Friday, June 26, 2009

Dad Recites Six Golden Coins

Oh, boy, do I have a treat for you! I have been wanting to do this for a while, and started working on it last Sunday. Which, if you remember correctly, was Father's Day. A perfect day to spend with my dad again!

Years and years ago, Dad recorded himself reading some of his favorite poems. I have it on CD now, and I've written about it before here. And now, I'm going to share one of the poems with you. I used photos from Dad's life to illustrate the recording, which was one of his very favorites. And now, may I present "Six Golden Coins," written by Martin Buxbaum and recited by my daddy.

Note: You'll need to pause the music player on my blog sidebar before you watch this video.
video

Monday, June 22, 2009

Weekend Recap: Birthday Party, Father's Day & Baptism

Oh, what a weekend! It was exhausting and exhilarating and beautiful and so full of such incredible love. I am, literally, hoarse today and need to take a break from talking and doing and just BE. It was just a great weekend.

First there was Katie's birthday party on Saturday morning.

It was blazing hot and of course we had planned an outdoor party. Dan's cousin, Juggling Jeff, put on a show for us. He is funny and entertaining and the kids loved heckling him, Katie especially. (She is a lippy six year old now! As opposed to the lippy five year old she once was...)
Jeff juggled balls and bowling pins and FIRE - even on a ball in the heat on a hill. Sheesh! What a guy!

I think Katie had a blast with everyone and loved being the center of attention.

Saturday night, I joined about 20 other baptizees and spoke at two church services. I was completely nervous and scared to do this, because it is very much out of my comfort zone. However, it turned out very well and I am so glad that I did it. I felt God's presence and courage while I was on the stage, and the best news is I didn't even throw up! Seriously, it felt great to share part of my story and to hear encouragement from others.

Sunday morning was a big Father's Day focus for Dan and the kids. We fed him breakfast in bed (our usual Sunday morning chocolate chip waffles), showered him with gifts, then left him alone to eat in peace. After breakfast, Katie begged to go on a bike ride so we obliged. It was hot but fun too. Dan escaped to take his own dad to a movie, and I worked on a project that made my dad feel closer too. That was nice. When the evening rolled around, the focus fell from Dan and onto me.

We headed to our church, Windsor Crossing, for my baptism. (Here's a link to the 2005 video.) It was flaming hot and the baptizees were all dressed in dark clothes to avoid the wet t-shirt peep show, but somehow I didn't mind too much. Despite the discomfort, I felt a huge outpouring of love. I had so many people there to support me: my husband and kids, in-laws, neighbors, friends from so many different walks of my life, and even one of my former pastors happened to be there to witness someone else's baptism. Dan and our friend Michael also walked beside me the entire way as my Water Witnesses. I was so humbled and honored to have about so many people there, boiling in the heat, just for me. Just to watch me take Christ's hand and dance. Does anyone out there know what an amazing, powerful, unbelieveable feeling that is? It's indescribable, y'all.
And then... And. Then. To step into that water with a heart that was trembling from fear (remember the judgment I wrote about?), but also trembling from excitement and love and humility and gratefulness... ah. The pastor told me to look at these people who were here to witness my journey, but that only made me more nervous. So I just closed my eyes and let my heart fill with peace. The Spirit calmed me, and my worries floated away as I was gently laid back and under the water, then lifted up into the light. Joy replaced all the other emotions in my heart, and I went straight to Dan to hug him and share our strength. It was, again, indescribable.
So I will let the photos do the rest of the talking. You'll see all the excitement and celebration that my church goes through for this celebration, and you'll see some of my friends and family in the photos too. I also slipped in some of the beautiful mementos and flowers that were gifted to me as a reminder of this day in my life. A special thank you to our friend Keith for taking the photos all day.

And, God? Thank you for such a vivid demonstration of your love for me. I am yours!
Note: You'll need to pause the music player on my blog sidebar before you watch this video.

video

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Little Shaver

Dan and Jackson took showers together this morning, then performed a little manly hygiene. I was lucky enough to witness it and snap some photos.
What a fun treat for Father's Day!

Superman

God rests His hand upon you.

You are the leader. The rock. The office hero. The elastic jungle gym. The first to wrestle and the last to give in.

You are the hunter and the teacher. Little eyes watch you and little feet chase your steps. You set the tone for the family to follow.

