Saturday, November 21, 2009

Rather Than a Pregnancy Update....

How about a baby update instead? I didn't mean to leave you hanging after the last post but OhMyGoodnessWeHaveABaby!! Baby C is here and she's beautiful and perfect. As soon as I get a little sleep, I'll tell you the whole glorious story of her arrival. Until then, I hope a few pictures will tide you over!





Sunday, November 1, 2009

Safe

One of the first things I fell in love with about our neighborhood was the fact that there were so many beautiful, mature trees.

Ironically, on Thursday afternoon as I huddled with my children in total darkness in our bathtub while a tornado ripped through our neighborhood, those trees caused fear deep within my soul. If any of the ones immediately surrounding our house were to fall, we were in trouble. We've had rain for weeks on end now with very little break for the ground to dry. With the heavy saturation, I knew that the tornado and winds could cause even more havoc in our neighborhood.

What seemed like an eternity passed and I could hear police and fire sirens whizzing past our house. I knew that if they were out, the worst was over. Leaving the kids in our safe place, I snuck out to survey the situation. Our neighborhood was alive with people milling about and police, fire and ambulance workers crowding the streets.

I cried as I looked around and realized just how blessed we were. I called Big Daddy to let him know we were safe and hearing his voice made me cry even harder. We were safe. We have trees down in the yard (none on the house!), shutters and shingles off the house and our fence was down...but we were safe. The worst damage was done by our beautiful old oak tree. The entire thing is now resting on top of our neighbor's car.

One block up from us, is a far more devastating scene. Houses are without their roofs and a few caught on fire from lightening strikes.

We ended up back in our "safe place" for another hour that night praying that the meteorologist was wrong and that another storm wasn't heading our way. Thankfully, we only got severe thunder storms for the rest of the evening. Even better, this time we were all together because Big Daddy was home. Something about his presence and just having all of us together made it all seem less horrible.

Most of us now have electricity back on and the cleaning up process is well underway. In the past few days, we've seen the best of people and the worst. The best is neighbors checking on each other and strangers stopping to help clean up fallen trees. The worst is the non-stop line of people knocking down our door offering to help for a small fortune.

I will post pictures in a couple of days as we have time to sort through them. I also have updates on the baby growing process this week. I know I've been terrible about updating my blog and I really do miss it and I promise to do better. I miss all of my blog friends and this funk I've been in is hopefully ending and I'll be a posting fool in no time.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Faith Like A Child

We had a huge event around our house last week. It's one that I haven't posted about because I'm just now getting to the point that I can talk about it without crying. (Dang pregnancy hormones!)

Our dog, Hurley, got out of the fence last Sunday morning. I've mentioned before that Hurley is Sister's best friend in the whole world, right? Don't get me wrong, Brother loves him, too. It's just that Sister and Hurley have a connection that I can't even explain. When she gets up in the mornings, she greets him before she does the rest of us. She can't leave for school without saying goodbye to him. In the afternoons, he knows when it's time for her to come home and he waits by the door for her. You get the picture. They LOVE each other.

Back to Sunday morning. Big Daddy noticed that he wasn't hanging around the door staring at the kids begging them to play so he snuck out to check on him without mentioning it to us. He was out for a while and when he came back in, I followed him to the kitchen because he looked upset. Long story short, we have a tricky latch one of our gates in the back yard and Hurley managed to get out.

This would normally not be a huge issue but we haven't updated his tags since we moved here. We've talked about it several times but just haven't done it. Bad, bad dog parents. So, our dog is running around a new neighborhood where no one knows us with a tag around his neck that claims he should be living in Virginia. Awesome.

We decided that Big Daddy would drive around looking for him alone before we told the kids because we knew they would be devastated and honestly, I'm pretty morbid and my first thought was that I didn't want to have them with us if we saw him lying in the middle of the road.

When he couldn't find him, we decided it was time to tell the kids. I had kept them busy with an art project while Big Daddy was out so they didn't notice anything was up. Even when I ran to the bedroom every five minutes to cry my eyes out, they didn't say a word. (Again, thank you hormones!)

We told the kids and were shocked at their reaction. Brother was very matter of fact.

"Oh no. He was such a good dog, it won't be the same without him."

Sister is known for her drama so we braced ourselves for her reaction.

"I'll get my shoes and we'll drive around. He will come when I call him because he knows my voice best."

Ok, then. She was sure we'd find him with her help. As a matter of fact, even after we drove around all day calling for him and asking every person we saw outside if they'd seen him, she didn't give up hope. When we went out again hanging up posters and asking even more people if they'd seen him, she still maintained that he would be back soon.

The only time she got upset was when we came back to take a break for lunch and she thought we were giving up. Once she realized that we were going right back out, she was good. I can't tell you how out of character this is for her. She was positive that he was coming back.

I would like to tell you that I shared her faith but I, instead, cried like a baby as we drove around calling for him. I was convinced that we'd never see him again.

When Sister left for school on Monday, she assured me that someone would call and say they had found him before she came home. When she bounced off the bus that afternoon, she was beaming.

"Well, did someone bring my Hurley back?"

When I told her that we hadn't had a call yet, she didn't stop smiling.

"Don't worry, Mom. They will call. He'll be back by the time we go to bed!"

Ten minutes later an unknown number showed up on our caller ID and a sweet man a few blocks over said that Hurley was waiting for us in his back yard. We were all so giddy and rushed over to get our puppy from this angel who was holding him for us.

I know this is long and seriously, hormones? I'm crying again. My daughter never lost faith that she was going to have her dog back. I lost faith the second we knew he was missing. I am amazed daily at how much I have to learn from these little people that I love so dearly.

Monday, August 31, 2009

You Just Never Know What You May Find in Those Boxes

Remember how I said our movers in VA were pretty awful? Their folly has actually turned into quite the joke around our house. We'll come across a box (No, we're still not completely unpacked. What?) that's labeled "Dishes/Kitchen" only to open it and find that there are three lamps, two extension cords, a pair of shoes, a trash can and a plate inside. Somehow, the plate was the only thing that made the label. For the record, we don't keep shoes, extension cords and lamps in the kitchen but these guys were really creative in their packing skills. At this point, we just laugh and chalk it up to experience.

What I found in a box today was no laughing matter. At least not to me. Best of all? I can't even blame it on the movers.

