Monday, December 27, 2010

Chronicles of Lake

Last night Lake and I were watching The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe. It was right about the part where Azlan died and came back to life when Lake said, "Why did Azlan come back alive?" I told him, "It's kind of like when Jesus beat death and came back alive... they killed a man who did no wrong."

As we all know, answers to questions lead to more questions, especially when you are 4 years old. Lake asked, "Where do we go when we die?" I said, "Well, those who have asked Jesus to come live in their heart will go to heaven. Jesus will be there and we will have new bodies. We will get to finally see Jesus' face." His eyes got huge with excitement and his mouth wide open! It was priceless. He almost screamed, "I want him to live in my heart!" I said, "Baby, all you have to do is ask him." He smiled and looked upwards and yelled, "Jesus, please come live in my heart!" Then he looked at me with a huge smile. I said, "And now He is there... forever in your heart!" Lake said, "Yay! Jesus is in my heart!!!...." Then he paused and said,"Where do other people go who don't have Jesus in their heart?" The little hamsters in his brain are working overtime at this point... And as much as I don't want to scare a 4 year old, I answered, "They go to live with the devil. Forever." He got a very sad look on his face and said, "What do I do now that Jesus is in my heart?" I said, "Share him with other people."

This morning after breakfast I started typing this blog, and just as I am typing the above paragraph, Lake walks up to me with a huge smile, "Mommy, are you so happy Jesus is living in my heart now?!" Ha! Of course I am! I was excited that he was still thinking about it! He ran to our bedroom screaming, "Daddy, last night I asked Jesus into my heart!" That is when I had to get up and get a mop because my cup ranneth over.

I know there are a lot of people that don't believe in Jesus and this might be a controversial blog post. I know there are a lot of people who say they believe but don't do anything to show they believe. Those people inspire me. Meaning, they make me want to show my children more and more that we do believe in Jesus, because actions speak louder than words. I thank God for my children, because they make me want to be a better person. I know I will never be perfect and someone will always think I am selfish at some point, or I said the wrong thing or I acted one way instead of another. But, I know that those moments are learning curves on this road of life. They don't define me. They push me.

Last week, we were leaving my mom's house and as we passed the cemetery Lake said, "Is Mamaw going to die from smoking those cigarettes?" It amazed me that looking at the cemetery made him think of that. I said, "It is possible." He said, "Because they can kill you?" I said, "Yes, that is why you don't ever want to smoke them." Lake added, "And because they stink!" I had to laugh because yes they do stink! Then he said, "I prayed to Jesus that Mamaw will not die from those cigarettes." As a mom, and as her daughter, you have no idea how this blessed me. He is such a smart, spirited little man.

Then two days later my mom was in the ER ...twice... at one point the Dr. thought she might have Pancreasitis which can be a life-threatening illness. We are so grateful that was not the case. She had a very bad bacterial infection. During the two nights she was in the ER, Lake was worried silly. He kept asking me, "Is Mamaw dying?" I said, "No baby, she is just very sick... make sure you pray for her." Sometimes he would start praying right then. Just a quick simple prayer asking Jesus to heal his mamaw.

It's times like these when you know God has specific plans for specific people. I believe a huge part of his plan for my life is to raise my son to love God, put God above and all to chase after the heart of God. I know Lake is special. He has showed us time and time again that God is slowing working on him, giving him the desires of His heart and creating a mighty man of God.

His heart is an open book... just waiting for God to write the next chapter... and I am on the edge of my seat waiting to read it.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas 2010

Last night Santa came and Santa went - undetected, yet again. Leaving behind a trail of his presence in the form of tighter waistbands, thicker thighs and a few Christmas goodies for a few Christmas Cuties... named Lake and Lennon. As Lake gets older, he seems to be torn between "what did I get for Christmas" and "Christmas is Jesus' Birthday". As parents we are constantly trying to put the emphasis on the Birth of a Savior part. I feel each year, we might need to slack off in the gift department and start focusing more on who can we bless today. Traditionally, we buy him three gifts every year - one "good" gift and two decent gifts. He knows the reason for the "3"... because when Jesus was born, 3 Wise Men brought him each a gift... frankincense, myrrh and gold.
Ever since Lake's first Christmas, I started a Davidson family tradition... Lake and I bake a cake for Jesus' birthday, light the candles and our little family sings "Happy Birthday" to our Savior. This year was no different. I am excited that Lennon gets to experience this with us.
And while you might think I am Martha Stewart in the kitchen (so many do), you couldn't be more wrong. I am a terrible baker! Cooking I can do... Baking I cannot. My cookies are usually burned, my cakes are falling apart, even my cobblers are tasteless messes of dough-y grossness. However, my son thinks I am the greatest and that is all that matters.
My mom was unable to join us this year due to a terrible bacterial infection in her stomach / intestines.... one that landed her in the ER twice. Two days in a row. It was not the same without her ... but we had a wonderful visit... three families combined into one... my husband, Charlie's family, my entire family and my brother-in-law's mom. Blessed, we are.
Lennon loved ALL her gifts, Lake was thrilled with everything new and all bellies are full beyond capacity. Life is good on the home front.
And though you might be thinking this will be a long post about a bunch of sappy Christmas lovin' ... again, you will be wrong... because I am slap exhausted.
Lennon is still wheezing, even while on breathing treatments for a week, and I am getting up early to take her to the clinic - missing church AGAIN. So with spit up on my sweater, green icing under my fingernails and knowing my boots have been on for entirely too many country girl hours....
I bid farewell and a good night to all. I am off to watch "The Chronicles of Narnia" snuggled next to my Booger Bear until we both fall deep into a turkey coma.
Merry Christmas to all... and to all a good night.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

New Life, Take 1

Yesterday I sent an email stating I will not be finishing my last week at work.
The reason:
Lennon is still on (and hating every bit of) breathing treatments. Can't exactly send her to school like this. So we are stuck at home, again, like we have been for the past, gee... I don't even know how many days it's been now... a lot, that is for sure. So we made the best of it. It was a pretty day and we all had cabin fever. I packed up the kids, packed a bag of crackers for the ducks and geese (who never showed up), threw a quilt in and headed to the park. Fresh air could do us all a little good. Still not believing it was as hot as it was just days before Christmas.
Ugh! :( ... gross LA weather.

Little Miss Tooty Bug was showing off her half crawling skills. I do believe her face must be sore at the end of the day from all her smiling. She almost never stops. Unless, of course that one "new" person is trying desperately to get her to smile and she is looking at them with the "give it up" face. Makes me laugh every time, because as soon as they give up and start talking to me or Charlie, she is all smiles staring straight at them.

Random cuteness: Look who has curls! Ok so yeah, it's not much ... but is it not the single cutest curl you have seen?! I hope her whole head fills up with a billion of them and they turn bright red!

This picture truly makes my day... I have the most adorable children and I am not saying that in a because-i-am-the-mother-way ... If you were honest you would admit to yourself, they are they cutest kids. Ever.

Look at the way she looks at him. I swear it... he has NO IDEA how much she LOVES him. She is completely smitten with him. She will scream at him if he gets close. Not a "I'm scared" scream, but a "Oh if I could talk and walk I would chase you down and kiss you and hug you to death" scream. It's the funniest thing ... we literally pile on the couch... Charlie, Lake, Lennon and myself... and let her just go nuts trying to get Lake. She will crawl and climb all over the place until she has his cheek in her mouth or his hair in her hands. She is wild about him. She is wild anyways... but really wild about him!

