Saturday, July 25, 2009

The week in pictures (and some words too)

So, I've been a little silent this week. For a quick catch up, here's our week in pictures . . .

Hmmm. What have we been up to?

Sitting around the house . . .

Playing . . .

More playing . . .

And still more playing . . .

Riding horses . . .

And rounding them up . . .

Swimming . . .

Visiting with Grandma and Grandpa . . .

And of course throw in work, school, eating, and sleeping and there's our week in 100 words or less.

The girls are doing well, summer is flying by, and we are enjoying some relatively pleasant weather in South Louisiana. I heard someone say this week, "Thank goodness for global warming or it would be snowing in July." Seriously, it has been nice here, in the upper 60's and low 70's in the morning. It still gets hot in the middle of the day, but we've been spending time outside in the yard and at the pool without sweltering.

If you follow me on Twitter or on Facebook, you saw this already, but I took the girls to Target after work on Friday and when we were looking around Caroline said out the the blue, "Oh mama! I can't beweeve it! This place is incredible!" Again her precious little heart is so easy to please and it made me smile and laugh that Target was a source of such joy. Of course I know that of which she speaks and I agree whole-heartedly.


I love these girls. I'm so happy they have each other!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Death is not dying

I landed on this website somehow one night last week. I clicked on the video and thought I might watch a few minutes of it before I went to sleep. Well, 55 minutes later, it was way past my bedtime and I was better for having stayed up, too wrapped up in this woman's words to dare click "stop." Rachel Barkley was diagnosed with terminal cancer in February of this year, and this moving video captures her words only a month later. Her words are honest and moving, funny and hard to hear. She speaks out of a really humble place that welcomes you in and invites you to learn some of what this awful and tragic ordeal has forced her to grasp.

I'm still trying to process much of what she said (and I'm going to have to forfeit a little sleep to watch it again I think), but I wanted to share in case you might be blessed by her words. One of the things she said that has stuck with me over the past few days is "serve with joy." That resonated most with me as a mother; I think most mothers find themselves serving for the better part of their days, weeks, months, . . . and it goes one. How we look at that though might make all the difference in the world. Is it a burden? Is it too much to ask? Or is it a gift that might bring us a little closer to knowing the God who created us? There is truly so much more in her words, but I'll leave it at that (for this morning at least). Even if you don't have 55 minutes to sit down and watch right now, I encourage you to come back to it when you do. It will be worth even a little bit of missed sleep.

Friday, July 17, 2009

A compliment?

When we lived in Knoxville, there was a commercial that never failed to make Jeff and me crack up laughing. It was a scene of a bunch of men working out at a gym and over the loud speaker came a voice saying, "The owner of a brown min-van, you left your lights on." All of the men look around nervously at one another, but no one dares to go to the door to turn off his lights. I know my narrative doesn't do it justice, but it was hysterical. I guess there is something of a blow to the ego for a man who drives a van?

Jeff drives a car that looks like this:

It's a Subaru Forrester, and I think it's billed as a "small SUV." Why do I tell you this information? Because it is a necessary piece of information for the best compliment Jeff has gotten all summer. Okay, in my opinion it is the best compliment he's gotten all summer.

So, Jeff coaches swim team at a pool in Gonzales near our church. A little girl who is about 6 or 7 came up to Jeff one morning recently and said very shyly, "Coach Jeff . . . I like your gray van." Your gray VAN! Oh. My. Goodness. I'm laughing right now just thinking about it.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Latest stats

Charlotte finally had her 6 month check up on Friday (and yes she is closer to 8 months old). While this little girl eats like there is no tomorrow, her stats are slipping a little. She's fallen to somewhere between the 10th and 25th percentile for her weight and she's holding right under the 50th percentile for her height. Our doctor wasn't overly concerned because she does eat well, but we'll see how things change over the next six weeks before I take her in for the 9 month check up.

Charlotte did great with getting the shots. She has a temper, so she WAILED when the nurse gave them to her, but as soon as I picked her up, she stopped crying and gave the nurse a big toothy grin. It was precious.

