the middle of the night and couldn't find Cana. My head popped up-- she wasn't in the co-sleeper. I looked on either side of me on the bed. She wasn't there. My heart stopped. I recalled stories I had heard of co-sleeping accidents, and imagined that Cana was smushed between the mattress and the headboard. Or maybe I had kicked her off the bed in my fitful sleep. Maybe I had rolled over on her...

Wait...

There is a kid sucking on my boobie.*

Has been for the duration of this internal dialogue.

No, it's not Evie.

I breathe a sigh of relief and snuggle back under the covers.

*I hesitated to post the phrase "sucking on my boobie" but then I figured that it is my blog so I can say it if I want. Plus, it sounded better than "There was a kid benefiting from my lactation skills" or something like that...

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Eat her with a spoon

This kid, that is...




..when I'm not too busy eating this one with a spoon:




...or re-touching photos of myself in iPhoto so I don't actually have to pluck my eyebrows...



... or vying for space in the bed...



...or indefinitely shirking the task of sorting through the girls' fall/winter wardrobe (SO glad I have a crib for this express purpose!)



...or, you know... wearing a green shirt and eating a walnut in front of the computer.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Naked as the day she was born

Well, you know, plus a tee-shirt and baby leg-warmers.


We potty-train in style 'round these parts.

Lil' half-pint better get this down soon. Cold weather's a-comin'.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

"Why yes, yes she is..."




I am constantly getting comments about how cute/sweet/adorable/brilliant/verbal, etc. my little Evangeline is. And of course I am very modest about such compliments and follow them up with something like, "Yeah, well, you should see her when she's tired" or "She's not really that smart... she has yet to read through all the classics..."

But in this post, false modesty is going out the window.

Why, yes, yes she is cute/sweet/adorable/brilliant/verbal and FUNNY. And kinda weird and quirky, too. Like how the little sunspots on my arms are called "frinkles", or how her BabyLegs legwarmers (she insisted on wearing ONE of them, inside out, around the house all day yesterday) are called "sock-warmers".) Or perhaps how she insists on sleeping cuddled with a plastic Pooh cup that she received as a party favor (she puts an extra pacifier in it and calls it her Nukie cup). And it was bad enough when she decided that she must wear Dad's Creation toboggan hat to sleep... but then she found one of mine and insists on wearing BOTH to bed (her nightcap[s] so to speak... I need a few myself these days.) Or like how a few minutes ago, I asked her to help me make her bed (a task she generally enjoys, but she was feeling a bit persnickety this morning) and she manages to choke out, between gut-wrenching sobs, "I can't do it!!! I'm NOT a hard worker!!" Or today, when we were reading in Matthew about how little ones have their own angel, and Evie said, "I go to Jesus' house and see my angel." Sometimes if I'm feeling a little hormonal and overwhelmed and weepy, she'll come over and rub my back and say, "Mama, are you tired? Your belly hurts? It's ok, mama. Don't cry; it will be okay, mama."

I LOVE this kid. There's a lot of things I never anticipated about parenthood--ie, the utter disgusting-ness of toddler poop, or the overall toll that two years without sleeping through the night has on a mama--but perhaps the greatest is this: I never anticipated how deeply, and with such raw emotion, you could love these tiny little people. I'm overwhelmed by God's kindness to me-- not just that I get to be a mama, but that I get to be a mama to THESE sweet babies, that they are my family, my responsibility, my joy.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Faux Hawk

Did I give my youngest one a faux hawk this morning using some leftover hair-texturing putty I found in the bottom of the bathroom drawer?

Well, of COURSE I didn't.

I mean, she's a GIRL, for crying out loud. Plus, I would never put those nasty chemicals NEAR my child's head.

Never.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

My newest niece

Am I allowed to call her that? I think I am. She feels like my family, and I've never met her.

Meet Fritzie.


I don't know her background; I haven't heard her story. But I do know this-- she has not been left as an orphan; Christ has come to Fritzie (John 14v8)-- in this case, using the hands and feet of my sister Gwenn and her husband Nick. She will join their family at Haitian Children's Home on Monday.

This is the Gospel, friends. Not multimillion dollar church buildings, not concerts with lights and fog machines, not a set of legalistic ideals that could purchase a pardon. A child was alone; she now has a mama and a daddy. She has a sister and two rascally brothers-- and many more siblings to come. In a sin-drenched world gone heart-breakingly awry, this is hope. This is Christ. This is the Gospel.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Life on the outside...

Outside of the sling, that is. Lest people think that all that there is to Cana is a tuft of spiky black hair, here is iPhoto evidence to prove otherwise.