And there she goes... screaming at him! It's hysterical!

If she could just get her hands on him...

Ooooh... got an ear!

And there they are.... just loving life and each other... These are the moments you realize, life is perfect ... even through sickness and heartache and pain... life can sneak in and just be perfect.

The beauty of loving unconditionally, lies within this little girl's heart ... it's going to teach us all a thing or two. She has already taught us so much.... about what really matters.

I could write on this for days ... as you know. But not tonight. Tonight I will make this short. Because my husband is sleeping and he is sick, as well. And when he is sick and running fever, I like to snuggle against him... because he is warm and my feet are cold. (I pretend he part of the wolf-pack... joking!) But I do snuggle up because I think, no I know, it makes him feel better.

One thing I must share before I head off to sleepy land... My Lake drew a pretty picture. And because he wants to be just like me... he told us he was going to sell his art. So I asked him how much for the "turkey" drawing... and he told me "It is an airplane, not a turkey, and it costs a dollar." But I was out of a dollar so he politely accepted 12 cents... and raced to his room to put it in his piggy bank. It still looks like a turkey with a candy cane nose to me. Your thoughts?!

He sold Charlie the "Wolf" (this was originally a "house" - but once I told him, nice try, but it looks more like a dog he finally admitted it might look that way). He did make a dollar in quarters on this one. And if I do say so myself, it is a darn good painting of a dog... I mean, "Wolf" (I stand corrected, per Lake).

I truly love my kids more than life. And I love that they love each other. And I love that Lake wants to be just like me. And I love that Lennon only laughs really hard and out loud at me. And I love that it's almost Christmas. And I love that we will be baking and decorating Jesus' birthday cake again and singing "Happy Birthday" to Him as we do every year.
I will teach my children that Christmas is about the ultimate gift... the gift that never stops giving.... no, not Charlie's vasectomy.... The gift of a Savior... Jesus IS the reason for the season.

Merry Christmas, everyone.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Love, Me

It's Monday, and I started the day counting down the number of work days (because it's less than counting down the days in general... and I like to be different) until I begin my new journey. "14 Work Days," I said. 14! Then, I turned in resignation #2 and changed my last day to Christmas Eve instead of New Year's Eve, so that ended my day with 10 work days left and life got just a wee bit sweeter. Now, I get to spend the last week of Christmas break at home with my Booger Bear and life is just as it should be.
Then, the day got even better. Even better than that you ask? Oh yes. I called a urologist and bought myself a Christmas present. The gift that never stops giving... I bought and paid for Charlie a vasectomy. Merry Christmas to me... Merry Christmas to me every year from now on.

After I left work, I picked up a sleepy bug and made it home in time to decide I was too tired to cook. So Lake decided for us. He decided he needed to use his Free Pizza Buffet coupon at CiCi's. And even though I do believe that place smells like dirty mop water, I couldn't resist him. He had earned it by saying 10 unprompted "Thank Yous". Who can resist such a darling boy?
Not I... Not. I.

When our bellies were full of cheap pizza and sweet glazed rolls, we piled back in our ride, but not so quickly that I didn't have time to pause and inhale a brisk cold night. Oh I love a brisk cold night. I have not worn a jacket all day and I honestly feel it is the perfect day. Even though I saw some wearing gloves and hats and scarves, me and my thin long sleeve shirt and simple scarf were just dandy without a jacket. I am made for the cold weather. I was born for it.

With a quick stop at the grocery store, where Charlie took Lake in to do a little shopping and I sat in the car with my Lennon bug.... I turned on the country station and started singing. At first to myself and then I climbed in the back and sang to Lennon. I talked to her so sweetly, and she would smile and touch my face, all sleepy eyed. Then I told her how fun it was going to be when Mommy was at home all the time. I told her how much I loved her and how we were going to be best friends. I told her how I was going to teach her to crawl and walk and talk and play pretend and explore and build things. I told her how we would have tea parties until we were tea'd out. I imagined us all dressed up with no place to go but the tea party we made in the back yard... coppin' a squat on a quilt in the shade. I got all misty-eyed with excitement picturing my darling little bug and me. I knew right then, she would be my little sidekick for far longer than I had ever dreamed my daughter would be. She was not going to be that teenage girl who was embarrassed by her mom - not that she would have anything to be embarrassed of anyways. She was mine. All mine.

And as the next song began to fill the air with the country musical golden goodies that I adore so much and take me back to a simpler time .... it went a little something like this...

"If you get there before I do, don't give up on me.
I'll meet you when my chores are through;
I don't know how long I'll be.
But I'm not gonna let you down, darling wait and see.
And between now and then, till I see you again,
I'll be loving you. Love, me."

And though I know that song was written for two lovers, I sang those specific words to Lennon from the very depths of my soul. Why? Because I was reminded that it is very possible she will beat me to Heaven. While most days I do not allow myself to go there or think that or read statistics, I know them very well. It haunts and taunts me daily as I hear of someone ill or someone dying. And maybe if it hadn't of been for my boss telling me, when I turned in my notice, that "Ya know, I understand... with all the issues and health problems Down Syndrome people have, their life expectancy is just not very long. And since Lennon has been so sick and with her heart and all, well you just never know. You need to be at home with her while you can." Nothing could have stung more than that, and nothing could have slapped me right back into reality, and all that is not-so-happily-ever-after, as fast as that did. I tried to fight the tears and I told him to shut up and I told him to stop saying that and I told him I won't listen to it but nothing... and I do mean nothing, could have fought those tears in his office.
Just like nothing could have fought them while I was singing those words to my happily ever after. Because that will be the day my heart stops beating. The day all my fears come crashing down on me... ripping my heart into a million pieces. And the tears just kept falling as I was singing.... It's just a blessing, they say, if we get 30-40 years. 50 would be a miracle, they say, and 60 - well... I am hopeful. I just pray the Lord takes us all at the same time. Maybe, just maybe my heart won't have to be ripped from my body.
All the while I was crying and singing, my Lennon had taken my hand. She held my finger in her tiny palm and was rubbing it with her thumb, as if she were trying to calm me. And at that very moment, it did... a calming joy and love took over and I smiled through tears and she smiled back, confirming her never ending joy and love is exactly what I needed in my life... once again.
About that moment, I realized the song was over and man was I glad. Enough tears for one day. Then, another oldie came on and I had a flashback.... I remembered my brother and I riding in the back of a big tan and black striped van, piled with kids, singing to the top of our lungs, "There's a stranger in my house... some body's here, trying to take her away from me...." and Lennon got the giggles. Lennon was laughing so hard I thought she might not breathe. I am still not sure if I should be offended because I cannot carry a tune in a bucket or proud because no one gets her to laugh as hard as I can. But, then again, I did make me laugh too.
And just like that, the tears had stopped and the laughter had started. It seems like that is a pattern with me and my girl.... Laughter Through Tears. It's kind of our thing. It's usually how I cope with life, and usually the moment God is trying to tell me something. This time, I am pretty sure He was telling me to enjoy her ... snatch her up... breathe her in... because there's more where that came from. There's an eternity ahead, full of laughter with this girl. She is just what the Dr ordered. And she was right on time. Don't dwell on what could be, or could not be.
I am only promised today. That I know for sure.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Free As A Bird

The Book of Revelations, Chapter 7, Verses 16 and 17
(Yes Sir!)
They shall hunger no more, neither shall they thirst anymore!
(Preach Preacher!)
For God shall wipe away...
(Yes Sir!)
Every tear from their eyes!
(Yes Sir!)
Get ready for a Revolution!

