November 30, 2012

December Bucket List

There are a few things I simply can't do this Christmas.  Mostly because I'm limited by how pregnant I'm getting or because of budget needs.  Saving for a new baby is hard when the holidays come! 

I've been slightly bummed out by all I can't get or do this Christmas season.  Like buying gifts for all of our family members, doing our annual downtown date night and choosing not to host a big Christmas party.  I'll also be missing out on my sister's musical at Six Flags and my friend Lori's wedding in Pensacola too because we can't afford to do either of those things. 

I decided to make a list of what I can do in efforts to cheer myself up and get back into the holiday spirit of things though:

1) Make a gingerbread house with Tommy

2) Watch White Christmas

3) Deck my halls

4) Bake sugar cookies

5) Drink egg nog

6) Make an ornament wreath like this one for my front door

7) Mail out Christmas cards

8) Kiss under the mistletoe

9) Go look at Christmas lights

10) Have a smallish New Year's party for close friends?

11) Sing Christmas Carols

12) Share a candlelit dinner with Todd

13) Make some homemade gifts

14) Fill Tommy's stocking

15) Have a fire or two in the backyard

16) Visit Santa

17) Read the Christmas story in Luke 2

18) Give a secret gift

19) Start a journal of the things I'm grateful for

20) Make Jacob's name for the nursery

21) Take pictures of all the Christmas trees I see

22) Make yarn wreaths for hopeful orders

23) Go to a local play or choir concert

24)  Try a new cookie recipe

25) Make merry with my family

What are you planning on doing this December to make it special?

November 29, 2012

True love paints your toenails

I've never cared much for the word "lucky."  Maybe it's because I've never thought I was a "lucky" sort of person.  It's rare that I'll ever win anything or find money laying in the street.  I never get the parking spot up close, the light always turns red when I want it to stay green, and I've never had a winning lottery ticket.  Though to be fair, I've never played anything other than a scratch-off before either. 

If there even is such a thing as luck, I don't know if I believe in it.  Because when it comes to the really good things in my life, I don't consider it luck that I have them.  I consider them a blessing.

Someone told me the other day that I was lucky to have a man like Todd.  And I felt myself bristle to the word, because am I really "lucky" to have him?  Did by some chance the universe hand me a brilliant deck of cards when he came in to my life and it was by complete chance that we ended up together?  I've always thought that our meeting and our relationship was divinely orchestrated and had it been left up to "luck" I don't think either of us would have ever found each other.

I've felt mushy lately when thinking about him.  Maybe it's because I'm hormonal and extra-sentimental these days.  Tears flow easily and my mood swings are off the charts at any given time.  But, whether it's pregnancy or life or just who he is - I'm aware of this amazing man I'm married to and I've felt over-the-moon with gratefulness.

He's a trooper.  I've been sick for what feels like an eternity, struggling with allergies or a cold or congestion that comes with pregnancy - I don't really know what.  But it's taken a toll because I'm not sleeping and because I'm not sleeping, he's not sleeping.  And my lack of sleep has turned me in to a crazy person so I'm up crying and freaking out about the end of the world and the financial cliff and troubles in the middle east and wondering if I'm going to have a heart attack at 2:00am every night.  (Perhaps I should quit watching the news?) I'm a chaos-creator and he knows it.

But in all of my crazy-making due to this sickness I've been trying to shake off, he's stuck it out and still manages to find places to show his love for me even though I know I've gotten on his last and very sleepy nerve.

The other night he painted my toenails for me.  My belly isn't quite big enough to be in the way of doing it just yet, but I was tired and kept complaining about how ugly my toes were.  So he got out the nail polish and treated me to a little pedicure. 
This came after doing half of the Christmas decorating even though it's so not his thing.  And after doing the dishes and giving Tommy a bath and a hundred other things he steps up to do because they need doing and because he cares about me.  Because how Todd shows love is through doing and through actions and serving.

It's taken me a few years to gripe about the lack of flowers or mixed CD's full of love songs that he might compile or planned-out romantic date nights.  But I've been able to see that his love for me spills out of him daily in all of his doing if I stop and notice.  And I guess I've done a lot of stopping and noticing lately.

