Saturday, May 31, 2008


It seems Jackson is having a happy episode. He's apparently so happy that he's kicking his legs again when we cuddle or hug. I love it. I pick him up, and he pumps his feet and snuggles into my shoulder. His kicking reminds me of a puppy wagging its tail. God, I pray this lasts for a while!

The kids went to Grandma and Poppy's yesterday, and spent the night. Thank God for grandparents! It gave me a few hours to run errands, and catch up on stuff at home. Dan also made the repairs to our drywall in the garage, after all the termite treatment. He worked hard putting the new drywall up, and moving the refrigerator back in place up on its little platform. (That sucker is heavy!) Then we had dinner together at St. Louis Bread Company, and took our friend Sean out to Harpo's for his birthday. It was a late night, but I got to sleep in a little today. That always helps my attitude!

When I picked the kids up at Grandma and Poppy's this morning, Jackson's face broke out in a smile when he saw me. He toddled over to me and I hugged him, and he kicked his feet. He has also laughed a bit this afternoon, which is music to my ears.

Tonight is our block party, and Dan is doing a grilling competition tomorrow. So we have a busy weekend. Thank God the rain has stopped here in St. Louis (at least for today, anyway). I mean that literally and metaphorically, of course!

Thursday, May 29, 2008


Today was much better than the last few weeks. There was some of the usual crankiness, but it was highlighted by some laughs and smiles from Jackson. The first time he smiled today, I was actually stunned. I didn't realize he remembered how to smile! So I got to catch my breath once or twice today. It helps that I got an extra hour of sleep last night, and Katie was helpful and her usual Sweetness. We did have a screaming episode over lunch, but Katie and I decided to eat anyway and just let Jackson scream it out on the floor. Humph. There you go! And I nipped the other screaming episode by giving Jackson some alone time in his crib. That helped.

Our big event of the day was I moved a desk into Katie's room. I figure she'll have her own place to color and, eventually, do homework. It's just a little desk, but it's a start. And she was thrilled to have it! She spent 45 minutes coloring on her own up in her room after the desk was moved in. And about five minutes in to those 45 minutes, I hear from the top of the stairs, "Mommy? Is my room gonna stay like it is?" I stood at the bottom of the stairs and said yes, then she ran down the stairs into my arms and hugged me and said, "I love you!" Sweetness.The other big event was we finally got our termite treatment. It's a very interesting process, and I might have to blog about it another time. I'll even include photos for you. You mean you aren't looking forward to reading about it?! Oh, it won't be so bad.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

What If It's Me?

I don't want to give any of my blog readers (all nine of you!) the false impression that my life is all rosy and chipper. I've been trying to make an effort to blog about some of the sunny spots in my days, like when I write about cute things the kids do or fun trips. Blogging has helped me get it out. I've found it forces me to seek the good in my days. But, to be honest, things are kind of rough lately. Just when I feel like I'm ready to exhale, something else comes along and causes me to gasp again. Lately (at least for the past few months, or 14 to be exact), the issue seems to be something with Jackson: teething or rashes or sleeping or runny noses or sore throats or ear infections or wiping out three times in a row on the driveway or in the house.

I tell myself not to complain. I have friends and neighbors who have it worse than me (one has twins, one has FIVE kids and is a single mom and is going to school full time, one spent two months straight with her kid in and out of the hospital, etc.). So why should my easy little life be so difficult? Well, honestly, I don't know why. But it is, at least to me... at least right now. I have a little voice in my head saying maybe I just wasn't cut out to be a mama. Maybe it's just not my thing, and I should go back to work and leave childrearing to the paid professionals. Maybe my heart just can't stretch big enough to make room for my kids 24 hours a day. Maybe I'd only be good at motherhood three hours a day. Maybe I need to just accept my limits and move on. If my heart isn't happy being a stay at home mom, then maybe I need to find another outlet. The catch is that I don't think my heart will be any happier if I let someone else care for my kids.

