My Broken Tooth

Friday, September 28, 2012 4 Comments A+ a-

Four years ago, my tooth broke in half, right along the filling edge.  Surprisingly, it wasn’t painful at all.  But like a good girl, I went to the dentist.  He confirmed the break and I scheduled a dental appointment to fix it.  Then a few days later, we found out that I was pregnant with Reagan.  Surprise!  So, I cancelled the appointment.

And never rescheduled.

This is where I get a bunch of lectures about being responsible and putting on my big girl panties.  This is where the I-told-you-so’s come into play and the speech about how if I’d fixed it back then, I wouldn’t be in this place today.  I know.  I know.  But in these four years, its never bothered me. 

Fast forward to this past Sunday. 

Mom and Dad took us out to lunch after church and we chose our favorite Mexican restaurant.  As I happily dug into the chips and salsa, I bit down on something HARD.  And the shooting pain from my jaw to my toes is nothing like I’d felt before.  I knew the day of reckoning had come.

A couple of days later, I was sitting in my dentist’s chair and was told that it was time for both a root canal and crown.  The only thing the dentist and I supposed had happened was that the chip had dislodged part of the filling that was covering the nerve and that was why I was in so much pain.  He (the dentist) was so concerned, he was adamant that I stay that afternoon and get it done.  However, I had to arrange for both child care and moolah, neither of which was accessible right that moment.  Instead I scheduled the appointment for this morning because I knew Jon would be off, and it was payday.

DentistOn the way to the dentist this morning, Jon reminded me that this time around, there would be no divorce. (Long story.  It involves my wisdom teeth, a 2:00am request, and a broken engagement.  Not even kidding.)  I faked a laugh through that and spared him a brave smile before walking into the dentist.

I wish I could say that writing the check was the most painful part of the morning (and it WAS painful), but I’d be lying.  It took four shots of novocaine to numb me.  4 shots!!  And because I was have a narrow and shallow palette (the dentist’s words, not mine), it made it extra difficult for the dentist.  There was a LOT of digging, jamming, maneuvering, and poking.  It was less than delightful, the only bright spot being that I got to watch How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days during the procedure.  It helped drown out the sound of the drilling… somewhat.

So now here I sit.  Banished to my room, with vicodin, a swollen face (Jon says you can’t even see my jawline right now), and frozen peas.  I’m hoping that in a few days the pain will be a distant memory.  But right now, I’m just trying to keep my head from moving.

Manning and The Broncos

Wednesday, September 26, 2012 9 Comments A+ a-

I've been a Denver Bronco fan since the day I was born.  The story of Dad asking for the football score mid-labor and delivery when I was born is legendary.  And often told to explain the extreme of Dad's faithfulness to this team.  His love of the game and of the team has been passed down to us, and except for a short time in my teens when I loved the Raiders as a form of rebellion, I will be a Broncos fan until the day I die.

With that said, many people have seen my rants about the Tebow-Manning-Broncos debacle that happened in the spring.  Countless exchanges between family and friends, hours on the phone with brothers-in-law, folks were none too happy about my lukewarm response.  In fact the other day I posted a Facebook status reading: "I WANT to believe 90 million is worth it.  I WANT to believe that Elway's ego didn't get in the way of his GM responsibilties. I also want world peace."  I wish I could take credit for the sentiment, but I stole it from Twitter.  It was too good to not share.

Here's the deal.

I LIKE Manning.  He is, without a doubt, an amazing quarterback.  Inarguably, one of the best to the play the game of football.  He's always been one of my favorite quarterbacks to watch and I have no doubt, there's a few years left in him.  I need to make that clear, especially to my Indiana family (hi Aunt Bernie, Jared, Jason, JP).  Go Manning!

Here is where my issue lies.

90 million dollars to recruit him to play for the Broncos.  90 million dollars!  Do I think he's worth it?  I don't know, I can't answer that.  However, in my  heart, Manning is an Indiana Colt.  Always has been, always will be.  He is their franchise player, as Elway was the Broncos.  Whenever Manning talks at the press conferences post-game, I hear his voice and I expect to see a Colt uniform.  It always takes me a moment to comprehend that's a Broncos head on the platform behind him.  When it comes time for Manning to be inducted into the Hall of Fame, I have no doubt, it will be as a Colt.  As my friend Kodi says, a Manning fan or a Colts fan, buy a shirt with a horse on it and call it good.