We have boxes and boxes of books that we haven't unpacked yet because we haven't decided exactly where we want our bookshelves to go. Last night, we figured out a location for one of them and this morning I decided to open up a couple of the boxes and put the books in their new home. Just as I lifted one of my favorite Shel Silverstein books from the box, something scurried across the top of it an hid underneath the paper at the bottom. It was fast. Not so fast that I didn't have time to see what it was. Oh-Em-Gee there was a stinkin' lizard in the box. I won't even resort to my usual love of exaggeration here and tell you that it was big. The thing was tiny. In fact, it's small size has only added to my paranoia all day because something that tiny? IT COULD BE ANYWHERE.

I'd love to tell you that I set the little guy free to find his little lizard family but I can't lie. I dropped that book and ran like a sissy. My heart was beating so fast and I was convinced he was chasing me. I refused to even walk past the room where that box was sitting all afternoon. Poor Brother thought I'd lost my mind when I asked him the third time in an hour if something just ran across the floor.

If you're concerned about the state of the creepy little lizard, don't be. When Big Daddy got home tonight, he went to the box and as he lifted the first book, he let out a big, "Aww, he's cute!" and dutifully carried him outside and set him free...

...so that he can wiggle his way back into my house and torture me tomorrow when Big Daddy isn't here to think him adorable.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Here I Am!

So sorry! I didn't mean to leave you all to play the game of "Where's Heather?" lately! I dropped the news that we were moving and then just disappeared. No worries, we made it to the great state of Louisiana about three weeks ago and have had our fair share of adventures since then. Since it's been so long and so much has happened, how about I just update you with a list and promise to be a better blogging friend now that we are somewhat settled? Thanks, I knew you'd understand!

*We left VA a little behind schedule because we had the WORST packers in our history of many, many moves. Seriously guys, they were bad. Even worse, they were slow and took so many breaks to smoke and make phone calls that we could have allowed the kids to pack our stuff and they would have been faster.

*For the first leg of our drive out here, we headed to TN to visit Big Daddy's family and meet our beautiful (and I mean GORGEOUS!) new baby nephew. I tried to steal him but my sister-in-law just wouldn't have it. Along the way, our Jeep started acting all crazy so we (the kids, my sister, my nephew and myself) left Big Daddy in TN to get the necessary repairs and we made the rest of the trip on our own. That was an adventure! Remind me to tell you of the hotel with the faulty fire alarm that made the trip one to remember.

*We arrived only a day ahead of Big Daddy and slept on air mattresses until it was time for our stuff to arrive several days later. The day that it came, it was about 101 degrees outside. You may think that's hot but it's not as hot as 101 degrees with 100% humidity. Normally, I'd just hide inside and pretend not to notice people outside melting away. Except. That's the first day our air conditioner in the new house decided to stop working.

*Notice how I said the first day? It took a couple of days for them to get out and take a look at it and all of ten minutes to repair put a band-aid on it. We were cool as cucumbers for a whole twenty four hours when it decided to take another little break from working. (Looking back, I see so many parallels between our A/C and our movers in VA.) After three more days of melting (need I remind you that I'm six months pregnant?) they came out and spent 15 more minutes putting another band-aid on it. Lather, rinse, repeat twenty four hours later. I think it was around this time that we stopped laughing at all of our bad fortune. I'll spare you the rest of the details but I'll tell you that twenty nine hours ago, the repair guys came out for what I hope (for their sakes) to be the last time and we still have air. Friends, LA has got to be one of the hottest places on the planet.

*Sister started first grade and is loving it! I promise a story about that, too. Probably even with pictures.

We really do love it here, so far. We have met so many kind people already and aside from everything under the sun going wrong, we are still smiling and saying that this may end up being one of those places that we never want to leave. Sorry this is so lengthy and I really (no, really!) promise to be a better blogging friend now that we have air and are a little more settled. This whirlwind of a life is crazy but I'm not sure I'd have it any other way!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

How Quickly Things Change

Remember how I told you I was working on a post for Sister's sixth birthday? It may be a while before you see that post. Most likely it will appear around her seventh birthday.

The day after my last post (that would be Thursday), Big Daddy came home with the news that there was a good chance that we'd be moving to Louisiana. Soon.

I consider myself a pretty experienced military wife and I've heard this "you may be moving" story so many times in the past year with no results that I've grown numb to the announcements. (I do realize that terrible run on sentence. Trust me, there will be worse grammatical errors in this post and I won't have the time or energy to correct them.) Anywho, I kept it in mind but really thought it would never happen. You know, since we just signed a lease on a house here and are scheduled to move in there in two weeks.

God has such a sense of humor.

By lunch time the next day, we had official paperwork saying we are on our way (SOON) to the beautiful (I think) state of Louisiana. As an aside, if you consider yourself an expert on this particular state, please feel free to click that link over there on the side and email me all the details you can spare.

I'll be flying out before the sun rises tomorrow to visit our future city and look at houses and schools. I'm on a short schedule there and hope that I can pack a ton into this trip since we are going SOON! Apparently, school starts down there way before it does here so I need to be an expert on the area by the end of the week.

Whew.

I hope all of that makes sense because I'm flying out in 10ish hours and I haven't even started to pack so I'm thinking proofreading may not fit into the schedule tonight. If you have a moment to spare a prayer for my safety, sanity and searching, please do so. I'd love you forever. Not that I don't already love you forever.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Instead Of Explaining Or Apologizing, How About Some Big News?

My, my, my. Look down there are the last time I posted.

June 2.

I'm so ashamed. I have a million excuses. Really, I do. The biggest of them is that hello? It's summer and I'm not sick and couch bound anymore so I am out of our leaky and smelly house as much as possible. Also? The kids are all done with school and they actually want to like do stuff. I should be telling you that packing for the move that is rapidly sneaking up on me is the reason I've been absent but that would be a lie. I haven't packed the first thing. I have given some thought to where I'll put furniture in the new house and that has to count for something. Right?

Today is Sister's sixth birthday and I have this whole sappy post in my head as a tribute to her and her loveliness but I'm thinking I may share that another day. She won't mind because if there is anyone on this Earth that loves to stretch her birthday out to last a whole month, it's her. Instead, I got her THE thing she's been asking for since she could talk.

What? You actually want to know what it is?

We got her a baby SISTER. Yes, we had an appointment yesterday with our amazing doctor (who, by the way, is moving soon and I'm trying to come up with clever ways to make his whole family stay here because I love them too much to see them go!) and he assured us that Baby #3 is a female type.

Both kids were very excited since they were both hoping for a girl. Sister's first response was to ask if we could leave right that second and start shopping for pretty pink clothes for the baby and perhaps a matching outfit or twelve for her.

Brother's response was a little different but no less excited.

