September 26, 2012

Photo Ops

I can never resist a fun photo op.  

Especially when Hobby Lobby is full of things to play dress up with.

I mean, an over-sized hat and a huge, velvet bow?!
How could I resist?

September 24, 2012


The weekend felt busy.  And far too warm seeing as it was the first official weekend of autumn. 

We helped my parents (we, meaning Todd) move around furniture and almost clear out their house in order to make room for their house full of new carpeting.  I watched Tommy play with his cousins and I laughed and talked with my family. 

Saturday evening was a wedding.  It couldn't have been a more picturesque autumn evening.

I felt the first real baby movement yesterday morning.  It made me cry and reminded me how miraculous all of this is.  Being pregnant, having another baby, carrying life inside of me.  I'm eagerly anticipating our big ultrasound appointment in October so we can find out "who" we are expecting.

I found myself battling some things intensely over the weekend.  With places of disappointment.  With my identity and with beauty.  I fought feelings of being left out and excluded or forgotten.  Of self-contempt for not being a better friend, for seeing where I didn't follow through on something else.  And for what I look like and see in the mirror.  And shame.  The battle with shame is always big.

I had lunch and a short shopping outing with a friend.  It was some brief girl-time, but much needed.

We took a family walk last night.  I'm trying to get exercise.  Trying to take care of myself and this baby in the ways that I can and know how to.  And other than being a little too warm, it was the perfect evening for a Sunday stroll.
The week ahead feels busy too.  With work, doctor's appointments, things to be done around the house, people to see, commitments to be a part of.  I think some time off and rest will be in order soon. My body and my heart are in need of a retreat.

September 21, 2012

Three and two months

Nothing could have ever quite prepared me for being a mom to a boy.  In fact, when we first found out that the baby we were expecting was a Tommy, I freaked out a little bit.

"What on earth am I going to do with a boy?"  I thought. 

All if it though - motherhood, raising a son, navigating boyish waters - has come a bit more naturally than I thought it would.  Somehow Tommy brings out the most playful part of myself.  He reminds me that it's okay to be loud and to get dirty.  That adventure can be found absolutely anywhere.  It's actually something he says quite frequently.  "Let's have an adventure mom!"  And we go look for rocks or run outside or play in the rain or I find myself chasing him at the mall, because to him, wide open spaces mean that you can run as free as you please.

And then there are the days where the unexpected happens and you find yourself scratching your head and realize, he's only going to become even more BOYISH than he already is. 
His new thing is getting himself dressed.  And really this just means that I'm having to get over my tendencies of wanting him to look put together and coordinated.  Picking out his own clothes has become a very big deal and gone are the days of my handsome boy looking the way that I wanted him to.  He'll wear his Batman shirt with a pair of red shorts and it's not the jean pair I'd prefer.  *sigh*

Though the biggest problem is that he prefers to skip putting on underwear.  I suppose if there is a difficult part to getting dressed at three and two months, it's the underwear.  We now have to check that he is wearing them before heading out.  Boy, we were surprised the first time to discover our son was going commando!  (To my grown son Tommy - if you ever read this - it was too hilarious to not write down and remember.  Don't be too mad.)

Even with all of the challenges lately - and not the getting dressed ones - but the discipline, teaching how to act and respond and to listen and obey ones - there are still these incredibly sweet moments that I wouldn't trade for the world.  When he calms down long enough to want to just feel our arms around him for awhile.  It doesn't happen often, but when it does, you better believe we cherish it.
And the driving.  Oh the driving.  We.  Drive. All.  The.  Time.  The boy wants to be behind the wheel whether we let him sit in a real car or we're pretending to drive on the couch.  I'm pretty sure he's going to grow up and be a guitar-playing race-car driver.  Sometimes he drives a truck and others he's driving a spaceship.  We always put our seatbelts on and the ride is always, always bumpy.  But our pretend drives we take on a daily basis are something I will always remember about Tommy being three. 
I was having one of those sentimental nights last night.  Where I was watching him pretend to drive his Opa on the couch and I suddenly saw this big boy asking for the keys to the car and going out with his friends. 
This time next year, he will be a big brother.  He won't be the only kid in the house and be the recipient of all of our attention.  I'm curious what his little heart will do with that transition.  I wonder where he will feel missed or envious of his little brother or sister.  I keep thinking about how we are shaping his story.  Where we love and parent out of both our woundedness and the healed places too. 