In addition, what happened to building a team?!  An actual team, from the ground up; something that will withstand the test of time.  Is Manning an amazing quarterback?  Yes.  But he has maybe three years left in his career.  Maybe he will lead a great team in that time, but what happens when he leaves?  We're willing to start all over again with a rookie quarterback?  So we're willing to sacrifice long-term success for a few flashy years?  

IF we even get the flash.  All last spring, I was told over and over again. "Just wait. You'll see why we did this when we win the Super Bowl.  You'll see."  Now granted, we've played some strong teams these first few weeks, so I'm not giving up on my Broncos.  But there's been no plays (save for the first game of the season) that screams "Super Bowl Winners Here!"  Peyton cannot win football games by himself.  He may have all of the athletic ability in the world,  but if our guys can't catch the ball (I'm looking at you, Demaryius) we can't win games.

So there you have it.  My take and mini-rant on the Denver Broncos and Manning situation.  Do I have a leg to stand on?  Am I as schooled as the stats quoting fans?  No, I'm not.  Just one life-long fan who has an opinion.  And since I'm not afraid to share my opinion on most everything else on here, why stop at football?!  Ha!

Moving on...  Go Broncos! Please, please, PLEASE beat the Raiders on Sunday.

9x9 Randomness

Thursday, September 20, 2012 6 Comments A+ a-

Collage
  1. I’ve been talking to friend, and photographer extraordinaire, Becky Young about fall family portraits and color palettes.  I think I’m leaning towards a navy blue-gray-pink combination this year.  P.S. I love getting to swap services with my talented friends.  Its one of the perks of my job.

  2. I firmly believe that one of the best things about fall are pumpkin patches and corn mazes.  We have scheduled our outing in October and some cousins will be coming with us.  It’ll be good to get together outside of cancer, comas, and funerals.

  3. I am going slightly stir crazy.  Ashlynn started vomiting on Tuesday morning and slowly everyone (with the exception of Devyn and myself) have taken a turn.  Once one gets sick, I can inevitably count on the fact that we’ll be house bound for a good 5-7 days. But tomorrow, I may take a turn through a drive-through somewhere.  Anywhere.  I just need out.

  4. Oh Broncos.  That was a nasty game on Monday night.  Grandma always had the best commentary during Broncos game and she would've been especially punchy during that game.  It was an ugly game, both the playing and the refereeing.  Lets hope both sides get their acts together.  And soon.

  5. In keeping with the blue-gray-pink theme, I fell in love with this dress.  But I’m not willing to spend $250+ on it.  Especially used.  So, its back to the drawing board for me.  I’m in desperate need of fashion help.  I might be missing that gene too.

  6. Late one night, a client posted a picture of some jewelry and I fell in love.  I promptly contacted her and within a few days ordered myself a necklace, including the letter “G” for our last name, a Blessed disc (which matches my tattoo), and each child’s birthstone.  Happy Birthday to me!  It arrived on Wednesday and I’m crazy about it.  Definitely go check out Origami Owl necklaces.  You won’t be disappointed.

  7. Don’t these look amazing?  I’m not sure what it is about fall, but it brings out the baking in me.  And these pumpkin cookies with the cinnamon icing are just begging to be made.  Which brings me to #9 below.

  8. I was looking through my blog the other day and stumbled upon our family page.  Whoa, time travel.  It looks like I hadn’t updated that page in years.  There were pictures of Devyn holding Reagan… as a baby!  Um, time to dust off the cobwebs.  So I finally updated that page and will probably be revamping this site again soon.  But you know what they say about the cobbler and his children’s shoes, the saying also applies to designers and themselves… and their sisters.  Ha!

  9. These pretty shoes have made their way into my closet.  I’m getting ready to break them in because… wait for it… I’ve decided to start running.  Something has to change about this slowing metabolism. And four kids. And gravity.  Sigh.  Wish me luck.  I’m going to need it.

