Snow Days

This quote is from one of my favorite books and is a very accurate description (I think!) of snow days:

From “The Shack” by William P. Young

“There is something joyful about storms that interrupt routine. Snow or freezing rain suddenly releases you from expectations, performance demands, and the tyranny of appointments and schedules. And unlike illness, it is largely a corporate rather than individual experience. One can almost hear a unified sigh rise from the nearby city and surrounding countryside where Nature has intervened to give respite to the weary humans slogging it out within her purview. All those affected this way are united by a mutual excuse, and the heart is suddenly and unexpectedly a little giddy. There will be no apologies needed for not showing up to some commitment or other. Everyone understands and shares in this singular justification, and the sudden alleviation of the pressure to produce makes the heart merry.”

Baby It’s Cold Outside

Just five days ago I was walking around San Antonio with flip flops on my freshly manicured paws. Today I cannot even wear those same shoes inside without the aforementioned paws turning a pale shade of blue.

It was all worth it this morning, however, when Cado saw the snow and exclaimed, “I never realized it was snow time!” She has been asking when winter is, and with her only known marker being snow, she finally believes me that winter is now. That’s the good news. The bad news is she wants to go outside and play in the cold … with me. So, I’ll put on the warmest duds I’ve got and brace myself in a sort of dumb-and-dumber fashion against the elements and play with my girl.

“The joy of the LORD is my strength” is the only thing that comes to mind. May you also be strengthened today to face the harsh elements in your life!

40 New Years

There is something undeniable and intense stirring within me at the start of this new year. I cannot articulate it in full because I don’t yet know in full what it is. There are some themes, however, ricocheting through my spirit like a ball in a pinball machine. There is an echo and a mantra humming low and increasing in bravado.

Your turning 40 this year.

I feel the rivers of anticipation rising within. I feel a resolve and an purpose-driven intention taking root. I have an excitement that carries with it the feelings of wide-open possibility akin to those we have in the milestones of life’s new beginnings, like graduating high school and college, starting a new job, finding a mate, having kids.

Your turning 40 this year.

A new beginning. The frustration over old mistakes, missed chances, roads not traveled, roads over traveled, and a general lack of  evolution towards my destiny is fading slowly only to be replaced by a renewed sense of possibility and probability. Life seems to be starting again and this time giving me the chance to do things a little more right.

Your turning 40 this year.

I feel at peace with my responsibility to take better care of myself physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. I want to leave my kids a legacy full of vitality in each area. I want to be a blessing to them in person and in memory.

And there is a new awakening in my Spirit. God is beginning to draw me to a new place of submission and obedience in Him. I know His destiny and purposes for me are beyond my imagination. But I also know that I have to choice to live those out … or not. The latter shakes me to my core. So this year, I am putting one scared size 6 1/2 foot in front of the other.

Your turning 40 this year.

I want to enjoy my life, which is not always that easy for a type-A, to-do-list-writing, task-driven accomplish-it-or-move-out-of-the-way type of gal I just might be. Those things might not be all bad if the collateral damage wasn’t my kids, my husband, my friendships and yes, my destiny in Christ. I want to see the value in walking away from a warm basket of unfolded laundry to take a walk with my kids, talk with my husband or connect with a friend.

I want to laugh a lot more. Cry more, too. I want to be moved by people’s heartache and driven to action over injustice. I want most of all to help other women find freedom in Christ even as I continue to discover my own.

Yes. I am getting ready to turn 40 this year.

And have you heard? Forty is the new 25. Aging has never looked better.

Baby food? Not for this kid.

This past November I took a swing through Liberty Hill, Texas to hear my oldest brother preach for the first time. It was a surreal experience, made only more so by the fact that he is 43 and just 15 months into his first pastorship. After a great church-wide spaghetti lunch that was off-limits to my carb-watching brother, we went back to his house where he went to town on a plate of ribs.

Enter a 10-month-old with a freakish number of teeth and a healthy appetite. The pictures need little commentating. They show what happens to a calm, mild mannered infant when he gets aholt of his first beef experience.

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It was actually a rib with just enough meat on it to give him a taste.

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Check the drool!

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I. Must. Have. More.

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I SAID GIVE ME MORE RIBS!

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And he gets it.