Today is a typical day like any other: Jackson woke crying this morning, and I bolted out of bed to get there before he became inconsolable (which happens quickly). But he was crying differently today, and I couldn't console him. So I put him back in bed and he calmed down within five minutes. I went back to get him, and we went downstairs to cuddle on the couch. Where I used to get up to 15 minutes of cuddling, lately I've been lucky to get up to five. And, today, he wanted nothing of the sort. I moved on to breakfast. Again, no. Throwing food at me, hitting my hands, screaming. I picked him up and walked through the house, then tried breakfast again. Nope. Same thing. We rocked in the recliner for a minute or two, then more screaming. At this point, I was giving up. He'd been awake only 45 minutes, but I decided it was time for his first nap. We went up to his room and rocked in the dark, and he calmed a bit.

As I rocked him I cried, wondering what exactly is going on. I took him to the doctor yesterday because I was worried his fussiness was from an ear infection. They said his ears are clear and he had a negative strep test. His throat was red and he's had a runny nose for what seems like months, and I know he's getting some molars. But, seriously. Is all that enough to make him cry all the time?

My tears were falling all over him, and after I put him down I sat on my bed and prayed. Then I started writing. I felt like I heard God whispering back to me. Here's how it went:
Me: I don't know how to fix it. How to make him better. I don't know what I'm doing wrong. Why is he so miserable? Am I making him this way? And he's not that way with other people, is he? Is it just me? What do I do?
God: Just hold him and love him. (This is when I glanced at a pillow I made in 2005, with a quote that Mom said God told her: "This is my miracle. Stay out of the way. I have it under control.")
Me: But what if it's affecting Katie? And Dan, and me?
God: I have it under control. Hang in there. I'll carry you. Let me.
Me: I don't know how.
God: Just fall. Let go. Let me.
Me: Okay, Lord. Help me. I am yours.

And I showered and felt better, ready to try again and start the day over. Until we got to the library for a show and Jackson started up again. No big deal. I can handle this! Until we got to lunch with friends, and Jackson's fussing escalated into crying and throwing food and all the usual. It was all I could do to just bolt out of there and get us home. We walked in the door, and I started crying... again. I didn't even put Jackson down because he'd scream at that. Poor, sweet Katie. She brought me a tissue and hugged my legs. So I sat on the floor with her (which made Jackson mad, but he eventually got over it) and we hugged until I calmed down and remembered to be the adult.

Now Jackson is napping and Katie is having quiet time. And my head is full of all sorts of nasty thoughts: stop having a pity party for yourself! You're being a big baby. But maybe Jackson's seriously ill. Maybe his eczema is a sign of milk allergy or peanut allergy. Maybe he's autistic. Maybe, maybe, maybe.

What am I doing to myself? Second-guessing everything. I told my friend Beth that I am so out of whack, I don't even have an instinct to follow anymore. I used to be the type of mom who could stay the course and not get caught up in all the drama. I haven't worried too much about food preservatives, germs on grocery carts, microwave safety, plastics, etc. I think I'm still pretty down to earth. But lately all the crying is getting to me, and making me worry that maybe there's a bigger problem with Jackson that I just can't see. Ugh.

I think the issue is that I want it to get easier. Not easy, just easiER. I guess I just need to take a break. Let go and fall. Thanks, God.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Who Am I, Part 2

I just put together a video with my very favorite song. It's called "Who Am I" and it's by Casting Crowns.

I used photos that I had saved on the computer from other projects - that's why you might notice lots of photos of me and my sister or me and my dad, and not as many of me and my mom or Dan. But I didn't have time to go search for more. Maybe I'll make time later and do it up right! But, for now, I hope you like the video. Let me know what you think!

Who Am I, Part 1

In the process of raising my kids, I am afraid of losing myself. I watched my mom do it, and fear I might make that same mistake. Don't get me wrong - she was truly a great mother and raised three dynamic kids. But I think she sacrificed herself at the motherhood altar. By the time the youngest child went to college (me), she had spent 26 years being a mother and forgetting how to be Brenda. Most everything she did with her spare time up until that point involved the kids in some way: coaching softball, running a sports program, volunteering at school. I do remember her bowling every Wednesday in a league, and also reading a lot at night. But I don't think she cultivated her soul, nor her marriage with my father. The result was when the kids left the nest, their marriage crumbled. I felt a lot of emptiness in my mom because her purpose in life (her kids) was gone, and I'm not sure she knew what to do with herself. That was a lot of pressure and guilt to put on me (her last child), too. Of course, if she were still alive, I'm sure she'd disagree with me. But this is how I saw it. And this is what I fear.