Whoot! Whoot! Yeah so sue me... I like to throw in a little Kirk Franklin when I can.

So back to the lecture at hand... life sometimes throws you lemons. It undoubtedly will and at that moment, you have to make a choice of what to do with those lemons. Do you take shots of vodka trimmed with sugar to numb the burn? Do you make lemonade? Or do you use them as inspiration for your next adventure ... like, trying a lemon drop martini or baking lemon squares or lemon risotto basil? Is the lemon a garnish to your favorite fish or fruit dish? Do you pile them in a bowl for centerpiece? Do you throw them away because you can't bare to even try to enjoy them?
Or are you like me ... you slice the lemon being oh so careful not to squirt it in your eye, smell it, squeeze a tad for a hint of flavor praying to God it doesn't burn your open wound hang nail, scrunch your nose to the sour yet sweet goodness and hope you didn't squeeze out more than you can handle?
I have held onto my lemons for long enough. Almost to the point of rotting... so I sliced it up all nice and thin and I have decided to make lemonade. Today, as I hold up my glass of lemonade ... I say a cheers (and/or good riddance) to the job I am leaving behind.
I turned in my notice for work today. It felt good. No, it felt great. I have Senior-itis. Like my senior year of high school, when I knew only one more 6 weeks left and I was tossing that sucker to the wind. Onto bigger and better things. It's like I get a do over at life. Except with a lot more experience and stability under my belt. And a heck of a lot more support. If I didn't have the husband I do, I could not imagine this new adventure taking place.
I have so many thoughts, so many ideas, so many grand schemes racing through my mind. Excitement and fear and girlish giggles, and hopes and dreams and faith, and a butt load of trust just bubbling and spurting out of me like a geyser just waiting for those creative juices to erupt into the great gifts and talents God has given me. They have been buried behind a desk for too many years. It's time ... Release me, I say! Free this bird!
All the while, I am laughing at myself because there is one lemon I did have to throw into the garbage, rotted to the core. My iPhone ... he is six feet under, and I am carrying around an ancient Sony Ericsson, tapping at it like an old blue hair. I cannot even figure out how to turn the volume up. It's sad really. Sad that Apple has made everything so easy and now what used to be the norm is nothing but troubles.
But instead of getting three sheets to the wind and recovering from a massive hangover, on New Year's Day, I will be celebrating freedom and newness. Free to discover a whole new me. Free to make mistakes. A new life. A new adventure. It's going to be difficult at times and I would be kidding myself if I didn't expect some troubles. But He won't leave me. He won't forsake me. He promised to always lead me. If there is one thing I know, it's that I am not alone. I am not the first one to take on this adventure, to travel this road. Nowadays it is the road less traveled. However, I know it's the right move. And better yet... We know it's the better move. And if I was a betting girl, I would bet my whole pile on this better life. It's what's right for us ... what's good for us ... and what's beneficial for us.
I had a fleeting thought today...
I saw my daddy smiling down at me... I must have been somewhere between eight and nine years old. He was telling me what a good job I did and how creative I was. He was so proud. I could see the proudness glowing around him. I had taken a piece of fire wood (kindling actually), cut a bird from a piece of old wall paper and modge podged (decoupaged) it to the wood, covering the wood in the clear glue so that it shined all over... and with a pink paint pen I wrote (not sure why I chose such a manly color) something to the extent of what a great dad he was.
And a few years later when they cleaned out his office and sent his belongings home to the deceased's family ... there, in the box, were the drawings and home made cards we had given him on Father's Day, the pictures of his children he so proudly displayed, the plaques he received for all his hard work... and at the bottom of the box, the heaviest item.... sitting like an anchor to it all... the piece of bird decoupaged wood I had made him.
I know I am creative. I know I have it in me to do great things. I have always been afraid of rejection and failure. But I will not let it define me any longer. He would not want it. I do not want it. I am destined for greatness and if I let anything hold me back... I am telling my children they should allow the same.... And that just isn't fair.
It's time to spread my wings and fly. After all, did He not tell me to mount up with wings like an eagle, that I would run and not get tired, that I would walk and not become weary? Who am I to argue?

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Throw Up Your Deuce-Deuce

"Mommy... if Jesus is in our heart, can He get out?" - Lake
"No. If you have invited Him to live there, He is there forever." - Me
"Yes, He can. He comes out when you share." - Lake
"This is true. You are too smart!" - Me
(insert smiling 4 year old little boy here)
I swear, he was setting me up.

Man, he gets me every time. Just when I think I have this mommy thing figured out, Lake throws a curve ball and I realize he might be smarter than me. He really amazes me and challenges me in more ways than one. I don't mean the challenges that make you second guess your parenting tactics - those are a given. Challenges that make you look at your life and go "Man, I am doing this life thing all wrong." Good thing God gives us do overs. Nothing is in stone, just yet. So every night I lay down for bed, I ask for forgiveness and ask that if I am given tomorrow, may I please start over. So far so good.

I read this blog tonight, that stated the very thought I had driving home from the Buddy Walk the other day. Which was, "This whole extra chromosome thing, has it's perks. More than I expected for sure. But the one major thing that really rocks is that, I love kids. I love loving kids. And Lennon will be a "kid" at heart her whole life and I get to be right smack dab in the middle of that. I get to be a kid myself forever because of her and her youthful spirit. She is like my very own Fountain of Youth." Dang, I am one lucky chick.

I know what I want to get everyone for Christmas and yes I am going to tell you so if you are family, skip this paragraph and do not click on this link!!! It's the cutest calendar ever. Talk about brightening your day every day. A Down Syndrome calendar of kids by a photographer in Germany..... I will visit her one day and I will have her take pics of Lennon and Lennon will be in her calendar for all the world to see. It's just a matter of timing and money.

OK, here we go... the blog I have been wanting to post but get scared every time I try. Like, I don't want to say the wrong thing or the right thing in the wrong way. I just want to be real, like I always have. I don't always do the right thing and I never claim to be perfect... but this is really hard to talk about. I will just be honest.

The Buddy Walk.

I was scared, I won't lie. And I had every reason to be. I knew it would be hard and I knew it would be fun and I knew it would be weird and new and exciting and scary. But, I didn't know how scary. I have to first say that I was so impressed with the 10 year old girl with DS who spoke in front of all those people, on stage, with a microphone, as if she were born to do it. I cannot even speak in my office staff meeting without wanting to cry because of my insecurities. I literally have to work myself up to it and then fight back the tears when it is my turn to say anything. She inspired me is such a pathetic excuse for a compliment when referring to her. And when they called all the parents with DS kids to the front, to stand at the bottom of the stage, I nearly peed my pants. Out of fear. I do NOT like people staring at me. I do NOT like being the center of attention, you see. I do not like being in front of crowds to stand, I do NOT like it, Sam I Am. But I dealt with it. I put on my big girl panties, the comfy ones since I have yet to lose this baby weight, and I did it. I stood there. I did not cry. That is, until the mom read it. Now you might be wondering what the "it" is.....
It started with me making us t-shirts.... Lake, Charlie and Myself... T-shirts that look like this...