For the record, we are having a rib dinner catered for his first birthday. No vienna sausages for this kid.

We Knew Her When

I love the smell of a high school gymnasium. They all smell the same: a heady mixture of mustiness, floor wax and sweat. Like the wiff of an old perfume or my Grandma’s Sunday roast, the smell transports me to another place and time, one that still feels like yesterday but in reality is more than 20 years in the past.

We traveled to Stephenville, Texas this weekend to watch my 6-foot, 2-inch Freshman neice play in a varsity basketball tournament. Pei Pei (Cado’s name for her) comes by her athleticism quite naturally. Her dad played basketball for Texas Tech, one uncle for Baylor, and one for Oklahoma. Now it is her turn. She loves the game and she, and her family, have aspirations of an exciting college career. For the record, when I was a freshman in high school the only aspirations I had were a new pair of Pepe jeans, some Sperry topsiders and for someone to pleasetell me where the football team hid my 1969 orange Volkswagon Bug.

In my husband’s family sports is the central theme. It really doesn’t matter if it is little league, high school, college or professional. It could be kick ball, tetherball, baseball, basketball, football or table tennis … just give them someone to follow and cheer on. I am pretty sure the only sport they don’t call a sport and wouldn’t be caught dead following is any form of cheerleading, which pretty much makes me a non-entity in most conversations. I feel like Barbara Streisand in her role with Ryan O’Neil in The Main Event. Remember that one? I love the part where she is sitting around with all the boxers telling war stories of injuries and she tries to fit in by telling about a paper cut she got on her tongue licking and envelope. That’s me.

Back to Pei Pei. She has already made a name for herself as the only freshman on the varsity team. Like most things high school, she is having to prove herself to her coaches and teammates, and is learning some valuable lessons along the way. Her skill has come naturally to her and until now, she has not had to push herself in order to stand out among her peers. But the stakes — and the competition — are higher. Everyone from her teammates to their parents want to know that she has earned the right to take a starting position from an upperclass-woman. Even her coach pushes her perhaps a little more than he might the others, but only because he knows where she ends up in four years will have everything to do with what he can help teach her now, both on the court and off.

Big Guy has followed every single game of the season from his perch in front of the computer an entire state away. Via text messaging, he receives constant updates on the stats of every game, and I am sure is the first to view the rundown of the games online. I look forward to the day when he can start coaching our kids in whatever sports they try. Even though his family is extremely competitive, I admire his desire to teach them the games, not just coach them to win. He is a coach trapped in an attorney’s body.

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Here is Aunt Kelly (Pei Pei’s mom) with Dutch and Cado. She is married to Big Guy’s oldest brother, Richard.

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Aunt Pattie, Big Guy’s sister, came over from Ft. Worth to watch the games. Dutch was lovin’ him some Aunt Pattie. Each time she held him he just snuggled into her.

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Here is Pei Pei with Cado and Jalyn. How cute are they? Jalyn is Aunt Kelly’s great-niece (I think!). She is the cutest darn girl and Cado absolutely had to do everything she was doing the entire weekend. Pei Pei is so great to the girls and it just makes me love her even more than I already do.

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They girls were decked out to support Pei Pei. Cado made sure to explain her shirt to anyone who would listen. During the games they would shout their support with no real understanding, but with great enthusiasm.  Cado would yell, “Go Pei Pei! You can do it!” when she was on the bench. I love optimism.

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By the last game, the cheerleaders were needing something else to do. Enter Officer Kennerly of the Stephenville Police Department. No, come on. They weren’t so desperate and un-checked that they required police supervision. I think it was quite the opposite. I think Officer Kennerly was the one needing something to do. So he deputized them and made Deputies In Charge of the Door, which they took quite seriously. I found his gentle, good-naturedness to be a little disarming (no pun intended). I tried to imagine him in a serious, weapon-waving, authority-exerting situation, and I just couldn’t make myself go there. Which, in retrospect, may be why he was guarding the door at a sparsely attended girls’ varsity basketball game.

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Here is Dutch intimidating his cousin Grant on the free-throw line. Big Guy even looks ready to be schooled by him. Look out boys.