Dear Devyn & Co

Monday, September 17, 2012 3 Comments A+ a-

PlayDateCollage

Dear Devyn & Co,

As I write this, the four of you are chowing down on grilled cheese sandwiches during a living room picnic, while listening to Disney Friends on Pandora.  Every so often, a song comes on that you all know and a contest of who can sign it the loudest ensues.  S, I know you caught the look in my eyes and the tears that threatened to fall down my cheeks.  I’m sure you’re confused why Devyn’s mommy is so sentimental today.  Let me tell you…

I have had the privilege of watching the four of you grow up together.  From preschoolers to second graders, it has been an honor to watch each of you grow and change into the beautiful girls I see today.  Its been fascinating to watch personalities develop, to watch friendships grow and change, to watch you learn the abc’s to reading Diary of a Wimpy Kid, from singing Disney princess songs to Hannah Montana and Taylor Swift songs. 

It makes my mama heart tender… knowing how fast its changed and knowing how much lies ahead of you beautiful girls.

It’s a rocky road ahead…  one filled with hurt feelings, mean girls, uncertainties, changing relationships, good and bad decisions.  Its going to be a roller coaster, dear girls.  One that will cause both you and your mamas plenty of heartache, and I assure you that each mama would gladly take this from you if we could.  But growing up is hard work and can only be done by you.

I want to bottle this time up forever.  This time of baking cookies, little girl giggles, picnic lunches, and carefree dancing.  Its going so fast and I want to freeze time, to save this innocence.  I’ve come to love each one of you, I am thankful for the strengths that each of you bring to this close-knit group.  I can’t assure you or myself that this group will always remain tight-knit, but I can assure you that when I think of Devyn’s childhood, I will think of you.  And smile.

Love,
One Thankful, Sentimental Mama

Today was a first…

Saturday, September 15, 2012 10 Comments A+ a-

Devyn started going to this school in 2009 as a preschooler.  And never once in those four years has she ever once mentioned a mean girl.  Devyn gets along with everybody, and I mean everybody.  When other mothers mentioned their children were having problems with the same girl at school, Devyn was completely oblivious to it all. She had no idea what I was talking about when I brought it up. 

So bells started ringing when she mentioned that a girl in her class was being mean to her.  Naturally my inner mama bear threatened to come to the surface, but I managed to calm her (the bear, not Devyn) down and walk Dev through the appropriate ways to handle the situation.  Talk to the teacher, talk to the student, etc.

But when a few days later, Devyn came home and mentioned that the same girl had shoved her in PE class… Oh hell no, some girl did not just touch my daughter! 

The ensuing conversation that took place between Jon, Devyn, and I was downright comical as I calmed Devyn, tried to pacify an upset Daddy (whose response was simply to push the girl back and harder), and rein in my own feelings.  And once Nana and Aunt Ney found out about it, oy vey.  It made our scene at home pale in comparison.  Unfortunately said scene sent Devyn running in tears, to the other room because, and I quote, “I don’t want to push her back.  I can’t do that!” (My sweet, sensitive Devyn.  I love you for it!)

Cooler heads prevailed and I scheduled a meeting with the teacher instead.

As I told the teacher, had the bullying stayed at the verbal level, I would’ve encouraged Devyn to continue talking to her teacher.  I definitely wouldn’t have requested a parent-teacher conference so early in the process, but physical touching of any kind is simply unacceptable.  And neither is avoiding the situation, which is Devyn’s coping method of choice right now.  That does neither child any favors; one learns to avoid unpleasant situations and the other learns that her behavior will allow her a pass in life.

I want Devyn to be equipped and empowered to handle these situations; to know that she is capable of standing up for herself.  And that her mama and daddy have her back, completely and whole-heartedly.  I am her advocate in these early years of learning what is, and what is not, acceptable.  And unwanted physical touching is absolutely not allowed.

Her teacher was amazing.  She listened, she brainstormed with me, we came up with a good game plan.  And I’m confident that this will be nipped in the bud sooner, rather than later.  It especially warmed my heart when she had Devyn come back in and included her in the discussion of everyone’s role in all of this.  And we both reiterated that the adults are a safe place, teacher or parent, she is safe to go to either one. 

I don’t think we’ll hear much from the classmate again once the teacher has said her piece.  At least I hope not, for the classmate’s sake.  I don’t think Mama Bear has anything on Daddy Bear, Nana Bear, and Auntie Bear.  Yikes.