And this was written underneath her picture (taken by Heather of Two Suez)...

Psalm 139:13-14... For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows that very well.

And that is when I knew.
Because I remembered this vision that He gave me on June 6th 2010:
On the way home from getting the pizza, Charlie said, "I thought of Lennon today when Brother Tom gave a scripture in his message." I said, knowing I was about to cry because I am an emotional idiot when it comes to my kids, "Oh really? What scripture and what did it say?" He answered, already having it pulled up on his iPhone, "Psalm 139:13-14... For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows that very well." I sat with tears rolling down my face as we rolled on down the road. Charlie started laughing, "Are you crying?!" I said, laughing as well, because we both know how emotional I am, "Yes!" Then, Lake said, "Why are you crying?" I said, "Happy tears, booger. They are happy tears."

I was crying because, I was picturing Lennon, a teenager, in her bedroom, sprawled out on her turquoise painted iron bed... the bed I painted for her... fashion magazines laying around, some open and some not... her radio going and her foot bobbing to the music. She is reading her bible. She is reading this scripture to herself, as she questioned why she was the way she was. I didn't picture her sad, I pictured her smiling and reassured, with a peace in her heart. That made me so happy, thinking of her loving herself just the way she was, just as we love her, and just perfectly made the way God wanted her to be.

I knew this was for me. This day was to show me my new life and all that came with it. He knew I needed reassurance. And I am sure He knew I was going to cry right there in front of everyone. I held them back as hard as I could, fighting it.... widening my eyes, moving my eyes to and fro... not looking directly at anyone, trying to think of things that made me laugh or made me mad or made me think of anything except crying. But alas, I failed. Quite a few tears fell. But none like the ones that came once we were at home, once the kids were in bed for the night, once I went into my bedroom and shut the door and laid on the bed in my pajamas in the fetal position. It was a cry I haven't cried in a long time.

I am still unsure as to what I was crying about. I am sure it was the overwhelming snowball of everything - of the future, of the present, of my past, of still thinking this might be punishment, of not understanding the blessing in it's fullest, of fully understanding the blessing in it's fullest and not knowing what I did to deserve it, of knowing I did nothing to deserve it just knowing He loves me that much. Just everything. And dang you would know it, I am crying now. It was just hard. Hard hard hard. I know all those moms felt this at some point so I feel somewhat justified in my pathetic wailing. But part of me feels guilty for being such a baby- you know, "Suck it up, Toots!"

Then there was the sheer joy of it... the joy of seeing little dark headed Noah running as fast as he could with the biggest smile I have ever seen. The sheer joy of little Lilly Kay squealing and jumping in delight with her long blond curly locks slinging around her. The sheer joy of Lennon getting any and every bit of the deserved attention she craves and loves.... smiling so hard her face had to hurt. To know her is to love her and I know her very much. There was just nothing like it. Nothing could beat that. Nothing even compares.

And every time I am asked, "How was the walk." I fight the tears still. I don't know if it will get easier... but I think it will. I mean, I never thought I would stop crying about my daddy leaving this world so soon, but I eventually did. "This too shall pass... " - I just keep telling myself that.

Then it does.... no, the tears still come, and they aren't all sad tears, "Some people cry when they are happy, right mommy?" (-Lake) Yes they do. Like today, when I picked up Lennon from her little school and her teacher was ecstatic because Lennon ate so well all day, and ate so well for her specifically. That is when you just gotta give God the props, you know. Throw up your "deuce-deuce" to the man upstairs out of flippin' relief. I am starting to see it... The light at the end of a very long and dark tunnel is starting to get bigger and brighter. Lennon is getting stronger and smarter, and she is doing so many new baby things. To Him be the Glory.

Now if everything else in life would just get on board.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Anything and Everything

"My love isn't a weapon, it's a lifeline; reach out and take hold, and don't let go."
— Francine Rivers (Redeeming Love)

What a great book. I was reminded this week of who I am in God's eyes. That in itself can be a very scary thought, depending on how you view yourself... or how you could view yourself. I was thinking back on the days I spent in the hospital... when Lennon was born... when we found out. And still it's still like it was yesterday... when I sat and cried so hard I bled from my nose. I just knew God was finally dealing me the hand I deserved. I had no ace in the hole this time. I just knew He was getting me back for all the harm I had done. All my sins bound together in one bundle and served to me on a silver platter. I wish now I could take it all back... I wish now I had the chance to go back to that time and love on her with a sensible mind. With all I now know. But the past is the past. And in the past it shall remain.

But here in the present, I look in her almond-shaped sweet blue eyes and all I see is love. I not only see her love looking at my love, but I see His love looking at me. Looking deep into my heart of hearts. Showing me things I never thought possible. Things like, forgiveness and what's really important in life. He never ceases to surprise me.

"Nothing separates the generations more than music. By the time a child is eight or nine, he has developed a passion for his own music that is even stronger than his passions for procrastination and weird clothes." - Bill Cosby

Oh Bill, we miss a wholesome TV show. It's so funny sometimes, the things I do as a mom that probably sound so stupid and corny - but when I do them with Lake or Lennon, they make all the sense in the world. I love to sing to them... even after Lake says, "Mommy, you sing bad." I sing songs he knows, like Michael Jackson hits or King of Leon, and sometimes kid's church songs and he wonders how I could ever know that song. I sing in accents from around the world and he tries to mimic me - he does a really great Indian accent, by the way. I forever sang to him about wearing diapers: "Diaper Diaper Diaper Dan. Wearin' his diaper the best he can" or about waking up, "I woke up one morning, just about the break of day... Jesus came and He touched me and He washed all my sins away!" And now I sing to her, "You're my little bug drop short and stout, I love to kiss you on your spout. I don't wanna hear you cry or pout, I pick you up and love pours out." Or when I would stand them up in my lap, hold their hips and wiggle them singing Ricky Martin's "Shake your bon bon, shake your bon bon!" Parenthood definitely has it's perks.

"Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body. " - Elizabeth Stone

Today she is but a few days from being 7 months old. As a parent you can't wait to "grow them up". When will they roll over? When will they cut teeth? When will they crawl, walk and run? And when they do it, you want to snatch them up and tell them "No no! You are growing up too fast." Because you know the times when your bedtime snuggles with your booger or bug have now been replaced with late nights, standing in the once-the-bedroom-of-your-booger-or-bug-who-is-no-longer-a-baby-but-a-newlywed are just around the corner. And you just want to hide them ... maybe those days will tarry a bit longer. They just grow up too fast.

I hate that I cannot be there every second of their day. I have never understood working moms. I don't understand not having the drive to be home and experience all the firsts together. To build things and craft things and glue things and paint things. To explore the backyard and have picnics under the sun with a cool breeze blowing and a short little giggly toot slurping on a box of apple juice sitting next to you. I have this fear Lennon will say mama to one of the therapists or her nursery worker before she says it to me. It will break my heart into a million pieces... because to be honest, they see her more than I do. She wakes at 6am - I leave for work at 7am. I am home by about 6pm - she is in bed by 7pm. Two hours a day. That is all I get. And for people to wonder why I don't return texts or calls or emails or heytells.... it's because by that point, reality of my busy life has set in and I look around at a filthy house and that is when I know, I do not have it all.