So I think I am constantly trying to hold on to the threads of myself each day, while raising Katie and Jackson. I think this struggle makes my job as a mom even harder than it should be. Why fight it? Shouldn't I just let it go, and be unselfish to a fault, and let the heart of Elizabeth take a back seat for a few years?

No, no, no. Just typing that sentence makes my shoulders tense. I want to be Elizabeth, darn it! I want to be a person unto myself, not someone who is completed by other people! Because one day, I will be all I have left. And I don't want all I have left to be empty!

Now, you know I mean that all metaphorically, right? I am not trying to be morbid or look for sympathy by saying, "I will be all I have left." What I mean is that no matter who I surround myself with or no matter how much hate or recognition I receive in my life, in the end I am only taking myself to Heaven. I will be accountable for myself, and I am the only person who has constantly been around from my birth to my death. Sounds silly, huh? But it's true, if you think about it.

So, then, who am I? And who do I want to be? Because the answers to both of those questions might not be the same. I am a flawed person, but I hope to keep learning and growing and changing. The question is, how do I get from here to there? How do I make sure my heart doesn't take a backseat, yet make sure my children have a fully committed mother to raise them?

Here's something I wrote a long time ago, about two months before Katie was born. I wrote it at the end of my sessions with my therapist, when I felt it was time to "graduate" and move on. I had been working with her to process the grief over my brother's death, and wrote this as a reminder to myself that there are certain truths in life that struggles, pain and death cannot change. I wrote it as kind of a little credo. Let me know what you think.

What I Know For Sure
God created me this way. With flaws and quirks and imperfections.
I am not perfect.
I cannot earn God’s love or grace.
I am lovable. I am worthy.
I am at my best when I give freely of myself—my time, my words, my encouragement, my gifts.
God is constantly re-creating me. He stands beside me through every trial and tribulation. If I have the courage to turn to Him and trust Him, He will carry me through. He will not fail me.
God’s timing is perfect. Mine is not.
I was put in this earth to love, to see the beauty and wonder and joy in life and pass it on to others. To be God’s hands and give.
Life is good. It’s the circumstances that can turn bad. God is good. I am good. I am God’s daughter. He is my friend.
Death is not an end. It is a new creation of our souls.
God, life, the world, the heart, the soul, my heart—is so much bigger than my view.
Change is not bad. It brings us closer to God and life and love and our true selves. I am always becoming.
My past helped shape who I am today. It doesn’t have to dictate who I’ll be tomorrow.
Live life every day. Become spontaneous. I cannot plan every moment of my life. While it would be nice to know the end of the story, it would also mean no surprise parties. It would mean too much routine.
I don’t have to live in anyone else’s shadow. I am worthy on my own. God loves me regardless of how the world feels about me.
Being strong is overrated. Sometimes it takes more strength to admit I’m weak, to ask for help.
esk 4-3-03

Monday, May 26, 2008

Your Heart Fits In My Heart

I put Katie to bed tonight, and we cuddled in the dark. She showed me how she can make a heart by putting her hands together. Thumb to thumb and pointer to pointer, and curving them into a heart. I told her I can do it too, and she asked me to show her. So I did, and she made a heart with her hands and then put it up close, nestled into my hand-heart. I said, "Your heart fits in my heart" and she repeated it to me. It's true - I carry her heart in mine, and Dan's and Jackson's and all the people I love. We're all a part of each other, aren't we?

One other sweet Katie story: on Saturday morning, Katie had been playing with her cars while Jackson napped. After I finished playing with PhotoShop (see my silhouettes), I got up and walked into the living room. That sweet girl used her cars to spell out the word "DAD." Can you see it in the photo? It just makes my heart melt. She is such a thoughtful, caring kid. I am so proud of her, and love her so much!

Saturday, May 24, 2008


I just finished a little project that I want to share. I used some photos of the kids that I took a while ago and made silhouettes from them. Man, I love PhotoShop! The sad thing is I know very little about it, so I know there are so many more things I could do with it. Wish I could take a class or something.