You carry the weight of providing, the weight of the world, and the weight of little bodies.

You show us how to keep on, never giving up. You are loyal. Dedicated. Tired but hopeful.

You teach us to laugh.

In your hands rest our hearts, safe and secure in the depths of your strength.

You are someone's son and someone's father, loved beyond measure. Our hero. Our heart. Our daddy.

Happy Father's Day!

Friday, June 19, 2009

In Real Life

I made a new friend today, in real life (IRL). I "met" Gina in cyberspace through Jodie's blog when we both posted about Unplugging on June 1. She commented on my blog and I visited hers, and we figured out that we live near each other. Our emails started going offline and we wrote back and forth for a bit, and finally made plans to meet IRL today at the local library. It was Outdoor Play day, and our two boys (who are only a few weeks apart in age) had lots of fun getting messy and VERY wet. They didn't play much with each other, which is to be expected at age two, but Gina and I got a chance to chat in person and I really enjoyed my short visit with her.
Gina is my first blog friend to crossover to my real life. I think that's pretty cool. Hope to see you again soon, Gina!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

My Baptism

Whoa, baby. That's quite a title, isn't it? You probably think I'm going to go down memory lane and write about my infant baptism from 35 years ago. Uh, no. THIS baptism hasn't happened yet. But it's going to, this weekend. This Sunday, to be exact. On Father's Day.

And, whew! I have been so excited but also so freaked out about it that I haven't really mentioned it. Well, except for alluding to it here.

Why would I be freaked out, you ask? Well, there's the issue of being in front of masses of people. That alone is enough to make me want to throw up. Seriously. If you know me IRL or have ever met me in passing, you might not think I'm shy. But add an extra 10 or more people, and I start to clam up. It's the reason I failed miserably at being a TV news reporter, and why I froze during a live shot once. The thought of more than 10 people watching me at once and probably judging me makes me shut down. Completely.

So there's the going public thing. But there's also the going public with my faith thing. Whoa, baby. There's a whole ball of wax for you. The thought of professing belief in something that so many people think is a crock scares me. It's not that I don't believe. It's that I worry, again (and yes, unnecessarily), about the whole judgment thing. I know, I've been on the other side lots of times. I've seen those "crazy Christians" and all the stuff they swallow hook, line and sinker. So professing my faith publicly might make people question my sanity.

Well, then... y'all go right ahead. Because, honestly, I am totally sane. And even though my fear of public exposure STILL might make me throw up, I am walking into the water on Sunday night with a clear head and a humble heart. Because I want to. Because I NEED to. Because Jesus is holding his hand out to me, asking me to dance with Him. I know that I could go on dancing alone or sitting on the sidelines and watching others dance, but that's not fully living. I want to be in the thick of it, because it is so darn blessedly beautiful.

I am already in the thick of it, whether I go underwater on Sunday or not. The baptism isn't what saves me, Jesus is. But Sunday's celebration will be my public acceptance of His dance card. It's me stepping out of my comfort zone and learning how to live with fear and judgment from others, and learning how to let go of that fear and judgment. Because, in the end, it's just me and Him.

When I first heard that this year's baptism is on Father's Day, I was kind of bummed. I hadn't mentioned even to Dan that I wanted to be baptized (because I thought even he might think I was off my rocker), and didn't plan on doing it this year. But as time went on and then Good Friday changed my heart, I realized I really really wanted to be baptized at our church. Every single time I watched one of the baptism videos at church, I cried. Heavy, heavy tears. (Go here to see one from 2005.) God tugged on my heart, and I finally told Dan about my desire. He fully supported me, and we started making plans. And now I realize how great it'll be to be baptized on Father's Day. It's a day for recommitment to my Father, and helps me realize the ways God is filling those holes in my life that were made when my family died.

So, now you know. And, of course, now you are free to judge. But now I'm going to step away and rest in my Father's arms. He is so good to me. So very good. Especially when I don't deserve it. I am humbled, and I am Loved.

Keep me in your prayers this weekend, and I'll be sure to post some photos after the big day!

"It was down with the old man, up with the new./Raised to walk in the way of light and truth./I didn't see no angels, just a few saints on the shore,/But I felt like a newborn baby cradled up in the arms of the Lord." Kenny Chesney, Baptism

Birthday Recap

I think Katie had a nice sixth birthday.