And that startled, "What the *@#$ is going on?!?!" look? Yeah, that's permanent.

Friday, August 7, 2009

New Sheriff in town...



Evie was playing with the little neighbor boys the other day, and they emerged from the basement like this. I love dress-up.

Monday, August 3, 2009

everything is sacred






I was on facebook last night, 'cause you know, that's what I do and it's more fun than say, scrubbing the toilet. And I came across some friends' album from their recent trip to NYC. They are awesome people, and they were awesome photos. You know, swimming in fountains at Central Park and going out to comedy clubs till the wee smas. And as I looked through picture after picture, I felt something stirring in me. Jealousy? Regret? I'm not sure that I could pinpoint the exact emotion, but it wasn't pretty. In my typical "grass is always greener" fashion, I was comparing my life to theirs. I'm not really an adventure-taker, married very young to another non-adventure-taker. So it follows that my life is rather ho-hum at times. You know, wake up when the kids wake up, clean up various and sundry bodily fluids throughout the day (theirs, not mine), scrub marker off the wall, read board books, more bodily fluids, try to rest when the girls sleep (but they seem to have devised a twisted little version of Whack-a-Mole-- the one where as soon as Thing #1 goes down, Thing #2's sweet little head bobs up in awakeness and loud demands of milk. I mean, not that I would bash their heads in to make them go back to sleep or anything. But I have considered it. )

It's just, you know... monotonous. And it's just, you know... beautiful. I realized this the other day: I may have missed the boat (for now) on trips of international intrigue or all night pub sessions, but--Jesus, help me be grateful!--this is what I have always wanted. Since I was a little girl, I have wanted a little girl. In His kindness, God has given me two. I have wanted a home and a husband who loves me; I sometimes feel as if the ones I have are insufficient :) but God has given me this home, this husband, these children, in His infinite wisdom and in His unfathomable goodness. This is His plan for me, and it is for my good.


Help me to find joy in this, Jesus! In every giggle, every pout, every diaper change, and every late-night nursing, every opportunity for correction-- help me to serve these little ones, help me to serve my husband-- as service to YOU.

Everything is Sacred
Caedmon's Call

this house is a good mess
it’s the proof of life
no way would I trade jobs
but it don’t pay overtime

I’ll get to the laundry
I don’t know when
I’m saying a prayer tonight
cause tomorrow it starts again

could it be that everything is sacred?
and all this time
everything I’ve dreamed of
has been right before my eyes

the children are sleeping
but they’re running through my mind
the sun makes them happy
and the music makes them unwind

my cup runneth over
and I worry about the stain
teach me to run to You
like they run to me for every little thing

when I forget to drink from you
I can feel the banks harden
Lord, make me like a stream
to feed the garden

wake up, little sleeper
the Lord, God Almighty
made your Mama keeper
so rise and shine,rise and shine
rise and shine cause

everything is sacred
and all this time
everything I’ve dreamed of
has been right before my eyes

Friday, July 24, 2009

Giant boob baby



So this past week I loaded up my girls and headed down to NC. One night, my parents took us out to dinner at my favorite restaurant, Full Moon. Incidentally, my sister Gretchen works there. Evie sat in a high chair, in a black-bean-quesadilla-stupor while Cana snoozed in the wrap on my chest.

My sister calls me later, laughing so hard she can hardly talk. Apparently, in the restaurant where she works, there is a window that the employees can see out of, but pedestrians can not see into. The male cooks like to spend their non-busy hours checking out the scantily clad female tourists (they are called "ho-dogs" according to Evie. Oops.) One of the cooks runs into the other room, yelling, "Neil, you have to check this lady out!! She's got one giant boob right in the middle of her chest!!"

Yeah, it was me... with the baby on my chest (see the little tuft of Cana hair poking out in the pic on the left?)

And just for fun, here's my little babywearer. 'Cause, you know, she's crunchy like that.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Post-partum Ponderings and a Picture



Please pardon the poor photo-- our camera is broken. Or, not really broken; it just never really worked.

So I am happy to report that I am able to fit into most of my pre-prego jeans. But my pre-prego BELTS don't fit. Explain that twisted logic to me.

I really love co-sleeping with the Itty-Bitty. Mostly because I'm lazy and can just flop over and nurse her. What I don't really love is that I sometimes forget that, unlike my 2 year old, Cana needs to be burped after she nurses. What I really really don't love is waking up in a pool of non-burped baby vomit. On the sheets that I washed yesterday. Goodness knows when they're going to get washed again. Throw down a towel and forget about it-- that's this mama's solution.

