Say What?!

Thursday, September 29, 2011 10 Comments A+ a-

Yesterday when I picked Hudson and Devyn up from school, Hudson pointed at a little girl with blond, curly hair and blue eyes.  She was walking out of his classroom, her hand in her mom’s, and a Hello Kitty backpack on.  “Mama,” he said.  “She’s pretty.”  I looked at her and agreed, “Yep, Bud, she sure is.”

And as we walked to the van, his eyes followed her as they made their way to their own car. ‘So cute,’ I thought. ‘His first crush.’

After a morning of throwing up, Hudson stayed home from school.  His 3-hour nap this afternoon confirmed that we’d made the right decision.

We picked Devyn up from school this afternoon and once everyone was settled at home, he asked Devyn, “Did you tell my girlfriend that I was sick?”

Um, what? Excuse me?  Girlfriend?

“Devyn, my girlfriend is pretty!” he continued.  I just nodded my head, in awe that this conversation was actually taking place.

“I’m going to tell Daddy that I have a pretty girlfriend!” he announced.  “He’ll like that.”

“Yes, Bud, I’m sure he will.”  It took all my willpower to keep my tongue planted firmly in my cheek and keep from laughing at my little man.

The rest of the afternoon was spent asking whether or not his girlfriend could come over to play, or if she could have a sleepover, or if I had his girlfriend’s phone number, and the questions went on and on.

And when Daddy came home and Hudson told him about his pretty girlfriend, Jon and I exchanged looks over Hudson’s head.  Were we really at this place already?  Granted, he’s four and has no clue what he’s talking about, but still…

Hudson and girlfriends. A glimpse of things to come!

Wordless Wednesday

Wednesday, September 28, 2011 5 Comments A+ a-

Sacred Marriage, Chapter 2

Monday, September 26, 2011 0 Comments A+ a-

Due to the wedding and out-of-town family, I haven't had time to gather my thoughts and write a post about Chapter 2 of the Sacred Marriage study.  But please feel free to link up and we'll plan on meeting Thursday night at 6:30pm (MST) on Facebook to discuss this chapter.  I hope to get my post up before Thursday.



A Time to Dance

Sunday, September 25, 2011 11 Comments A+ a-


“There is a time for everything…
a time to be born and a time to die,
   a time to plant and a time to uproot, 
a time to kill and a time to heal,
   a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
   a time to mourn and a time to dance.” Ecclesiastes 3

When Dad pulled out this scripture reference in his speech last night at Alli’s wedding, I knew the tears were going to flow.  Especially following Courtney’s emotional toast to the bride and groom.
We have mourned, we have healed, and last night… it was time to dance.
WeddingCollage1WeddingCollage2WeddingCollage3WeddingCollage4WeddingCollage5
Congratulations to the new Mr. and Mrs.  It was a beautiful day!

Wordless Wednesday

Wednesday, September 21, 2011 7 Comments A+ a-

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Some Miscellaneous Favorites

Tuesday, September 20, 2011 7 Comments A+ a-

So, this is a completely random post about a few of my favorite things.  There is no rhyme or reason to this post, which is a good indicator of the scattered state I’m currently in.  I’m afraid this is as deep as I’m going to get this week.  We’re in wedding countdown mode…

Speaking of which, rather than bore y’all with a 3rd post about Alli’s bachelorette party, I’m just going to direct you to my sisters’ posts here and here.  This is the downside of sisters blogging too. You get inundated with duplicate posts.  Just wait until after the wedding… You’re going to be sick of us!

Moving on.

First up is one of my favorite Android apps.  About 4:00 every afternoon, I turn my attention to dinner.  And I’m always at a loss of what to make.  (I realize that I could totally create menus and save myself the trouble, but that’s beside the point.)  Enter the AllRecipes Dinner Spinner.  Psst. It’s a free app too.

AllRecipesCollageYou can enter specific ingredients and dietary needs, the type of dish, and how much time you have to prepare it.  Click View Matches, and it pulls up all the recipes in that category.  Or if you don’t have any specific requirements, just shake your phone and random recipes pop up.  This app has saved dinner on more than one occasion.

Random side note: I found a new favorite Pumpkin Bread recipe on the actual All Recipes website.  I posted it on our recipe blog.  Delicious!

Moving on.

I don’t know about the rest of you that blog on Blogger, but the formatting drives me absolutely crazy.  There are spaces where I don’t want them, I can’t get paragraphs to line up, etc.  And forget pictures, that throws everything into a tailspin.

Enter Windows LiveWriter.