Do you like the silhouettes I made? Leave me a comment and tell me what you think!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Twinkle Toes

I bought Jackson his first pair of "real" shoes yesterday. He's worn those soft-soled leather shoes up until now, but I thought it was time to get some hard-soled shoes since we're outside so much. I chose a pair of blue slip-ons that are kind of like Crocs. We sat on the kitchen floor and I slipped them on. I wanted him to try them indoors, since he's been crashing so much outside and scraping his face. I figured if he crashed inside while he learned to get his balance with less feeling in his feet, the scrapes wouldn't be so bad.

As soon as I got the shoes on his feet, he stood up and started walking. Then he realized his footsteps were making noise! He stopped and stomped his feet, and broke out in a big smile. He took a few more steps, then more stomping. Then onto the carpet, where he learned it was soft and, therefore, no noise. Back to the linoleum. Stomp, stomp. So cute!

He did the same thing when I put his shoes on this morning. He loves being a little tapdancer. I love watching his surprise and joy!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

"You're Mean."

I have earned another stripe on my Mommy Uniform. The dreaded, "You're mean" words have left my daughter's mouth, directed at me. The good news is it was whispered, and even better news that it wasn't followed by, "I hate you!" (Nor was there a slamming door, which I was such an expert at in my youth!)

I know, I know... all kids do it. Experts say striking out is part of establishing and maintaining boundaries. And I've always said I wanted to be considered a "mean" mom, not a nice one. I'm not here to be my kids' friends. They'll have enough friends, but only one mom. If I'm not called "mean" and hated at least a few hundred times in my parenting career, then I'm not doing my job right.

Blah, blah, blah. It still wounds me a bit to be called "mean" by my baby. Oh, Lord, help me! I can hear the motherly recording in my head: "Mean? Mean?! I carried you for nine months and I've sacrificed so much for you and we just had a special day at the park and and and..." Sputter, sputter. Ugh.

As punishment, I swatted Katie's behind (not hard, just a swat) and took all her stuffed animals out of her room (including her beloved Curious George), and told her she must spend her naptime quietly thinking about the things that a nice Katie would do and say.

Oh - I have to back up one moment. Today at the park, she was also in trouble for disobeying me ("Slides are for down, not for up.") and for yelling at her friend Ryan ("This is for GIRLS only!"). So the "You're mean" comment wasn't an isolated incident. That's why I took the animals away and told her to spend quiet time thinking about her behavior. I told her she can earn her animals back when she has a happier attitude.

We'll see what happens this afternoon. Wish Mean Mommy luck!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Nestled in Bed

We got a new bed on Sunday. It's one of those squishy, foamy ones. Not the Tempurpedic brand, but the same idea - minus the $1,000+ price tag.

I love it, love it, love it. I have crashed hard the last two nights, and gotten some serious sleep. I nestle into that bed, and apparently don't move all night. And the joy is that I don't wake up feeling sore from not moving. Yeehaw! It is so very comfy, and I feel like I'm sleeping on a marshmallow, or being cradled on a cloud. When Dan kissed me goodbye this morning, he commented that I was wrapped in the blankets and hunkered down like I was in a cocoon. And that's what it feels like!

Funny how a little change like this can make me feel lucky and blessed all over. Mmmm! I could just eat it up.

Man, I sound like an infomercial! No more typing for now. I'm going upstairs to Heaven!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Hooded Towel Graduate

I made a little discovery tonight: Jackson is too small for the little baby hooded towels. Really?! But isn't he still a little baby?

Nope. I tried to stretch the towel over him after bath time. I tried positioning him on one of the corners and wrapping the rest around him. I tried putting the hood on first and then working it around his body. None of the maneuvers worked.

He's officially graduated from the hooded towel into a regular size bath towel. Just one of the small milestones he's passed on his way to becoming a big boy!

Better Than Ice Cream

Katie has had night terrors on a semi-regular basis (once a week or so) lately, but last night was the first true sleepwalking event. I was wakened by her cries at midnight, and was on my way to her room when I realized the cries weren't coming from there. Katie was standing at the bottom of the stairs, crying up to me. I rushed down and carried her up to bed, and she didn't remember any of it.

So I tucked Katie in to bed tonight, and told her she needs to sleep through the night. And if she does, we will do something really fun tomorrow. She said, "Swimming?!" I said, "No. Something you really like." She said, "Ice cream?" I said, "No, even better." She said, "Grandma's!!!"