With this baby, I've ventured out into the wrapping world-- not as in gift-wrapping, as in wrap-style baby carriers. I've gotten some positive comments when I step out in the Gypsy Mama (such as a little old lady at the playground yesterday that asked me how in the world I ever got brave enough to try that) but mostly just really curious (mean?) stares. Maybe it's because, hearing the raspy, gargly baby snoring emitting from said fabric, they think I am carrying around a guinea pig, not a baby. And that would be even weirder than wrapping a baby. Aside: is it bad that my primary motivation for babywearing is to hide my postpartum pooch? Oh, wait. There's nothing postpartum about it. It was always there.

Toddler poo on cloth diapers is EXPONENTIALLY grosser than newborn poo on cloth diapers (or any sort of diaper, I would imagine. But disposables don't need to be dunked, so that lessens the grossness factor in my mind). And changing a 2 year old's diaper-- although it never really bothered me before, has become slightly obscene. Perhaps akin to changing my mom's diaper or something. Not that my mom wears diapers. That I know of. It might be time to get more serious about potty-training. My daughter, not my mom. My mom is on her own for that one.

I'm contemplating going to the Outer Banks next week to be with my family while Chris is at Creation West. Am I asinine to even attempt an eight hour trip with both girls (by myself)? Or would it be more asinine to attempt 8 days at home with both girls (by myself)? Evie is definitely in favor of going, and as long as I pack enough orange Tic Tacs and Yummy Earth lollipops, her obedience can most likely be bought. Cana doesn't care for orange Tic Tacs, so we might be up a creek there... Anyone want to take an all-expenses-paid trip to the beautiful Outer Banks of North Carolina? Scenic lactation stops are scheduled every 2-3 hours. (Or as scenic as you want them to be; I'm not shy.)

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Babies don't keep...

Song for a Fifth Child.

Mother, O Mother, come shake out your cloth,
Empty the dustpan, poison the moth,
Hang out the washing, make up the bed,
Sew on a button and butter the bread.

Where is the mother whose house is so shocking?
She's up in the nursery, blissfully rocking.

Oh, I've grown as shiftless as Little Boy Blue,
Lullabye, rockabye, lullabye loo.
Dishes are waiting and bills are past due
Pat-a-cake, darling, and peek, peekaboo

The shopping's not done and there's nothing for stew
And out in the yard there's a hullabaloo
But I'm playing Kanga and this is my Roo
Look! Aren't his eyes the most wonderful hue?
Lullabye, rockaby lullabye loo.

The cleaning and scrubbing can wait till tomorrow
But children grow up as I've learned to my sorrow.
So quiet down cobwebs; Dust go to sleep!
I'm rocking my baby and babies don't keep.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Me and the Yellow-Belly Baby



Well, at least yellow-ish. I pretty much had to post this photo when I realized that my head scarf kinda matches my sling. And for one week postpartum, that, friends, is a magnificent, post-worthy thing.

A quick recap of the last week: labor sucks. Induced labor sucks even more. Induced labor while being on an all-liquid diet is a fate worse than death. (Not really, but you know what I mean.) Pushing a baby out in 10 minutes after being in labor for 28 hours=bliss. Sending your husband to Sheetz at 1 am to get you a Turkey Bacon Ranch Melt= double bliss. The milky smell of a breast-fed baby=almost as yummy smelling as aforementioned T.B.R.M. Searching for 1/2 hour to find a MIA bloody little umbilical cord stump, only to find it in your nursing bra= I have no words. Trying to position my two tandem nursers at the same time= hilarious. The laxative effect that breastmilk has on toddler poo=absolutely horrifying. The magnifying effect breastfeeding has on my *ahem* bosom=de-freaking-lightful.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Update on Baby

Here's an email that I sent out to our small group a little while ago. Please pray!




Here's the latest:

After my appointment this morning at Maternal Fetal Medicine, my
doctors decided that it would be safest for our baby to be born soon.
Soooo, I'm supposed to be at Women and Babies at 4 PM to start a
cocktail of drugs that will ready my body for labor (at my appointment
this morning, I was only about 1-2 cm. dilated and 50% effaced-- not
enough to go into labor naturally, obviously). While this certainly
wasn't the ideal "birth plan" that I had in my head, we've been
praying for wisdom for the doctors to advise the best course of action
for our baby. I am confident that God has heard our cries and so we
go ahead in faith that this is His best for us, too. He does all
things well.