"Oh boy, I'm going to need two mouths now!"

"Brother, why in the world would you need another mouth?"

"I'll need two so I can tell them both to be quiet!"

See? You can't fake excitement like that, people.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Displaced

Right now, we are on vacation. One mile away from our house. At least, that's what my children think. I'm not going to be the one to tell them that we are really just staying at the hotel on base for several days while the plumbing is fixed (FINALLY) in our house. I've learned so much while we are staying here.

1. We don't need toys. We didn't bring any toys except their one stuffed animal to sleep with and you know what? They have been just fine. They are using their imagination and putting on singing and dancing shows during the day. But the highlight? Spinning in circles for hours in the office chair. Good times, folks.

2. If it wasn't for all of our junk stuff, we would be able to live in a 500 sq. ft. apartment. I'm thinking this would be ideal because I always know where everyone is and they can hear me from anywhere and I have less space to clean. Awesome.

3. Adding to the above, it would even more awesome if the 500 sq.ft. apartment came with a super sweet lady to clean daily and make the beds like this hotel room does.

4. Hotel internet connections aren't very reliable (especially when they are free) and they are super s-l-o-w. My Google Reader is bursting at the seams as is my inbox. I did read a book in less than 24 hours and have watched numerous live talent shows from an adorable 4 & 5 year old in all of the time I now have.

5. I have fallen completely in love with those room darkening curtains in hotels. I am thinking about getting some for the kid's bedroom at home. Mine, too.

6. If anyone knows a magic trick to open a front loading washer/dryer combo once the thing has locked up tight for eternity, let me know. The one in our room is moody and once we put clothes in there, we never know how long until the thing decides to give them back. I almost had to go to Target in my jammies yesterday.

7. I do miss blogging and hearing from all of my buddies here. Y'all miss me too, right?

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

You Guys Are Good

I can't get anything past you! So, yeah. I'm pregnant! I'm 12 weeks now and starting to come out of my couch coma. Seriously, I've been on the couch for so long, I almost forgot how to walk. I'm not complaining, just pointing out why I've been so scarce!

This pregnancy is going pretty well and I'm so close to being out of the "Oh my gosh, I'm about to puke" stage so things are looking up! Brother and Sister are both very excited and hoping this turns out to be a sister. They've been so adamant about it that I made them both swear that they'll still love the baby should it be a boy. They half-heartedly promised.

Big Daddy is excited about the baby although I think he's more excited that I'm nearing the end of this first trimester. The man deserves a medal for all the extra work he's been doing around here. And because he's so fabulous, he says things like, "Honey, just lay right there! You're doing exactly what you need to be doing...taking care of our baby." See? AMAZING.

Let's see, there's so much more that I've been too tired to type out. We heard a few weeks ago that we may move to Arizona on very short notice. Turns out it was just the Air Force playing a joke on us so we're still staying put for another year. This is actually fine with us and we decided that since we were staying, we needed two things to make this next year more crazy fun for us. 1) More space for a baby and all of the baby stuff. 2) A better school district for Sister to attend 1st grade. (This school thing could be a whole series of posts all on it's own.)

We solved both problems by signing a lease on a house we love in a great school district with an extra bedroom. See? I have been doing something besides laying on the couch!

Also? If you have had a baby in the last few years, I could use some recommendations because I haven't had a baby in over 4 years and also? We have to throw out all of our baby gear because our garage flooded and it's now gross and moldy. Hang on.

Sorry, that gross and moldy part made me a little sick. I'm back now. It's all good.

At any rate, I'll try not to turn this into a pregnancy blog but I'm not making any promises because, people? I'm in a fog and need the assistance of you able minded folks. Thank you so much for all of your congrats and sweet words. Y'all are the best. Seriously!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

A Clue

Just a little clue about why I've been such an absent blogger for a couple of months now:


Saturday, May 9, 2009

Yanni Voices...AMAZING!

Thanks to the beautiful ladies at One2One Network, I recently got to attend the Yanni Voices Concert when they passed through my area. How was it? In a word, PERFECTION.

Ya'll this is saying a lot for a girl who considers a perfect concert to be more along the lines of Jimmy Buffet. He and Yanni aren't exactly in the same category, know what I mean?

Yanni has been working for over two and a half years with four very talented vocalists who have written some amazing lyrics to his music. Nathan Pacheco, Leslie Mills, Chloe and Endor Thomas are above and beyond any talent I've ever heard. Let me tell you, when Leslie Mills sings "Before the Night Ends", the world stops and pays attention. Since the concert, I bought the CD and I listen to that song over and over. My five year old has proclaimed Leslie as the most beautiful voice she's ever heard.
This concert was honestly the best I've ever been to. While there, I experienced just about every emotion possible thanks to the most amazing musicians on the planet. I left with a greater appreciation for music than I've ever had and wishing that I had an ounce of talent that the people on stage possess.

One of my favorite things about the show was watching all of the musicians on stage interact with each other and with Yanni. It was so apparent that these are not just people that work and perform together. They are family. They seemed to have such genuine love for each other and I think that's part of why the music was so moving.
After the show, I was able to go backstage and meet the four "Voices" and they were as beautiful and gracious off stage as they were on. They were all so thankful that we were there and willing to share their music with our readers. I nearly fainted from how beautiful they all were. They were all so sweet and I got to talk shop with Leslie and Endor for a bit about blogging and Twitter. Leslie is a Twitter guru and had just introduced Endor to the dark side wonderful world of Twitter.

If Yanni Voices is coming anywhere near you, you must go. I mean it. You will remember this concert forever as one of the best. If they aren't coming to a city near you, I'm sorry. But, you can try to watch the show on your local PBS station and it will almost as good.
Leslie, Endor, Nathan and Chloe, thank you so much for your graciousness and I really do believe that you are the four most talented "Voices" on the planet. If Yanni needs a blogger to follow you around and tell everyone how great you are, you know where to find me.
Below are a few pictures from my evening. I hope I'm not breaking any rules by posting a couple of these. Before the show they announced no flash photography so I was snapping away without my flash and a few minutes in, the picture hounds security folks came around telling everyone to put their cameras away because no photography was allowed. I didn't get great ones anyway because apparently I cannot operate a camera above a third grade level.

PS. Before I show you these, I have to explain that I normally wouldn't post a photo of myself in which I'm grinning like a mule eating briars or where I look like I have seventeen chins (I promise I don't but I can't get that pose from Arianne down) but I had to post the picture of me with Endor because his beauty is enough to make up for my chins and apparent abundance of teeth. Thank you and good night.
PPS. Thank you so stinkin' much to One2One Network. I'm also your biggest fan.