And what's having a blog if I can't brag and boast on the love of my life?  He really is a keeper. Maybe I am lucky to have him.  Either way, he's all mine.  And I'm very, very grateful.

November 28, 2012

I almost forgot who I was

I'm a fighter.

I'm a dragon-slaying warrior princess.

I'm fearless and brave.

I'm a daughter of the King and an heir to the throne.  

I have hope in all things because Jesus is who He says He is.

And I almost forgot all of that.  I almost forgot that I have power and strength just by uttering His name - Jesus.  I almost forgot that I knew how to fight for my heart and my life.  That I was bold and courageous and was equipped with everything that I need to do what feels hard and scary.

I almost let fear take me out.  Almost.  

But then I remembered.  And this warrior princess dusted off her sword and picked herself back up and got back in the trenches to fight.  Because I can.  Because He gives me the strength to. 

And when I woke up this morning, I was oh so very sleepy and so very tired and wanted to stay in bed - but fear was gone.  There was peace where there had been panic.  There was calm where there was anxiety and I felt like me again.  The real me that fear had paralyzed and had in its grip for far too long these last few months - she was looking back at me in the mirror this morning.

Perfect love casts out all fear.....

November 26, 2012

My Favorite Season

Our halls are decked.  The stockings are hung.  The tree is up and glowing.  Christmas cards are almost complete and ready to mail.  One gift has already been bought.  Plans are in the works for parties and gatherings and get-togethers. Egg nog is in the fridge and several Christmas Hallmark movies have already been viewed. 

My most favorite time of year has arrived.  Welcome, Christmas season.

November 24, 2012

Thanksgiving Recap

How's that for an original title?

This hasn't exactly been the week I was hoping for.  I've spent most of it having an awful relapse of this horrible congestion, can't-breathe-through-my-nose, cough thing and the worst part of it, is that I'm not able to sleep through it all.  So I've spent the week exhausted going on maybe 2 or 3 hours of sleep each night with a full day on my plate the next day.   It's been disappointing to say the least.

Last night, I think I got about five and a half hours of sleep and it's amazing how five and a half hours of sleep can feel amazing when you only had two the night before.  But I heard that having chronic congestion is actually quite common during pregnancy.  Isn't that just dandy.

Needless to say, my Thanksgiving wasn't bad, but it was sort of blah - mostly because I was feeling blah.

And it started out with a bang the eve of Thanksgiving day when I attempted to make my own pie crusts on about three hours of sleep.  My tiredness affected my brain so much so, that I ended up adding triple the amount of shortening to the recipe for the crusts which of course, made them fall apart.  I managed to do this twice without knowing what I had done wrong.  This proceeded in a full on melt-down and my poor husband wrestled the crowds at the grocery store to bring home some ready-made crusts.  I had finally realized my shortening error by that point, but was feeling so defeated that I surrendered to Pillsbury, put the ready-made dough in my pie pan, and called it a day.
Thanksgiving morning I made an apple pie and the sweet potatoes and some appetizers and got the rolls on to a pan and did dishes and sort-of watched the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade (while noting that the musicals of this era have nothing on Rogers and Hammerstein or Leonard Bernstein or Andrew Webber and that "Elf" or "Bring it On" should have never been made into a musicals.  Because, really?).  I was exhausted long before noon and the fact that I had no energy sucked almost all of the joy out of me.

Before the meal, Poppy read the Thanksgiving proclamation.  We sat down to eat which took about twenty minutes - even though the meal had taken over a day to prepare. I suppose the biggest disappointment of the day was that as a family, we made no time to go around and talk about what we were thankful for.  What's Thanksgiving if we're not thankful?  *sigh*
That night, Todd, Tommy and I went over to my parents house to participate in an old tradition that I hadn't been part of in years.  We watched Home Alone in honor and memory of my brother.  My nieces and nephews had never seen it before and it was fun to watch them react to all of the silly pranks that Kevin played on the robbers.  The ending to the day was sweet and I was happy to be there and feel part of them.
The day, with its disappointments and sweet moments, it's tables full of food and rooms full of family all growing, changing, getting older, left me with much to be thankful for.  Even if I felt out of it and too exhausted to relish in all that was there.