A few things to be praying about, please:

-- no c-section. Because the baby already has considerable risk factors, the doctors have advised me that they will not tolerate any
sign of distress in the baby during labor. While a c-section is
definitely not the end of the world, I would much prefer not to have
one, for obvious reasons.
-- no NICU for Baby. In addition to the risk of anemia, being a few weeks early carries its own potential complications. Pray that baby
will be strong and healthy!
-- pray for a good beginning to breast-feeding, please. I know that maybe this seems like an odd request in light of everything else, but
it is very important to me. While I had no problems with Evie, I'm
feeling anxious that the interventions necessary in birth as well as
the potential necessity for the NICU could cause some speed-bumps.
Pray that I would be surrounded by a group of doctors and lactation
consultants that would be supportive of this desire, rather than
pushing supplementation
--pray for my sweet Evie. This morning after the appointment, I got
really weepy thinking of how she won't be the only baby anymore.
Please pray for the network of family and friends who will be caring
for her while I am in the hospital-- that she would be loved on
tremendously and wouldn't even miss me. Pray that she would love her
little sister and that Chris and I would have wisdom to know how to
love and care for each of our little ones in the best possible way.
--pray for my mom, who is traveling BACK to PA as I type this. Bless
her-- I can't put into words how much I appreciate her. And sometimes
you just want your mom. :)
--pray for Chris, who does indeed have the flu. He is feeling much
better now, although still not 100%. (The doctor said he's gonna have
to wear gloves and a mask to touch the new baby!) Pray specifically
for Evie and Baby, that they would be protected from this nasty virus.
-- I know this is long-winded, but one last thing: many of you know that my sister, Gwenn, along with her family, is a missionary in
Haiti. For the past 2+ weeks, she has been violently ill-- she's lost
25+ lbs. and is extremely weak and drained. She was originally
diagnosed with malaria, but now they are no longer sure. Gwenn is
currently en route back to the US to undergo testing at Duke. Please
pray that the doctors will be able to quickly diagnose and treat her.
Pray for her family as she is gone. I love her a ton and really wish
that I could be with her.

I thank my God every time I remember you. We will keep you updated.

His love never fails,
Melody (+Chris)

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Tragedy averted...

The MIA gauchos have been located. In my closet. Folded neatly. The very top pair of pants on the pile.

I swear they weren't there yesterday...

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Missing Maternity Gauchos--Reward Offered!!



Missing since the week of June 8th. Last seen on a pair of amply-sized, slightly cellulite-ridden pregnant-lady thighs. (OK, maybe not *slightly* cellulite-ridden. You got me.) Size Medium Liz Lange for Target. Lovingly cherished and will be eternally missed if not recovered.

What's that you say? Maybe if I actually *washed* the 17 loads of laundry climbing up the wall in the bedroom? What's that you say? Maybe if I folded, sorted, and put away the 6 loads of laundry residing in a crumpled, wrinkly heap on the guest room bed? What's that you say? Maybe if I actually organized the mountains of maternity pants spilling over the top shelf of my closet and threatening to fall to the (*GASP*) no-man's-land crevasse of my closet floor? Maybe I'd find them then, you say?

Maybe, friend, maybe. But I think something much more sinister is going on here.

Scenario 1: Chris, appalled at the thought that I may actually pack aforementioned gauchos in our Creation luggage and (*double GASP!) wear them in public, has stealthily snuck them from Mt. Maternity Pants in my closet, cut them into small, unidentifiable pieces, and mixed it in with the chicken feed.

Scenario 2: Evie, appalled at the thought that I may actually pack aforementioned gauchos in our Creation luggage and (double GASP!) wear them in public, has stealthily stolen them from the dirty laundry pile (brave girl!), wadded them into a small, unidentifiable mass, and stowed them underneath the mounds of baby clothes that have yet to be sorted and put away for the new baby. (She, of course, being a smart girl, knows that said baby clothes probably won't get sorted and put away until AFTER the baby's arrival, thus squelching the need for maternity gauchos. At least that's what I'm hoping.)

No matter the circumstances regarding their disappearance, their swift return is fervently desired. No questions asked.

Maybe some questions. Like, why in the world would you steal my most beloved article of clothing?! What kind of sadistic individual are you?!

