What a Wonderful World

Monday, April 30, 2012 6 Comments A+ a-

We got the rest of the proofs back from our photo session last week and… oh my… there are no words to describe how happy these pictures made me.  As I flipped through each one, I wondered how I could possibly share all of the wonderful shots without boring everyone to tears.  So I made a video instead.

This family means everything to me… I hope you enjoy it!

Becky, thank you for sharing your talent with us.  You captured our family perfectly and we are so blessed by these pictures. 

Random Bits

Friday, April 27, 2012 3 Comments A+ a-

A list…

  • Reagan is our night owl. Always has been. But when you add a late afternoon nap, you can guarantee the girl’s not going to sleep before midnight. She was sneaking into the hallway and hiding behind a living room chair every 20 minutes. I finally called her out to the living around 10:30, knowing it was no use to banish her to room. Again.
  • And when lightening starting dancing across the sky? I paused the computer work, grabbed our down comforter, took Reagan by the hand, and we sat outside on our front porch to enjoy the show. 
  • I’ve always loved lightening storms.  My absolute favorite nights are opening the windows to hear the rain, feeling the breeze from the storm, and falling asleep to the smell of wet earth.  And I wanted to share that with Rea.  We cuddled on our rocking seat and enjoyed it.  Her little gasps of delight and awe totally made my week.
  • I want to be that mom.  The one that grabs the Littles and goes jumping in rain puddles.  The one that will lay in the grass and find shapes in the clouds.  The one that stops whatever she’s doing for impromptu dance parties in the living room.  Aside from the dancing one, which happens a lot, I forget to stop and enjoy the other moments too often.
  • This coming Sunday will be our last one at Church #1 in our search.  Overall, we really like it.  A lot.  This past Sunday, Hudson was dressed and ready to go before anyone, he was that excited to go.  It makes me heart happy.
  • I think if we weren’t committed to trying out other churches, we could easily stop our search and call this place home.  But we want to be sure, 100% positive that we are where we’re supposed to be.  So after this Sunday, we’ll move on to Church #2. 
  • I’m really hoping that it’ll be a clear, easy decision.  But we’re open to wherever God wants us. 
  • On Monday, Becky took family pictures of our whole family.  It had been two years since we last did family photos and in that time frame, we’d added a new BIL and two more grandchildren.  Mom finally stopped hinting around and made it clear that the only thing she wanted for Mother’s Day was a new family photo.
  • As always, Becky worked her magic and the sneak previews only solidified my opinion of her talent.  And made me even more anxious to see the rest of the shots.  (No pressure, friend. I swear.  And no, I’m not crossing my fingers behind my back.)
  • Jon’s summer schedule starts next week and he’ll be working 4 10-hour days, instead of 5 8-hour days.  It makes for LONG, exhausted days for Jon.  But every Friday morning, when others are headed into work, we all agree that our 3-day weekends are totally worth it.
  • And 3-day weekends means camping.  Hudson has been asking non-stop when we’re going camping again since early March.  2-3 times a week, the child has begged to go camping.  I kid you not.  He doesn’t care if there’s snow on the ground.  He wants to go camping. 
  • When I asked him what his favorite part of camping was, he instantly said “Campfires!”  He is TOTALLY Jon’s son.  Between the outdoors and love of fire, there’s not a doubt in my mind that he’s the mini-me of Jon. 
  • Unfortunately, our campfires will be non-existent this year.  It has been one of the driest winters in a while and fire danger is at an all-time high.  I’m sure there will be a fire ban lasting the whole summer.  Which, unfortunately for Hudson, makes for some pretty lackluster camping trips.
  • Its crazy around here right now. But there are some changes on the horizon that, if all goes well, will help clear up some time in my life.  And help me refocus.

Until next time… 

Colorado Sunday Afternoon

Sunday, April 22, 2012 11 Comments A+ a-

I love this state.  Its probably a little unhealthy, my love for Colorado.  But the mountains, the rivers, the skiing, the camping, the 4-wheeling (although we haven’t been in forever, hint, hint, Jonathan), the canyons.  I just can’t wrap my head around the majesty of these mountains, and I’m so very thankful I get to call this place home.

Today was too gorgeous of a day to stay home.  As we walked to our van after church, I caught a whiff of lilacs and I got restless for more time outside.  Never mind that I was wearing a dress, that the girls were wearing Sunday church shoes.  Never mind that we hadn’t planned, nor packed, for a picnic.  I was itching to get into the mountains.  And without hesitation, Jon agreed.

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It was exactly what I needed.  What we needed.  I’m looking forward to more Sunday afternoons in our mountains this summer.

