Comb My Hair, and other New Year’s Resolutions

Let’s get real. I don’t comb my hair unless company is coming over. And, really, if you’re not English royalty then all you’re getting is a finger run-through before it being thrown back into a ponytail.

Someone must have snuck into my room while sleeping with a straightener, because this photo is about as good as it gets. My hair, that is. They must have also straightened R’s mustache as well. Yuh-ikes. I’m going to add “Trim my freaking ‘stache” to his resolutions.

Look at our daughter. She makes me smile from the inside out. I’m a little nervous about having a second, because this girl is chill and I don’t think we’ll get the same thing twice. How she came to be so laid back from both of our uptight characters, I’ll never know. I’d like to think it started with the somersaults I had to do in the pool at 37 weeks to get her to turn head down.

Speaking of her, do you know what was the top post of 2011? Ruth’s official introduction: Nice to Meet You, she said.  My personal favorite post of 2011? It was a tie: The debut of my baby bump and my home birth! A friend asked the other day if that experience made me leery or eager for another one. And like I told her, on the day of I swore I’d adopt the rest of my kids, but almost every day since I’ve been daydreaming about going through it again. It was both the hardest and most powerful thing I’ve ever accomplished. Click here to read about people staking out in our yard to see my baby bump. And here for when I relived the scene from Coming to America and had a hot tub in my bedroom (aka, my home birth).

As for next year, besides routinely combing my hair, I would also like to:

  • create a family tree for my mother’s side. My dad has this great tree framed and I’d like to recreate it, if possible, by the end of next year. With the help of my family, of course.

  • learn how to sew. I snagged my grandma’s sewing machine out of my sister’s loving hands and would like her to know it wasn’t all for naught. Hopefully I’ll be able to make something better than a trapezoid baby blanket.
  • buy 75% of my clothes at goodwill. The other 25% will probably be from Eddie Bauer. Ryan is aware that I run around behind his back with Ed, and fully approves. We have an open relationship.
  • make an effort to get ready in the morning. See above: combing hair. This also includes breakfast. Yes, we skip occasionally.
  • create a weekly meal plan. R and I talked, we’re going to go simple with our meals, with maybe one fancy dinner every now and then. I don’t know why I feel guilty if it isn’t a Cheesecake Factory knockoff with a bajillion ingredients, so I need to get over this. Soups, tuna patties, meatloaf.. These are all good. And easy. And cheap.

My Aunt S and I starting the ancestral process. Remember those long sheets of printer paper? I’d love to make a Happy Birthday sign from it again.

  • make sourdough bread. The thought of reducing ingredients in staples (ie: bread) makes me happy, like in this instance: store-bought yeast. I can do this, despite my anxiety.
  • run a half-marathon. October. I can do this. I’ll probably have to wear a hat with a piece of chocolate cake dangling in front of me, but I can do this.

Ruthie is intrigued. I hope she’s as obsessed with the past as I am. I’ll give you five seconds to try and find my parent’s newspaper stash. Go.

  • Pay off our car loan and some (if not all) of my school loans. We have paid off R’s undergrad and graduate loans, along with one car loan in the last few years. Selling our house, then living in a dorm room and now a shack has helped. We literally smell how close we are to having zero debt.  I remember Dave Ramsey calling those school loans “pets” that we pay on a little each month. It’s like we just assume it will be a monthly expense. R and I are working hard to eradicate that cloud over us.
  • lose this baby weight! I gained a whopping 55 lbs and have only lost 30 so far. 10 of those went straight into Ruthie’s thigh rolls which I love. But the ones still on me… not so much.

…starting the branches…

  • And lastly, I would like to grow more in my spirituality and give God the thanks He deserves. I sometimes congratulate only myself on accomplishments or achievements made. He is the rock that has helped me and He is who I need to give the glory to. Upon waking in the morning, I should open my eyes and immediately thank Him for another day in which I can become redeemed.

That’s my list. I have several more, but am afraid of getting overwhelmed. Come April 1st, we’ll see how well I’ve done in the first quarter.

I hope everyone had a wonderful New Years and best wishes in 2012.

If only to confuse you more…

… on the heels of my latest post on, I had an epiphany. If I truly am trying to create balance in my life, why have two blogs? Why can’t silly and serious coexist for me?

So, forget that second blog. This is the one and only.

And so you are up to speed, here is the first and second blog post from my “other” side (cue scary music: dun Dun DUN).


PINTEREST – 11/4/11

I didn’t know that when I created a Pinterest account, it would awaken my heart. Maybe not awaken per se, but at least reinvigorate it. Give it an electric shock and slap it in the face, forcing it to get up from its peaceful slumber in its comfortable little world.

I certainly didn’t expect it. But I wanted it.


All I was looking for were old farm house photos. You know, to pin to my ‘Dream Home’ board.

And this image popped up.

both photos from (source)

I was swept away with the romanticism of this photo. The stove… the table… what’s in that tub… the bottles of milk… the wood floors. All of it. I daydreamed about my own future kitchen, not in a “shack”. What elements of this photo would you put in that kitchen, Carolyn? Oh! The floors definitely, the curtained shelves, the old stove restored, and this.. and that… and this… and that. I was having so much fun planning out my future beautiful home.

And so I went to this girl’s page to see what other photos she had. And my heart stopped.

I didn’t want to click on it. I hurriedly scrolled past it to see what other old-timey fun photos there were. But up the mouse went. And then quickly back down. And then up a little more slowly.

You need to click on it, Carolyn. You need to see it. And so I did.

And I wept.

