Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Same Old Same Old

Tomorrow we will wake up before the dawn and lace up our running shoes to participate in our city's annual "Turkey Trot". We'll probably arrive to the starting line late, as we often do. We probably won't mind - it's more about running into old friends and keeping up traditions that it is about crossing finish lines and getting exercise.

We'll pat ourselves on the back after our "work-out" by heading to my mom & dad's for a huge breakfast, followed by football, parades, and a huge lunch. We'll call my mother-in-law to wish her a Happy Birthday, wishing we could be in two places at once, helping her celebrate her special day! We'll watch more football, read the "Black Friday" ads, make plans for Christmas decorating, and head out for more family gatherings.

It will be the same old same old thing that we've done for the past 30 yrs or so. And nothing could please me more.

Because just one year ago, my mom & dad shared a hospital cafeteria-cooked turkey dinner in a room at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota. And we kids tried to make the best of the day without them. But the turkey was way too big, and my sister got a stomach flu, and the weather (which was unseasonably warm even for Florida) permitted my son and nephew to go swimming on Thanksgiving Day! Which wasn't a bad thing, just not a very Thanksgiving-y thing, to do.

So this year, I am thankful... so very thankful that we get another year to celebrate our same old same old Thanksgiving. And that my dad is here to celebrate it with us. For that, I am SO VERY grateful to God!

What are you thankful for today?

Thursday, November 10, 2011

How I Kept Him Occupied

It takes a certain level of preparation to leave my house. Especially when I know that the dreaded errand ahead involves a certain discount superstore and a mile-long list that will force me to scavenge every square inch of said superstore.

With a baby in a cast (Yeah, I should post about that, shouldn't I?) and a boy recovering from dental surgery (yeah, that too) and a need to check SOMETHING off of our homeschool list for the day (Oh, yeah... did I mention that I've been homeschooling Drew this year?), I needed a creative way for everyone to survive our morning out.

The following list took approximately two minutes to compile and print. I quickly took a mental inventory of the subjects we've been studying and jotted down the following scavenger hunt checklist for the boy.

I grabbed the digital camera, my list, Drew's list, and a few snacks on my way out the door. We spent over an hour shopping, and I'm happy to report that both my children were enthusiastic and excited about the experience.

So, here's the list along with Drew's "answers" in picture form. Just in case you're looking for a new way to survive the same old errands today, too!

Something that starts with a "W"

Something that reminds you of what we learned about Plymouth Plantation:

Something that reminds you of the poem we're memorizing (don't ask!):

Something with the "CH" special sound:

Something smaller than 6 inches in length:

Something larger than 6 inches in length:

Something "Verde" (green):

Something Daddy would like:

One dozen of something:

One half dozen of something (2 drumsticks, 3 drums & 1 cymbal)

Something to add to your Christmas list:

Something with 2 syllables:

Something "Rojo" (red):

Something that costs 4 quarters:

Something to add to your Christmas list:

Something your friend Averi would like:

Something Miss M would like:

Something to add to your Christmas list (he could add as many as he wanted!):

Something more than $100.00

Something less than $5.00:

I hope to find a few minutes to document everything else that's been happening in our busy lives, including one VERY IMPORTANT decision my six-year old made just last night!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Was AT, Mommy?!?!? Was AT, Mommy?!?!? Was AT, Mommy?!?!?

Thousands of food items lining the shelves of the grocery store.

No volume-control yet for her enthusiastic vocal chords.

One question she's really good at asking.

MANY entertained fellow shoppers at Publix tonight!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The One Year Mark

One year ago tonight, I was snuggled in a hospital bed with Drew as he recovered from brain surgery. I can still feel that baby of a five-year old in my arms, his diminutive frame swallowed up by cartoon-printed scrubs and piles of blankets.

A whole YEAR has passed. One YEAR! I suppose it's similar with most major life events; this one feels like it happened only yesterday - and on the other hand it feels like we've lived ten lifetimes since then.

Drew is happy, healthy, and is showing no ill physical effects. He's doing great in his schoolwork and he's playing baseball - REAL baseball (no more t-ball for him!) - on a team with mostly eight year old companions. He holds his own running, sliding, roughhousing and tumbling with the best of them.

Sometimes I'll forget he's even had brain surgery. Then, he'll get a short haircut that will reveal a zipper-sized scar up the back of his head and neck, and I'll briefly recall all this past year has held.

It's been a good year in many ways, a hard year in many ways, but a busy one in every way. Perhaps that's why I've all but given up on blogging. We've made many changes in our lives, many of those choices making us busier than ever before. (Perhaps those will be posts for another day.)