WindowsLiveWriterScreenschotNow I realize that this isn’t available to you Mac people, and I’m sorry for that, because I think this is the best blogging program… ever!  I rarely post through blogger.com anymore and more often than not, post from this program.  It makes formatting blog posts, pictures, lists, tables, etc. a breeze!

It’s a free program that you download to your PC, you run through the set-up instructions and viola, you’re up and running.  Its my little blogging secret.

Ok, I gotta go now. Relatives are starting to arrive today for the upcoming nuptials and I have pumpkin muffins to bake.

Why this one is different.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011 7 Comments A+ a-

I have a confession to make.  I've been very detached from the wedding planning process with my sister and her fiancĂ©.  I had even convinced myself that it was because I had four children and I didn't want to bring Littles to wedding appointments.  I had too much going on, too busy. Besides they had it under control, I wasn't needed.  And while that last part is probably true, I've been lying to myself... It wasn't that I was too busy, it was that I was in denial.
 
We went to the family cabin over Labor Day weekend and on our drive back home, it hit me like a ton of bricks.  My sister was getting married.  MARRIED.  And moving away.  The tears and the lump in my throat stayed the rest of the day.
 
Most won't understand the bittersweet feeling that we're drowning in right now.  After all, a wedding is a joyous occasion, a love and a union to be celebrated, and we are thrilled for Alli and Brian.  There is not a doubt in my mind that they love each other and will create a wonderful life together.
 
But. 

She's our Alli.
 
For as long as I can remember, it has been my job to protect and take care of Allison.  It started in elementary school when the other kids her age didn't want to play with her, thinking she was always younger than she said because of her small size.  I can't begin to number the times that Allison came home in tears because the kids teased her and told her that she was really in a grade lower than the rest of them.  It was those early years of Allison's school career that Mom and Dad requested we look out for her on the playground.  And we did.  If we saw our sister playing alone, we'd swoop her up in whatever game we were playing, or would break from our friends and join her on the swings.  Anything to protect our sister from feeling lonely or having hurt feelings.
 
It was a role that we all played, from oldest sister to the youngest.
 
Allison's struggles continued... from a learning disability to difficulty in finding good friends to heart murmurs.  Every time something new happened to Allison, or every time she got discouraged, we were there. 

Then when she was 14 years old, she became anorexic.  She was admitted to Children's Hospital on her 15th birthday.  She weighed just 58 pounds.  Mom and Dad took us to see her a few days later, and walking into that hospital room was more than I could bear.  As my eyes scanned the room, from the tiny, listless body on the hospital bed to the heart defibrillator by her pillow, a sense of utter despair and failure washed over me.  And while it doesn't make sense and I know that its not true, I felt I had failed her.  I couldn't save her from this disease, I couldn't put myself in her place, nor could I fight it for her.  I managed to maintain my composure while we were in her room, but the moment we got in the elevator, I collapsed into a weeping mess.
 
Alli was in and out of the hospital for months, doctors would bring her weight up just enough to release her from the hospital.  But they never dealt with the emotional aspect of the eating disorder, so in a matter of weeks, her weight would be low enough to warrant another hospitalization.  It was a vicious cycle, and it was fast becoming obvious that Alli wasn't going to be healed at the hospital.  My parents made arrangements to send her to Remuda Ranch in Arizona, which involved an intensive 3-month, inpatient program.  Meaning our sister was going to be away from us, living in another state, for months.  We said our goodbyes and driving away from the facility, from Allison, was heart wrenching for all of us.
 
We returned a couple of months later for an intense family week at the ranch, a prerequisite to bring Allison back home.  We parked the car and made our way onto the grounds, our eyes searching for Allison.  And when the small figure with the pixie haircut broke free of a group of girls, we ran to each other.  The sound of feet beating the pavement as we ran across the shadowed grass.  Oblivious to the Arizona sun, we ran to each other and wrapped our arms around our missing link.  Sisters reunited.  Even Mom and Dad allowed us this moment, despite the fact that they'd missed her just as much.  There wasn't a dry eye to be found. 

I can't begin to explain the emotions of seeing our sister after the time apart, but most importantly, being able to see Allison when we looked into her eyes.  For months during the eating disorder, her eyes were devoid of anything resembling our sister, but seeing the sparkle return to her eyes made the months apart worth it.
 
This is what makes this wedding so different from the rest...  Its a celebration of all that she's conquered in her lifetime, a testament to her strong will and stubborn spirit.  Its going to be a beautiful day, watching these two join their lives together, but its also the end of an era... the last of the Sanchez sisters...  the sister who helped bring our family back from a very dark place.  
 
She’s getting married in 10 days and it’s so bittersweet.