"Fear is just your feelings asking for a hug." - Danielle Sanchez-Witzel, (My Name is Earl)

"This human is going to look different than the other humans I draw," he said. He was telling me about the man with muscles he was going to draw. He is so funny with his choice of words... speaking as if he were a robot or alien. I was telling Charlie about how our booger had the lady in the Optometrist's office laughing today. Partly because of his crazy messy hair today and partly because, well, he is funny. On the way home, he asked if we could go to the Zoo on Saturday and I told him no because we have the Buddy Walk for Down Syndrome Awareness.

There it is again, the opportunity to tell him about his sister and how she is a bit different... the same, but different. But I don't do it. Why? Because I don't want him to look at her any different. But I do want him to be "aware". Oh the irony. Plus, how do you explain to a little brother that there is a whole walk - a whole day - dedicated to his sister, and people like her.

It's our first Buddy Walk and to say I am a bit nervous is putting it lightly. I don't know why, but it scares me a little. Like, this little bit of anxiety and breathlessness takes over me and I cannot breathe for just a second. I guess it's the reality of the new life we have and the seeing what lies down the road thrown out there in plain view... just slapping us right in the face. I am never around anyone with Down Syndrome. I don't know what to expect. And the not knowing is scary. I do know however, there will be tears... sweet happy tears, because I know I am going to meet some of the happiest people, the happiest children, I could ever imagine meeting. Thinking about that, just brought a smile to my face.

Smiling through tears. That is about how I live life these days. I am not sure why, but I cry all the time... it's not always sad tears. Everything makes me cry. It's like a gazillion tons over-emotional tears have been stored up in the clouds of my scattered brain and now those clouds are too full. If I am happy - tears. If I am scared - tears. If I laugh real hard - tears. If I am angry - tears. It's really weird, and I am not used to it. Frankly, I am sick of tears. I want to feel normal again. But then again, what is "normal". The Good Lord knows, I have never been that. So I put on my happy face and I put on my rain boots and I say to the world... bring on the rain.

I figure at this point I can handle just about anything..... and then anything happens.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Four Empty Hens' Nests

The weekend came and the weekend went... and it went out with a bang. Two bangs actually, two ear infections smack dab in the middle of my bug's ears. Boo. Boo, hiss. Though they are all that linger of the weekend, the memories we made will last for a lifetime. A much needed girls trip to celebrate two birthdays.... Mine and Nikki's.

Relaxation and laughter are all I need to have a good time. And a new pair of boots. Make that two pair. And the Tigers winning by the skin of their teeth, yet again.

After a long wait in Car Wash West, I got my oil changed and my ride cleaned because I wouldn't as much let a dog ride in it, much less my friends. Oh how my ride must loathe me every chance it gets. It is dubbed the MILK DUD for more reasons than necessary.

And after a good cup of Joe and a shot of 5 hour energy, we hit the open road... all but screaming with delight like little girls on Christmas morning. Nikki and I drove and talked and talked and drove and talked and laughed and laughed and talked all the way to Dallas... sharing life stories and giggling at such n such and singing Britney Spears simply because we can.

Once we arrived to the big D, we had lunch, and I introduced Nikki to a good friend, IKEA. I am pretty sure they hit it off just as I thought they would. And life long friends they will be. All the while, my toll tag was sported proudly in the window like bling bling, because I'm chill like that. Oh D, how I have missed thee and thee hath missed me.

The day came and slowly went, and the sun fell on D... bringing to life the lights and the skyline I love. We headed to the hotel, luggage in tow, ready to primp and shine and dine. Though my hotel bed was a bit on the dramatic side... doing everything it could to wound us, but we made it work and we didn't complain because we didn't have a complaining bone in our bodies at this point. Why? Because we were on vacation. When the flat iron was hot and my new eyeshadow was making it's way onto my face, and we were anticipating the arrival of the other half of our all girls getaway gang.... that's when we got the call.... Ashley called, and while I just knew she was going to tell me she was downstairs in the lobby... she surprised me with, "Taryn... it kills me to do this ... But, we are lost. We have been driving around and paid the same toll lady twice. Can you come get us?" And after much, and I do mean MUCH laughter... I drove all of 50 yards to where Ashley and Jennifer were parked and showed them the way to their home away from home.

The gang left dinner to be decided upon me... so I chose my favorite Mexican restaurant, Blue Mesa Grill... I ate all the sweet potato chips and smoky salsa my heart and belly could handle. Shortly after we arrived, a friend from back home met us there and the five of us shared much laughter and many wise cracks until the waiter came to announce the kitchen was closing. That was our cue. Time to go. So we left and said our good byes... until next time. Though the night was young, alas we were not. We drove and drove and drove and drove, looking for trouble but trouble must have aged with us... and after much adieu about nothing... we opted for stretchy pajamas, sans the over shoulder boulder holders, and late night chats during a risky game of Go Fish amidst our hotel sheets. It was just what the doctor ordered.

The morning greeted us with a Starbucks in our hotel lobby. I had my usual, Hazelnut Breve. Soon after, we hit the city on a mission.... our mission? Sam Moon... And to see if there was anything we couldn't live without. I nearly bought a hat, a hat that would turn out to be a mistake, as almost all hats are. (Insert "You've Got Mail" quote... Check!) After I nearly had a nervous breakdown in Sam Moon, not because of all the girlie whose-its and whats-its galore... but because the place is similar to a scene out of Animal Kingdom... lionesses on the prowl, looking for small slow gazelles to prey on. It's amazing how a good sale can take a nice old blue hair and turn her into Medusa, the snake haired witch. After our visit to Animal Kingdom was done, we shoe shopped til we dropped... and we landed at California Pizza Kitchen with a table full of appetizers and pizza. Then we shoe shopped some more until we plopped our tired kidless, and husbandless bodies in the AMC theater for a chick flick... a sappy romantic comedy with a little bit of eye candy. And after we shoe shopped, yet again, I finally found a pair of boots that would "do" until I could feel good about shoveling over $350 on the boots I really wanted ... the boots I know will make my heart sing. High Boots Davidson, strikes again. Twice.

Then it was off to the hotel for a freshen up and change of clothes... sportin that Purple and Gold. Our friend, Summer, met us for dinner.... and we lived it up like a bunch of bachelors with chicken wings, french fries, onion rings and football. And when I jumped up screamin and hoopin and hollerin for those Tigers, my chair flew backwards and fell over, nearly taking down a waiter carrying a tray of drinks.... still, I didn't care. My Tigers won!

The next day was filled with Pappadeaux's and more Starbucks.... and then the ride home... That is where we saw the biggest rack of antlers I have ever seen and the most unattractive man on a motorcycle with a his shirt poofed out like a balloon. Many more laughs... a four hour road trip full of HeyTell shout outs, old school rap and an entire round of Britney Spears' greatest hits.... home was looking better and better... because my booger and my bug were needing my hugs and I was needing theirs.

Then I got the call, she was running fever and crying... she NEVER cries. I knew something was wrong. I have heard her cry three times... once when she got her shots, once when she got her leg stuck in the crib slats, and once when she didn't want her momma to put her down after her momma had been in Cancun for a week. She wouldn't eat and I couldn't get there soon enough. I took her to the after hours clinic where "Doctor Aunt Robbie" checked her out and told me she had not one but two ear infections. My heart broke. I knew she was in pain... she moaned and moaned and whined... but when she would look at momma and smile through those swollen eyes... I would melt.