Confessions in Munchkin Land

Friday, September 14, 2012 7 Comments A+ a-

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  • My car is a mess.  A certifiable health hazard.  But it comes to the rescue more times than I can count.  A trip to the mountains, forgot long-sleeved shirts?  I have boys or girls clothing.  Forgot to put on shoes before leaving the house?  Do you need size 3, 7, 10 or 12?  I wish I were kidding.

  • As I doled out sandwiches mid-errands yesterday, I realized I was a sandwich short.  Instead of the pb+j the others got, Ashlynn made do with the 4 vanilla cookies.  Don’t feel sorry for her, she was more than happy to make the sacrifice.

  • I’m sure that any leftover lunches were promptly thrown on the floor of the van.  Hence the first confession above.  I’m terrified to step back and there and see what new mold the Littles have scientifically created.

  • I was inspired by Courtney’s wreath making tutorial and convinced that this time would be different, I trotted the three younger Littles through Hobby Lobby while I pretended to know what I was doing and what I was looking for.  I failed.  Miserably.  We left with some wheat stalks and 2 scarecrows.  They were haphazardly carefully placed in a ceramic vase by our front door.  And THAT is the extent of my crafting experience.  It’s further convinced me that I’m missing the Craft gene.

  • I have great intentions when it comes to bringing meals to families with new babies.  However, great intentions do not translate well to actions.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve forgotten to bring a meal on a night I was scheduled to do so.  Its quite humiliating actually.  Thankfully, I remembered last night.  At the last minute.  It wasn’t the thoughtful, home cooked meal I wanted to bless them with, but at least I remembered at all.  Oy.  Thank you for being so gracious about it, Brock and Kristen!  And congrats on your beautiful baby boy!

  • I’m a spender.  I married a spender.  It’s a horrible combination.  If I pass on anything to my children, it’ll be to marry the opposite of what they are.  There’s something to be said for balance.  Especially in finances!

  • I’m a natural consequences kind of parent.  If my child is repeatedly told not to tip back in their chair and continues to do so anyway, I figure that gravity will be a better teacher than I.  And 9 times out of 10, once they’ve fallen and gotten hurt, they won’t do it again.

  • And lastly.  I reposted a friend’s Facebook post yesterday, and I’m reposting it here too.  It bears repeating:

"You know that mom in the store pushing a screaming toddler in the cart while a wild preschooler is touching everything in sight and antagonizing the screaming toddler? The mom who looks defeated, and isn't even trying to stop the madness? The one you look at disapprovingly and list all the solutions to her bad parenting in your head as you walk by? I was that mom today. And I have the same list running through my head, only each of the brilliant and "obvious" suggestions are crossed out in red ink, having already failed me. Practice trumps theory. You see, the thing is, most moms are intelligent problem-solvers, just like you. And we want it to stop more than everyone else in the store combined. So save your looks. Save your mental commentary. Just finish your shopping trip and enjoy your quiet drive home. Thanks."

Heritage

Sunday, September 09, 2012 3 Comments A+ a-


heritage(noun)
practices that are handed down from the past by tradition
"a heritage of freedom"

I have been fortunate to have two God-fearing, Christ-loving, Bible-believing grandmothers.  I do not take this blessing lightly.  Grandma Nancy might have been a part of my day-to-day life, but Grandma Rose is prayer warrior like no one I’ve ever met.  Whenever a need is apparent, I can count on a phone call from Grandma Rose and know the words “Let’s pray” will be one of the first words uttered.

My cousins lost their second grandma last Sunday.  First Grandma Nancy in August, then their grandmother, Eleanor, a few weeks later.  I attended both funerals and was struck by the legacy both women had left, one of mercy and compassion and the other of steadfast faithfulness.  Looking down the line of cousins, at both funerals, where each grandchild bore a stamp of their grandmother’s print on their lives is inspiring.

Just this past Friday, after having lunch with some dear ladies in Denver, I decided to stop by Grandma Rose’s house on a whim.  What was intended to be a quick stop, a short visit, quickly turned into hours.  I sat at her elbow, across the table from my aunt, and soaked it in.  Their stories, their wisdom, their life lessons.  At one point, Grandma Rose took my face in her hands and with the sassy way she has, said to me, “I share this so you will learn!”

