Thursday, December 27, 2012

Christmas Eve on the River

We were feeling a bit homesick for festive snow, family, and the familiarity of family on Christmas Eve. We headed off to church and enjoyed the service so much. Ainsley thought it was amazing that they passed out bread and juice to everyone (all of the grown-ups anyway) and thought Big Church was almost as fun as her Sunday school class.

We left the service feeling full and blessed. Reminded of what we were (are) celebrating this season. A thrill of hope. Dirk suggested we all head to the Riverwalk to enjoy the beauty of the city. May as well soak up the best of Texas while we're at it.

It turned out to be a great plan! It was a gorgeous night to walk along the river and enjoy the beautiful display of lights. We went to a steakhouse for dinner and proceeded to have one of the best times we've had out to dinner as a family. Not even one drink spilled which I'm pretty sure is a new first for us. We laughed hard. Really hard. Emie was cracking us up with her sharp wit and Ainsley was getting in on it as well getting her daddy to laugh out loud. I wanted to press record in my brain to ever remember these moments. How darling Ainsley looked in her little pettiskirt and cardigan. Her tiny body sitting up so tall as she beckoned us all to enjoy life as much as she does. How her curls fell around her face. How Emie's eyes lit up like a moonlit ocean when she had us all laughing with her. I wanted to remember what it felt like to be sitting around a small table on Christmas Eve with my dearest loves on earth. How good it was to be together, just us four. How nothing was missing. Not one thing.

I'd spent a bit of time thinking about what I was missing or different this season. The weather, the scenery, those celebrating with us. But it was good, really good, to spend some time celebrating what we have. So much! These girls just delight our souls. They are so happy to be with us. So glad to be a foursome with their parents. It's time to savor this fleeting season and enjoy it for what it is: rich and lovely. Pure and bountiful.

Here's a little glimpse of a Texas Christmas Eve. Not too shabby at all.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012


So we accidentally wound up with an Elf on the Shelf. I wouldn't have purposely brought into our home someone else who creates mayhem and messes for which I am responsible to clean. Or even just one more thing to remember to move each day until Christmas. And yet here he is.

For all of you EOS purists (as if such a club exists), no, this is not the real thing. The one that all of the amazing moms make all sorts of mischief for. He's been found to dump over boxes of cereal or spill all manner of beverages only adding to the list of things mom has to clean up. But I do really love some of his little elfin antics and could see the fun in doing some of those. Such as these ideas that someone else tried:

But the fact is that these little photo-ops come with a price. I mean what has to go for the elf to fit in? How can one mom do all of this and not go a little nutty by the day's end? I guess I just knew I couldn't do it to the extent that I'd want to so of course the answer was to not take up with the elf. I felt my family would be all the happier for it.

My particular elf came with marriage. Apparently it was a gift from Dirk's childhood given by his babysitter (whom we adore to this day). But into the marriage, somewhere amidst the 36" stereo speakers and neon track suit came this little guy. The speakers have since been sold and the track suit never existed, but I needed another unwanted item on the list and it seemed like a good fit. In any case, the elf remains.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Ride at Your Own Peril and Make Mine a Double

So it’s bike rodeo week at Emie’s school. One might assume this means that the kids are encouraged to ride their bikes to school on a given day. Not true. The kids are definitely encouraged to bring their bikes in the backs of their parents’ SUVs. Goes against all things green but note that this is a rule to preserve life. The roads are busy and there are more bikes than there are people in some small towns, which makes bike parking impossible. So the parents are given the opportunity to schlep said youngster's bike to the school the night before the rodeo. This eliminates a new traffic jam in the middle of the normal morning traffic jam that is the nightmare of kiddo drop-off without the help of a rodeo.

If you’re still reading at this point , thanks for that. I know this is edge of your seat material here. But it’s just the day to day for me. Don’t be jealous of my cosmopolitan lifestyle, it's just how we roll. Anyway, I was on bike delivery duty tonight since Dirk’s in California on “business.” I like to use quotes for that just for fun. In any case I heaved the bike into the back of the car and the handlebars did a fast spinning twistaroo resulting in a big slap in my face. Like the “I see stars now" kind of slap. Ouch. The seat of the bike also did a little twist but I didn’t think a lot of it since it didn’t hit me in the face. We backed out of the driveway without incident. Congratulations, Mario Andretti, you say but what you don’t realize is that this alone is no small feat. Our garage is narrow like eye of the needle narrow and few are those who find it. Or at least few are those who back out of it without either hitting the side where the door goes down or shaving little pieces of brick off of the little retaining wall outside. Not that I’d know anything about either of those things. I have no idea how any paint or brick shavings got near my car. It’s either that someone pulled the ultimate prank and set the whole thing up or I was running late to take Ainsley to school and wailed into both the side of the garage and the little brick wall one day last week. I really can’t remember which it was. But the good news is that the paint scrape was superficial, it was only the rubber molding around the door that I drove into, and the retaining wall rollover did no damage to the tire. I knew you were worried.