And how God chose us, Todd and me, to be his dad and his mom.  Just as he picked us for our next baby, we were chosen for this little boy. Our music-loving, pretend-driving, underwear-missing, loud-laughing little boy. 

I may not have known what I was going to do with a boy more than three years ago.  But now, my thoughts are more like...."What on earth would I do without this little boy?"

September 19, 2012

another autumn

Autumn has been been my favorite since I first realized how glorious it sounded for leaves to crunch under my feet as I walked home from the school bus stop.  It's been my favorite since my mom made crafts with puff paint and fabric fall leaves and wreaths full of gourds and acorns and festive ribbons.

Autumn is for September skies rich with beauty.  When the air is clear and full of change and promise and hope for more.  It's for listening to cold fronts rustling through trees and for open windows.  Curtains blowing in, house fresh with crisp air.

Autumn is for doing things out of the regular ebb and flow of life.  Like taking day trips to the Texas hill country, going outside to enjoy more hand-holding walks, and buying mums for your front porch. For wearing scarves and sweaters and colors that run warm and deep.
Autumn is for trips to the pumpkin patch to take family pictures and go on hayrides.  It's full of cozy, warm meals cooked in crock pots and spice candles burning while you snuggle under blankets.
Autumn is for pumpkin carving parties like we host every year.  It means friends and laughter and pumpkin guts in trash bags and kids playing in cabinets that they've deemed as spaceships.
Autumn is for giving thanks. For small intimate dinners with close friends to speak truth into our hearts about where we've been, what we hope for and where we have found gratitude.  It's for large family gatherings where there is too much food and kid-created chaos and holiday memories to be made.
Autumn is for pies baking in the oven, wearing home-made costumes and remembering my mother.  How close she feels when the air is cool and candles are glowing soft. 

September 18, 2012

No real place to land

I panicked on the highway this morning because the van behind me looked like it wasn't going to stop in time and instead would hit me.  Thankfully it didn't, but I've noticed where I've been extra cautious and extra on-edge since the accident anytime I'm in the car.

I have found myself feeling envious of my cousin who just got married.  I keep thinking how new everything is for them and remembering what it was like to bake my first batch of cookies on fresh baking pans.  And when the toaster was shiny and just out of the box and our checkbook was thick because we were gifted with so much.  For some reason I feel more sad than any other emotion that the newness has worn off in our marriage.  We are somewhat broke and comfortable and though we love and communicate and live with more depth together, there is something in me that wishes we could go back to the newness and enjoy what we didn't get to then.  

I'm at the point where I stand in front of the mirror and try not to cry every day that I get ready.  Because I'm somewhere between looking like I usually do and feeling one thousand pounds heavier and no would know I was pregnant unless I told them and having some kind of belly bulge that could maybe be pregnant-ish. 

I may have made some kind of vow or promise to myself that I wouldn't be this size and pregnant again.  And even though I was on my way down this year, I am still very much the same size and pregnant again.  And it's hard.  I'm fighting all-too familiar feelings of wanting to hide and isolate and disappear because I'm ashamed.  And oh, is it March already?

I'm a little sad and a little jealous that Todd is home for two straight weeks using some vacation time while I'll be working every day.  And it's poking at all of the places where I feel worried and discontent and wondering if things will ever change.