This morning we sang Kristian Stanfill’s Always in church.  Reagan sat on my hip, her head on my shoulder, her face buried in my neck.  The thought came to me.  Share with her.  This is her heritage too.  So as we swayed to the music, I brought her ear to my mouth.

“Reagan Jacqueline, you are a child of the utmost High.  You belong to the King.”

Oh, my God, He will not delay.
My refuge and strength always.

“He has mighty plans for you, my Love.  You need only Him.  He has, is, and will always prove faithful.”

I will not fear, His promise is true.
My God will come through always, always.

I sang each word over her, over her soul, and over her heart.  Each word was lifted up as a prayer, bestowing on her the same heritage I received at my own mother’s and grandmothers’ hands.  As I sang, I prayed that the words would take root in her heart, that she too would someday know the deep truth of them. 

And as life cycles forward, and just as generations before ours, we hand down the tradition of placing our trust, our lives, our hearts in service to the one true King.  It’s the richest heritage I could ever dream of possessing.  And now its my turn to see that the heritage is shared forward.

I’m not sure that’s true…

Thursday, September 06, 2012 16 Comments A+ a-

ET-Give-more-thanSince the summer began, and specifically more often once Grandma was diagnosed, I’ve been told over and over that “God will never give you more than you can handle.”

I’ve mulled over the statement more times than I care to admit.  I’ve said it myself so many times, in situations where I want to explain away the hurt and the pain.  It’s a wonderful sentiment.  This idea that God will only give you just enough to handle, that He’s knows our breaking point and doesn’t tip the scale into Too Much.  It’s a way to offer comfort to the hurting, this idea that God knows you can handle this because you’re this strong.

“But…” I turned to Jon in the car one day, “I don’t think its true.”

This idea that its because of our own strength that God won’t give us too much to bear doesn’t seem to fit with what I know to be true of God.  I think it turns focus inward, into ourselves, and into our own strength.  After all, if we’re strong enough to handle the unthinkable, where’s the need for God at all?

God doesn’t like seeing His children hurt.  He hurts when we hurt.  “God is close to the brokenhearted…” It’s a promise, my God is compassionate and merciful in that way.  When the pain is especially sharp and raw, He is holding me and hurting with me. 

Its similar in watching Devyn and Hudson navigate the muddy waters of elementary schools, friends, classmates, and bullies.  When one comes home with hurt feelings, I hurt and ache along with them.  I don’t have to experience the hurt firsthand to ache when they ache.  The same is true of God.  He’s there in the hurt and pain, wanting to take it from me, as I want to take it from them.

But I certainly don’t think He withholds circumstances from us because we’re too weak.  WHEN I AM WEAK, HE IS STRONG.  I think when life is throwing challenge after challenge at you, God knows you’re not strong enough to handle it.  He’s simply waiting for you to turn to Him and say, “I can’t do this on my own.  I NEED you!  Its because of my strength IN you that I am able to bear this.”

God allows the hard and the painful, not as a punishment or a test, but to allow us the opportunity to depend on Him and solely Him.  We will never understand the big picture (which is a whole other post in itself) but I can trust two things…

  1. The big picture is gorgeous.  He’s placing people and circumstances in such a way as to create a Masterpiece.  The pain I feel today will be used in another piece of the puzzle tomorrow.
  2. When I allow God to work in me and through my pain, His glory is revealed.  I’m not doing this in my own strength, for that was depleted a long while ago.  Any strength or circumstance withstood, has been because of Him and His strength. 

Please don’t think I don’t appreciate the sentiment or the intent behind the statement.  That’s surely not the case.  It’s a beautiful idea and I’m thankful for the thought!  But any strength perceived in me is just that, a perception.  These days He’s carrying me, and I’m perfectly ok to be in that place. 