Oh, and there won't actually be a reward. I'm pretty sure that they were only $12.99 or something, so I'd really be messing up that profit margin. HOWEVER, there WILL be a reward offered if you want to come and wash the 17 loads of laundry climbing up the wall in my bedroom, fold/sort/put away the 6 loads of laundry residing in a crumpled, wrinkly heap on the guest room bed, and organize the mountain of maternity pants spilling over the top shelf of my closet. But it probably won't be much more than $12.99.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

A Poor Man's Pool A Lazy Mom's Pool

Ev actually *does* have a little baby pool somewhere, but I'm deathly afraid of using the electric air-pump thing-er, and I am definitely not going to subject my pregnant lungs to trying to blow it up. And I definitely think she preferred the mixing bowl method, anyway. I'm contemplating starting a poll as to how long said bowls will stay on the porch... :)


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

My man... :)


Purple Door has been getting a lot of positive media attention this year. And while I obviously recognize the fact that there is a stellar team behind this k-ass kick-a :) festival, I can't help but feel very proud of my man, Purple Door's HAWT producer--the one and only, chicken-farming, Stray Lights-owning, Haz-mat-call-running Chris Strayer.

(In addition to PD, he also produces some pretty stinkin' cute babies... just sayin').

This is a recent article from Gospel Music Channel. You should probably be there. It will be the highlight of your summer, maybe even your life. It's gonna be cool.

The Summer of Rock!
EMAILPRINTBOOKMARK
By Andy Argyrakis, senior music editor, GospelMusicChannel.com

Now that the long Memorial Day weekend is over, the nights are getting longer and the smell of barbeque is in the air, summer’s officially in full swing. But the true barometer of the season is unquestionably the festival circuit, which is once again overflowing with a series of red-hot rock acts from the past and present. While certain soirĂ©es are regular Christian music fixtures (such as Creation, Cornerstone, Kingdom Bound, Ichthus, Alive and Atlanta Fest), a recent poll of artists indicated several under the radar festivals gaining newfound momentum. So with that, here’s a sampling of where to catch ample amounts of rock in an outdoor environment anchored in the gospel.

Purple Door’s a powerhouse

For the past 14 years, Lewisberry, Penn.’s Purple Door festival has steadily ascended from a small regional celebration to a national destination. This year, fans from across the country can descend upon the Ski Roundtop from August 14–15, taking in sets from a slew of crossover favorites and core Christian market rock n’ rollers. Anberlin, Family Force 5 and mewithoutyou lead, alongside a stellar supporting cast including Disciple, Project 86, Fireflight, Seabird and Spoken.

“Purple Door is purposely designed and booked to reach today’s generation featuring many styles of music – hardcore, punk, rock, rap, hip-hop, emo, acoustic and on and on – as well as many [crossover] acts,” says festival producer Chris Strayer, indicating the secret of the event’s success. “You tie this together with seminars and speaking and you have something for everyone. Oh yeah, we dropped our ticket prices. We realize that times are hard so we wanted to do our part. The price of our tickets, including the gate price, is the cheapest since 2004!”

Fans are sure to get even more bang for their buck considering several artists will also be speaking, including Project 86 frontman-turned-author Andrew Schwab. In addition to debuting tunes from the band’s forthcoming Picket Fence Cartel, he promises to create a uniquely intimate experience for the fans.

“It’s always cool to have that type of interaction with people alongside the stage performance of the band,” he muses. “You can connect with people and say things in a completely different way than just yelling at them!”

Disciple’s leader Kevin Young is also ready for double duty at Purple Door, which he explains won’t be much different than the regular dialogue already a part of the band’s concert performances. “I do a lot of speaking anyway so it shouldn’t be hard to balance,” he suggests. “As far as what I will speak about, I might give my testimony [but] I’m not sure yet. You’ll have to be there to find out.” ~(continued from page 1)

Festival spokesperson and Springboard Entertainment owner Anita Crawford notices buzz surrounding the event is at an all-time high, especially considering this year’s headliners rarely play Christian market events anymore, thanks to the demand of the mainstream market. That coup has prompted additional media attention and swelling audience sizes, which in a time of economic instability, further brands Purple Door as an interesting anomaly.

“Each year is bigger and better and has an amazing line up,” she confirms. “Purple Door strives to present ‘heavy-hitting’ artists who are making an impact in music and culture. Many of these bands are also playing primarily in the general market. Publicity from prominent outlets gives exposure on a larger scale, exposing a wider audience to the event and giving more music fans the option to attend.”

Monday, June 8, 2009

I am NOT a good pregnant person...