So anyway we make it to the school to find plenty of Bike Rodeo volunteers in place ready to greet us. I’m telling you one has to get up pretty early to get ahead of these PTO ladies. They are running the show (or the rodeo) as the case may be. I tried to volunteer to be a chaperon for Emie’s field trip today and was told that they had all of the volunteers they needed (thankyouverymuch) within a few hours of announcing their need. That it was only a first-come first-served opportunity. Where am I? Since when is herding 22 seven year olds through a museum display of naked Egyptian statues an opportunity afforded to but a few lucky ones? Anyway back to the rodeo. So as I get the bike out of the car I note that the handlebars have left a nice red welt across the side of my cheek. The seat seemed kind of wiggly as I sat it down for Emie to walk into the gym but I didn’t suppose there was a lot to be done about it and carried on.

I forgot my glasses since I was wearing my prescription sunnies so I just walked into the gym wearing sunglasses. I was told that Emie could choose to either take a spin on the rodeo course (to become familiar with it) or park her bike in the gym next to her teacher’s name and take off. I knew what I wanted which involved turning right around to go home again. But of course in no time we were out on the course watching Emie kill some figure eights with her sparkly bike. But I should note that before she even got on the bike I noted that indeed her seat was kind of loose. Like pretty wobbly loose and probably not rodeo-worthy. After all part of the deal is some bike safety king is coming to not only check out her figure eight prowess but assess whether her happy two-wheeler should even be on the road. I wondered aloud (to no one in particular) that I should probably work on that seat. Mr. Helpful (pretty sure he would introduce himself this way) chirped right up. “Is it an Allen wrench or a standard you need for that seat?” Well, mind you, the bike is now 500 plus yards away from me being ridden with pure joy by my eldest. And it just so happens that I haven’t memorized which type of hardware is used on the underside of the bike seat. “Oh, I’m not sure,” I said. Adding with a smile what I thought would be a lighthearted comment, “That’s my husband’s department.”

Friday, November 2, 2012

A Place without Any Trouble

I never have been a big fan of Halloween. I mean since after the age of nine or so when candy was the holy grail and getting it free was a jackpot like no other. In the tween years Halloween brought drama. In the later single years it meant trying to find a costume that was creative and flattering simultaneously. Hard to feel cute when dressed as a tube of Crest. Not that I ever donned this costume but you get what I'm saying. Then as a grown up you begin to notice the holiday just brings all of the crazies out. Kind of reminds you that the world really is in a heap of trouble. It's not a big surprise and not the kind of surprise like a fun magazine in the midst of bills in the mail. It's the kind that sobers you back to the reality that sometimes danger is real and truly is lurking around the corner.

I'd like to think that I don't live with my head in the sand but I also don't stick it out into the middle of the intersection only to be reminded just how fast cars really travel. So maybe that's why I liked this Halloween especially much. It felt safe and trouble-free. The girls in their Dorothy costumes skipping down the neighborhood, braids in the breeze, friends at their side. Me behind them chatting easily with really nice and fun neighbors whose daughters love my girls really well. I felt that feeling I'd been missing: community. Is community a feeling? Being a part of one is. It felt so good to be in our little neighborhood of warm and friendly neighbors carefully admiring each child's costume. As dusk settled everyone seemed warmer still and each parent passing by with their little goblin was quick to share a smile and trade stories on the loot collection. I felt like I was part of something in that wonderful way that feels like a good fit.
Auntie Em: Why don't you find a place where there isn't any trouble?
Dorothy: A place where there isn't any trouble. Do you suppose there is such a place, Toto? There must be. It's not a place you can get to by a boat or a train. It's far, far away. Behind the moon, beyond the rain.