It started with balloons in her room upon waking. I try to sneak in after she goes to sleep the night before and put balloons in her room to greet her in the morning. Then she wanted to lounge in her bed and read, so I let her while I did my morning workout. When Jackson's screams indicated he was ready to get up, I got him and we went into Katie's room together. Jackson was carrying his toy wooden birthday cake, and we sang "Happy Birthday" to Katie.

Breakfast was the kids' favorite meal: chocolate chip waffles. Aunt Mimi (my sister Mary) called to wish her happy birthday, and then she decided to Skype us so she could watch Katie open the presents they sent. Mary is at the beach with her in-laws (who are like a second family to me in some ways), and they all squeezed in around the laptop to watch Katie and Jackson. Can you see them in the photo? It was such a fun way to celebrate with Katie!


Then while we waited for the summer school bus, I sat with Katie and showed her our 2003 scrapbook. She got to see all the photos of her birth again. The bus came, and she was off to school. It was a field trip day to the zoo, so she was excited. I packed a cupcake in her lunch for her to enjoy too.

When Katie got off the bus, we played outside in the stifling heat until Dan arrived home. Then we loaded the sweaty kids in the car and Katie chose dinner at Red Robin. I was reminded again why we don't eat out with them very often (Jackson likes to throw food, scream loudly, and refuses to eat almost everything). The servers sang to Katie and presented her an ice cream sundae. When they found out she is six, one quipped, "Only 10 more years until she is driving!" I physically shuddered when she said that, and the mean woman laughed. No tip for you! (Just kidding.) Sorry about the photo quality - I brought the small camera and it's having focus issues.


We stopped on the way home so Katie could pick out two balloons, then opened presents in our living room at home. Katie's favorite gift was a TykeLight Jr. (She's been coveting it since we stayed at Susan's house in November!) She was thrilled with it. Yes, I know it's kind of a baby thing, but she is ONLY six. And who doesn't love a little glow in their bedroom? Katie also received a present from her friend Kaylala and Uncle Dan, and got some cool phone messages from other friends (Uncle Leo and her best friend Ryan). I think she felt so special.

Next was bath and computer game time for Katie, then bedtime. Before she went to bed, Katie asked me to rock her in our recliner again - which is what I did the night before her birthday, telling her I'd never be able to rock a five-year-old Katie again. She liked it so much that she asked me to rock her as a six-year-old. Of course, I obliged.

It was a great day, full of special reminders to Katie of how much she is loved.

Letters From a Skeptic

On Tuesday, I finished a book called Letters from a Skeptic by Dr. Gregory A. Boyd and Edward K. Boyd. It is a book of 29 correspondences, spanning three years. Those letters were to and from Greg's father, Ed.

Greg himself was a former atheist turned pastor, and invited his dad to ask any and all questions about religion. So Ed did, and they are some very in-depth and thought-provoking questions. Ones that I myself still wonder about, like evil and pain and natural disasters and the validity of the Bible and how exactly Jesus' death can logically pardon our sins. Greg's answers are so straightforward, and the book really captivated me.

I won't ruin the ending for you, but I will say that this book will change your way of thinking. If you've read it, leave me a comment and let me know what you thought of it. If you haven't read it, go get yourself a copy!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Happy Sixth Birthday, Katie!

Dear Katie,

Welcome to your seventh year of life! You have six magical ones tucked under your belt, and you are just getting started on a brand new journey. What do you think this one will bring you? Here's what I have in mind:

You're starting first grade in a few weeks. I predict it will bring more structure to your life, along with homework and deeper learning. I'm hoping you'll get to start some classes like gymnastics or martial arts. Wouldn't that be fun? Summer is getting into full swing, and your gills are growing back from all the swimming at the pool. By Labor Day weekend, I predict you'll be tan and muscular after about a billion dives in the deep end.

Fall will come, and you'll probably beg to be a princess of some sort for Halloween. Maybe you will, or maybe I'll try to steer you to some other goofy costume. Or maybe Daddy will beg you to be a Mizzou Tiger... or at least a Mizzou cheerleader. Thanksgiving and Christmas will follow quickly, and your eyes will light up with the magical power that a bunch of presents under the tree will hold over you. I can't wait to see what you ask Santa to bring you, and I can't wait to get even deeper into the story of Christmas and the gift of Jesus in our lives.