I am home with her today, still running a little fever, and shoveling meds down... I am getting all the snuggles I can from a sick and sleepy baby bug. Just reminiscing of the fun filled weekend I had and all the memories that were made....
I couldn't love my life and my friends more. It's absolute bliss when you have those you can be 100% yourself and they still love you. Even if Nikki thinks I need intervention for all my ADHD flaws ;)
Love you girls... and thanks for a wonderful birthday weekend! 21 and holding!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Heart of the Matter

So, I woke up this morning and my immediate thought was "No matter how bad a situation is, if your heart is in it, you will do whatever it takes to ride it out. No matter how good the situation is, if your heart is not in it, it doesn't matter because you are done." That is where I am at right now.... With a particular part of my life, anyways. But, I feel good about it. I think I have shed enough tears and cared too much about things I cannot control. And finally, I am ok with walking away and not caring what anyone else thinks.

On another and lighter note, the day before that, I woke up and thought, "My life is one big spoof." And I laugh still as I recollect the ideas I have concocted in my mind ... those movies that make up parts of my life I believe are "spoofs".... Divine Secrets of the YaYa Sisterhood meets The Devil Wears Prada meets City Slickers meets Office Space meets The Other Sister meets Couples Retreat.

Today, my handsome and darling husband took off for Death Valley to root for the Tigers tomorrow. I am here with the kiddos, soaking up as much of the lovin' as I can. The day started with adorable snuggles in Lady Lennon's crib - The Bug and her big "Bubba" (Bubba because I think every southern boy should have a redneck nick name).

Then it was off to the office to start the daily grind. At nearly the day's end, I get a call that Lennon's school has flooded and I needed to leave work and go get her. Since the hubs' and his parents were out of town, that left just me ... I left work early, knowing I will have tons to do on Monday.... and headed to the school. There, I found tons of water and a cleaning truck and mad chaos in the parking lot. I scooped the bug up and headed home. Not sad at all that I actually had an extra hour or more to spend with her today... because sleep is still her BFF. I do envy her on so many levels. So after lots of snuggling and chatting with Lake about his day at Pre-k 4 and a nice chat with his Miss Kaitlyn... Booger, Lennon Bug and I headed to Fox's Pizza (because, yes it is better than Johnny's) for a nice family dinner - just us three. Lake, to my dismay was disappointed that it was "just us" - he wanted so badly for MJ and Thomas Wade to come eat with us... But when they had other plans, I vowed to make it very fun! Then, worried if I had promised the moon.

We ordered my Booger's favorite... Pepperoni, just so he an pick the pepperonis off... not sure if he really likes the extra grease they provide or flavoring? And a Fox's Favorite with no onions for me. I told him if he could eat 3 pieces he could have the chocolate chip cookie he so badly wanted. He promised he could and he made good on his promise... so I sent him to the cash register with my debit card and told him to tell the lady what he wanted. He waited so patiently in line, like a big boy, constantly looking back at me, sitting at the table with the Sleeping Bug and a full belly.... he was giving me the absolute biggest smile he had... so excited to be "big".

Then the lady asked him, "What can I get you?" as she leaned over the counter to admire the handsome little man. With his sweet little country voice he responded, "I would like two chocolate chip cookies." Mommy was proud... and even more proud when the other worker bee came around from the counter to chat it up with him while telling the other worker bees in the kitchen what a doll he was. And even more proud when the little girl wearing the Drew Elementary t-shirt, sitting with her grandma, tried to get his attention and he blew her off and her grandma said "Does he go to your school?" and she said sadly, "No."

Half a cookie later:

Another half of a cookie later:

Then Lady Lennon decided to join us, not only in body but spirit.... and full of it she is. Six months and growing. She is hands down the cheeriest little toot toot I have ever encountered. God knew what he was doing, that is for sure. She has met more milestones... Allow me to brag, if you will.... Prop Sitting - and almost sitting up all on her own, no props! And, grabbing her feet... which she LOVES. Oh the joy she gets when she finally gets a hold of one. Her ab muscles are getting stronger and her smile is getting bigger and her giggles are getting louder. She gets so tickled at me sometimes she can barely get her breath and it makes me laugh so hard I cry every single time... whether it's from true joy or sheer delirium from all the extra hours I put in at work and getting up at the butt crack of dawn every morning after 2am feedings, I don't know.

Sitting there waiting on Lake to finish his cookies, he noticed we were sitting by a large TV. It was one of those "Nature Strikes Back" shows. Lake's questions of the day, "Mommy, what is a hurricane? Is it a little bit like a tornado? It has a lot of wind? Have you ever been in one?" I did my best to explain a hurricane and a flood and an avalanche and a landslide. This was a lot to take in for a 4 year old, but he was glued to the TV.

After we got home, got the bug to bed, changed into our pajamas, and picked up toys.... He asked me, "Mommy, I was figurin' we could watch one of those shows that is like Swamp People or River Monsters." I laughed and said, "Sure." I know most kids would prefer Phineas and Ferb and we usually watch that or iCarly, but tonight was different. After searching all channels we ended up on..... "Nature Strikes Back". Then we watched "Tornado Road". He had so many questions and when it showed a greenish grey cloud that was soon to be a tornado, I said, "Oh that is pretty. Those clouds are pretty." he Lake looked at me with the most offended look on his face... as if I had said a dirty word... "Mommy, do you want to be in a tornado?" I said sternly, "Well no." He continued, "Then you do not think those clouds are pretty... because those turn into tornadoes! And tornadoes are not pretty, they are bad!" Smart boy. Point taken and dually noted.

In the middle of Tornado Road, I had to go feed Lennon. I told Lake, as I paused the TV (Gotta love DVR and modern technology), "Wait here on the couch, I will be right back." After her bottle was down and I attempted to burp her for a long while, I returned to this:

So much for Tornado Road.

This day has brought me to one last and final deep thought....
There is truly no greater job than that of being a mother... the innocence of a young mind, the laughter of a darling baby girl, the never ending snuggles, sugars, and silliness.... Nothing can compare. I wish everyone had a chance to experience this. I know not everyone does and not everyone wants to, but to those who do have this divine and blessed opportunity... do not take it for granted. Do not let a moment go by in which you could have nurtured them, or taught them, or just had fun with them. I didn't have a lot of that growing up... don't just "be" there. Own the moment. Make it unique and make it memorable. The memories you share will be what carries them through life long after you are gone.

In Memory of Ted "Daddy" Dollar (he had no middle name so we gave him one)
January 24 1955 - September 29 1988
"God took him home. It was His will. But in our hearts, he liveth still."

Monday, August 9, 2010

An Old Soul

Dr O'Boyle (Pediatric ICU Dr): Robin, is your sister a hippie?
Robin: What?! No.

Dr O'Boyle: Does she like the 60s? I think she might be a hippie.
Robin: I mean, her house is kind of retro eclectic? I mean, I don't think she's a hippie tho.
Dr O'Boyle: Yeah, that's what I thought. She's a hippie.