I'm just not. Unlike my sister Gretchen who was like 46 weeks pregnant (or you know, something like that) at Creation and still climbing steel in the blistering hot sun. (Or, you know she would have been if my mom the Creation-Powers-That-Be let her.) Oh yes, I'll be at Creation this year. But not because I intend on being even remotely useful. For several reasons though: an air-conditioned trailer (the blistering hot steel at Creation has NOTHING on my living room right now), free popsicles from the Popsicle Lady, no cooking for 10 days, all the cheesecake on a stick I can possibly stomach, and an even greater potential for napping. (IE, "Evie, I really think Nana needs your help passing out popsicles ministering to the kids. Why don't you go with her while I get some really important housework trailerwork done?!" *or* "Evie, I'm pretty sure Uncle Jon needs some help to find out where those rascally teenagers stowed the cheba [mwah ha ha] in K-field.")

All things Creation aside, I am getting to the miserable stage MUCH sooner than I did with Evie. I. am. huge. My toes are all swollen like little Vienna sausages. I pee every 7 1/2 minutes. OK, maybe a little longer at night. But I still wake up every 7 1/2 minutes because of the lovely return of pregnancy-induced Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. I've seen a recent return of the Hyperactive First Trimester Gag Reflux (H.F.T.G.R.) which makes taking my prenatal vitamins or brushing my teeth just swell. I. am. tired. I pant and sweat and swoon in the sun like an old fat man, making simple tasks like hanging Evie's diapers on the line sheer torture. And speaking of diapers, pregnancy has led to a heightened sense of smell. (Surely Evie's dirty diapers haven't always smelled EXACTLY like a Creation port-a-pot?! Surely I wouldn't have been able to stick with cloth diapering all this time if they had.) I. am. tired. Naps have become a necessity, rather than a luxury. A NECESSITY. My house is filthy... I'm trying to remember if this is typical of a non-prego Melody... messy, yes. Filthy, no. I. am. tired.

Lest you think that I am praying and petitioning for the early arrival of the littlest Strayer, I'm not. I'm not delusional. I know that having a newborn is exponentially harder than being pregnant. So no, I'm just whining.

But seriously, while the above was mostly meant tongue-in-cheek, I would appreciate your prayers... mostly for my heart... in the coming weeks. I have found myself increasingly impatient with my sweet little Evie, less ready to engage her, more ready to be critical of her. And I hate sounding like a mean shrew of a mom. And, as most of you know, there have been a few complications with this pregnancy; and with the recent onslaught of doctor's appointments and specialist's opinions, etc. etc., I find that there are times that I am giving way to fear... rather than trusting the One that holds my tiny baby in His hands.

I hear a slightly disgruntled cry coming from the wee little toddler bed in the next room, so that's all for now. Enjoy the blistering hot sun today!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Friday Funny...



Maybe everybody else doesn't find breastfeeding humor as funny as I do... but I figure, you gotta laugh at yourself if you're likely going to be lactating for the next five years straight... Just kidding. Hopefully.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Humungo Melody Mother of Evie (and Baby)

I hesitated to post this picture... interestingly enough, not because of the embarrassingly generous girth of my butt errr, belly... but because of the disgustingly dirty mirror that my camera flash revealed. I'd like to blame it on my new vinegar/lavender sprig + recycled newspaper mirror-cleaning regimen, but it's most likely because it hasn't been cleaned it in two weeks... 'Cause you know, I'm too busy composting chicken feces and growing Kombucha SCOBYs...

Friday, May 29, 2009

Funny Evie-isms

Scene-- Whilst sorting her strawberries into small, family-sized piles:
"That one's Auntie Gretchen. That one's Nico. That's Uncle Jon." (etc. etc. etc.) And then she laughs hysterically as she pops each tart little berry into her mouth and masticates with much merriment.

Scene-- Picking up a tiny scrap of scrambled egg that had escaped from her plate onto her high-chair tray, she cups it gently in her hand and strokes it tenderly:
"Oh, my tiny little baby. Don't cry, tiny baby." (inserts a convincing "waa waa") "It's OK, tiny baby. I love you." Kisses tiny baby. Then eats it. (Should I be scared for her wee sister?)

Scene-- finds a pair of her underwear in the (clean) laundry pile. This particular pair is adorned with little red fire engines and police cars. (Yes, I got them at a yard sale. And yes, they're for little boys. Give me a break--I'm doing my part to be green by buying used--I'm *sure* that affects my carbon footprint, at least a bit.) I turn from my computer to find that she has placed it neatly on her head:

"It's my firefighter helmet, Mama." Flame-retardant and all.


Scene--bangs her sticky little fingers all over the full-length mirror. Small child knows that this is a deliberate act of disobedience, but continues to grumbly defy despite her mother's sweet pleadings.
Mother: "Evie, are you being purposefully disobedient?!"
Evie: (gasps, clearly shocked and appalled by the suggestion) No, Mama!!!!!!!! I'm just whining!!"