Seriously, stop looking at my chins and enjoy the view of Endor.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Text Speak

Ever have one of those things that just drives you absolutely crazy and everyone around you seems to be doing it? That's how I feel about text speak. You know, the shorthand that people use in text messages to make it easier to type but a pain in the you know what to read?

(As an aside, I was going to link to a site I found with both a definition and a list of examples of text speak but when I started looking at the list, several of the things made me blush. Apparently, there's a side to this text speak that's just creepy.)

I love to text message as much as the next girl. It's quick, easy and saves me from making a phone call for something silly like making fun of my family members when their team loses.

What I just can't get into is using various shorthand versions of words to get my message out. I have trouble not capitalizing where I'm supposed to and using proper punctuation in my text messages, too. You call it an illness, I call it the right way to do things.

I can usually overlook when other people use text speak in messages to me but I can't bring myself to use it in return. I throw that in there because I don't want you feeling bad if you send me messages using your made up cute little language. However, there's one person that I'm having trouble overlooking and seriously, it's about to cause an issue.

I have a person on my friend list on Facebook that updates her status on there frequently. That's not the part that makes me want to poke my eyes with a sharp object scream. Her status updates are very long and she uses her own version of text speak rather than using real words. Let me give you an example.

Goin 2 the store 4 sum sketti. pray 4 mi baby boi cuz he is struglin wif skool. don no y. i lik to pik my noz n boogers r awesum. hav u sen my new har?

I have to stop there because my eyes are bleeding. If you add another seven incorrect sentences about nine times per day and you will see why I'm just about to abandon Facebook. It's making me crazy.

Please tell me I'm not the only one who is driven to the point of insanity by this? Next thing you know, people will start talking like they type and then you can officially call me crazy.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Just When I Thought I Had Nothing To Blog About, I Do Something Like This

This afternoon, the kids were playing in the kitchen while I was in another room. All of a sudden, they both came running to me with their hands over their ears.

I didn't even have to ask why because I heard it, too.

There was a loud buzzing sound coming from our kitchen. We all went in to search for the source of the obnoxious noise. I searched in cabinets and opened and closed all of the appliances. I unplugged everything and re-plugged it.

Finally, I decided that the noise was coming from the ceiling. I can't imagine what in the world would be up there causing such a ruckus.

I gave up and called J. at work. I walked into the kitchen with the phone and he could hear it, too. He said it would be a while before he could get home to check it out but he'd be there when he could.

Hoping to figure it out before he had to come to the rescue, I asked the kids exactly what they were doing when the noise started. Sister was twirling on the Sit-N-Spin and Brother was getting water from the sink. Since neither of those activities had them anywhere near the ceiling, I sent them upstairs to play while I investigated further. I even put the dog outside so the buzzing wouldn't bother his delicate ears. I decided that we'd probably have to move because we'd never figure this out and I just can't live with that sound forever.

Before I got too carried away, J. arrived. He walked into the kitchen, picked up the Sit-N-Spin and flipped the button on the bottom. The noise stopped. He kissed me and said, "Love you! I'll be home in a while!"

I feel like the biggest dummy.

Stupid Playskool and your toys that go nuts when the batteries are dying. You're now on my bad list.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Carolina Girl

I've been a UNC fan for as long as I can remember. In middle school I would cry if they lost a game. (This may have continued through high school but that's not important.) I'd pray and beg God to let them win, promising Him that my halo would shine forever and ever amen if they did. These days, I just bite my nails and yell bad words. (I'm kidding. About the bad words. Sort of. But not about the nails. After the game on Saturday night, I had to cut my nails very short in anticipation of last night's game.)

If you know anything about college basketball, you know that Carolina and Duke are sworn enemies. Marriages have ended over March Madness in North Carolina. You can't ride the fence, you can't like either team just a little. There are no slight opinions about who your favorite team is if you grew up anywhere near Tobacco Road. It's all or nothing, baby.
Once upon a time, my family was filled with Tarheel fans. My younger siblings would watch games with me, cheering the whole time. (This had nothing to do with a fear of being locked in a closet...promise.)

One dreadful day, my younger sister committed the ultimate blasphemy.

She married an avid Duke fan. Scratch that. She married into a WHOLE FAMILY of rabid avid Duke fans.

Infidel.
I've told you that I have three siblings, right? Guess how many of us are now Carolina fans?

ME. That's it. They all jumped on the Duke bandwagon a few years back when Duke was on a winning streak. Except the one sister. She held out until she realized that her marriage was more important to her than her loyalty to the Carolina Blue. And her favorite sister.

Bunch of fair weather fans.

Oh, and infidels.

Needless to say, last night when the Tarheels won the NCAA title, I sent several text messages to my siblings and my dark blue loving brother in law making sure they knew. They tried to act like, "Oh really? This is tournament time? I had totally forgotten since I'm not keeping up with basketball this year!" but I know they were all crying inside.

I also know that another great year for UNC and they are likely to come back from the dark side over to the glorious Carolina Blue.

I realized last night as I watched the game until way past my bedtime, I am and always will be a Carolina girl. I may never get to live there again but my heart always will be in North Carolina and it only takes a moment to awaken that trash talking southern girl that lives within me.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Strep Sucks

So, guess what? I have strep throat. Doesn't that sound like fun?

We've been on the road constantly for almost a month and are finally home and settling in and my throat decides that this would be the perfect time to declare war. I knew I should have had those pesky tonsils removed years ago.

In other news, there is no other news. I need you to come over and make me soup. This happens to be Big Daddy's busiest week at work in a long time and I have a calendar full of fun stuff that starts tomorrow so I need to be better STAT.

Can I tell you how bad it is to be stuck at home sick? Let me give you a hint. I'm watching The Rachel Ray show almost voluntarily. People, call 911. I'm clearly delusional. It helps that the hot doctor from Grey's Anatomy is on. You know, the one who just got back from Iraq and was dating Christine before he tried to off her in her sleep. I can't think of his name right now. Probably because I'm thisclose to asking McDreamy for a brain transplant after watching an hour of Rachel Ray.

In closing the most random post ever, I'll tell you that I'll be posting Hurley's latest shenanigans tomorrow. He's lucky he's so cute.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

The Disney Report, Part 1

So, we're back from Disney and although we had such a great time, let me tell you a secret. I'm still tired. The laundry still isn't caught up. I still haven't unpacked. That's actually three secrets but you don't mind, right?