Monday, October 22, 2012

I've had to come to terms with a harsh reality about my youngest daughter. I've thought it might be true for some time but wanted to believe otherwise, but after this past week I have to accept reality. It's hard to even type the words. Lean in and I'll whisper: Ainsley has her father's sleep habits. Dang it any old way. Emie and I know the fine art of blissful, uninterrupted sleep. We spend lots of life in a state of REM and it's altogether wonderful. Sleep has always come easily to me and I thought this was how it was for everyone else until I met Dirk.

Captured this rare moment on film to remind myself of what is possible.

For him sleep is this fragile place tiny and small. When he gets anywhere near to it everything in the atmosphere has to stay in its exact place. One slip and the whole thing crashes to the floor, shatters into hundreds of pieces, and he is awake again.

He actually falls asleep pretty easily with the aid of uploaded sermons, talk radio, white or pink noise (see how relative "easily" has become for me) but it is the staying asleep part that brings the challenge. This past week our little Ainsley love emerged from her room just about every night. She wouldn't come straight to our room. We'd hear her sitting on the steps humming to herself. Sometimes though she would come to our room and stand at the foot of our bed with the stealthy presence of the night stalker. It happened during those rare instances when Dirk was actually asleep at the same time I was. Her stealthy presence would, naturally and instantly shave ten years off of our lives. She's a sidler, that one. Quiet as a thief pulling off a monumental art heist. So last night was no different. I was in a state of blissful sleep no doubt dreaming about Mary Poppins offering me a year of free nannying when I sensed her presence. A mother just comes to know these things: one of the offspring is up and about. I opened the bedroom door to find her little precious self standing before me. "I can't sleep," she told me. "Maybe I could come in your bed just for a couple whiles." Well, she may be an insomniac but Miss Wakey Wakerson* is no dummy. Ask your mother for anything after waking her from a deep sleep and chances are mighty strong you're going to get it. So in she came, the soft bundle of a girl that she is.

She smells so good and is so supple in the middle of the night. She asks questions that would be funny if it weren't 1:30am like "Why does daddy's nose make that noise?" or "Is there a seed in my belly button that will grow something big?" These are the ponderings of a person whose been alive only 50 months. I love her sense of wonder. I love how small she seems in our big bed and how I can feel the firmness of her spine and ribs beneath my fingers through her flimsy nightgown. I love how she'll lean into me and whisper right into my ear with her warm breath, "Do you think you might like me to kiss you now?" It is unmatched and wonderful and beautiful. But it is 1:30 am almost none of this registers at that hour of the night or is already morning? Not entirely sure what to do about it. Prepare a little Nyquil nightcap for the little bird every night of the week? Dunno. But I am trying to enjoy her sweet presence even in the middle of the night. She is as precious as the days are long -- and they are long indeed.

* Completely lifted that moniker from the adorable Melanie

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

We hosted our first party here on Friday night. Dirk's workmates, staff and their families were our guests. It was so much fun to make everything pretty and really put this house (built to entertain) to the test. I think my favorite moment was sitting out at one of the little cafe tables in the late evening. We were out by the pool, me and a couple of really lovely ladies with whom I was just getting acquainted. Candles lit our table as the moon hung high above us. The kids took turns bounding off of the jumping rock as we chatted and sipped our autumn sangria. Pure delight. We had a great time and were all spent with exhaustion at the night's end. I suppose that's why Mr. Gastroenteritis figured it was an ideal time to viciously attack us from the depths of the earth (or wherever he lives).

We went down like so many dominoes, succumbing to his ruthless blows. Ainsley was the first culprit and got hit pretty hard. She was over the worst of it after one bad night. I was next and am not too proud to say that this bug kicked my rear all over big Texas. Of course that really means it was well worn path between our bed and our bathroom but it felt like a lot of space. Have mercy, Lord. After about twenty continuous hours of nauseated misery, He did. I never knew the stomach flu is really a misnomer. It's not the flu really. When your stomach feels like it's stuck on the spin cycle you have what is called viral gastroenteritis. Dr. Google told me that. The two of us got pretty close as I consulted him in the middle of the night to find out how much longer I had to live.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

O is for October

This weekend brought with it a gift so rare it comes but a few times a year in this part of the world. Water fell straight from the sky! A real, full-fledged, welcome downpour of rain that lasted two full days. Yep - it was divine. It also rained out Dirk's Habitat for Humanity work day on Saturday. It will be rescheduled so we didn't have to say "Tough luck, homeless, but we're glad for a family day!" He'll be so glad to work with them again and we were so glad to have him home with us.