Mark Your Calendars

Monday, April 16, 2012 2 Comments A+ a-

I know, I know.  Two posts in one day?  But I promise this is important.  Today needs to be marked in some way.  Celebrated in fact. 

Today was the first time Hudson had a haircut without tantrum, screams, or tears!

Now, lest anyone think I’m exaggerating or overreacting to this news, let me remind you of his very first haircut.  It was just the start of things to come.

There's been times I’ve held him down, I’ve been asked not to come back, or walked out without a hair touched on his head.  My mom, sister, and sister-in-law have all been traumatized by his cries of terror as Jon and I held him down for a trim.  Or the time my mother, in an effort to bypass Hudson’s stark fear of haircuts, decided to buzz him bald

Thankfully, that buzz cut helped Hudson avoid a haircut for almost six months.  Not bad.

But it was time for a cut and I can’t begin to tell you how I stood there in utter shock as he climbed into the chair by himself.  As he sat there perfectly still as she cut his hair.  You could have peeled me off the floor when he agreed to let her use a trimmer on his neck and around his ears.  He was an absolute trooper!  And (fingers crossed) perhaps we’ve crossed over to the other side.  Whew!  I can start showing my face in a few hair salons again.

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Daddy and I are proud of you, Bobo!  Good job today!

Tonight’s Lullaby

Monday, April 16, 2012 5 Comments A+ a-

It was obvious by the droopy eyes, which were covered in tonight’s dinner from tiny hands rubbing them, that bedtime was coming earlier for Ashlynn tonight.  A good hour early.

Since it was my turn for bedtime duty, we headed to her room and began our nightly rituals.  A new diaper, some water, and bedtime prayer.  Usually I can tuck her under her “lovey” and caress her face a few times until she falls asleep.

But not tonight. 

She started crying the moment I laid her down, refusing to stay in place.  She pulled herself up to standing and reached out for me.

Usually I can ignore her pitiful pleas and walk out.  Usually, she’ll fall asleep after a few minutes of fussing.  And I can deal with a few minutes of crying.

But not tonight.

Maybe it’s the knowledge that she’s our last… maybe its that lately I’m reminded just how fast it goes… maybe its that I was just cuddling Devyn last week and remembering when she was Ashlynn’s age… maybe it’s the fact that I’m mushy in love with my family.

But tonight when she reached for me, I held out my own arms and she climbed right into them.

I settled her on my chest, her head rested on my shoulder, and I rocked back and forth on the balls of my feet.  Back and forth.  Side to side.  Her arms snaked around my neck and pulled me closer. 

I started my repertoire of lullabies, which truth be told, is sadly very small.  I alternated between ‘You Are My Sunshine’ and ‘Jesus Loves Me’.  Somewhere on the 4th round of ‘Jesus Loves Me’ she started humming with me.  The hum that usually accompanies her exhausted state.  Jon and I love that its not unusual to hear our baby girl singing herself to sleep.

And I soaked it all in.  Every bit of it.

The feel of her curls as I stroked her hair.  The curve of her back as patted it in an unknown beat.  The soft breath as she exhaled in my neck.  The sound of her tiny voice.  The way we seemed to fit so perfectly together, two pieces of a puzzle.

With each verse, my throat thickened.  I offered my heart in prayer, letting it speak things that I couldn’t while I sang my little one to sleep. 

I prayed for my Ashlynn, for wisdom and strength in raising my Littles.  I prayed for family and friends, both in the thick of raising their families and in the desire to start their families.  I prayed that in the midst of the chaos, that when we’re in the trenches, when its just so hard and we feel so beat up, that we remember to steal these moments when we can.  The small moments that buoy the hard times, that make it all worth it.

My voice hitched several times on the last two rounds.  I was positive she was asleep, her little body heavier than moments before.  And still I continued.  Because I don’t do this enough.  Because I take it for granted.  Because even after doing this three times before, I’m still awed to my core that I get the privilege of raising these Littles.

AshlynnRoseI finally laid her back down, drew the blankets over her chest, and placed her baby in her arms when she drowsily reached out for her.  I stared at my baby girl’s face, my heart still in my throat.  I pray that the day never comes that this becomes too routine, too mundane, to cherish these moments when they come.

Pictures That Make Me Smile

Sunday, April 15, 2012 5 Comments A+ a-

2012-04-08 13.07.03She’s growing up.  It makes my heart ache.  Last night she woke from a nightmare and asked me to cuddle her back to sleep.  As I gathered gangly arms and legs in mine, I mourned the passing of time. She used to fit so perfectly. Its going so, so fast.