In the back of my mind all day was our sweet little blessing.  The very active boy growing inside me.  And even though I don't know what the future will look like and all that will change or stay the same with his arrival, this time next year, he will be with us.  And I can't wait.
Today we'll decorate our home for the Christmas season.  We'll put ornaments on the tree and have some hot chocolate and eat leftovers and be together as a little family.  The last Christmas season that we'll be a family of three.

November 20, 2012

Giving Thanks: Healing

One of the things I love most about this time of year, is that the very essence of the holidays creates the space for mindfulness and reflection.  It's as if gratitude is in the air if you just stop for a moment and breathe it in.  But for me, I seem to have this deeper noticing of my surroundings and my life.  I become very inward, but not in the self-seeking kind of way.  My soul quiets and I pause more and my prayers become more frequent and more thankful rather than sparse and "asky."

Thanksgiving has been one of my most favorite holidays since I was a little girl.  It's a day that is rich with tradition and meaning.  The more I think about it, I think I almost love it more than Christmas.  But all of that has to do with my family.  Even with all of our flaws and wounds and dysfunction,  I don't know many families like ours.

The day starts around noon.  As the families arrive, you can feel a warmth there.  A genuine, comforting warmth that is more than just our bond as relatives.  It's the presence of Christ and what He means to all of us individually.  There is an abundance of food already - chips and dips, and shrimp of course, because Poppy loves it.  And it seems to be a day for abundance and indulgence and we celebrate that well with the amount of food that is prepared.  Sometimes there is football and sometimes not, because other than my Uncle, we're not a big football family.

Before the meal is ready to be eaten, we'll gather in a circle and my Poppy will read the timeless words of Abraham Lincoln's Thanksgiving proclamation.  The president who initiated this holiday - where as a nation under God, we would reserve a day specifically to give thanks to Him as that nation.  As I've grown older, I pay more attention to the words as he reads them.  To the man behind the piece of paper and brown rimmed glasses that I call my Poppy - my Grandfather.  I cannot imagine a Thanksgiving without him, and as we all get older, I find myself especially grateful that my Grandparents are still here with me to share in the day.

The feasting begins.  We eat and we talk and we laugh.  Sometimes we remember and reminisce about Thanksgivings of yesterday.  I love how Thanksgiving sounds like fellowship and togetherness.  Even as a young girl and teenager, I remember sitting there listening to the conversations and laughter and feeling so safe and content.  Wanting to memorize my surroundings and bottle up those moments and save them for the days when I needed a bit of security and ease. 

Over the years, I've had to live with the familiar ache knowing that while it would bring me joy and comfort to talk about my mom and the memories we have of her from this time of year, that for most, it feels painful and awkward to do that.  I'm more comfortable with tears and maybe even with grief.  Kindness has looked like accepting my family for where they are at with her memory and respecting their own places of grief and sorrow.  Letting God have my holed-heart and asking Him to fill it instead of looking to my family to do that for me.  I've learned to sit and be present in all that isn't there.  And I've learned to sit and be present in all that is there.

This year hasn't gone as I expected or planned for it to.  There have been disappointments and hiccups and in some ways, I've feel like I've just been floating through 2012 trying to make sense of it all.  Other than my marriage that God miraculously and graciously held together and of course, the blessing of another pregnancy, I've watched my relationships with my family grow and heal and blossom.  Especially with my sister and my dad, but mostly with my Robin. In all of the places that I'm left with questions or doubts or longings, I can clearly see where God has restored the years to me that the locust took.  Where he has brought healing to my heart and how that has trickled down to the relationships I share with my family.

That is the place I'm sitting this year.  Aware of what was lost, and knowing that I've taken the time to grieve after spending most of my life avoiding that pain.  Finally being in a place where my grief has allowed my heart to open again to see the glory of what isn't and what is. And having a peace that surpasses any need for for understanding.

I'm thankful for healing and that there really is a time for all things.

November 19, 2012

Vacation Monday

So far today....

I woke up to Tommy dancing to music videos on TV.  (Someone has learned how to turn the TV on and channel surf *sigh*).

Shared a waffle breakfast with my little guy.

I completed my giant Thanksgiving grocery trip and I think I actually remembered everything.

I ate Mexican food.

Then I took a nap. 