Today, though, I write to remember where we were a year ago. To tell of God's faithfulness that day, and the days, weeks and months that followed in bringing healing to our son's little head. To tell of God's blessings in allowing us to experience the "Peace that passes all understanding". To thank Him for a clear diagnosis, a decisive plan, an amazing support system of family and friends and a flood of prayers on his/our behalf!

Psalm 71:16-18

New Century Version (NCV)

16 I will come and tell about your powerful works, Lord God.
I will remind people that only you do what is right.

17 God, you have taught me since I was young.
To this day I tell about the miracles you do.
18 Even though I am old and gray,
do not leave me, God.
I will tell the children about your power;
I will tell those who live after me about your might.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Happy (Belated) Mother's Day

"My Mom Is Special"

(A Mother's Day fill in the blank I found in my son's backpack this morning)

My mom is special because:
she likes me

I like it when Mom:

plays with me.

My mom can do many things! I think she's best at:

drawing trees

My mom has a pretty smile. I like to make her smile by:

telling jokes

My mom is as pretty as a:


My mom is smart! She even knows how to:

play an oboe.

I think I'll keep my day job. Happy Mother's Day, and thanks to my amazing family for giving me the best "day job" in the whole wide world.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

A Little Lesson in Surrender

She had clearly bitten off more than she could chew - the chipmunk cheeks were a dead giveaway.

(Miss M has a champion's appetite, but not a whole lot of teeth yet. I often have to remind her to "take little bites" or spit out a portion of the food she has shoved into her mouth.)

I was concerned she might choke, so I knelt in front of her and put my hand out to her mouth. "Spit it out," I instructed. My little girl looked at me, nodded her head and then proceeded to PRETEND to spit her food into my hand.

A smile formed at the corners of her full mouth and she began to walk away.

"Uh-uh", I scolded. "Spit out some of that food!"
Again, she toddled up to me, leaned into that outstretched hand and dipped her face as if she was surrendering obediently.
Again, my hand was empty.

I shook my head in disbelief and forceably fished the excess morsels from her lips.

"How can she possibly think I'd fall for that?" I wondered quietly.

The next thought that entered my head was so strong, it felt like I could almost hear God speaking it audibly.

"You do that to Me all the time..."

I've been having a lot of conversations lately about surrender. We all seem to know that we need to give our "stuff" to the Lord. To let Him deal with our issues, our worries, our pains, our fears, and even our good times. But I think that a lot of times, I end up biting off way more than I can chew and only pretending to surrender it to those Almighty outstretched hands when asked.

Sure, I go through the motions. I come before God in prayer. I ask Him to take my burdens. But then, I often turn on my heels having left none of it at the feet of Jesus. And without surrendering it, TRULY surrendering it all, I walk away ready to choke.

I wonder if God sometimes shakes His head at me in disbelief as I walk away leaving His hand empty of my troubles. Those Hands that are so capable. Hands big enough to craft the universe... surely there's room in those Hands for what I have to bring Him today.

And I know there's room in there for your stuff, too.

1 Peter 5:7 (Amplified Bible)
Casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

And now it's 21...

This little Miss M is a chatterbox.

Her babbles and coos are nonstop.

At her lastest check-up, the doctor asked if she knew and used at least 10 words. I said that sounded about right.

But yesterday, I began counting how many words she actually knows and uses correctly. I was astounded as I tallied up at least twenty "things" my baby can say.

Her repertoire includes some basic stuff like:

Uh-oh, Mama, Dada, Up, Walker (the dog always gets top billing in a baby's first words!), thank you and bye-bye.

She also knows:
Duck, Paci (which sounds more like "sissy"), purple, cat, dog, and Minnie Mouse (MinMow), to name a few.

And with the amount of praise she gets each time she masters a new word, we shouldn't have been surprised at the pride on her face when she attempted today's new word.

It was lunchtime, and I asked her to pick up a piece of food she'd just spilled on the floor.

She paused, looked around at the whole family, and said as clear as day:


Stifling giggles as we watched Drew's mouth hit the floor, her daddy and I tried to correct her gently.

"Megan...we don't say that to Mommy!" I began.

"NO!" she stated emphatically, excited by all the attention.

"No Ma'am!", we scolded, outdoing her in force and stern looks.

The giggles had to be subdued once again when she "hid" from our frowns by squatting under the coffee table til the trouble blew over.

Tomorrow, I think we'll work on words # 22 and #23:

"Yes" & "Ma'am".

Which works out find since I'm still working on those with my nearly-six year old.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Name Should Have Been My First Clue

My husband and I started a new fitness program this week. So that I don't appear as if I'm endorsing any certain product or company, I won't share which workout program we're doing.

I'll just say this. It's CRAZY. LOCO. NUTS!