I am not sure if that is how it went... but that was basically the conversation between my sister, Robin and the PICU Dr at St. Francis. I laughed so hard because I was shocked. But the more I thought about it... the more it seemed to fit my personality. Come to think of it.... there is a lot about me that could be described as a hippie. Obviously there is a lot about me that also could not be described as a hippie... like I do shave my armpits and I do wear a bra.
I wonder if things like this have anything to do with our parents and the way we were raised. Like, my dad was big into music and I remember him playing it while he worked out on his VW Bug or his truck or while he grilled or while he was welding whatever new thing he was building. Maybe we just get stuck in an era? I mean, I was born in the late 70s. Maybe my soul still resides there?
Even in high school, I found a closet full of my aunt's old clothes and I wore every bit of it to school and I can remember my "friends" saying I was "the different one" or even calling me weird... but I didn't want to wear bell bottoms just on "hippie day". I wanted to butt cut my long hair and wear anything that reminded me of the 60's or 70's. I am proud to say I also owned a t-shirt with a big picture of Greg Brady on it. I wore a lot of tye dye and a lot of denim.
I still say "groovy" when I really like something.
Maybe that is why I fell so easily into drugs and that whole scene? I liked the big giant JNCO pants... they reminded me of bell bottoms, just an extreme version. I have always liked trippy looking things, like swirls.... I like the natural elements like flowers and wood. I prefer to be barefoot in grass. My favorite thing is to sit outside and stare at the stars and talk. I can still get into a deep deep conversation with someone about something and take it way beyond what most people would... trying to reason it out or find the root of what caused it to be that way.
I named my children "Lake" and "Lennon".... unintentionally thinking of it being hippy-ish. However, they both have that hippy element... Lennon for obvious reasons. My house definitely has that retro vibe with the blue walls and orange and green accents. Swirls and stripes and flower patterns... birds and trees and all things calming. I love old furniture, bought at garage sales and the Goodwill, redone with mild modern touches.
I believe the woman is made to be a mom and stay at home. I believe in tapping into your creative side as often as you can. I believe in color and lots of it. No beige here. I believe flowy cotton clothing is the key to happiness. I believe in climbing trees until you are too old to walk.
Even tonight, I started to make a play list of songs I wanted to listen to while soaking up the sun in Cancun. The songs that I chose... most, well almost all of them, are from the 60s and 70s. With artists like, The Beattles, Bob Seger, Steve Miller Band, The Mamas and The Papas, Lynyrd Skynyrd.... and so many more.... even the more recent artists that remind me of those artists made the cut. Creating that play list is what got me to thinking about all this... So... I guess, deep down, I just have an old soul. An old soul who is, and always will be, young at heart.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Day Three: On The Alien Planet

"Thursday and Friday take too long... and before I know it, Saturday's gone... but it's Sunday now and you can bet that I'm alright." - Lorrie Morgan

On Thursday, I started back to work full time, after seven months off. I dropped my booger and bug off at daycare much earlier than they have been in a very long time. Once again, my heart wept as I drove away, knowing they would be in the care of someone else, other than the one who was created to care for them. I know in my heart of hearts, it is the only option if we want to live the comfortable life we have grown accustomed to, though I will never feel content. God, please hear my cries and help me not to be bitter and jealous. And just so I don't start crying I will change the subject... and push those feelings way down deep... save them for a rainy day.

Saturday morning was much like every other Saturday morning. Charlie golfed and I was on mommy duty. My heart (my children) and I stayed in our jammies until well after lunch, just because we can. After Charlie returned, he bug-sat, while Lake and I headed to the park. We made mud pies with smiley faces and rock & sea shell soup. We ate until our imaginary bellies hurt. We watched tiny minnows in the lake. Then, we walked man made trails in dark woods until they ended, in search of anything that made him smile. We saw a tree stump with two big holes and Lake told me that is where beavers lived. Beavers that were best friends with Ants. We found our way to two playgrounds, where we played drive thru restaurants with a very low window. As I drove my pretend car through, Lake looked up at me through the tiny window with the most innocent eyes I have ever seen, grinning from ear to ear, just happy I was playing with him. I ordered a pretend cake for $117.52 so perfectly crafted by my booger, that no doubt, would have made Judy blush. On our walk back to the car we passed purple and yellow flowers, a caboose, and another beaver hole. We were almost to the car when I told Lake we should race... and before I could get "Ready, set, go!" out of my mouth he had already taken off running... and because he had a head start he won and because I am a sore loser I called him a cheater. Then he politely explained, "Mommy, that is the name of the game... cheat to win." I could have used this moment as a lesson to young Lake, but I was laughing so hard I just let it go. One day, I will get my chance and even after that, Karma will no doubt teach him this lesson.

That evening we packed up and headed to Shreveport for dinner with friends. Lake cried because he didn't want to play with girls and I told him he could bring a "boy" toy to play with... He had every intention on bringing his guns and his army knife, but with the hustle and bustle of getting out of the house on time, the only thing he remembered was the army knife. After we arrived, I pushed he and the girls in the swings for a while and then when I started sweating like a Cub Scout at Neverland, I decided they could swing on their own... only to hear Lake's broken hearted cry for mommy to stay outside. I went in anyways to check on Lennon and when I looked out the glass of the back door, there stood Lake with a sad face, wearing his AC/DC knock-off kids shirt that read "AB/CD", camo shorts and his army knife resting on glass.... looking just like a psycho from a horror movie. After a hearty laugh, I remembered, these are the times I wish I had a new camera. (my birthday is 10/6 - hint hint)

When dawn broke, Lake woke... and climbed right up between Charlie and I only to fall fast asleep again. My alarm sounded the usual church bells and I got up quietly to feed the bug. I wanted so badly to sleep in since I had only 4 hours of rest.... but I do believe Sundays are for gathering with my church family. So, I did just that, even if we were late.... again. After church and a full belly, booger bear and his daddy piled up in our bed for a nice long nap, while my bug and I piled in Lake's loft bed for a nice long slumber. She and I both fell fast asleep and after about an hour I woke to her against my face... she had rolled onto her back and right up against me. Even with my eyes still closed I could smell her lavender skin and I knew what she was doing... it was the sound I hear on the baby monitor every night.... my bug sucking her thumb. I peeked one eye open and to my surprise, her turquoise blue eyes were wide open staring a hole into my soul, as if she were just waiting for me to get up and play. I smiled at her and she smiled back... then I turned her on her tummy and she went right back to sleep .... and so did I.

Day three of career life starts in the morning... Even though I am back at work... I know there will be another lazy Saturday and another restful Sunday (Lord willin' and the creek don't rise). So until then, I will dwell on the love and comfort they left me, while anxiously awaiting on the next.

My cup runneth over.

___ for the two brothers who no doubt are giving Peter good laughs at the Pearly Gates, you are greatly missed and never forgotten....
"Happy Birthday uncle Dan (RIP)" and "Happy Anniversary Momma and Daddy (RIP)"

Monday, July 26, 2010

Living the Snug Life

I feel so cheery right now. At this moment, I am reflecting on the snuggles I received last night. I had snuggled with my bug for a while before I laid her in her bed for the night. After she was fast asleep and off to dream land, where sleepy grins live on her face without her knowing, my booger told me he wanted to snuggle before he went to bed. I offered to rock him in the rocking chair of Lennon's room if he could be quiet while she slept. He excitedly obliged. We sat there rocking in silence, when I realized, he is so big. He is almost my height... well not almost, but close. Lake is now 42 inches tall and I am 65 inches tall. He is barely four years old and I know soon he will pass me up. He will always be my baby boy. He is growing so fast... and just as I was about to tell him how much I loved him, he looked up at me and whispered, "You are such a sweet mommy." My heart was immediately mush and with tears in my eyes, I said "I love you more than anything in this world." Then, I put his big boy self in his big boy bunk bed and kissed him good night.