Woke up to my frozen dough that I bought for Thanksgiving rolls, melting and rising in their bags on top of my stove because someone forgot to put them in the freezer.

I've organized my pantry.

Worked some more on my Christmas cards.

Caught Tommy raiding the chocolate chip cookies.

And I've been instructed by my boss to quit working....yes, I took some work home because I'm crazy or something.  So it's officially put away.

And I found something incredible at the store.  Something that almost makes life complete.

That's right.  Pumpkin spice pudding.

It's really been a perfect Monday as far as Mondays go.

If you'll excuse me, I've got some pudding to make.

November 16, 2012

Thanksgiving Vacation!

T-minus four hours and twenty three minutes until my Thanksgiving vacation commences.  I took the whole week off next week and considering I haven't had any substantial time off of work since May of last year and before I went back to full-time hours, I'd say this whole vacation thing is just a tad overdue.

Even though I'll just be home and not taking some big, grand trip somewhere, I'm totally excited about some down time especially since Thanksgiving is next week and it happens to be one of my most favorite holidays.

If you made it through yesterday's long sad-songy post, you'll know that some time off work is probably exactly what I need.  I have plans for doing things just for me - making a wreath (yes, Lori - this one's for you!), maybe re-reading through some of a book, cleaning my house, working on Jacob's nursery, playing with Tommy and just getting to be a mom.  And of course - the big Thanksgiving grocery shopping trip.

I'm somewhat of a Thanksgiving geek and I absolutely love shopping and preparing for the big meal.  My contributions for the family meal this year will include three pies, sweet potatoes, rolls, fresh green beans, Todd's amazing fried turkey, and a few appetizers.  I definitely have my work cut out for me, but I really don't mind.  Buzzing around in the kitchen and preparing food for Thanksgiving is more like fun than work. 

As the day has been approaching, it's come with it's share of disappointments already.  I usually get these grandiose pictures in my head of how a holiday will be and it never turns out that way.  But last night as my Robin and I were texting back and forth about some of those disappointments, I was reminded how our relationship has changed this last year and my heart felt comforted knowing that she and I are so much closer than we once were - and even though I'm sad and disappointed about some things, that disappointment doesn't revolve around my parents and what our relationship does or doesn't look like - and that in itself is a huge gift.

Since I started keeping a blog, it's almost become a tradition for me to write a Giving Thanks series for the week.  I plan on doing the same, but maybe have a few other things mixed in as well.  I'm off next week - so perhaps my writing will go into overdrive.

Until then, I leave you with some of my favorite Thanksgiving moments....

Poppy getting very, very excited about the turkey.
 Baking pies.
 Fried turkey.  Need I say more?
And the after-Thanksgiving Christmas decorating.  I'm wondering if Tommy will throw a fit this year about having to put the ornaments on the tree or if I'll he'll be on board with hanging them on the branches. 
T-minus three hours and forty-eight minutes until my Thanksgiving vacation begins! 

November 15, 2012

When I worry about the future

All it took was one phone call from my mother-in-law this morning to say that her truck wouldn't start and she would need for me to bring Tommy her way, for me to go into an all-out panic about the future and have a massive meltdown over the phone sobbing to my husband. 

True, hormones could possibly be to blame, but really, the looming future ahead of me - the having another baby and wondering how I'm supposed to work full-time and do this new mom thing and take care of my home and my other little boy - all if it feels overwhelming.  I'm convinced I can't do this.  Most of the time, it's tucked away in the back of my mind and I try not to think about it at all.  I've labeled this as "taking one day at time" and "not worrying about my future."  But really, it feels so big to think about, that really I have to check out and not go there - which has resulted in my heart being numb most of the time - and that's not how I desire to live.  But choosing not to think or plan for what life will look like in March is what I've chosen to do.  Because I simply just don't know what's going to happen.

It's the not knowing that's terrifying for me.  And it's the knowing what I need and being scared that I won't be able to have what I need and wondering how I'll get through life without that - that's what has me anxious and scared and tears ready to spill out of me at any given moment.  I'm afraid that working and having a new baby and the life-load I'm already carrying will do me in and I'll snap.  Something will have to give.