This intense cardio workout has me practically (and sometimes physically) on my knees begging for the clock to run out. But it's day 4 and the screaming muscles are starting to settle down into just whiny muscles. I can handle whiny.

So, I am hopeful that the workout itself won't make me lose my sanity. I'm afraid, though, that the distractions I face while doing the workout may just push me over the brink.

For instance, yesterday I couldn't squeeze forty minutes for me into the day until about 8 p.m. My husband was at a church meeting, so I put the baby to bed and let Drew accompany me to the garage where I began the video.

Four minutes in, my son decided to join me.

Eight minutes in, he decided he'd rather watch. (He would just need to take my floor mat so he'd have a comfortable place to sit.)

Nine minutes in, Miss M began to cry from her crib.

The video was paused.

Twelve minutes in, Miss M awoke again. I used the "water break" to find her misplaced pacifier.

Fifteen minutes in, a mosquito bit me for the second time.

Seventeen minutes in, a sales call's shrill ring echoed through the house phone and office fax line.

Seventeen minutes, 10 seconds in, Miss M began to cry again.

The video was paused.

Twenty minutes in, Drew barely missed my hand as he circled my pathetic push-up attempts with his bicycle.

Twenty-three minutes in, he asked me question # 47 about what I was doing.

Twenty-six minutes in, I told him to go take a fourteen minute shower.

The video was paused (he's not tall enough to turn on the shower by himself).

Thirty-six minutes in, a sopping wet, towel-clad Drew asked me question #48 (which I refused to answer because he had a watch and knew EXACTLY how much longer Mommy was going to be).

Forty minutes later I was tired, sweaty and grumpy.

I don't know if any of it had to do with the instructor on the other side of that computer screen, but I'm thinking that this whole workout idea might just be an exercise in insanity.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


The previous hours had been spent watching t-ballers parade and tumble on bounce houses. But as the sun set and the crowds dwindled, the coaches and managers took to the field.

They warmed up as we tried to cozy up next to each other on the bleachers. Drew asked me, "Have you ever seen Daddy play baseball before?"

Once or twice, I recalled to him.

"Can he hit and throw and catch, too?"

Oh sure.. He can do all those things, buddy! I think you're going to enjoy watching him play.

The scrimage game started, and the bigger boys heckled from the sidelines. Plenty of "old man" jokes were thrown around, as good-natured jeering spurred our men to prove they still had "it" out there on the diamond.

The opposing team sent their first player to bat, and the pitch was an easy target. A loud crack accompanied the ball as it flew high over the left field fence.

The little crowd went wild! A boy walked past our spot just as I heard him say, "Oh yeah... my dad's EPIC isn't he?"


I smiled, delighted on behalf of that daddy, who was rounding the bases toward home plate.

Turning to pull my son in closer from the chilly wind, I heard him sigh, "I wish it was my Daddy who got that home run."

My delighted heart cringed a bit as I took in the awe-tinged jealousy Drew felt toward that big kid. He said nothing more... just went back to sucking on a root beer flavored lollipop and staring into the outfield.

A few more players scored for the opposing team, and then three outs sent them to their dugout, while our team switched gears and warmed up their bats.

Drew's daddy was first in the batting lineup, and I watched him patiently wait by homeplate as the pitcher perfected his form. I tapped Drew on the leg when it was time for him to pay attention, and his daddy stepped up to the plate.

The first pitch was unimpressive, and my husband declined to swing at the second ball as well. I figured a "Walk" might be a safe way for my husband to get to first.

The pitcher threw the ball again, and I heard a familiar crack. Losing the ball for only a moment in the bright lights, I caught up with it's trajectory as it sailed over the centerfield fence.

The crowd may have gone wild again, but I couldn't hear anyone else's cheers over our own. Drew and I high-fived eachother with mouths open in disbelief.

"MY DADDY GOT A HOME RUN! MY DADDY GOT A HOME RUN!" he shouted. And as his daddy rounded the bases toward home, his boy hopped down the bleachers and ran toward the fence.

I stayed in my seat, giving my hubby a casual thumbs-up and a smile. The boy stayed glued to the dugout for the rest of the game.

It was, in a word, epic.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Conversation Hearts

Three big hearts are stuck to our refrigerator door these days.

Each one bears the description of the "Love Language" most important to certain members of our family. The descriptions come from the "5 Love Languages" book (or online quiz if you need instant gratification like me!) by Gary Chapman.

My husband's heart says "Acts of Service", mine says "Words of Affirmation", and our Drew's heart says "Quality Time".

Realizing how different each of my "men" responds and relates to acts of love has left me sort of disheartened. After all, I'm so exhausted by the end of each day, they're lucky if I pour love in any shape or form into my family. How am I supposed to love them each in their own specific way.. and how am I EVER going to get the kind of love (read: TALKING, WORDS, SHARING, COMMUNICATION) that I need???