We really did have the best time and I could write a book about our week there but I'll spare you. I'm also breaking my previously unspoken rule about not posting pics on the blog of the kids because I just can't not share the cuteness.


This picture is perfect. It embodies exactly how much Jillian loved this whole trip. She took everything in, little by little. She didn't want to miss a thing. I loved watching her totally fall in love with the magic that makes up Disney World.


This, on the other hand, is more how Keller approached the trip. He was happy to be there but he wasn't afraid to pout at the Happiest Place on Earth. I also loved watching him take it all in, even with the pouting.




J. found a new lady while we were there. I'm not really concerned. She's cute but she has sort of big ears.


I may get to share more pictures and stories when if I catch up on laundry. If you don't hear from me in a couple of days, you can safely assume that I'm buried under dirty socks and I'm in need of help.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

I Just Might Be Watching Too Much What Not To Wear

I overheard the following conversation between Brother and Sister this week.

Brother: Sister, you look so cute in that new shirt!

Sister: Thanks, Brother. You look handsome.

Brother: Thanks! I didn't think I liked these shorts but then I put them on and looked in the mirror and I was like, WOW! I don't even recognize myself!


If Clinton and Stacey are looking for a cute (albeit a little short) sidekick, I think I have their guy.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Perfection

I readily admit that I'm a perfectionist. I've always known that I had high standards for myself and I try to stop short of casting those standards onto others. (Those of you who know me well can stop laughing now.)


This past weekend, we had our neighbors over two nights in a row, first for dessert and the next night for games. They are great people and we love spending time with them. After they left on the first night, J. and I were talking about how we should have them over more often.


Later, as I was picking up before bed, I was still thinking about our night. There was a time when we had people over every Thursday for game night. In fact, we had people over a couple of times each week. I realized how much I miss that. Of course, life is different now. We have kids and schedules and blah, blah, blah.


Honestly, the kids and schedule and blah, blah aren't the reason we don't have friends over more often. It's because of my perfectionism. I'm not going to lie and tell you that my house is always perfect and clean. I will tell you that you (or anyone else) will never see it if it's not. Unless I have the time to get things just so, I just can't invite people in to see it. This is where the kids, schedule and blah, blah come in. It's a rare occurrence lately for the house to be perfect and still live life.


What I realized that night was that my perfection is causing us to miss out on spending time with wonderful people that we genuinely like. Not just our neighbors but so many of our other friends also. Because I've been holding on to this idea that in order for people to have fun at our house, there can't be any crumbs under the table or dust on the shelf, we're all missing out on what's most important in life: relationships.


I'm making progress. The second night, I picked up much less before they came over and I even wore my comfy pants while they were here. You know what? They didn't even notice the crumbs under the table and they wore their comfy pants, too. We had even more fun than the first night.


I don't know when I picked up this habit of thinking that things have to be perfect but I'm letting it go. I'm learning that I'm really the only one that cares about dusty shelves. I don't notice it when I visit others and they aren't whipping out the white glove when they visit me. That's not why they're here. It's time for me to stop letting perfection get in the way of living.

Monday, March 9, 2009

M-I-C-K-E-Y M-O-U-S-E


We are heading out today for Walt Disney World! The kids are excited, I'm excited, everyone is excited! I'll try to post pics occasionally while I'm away but if all else fails, I'll have plenty when we get back!

Friday, March 6, 2009

We Have A New Baby

I've been meaning to talk to you about our new addition all week. But, this week has been a huge adventure for us and I've been caught up in loving every second of it. We ended up going on a spontaneous trip to NC (spontaneous = decided to go and left 20 minutes later!) to surprise my parents for their anniversary. Big Daddy had to stay behind for work but I loaded the kids and headed south. It was loads of fun and I've got stories to share but first, meet Hurley!



We adopted Hurley this past weekend and have spent this week falling in love with him. We've been wanting to get a lab puppy for a long time and when we saw him, we knew he was ours.
Both kids adore him but let me tell you about the relationship he has with Jillian. She's been begging for a dog for so long. She falls in love with most animals right away and he was no different. She loves him in a way that has been so amazing to watch. The feeling is mutual, by the way. When she leaves the room, he follows her. When she comes downstairs in the mornings, he is beside himself to get to her. They have formed a bond so deep already and watching them together reminds us of why we wanted a puppy.
Sharon has written Rules for Raising Daughters and one of those rules is about getting them a pet. (By the way, they are all worth reading. They totally changed the way I look at raising a daughter!) When I read it a year ago, I knew that she was right. Jillian is (like Sharon's sweet Jane) made to be a Doggy Mom. We have visited the local animal shelter almost once a week for the longest time and I can't tell you how many times we've left with her in tears because she wants to bring so many of them home. Watching the transformation in her in the last week has been nothing short of incredible. She's taking responsibility for Hurley, learning his potty cues, rewarding him and being very over protective of him. The only problem is reminding her that carrying him around like a baby isn't really going to work in a few months when he outweighs her so she should let him practice walking now. The first day here, he was afraid to walk off of the rug in the living room so he'd sit and whine until she came and picked him up. Again, it's all fine now but in six months when he's 50 lbs. heavier, not so much.
J. is even falling for the little guy. He was the one who got up countless times with him the first couple of nights and patiently took him outside in the freezing cold. He kept him company while we traveled to NC and they had a grand time without us. Most of all, he's thankful for Hurley because our weekly trips to the animal shelter (with at least one of us crying) are over for a while.
By the way, I know you LOST fans out there appreciate our tribute to Jorge Garcia with his name, right?

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Alone Time

I've seen the question a thousand times floating around the blogosphere and every time, I pause to think about my answer and then get caught up in a daydream. What would you do if you had an afternoon all to yourself?

If you're a Mom, I'll give you a second to get caught up in your own daydreams.

Yesterday, I left J.and the kids at home while I went out for a few hours. I didn't have anything pressing to do. There were no errands that needed to be done. In fact, I didn't even know where I was going when I left the house.

Here's what my afternoon looked like:

Get in the car and pop in a CD. Crank it loud because that's the only way Beastie Boys should be heard. (Don't start judging me yet, there's plenty of time for that.)

Go to the mall and score a FRONT row parking spot, a feat that should earn me a medal on a Saturday afternoon.

Walk around the mall at my own pace, wandering in an out of as many stores as I want. Actually try on clothes in a real live dressing room without anyone crawling on the floor to peek at the person in the stall next to us. Do not stop at Claire's because there's no five year old girl there to beg me. Pause for a moment to think about going into Claire's to get a surprise for the five year old girl but banish the thought when I realize Gap is having a sale next door.