This morning, my alarm sounds to awaken me from a deep slumber. It is the sound of church bells. I love hearing them because it reminds me of my grandmother's house in 'Strop City (that's Bastrop for everyone else). When I was younger, she lived close enough to a church with a bell tower that would sound every hour. I can remember perfect spring days out on her porch. Enjoying life, drinking sweet tea and swinging on the porch swing. It gives me warm fuzzies just thinking about it. I long for the day I have a house with a porch, surrounded by land and trees... neighbors far away... nothing but the sound of birds and bees and my kids chatting about silly things that make them laugh or what happened that week ... a place where me and my love and our booger and bug can sit and swing or rocking our chairs, drinking lemonade and sweet tea.

I love nothing more than to snug up with a soft blanket on the couch in a cold house, warm hazelnut coffee in hand, and a good something to read. As I type, sitting next to me is a large mug of warm hazelnut coffee topped with Redi Whipped Cream and I am missing my friend. I miss our late night chats. I miss our good cries and most of all, our hearty laughter .... mostly at what a moron I am. I am seeing a road trip in my near future.

This past weekend, I spent more time with one of my oldest and dearest "besties" than we have spent together in probably 10 years. It made us both realize how badly we needed that reconnection. It also made me wish so badly she lived here. She snuggled my bug all day. I know Lennon was in snug heaven. She loves nothing more than snuggling and attention. I wish her boys knew me... like really KNEW me... not just as that lady that accidentally broke my arm. Ok, so I didn't break it... it was a mutual breaking, involving a 4 year old jumping on my back and me rolling over before he could land again. Followed by a trip to the emergency room. Followed by a visit two years later, where he politely said, "Do you remember when you broke my arm?" and me saying "I remember when you jumped on my back and I rolled over and you landed on your arm and it broke." Kids, they are so clever.

I realize again today how truly blessed I am. I have an amazing husband who makes me laugh and see the world as one big joke. I have two amazing children who steal my heart with one look. I have amazing friends who will cry with me, laugh with me and hold me accountable without judgement. I have a God who loves me as I am, while teaching me to love myself, in spite of myself. On days like today I realize my life might be perfect, even when I am not.

"Today was a good day." - Ice Cube

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Lifestyles of the Rich in Love

It all began on a Friday morning. I attempted to introduce Lake to the melodious quartet, Boyz II Men.... we started with MotownPhilly, all the way to Yesterday and back... and after we bent a knee, the water ran dry... and so did is attention span... I knew this because he politely said, "I am tired of listening to the radio. I am tired of your music, mommy."

Soon, the sun was shining down on us as we approached the white sands...
Nope, sorry, that was not another reference to the Boyz.

Our trip (Ode to Lake) began .... feet in the sand... minus one tiny foot, to my dismay.

It was only the second time my Booger has been on a real beach. He first landed in San Diego / Laguna Beach, but it has been 3 years since. As every parent who has been through what we have so far this year, we felt we owed this to him... for all he went through while Lennon was in the hospital... even up through the time I was on bed rest... I just couldn't play with him the way I had always done and so I felt guilty... He was such a trooper, praying over me and baby Lennon all the time. Though, nothing could fight the tears I cried this Friday morning, driving away without my bug. It was like I left her at the hospital all over again....except I knew she was not sick, and her heart was strong. I knew she would be in the care of Granny and Poppa and Aunt Robbie.... and I knew they would work her muscles and work her motor skills... That I knew, without a doubt.

After a few tears, a long drive and many laughs... we landed in Gulf Shores, AL.
Even my Charles gave an award winning pose for me.... :)
Let the festivities begin!
Yes, I do mean the throwed rolls! I love this place... I was, however, disappointed they didn't come around with that Hulk sized bacon. But I made do with all the passin's.... more fried okra please!
Charles requested a table for three... I had to wait in the car, because my tired little man was sound asleep in the backseat... I just couldn't bare to wake him. He had such a big day at the beach.... So I started snapping pics of myself out of sheer boredom... I truly do look better tan. This southern girl loves a bronze bod.
After a few human head sized rolls, a blue balloon that lasted all of five minutes, and three very full bellies... Lake burned energy and calories on the handmade train, fire truck and tractor.
After that, we headed back to the hotel with a promised stop at the pier. I never realized just how scared I was of sharks until that moment. Note to self: Xanax. I think it was the length of the pier out onto the ocean, combined with the depth of the water, the signs for shark fishermen, and the darkness on the water. I was terrified. I walked only on the concrete parts... holding my breath and praying to God I would go quickly if this thing went down.
The next morning... we woke early because Lake just won't sleep in... had a hearty breakfast... and gave BP the middle finger from shore.
Since the beach was so disgusting we took a long walk to assess the damages...
Since there was a lot of tar.... we decided to christen the pool. When it was Lake's nap time... and we knew this because of his attitude ... Charlie blessed my flip flops off by taking him to the room for a nap and letting me enjoy the sun... the way it needs to be enjoyed... in peace and quiet.
And then I realized just how many freckles I have....
No amount of "ME" time is complete without a little Cosmo and Brit Brit...
At this time I want to give a big "Thank Ya Bunches" to our hotel for putting up the rules of the pool... One can never be too cautious... (I gag a little picturing the person with open lesions, skin disease and diarrhea diving off into the pool before I could make my escape)
The next day, we took Lake to Waterville... I just KNEW he was going to ride all the slides, since he was exactly the height he needed to be in order to do so... 42". But, alas, I was wrong... he would not even ride the smallest of baby slides.... I was sooooooooooooooo disappointed.... But he did redeem himself when he hopped on this roller coaster. Though after it was all said and done, he promptly informed us he would never do that again.
After a quick burger and fries to go along with my fried face....
We did a little souvenir shopping at Souvenir City... I can remember going in the giant shark's mouth every time I have been to Gulf Shores.... And it's not a vacation until you buy things you will never wear.... Charlie sporting a tee that would make Uncle Eddie proud....
Still laughing at these flip flops... obviously, they were made by drug lords... or terrorists.
The next day, we lunched across from this... Just in case you miss home a little too much, there is a trailer on the any color you fancy... complete with Christmas lights up year round. I got a hunch, this might not be Katrina proof.
Every time we entered or exited the hotel, Lake asked his buddy at the hotel lobby counter for another cookie.... once, she didn't have cookies and because the look on his angelic face nearly broke her heart, she had a Popsicle for him when we returned.
Soon it was all over .... the car was loaded down with more stuff than we came with...
Our bodies were worn out and darker than we started out...
And our shorts needed to be left unbuttoned for a while....
We hit the road home to our bug...
No trip to Gulf Shores is complete without a stop at this place...
And because my bug needed her very own pair of watermelon inspired tennies....
And... I needed, yet another, pair of gaudy goods....
Then we were home... and I was able to smother the bug with love. My heart was melted when I handed her to her daddy so I could fix a bottle and she had a complete meltdown until she was returned to my arms.
Confirmation: she does know who her momma is.
That is when another set of tears filled my eyes... not of sadness, but of joy.
The next morning I woke to this as I usually do.... after a 6am feeding, my bug gets the privilege of sleeping in mommy's bed for a few hours... and snuggling with me til my heart explodes.

That is a sight I missed... a sight I will never tire of.
And all the world was right, again.