Everything that we've waited for and hoped to happen in regards to changes in a job for Todd has resulted in disappointment after disappointment.  It's left me devastated and confused and heartbroken really.  And to add insult to injury, even though Todd has worked almost TWENTY-SIX friggin years for the same company and has over six weeks of paid vacation to use - he couldn't use a week of it next week to spend it with his family.  It's one slap in the face after another at this job - and because the economy sucks and people need work, he's stuck and we hate it.  It's hard to be grateful for a job and income when it's comes with so much frustration and disappointment.

A few weeks ago, the youth pastor of our church, and now good-friend Nate, preached on trusting God.  His sermon left me in tears and I told him later that if for no one else, God used him to speak to my heart that day.  This whole pregnancy and all of the worries that have come with it, have come with this invitation to trust Him and I've been wrestling instead of trusting for months now.  Needless to say, I'm worn out.

I left that Sunday with a question he posed resonating within me:  "Will you trust Me again Jennifer?"

And evil seems to be waiting right around the next corner to answer that question for me.  He is able, yet He doesn't do what He is able to do.  How can you believe He is for you when nothing works out your way?  You can't trust Him.  Trust yourself - at least you can figure it out.  Definitely not the voice of the One who made my heart.

What's crazy about this trust issue I have with God is that I have so much proof of where He has come through for me before.  Just like the last time when we were pregnant with Tommy - I had no clue how I would be out of work for two months and how we could make ends meet during that time.  Yet, He provided in huge ways and shut my fears down in an instant - literally.  And not just that, but so many times in life where He has shown me, even though He doesn't have anything to prove, that He is good and He is for me and He's got me.  Perhaps what scares me, is "how" He cares for us isn't always the way I would choose. 

From the beginning, I've questioned His timing for us on this second child.  I was on the losing weight track and the paying things off track and our marriage-is-healing track and all of a sudden this amazing, surprising, HUGE gift was put in our hands and once again, life was and is going to be turned completely upside down.  I'm left wondering, as I have been many other times before, what on earth is God doing?  What is He writing in to my story?  What does He want me to know about Him?  How does He want me to live here? 

More often than not, I cry out wanting some clear answer from Him as a reply, and I get either silence or the resounding words of Trust Me.  I Am.  I love you I will not leave you or forsake you.  It's funny how we go to God for direction - asking Him specific questions about what to do, what job to take, what to say yes or no to - and He replies with something off the wall rather than giving us the clear-cut answer we think we need.  Maybe that's why they call this faith.

I guess I just wonder if I have enough faith to trust Him here.  To trust Him with what I need, with where we are at and with what is to come with the arrival of Jacob.  As always, I figure that if I keep doing what I'm doing, I can figure it out.  I can control it all and manage the situation - it's how I've operated for years - the great manager.  And I'm good at it - really.  I can figure it at all out and get it done and do it all.  But I'm miserable and tired and living this way comes with a heavy price to pay.  And honestly, I think that's what He's asking me to give up.  I'm scared that if I finally let go of all I'm holding on to, that everything will fall apart and I'll be left with nothing - including nothing with God because He will have disappointed me.

For now, I have to put my big-girl panties back on.  Get through another day at work.  Go to a doctor's appointment for a check up where I hope my blood pressure continues to be normal and I haven't gained a million pounds since last time lest I be lectured by my doctor and leave feeling horribly about myself.  I have to get paperwork done and help my boss get ready for a huge-giant-important meeting tonight and run errands for work even though I'm officially at a waddling-status.  And after work, help my Gramma pay her water bill, pick up Tommy, and go home and make dinner - which I just realized that in the chaos of the morning I forgot to set out the meat we needed for tonight's meal. 


All of it is enough to drive me a little crazy - and I suppose it is.  I know I need to let go and give it up, yet the fear of doing that is what has me grasping for more control.   It's a pretty vicious cycle.  A dance I've danced for years and I desperately want to change it, but again....I'm scared.

And today, I have no beautiful bow to tie up my thoughts with.  No realization, no peace, no great understanding of anything.  No answers or solutions or perfect plan to make it all work.  It's left as undone as life is right now.  A great unknown, a big question mark.  And a big God who I find myself struggling with again and again and again.