Back in car, crank up the Brass Monkey and sing loudly. (Don't even act like you don't love the Brass Monkey.)

Wander aimlessly around Target without stopping at the crap dollar section. Find a cute dress and decide to try it on. Admire how great it looks. Try to get dressed so that I can look for shoes to match the hot dress. Holy Crap. The zipper is stuck. (I didn't even have to apologize for saying Holy Crap because there were no tiny ears listening!) Try for ten minutes to get zipper unstuck. Pause to thank God that I don't have the kids with me to ask inappropriate questions while I am contorting my body to yank at the zipper. Walk out of the dressing room, red faced, to find help. After the 12 year old dressing room attendant tries for 10 more minutes to get the zipper open, she declares it hopelessly stuck because the fabric is fraying around the teeth of the zipper. She finally resorts to cutting the zipper open, with real live scissors. Mossimo, you let me down with your beautiful dress with the crappy zipper.

Buy myself a Cherry Coke Zero on my way out of Target without the dress. Because nothing comforts me like a Cherry Coke Zero. Except maybe a real Cherry Coke but that comfort brings calories.

On my way out of the shopping center, I saw something that I've been hoping to see for weeks. GIRL SCOUTS. WITH COOKIES. Don't ask how many boxes I bought because I'm not telling. (It rhymes with heaven.) This comfort also brings calories but they don't count because it's a good cause. (Yes, you may judge now.)

I finished my aimless wandering and headed home, satisfied. Next time I see a meme with the question about a free afternoon, I'll totally know how to answer. Next time I have a free afternoon, I won't be lured by Mossimo and his trick zippers.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Communication Is Key

I've always considered communication as one of the strongest attributes of my marriage. J. and I talk about everything, good or bad. If something is bothering one of us, we talk about it right away before it becomes a problem between us.

That's why I was shocked when the Communication Breakdown of 2009 happened to us.

The Sunday that I got home from Blissdom, I called J. just before I boarded my last flight. We confirmed my pick up time at the airport to be 3:30 and he assured me that he'd leave home in plenty of time to accommodate traffic and be there when I landed.

My flight landed and I walked out of the terminal around 3:25. I went straight out to the curb to put my carry on bag in the car while I waited for my checked baggage.

You see, we have a travel ritual. When J. travels for work, we drop him at the curb at the airport and do our goodbye there. When he returns, we pick him up at the curb. This ritual was born out of necessity when we had two little toddlers who were prone to melting down when Daddy left. It cut out much of the hassle for a frazzled Mommy who already missed her husband.

Given this ritual, I was sure my lovely family would be waiting for me curbside.

Except they weren't.

No problem. I went back in to wait for my luggage. Once it came, I journeyed back out to the curb. Still no family. Still, not really a big deal. I'm sure they hit traffic.

After half an hour passed, I started to get a little mad. I walked back inside to make sure he wasn't in there and I'd somehow missed him.

Nope.

Sitting back down on the bench outside, I remembered something that made my heart race and a lump form in my throat. On the flight, I'd read a story in Home Life magazine about a man who lost his wife and kids in an accident. That article in the forefront of my mind, I became convinced that something horrible must have happened.

As if on cue, a police car parked next to the curb in front of me.

This is it, I thought. The man who was sent to deliver the terrible news.

With tears in my eyes, I waited for him to walk over and change my life with a few words.

He got out of his car slowly. I tried to read his face for traces of sorrow. He walked over to a Cadillac and put a ticket on the windshield and then got back into his car and left.

Ok, then.

I dialed home for the fourteenth time. No answer for the fourteenth time. We only have one cell phone and I had it with me so there was no way to actually call him.

After an hour, I walked back inside to see if there were any messages for me at the information desk. Immediately upon walking in, I saw Jillian and Keller half sitting, half laying on a bench a few feet in front of me. They were clearly bored from being there for so long. J. was staring down the corridor in search of his wife.

To make a long story even longer, we spent an entire hour just several yards from each other, each worried sick that something terrible had happened to the other.

I could tell you all of the emotions that ran through both of us as we stood there staring in disbelief at each other but I think you get it.

Moral of the story?
1. I'm sure two cell phones would be a good start.
2. Another good idea would be not to listen to a four year old who repeatedly reminds you that maybe Mommy's plane crashed and you should just go ahead home.
3. Don't read sad articles on an airplane when you are away from your family.
4. Make a clear plan when picking up your loved ones from the airport.
5. Learn to laugh when all of the above fail.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

John the Baby

When we pick up Keller from his Sunday School class each week, we have the same routine.

We ask and he assures us that he had a great time. We then ask what his Bible story was about for the day. We usually get the most adorable four year old version of what they learned about. It's enough for us to pick up quickly on which story it was and we can discuss it further.

Recently, he was excited to talk about his story because it was about a baby. A baby named John. When John was in his Mom's tummy, his Dad talked to God and then couldn't talk anymore so he had to wave his hands to get people to understand what he needed to say.

"Oh," I said, "I think you are talking about John the Baptist!"

Looking at me very seriously, he shook his head. "No, Mom. It was John the Baby."

"Oh, right. John the Baptist when he was a baby."

"No," he said speaking slower since clearly I'm having trouble understanding, "it wasn't John the Babatist. It was John the Baby."

One day I'll understand that my children really are smarter than me and I'll stop trying to correct them when they are telling stories.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Morning

I often hear people say, "I'm not a morning person."

There was a time when I would have nodded emphatically, snubbing the wee hours of the day. Something has changed within me in the past couple of years that has given me a new perspective on the morning.

Perhaps my attitude shift stems from settling into a busier life with two kids who are in constant motion. Waking before they do has certain advantages. The house is quiet and calm. I can think through the day ahead of me and pray that I will be the wife and mom that I should be.

Aside from the calmness brought on by morning, I find that I am more hopeful each morning than any other time of day. It sounds cliche to say that each day brings a new start but it's true. No matter the worries of the day before, morning brings new perspective. No matter how many times I blew it yesterday, today has the potential to be better. If I went to bed with my mind buzzing about all that needs to be done and how I don't have enough hours in the day to do it, the morning brings a fresh start and an opportunity to slow down and prioritize what's really important.

Those few hours of each brand new day are like a gift to my tired spirit. They bring hope, calmness and a chance to connect with the One who gave me that gift.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Blissdom '09

For two days, I've been staring at a blank screen trying to put into words what I got out of Blissdom this past weekend.