It seems like I've been feeling a LOT lately.  As if I'm extra triggered by events or small-life things and it sends me to places where I find myself questioning God or my identity or what is true - and way more than usual.  For the first time in a long time it feels like I have no one to really talk to.  And as I was thinking about this in the shower today, I started to wonder if it's because I've created that environment amongst my friends - especially my newer friends.  Where I'm the friend they come to and talk to and vent to and cry to - but I don't have a friend like that for myself.  I feel like I'm running out of room to contain all that I am, and I simply don't know what to do about it.  But my heart is aching and I just need someone to listen to it for a while.

So it should come as no surprise that once again, even with a marriage that has been on the mend and being pregnant with our second baby and having numerous new friends, that I still feel lonely.  And I hate how it seems I have no control over my loneliness.

I medicated this over the weekend by getting a few new scarves and a couple pairs of flats because shopping and getting something for myself that I can wear regardless of whether or not I'm pregnant makes me feel better.  Or at least it did in the moment.  I'm wearing neither a new scarf or a new pair of flats today because it's going to be 90 degrees today which means sleeveless shirts and flip-flops.

None of any of this has any real point I suppose.  It's been days since I've written and I can never really write when I don't feel like me.  Or the me that I like anyway.  I'm the version of myself that I'm quick to judge and hate and criticize.  It's very hard to find kindness for this me.

And that's all for this Tuesday.  Too deep thoughts, with no real place to land.  And a heart that needs to be held and heard for a while....

September 13, 2012


When I left for work yesterday morning, I had this eerie, knowing feeling.  In no way do I believe I can see the future, but sometimes, there is this thing that settles in my spirit and I just know in my gut and in my heart that something is about to happen.

When I pulled out of my driveway and started my commute to work, I just knew that I was going to be in a car accident that morning.

Of course, I wished the thought away and thought I was nonsense for even thinking such a thing.

But on the way there, I hit some heavier-than-usual traffic.  I heard later there was a bad accident further up the highway which was why it was stop and go.  All of what happened though still feels like a blur.

I remember seeing the car behind me coming at me and I knew they wouldn't be able to stop in time.  I braced for the hit and before I knew it, my front end had hit the car in front of me.  The oddest part was I felt three more surges.  As if the woman who had hit my car from the back was also hit - I was imagining a six-car pile up.  I still don't know what it was that I felt, but thankfully, it was only the three of us.

Somehow we made it over to the shoulder of the highway from the middle lane.  I was in a panic and crying hysterically.  Of course all of my thoughts immediately ran to my unborn.  Were they okay?  Was the impact hard enough to do damage?  And my upper left arm was throbbing.

When the woman who hit me found out I was pregnant she immediately called 911 and two fire trucks and an ambulance were there in less than three minutes.  It was amazing how quickly they arrived.  I felt in a confused, blurry state of mind though.  They didn't tell me that they were taking me to the hospital to get checked out, they asked me if I wanted to go instead.  With the emotional state that I was in at that moment, I said that I didn't.

The officer at the scene wanted us to pull off the highway.  I shakily got back behind the wheel and followed him and the others to the parking lot he wanted us at in order to get our information and file the police report.  By that time, Todd had shown up.  When I saw him walking toward me, I burst into another round of tears and melted in to his arms.

He is my safe place and my rock.  I was grateful to have him, his support, his arms, his strength for me in that moment.

After information was exchanged, we surveyed the damage.  My front bumper was about to come off and wouldn't be driveable for any amount of long distance without coming off entirely.  The back end was bashed in as well.  And I was still shaking and didn't want to drive.  We left the car in the parking lot and Todd took me home while we both made phone calls - me to my doctor and him to our insurance.  We picked up Tommy from daycare on the way home because I wanted him safe with me.

I was able to get a doctor's appointment for late morning.  I wasn't going to feel at ease until I knew that our baby was okay.  After what felt like an eternity, I finally saw my doctor and explained what happened.  He was sure everything was okay, but would do an ultra-sound to give me reassurance.