The new year will roll in and hopefully you will have lost your first tooth by then. I know it's a dream you have right now. You can't wait to be like the other big kids you know, and I can't wait to see your toothless grin. Promise me you'll share lots of snaggle-tooth smiles with me, okay? Valentine's Day will come and I'm sure you'll talk more than you already do now about boys and marriage. You'll still beg me and Daddy to kiss, just like you already do on a daily basis. Your fascination with love and relationships surprises me and makes me realize how deeply God wired you for love. Winter will deepen and you'll build snowmen with Daddy and Jackson and go sledding.

Spring will finally return, and we'll look for butterflies and rabbits in our back yard. You'll help Daddy plant another garden, and pick yet another mystery plant to put in the ground so you can surprise me when it bears fruit. And before we know it, you'll be finishing first grade and getting ready to turn seven. All in the blink of an eye.

I'm sure the coming year will present its own problems too, not just milestones and celebrations. You'll learn more about the complicated world and the harsh ways people can treat each other. Unfortunately, you'll probably have your heart broken by someone in some small way (which will feel pretty large to you), and you'll get in trouble a few times as you test the boundaries that are becoming a little gray in some areas. You'll have some endings that we can't foresee, but the good news is there will be some beginnings too. You'll go deeper into this "in-between" world you inhabit: life between being a baby/toddler/girl and the girl/kid/woman you'll become. Six is just close enough to the early years but thankfully far away from the coming emotional years. You're getting the slightest taste of what's to come; a terrifying thought for me and Daddy.

Oh, Katie. With every year that passes, I become more and more fascinated by you. Your heart deepens in ways I can't fathom, and your memory is getting stronger as you store away all the new experiences you're having. My pride in you is matched only by my love for you. Sometimes you are amazing and frustrating in the same moment, an enigma and a mystery. You are beautiful from the outside and also on the inside. You make Daddy, Jackson and me laugh with your silliness. You make me wonder and you make me think. Sometimes I hardly know what to do with you and the person you're becoming, and the person you're helping me to become too.

Thank you for six glorious years. For all the smiles and joy you've given me this past year, and for all the growth and changes you've brought into our lives. Daddy and I love you deeply, and are so lucky to be your parents.

Happy birthday, Peepers!
Love,
Mommy

Sunday, June 14, 2009

"It Didn't Hurt at All!"

...at least that is what Katie told everyone yesterday. But the photos don't lie:
Yes, it did hurt to get her ears pierced! But, thankfully, she has forgotten most of the pain by now. And it's amazing how it makes her look so different... so grown up!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Stolen Photo UPDATE

Just wanted to give all four of you, my loyal blog readers, an update and a head's up on my friend, Danielle.

The story of her stolen photo is making national headlines. Here is the Yahoo coverage. It's been on the homepage of AOL, in local papers across the country, and also on CBS radio. She's going viral, y'all! Her website has already crashed once today. And to top it off, I just spoke with her and she's flying out tonight to be on the CBS Early Show in the morning. It's going to be on the USS Intrepid, and Lionel Richie is also performing. Ha! Can you believe it? So tune in and look for her and her family. My Tivo will be recording nonstop.

Have fun, Danielle!

Back to Basics, Old School Style

Apparently, being five is hard. That's the only explanation I can conceive for all the backtalk, whining and unprovoked sibling pummeling Katie is doing lately. I am hoping that turning six next week will help alleviate some of these issues! Yes, I know it won't be a magic pill, but it's a mental milestone on which to focus.

Just in case the big six doesn't help turn things around, Dan and I are shortening the leash and reining in our little princess. After some pretty special treats (a trip to Six Flags followed by a sleepover - without Jackson - at her grandparents' house, followed by a special movie with the grandparents at the theater AND lunch at Chick-fil-A), Katie was acting out of sorts: grumpy, whiny, and just plain ungrateful and rude. So I sat her down yesterday and we went through the family rules again. We wrote four of the rules about a year ago, and then added another one yesterday (with her input). Then we also added another column listing what the punishment will be for breaking the rules. Here's our list!
  1. Remember the Golden Rule.
  2. Always tell the truth.
  3. Do your job. This means: make the bed, empty the dishwasher, clean the table, put laundry away, put toys away, get the mail, put groceries away, put the trash can away (outside)
  4. No fighting about hair, food or clothes.
  5. Be respectful. This means: don't hit, don't interrupt, use your manners, have a good attitude (don't whine or grump), forgive others.