The conference was amazing. The ladies that I met there were amazing. The beautiful hosts were amazing.

My favorite session of the weekend was Writing with Passion-Finding Your Voice. The speakers and moderator were four of my favorites in the blogosphere: Shannon, Stephanie, Arianne and Catherine. They were honest, loving and passionate about the one thing that brought me to blogging: writing. I've always loved to write and ultimately, this is why I blog.

Though I started to blog because of my love for writing, I found something quite unexpected once I was here. Community. I've connected with women all over the world and from every possible walk of life. I've offered and gained support from them. I've heard stories about their lives and watched their children grow. I've seen them go through the highest highs and the lowest lows and felt every single emotion with them as if I'd been friends with them forever.

I went into this weekend praying that I would leave with a direction for this blog. Let's face it, there's no shortage of options for a blogger these days. I found exactly what I was looking for. I was reminded time and again that I need to keep the main thing the main thing. I love to read blogs by people who love to write. Writing is what brought me here and will keep me here. All of the other things: social media, SEO, blah, blah, blah are great but it's not the main thing for me.

I have to tell you a few of the people that I met this weekend who just blew me away. I will shout from the rooftops for the rest of my days my love for Beth. She's one of the most amazing women I've ever met. She's real, funny and beautiful. She made me feel like I'd known her forever from the second we met. I spent the weekend in awe of her. She also introduced me to her girls: Arianne, Sarah and Stephanie. Oh, I love each one of them. They make me want to pack my bags and move north several hundred miles. LOVE.

If you have ever read a blog you know Shannon, the Nester, Emily and Annie. I only point them out because I've been reading them for so long and love their writing style. They are the real deal, y'all. I was like a thirteen year old at a Jonas Brothers concert when I met each one of them. They were gracious enough to hug my neck even as I babbled incoherently and drooled on their shoes.

I know this is getting long but I have to tell you the biggest thing that impressed me about Blissdom. There were around 250 women there and a handful of men. (Hang with me, that's not the impressive part.) When I called home on Friday night, Big Daddy asked me a question that shaped the way I viewed the rest of the weekend.

He said, "Do you feel like there is a spirit of competition there since all of you are in the same 'business' or is it friendly?" Let me tell you honestly how I answered. There wasn't one moment where I felt like I was being viewed as anyone's competition. I've heard Alli say before that there is no reason that we can't all be successful so there's no reason that we shouldn't help each other. (I'm paraphrasing, obviously. She's uses way cuter words than that!) That's what the weekend felt like. I could have worn my stretchy yoga pants and no makeup and I really feel like I would have still made a ton of new friends. I would have gotten hugs from the women listed above. I asked hard questions of some of the ladies there and they answered them honestly and offered more help than I ever expected. THIS is the community I speak of. This is what has made it so difficult to put the weekend into words. This is why my heart is still full two days later and I'm still processing all of what I experienced.

I know I don't usually post a lot of pictures here but I will be posting pictures as soon as I steal them from Beth because that girl takes some great pictures and I "forgot" my camera every time I was with her this weekend.

Also? If you have any questions about any of the sessions, please feel free to ask and I'll answer. You can also buy transcripts of all the sessions if you want.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

My Answers

1. How do you place the cups in your dishwasher? Directly on the prongs or in between the prongs?
In between! If the top is all full of them in between, I'll squeeze the remaining over the prongs.

2. How do you hang your toilet paper? Hanging over or hanging under?
Listen, this is very important stuff right here. OVER. Always OVER. When I'm in public restrooms I get angry when it's coming from under and it has a lock preventing me from changing it.

3. What are you feelings on Kanye West? Love him or leave him?
I enjoy some of his music but as a person, I find him to be a jerk. Not that I've ever met him in person. Just in interviews and you know, when he's attacking people and stuff that I find him to be a jerk.

4. Do you refrigerate your peanut butter or is it in your pantry?
Pantry.

5. Do you refrigerate your maple syrup or is it in your pantry?
If it's the real stuff, it has to go in the fridge, right? If it's Log Cabin or Mrs. Butterworth, pantry.

6. Do you put your bread in the refrigerator?
No and I'm not sure why I would do this?

7. If you found salad dressing in your refrigerator that expired 30 days prior, would you use it or dump it?
Let me be honest here and tell you that I once devoured some ranch dressing only to discover afterwards that it expired WAY more than 30 days prior and I didn't die. However, I was so grossed out by it that I usually check now. But also too, it would depend on how bad a hankering I had for some ranch. Was that too much honesty?

8. Do you say tissue or kleenex?
Both.

9. Finally, what are your feelings on cottage cheese? Scrumptious snack or disgusting?
There are grey areas here for me. I like it as a snack sometimes but it's one of those things that I have to really be in the mood for or else I'm not digging it.
Thanks for playing along!!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The Things You Really Want to Know

Yesterday, the lovely Beth talked about the tough questions of life. You know, the things you claim to know but realize that you could be wrong about. Today, I want to pass these tough questions along to you. Why? Because I'm nosey curious about how other people do things. I tend to think I'm always right but I've learned over the years that it's the little differences between us that make life more interesting. Still, I need to know. I won't judge you. Promise. My answers will go up tomorrow. Here goes:

1. How do you place the cups in your dishwasher? Directly on the prongs or in between the prongs?

2. How do you hang your toilet paper? Hanging over or hanging under?

3. What are you feelings on Kanye West? Love him or leave him?

4. Do you refrigerate your peanut butter or is it in your pantry?

5. Do you refrigerate your maple syrup or is it in your pantry?

6. Do you put your bread in the refrigerator?

7. If you found salad dressing in your refrigerator that expired 30 days prior, would you use it or dump it?

8. Do you say tissue or kleenex?

9. Finally, what are your feelings on cottage cheese? Scrumptious snack or disgusting?

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Hang On Tight

There has been a lot of talk of friendship around our house lately.

Brother is always extremely interested in whether or not Sister considers him her friend. More times than not, the answer is yes but that can change quickly depending on his willingness to follow her every command.

When they are being friendly with one another, they are always eager to point it out to me. So, it came as no surprise a few days ago when we were driving down the road and Brother said, "Look, Mom! We're being friends!"

I looked in the rear view mirror and sure enough, they were holding hands and the grin on Brother's face was unmistakable.

Before I could comment, Sister piped up.

"Actually, it's not so much that we're friends, Brother. It's just that you won't let go of me."

It's all about perspective, baby.