Oh, how lucky she is to have a fun grandma and grandpa that she loves to visit. I didn't have that growing up. Both sets of grandparents lived out of state, and weren't much of the nurturing type. My dad's mom is still alive, but she was always so formal and not the cuddly type of grandma most people envision. I still call her Grandmother, because she just commands respect. She is a loving woman, but not in the typical squishy candy-bearing grandma way.

Dan's parents are different. They like to have Katie over, and insist that she spend the night. Now that Jackson is getting older, they like having him more often too. Grandma loves taking Katie to movies, and Poppy loves watching movies with her at home. They like to load her up on sugar and let her stay up late and take her to carnivals... all the things grandparents should be doing. And all the things I can't wait to do with my grandkids!

So, yes, Katie knows that Grandma's is better than ice cream. I'm glad she can count on that.

Friday, May 16, 2008

"I'm all growned up now."

I was just sorting through a box of clothes that a friend is letting us borrow, and came across the cutest matching outfit. The skort has cherries on it, with a matching white polo shirt and short-sleeved cardigan. I showed it to Katie and said, "Isn't this so cute? You can wear it on the first day of Kindergarten!" She agreed it was cute and I told her she'll look so beautiful for school. Her response? "Yes! I'm all growned up now."

Yes, baby, you are! I remember when you were just learning to roll over and then crawl. I watched other kids (in our mommy's club) who were six months or a year older than you, and couldn't imagine that you would ever hit the milestones they were hitting. And then I saw those same kids go off to school, and thought it would be a lifetime until you followed in their footsteps.

And now... we're approaching that starting line. It's just two months away. Oh, sweetheart! You are all growned up! Every day you amaze me. I'm sure you've caught me staring at you often lately, wondering where this little lady came from. Over the past year, I've been so caught in trying to keep my head above water after the arrival of your brother, and I didn't see you slip out of your preschooler skin into the body and mind of a Kindergartener. You've officially arrived, haven't you? All "growned up" into your big self. And I am so in love with you!

Bursting with Pride

Congratulations to my sweet, hardworking, dedicated husband! He came home yesterday with a memo from work, saying that he was elected to the company's board of directors, and also promoted to Vice President of Engineering. Right now the industry is in a bit of a slump, so this promotion is just for title only... BUT that doesn't change how very proud I am of him!

Thank you, Sugar, for all you do! For getting up early and staying late to finish the job. For having such a great work ethic. For always doing what's right, even when other choices are tempting. For taking care of our family. For bringing home the bacon! For working hard so that I have a choice to stay home and raise our babies (not everyone gets that choice). For shouldering more than your share, and carrying others' burdens. For being loyal.

You're our hero, no matter what title you hold!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

First Thing in the Morning

I think mornings are my favorite time of day with Jackson. He wakes (usually crying) and as soon as I walk in the room, he sees me and starts trying to stand in his crib. He stretches his arms to me, and I pick him up and he snuggles right into my shoulder.

I carry him downstairs and I grab his milk from the fridge and a fuzzy red blanket. We go to the couch, and sit down with him on my lap. He's usually still sucking his pacifier, but he spits it out and drinks his milk while I cuddle with him in the blanket. Sometimes he'll put his head under my neck and nuzzle me while he drinks, and it's so wonderful. And if he's in a really good mood, he'll do some silly game like shaking his head back and forth. He likes when I mimic him and do it back to him, and he throws his head back and laughs at me. We sit on the couch for about ten minutes and snuggle before I feed him yogurt at the table.

I love this morning ritual!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

For You

Everything about you was made for me.
You get into my head.
You get into my heart
You get into my soul.
And every time, it's magic.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mother's Day without Mom

Mother's Day changes forever when your mom is no longer alive. The first Mother's Day after mine died, I wanted nothing to do with celebrating it for anyone, besides maybe a little bit for myself. It was a hard day since everyone talks about thanking their moms, and mine couldn't be thanked anymore.

It was also hard because it was only my second Mother's Day as a mother, and I was starting to clue in to all the commitment and love it takes to raise a child. I so badly wanted to tell her that I had finally walked a few miles in her shoes - and realized what a long road it was for her. To tell her that now I understood why it hurt her feelings to have me turn away from her when I was a teenager. To tell her I understood why she felt so protective of me. To tell her I can imagine why it was hard to have an empty nest. To tell her I know now how she lost herself because she poured so much energy into raising her children. And to tell her, "I'm sorry." If I could only ask her, "Did I ever make you feel this defeated/in love/angry/joyful, Mom? How did you get through it?"