This was the caption to the photo:

Stricken child crawling towards a food camp [1994] Photographer: Kevin Carter. The photo is the “Pulitzer Prize” winning photo taken in 1994 during the Sudan Famine. The picture depicts stricken child crawling towards an United Nations food camp, located a kilometer away. The vulture is waiting for the child to die so that it can eat him. This picture shocked the whole world. No one knows what happened to the child, including the photographer Kevin Carter who left the place as soon as the photograph was taken. Three months later he committed suicide due to depression.

I hugged the little girl that was napping on my chest. And wept some more.

In this time of Thanksgiving, how can I not thank God for everything given to me. For the chance to stay at home with my baby, to see the chunky rolls on her body that we all love, for food on the table, for a shack that has heat and a roof and electricity, for medication when we are ill, for clean water to drink, for clothes on my body, for, for, for, for.

I squeezed my eyes and I thanked and I thanked and I thanked. And I awoke. Again.

When I was 12 or 13, I found a $100 dollar bill in the coat closet. It was caught in between the shelf above the coats and the wall, in the money envelope that my grandmother gave us each christmas. By now it was mid-summer, and I wondered how I could have forgotten about that enormous gift. And then I realized that I hadn’t even missed it. The thought of it apparently never crossed my mind. So later that I night I was by myself, flipping through channels, when I stopped on an infomercial for ‘Feed The Children’. I watched as this man went to homes right here in the USA where families were living in squalor without basic necessities. Without hesitation, I wrote a short note, folded the money inside of it, and mailed it off. And I had never felt more at peace.

Where did that girl go? The one who so freely gave without a single thought?

But I found her again. Instead of talking, I will be doing. And, hopefully, you will be watching my progress, the good, the bad, and the ugly, and partake in it

Because I need your support. I need your encouragement. And I need your accountability.

Starting on Monday, I will be beginning the Couch to 5K program. And after 9 weeks, I will be starting training for the 2012 KC Half Marathon in October. It’s not as sexy as saying I’d do a full marathon, but I know my limits. And who knows, a full one may just be in the future.

No more of this.

And more of this.

But how will this help people? That will be coming in future posts. It involves you, and it involves me, and it involves helping those that need it.

Am I crazy for pledging to do this? Yes. Do I have enormous doubts in my ability to finish? Yes. Will I need to pray for strength and commitment? Yes. Do I want my daughter to be proud of me? Yes. Do I have the photo of the African child as my desktop? Yes. Will I look at it everyday and say a prayer? Yes. Will I ever let my heart go back to sleep?

Absolutely not.

THE BALANCE – 11/6/11

I have to be honest with you. After I published that first post on here the other day, I kind of had bloggers’ regret, so to speak. Not that I would have to put my money where my mouth was and start hacking up my lungs running, but because I felt exposed and dumb. Like a kid again, convinced that everyone would laugh at me.

I remember someone in college that drank too much. Way too much. And while it was happening, comments would be made like “He/She needs to stop. He/She needs to change. Etc. Etc.” Then they did stop and they didchange. And guess what? Everyone immediately starting saying, “Where’s theold person? Where’d the fun person go?”

It was the same group that acknowledged the problem who then belittled the person when he/she tried to improve.

I was incensed and became cynical of the people surrounding me…. Of the people not surrounding me…. Of everyone. Maybe cynical isn’t the right word. Maybe I was more afraid of them. Scared of losing my footing in the social setting if I, too, decided to change into someone not willing to be held in the “airheady, silly girl” box. I mean, I know you guys take me seriously. You took me seriously when I said I made a fool of myself at a Halloween party, you took me seriously when I messed up a recipe, and I’m sure you took me seriously when I said I yelled at Ryan during my labor. Yes, you definitely take me seriously when I’m a nerd.  But I just wonder, will you take me seriously when I’m being serious? Are you asking yourself right now, “Where’s the old Carolyn? Where did the fun Carolyn go?”

And that’s okay if you do. Rest assured, I will still be my normal idiot self. And I’ll still write about idiot moments on cuethebanjo because otherwise I’d get buried alive in them.

But I’m finding a balance right now, in how I live my life and how I want to involve Ruth.

I look at her and wonder who she‘ll become. I want her to be a leader. To not be afraid of others and charge her own path. I want her to know the blessings she has and appreciate them. But I want her to also know the struggles as well.

It’s the balance that’s important.

I have spent the last few days staring at that photo, crying in the shower, and wondering why I ate seconds at dinner when I was already full because a flash of that little child would come to mind. I would lose my appetite, I would admittedly watch with resentment as Ruth wiggled around in the crib knowing that she would luckily have someone pick her up and love on her, and I would get upset about all the things we have.

How is this fair, I thought all weekend long, that I have this or that. That I can do this or that. When I wanted to sit down and relax, I would think of those that don’t have that luxury and would get up to do the dishes or another load of laundry.

It was during one of those dishwashing moments when I realized that it’s just as bad to not be joyful in what you have as to not be sorrowful in what others do not. God wants us to enjoy life as well as help in it. Yes, I want Ruth to know the blessings she has, but do I want to berate her with them? No. Do I want her to feel guilty about them? No. I want her to be grateful and use them to lead others. To be happy, but humble. This is my duty that I owe to her.

Creating a balance of joy and sorrow and knowing how to use both emotions is a beautifully hard thing to accomplish. But I intend to try.

In the meantime, I’ve got to go make a fool of myself today and you’ll be sure to read about it. Whether it will bring you joy or sorrow, well it’s a fine line isn’t it.