Sacred Marriage, Chapter 1

Monday, September 12, 2011 6 Comments A+ a-

There were so many highlighted quotes throughout this chapter that there were times I wondered why I didn’t just highlight the whole darn thing.  Here’s just a few that really stood out to me…

“Not that God has anything against happiness, or that happiness and holiness are by nature mutually exclusive.”

This was important to me, simply because I think this is a common misconception.  I think there’s this idea that to be holy is to deprive yourself of happiness, and I quite frankly don’t believe that to be true.  I love that the author was clear on this point.

“I guess what I’m after is a quieter fulfillment, a deeper sense of meaning, a fuller understandings of the purpose behind this intense, one-on-one, lifelong relationship.”

Amen.  I know of marriages that sit in silent misery, so overcome by their hurts and the failings of their spouse but determined to “see it through”.  Or the marriages that coexist, neither knowing the other intimately.  This is not what I want out of my marriage.  I want a full, deep, and thriving marriage! 

“Yes, without a doubt there should be moments of happiness, meaning, and a general sense of fulfillment.  But my wife can’t be God and I was created with a spirit that craves God.  Anything less than God, and I’ll feel an ache.”

I think this quote sums up the book, and the purpose of marriage, nicely.  We’re created to be in an intimate relationship with our Creator, and so often, I turn to Jon and expect him to fill the voids that only God can fill.  So when Jon fails in meeting my expectations and my needs (which he will because only God can fill those), I start to criticize and be disappointed in him and our marriage.  I know where I need to keep my focus, but I fail so often…

I’m really looking forward to the insights that Gary Thomas will offer in the coming chapters.  I pray that his words will penetrate my heart and soul in a way that convicts me in the areas I need to work on and emboldens me to continue seeking the only One who can fulfill me.

Please visit the other ladies embarking on this journey; I’m sure we all took different things away from this chapter and I look forward to reading their thoughts.

A List

Monday, September 12, 2011 4 Comments A+ a-

My mind is too muddled and exhausted this early in the morning.  I’m hooked up to a coffee IV as I type this and I pray it’ll help my mind start functioning again.  However, until I can form coherent sentences, enjoy my random list of… stuff.

  • Ashlynn is now walking.  Like full-on, walking-across-the-room walking.
  • Did I mention that she’s just 9 months old? And she’s my baby, the last?  Apparently all the times I pushed her back down hasn’t deterred her from walking.
  • I wonder how she hasn’t gotten the memo that she’s not allowed to grow up so fast.
  • Hudson is loving, LOVING, his preschool.  At first he seemed kind of intimidated by the other boys.  But I’m happy to report that by Thursday, he’s was playing “Bad Guys” with the other boys during recess.
  • And chasing girls.  He spent the whole weekend talking about the girl in the blue skirt.  Um, excuse me, I thought I was the only woman in his life.
  • Reagan and Devyn seem to be having a harder adjustment to all the recent changes in our life.
  • Reagan doesn’t quite understand why she can’t go to school, and constantly reminds me that she’s a big girl too.
  • Devyn comes home from school exhausted and emotional.  Very emotional.
  • So emotional that when I asked her why she was crying last week, she responded, “I don’t know! I just feel like crying!”
  • Oy.  And hormones haven’t even come into play yet.  Send wine for the teen years.  Lots of wine.
  • Reagan continues to be our resident nudist.  No amount of duct tape will keep her from stripping down and sleeping, playing, or watching TV while naked.
  • Which normally, I’m not a mom that cares.  Be naked.  But child, its time to be potty-trained then.  And she just hasn’t shown any desire to learn that skill yet.
  • Speaking of emotional, Mama’s a bit of a wreck right now.
  • I have a whole post dedicated to my feelings regarding the upcoming nuptials of my third sister.  But I need some approval before I can post it.
  • Lets just say this is hard.  Especially since I’ve apparently been in denial and ignoring my feelings these past nine months.
  • In turn, I know I’ve been less than ideal to live with right now.  Bless you, Jon and Littles, for putting up with the crazy lady.
  • Wedding festivities, last minute checklists, and out-of-town company are a whirlwind right now.  I seriously have lists for my lists.
  • Which also means that I should probably wrap this post up and head out in search of shoes for the entire family.
  • That won’t be an easy task.
  • Pray for me.
  • And I leave you with a picture of our walking Munchkin.  Its so unnatural to see something so small walking around.
  • g2pw

Another year older…

Thursday, September 08, 2011 5 Comments A+ a-

il_fullxfull_244920084When I look back on weeks leading up to my 30th birthday, I have to laugh at myself.  I was so vain and afraid of that dreaded milestone…  As if my life would have no meaning outside of my twenties, as if the twenties represented the pinnacle, the highlight of my life.  It felt very traumatic, but I can look back now and laugh about it.