The moment I saw their tiny little body wiggling around and saw the little heartbeat, I felt like I could breathe again.  We were okay.  The baby was fine.  I had a bruised arm and a beat-up car, but we were okay.

I spent the rest of the day at home.  I felt like I had run a marathon.  The shock from the hit was enough to wipe me out.

It was my first car accident ever.  Other than grazing someone's bumper years ago, I've never been in a wreck.  And I don't care to be in another one ever again!

Tommy is at work with me today - that's been the plan all week.  If I had to be an accident and get rear-ended, I am so very glad it was yesterday and not today.  I would have been double the mess had my son been with me and had been hurt.

My car is being repaired, a rental is on its way and most importantly, me and the baby are okay.  Definitely not how I planned to spend my Wednesday.  I'm so very grateful for insurance, for a husband to come to my rescue, for the health of our baby, and to only have a bruise on my arm for an injury.

September 10, 2012

september moments

Aside from my all-day-long morning sickness that won't go away, the weekend was lovely in all of it's loveliness.  The cool front blew in and for a few hours we were able to open our windows.  For a short while, my home was able to breathe in the fresh air of autumn's coming.  I let myself sit and soak it in before the warmth of the day settled back in.
I finished my fall decorating too.  I put the finishing touches in the dining room with a simple arrangement and fall colored place settings.
After doing laundry and dishes and scrubbing our disgusting shower floor, I finally finished my fall wreath.  It's simple and festive and I'm in love with how it turned out. 
And to celebrate the glorious shifting in the weather, even if it was only for a brief while, I enjoyed my first pumpkin spice latte of the season and even had a piece of my mother-in-law's pumpkin pie. I do love a good pumpkin flavored anything.
This morning was the first crisp morning of the season.  I'm wishing I could pull my desk outside and work out there for awhile.  Either way....I am so very glad it is finally September.

September 7, 2012

The decorating has begun!

It seems as though when September is finally ushered in, that crisp mornings and crunchy leaves should quickly follow.  Though in my neck of the woods, that never happens.  Autumn is something that has to be invited in and sought after.  If you don't take the time to notice the shifting of the sun, the different colors in the sky at sunrise and sunset, and the ever-so subtle change in the air - you just might miss autumn in Texas.

The weekend lows are expected to be in the high 60's.  And you know you're from South Texas when you get that excited about the first official "cold snap" of the season.  I might even  make chili and cornbread to celebrate.  And maybe - maybe - even a pumpkin pie.

It's my favorite time of year.  It marks the beginning of a season where there is more togetherness.  More parties and events.  Festivals and fun pictures to take.  Exciting things to go do as a family and with friends.  

Last night, I kept my dinner down and had enough energy to finally put up my fall decorations.  Tommy was excited to help and kept placing pumpkins in random places.  I noticed one missing later that night and ended up finding it in his room.  When I brought it back out he said, "But mom, I like that punkin.  It's so bootiful."  And if it wasn't the breakable kind I might have let him keep it there.
As I placed things on shelves and moved things around until it felt just right, I started planning for our third annual pumpkin carving party.  I thought about the pumpkin patch we'll take Tommy to again this year and hoped for another hayride.  I started wondering how I would pull together his Halloween costume this year (he wants to be a superhero - "Super Tommy" - he says) and if I would break down and let him trick-or-treat.  I wished that my house was bigger for a few moments - only so I could host my entire family for Thanksgiving dinner.  And then I wondered how up I will be more making pies and baking cookies, as by then, I'll have quite the pregnant belly.

Decorating brings out my planner, my anticipator, my excitement over fellowship and community with the people I love most.  I feel most like me when I'm creating beauty and celebrating a season that isn't just special - it's life-giving and life-celebrating.
The highs for today may still be in the nineties.  It may be ridiculous to wear a scarf with my outfit.  And it may only be the seventh of September....
But autumn has arrived.  In my heart and in my home.