Friday morning Caroline had a little performance at school. It was actually preschool graduation for a group of the kids who are moving on to kindergarten and some to new schools, but Caroline isn't going anywhere just yet. She did get to sing though, which was absolutely adorable. They did a slide show of the kids too, which I think did not leave a dry eye in the crowd. It is so amazing how this little girl has grown up right before my eyes. I honestly do take for granted how she changes and grows and matures each day. Until you take the time to actually look back at the progression over time, you don't realize those subtle changes. Or I should say that I don't realize those subtle changes. Our two girls are truly a blessing and a gift to me; I am so thankful that God has entrusted Jeff and me to raise them.

In some other exciting news for our family: we are now the proud sponsors of a little three year old girl named Lizeth from Ecuador. Caroline chose a girl her own age and we are all excited about this opportunity. This is something we've been meaning to do for a few months now and we've finally actually done it. We hope to add more Compassion children to our "family" in the months and years to come. I encourage you to go check out the Compassion website to see how $32 a month can change the life of one child and his or her family.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

An attempt to answer the un-answerable

At least in mind one of the big un-answerable questions is "why does God allow bad things to happen to us, His children?" At times I think I begin to grasp the hem of the answer, only to find that I'm not holding on to a full garment. In reality, I'm holding onto a thread and sometimes that just has to be enough. As I see it, there are often no answers that we can understand here and now. I think a big part of faith, and one of the more difficult aspects of faith, is being able to accept that God is bigger, His ways are not ours, and our minds can't comprehend the enormity of His Plan.

If you know me, you probably have a hint that I like to know things; I want to get the full explanation of how things work. That is part of my Type A personality; the oldest child in me who likes being in control. Or at least the illusion of control. So, this article that I came across last night was a good one for me: Why Do Bad Things Happen to Good Babies? I'm still processing it, running it over in my head. I'd love to hear any of your thoughts on it. Agree, disagree, or maybe like me, think that perhaps it's one of the threads, but not the whole garment.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Going on 'bee-vacation"

That's what Caroline told everyone at her school on Thursday: "we are going on bee-vacation." We headed down to New Orleans on Thursday afternoon and spent the night. We spent all day Friday there getting to see the Aquarium, which none of us had been to before.

To start the day on Friday, we took the street car down to the French Quarter for beignets at Cafe Du Monde and then took a walk around Jackson Square and into the Quarter for a little bit before heading back to the hotel for Charlotte's nap (and Charlotte was an angel the entire day, she didn't cry once, just sucked her little thumb while I pushed her in the stroller). We walked through St. Louis Cathedral and Caroline was truly in awe. She is always fascinated by seeing depictions of Jesus, and the sight of a crucifix is especially intriguing to her. She has lots of questions, most of which I'm not equipped to answer, but I do my best to explain that the crucifix is just a statue of Jesus and he's not dead like that anymore. I think one of the things about having a child who asks a lot of questions (are there any children who don't?) is that it really makes you figure out what you believe and how to explain those beliefs. It is quite humbling most of the time!

While Charlotte slept and I got us packed up, Caroline and Jeff went to the pool to practice some of her newly acquired swimming skills. Caroline can officially swim freestyle now, head in the water, moving those arms and kicking her legs. We're really proud of the progress she's made over the past two weeks!

After we got all checked out of the hotel we walked back to the Quarter for a quick lunch and then headed over to the Aquarium. It was really amazing to see all of the fish, sharks, sting rays, frogs, alligators, . . . and I'm sure there are plenty of other things I'm neglecting to mention. My favorite part was petting the sting ray and the shark. Caroline was a little freaked out by the sting ray, but the shark was a little more sedentary, so she wasn't afraid to pet it and I think that ranked high on her enjoyment scale for the day.

It was a hot day; I think the high in New Orleans got up to 95, but it felt more like 120. We took a quick walk through the RiverWalk before getting back to our car at the hotel and getting on the road. The girls were both asleep before we got on the interstate. We had a good, tiring, but short bee-vacation.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

New Look, New Name

Because it seems like the girls occupy most of the updates and posts on here, it would be appropriate to reflect that in the name of our family blog. I figured as long as I was changing the name, it would be a good time to also let someone spiff it up a little! So, thanks to Danielle I've given our blog a new look and I love it, Thanks Danielle!