If the rules are broken, punishment is:

  1. Time out.
  2. Go to your room.
  3. Lose marbles in your marble jar.
  4. Lose privileges: computer, pool, TV time.
  5. Take away a stuffed animal at bedtime.
  6. Write the broken rule on paper ten times.

Of course, the punishment isn't ALL of those things - just whatever the situation warrants. But I'm definitely going to be using #6 a lot! She already did it twice this week:


The honest truth is that Katie is a good kid. Really. She just backslides sometimes (don't we all?) and needs a little realignment to get back on track. I'm hoping we're navigating into happier territory with these family rules. Dan and I know she has a good head on her shoulders, a deep sense of right and wrong, and a caring heart. What more could we ask for?


The deeper I get in this parenting challenge, the more I realize the gravity of our responsibilities. It's our job to teach these little tyrants how to respect others, think for themselves, be kind and loving. Today I started thinking about my parents and that they did a pretty good job with me and my siblings. And then it hit me that because they did a good job, I was able to stand on my own at an earlier age than most others. My parents died prematurely, and I haven't had their advice or guidance to fall back on during these parenting challenges. I want to do as good of a job as them (maybe even better?!) so that one day my children can walk on without me. And that is how I will define my success.

Oh, and this too:

"I love you Mommy. I love you so much Mommy and Daddy. You are so creative. Good-bye Mommy and Daddy. Oh no I do not want to go away from you Mommy and Daddy."

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The Dinner Table

The kitchen floor is dirty. Really dirty. Like a crumb mosaic down there.

One kid is reciting, verbatim, an entire movie trailer. While galloping around the kitchen island. Loudly. The other is putting his ketchup-covered fork on top of his head and singing, "Happy birthday to Mommy..." Then he puts his sippy cup on his head and repeats.

Is this bliss? In some ways, yes. Because I wouldn't have it any other way. (Except maybe Daddy home from work, but he's staying late tonight.)

And, today, the one thought that gets me through all of this is: Thank God we're not having any more kids.

I say that with guilt, knowing there are those out there who can't have more (or even any). But in the same vein, I know MY limits. And I've reached them. TWO IS ENOUGH.

I'm sure I'll look back wistfully on these days some day, and I'll miss the two little screaming, fighting, messy, ketchup-covered, greedy, couch-diving, whiny, self-centered little banshees. Lord, let me remember only the belly laughs and the mispronounced words, the slobbery kisses and dozens of pages filled with "I love you so muhc Mommy." (Yes, she gets the "h" before the "c" every stinkin' time.)

And years from now, pardon me while I laugh inwardly when their kids are the little banshees. Oh, dear God, PLEASE let me live to see those days!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Outdoor Reading

Yesterday, I was pretty down on myself for not being a more fun mom. I feel like I've been nagging and chastising the kids too often. So I took them outside and set up a mosquito net under a tree. I spread a blanket on the ground, and let them chill out and read books in the reading tent. I think they really enjoyed it and I loved taking photos of them.

You wonder why I have a mosquito net hanging around? I've had it for about 14 years now. It was the very first purchase I made with my very first paycheck at my very first "real" job after college graduation. I had always wanted one ever since I was a little girl, and decided to splurge and buy it once I got my own money. It was frivolous and silly, but it hung above my bed for a few years - even after Dan and I were married and moved in together. After a while, I took it down and put it in storage. I think I'll bring it out more, because it has a fun and dreamy quality to it. Part of me doesn't want it to get ruined because it was my first "real" purchase, but the other part of me says it isn't doing any good gathering dust in the basement. Might as well use it!

P.S. After my friend Danielle's stolen photo issues, I'm going to start uploading my photos in very low resolution. Let me know if it's creating any huge issues on your computers at home!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Hot Husband

My husband is hot. I mean really hot.
Of course I mean that in a complimentary way, as a comment on his looks. (Hi, hooney!) But he's also really hot, temperature-wise. His body temp must run a few degrees higher than mine. And it's never really been a problem. He usually humors me and lets me snuggle up against him at night. I think he rolls away from me once he knows I've fallen asleep. So, in general, we do just fine with it.