November 13, 2012

Tommy and his box

It's quite true, I believe, that a box is always better than any toy that could come inside of it.  Though last night's box didn't contain a toy, but his little brother's crib bedding that was finally delivered, it brought us an hour's worth of fun together before bedtime.

We colored on it and pretended it was a fort.  He would jump out and "scare" me.
 It was as if I'd given him a playground in our very own living room.
 Boxes have a way of bringing out the innocent and silly and imagination in all of us.  And Tommy was no exception.
As he giggled and laughed and played and invented new games with this silly old box, my mother's heart felt full, as it if might burst open with gratefulness at the realization of how blessed I am.  With all the complaining I can sometimes do about all that I don't have, I often find myself humbled when I realize that God gifted me with my son - this miracle of life.  And now, another one on the way, another miracle of life.  It was easy to imagine two little boys playing box games and giggling and wondering how on earth my heart will be able to contain as much joy as that scene could possibly hold for me.
When there is nothing else on the agenda but playing with boxes and being silly and laughing together....those are some of the sweetest moments of being a mom.  Some days are hard and full of snot or poop or fussy babies.  When you want to get away from it all and have a margarita with your girlfriends and pretend that motherhood isn't that hard - because oh, I've had those days and I'm sure I'll have them again.  But other days, moments like Tommy and I shared last night, they're like a gift.  Special moments that make motherhood and raising children not just worth it, but so much fun.  So wonderful and rewarding.  They are little nuggets of abundant life that I will cherish for always.
I hope your day is full with imagination and silly and laughter.  Even if you don't have a three year old around, there's a three year old in all of us waiting to come out and play.

November 12, 2012


I always wanted to always be in love.  For there to always be flirting and romance and kissing and dancing to Christmas music in the street on cold December nights.  It was my teenage dream to be always in love.

I observed relationships and couples and marriages at an early age.  Intensely watching how couples interacted with each other.  How closely they sat together, if they held hands, if they exchanged knowing glances or shamelessly flirted.  Or if they seemed tense or distant or bit at each other with sarcasm or shortness.  I made long mental lists of do's and dont's and what I wanted and didn't want when I was married someday.

So much of my perspective shifted though when love did find me and I became married.  I wouldn't say that I was completely disillusioned about what marriage would be like, but there is so much you simply can't know until you've been married for a few years and when doing life with another human being gets real or complicated or tiring.  It's not like the movies and it's not even like what you've observed in others your whole life.  It becomes unique for the two of you and what you share together is it's very own melody, distinct from anything else you've heard before.

I've had to learn that disappointment is a part of marriage, as it is a part of any relationship.  That my husband won't get everything, do everything, and be everything I've ever wanted or hoped or dreamed for.  There will always be a void in his ability to love me and show that love - the same is true for me.  And I've learned that just because something feels bad in one place, doesn't mean that the whole marriage is bad.  Just that certain parts of a relationship need some care and attention and maybe even some "work." 

The weekend provided some closeness for the two of us. And it wasn't anything out of the ordinary, but my heart deeply felt how closely connected he and I are together.  Where there is deep love and passion and flirting.  Friday night wasn't just date night.  It was sharing chocolate ice-cream pie over conversation where we did some dreaming and hoping and talking about what is to come.  It was holding hands while going to see the new James Bond movie - a genre of movies we both equally love.  Saturday wasn't just a small road trip, but a time to be still and hold hands and laugh together at the silly things our little boy always says.

There were several moments that allowed us the ability to really connect and enjoy each other and I ate up ever ounce of the feeling that was there.  The feeling that is still there between he and I.  Where I think he's amazingly handsome and he finds me sexy and we laugh and enjoy and talk like we did at the very beginning of us when we first fell in love six November's ago.

When we can take a few moments for us and take a step back from the things in our life that feel heavy or hard - it's there.  That always in love thing.  Sometimes we lose sight of it.  Some days, life steals it away. But it's there.  And I'm reminded that even though it looks different than I ever thought it would, I really do have what I always wanted.

November 8, 2012

The week

Monday and Tuesday:  I'm on this tomato basil soup and grilled cheese sandwich kick.  Even not being that cold outside, I still want to eat it every night for dinner.