We made the most of the weekend together and headed out to the theatre to take in some amazing free cinematography Spy Kids movie. We actually had the biggest blast as it was playing for free at a local Drafthouse Theater where they serve food and drinks (even the grown-up kind) during the movie delivered by a waiter. The girls were amazed such a thing was possible. The movie might have been more enjoyable had I chosen to order an adult beverage after all - but we had great fun never the less.

Emie was invited to two separate birthday parties which both fell on the same day (Sunday). I still don't get the etiquette for kid parties. Do you stay or do you drop them? It's a bit of a question mark for me when the hostess isn't a friend of mine yet. My own little rule of thumb is that if it s a party hosted at a home then it's probably best to ask the mom if she thinks she can get through the afternoon sober without the help of another adult. Or something to this tactful effect. In my experience (limited though it is) the mom is always so glad you asked but happily shoos you home explaining that all manner of family have come in for the big event and she's well covered. This theory goes out the window if the kids are under five, of course, because who wants to be left alone (anywhere) with a pack of preschoolers? Anyway, if the party is held at one of those kiddie-Vegas type of deals with tokens and bouncers you are well free to hit the high road at drop off leaving your seven year old perfectly independent youngster in their care. A teen aged "hostess" has likely been assigned to the party and will be earning every thin dime of her minimum wage by keeping all of the sugared up hooligans out of trouble for two solid hours.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Now that I actually have some time to write again the Blog's taking on a style rather like reading a book from the last page forward (or backward) as the case may be. But things are coming to my mind from the summer and now that time permits - they're spilling onto the screen.

A few months back the girls and I were on our way out for the morning. Off to LifeTime where I could get in a workout and a shower alone (listen for the hallelujah chorus). Emie had happily buckled herself into her seat and Ainsley was not so willing. She exclaimed that she wasn't going and she opted to put her whole body into the argument. I was frustrated, warm, and exhausted from what seemed like a fight at every turn to get the little love to do anything I had asked of her that day. The more she resisted, the more I dug in my heels until I used my arms as well to shove tuck the little lamb safely into her buckled perch. I pushed hard. She cried. I nearly did.

The conviction was immediate. I never want anything but love to come from my hands to my children. I understand that some people use their hands for discipline (which is also hopefully done in love) but this was not that. This was my frustration fanned out on her little torso and in an instant I knew I'd gone too far. I wanted to take it all back, to try again with more restraint and tenderness but there she sat, her face awash in tears. In her eyes was the look you don't ever want to see in your child: heartbreak. A surprise had come (and not the good kind) where she encountered the unexpected - an angry mother whose temper was lost. It was as if (all in an instant) she was piecing it all together for herself, puzzled to understand how a usually peaceful and loving person could lose it in an instant and disappear. In her trusted mother's place she found a forceful shove.

What she saw was me, a mere mortal, trying to gracefully clear the rising hurdles that the job of parenting the young places before you day after day. She saw me miss that hurdle and trip up a good bit. But what I want to make sure that she also saw (and continues to see) is the opportunity (the necessity) for God's unmatched grace. We need Him every hour. I want her to know that when I trip over my own feet, the laces, the stinkingly high hurdles, it's okay. It's okay because I know the One who can pick me up in one instant and set me back on my feet again. The One to re-tie my laces, tell me it's okay, and give me the chance to do better next time.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

So Fun to Be Writing Again...

Feeling fit here in the south. I'm no Gabby Douglas but I have survived my first summer as a Texas resident. In the spirit of the Summer Olympics I do feel that's got to be worth a little something. Maybe not silver or even bronze but that's okay - I was thinking a medal made of solid ice would be great. A big icy medal of bravery and honor for making it through the ridiculous heat without complaining at all too much. I know, I know that it's not really over yet. Summer starts here in about February and runs through early December as near as I can tell. But once it's Back to School season and people start pinning pumpkin pie spiced martini recipes on Pinterest - it's autumn everywhere in the free world as far as I'm concerned.

It is my favorite season - autumn, that is. Growing up in Illinois I've nothing but fond memories of the first days of sweatshirt weather and walks down the sidewalk purposely aiming for the noisy crunch of dried fallen leaves. When I lived in California (a long way from autumn) my mom would send me pictures of their tree-lined streets aglow in orange, red, and yellow. A little glimpse of home. It's been said that autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower. Maybe that's why I like it so much. It looks like a new beginning when really it's an ending all along. Always was one for the silver lining any old way.