“Yet, I still belong to you; you hold my right hand…” Psalm 73:23

The Hurt & The Healer

Thursday, September 06, 2012 1 Comments A+ a-


The Hurt & The Healer
MercyMe

Why?
The question that is never far away
The healing doesn't come from the explained
Jesus please don't let this go in vain
You're all I have
All that remains

So here I am
What's left of me
Where glory meets my suffering

I'm alive
Even though a part of me has died
You take my heart and breathe it back to life
I've fallen into Your arms open wide
When the hurt and the healer collide

Breathe
Sometimes I feel it's all that I can do
Pain so deep that I can hardly move
Just keep my eyes completely fixed on You
Lord take hold and pull me through

So here I am
What's left of me
Where glory meets my suffering

I'm alive
Even though a part of me has died
You take my heart and breathe it back to life
I've fallen into your arms open wide
When the hurt and the healer collide

It's the moment when humanity
Is overcome by majesty
When grace is ushered in for good
And all the scars are understood
When mercy takes its rightful place
And all these questions fade away
When out of the weakness we must bow
And hear You say "It's over now"

I'm alive
Even though a part of me has died
You take my heart and breathe it back to life
I've fallen into your arms open wide
When The hurt and the healer collide

Jesus come and break my fear
Awake my heart and take my tears
Find Your glory even here
When the hurt and the healer collide

Jesus come and break my fear
Awake my heart and take my tears
Find Your glory even here

The Phone Call

Tuesday, September 04, 2012 16 Comments A+ a-

I have been waiting all day to write this post, wondering how this story would end.  Well, if I’m honest, I’ve been waiting for five days, but the wait only got really hard these past eight hours or so.

Let me back up…

Last Thursday was a mess.  A dear friend of mine had gotten great news, then horrible news in the span of less than hour, then surgery, then a collapsed lung, and I was on my way to her house to offer some comfort when I received the first call.

It was Mom. 

She tried to sound calm as she explained what the urologist discovered about Dad’s kidney stones.  But I could hear the underlying tension and stress in her voice.  There was no denying that there was a “but” at the end of her sentence.

“…so the doctor wants to wait to see if the 2nd stone passes on its own…”

Pause.  And not being known for my patience, I interjected, “But what?”

“They found a mass in his prostate. They want to do further tests.”

Silence.  Then all of Hades fell down around me and over the phone line.  This was it, the last and final straw.  God and I were going to have words, and it wasn’t going to be pretty.  I quickly excused myself from our conversation, not even stopping to hear the whats, wheres, and whys of the rest of that sentence.

Jon answered a call where the wife was in full meltdown mode.  I’m not sure how he managed to understand a single word in between the sobs and freaking out, but he did. And told me to get to his job as fast and as safely as I could. 

And again, I’m not sure how I managed to make it to his job, but I’m thankful for a van that can drive itself there with little guidance from me.  Once in Jon’s arms, I allowed the full weight of the implications settle over me and while I sobbed, the only question I asked was to wonder how much God thought we could take.

As the rest of the day went on, I found myself getting calmer.  I’m sure it was the results of numerous family and friends sending up prayers on our behalf.  Even just a few hours later, I was certain of two things.  One, it might not even be cancer.  And two, if it was cancer, Dad would beat it.  There was little doubt of that. 

Yesterday Dad went in for blood work and the appointment was today at 2:30pm.  I have been able to maintain a calm fa├žade for most of the past five days, but that came crashing down around 8:00am this morning because I knew today would bring the answers we’d been dreading but wanting.  The time of the appointment couldn’t get here fast enough.

I got off the phone with my parents over an hour and a half ago and I’m over the moon with the results.  His PSA numbers are less than one, which means either a) there’s no cancer at all or b) the cancer was caught SO early, it hasn’t had time to grow.  I’m quite happy with either result actually.  And we’ll know more after his biopsy next month.  (Which to be honest, the fact that they’re waiting for a month for a biopsy is further proof to me that they’re not worried.  In my expert, medical opinion, and all.)

Five days of unknown.  Five days and I somehow managed to maintain some semblance of composure.  Since the initial meltdown anyways.  I can only chalk that up to family and friends standing in the gap for us.

And now that its September 4th and the results are better than I had dared hope, let’s chalk this experience as a fitting way to end this Craptastic Summer.  I am closing the book on this whole summer and filing it under “Summers I Never Want to Repeat Again. Ever.”

The End.

Please let it really be the end this time. We need a break for a little while… at least a few months.

It’s Fall!!

Monday, September 03, 2012 1 Comments A+ a-

Fall