All but the picket fence.

As some of you (who happened to read my postings somewhere or another 9 years ago) know, I tend to do my yearly reflecting on the eve of my birthdays as opposed to the ever-so-popular New Year’s Eve. And, it just so happens that the eve of my birthday is tonight. (Let’s pretend it’s not past midnight, shall we? For all practical purposes, it is not my birthday yet. Because I’m still awake. So it’s not tomorrow. Okay? Okay.)

Anyway, tonight, in light of another year coming on, and in the spirit of reflection, I shall stray from my typical posting of photos to do something I haven’t done (online) in quite a while: ramble. I’d like to call it writing. But I’m so incredibly out of practice that it will probably be more accurately labeled rambling.

Let the rambling commence….:

For the sake of distracting my teething baby and hopefully inducing a little nap before all hell broke loose, tonight we went for a little drive. There’s a loop that circles Lubbock, which I used to drive for fun, or for escape, or for crying, or for yelling, my first semester living here, but haven’t driven much since. After a quick trip to Target (in which I discovered they don’t sell cloth diapers), I packed Eva Jane up and we started circling the city.

I was driving. Singing. Frequently peeking in my rearview mirror to see if my baby had yet dozed off. And then I remembered that tomorrow’s my birthday. It struck me as a bit odd. There was no hoopla. Not much anticipation (excepting that the hubs and I will go on our first date since the baby…if teething doesn’t interfere). I have no dinner-party planned. No friends gathering. No expectation of presents. Nothing.

Granted, things have been progressing this direction for a few years. (Sorry, younger friends, no matter how much you love your birthdays now , they really will get less exciting. Less important. And less memorable.)

I was thinking about how old I will be tomorrow. (Tomorrow. Not yet.) And then I was thinking back to my birthday ten years ago. And comparing them. What would that Meghan have thought of this Meghan’s life?

In a sense, I have everything I believe I wanted at the time. Minus maybe the picket fence. I married a wonderful, wonderful man. A man who is far too good for me. I live in a beautiful house. In a fantastic location. I don’t drive “the beast” anymore. (This is how my college friends referred to the clunker I used to have….You can imagine it wasn’t the cutest car in the world with that nickname.) And I have an unbelievably cute, amazing, astounding, cuddly, kissable baby girl. I think that outwardly that was exactly what I would have envisioned for myself: home, car, family. Check. Check. Check.

And, don’t think that I’m about to complain. I’m not. However, little did that Meghan know what having those things would entail. THAT’s what I was thinking about.

This week, the week of my birthday, I didn’t plan a party. I didn’t buy a new outfit and shoes. I didn’t get a pedicure.

This week I washed cloth diapers every day. Sometimes twice. (We’re building our stash. The amount we need costs SO much more than shoes….) I cooked meals. One night I cooked for 8, which is a relatively small number for me these days. I took a picture on my phone of baby poop. (Yes I did. There are reasons. But we don’t need to go into them now.) I called the on-call nurse at the pediatrician’s office once a day since Sunday. I held a screaming baby after they poked her with those mean ol’ needles. I’ve rubbed her little gums with my fingers to help relieve the pain of teething. I’ve sung itsy-bitsy spider. A lot. And today, the highlight of my day was taking the baby to Target (mostly to get out of the house myself) and buying nail polish. Because I always feel weird walking out with nothing. (And, since I won’t be buying a new outfit for my birthday date, how about a new nail color?)

That’s the life of grown-up Meghan.

(Granted, this week is our week off, so it was more low-key than usual. Then again, it was our week off and we didn’t travel anywhere exciting. We’re not at the beach. Or at a cool hotel.)

(See. Rambling.)

My point isn’t that I am here wallowing in self-pity that I don’t live like a rockstar. Instead it’s how the idea of what life would be like as an adult was so much different, and more glamorous, than it actually is.

However, young Meghan, little did you know how fulfilling and happy this seemingly mundane life would make you.

One last tangent, and then I’m finished. Promise.

I went to pick up Five Guys for us the night we got back into town this past week. And I went all by myself. It had been a bit of a tough day and I was going kinda stir-crazy inside. So, sweet hubby let me leave the baby behind and go grab our burgers. The sun was shining; it was pleasantly hot. I opened the sunroof (which I NEVER do because it causes the backseat – where the baby is – to get too hot), rolled down the windows (again, never do it), plugged in my iPod, and (carefully) drove faster than the speed limit allows. It felt like summer. And for the first time since the summer has arrived. It felt like freedom. The kind of freedom summer used to mean. I soaked it in. But even while I was driving, I had this realization: I wouldn’t trade my situation now in a million years to go back to days of that kind of freedom. I prefer the restriction that comes with the joy of being a wife, a mom, a housekeeper (albeit, a poor one), a cook, a minister, and really, a grown-up, a hundred times over the freedom of youth.

And that is what I have been mulling over this birthday eve.

As I sang verses to my poor, miserable, crying, teething baby tonight, and paced back and forth across the room with her snuggled against my chest, I felt deeply content and full of love and gratitude. Love for my family. And love and gratitude to the merciful God who gave them to me and sovereignly gave me the situations I needed to inwardly grow-up. (At least a little.)

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12 on 11 (on 23).

So, my sister has been occasionally doing 10 on 10. (And here.) Ten photos on the tenth of the month. I thought it was a fun idea (she got it here), and it would help me to do more in between jobs than just instagramming my baby and coffee.

I didn’t have the time to shoot them throughout the day. So, instead, it’s over the course of an hour. And I took 12. And it was the 11th. And I’m finally uploading them on the 23rd. (Although I just deleted one, so it’s down to 11.)

Anyway, here they are nonetheless. Something for you to view while I’m working on the (ADORABLE) wedding I shot in July.

(Also, when you’re done here, go check out my nephew’s UNBELIEVABLY adorable nursery.)

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Dreary day.

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Groceries. Waiting to be put away.

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A creeper.

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Welcome.

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Unmade bed. One of those kinds of days….

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Spying on baby.

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Piles of laundry. Piles and piles.

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Work n’ play station.

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The kinds of things my house is full of now…

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My (as of now) graduate-student husband. (Go husband!)

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Things that were living in my car.

Textures and colors and prints! Oh my!

Just some interesting photo-viewing for your Sunday afternoon. Took these during our trip to my parents’ house in early June. (I have so many photos to catch up on sorting through and editing after I’m finished with this wedding!)

My mom just has cool stuff.

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My baby’s not always happy.

For instance, today my poor little love had her four month immunizations. (A couple of weeks late.) Those weren’t fun at all. But, tack that on to the fact that she is most definitely teething and has therefore been napping poorly the last two days, and you have quite the clingy, fussy, pitiful little girl.

I really can’t complain too much though, because even with all that, it was only after her first (itty-bitty) nap that she really just whimpered and wanted mommy all day. We didn’t have any big tears until tonight. At bedtime. When a low-grade fever kicked in. My poor angel. I just melted at her sad little face. (Isn’t it a strange to think that she’s never experienced “sick” before?) We cuddled and nursed extra tonight. And hopefully (like the last few nights) despite the teething, she’ll sleep through the night and be well-rested and cheerful again in the morning.

(And, again, really…I can’t complain. We have an incredibly good-natured baby girl. One bad day ain’t gonna kill us.)

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