Monday night:  Through the "Cough of Doom - 2012" I sang with my dad and my sister a long set of worship music at a small event for my former youth pastor.  It's been a very long time since I've sung with either of them - especially my sister.  But God....He heals and restores and makes all things new - even broken relationships.  Hearing our voices blend and harmonize naturally together (being sisters and all) was one of the sweetest sounds I've heard in a long time.  It reminded me that redemption comes in many forms and how amazing to be able to hear such a thing.  

Tuesday:  The nursery is officially under construction.  We picked out a shade of gray for the walls and so far, I'm loving how it's looking.  I can't wait until the furniture gets painted too and things start looking like a baby's room.  Oh, the nesting part of this baby prepping stuff is so much fun!  Although, Todd might feel a bit differently about this process as he is the painter of my nursery vision.

Tuesday afternoon:  My boss placed an order for three fall wreaths this week - my first official order ever. Though I have two more to finish before tomorrow and I have a feeling I'll be up late tonight getting them done.

Tuesday late afternoon:  I was so sleepy that I somehow fell asleep on the toilet at work for almost fifteen minutes.  Just wow.

Tuesday night:  I didn't watch the election results.  I went to bed at 9:30 as soon as I finished yarn wreath number one.  Seeing as I fell asleep on the toilet earlier in the day, an early bedtime was necessary.

Wednesday morning:  Had to keep from smashing Facebook.  Seriously - all the negativity about the election drove me bonkers.

Wednesday evening:  Dinner drama.  We've been attempting to get Tommy to eat what we're eating at dinner time and any time he doesn't like it, there is usually massive meltdowns and explosions and all of it is so very tiring. 

Wednesday night:  Youth Group  - I love youth group.  I love my teen girls.  I love having conversations with them.  I love being there.  Even feeling tired and sleepy and having a full plate, it never feels tiring and or too full when I'm there.

Thursday morning:  I read this.  "Healing in one area of your life and not in another doesn't mean that there is failure.  It means God is at work."  I love that and I SO needed it.

Thursday later morning:  My co-worker brought me Starbucks.  Not that I need the caffeine, but oh, it's so wonderful. And my bouncing off the walls baby boy agrees with me!

Later today Thursday:  Going to Hobby Lobby to purchase one more wreath for my first order.  Make the wreaths.  And perhaps make something other than tomato basil soup for dinner.

Weekend forecast:  Friday date night!  Which includes seeing Skyfall on opening night (because I'm a James Bond-aholic-fanatic) and driving to the Houston area to meet up with a long time friend on Saturday.  I might be equally excited about both events.

Now - to finish my coffee and buzz through my work!  Happy Thursday!

November 6, 2012

like old times

It felt like it always felt.  Not like she was really five million miles away from Texas and our conversations happen over the phone rather than face-to-face.

But yesterday was like old times.  Visiting in real time, eating salads and sharing life.  There seemed to be more tears than laughter this time around.  Probably because of all that our hearts are holding.  Where life is both full and lonely,  and wonderful and discouraging all at the same time - because life always comes with some good and some bad in it.  We took comfort knowing that we felt like we were in the exact same place in life.  Even in our loneliness, it feels less lonely to know what we were going through was familiar for the other.

But I was grateful for her face.  For her smile and tears and hugs.  For conversation and for the time she made for me during her short and very full time here.

Today, I'm missing my friend and the connection and closeness we shared when she lived here.  Knowing that she is irreplaceable - there will simply never be another Bethany.  I'm feeling grateful that we could pick up right where we left off - as if we were used to meeting up for lunch on a Monday afternoon.

And that even though distance changes friendship, it hasn't taken it away.

November 5, 2012

I do it for me

The whole house was all mine yesterday evening.  Solitude and time alone in my house all to myself is a very rare thing.  In the middle of doing laundry and getting the dishwasher loaded and doing some more organizing in the will-be nursery, I cracked open Jake's baby book and got started writing some things down.

Is it funny that I've already started calling him Jake?  I'm not sure if the nickname will stick or not, but it's been fun to dream about our second little boy.

I did a baby book for Tommy too.  Since I gave up scrapbooking, I wanted to have something for both of the boys to have when they are older of what they were like as babies.  What our thoughts were as parents as they grew.  So many things are hard to remember unless you write them down.