Happy fall decorating!

September 6, 2012

Ruby colored longings

It was in a small room in Muskegon, Michigan that I uttered it out loud.  I was surrounded by faces of men and women who had started out as strangers, but by that day, I was deeply known by all of them.  They had bravely walked places with me in my story that I didn't have the courage to go until they entered in and faced it with me.

That's the beauty of journeying with others.  Sometimes we don't have the courage to face the truth until we have an army behind us, cheering us on.  Being there to support and encourage and remind us of what is true about us.  And more importantly, about Jesus.

That week was beautiful, redeeming and gut-wrenchingly hard.  But the ending for me, was nothing short of glorious.  Not only did I say this big thing out loud, but it was written down for everyone to see - the deepest longings of my heart.

And then I danced.  I was free enough to let loose, let go and dance my freaking heart out.

There were other longings I named.  Things that are very personal and real - those I still want to hold on to for now and keep just for me and not write out in this particular forum.  But, at the top of that list was what I longed for the most:

A daughter named little gem.  

I'm only thirteen weeks pregnant at the moment.  And I don't know if I'm carrying my daughter - it could be my second son.  In the weeks I've been pregnant and dreaming about my future child, we've gone back and forth on names.  And just when we thought it was settled, I kept going back to the name I had chosen years ago.  Ruby - it's THE name.  It's the color, the sparkle of the longings I hold in my heart about dreaming of my little girl.

I'm also aware that longings don't always work the way we think they ought to sometimes.  We deeply ache for things and often, God grants us the desires of our hearts and we see our longings fulfilled.  And other times, they change because He has something better in mind.  I've come to know and trust that His best is better than anything I can conjure up.

But He knows.  He knows how deep my longing go for a daughter, for my Ruby.  She may come to us this way.  We may adopt her later.  She may be a glorious little thing up in Heaven that I'll spend eternity with - I don't really know.  But, I'm up for the adventure either way.

Today I was reminded of that room.  Of the marker I wrote with as I spelled out what was in the depths of my heart.  I was reminded of the faces who had tears for me and my story.  Of those who fought in the trenches with me, and afterward, danced with me on the belly of a slayed dragon.

In my morning and afternoon and evening sickness that has apparently found me in my thirteenth week, I'm reminded of my ruby colored longings.  Curious about what God could possibly have in store this time around....

September 4, 2012

Scarves, Wheaties, and Dancing

Let's start with the obvious.  I love long holiday weekends.  I had both Friday and Monday off and this morning, my body revolted against the alarm clock. It was all very wonderful and I'm sad when good things come to an end.  *sigh*

Even though it will be 97 degrees today, I'm wearing a scarf with my blouse because it feels about time to wear scarves even if it makes no sense with this weather.  It's September - time for scarves and You've Got Mail and decorating with pumpkins.

I broke my no-morning-sickness streak today and lost my Wheaties at work.  *sigh*  I'm hoping it was just a random fluke though and won't be an every day occurrence.  It's been nice to not be sick this time around.

I paid a whole $37 to get my nails done last week for a wedding and I absolutely hated the feeling of them.  So much so, that I peeled off all $37 worth and threw them in the trash yesterday.  Apparently, I'm a fake nail hater.

My cousin Aimee got married on Saturday.  It was a gorgeous, beautiful, elegant day.  I hugged her and watched her put on the most beautiful gown ever.  And then I cried.  And cried and cried and cried and cried.

After all the crying was done though, I danced like a crazy-person.  I dance now, it's what I do.  I danced so much though my baby belly started aching and I knew it was time to call it quits.  Then all day Sunday and yesterday I felt tired and sick and lousy.  I think I over-danced.  Isn't that glorious?!  Me - pregnant and dancing too much.  All of it makes me smile.

I'll be making home-made beef stroganoff for dinner and decorating my house for fall tonight.  Ninety-seven degrees and all.

Happy day after a long holiday weekend to you.