Except the past few months. With my Raynaud's Syndrome, I am freezing most of the time. Dan says I still feel hot to the touch, but I don't feel very warm inside. There are times he is so hot that he turns to me and exclaims, "Are you still cold?!" The answer is always, "Yes!" I survived winter with hot packs for my hands during the day and an electric blanket at night. And now that summer is here, I finally stopped using the electric blanket.

Until last night. Yep! An electric blanket in June!

Dan got an early Father's Day gift this past weekend. It's a personal air conditioner for our bedroom. (The best part is we got it for $25 on clearance! Marked down about 75%!) He set it up yesterday and closed the doors to our bedroom and let the room cool down before we went to bed. Once bedtime arrived, ooooo baby! It was brrrrrrr cold! And you should have seen the look of pure bliss on his face.

Being the thoughtful man he is, he had already pre-warmed the bed for me by turning on my electric blanket. What a guy!

So we snuggled into bed. Him on the refrigerator side, me on the oven side. And we met in the middle to overlap. Oh, the compromises we make in marriage! And yet, we both come out happy. Pure bliss.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Strikethrough!

So, thanks to my new bloggy friend Gina (and hopefully she'll be my friend IRL soon!), I am testing out my new strikethrough text. Ha! I DID IT! (I feel like Jackson looks after he accomplishes some new feat and throws his arms up and yells that at the world!)

I've always wondered how people do that! I know there's a whole HTML side of blogworld that I just don't get, but I figured there was some silly button in the "create" window when I'm writing a new post. I could never find that button. There's one for small type and one for colored type. There's one for bold and one for italic, but you know I already have those down easily. Or I just use the Windows keyboard shortcut for those. But I could never find the freaking strikethrough button. I saw it used on other blogs and finally asked Gina after reading one of her posts. She told me the HTML for it, and now I got it. So y'all better hold on tight! I'm going to be abusing checking it out often!

I still think a button would be easier.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Creation

Your beauty has weight.

It is tangible and heavy, thickening the air with sweetness. I can barely comprehend the outrageousness of it. With every whisper of a palm tree, every caress of the breeze, every sniff of ocean air, every surprise I stumble upon behind hidden staircases, I can feel your absolute love for your people. You have heightened my sense of love and my desire to love.

What a good god God must be to surround His children with such staggering examples of beauty. My heart overflows with that love and gratitude for it.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Welcome to Summer!

It's official. Summer is here because school got out today. And that means my baby is now a big kid. No more Kindergarten - she's a FIRST grader. My nose wrinkled as I wrote that. Can it be true?

She has her Kindergarten diploma and she received her reading and good citizenship awards. She also brought home this gem. It's a self-portrait from the first day of Kindergarten.

Then here's a self-portrait from the last day. Can you believe the improvement? I actually got tears in my eyes when I saw it. She has learned so much and changed in so many ways.

Katie and the neighbor kids got off the bus today and I had a surprise waiting for them: a banner to welcome them to summer! They got to run through it like the tape at a race finish line.

Then we shared juice and cookies to celebrate the start of summer.

Of course, it doesn't mean we're in for a "real" summer. All the kids on our street are going to summer school this year and it starts in one week. It's more like a summer camp at school, so I don't feel too bad for them. And, hey! It's free. So why WOULDN'T I send Katie? Man, I love our school district!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Dates

Today is a pretty horrible date for a friend of mine, Brina. It's the day her little boy Jacob was born and died in 2001. And then her baby girl Emme was born shortly thereafter, and died after living only two weeks. The sad thing is? I don't even know the day of her birth - only the day of her death.

That got me thinking about all the dates in our lives that we hold close to our hearts. All the anniversaries of joys and also sorrows that no one knows but us. Dates like our first kiss, our divorced parents' wedding anniversary, the day you miscarried, the day we met our husbands, our graduation days, or the death of a loved one.

Happy days: December 23, June 17, March 28, September 7, September 9, September 18, October 16, October 12, January 30, January 23, July 24.

Sad days: October 26, September 7, February 24, May 9, November 9.

And not to mention all the ones in between.

There are silent memorials we build in our hearts to those we love, those we miss, and those things of which we can't let go. Have you told anyone about your dates? Have you let anyone in to mark the milestone with you? And what have you learned on those days? Do you believe that suffering can teach compassion? Or can nothing good come from it?