That’s all folks. It was a great weekend made even greater by the family that came together to cheer on Pei Pei. We have some other games on the calendar in January that are an easy distance from our lake house. It will be fun to watch Pei Pei mature as a young lady and as a player over the next four years. Oh, and Coach Coale, since I am sureyou are reading this, you’d better get your foot in this door asap. We are counting on Pei Pei playing for OU (he for obvious reasons and me because it will cut down on travel time). Pei Pei and her parents don’t know that yet, but Big Guy and I think it is a smashing idea.

I Love Photographers

Since I am totally on the ball not on the ball at all, I was forced into taking pictures of my kids for a Christmas card. Let me be more specific: a picture of a three year old who still hasn’t decided what her signature smile will be and a 10-month-old who really just wants the camera so he can slam it to the ground. Which by the end of the night seemed like the best idea I’d heard.

To make matters worse, I am not a good photographer. Think of your Aunt Edna. The one who cuts off your head off or leaves the entire right half of your group picture out of the frame. That’s me. Factor in the antiquity of my Kodak EasyShare DX7400 with a time delay of oh, 97 seconds, and the chance of getting a decent picture of both Cado and Dutch is less likely than a recount claiming America really did elect McCain.

So here is a rundown of some of the shots we took. We=me and Big Guy. I have the camera in most shots and Big Guy is doing acrobatics like he was auditioning for the role of a clown in a traveling circus.

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Here we go! Not really off to a great start. I do like that this is a rockin’ shot of their pimp Christmas pajamas. (Note: should the words “pimp” and “Christmas” really be in the same zip code? Probably not.)

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In retrospect this one is not that bad if you ignore the red in Dutch’s eyes. I realize the length on his bottoms is a little long. When you have a 27-pound 10-month old in the 96th percentile in weight and 60th in height, this is just a fact of life. I’m hanging on to the thread of hope that we are going to cycle back through some of his clothes as he lengthens and thins. Which he will. Just watch. It will happen. Really. I didn’t merge my 5-foot family with a family of leaf eaters for nothing.

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Yep, he’s not so interested in staying put.

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Give. Me. That. Camera.

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Who needs Dutch? In fact, most of the people we are sending this card to might not even know we had another baby. Maybe we should just pretend, momentarily, that we meant to just send pictures of Cado. Yes. I think we are on to something …

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He didn’t like that idea. He caught wind of it and was really hurt he was being cut out of the picture. Literally. You can see the distress on his face.

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So maybe he really is more of a behind-the-scenes-kind-of-guy.  But hey! At least you have your first glimpse of Big Guy. You know what they say about big Rolex watches. Oh, really? They don’t say anything? Well, I’ll be. He really had me!

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Plan P. Use a ball to distract Dutch. Much to the utter delight of Big Guy, Dutch loves to play with a ball of any size … and with a little help you can actually convince yourself he is playing catch. This tactic would have worked if it weren’t for the hinderance of the DX740. Like I said, a shutter delay of 97 seconds does not make for great pictures (at least on purpose). For about every 951 pictures you take, one or two might cause your heart to leap within.

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IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII ssssuuurrrreeeennnnnddduuuurrr  aaaawwwwllllllll …

I wish I could tell you this was the extent of the picture flops. Not a chance. I have 70 pictures and the ones here are a random sampling of a torturous night of frantic picture attempts with delayed shutter speeds. My cards, however, are ordered.

You might be wondering which picture made it to the final cut. Well, you are just going to have to wait until you get your card in the mail. But at this rate, we considered saying “Happy MartinLuther King Day!” We’ll just have to see if the Free Rush Shipping! is just for the hopelessly naive.

Next year I’m getting their pictures taken in October by a professional photographer so like other respectable moms our cards will be beautiful and in the mail Dec. 1. Let me just think that until Dec. 1 2009 rolls around.

In the end, the card is not about us, our kids, their pajamas or even when it arrives. It is about acknowledging Christmas, the birth of Jesus Christ our Savior. What there is not space to say on a 5×5 card we will say here: It is our family’s prayer for you to know the depth of The Father’s love experientially in your life.

This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted; anyone who refuses to trust him has long since been under the death sentence without knowing it. And why? Because of that person’s failure to believe in the one-of-a-kind Son of God when introduced to him.

John 3:16-18 /The Message

Party Girl

There was a time when that meant something entirely different to me. I won’t take you on a sordid trip down memory lane. Okay it’s not that sordid. Really. Maybe. Who have you been talking to?