Don't hate 'cause I have the coolest kid around. :)

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Meet the newest Strayer!!!



... or Strayer(s)...

I did that purposefully to see if I could get any google-reader people to actually come and look. (For the record, the wee babe is still tucked safely inside.) The chicks, however, are not. They never were. That would be weird.

As you can see, Chris re-did the chicken house into what I have called the MckMansion.





I'm not really sure why I like to call it the MckMansion; that conjures up images of me slaughtering above-pictured chickens, waiting until their headless bodies stop writhing about on the ground, plucking their feathers out one by one, and turning them into tasty breaded morsels. And if I can't even get over my aversion to eating poop-covered eggs (just kidding, I clean them off) then I definitely won't be able to turn them into nuggets. (For the record, I am pretty much over my aversion to the poop-covered egg part. I realized that Evie was covered in much worse things when she was born, and I still love her. A lot.)

So, inappropriate moniker notwithstanding, you will notice that the peeps are in a separate cordoned-off wing (kinda like the Green Room at Creation, except a lot more poop). I didn't want Ruby, Bustard, or Henrietta to think that they were tasty, breaded morsels and eat them. I'm not sure if they do that or not. But fish do. And chickens are gross. So there's probably not a whole lot stopping the chickens.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day

I am embarrassed to admit that I have never really been sobered by holidays like Memorial Day, Veterans' Day, etc. It was always just an excuse to get off of school or work. And to qualify my next statement, having never been in the military myself, I don't think that I will ever completely "get" it. But being a mama does really change every facet of how you view the world. Since my sweet baby was born (and as I anticipate the arrival of another), I am becoming more aware of the sacrifices that are made by our military. First and foremost, by the men and women who have given their lives-- and secondly, by the mamas who will never hold their sweet babies again... the wives who go to bed alone at night... the small children who will never be able to celebrate a carefree Memorial Day cookout with their Dads.

My mom shared this photo on her blog-- the young woman is one of my sister's best friends from high school; she lost a dear friend in Iraq. It was particularly moving to me.



There is no greater love. I am grateful.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Channeling her inner Evie Grace...

I didn't think it was *possible* to give Evie a run for her money in the Chubby Cheek Department:



But her sister certainly seems to be trying:

Monday, May 18, 2009

Ode to my Maternity Gauchos and other thoughts...

Chris recently gave me (at my request :) a gift card to Motherhood Maternity and an Evie-free evening in which to use it. Even though I asked him for it, I'm pretty sure I was doing him a favor. How could he not be tired of seeing me in the same ill-fitting black tee-shirt and secret-panel Mom maternity jeans day after day after blessed day?! I was sick of seeing me in this ensemble, and I don't even have to look at myself all that often (believe me, when you're 7 months pregnant and haven't had a haircut in 6 months, you try not to).

I digress... while out on my excursion, I stumbled upon a pair of black maternity gaucho pants. Maybe not the most flattering thing for a girl of my girth to be wearing, you may be thinking. And that would be an accurate assessment. But merciful host of heaven! these things are a dream come true. As my wizened old father would say, it is like an veritable angel dancing on my tongue hips. If it weren't for the logistical considerations that would complicate such an ensemble, I would seriously consider wearing these gauchos while giving birth, in lieu of an epidural. They will, at very least, be my postpartum pants of choice. (So now Chris can look forward to the next 2.5+ months of seeing me in gauchos and aforementioned ill-fitting tee-shirt day after day after blessed day.)

I love Lancaster County. I love hearing the horse and buggies go by at night, and picking up Amish-made whoopie pies at the local farmer's market. So imagine how I rejoiced at the simple pastoral scene I observed on a farm near our house the other day: teenaged boy, bedecked in straw hat and black overalls, sitting on his plow in a field taking a well-deserved break, among his yoke of oxen... texting on his cell phone. What's next? Police breaking up Amish hymn-sing-a-longs because of illegal drugs being distributed?! Oh, wait...

In chicken-related news, Bustard, Henrietta, and Ruby el Segun are an accomplished egg-making trio; Evie and I have quite the adventures going out (several times a day) to check on the "ladies" (Ev's words, not mine). Here's the problem: I seem to have an aversion to eating said eggs. I'm not sure-- observing un-hygenic chickenly habits and scraping poop off of their eggs seems just a bit too close to nature for me. Yet another reason why I'm not crunchy.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

An Exercise in Humiliation Humility

So it's that time of year again, when our thoughts turn to the hot-ness of Bigsby the lush, rolling hills of Orbisonia's Agape Farm. Since I was a wee little babe in my mama's belly, I have been a faithful Creation devotee. I even met the infamous Chris Strayer there (he was a total punk back in those days). And when I was offered the opportunity to get a free meal pass and an all-access badge marry the love of my life, who works each year for the festival, I jumped at the chance.