It's not just baby books though.  I have letters I've written to Tommy on every birthday - and I plan on doing that for Jake too.  I have Christmas ornaments I get every year - one for me and for him.  I have keepsakes and drawings and little mementos that I wanted to save.  Things I don't want to forget - and things I want them to know when they're grown men.

Honestly, I'm not sure how much my boys will appreciate or care about the ornaments and baby books and letters that I'll leave behind for them to save.  Men are so much different than women, especially when it comes to sentiments and keepsakes.  But, I realized last night as I was writing my thoughts down for my second son on what it was like to know that I was pregnant again, that I was really doing this for me.

Because my mom died when I was 18, everything that I have of hers is precious to me.  Every old letter, every picture, every small thing that once belonged to her - all of it is priceless.  But I feel like I don't have much.  Most of what I have is memory and stories told by others.  I always wished I had more of her left with me here, and I don't.  I have found myself telling people, that one of the reasons that I keep a blog is so that my children will have a piece of my heart that will always be with them.  Unless the internet dies, my blog will always be there.  My thoughts and my heart and my story will accessible for them to read and know. If something ever happens to me, it would be as if I could still leave something for them to have of me in my absence.

The baby books and blog writing and memento saving - a lot of that is part of my grieving and what living without my mom looks like.  It's how I cope with loss and live with that ache.  I know what it's like to be without a parent and if my boys should ever be without me someday, I want them to have as much of me left behind as I could possibly leave for them.

And while everything is really for them - I do it for me.  I do it for my motherless heart.  I do it for my own mother's heart.  I do it because I need to, because I must.  It fills up an empty space inside of me somehow.

And as Jacob's baby book fills with pictures and stories and records all of his firsts and all of my thoughts, something in my heart will be that much more full.

November 1, 2012

Happy November

It never takes long for the day to start coming at me with life's annoyances and attempts to rob me of my joy.  Especially when that joy was there only moments ago as I ate breakfast with my boy who was up early and needed waffles.  Tommy has always been delightful and extra sweet during the morning hours, and I love that he was up early so we could share a few moments together before I headed off to work and was away from him all day.

No sooner than I left him though and headed off to work, I hit fog and awful traffic and it took me an entire hour to get to my office.  By the time I reached my destination, all of my patience and calm and joy that I started out with, was completely gone.  It was enough to make me want to turn around, head home and crawl under my covers so I could feel sorry for myself.

I'm a bit dramatic sometimes, I know.

It's November now - the season of gratitude and thankfulness.  Thanksgiving is one of my most favorite holidays. And not just because there is an abundance of pumpkin pie and sweet potatoes (but, what a perk!), but because it's the time of year where my heart takes notice and begins to reflect on my life.  On what I have and what I've been blessed with.  I wish I could be more in touch with gratitude and thankfulness year round - and I've been attempting to work on that because that is the kind of woman I want to be.  But November brings that conviction to my heart and I anticipate this time every single year. 

I guess it didn't feel fair that the first day of November had to start out with an hour long drive to work though - because what's to be thankful for in that?  Maybe that I have a car to drive.  That we have money to put gas in it.  That I have a job to go to that helps provide for what our family needs.  And that my day didn't start with a bad commute.  It started with a waffle breakfast with my son....

Gratitude.  It's always there.  Sometimes, we just have to go looking for it underneath our bad attitudes. 

All this to say, my hope is that the tone of what I write this month will have an  underlying theme of gratitude and thankfulness as we enter this season.  That my heart will remember what is good and full.

Like my sweet super-hero.  My little Captain America, who I may or may not have bribed with a lollipop to get one posed picture of him in his costume.  
We went trick-or-treating last night with friends.  It was Tommy's first time - and mine too for that matter.  He didn't know what to think about it at first and I can't say that I blame him.  It really is an odd thing to knock on someone's door that you don't know and they hand over candy to you because you've asked for it.  Though I don't like the ugly, scary, gory parts of Halloween, I imagine there will always be candy and dressing up and fun every October 31st. 
It's the first of November.  Time for family and turkey and thankfulness and being together.  And even if some bad commutes and unexpected hiccups happen along the way in such a season, there is still much to be grateful for.