It occurred to me that really, isn't that what makes a friendship solid? You hang on tight and you refuse to let go. You hold on to your beloved friends when life gets so busy that you forget to call each other for weeks. When one of you is grieving the loss of a child or a parent, you hold on for dear life and no matter how long this journey through immense pain takes, you never let go. When PMS is running rampant and she snaps at you for being late to lunch, you hold on because you know what it's like to be emotional and crampy. When she calls and tells you that her marriage is over, you cry with her and intertwine your fingers tightly with hers, assuring her that she will make it through this.

The bond that holds real friends together is often shared, two people putting in effort to grow a solid relationship. But sometimes, that bond becomes the strongest when one person loosens their grasp and the other holds on even tighter, refusing to let go.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

One Man PR Team

I've had this blog for just under two years now. I told you several months back that I was just coming out of the blogging closet to a group of my closest girlfriends. Other than those ladies, most people in my real life don't know that I blog. I'm slowly coming around to telling people but it's really difficult for me to do for some reason.

Enter my husband. Since day one, he's been my biggest fan. He has been encouraging me to tell people about it and invite them to read. He's been telling the ladies at his office about my blog recently and handing them my card (with my blog address), inviting them to read. That's actually fine with me since I know those ladies and love them. (As an aside: Hi, ladies! Love ya!)

Last night he went a step further. We were at a birthday party and I was chatting with one of the other moms that I don't know very well. We had a nice chat and then she had to leave while I had to follow my kids through the maze that is Chuck E Cheese. Once we were in the car, J. proudly announced that he had given out his fifth of my cards for the day.

WHAT? To whom? Chuck E himself?

No. He gave it to the sweet lady I was chatting with. He thought she might enjoy reading here. Whew, boy. I love that man. I was a little embarrassed, though. I don't know why I was embarrassed but even now, I get all weird thinking about it. I'm so glad he's proud of me, really I am. I just have such a hard time self promoting.

In a little more than a week, I'm heading to Nashville for my very first blogging conference, Blissdom. I'm nervously excited to attend. I mean, seriously. Have you seen the lineup of speakers? Those are ladies that I was reading back in the days that I was still trying to dream up a clever name for my blog. If I can find sponsorship, I will head to Blogher this summer. I have so much to learn from these women who write these amazing words that speak directly to my heart each day. First, I have to get over this anxious feeling in the pit of my stomach every time I tell someone that I write and that I actually like to do it.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Preschool Playa

Brother talks about a particular little girl in his class often. He tells us that she's his best friend. Recently, he told us that she loves him but that she doesn't like kisses. He discovered this when he slid too close to her on the carpet and she told him not to get too close because she didn't like kisses.

Being a little gentleman, he assured her that he wouldn't try such a thing. Being his mother, I was glad to hear it.

A few days later, as I was buckling him into the car, he said, "Mom! Today at school, I got the hook-ups!"

Oh boy.

My mind starts racing. I mean, he's only four and he got the hook-up at preschool?

"What do you mean, buddy?"

"You know, I kept going HIC! HIC! and needed to get a drink of water."

Ahhh, the hiccups. Whew.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Flawed

I am my own worst critic.

I have a habit of pointing out my flaws to others before they have the chance to realize that they exist.

Often, I can't see who I really am because I'm studying my shortcomings so closely. It's nearsightedness of the worst kind.

I'm so much harder on myself than I am on others. In fact, I have criticised things about myself that I would admire about others.

It occurred to me almost a year ago this type of behavior is not only bad for me, it is horrible for my daughter. She is watching everything I do and taking notes. Some of the things that she sees in me will form the woman she will become. If I'm constantly critical of my weight, my hair, my loud voice or my undying love of musicals, what does that teach her? I want her to respect me and to love my quirks but more importantly, I want her to respect herself and love her own quirks.

I'm learning to embrace my flaws. I'm learning that maybe, just maybe, the things that I think are flaws aren't. Instead, they are little parts of what makes me who I am. They are things that the rest of the world probably wouldn't notice if I'd stop asking them to. Best of all, I'm learning that if my daughter grows up to be like me, she will be a woman who is tremendously blessed, loved and unapologetically herself.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Four

Yesterday was Brother's birthday. If you have been within a one hundred mile radius of him in the last two weeks, you were already aware of that because he hasn't forgotten to tell a single person.

I've decided that four is my favorite age of his ages so far. I probably said that about the ages of one, two and three, also.

At four, he still gets excited when he first sees me in the morning. He snuggles with me endlessly and isn't ashamed to kiss me in front of his friends at school. In fact, it's at preschool drop-off and pick-up that he gives me the biggest smooches of all.

Brother hands out hugs and kisses freely to those he loves. He hasn't yet been tainted by the "man hug" that only allows boys to hug with one arm before they quickly move away. No, sir. When he hugs, he puts his whole heart into it and you are more likely to let go first.

At four, Brother still has so many questions about the way things work. Many of the questions he comes up with leave me thinking and searching for correct answers. So many of the things that occur to him, never occur to me. This past weekend while visiting family, we got to see snow for the first time in a long time. This led him to ask, when God was thinking up all of the things to put in the weather, how did he come up with snow?

Around our house, things are often on Brother time. He moves at his own pace. When we are all in a rush, he is the one strolling along slowly, picking up rocks or studying the clouds. When we are all ready to sit and rest, he's testing out his shoes to see how fast they will let him run.

There are kids who are rule followers. Being a first born, I was one of those kids. It's not that Brother is a rule breaker, it's just that he chooses to believe that there are no rules.

I always say that Brother has a running soundtrack in his head. He's always singing, humming and dancing. He's often unaware that he's even doing it when I stop to ask him what it is he's singing. Confused, he will look up at me and then it dawns on him that he was actually just rocking out to whatever music was on his mind.

So often, at four, Brother will stop and compliment me on something or tell me that he loves me. He will stop what he's doing and say, "Mom? You're my favorite girl."

This type of affection isn't reserved for only me, however. Just this past week, he was snuggling with Sister on my bed as we were all taking our time waking up. Reaching up to pat her on the cheek, he said, "Sister, your skin is so soft."

I started to melt into a puddle on the spot.

Until he followed up with, "Not like Mom's. Hers is all cracky."

I'm hoping that was just his four year old sense of humor.

I've often thought that God gave us children so that we may teach them, hoping one day that they will turn into responsible adults. More recently, I've decided that He gave us children to teach us. I've learned so much from both of my children but from Brother, to live by my own rules, to move at my own pace and to have a soundtrack of my own.

I love you, Brother. You're my favorite boy.