"There's two dates in time that they'll carve on your stone and everyone knows what they mean./What's more important is the time that is known in that little dash there in between." (Garth Brooks, "Pushing Up Daisies")

EDIT: Here's a link to Brina's website, where you can read the story.

Wordless Wednesday

Running the bases...

And running through the sprinklers...

Summer is here!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

I Only Saw You

I closed my eyes so I couldn't see people watching us. And then I kept them closed because in doing so, it made you the center of my world.

I fell into you, and let you guide me and turn me and twirl me.

By the time I opened my eyes, I couldn't see anyone else anymore.

I only saw you.
esk 5/7/09

Checkbook Balancing

I am procrastinating. I've been trying to avoid this particular task for at least a month, if not more. It's the dreaded balancing of my checkbook. I do it old-school style, like Mom taught me when I was a teenager: I pull the checkbook register out of my wallet and sit down with my statement and check off every single transaction. Then I subtract those that haven't cleared and PRAY that my balance equals the one on the statement.

The problem is that the two numbers are rarely the same. Somehow, almost every single month, I manage to mess up my math or transpose two numbers and I end up with a mess. And it frustrates me to no end. It is one of the few things in my life that immediately makes me feel like a complete failure. I mean, I'm a college-educated, independent self-starter who can't make the math work. I curse myself under my breath and call myself an idiot. And vow to do better the next month.

That's why I'm procrastinating. Balancing my checkbook is a major confidence cutter and I just don't want to do that right now. And I wouldn't... except ANOTHER statement came in the mail. That means I'm two months behind now. Aaaagh! The math issues are going to be awful.

Oh, about the online argument? I have about 4 friends who are trying to convince me to balance online. I just can't wrap my brain around it. Yet. Give me time and I might get frustrated enough to finally join the 21st century!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Unplugged

Saturday May 23 was my day to Unplug. It was all Jodie's idea, back in March. And then she encouraged everyone to pick a day in May to Unplug again. I picked the 23rd. Partly because it would be an easy day to Unplug and partly because I was getting close to the end of May and I HAD to pick a day.

It was an easy day because we had plans to throw Dan's parents a 40th anniversary party. It was at Dan's brother's house, so we wouldn't be home for me to even PLUG into anything. So I kind of cheated, I guess. In any case, I chronicled the day for you. It's kind of A Day in the Life of Elizabeth, but here it is!

First was my Weight Watchers meeting. It was a good weigh in. I lost 4.8 of the 8 pounds I gained over the Virginia/Jamaica/Virginia weeks. Yay for me!

Then we headed out for the party. Decorating came first. Katie is good at that, and Champ helped.

Next came the homemade whipped cream! Katie loved helping with cleanup.

Then came grilling. You can't tell from this picture, but Dan is outside doing a funky dance while enjoying the manly grilling duty mixed with heavy (beer) lifting.

Of course, we had cake. Forty years. Wow! In a somber moment, Dan told me that one of us probably won't make it to our 40th anniversary. I think he means me, with all my bad health history. But I'm hoping and praying that I make it to 40! And the BIG goal is 50. We've always joked that at the 50th, we are renegotiating our contracts. I think one of the re-signing bonuses should involve Jamaica on a yearly basis, don't you?

After the party was over, the kids headed outside to play on the swingset. Jackson learned about gravity by discovering that balls roll down a slide.

I got a halfway decent photo with him.

And then Dan and Katie cuddled on the swing.
And this is what happens when you try to pose the kids for a photo:

The day ended with a long drive home (I'm starting to dread car trips with them because NOTHING keeps Jackson entertained) and then a late bedtime. The best part of the day happened then: because I banned both Dan and I from the TV and computer and phone, we actually sat and talked. Wow. Imagine that! It was really very nice.

I do have to admit one thing: I cheated twice on the Unplugging. When we were at the party, my cell phone rang and I answered it. I didn't stay on for long, but I admit I did answer it because I thought there was some kind of emergency. There wasn't. Same thing happened once we got the kids home and in bed. Our cousin Brandi called and I had been playing phone tag with her and her husband for a few days, so I HAD to answer. It was a great conversation, so it was worth the black mark by my name.

Now, I challenge my readers (all six of you!) to try your own Unplug experiment. I really did enjoy mine, and I'm looking forward to doing it again. Thanks for the encouragement, Jodie!

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