But God's really gotten a hold of me lately in the LOVE department. I am feeling challenged by how I love Him and how I show His love to others. So, I am determined to start with the people I truly love the most on this earth.

I really thought that the refrigerator hearts were going to be for my benefit only. After all, they are shades of pinks and reds, and I've penned the descriptions in hot pink sparkly paint. Virtual camoflauge to a man's eyes.

But something crazy has been happening over the last few days. Sure... I'm making an effort to spend more time with my son. And yes, I've been doing crazy things like cleaning out the garage and keeping the dishes out of the sink for my hubby.

But I've also been getting random text messages throughout the day with words of love from my husband. He's been thanking me for everything I do around the house. He's been pointing out his appreciation for things I didn't even know mattered to him.

And that... well, that fills this sparkly-pink-painted heart right up. (So much I may just go clean a bathroom!!)

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Little Footprints

The fields had obviously just been maintained as our team of ten t-ballers scattered across the red dirt. Their little footprints disturbed the perfectly-raked lines and smeared the straight white chalk marks.

It took no time before all four bases were covered in cleat-marked polka dots as the "Cardinals" practiced running, hitting, and fielding tonight under big fluorescent lights and a cover of fog.

It wasn't long before the dugout was not a suitable place for Miss M to play. She could not merely be a fan tonight. She was compelled to participate.

So, we took to the field with the team. We found a place along the third base line that was untouched by rowdy-boy-footprints and missed catches and wayward bats. We found pristine red clay and smooth white chalk lines, and we made our mark.

She rounded third. And hopped on and off of it, too. She pittered and pattered until every last inch of her spot of infield was covered in Size 5 toddler shoe prints. She chased me and I chased her.

She blew kisses at me when I cautioned her to come nearer to mommy, then turned on her heels and tried to run toward the chaos.

I scooped her up and together we ventured all the way to the high fence at the edge of the outfield.

There, we found shell-lined paths where the grass ended. She attemped to climb the fence. I turned my attention toward the boys. I noticed my son's size 12 feet high up in the air as he tumbled on top of a pile of teammates (while the coaches diligently tried to run drills).

The little one eventually rubbed her eyes and signed "Please". I fished her paci out of my pocket and hoisted her onto my hip. We trudged back through the shells, across the wet grass, past the hundreds of baby footprints, and into the dugout.

As practice drew to a close, the "Cardinals" swarmed around my girl and me... looking for misplaced helmets, bats, snacks and gloves.

I smiled, thinking about the hundreds of footprints being left, this time somewhat undetected, on the dugout's cement floor.

I recalled my life before these children: Pristine, perfectly raked-lines. Straight white chalk marks.

And I thanked God for all the times He makes His mark, "disturbing" my perfectly planned paths...using those little Size 5 and Size 12 footprints.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Ok Here Goes Nothing...

Can you really forget how to write? Every time I attempt to post ANYTHING on this blog, I am met with the most astounding distractions.

And writer's block to boot.

For instance, this week, my dear friend lost her brother in a police shooting. He was a brave officer, a hero, a man who loved Jesus, a husband, father, son, all-around great guy.

My dad has had a string of complications in his recovery process, and it seems like an even stranger complication has now arisen this week.

My father-in-law will be in the hospital for days following a hip replacement surgery. They are in Alabama, and we can't go see them or sit with them or help out with meals or chores or anything.

And a dear friend is currently suffering facial paralysis and was promptly checked into the hospital last night while they run a battery of tests.

You'd think that I'd have SOMETHING to say, since people who like to write also like to process their thoughts in writing.

But, no.... I have nothing.

Instead, here's what I was pondering this morning as I decided that I really needed to write on my blog:

I think it's kind of cool to watch this amazing balance I am observing between my two children these days.

My son is beginning to lose his baby teeth as my daughters are just breaking through for the first time.

My daughter is packing on those pudgy toddler pounds as I observe my son getting leaner, taller, downright skinnier every single day.

My son is learning to read the same exact first primary words that my daughter is beginning to mimick in speech. (Which is a pretty cool way for me to find some down-time these days. "Hey Andrew, go read that "Ball" book to your sister!)

My daughter is entering the "tantrum" phase as MERCIFULLY my son is outgrowing it.

And while we have finally conquered even nighttime without a pull-up for my son, I am looking ahead toward breaking out that potty seat for child #2!

Yes, those are the deep thoughts that have been lurking in my mind for the past month. The profound words I have chosen to write after a month-long hiatus from hitting the "publish post" button.

I trust you will gain great insight from visiting today. And I hope to be back with more before too long.

Because no matter how trivial the thoughts are, it sure feels good to be processing them!!