Either way that is not the trip we are taking today. In fact, we will just leave that a road less traveled.

The trip we are taking today skips over the posts I have in my “drafts” section that muse on everything from religiousness to baby dedications to running. We are going straight to a quick update on Cado and her recent Christmas party. This is not a deep, thoughtful post. It’s just a post of some fun my girl and I had.

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Baking cookies with an independant, strong-willed, opinionated three-year-old is a lesson in How To Live Life In The Spirit. Even when they are this adorable. Partiality noted. It is also a lesson in creativity. I think I stand to learn a few things from her.

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These are my peeps. From left to right: My Decorator and general Woobie, my go-to Child Developer/Christmas Party Book Reader, and my Party Consultant. They are very official in their posts and they made this venture infinitely more fun.

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In my silly little mind, I thought the girls would decorate one or two cookies, uh, beautifully, and then skip away to play ring-around-the rosy. I got that about half right.

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You have no idea how much dusting sugar (WHAT was I thinking?) six little girls can put on a single cookie. See that pile of green sugar just underneath Cado’s green hand? Yep. There is a cookie gasping for air under there.

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Look at these girls! This picture reminds me of one of my Kindergarten class (about this size, actually). I look at it now and can remember the names of each person, know today where most of them are, and still communicate with a few of them. When I look at this little gaggle of girls, I wonder if they will still be frosting cookies together when we moms are not around to make them.

I consider the party a success on the single basis that not one of their outfits was ruined. Hooray! Also, they really did all have a great time. Or at least that’s what the moms told me. They also did a craft project and listened to Miss C read the Christmas Story.  All in all, I can check “Three Year Old Christmas Cookie Decorating Party” off of my list.

For 11 months.

The Short One Gets the Shot

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Today was Dutch’s 9 month well-baby visit at our local pediatric group. Earlier this week I decided to piggyback a visit for Cado so I would not toss and turn at night wondering if the last 193 “my tummy hurts” attempts to leave the dinner table were not manipulations but, possibly, legitimate complaints.

(Truth check: I don’t actually toss and turn at night. If I am not up begging Dutch to please just fart and be done with it, I am totally and completely sound asleep.)

Back to the original programming. The last time we visited our local kid doctors, both kids got their flu shots. If you were wondering why the noon whistle blew at 10:20 a.m. on a Wednesday in October, it’s because it was actually the sound of Cado screaming bloody murder before the needle was even out of the plastic.

(One more truth check: We were, in fact, at the pediatrician last week when Dutch had RINGWORM on his forehead. Expalin that one to the nursery staff.)

Sorry for the interruption. I’m nothing if not forthcoming.

Let me put today’s visit into focus. It was Dutch’s well baby visit, during which he would receive his flu booster. Cado had a visit to talk about her tummy aches (phantom?), and one month ago she had the shot heard round the world. Good times in store. Over the course of the past four days Cado has checked, re-checked, and then checked again to make absolutely sure I know which one of my kids is the 9-month-old butterball of a boy due for a flu booster. Would I know her on a train? Would I know her in the rain?

She has also made sure the bank teller, the grocery store cashier, the Fed Ex man, the neighbors, the gas station customers and her imaginary big brother Jason all know it is not her. And going in to today’s visit, she was not leaving anything to chance. Just in case her pediatrician was having an off day and might need some back-up, Cado made sure to alert the receptionists, the billing cerks, the triage nurse, everyone in the waiting room, the 6 other pediatricians and every official person walking by that, again, she is not the one here for the shot.

Lucky for her those folks are on the ball. By the time Dutch had been measured, weighed, poked, prodded and, I’m afraid to say, partially violated, Cado was singularly concerned about when she was going to get her Smarties. In the end, the only shot Cado got from Dr. J today was a quick jolt of sugar. It just might be enough to get her back there for her 4-year check in about 6 months, when, I’m afraid, ear plugs and orderlies may be in order.

P.S. What about Dutch? Well, he is now 25 pounds 9 ounces and 28 1/2 inches long. That’s the 96 percentile in weight and 56 percentile in height. Please don’t tell my husband. He may not speak to anyone in my short family again.