Oh ye of little faith.

I turned 32 on Tuesday.  32.  Two years past that dreaded birthday and I can honestly tell you that I’m loving my thirties.  There’s such a sense of self about these years.  I feel like not only have I grown into myself, but I actually like who I am. 

I don’t know about you, but I felt like I had so much to prove in my twenties.  Prove that I knew what I was doing, prove that I’d made the right decisions with my life, prove that my life mattered.  I had an explanation for everything, arguments to win, and vast knowledge to share with the rest of the world.   (Um, actually, I’m still like that sometimes.) 

All that proving I had to do led to a pretty self-righteous, pious, and insecure life.  For as much as I wanted the world to know how right I was, I was equally afraid that others would see right through me for the fraud that I was.  For every answer I had, questions and doubt followed close behind.

However, within the past few years I’m finally feeling comfortable and liking who I am.  I don’t have all the answers, and I’m ok with that.  I no longer feel the need to measure my failures or successes against someone else.  I like that I’m sassy, opinionated, and a little bit loud.  I no longer feel like defending my parenting decisions or passing judgment on another who parents differently than I do.

Now don’t mistake what I’m saying.  Just because I’m comfortable in this skin, doesn’t mean that I’m not comfortable with all my failings.  I seem to be even more aware of areas that I need to work on, and I find a deeper desire to smooth out those rough edges.

But, overall, the thirties are being good to me.

Wordless Wednesday

Wednesday, September 07, 2011 4 Comments A+ a-

An Emotional Mess

Thursday, September 01, 2011 10 Comments A+ a-

I’ve done this before… You’d think I’d be a pro at this by now, that it would get easier each time.  I certainly didn’t expect this to be so hard, and yet I’ve spent most of the day blinking back tears, the lump in my throat threatening to give way to the dam of emotions threatening to break loose.

I was admiring my Ashlynn Rose in the grocery store, 9 months old today, when I got the call.  She was sitting up in the grocery cart, proud as could be and you could tell she felt so grown-up.  I was enjoying her giggles as she watched her older brother and sister’s antics.  Watching my middle children hop from the cart’s car to the aisle to their sister, and back again.

When I heard the phone ring, I looked down at the caller ID and since I didn’t recognize the number, I didn’t answer it.  But a thought niggled in the back of my mind and I knew who it was.  Sure enough, once groceries and Littles were loaded into the car, I checked my voicemail.  I called the unfamiliar number back and started talking with the woman on the other end.  Hudson’s preschool teacher.

Hudson had been on a waiting list for preschool and last we’d heard, it was still a full class.  Imagine my surprise when she told us about the Open House the next day, and I asked, “So, he’s in?”  She laughed and assured me that yes, not only was he in, his name was already on everything and they couldn’t wait to meet him.

We exchanged a few more details, promised to connect at the Open House, and hung up.  When I told Hudson about his new teacher and school, his excitement was almost palpable.  We discussed all the details on the way home.

“Mama, is my teacher a boy?  Or a girl?”

“My teacher is probably Miss Benedict.”  “No, Baby,” I assured him, “I’m pretty sure she’s going to stay Devyn’s teacher.”  He frowned, “No, I think she’s going to be my teacher too.”

“Mama, what are my friends’ names?”

“I’m only going to play with the boys.  Not the girls.”

“Reagan, you can’t go to school yet.  You’re just a baby.”  To which, Reagan promptly burst into tears and no amount of reassurances from me could soothe her little heart.

The rest of the day has been spent between encouraging Hudson’s excitement and curiosity over this major milestone in his life; reassuring Reagan that one day she’ll be at school too; and allowing my own heart to grieve the passing of time. 

It begins anew.  This letting go of yet another baby.  Entrusting him to a new adult in his life and new adventures.  But yet, my heart hurts.  It feels as though it was just yesterday I was admiring his gorgeous, blond curls and listening to his baby giggles.  It feels like it was just yesterday that I was dropping Devyn off at her first day at the same preschool.

He’s ready, I know he’s ready.  I’ve never seen a child mature and grow as much as Hudson has this summer.  He’s matured in every way imaginable… emotionally, physically, even spiritually.  I blinked and he turned into a boy.  He’s ready for this next step of independence, of making new friends, of playing and running with boys his own age.  I can only imagine how much more he’s going to bloom this year.

Zoo21He may be ready, but I am not.  I’m going to miss my little man.