IMG_20120409_170509This picture just cracks me up!  It doesn’t matter that I’ve looked at this picture dozens of times, it still makes me giggle.  If that look doesn’t say “Big Sister”, I don’t know what does.  These two are going to be hysterical as teenagers.

IMG_20120413_124037I have a good husband.  He showed up yesterday afternoon with my favorite sushi.  Spicy tuna.  He speaks my love language. Seriously.  It’s the little things.

IMG_20120414_141545After years of begging, my cousins, Colette and Rosa, came up to teach us how to make their mom’s tortillas.  It was so much fun!  And I’m a huge believer that homemade trumps store-bought any day! Hudson was fascinated and even rolled out a few of his own.

Next time, Aunt Anita’s green chili.

Technology Fail Thursday

Thursday, April 12, 2012 0 Comments A+ a-

Fail #1:
Phone has refused to charge for a week now.  As in, I will have it on the charger all day long and maybe get it up to a 1/3 of the battery charged.  IF I do manage to get the battery fully charged, its drained within a matter of an hour or two.  Not awesome.

Off to the phone store we went.  Surely it’d be covered either under our warranty or the phone’s insurance.  What?!  I don’t have insurance, you say.  When on God’s green earth have I not put insurance on my phones?  Ok, what about the warranty?  Its void.  Really?  Great.

Its all good though.  I ended up getting a nicer, updated phone for less than what I would’ve paid for the deductible, if I’d had insurance in the first place.  But you can bet I double and triple-checked that they added the insurance to my new phone.

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Fail #2:
Up until about 10:00pm last night, my external hard drive was working just fine.  I took a quick break from designing and when I came back, my laptop wasn’t able to find/recognize the hard drive.  Not good.

I jiggled the cable and I could hear the external hard drive start up, the laptop would start to read it, and then it disconnected. 

Sigh.  A quick email to clients expecting drafts with an explanation and I was at our local electronics store this morning, just 20 minutes after they’d opened.  Only to discover they don’t sell that type of USB cable.  And suggested I try a second electronics store across town.

Zero luck at the next store too.  I was then told that this particular brand of hard drive is so specific that replacement cables are only available through the manufacturer.  So I came home, placed the order, and it won’t be here until Monday or Tuesday.

Here’s hoping that Jon can do something with the current USB cable.  He’s surprised me in the past with his savvy ways.  I’m hoping it’ll be the case this time around too.

Easter in Photos

Tuesday, April 10, 2012 7 Comments A+ a-

I wish I could take credit for these photos.  But the truth of the matter is, it never seems to be worth the effort to me to take out my camera.  Then I end up regretting not having photos to commemorate the day.  Thank goodness for a sister who actually bothers to bring her camera to special family events.  Thanks again, Alli! 

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I think this may be a new favorite of mine.  It captures Devyn and her sweet, helpful spirit to a T.NewP4080374

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I posted on Facebook that it must have been a good Easter because three dresses were ruined and a baby ended up naked at one point. Ha!EasterCollage2

To Love Mercy

Saturday, April 07, 2012 3 Comments A+ a-

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Every time I think I’ve wrapped my head around this idea of mercy, I’m gently (and sometimes not-so-gently) reminded that no, I understand just a small part of it.  This study of James is jumpstarting some things in my heart that have hardened and calloused over time.  It is a study that is convicting and hard to read, hard to hear, and even harder to put into action.  Everything in me wants to shrug it off and pretend that it doesn’t apply to me.  And yet the harder that compulsion is, the more I KNOW that it means I need to listen more carefully.  It’s a tug-of-war, between my flesh and the Word.   And an uncomfortable war at that.

Two weeks ago, my friend, Annie and I were on our way to a movie.  We sat at the red light of busy intersection and watched as the car in front of us leaned out of the window and handed a man sitting on the median some cash.  I felt my shoulders tighten and the prejudices slip into place.  “I have a hard time with that,” I admitted to my friend.  Without judgment or scorn, she said, “I used to but then I read Same Kind of Different As Me, and my attitude completely changed.  Now I give whenever I feel a nudge from God.”

We continued our discussion during the rest of the drive to the movie and its been marinating in my soul for a while.  I’ve turned it over and over in my head, wrestled with it, wrestled with James’ straightforward and blunt language, his call to action.  “If you do not live it, you do not believe it.”  Instead, I tried to justify my prejudices and my judgments. 

Then Monday night happened.