But now I don't get to spend Mother's Day being grateful to my own mother, calling or sending flowers. I have to learn to focus on just my own babies, and focus on saying thank you to them for helping me earn my stripes. I guess being a good mother to her grandchildren is the best thanks I can give my mom. It's what she taught me to do, and what I pray I will teach my children to do.

In honor of my mom, I'm posting something I wrote and gave her as a gift for her 60th birthday. My sister, brother-in-law, husband and I also read parts of this at her funeral. I miss you, Mom!

60 Things Mom Has Taught Me
1. How to tie my shoes. 2. How to blow a bubble with my gum. 3. Always be an independent woman. 4. How to iron handkerchiefs. 5. How to fold t-shirts perfectly. 6. I can make friends with anybody. 7. Get to know people in grocery store lines. They have stories to share. 8. Always give to others. 9. Keep in touch with your kids’ friends and old flames. 10. How to drive a stick shift. 11. To have a special affinity for liver cheese sandwiches. 12. Sleep on the back porch every chance you get in the summer. 13. M*A*S*H is the best TV show ever. 14. How to play softball. 15. Keep a journal. 16. How to love eating fried okra. Especially Mr. James’. 17. A backrub solves most troubles. 18. How to have a lot of new friends—lots of old ones too. 19. Read, read, read! 20. Fight for what you want. 21. Keep my nails filed and looking nice. 22. Lipstick is the most essential makeup. 23. Always carry tissues in my purse. 24. How to make magic cookie bars. 25. Boodle boxes cure homesickness. 26. Keep a calendar. 27. How to make chicken wings! 28. Keep my kids’ lost teeth in my jewelry box. 29. Keep trying. 30. Get involved—in church, the community, my kids’ lives. 31. Buy extra greeting cards to keep on hand. 32. Make lists. 33. Good penmanship is an art. 34. Don’t be anyone but myself. 35. How to love old church hymns. 36. Boy troubles will always pass. 37. Never give up. 38. Have a signature perfume. 39. Take pictures of important events and keep them organized in albums. 40. Always write thank you notes. 41. Handwritten letters are always welcome. 42. Keep a pen pal. 43. Always save your kids’ Christmas ornaments. 44. TLC is the best medicine for someone who’s sick. 45. How to set up and keep a warm, comfortable, open house. 46. Don’t lie. You will always get caught. 47. A love of reading Reader’s Digest. 48. How to pick out a prom dress. 49. Corn bread always goes with vegetable stew. 50. Holidays are for my family, especially the kids. 51. How to make homemade Egg McMuffins. 52. Guiding Light is the best soap opera. 53. Nestor the Christmas Donkey is a great movie. 54. How to find my way home. 55. How to write my first thesis paper. 56. Education is a top priority. 57. Burping is not polite at the dinner table. 58. How to knock people off when tubing behind a boat. 59. Start conversations with, “Howdy do! How are you?” 60. How to be a good mother.

Friday, May 9, 2008

We're Back!

We had a great time in Vegas. There is no way I could blog about every detail, but I'll tell you a little bit. As my friend Joe says, "If you can tell people what you did while you were there, you wasted your trip." So I'll keep a few secrets to myself. A lady never kisses and tells, right? Ha!

Here's the basic gist: Eating. Drinking. Sigma Derby (LOTS). Walking. Shopping. Margaritaville. Piano bar. Walking. Pool. Napping. Champagne. Bellagio. Toby Keith. Shopping. Walking. Nail art. Walking. M&Ms. Dresses. Fountains. Kiosk workers hawking everything. Mizuno's Japanese Steakhouse. Chocolate every day. Karaoke, good (Sean) and bad (mine). Second City. Jubilee. Hummingbirds outside the Bellagio. Freemont Street. And lots more drinking.

Oh, did I forget to mention walking? On Tuesday afternoon, we gave up on walking (buzzkill) and decided to taxi the rest of our trip. Tuesday night's taxi driver thought I was crazy when I said we wanted to go from MGM to the Tropicana across the street.