To be completely honest, I'm not really sure why I still go. Ever since my fiance former DC Talk member Kevin Max stopped perfoming, and Jennifer Knapp decided that the Lilith Fair was a bit more up her alley (in more ways than one), I'n not so much into the bands anymore. There was that one year (I think I was fifteen) when I wanted to marry Joshua Harris, mostly because he wrote what one friend calls "The Fat Girls' Guide to Dating". (I was a fat girl, so I was pretty sure he'd date me. Except he didn't date. So there's that.) Another year (I was thirteen), I pledged to marry Michael Guglielmucci --an accomplished youth pastor/musician. (He ended up lying about having terminal cancer for years in order to divert attention away from his porn addiction... so, probably good that didn't work out either.)

But I digress. All of this witty banter mindless musing talk isn't the point. One of the highlights of my summer, maybe even my life (tee-hee) is that two of my nieces and my nephew make the trek up from NC to attend the festival as well. (Goodness only knows why. Can I refer back to the hot-ness of Bigsby?) I suggested to my niece Katie , a precocious home-schooled 7-year-old, that she might consider making a "Creation Memory Book". I thought it would be a good creative outlet, help with her reading and writing and cognitive skills in the long summer months-- 'cause, you know, I care about things like education and creativity (hence letting my daughter watch PBS Kids till her eyes get red and pussy). I referenced the Creation Memory Books that I made with my best friend, Christina, when we were roly-poly, DC Talk-obsessed, cowpie-picking-up, giggly preteens. My sister, being the ever-vigilant home-schooling mama that she is, asked for a sample of my work-- possibly so that she could give Katie the best possible example of template, meter, cadence, etc. (I did, incidentally score a perfect score on my 10th grade writing test... a feat accomplished by only 20 other students in the state of NC... so really, she couldn't ask for a better tutor.) So without further ado, I bring you a sampling of the Chrissy/Melody Creation '95 Memory Book. Enjoy. (You should be able to click on the image if you want to see even more gory details.)



(I would like to say that Chrissy and I got so caught up in the stalking of K-max worship music that we forgot to faithfully log our body-cleansing rituals. But that's probably not true. I was kind of a gross kid.)

Saturday, May 9, 2009

What happens when you wake up at 4 AM...

...because you don't feel like sleeping anymore and then you play outside all morning while Mama has a yard sale on the front lawn?



I'm glad you asked. You fall asleep en route to the toy box, with your granola bar (which you tearfully INSISTED on having for lunch) midway to your mouth.

Moral of the story: be thankful you didn't insist on ice cream for lunch.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Ruby el Segun, Henrietta, & Bustard Mustard

My husband's family has had a handful of egg-laying chickens in their backyard since he was knee-high to a grasshopper (or roughly around that size). We have often talked about how fun it would be to have some of our own. Well, finally because he got so tired of me forgetting eggs at the grocery store because he loves me so much, he built a little hen-house and stole bought some Rhode Island Reds from a local Amish farmer.

And no, because you asked, they are not free-range and they are not organically fed. We're not crunchy like that.

They arrived to their new abode this morning, and Evie and I promptly spent some time christening them (as they christened the pristine springtime lawn with chicken shieza... they really are nasty little creatures). I knew right away that the little one had to be named in loving memory of Ruby, the friendly little bantam hen that lived down the road from Nana and Granddad. She was a great favorite of the grandchildren, who, according to local legend, met her untimely fate at the long end of a butcher knife. (We thought it would be disrespectful to her memory if we just named our chicken Ruby--- hence the "el segun".) Henrietta is the big bossy one, and Mustard is the one with the silvery wings. (I think Evie got confused when I asked her what she wanted to name the chicken; she thought I asked what she wanted ON TOP of her chicken... but the moniker stuck.)

I'm not quite sure that I have the nerve to open up said chicken-house to remove our tasty brown eggs... or to change the water or the feed. So Ruby el Segun, Henrietta, and Mustard may meet their untimely fate at the long end of my negligence. But that's just what I like to call the life cycle, folks.



(First rule of urban defense chicken-raising: approach from the perimeter. Second: always keep one eye on the chicken.)