I won’t go into details.  They’re not important.  But God was merciful in a way that I will never take for granted.  I was given a second chance, a second chance that I in no way deserve.  And all day on Tuesday, I pondered those two things.  How merciful He was in that situation and how I can’t afford to squander this second chance.  I was fortunate.  I was one of the lucky ones.  Because 8 or 9 times out of 10, those second chances aren’t given.

And as I thought about those men and women, the ones who sits on medians, or at the end of highways exits, or on street corners, I realized something.  They’re no different than I.  I don’t know their stories, I don’t know what brought them to this place in their life.  But who am I to judge them?!  How do I know that had God not been merciful with any number of stupid decisions in my life, that I wouldn’t be in that exact same position?  Who am I to say that their decisions are any worse than mine? 

I can’t.

Tomorrow we celebrate the pinnacle of our Christian faith.  The moment that Jesus became victorious over Satan, the moment He erased our death sentence.  It was the ultimate act of mercy.  For we deserve death, we deserve an eternity without Him, but it was only because of God’s mercy that we have been saved.

Mercy. A new facet, a new layer to add to a word that already means so much to me.

And if I am to believe James and his God-inspired words, then I have an obligation to fulfill.  I am called to reach out and offer mercy to those who need it, an extension of His mercy for me.

Now to apply these new revelations in practical ways…

One of those weeks…

Friday, April 06, 2012 3 Comments A+ a-

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Between a broken basement window, a locked van with the keys inside, a snapped fly fishing pole, and a hard lesson learned resulting in car repairs, I’m ready for a brand new week.

If you need me, I’ll be the one hiding under the covers.

Its More Than a Building

Sunday, April 01, 2012 3 Comments A+ a-

ChurchI don’t know who Ashley is but I want to give her a high-five.

Today marked the first Sunday in our journey of finding a new church home.  I’d mentioned that we were leaving in last week’s post, and being the transparent, open person that I am, I decided that I need to write about this process.  Even for no other reason than to chronicle this time in our life.  I can’t wait to look back at this some day and see what has transpired.

Because today was eye-opening, to say the least.

As Jon and I prayed about this decision and felt the clear go-ahead, we started writing our list of churches we wanted to try.  Our list sits at four churches, one of which is a Baptist church.  (Color me surprised! I’ve never considered myself Baptist material before.)  Our goal is to visit each church for a month, enough time to get a really good feel for the church, for the people, for the pastors, for all of it.  In our minds, one Sunday is not enough, simply because there could be a guest pastor or a special presentation.

So that’s our plan.

I can’t begin to express the roller coaster of emotions that we’re feeling.  From the sadness of leaving our home church, to the excitement of what lies ahead.  From feeling confident and secure in the people we’ve gone to church with for years, to insecurity and unfamiliarity as we become the “visitors”.  From moments of doubt and fear, to feelings of knowing that we’re being stretched.  Even this morning, Jon turned to me and said, “This feels weird.  I feel like a real grown-up now.”  And I laughed nervously because I knew exactly what he meant.

We’ve gone to church with my parents, sisters, their families, and Jon’s dad for years now.  Its been hard to pick up and leave a place where we’ve been known as my parents’ daughter or Dave’s son or even as one of the sisters.   Its was comfortable.  And security.  But on our  drive to church this morning, a new revelation came over me. 

I turned to Jon, “I didn’t realize this during our discussions and prayers about leaving, it wasn’t even on my radar.  But now that we’ve left, I’m suddenly realizing how important its going to be for us to have our own identity as a family.  Its going to be just us six.  And I think that’s a good thing.”  He squeezed my hand across the console and said, “I’ve just been thinking the same thing.” (We’re in sync, he and I.)

And so there we sat.  In a new sanctuary.  New people.  New ways of doing things.  Some of the changes were easier to take than others.  Walking up front to receive communion was harder for Jon than myself.  We took harder and longer looks at their belief, mission, and vision statements.  Things that we’d rarely paid attention to in the past, were suddenly of utmost importance.  We gauged how the Littles felt about their classes. 

I have no idea where we’ll end up.  I just know that we want a church that is firmly planted in the Word, in the Truth.  A place that will feed us, that will encourage us in our relationships with God.  A place that isn’t concerned about making you comfortable, but telling you the things that you need to hear the most.  A place that realizes that a church is not about a building or something you “do” on Sundays.  A place where we can plant ourselves and be of service, to be examples of Christ to each other, to our neighbors, to our community.  A place where our Littles will take steps towards their own mature faith in God.  Its no small thing to move from one body of Christ to another, and we want to be 100% confident that we’ll land where God wanted us.

I think we’re off to a good start.