The Total Package

When men and women come together they do so much more than provide the Mr. to the Mrs. and vice versa. We balance each other in ways we never foresee when making wild promises to always greet each other with a hug and kiss.

Examples:

  • Without women to provide the sides, men would just eat various forms of grilled meat, preceded by a meat appetizer and followed by a meat dessert. 
  • They would do things like buy houses sight unseen because they looked over the fence and liked the size of the backyard (true story).
  • They would continue to wear what they last felt the most cool in, even if that was the 8th grade and they are now in their 40s.
  • Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. (Think The King and I)

My rambling leads to this: Today the Geek Squad is here rearranging the audio visual make up of our home. This TV goes there and the new one here, mount this one, set that one, hook this box up, take that box out, center this thing here, angle that one over there, this one needs this kind of cables and that one those others … It’s endless.

But this is another reason God saw it good and perfect to bring man and woman together. When men look at televisions they ooohhhhh and aaawwww over the picture quality, the clean lines, the size. And listen up: when it comes to sound, the speakers on the actual television are never enough. Oh, no. We must have an additional sound system complete with hoofers and woofers (or whatever) and speakers that must mount at strategic locations throughout the ceiling (Invisibly, of course, because we are to think the sound is everywhere without thinking it actually comes from anywhere). After spending thousands on said television, stereos, surround sound systems, satellite and cable services, they will then see fit to set it all on an upside down cardboard box and a television tray.

Enter woman.

Is your husband like mine? My awesome guy will spend the aforementioned thousands on the equipment and then recoil in confused disdain–bordering on disgust–when the proper piece of furniture to set, store and present the equipment cost more than $100 and actually looks like a piece of grown-up furniture. But when we are allowed, however reluctantly, to put our pashion to accessorize with the proper furnishings to the completion of the audio visual package, the men will sit back with an appreciative sigh, scratch their belly, burp and say, “It is good.”

See, women! Just because they don’t run to us on a regular basis (okay, ever) to see what we think of their hopes and dreams does not mean they don’t need us! They do need us, they really do! (Think Sally Feild.)

And, truth be told, we need them, too. After all, Project Runway is wwwaaayyyy better in HD.

Just kidding, Honey.

P.S.

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Get thee behind me, Satan!

Teetering on the Totter

I started this infinitesimal venture several months ago with high hopes. Hopes to use it as a much-needed outlet to ramble aimlessly without watching my husband’s eyes dart over my head to the television screen in an off-handed attempt to both appear interested and track the progress of the game of the moment.

But then something happened and I veered recklessly off course. Okay. Somethings happened. Computer crashes. Kids. Building a house in another state. Family weddings. Three of them. A volunteer project at church. A baby who just will NOT sleep through the night. Laundry. Errands. Dinner. Date night.

 

Just kidding about that last one. I’m just making sure you’re still with me.

 

Since I was last here (which was seriously so long ago I could not remember my password) I have kept a list of “blog topics” in anticipation of the day when everyone and everything would miraculously fall in step with the rythem of my life and I could daily schedule time to blog from about, say, 1:47.10 to 2:14.49 p.m. Give or take.

 

But–and here’s the kicker–I don’t think it is going to happen that way. Did you already know this or am I breaking some really discouraging news to you? Either way, this is something I want to do and I was inspired at church this morning by good ole Pastor C to get my teeter-totter moving in the direction of my dreams. You might need to hear the sermon yourself to get the playground equipment analogy, but it worked for the inner recess girl in me.

 

So here is a peek at some of the topics waiting in the wings to be explored:

 

Throne Room Conversations

Life in Moments

Rivaling Sibling Adoration

Jenny from the Block

He’s on the Move!

Grab a Pen

Run, Forrest, Run!

 

I’ve thought of this white space so often in the last months. So often that I give situations and circumstances blog titles while they are happening. I’ve blogged more in my own head than I’ll ever be ablt to blog in this space. But at least tonight the tide is turning.

 

Before I close out for the evening, you might want to see a few new pics. Or maybe not. But I dare you to try to turn away.

 

 

This is usually the look Dutch has when Cado “loves” him.
This one has been digitally enhanced so you would be able to tell which one is the pumpkin.
This butterfly definitely has wings!
That’s it for now. But stay tuned! Or I’ll sick this guy on you:

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