Highlights: I think one of our best nights was Monday when our friend Stacy took us to the Paris buffet. Our awesome waiter taught us how to crack crab legs the easy way ("Melvin style"). And the best part was the creme brulee. To die for! I thought I was in heaven. Mmmmm. Afterwards Stacy drove us to Freemont Street, then took us to see Jubilee. It was lots of fun!

We had a little stowaway on our trip. We took Katie's Curious George stuffed animal with us, and had fun taking his photo at some of the sights. When we got home, we developed the pictures and put them in an album and gave it to Katie. One of the photos shows George with a large pink gorilla. I told Katie that while we were gone, George went on a trip to see his mommy. She was so excited!

On Tuesday night we walked through the Bellagio lobby and conservatory, and I was overwhelmed with the beauty of the flowers (the glass ones on the ceiling in the lobby and the real ones in the garden)... and just the joy of being on vacation. I took one last look at it while we were leaving, to lock away in my memories so I can draw on it later. (Thanks for the tip, Danielle!) Then we walked outside and caught the fountain show, and the moment couldn't be more perfect. Beth and I stood there with the wind blowing our hair, watching the fountains dance to "God Bless the USA," and I knew (without a doubt) that God has blessed me. I am a lucky girl!

We got back late Wednesday night, while the kids were still at Grandma and Poppy's. They took the kids to Parents Day Out on Thursday, so Dan and I had one last day to decompress (read: recover) and do laundry and unpack. Then we picked the kids up Thursday afternoon, and my heart just about exploded with the joy I had in seeing them. Absence makes the heart grow fonder! Jackson saw me and his face broke out in a huge smile. I picked him up and he hugged me for at least five minutes straight. He kept pulling back to look at me in wonder, smile again, then hug me again. His little feet kept kicking, which is what he does when he's really happy. Oh, my heart was overflowing! Then I got to hug Katie, and my sweet girl squeezed me back so tight. It felt so wonderful.

It's good to be back home, refreshed and ready to be a mommy again. I loved being "just" a wife and a friend for a few days, though. Not that I ever stop being those things, right? But it's nice to concentrate on just one or two things at a time.

Friday, May 2, 2008

It's alright, I'm going to Vegas!

Bad news: Jackson has an ear infection. He also upchucked his entire breakfast (and a full sippy cup, ibuprofen and antibiotics) just as he swallowed the last bite of yogurt. Of course.
Good news: It gave me an excuse to mop the floor and hose down the booster seat and wash the rugs. And, even better, Jackson liked the warm, clean rugs so much that he laid right down on them when they came out of the dryer. (See the cute photo?)

Bad news: Big thunderstorms rolled through today, scaring Katie and making her clingy.
Good news: "Out came the sun and dried up all the rain." So Mommy and her babies can take a walk again! (Okay, sorry. Bad rhyme.) But the afternoon has turned out gorgeous.

Bad news: Sick baby, rain and crabbiness kept us at home all morning.
Good news: It gave me time to pack. Because, guess what?! I'm going to Vegas!

That's been my mantra today. Baby puke? It's alright, I'm going to Vegas! Had to do three loads of laundry to clean up from puke? It's alright, I'm going to Vegas! Had to mop the floor? It's alright, I'm going to Vegas! And on and on and on...

In just 24 hours, we'll be loading the kids up headed for Grandma and Poppy's house. And it's all gravy from there!

I Saw God Today

In the midst of a roller coaster day, I took the kids for a drive. I heard the new George Strait song on the radio. It's called "I Saw God Today." Here are the lines that grabbed my attention:
"I've been to church, I've read the book
I know He's here, but I don't look
Near as often as I should.
Yeah, I know I should.
His fingerprints are everywhere
I just slowed down to stop and stare
Opened my eyes and man I swear,
I saw God today."

That resonates with me because at the least likely moments, I find God in my life. Kind of like I come across a love letter from Him: a warm breeze, the first crocus of Spring, my babies' laughs, Dan's cuddles, a friend's call at just the right moment, a hot shower, or a beautiful song. God participates in my life daily, and I need to remember to "stop and stare" so I can see Him. I don't look as often as I should! Thankfully, God is always faithful and waiting for me.


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