Back to school is a machine in our little world. The marketing for supplies and clothes seems to start earlier and earlier every year. Kind of like how Christmas decor now comes out right after Labor Day. The rush back to the big yellow school bus seems to be upon us somewhere around mid-June. But ready or not - it is indeed here "for real life" (as my Emie would say) and the little lamb is indeed back to school.

Emie embraced another change of schools with great anticipation and joy. She loved both of her other schools for different reasons and I was afraid she'd be missing either of them or comparing them all one with another. Comparison is the thief of joy after all and she seems to have learned this truth earlier than I did. For all of my angst about putting the little love through yet another change and wondering just how the school would be for her - it's been a lovely beginning all the way around.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

As the girls and I were driving home from LifeTime the other day I decided to seize a little captive moment in time to have a real conversation with my Emerson. I miss plenty of these moments but am so thankful when I think to capture them. I asked Emie what her favorite thing about God was. Admittedly, my aim was to peer deeper into her little youthful wanting heart. I thought I'd hear her speak of how God is always there to listen to us, how He never sleeps, how He answers our prayers. I thought I'd hear her say how much she loves what God does for us. I thought she'd be me. But instead her response came from a deeper place of maturity and understanding than I was expecting. "Worshipping Him," she said. "My favorite thing about God is being able to worship Him. I just love that."

The corners of my eyes filled with grateful tears. That's it. That's the whole deal right there. To understand God's love for us with such purity that our absolute favorite thing is to worship Him - well that's what we're on this green earth for in the first place. And my little seven year old knows it better than I do. Praise to the only King who deserves my worship and praise.

One of my prayers for my little lambs is that my spiritual ceiling would be their floor. Let it be.

“It is certainly true that hardly anything is missing from our churches these days – except the most important thing. We are missing genuine and sacred offering of ourselves and our worship to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
A.W. Tozer

Monday, July 30, 2012

Sweet Sweet Summertime

"Summer will end soon enough, and childhood as well.”
George R.R. Martin

'Tis why my little blog has been more than a little neglected of late. These days, this season is so fleeting. We sure have been enjoying summer and the moments with the little lovies.

By the time Summer rolls around In Texas you can sort of feel eager for fall. The warmth of the sun has already been with you for several months and thoughts of harvest festivals and apple picking come readily to mind. Pair this with the reality that the temperatures are akin to those you ordinarily preheat your oven to and well, deodorant is your new best friend.

Well, okay - it's toasty. But we're here and intend to make the best of it and put forth our best effort not to die. We did plan a long trip home to Minnesota and Illinois in the hopes we could escape some of the heat. Instead an unmatched heatwave covered the entire Midwest and we almost melted right out on the Illinois prairie. So the moral of the story is - extremes (temperatures and people) are just a part of life on this green earth. Try to avoid them and you might just wind up smack in the middle of them again. Instead one must learn to bloom where they are planted and stay hydrated so as not to wilt. Something like that.

Here I am out with some of my favorite Minnesota babes doing my best to stay hydrated on some adult beverages. Out at the fabulous Porter Creek for what turned out to be one of our best times together...and we've had a few! It occurs to me that I am wearing this shirt in just about every summer photo taken of me this year. Seriously people I need to go shopping...alone.

So much more to say and share yet summer's pull is a force to be reckoned with. So much to love about the lazy days. The fact that nobody's waiting for us. No need to rush. I love that little Ainsley love the other day asked what it meant to "Hurry." Now she's a bright little bird, she knows the meaning of "fast" and "quick" but I am ever grateful that "hurry" just isn't something that's a standard in her sweet world. We'd taken it so gently and easily for these four years. I can't say that it's always felt restful but indeed a current of peace runs through our home.

At first it felt like it took more effort to be at ease with my schedule than to jump into the bustle along with all of the other moms of littles. Even after just meeting someone the questions are peppered about my girls: "Are they in gymnastics?", "Have you tried the soccer league here?" "Are they in any sport?" And almost before I have a chance to answer they're telling me just what they think I should (or must do). "You have to get them in ballet." "They need to play an instrument." "Now's the time for them to learn a second language." It doesn't take long to realize you're a weirdo if you have any open space in your family calendar. It's just against the norm to be in a rush all of the time.

I'm just so grateful that I don't have to say (in exasperation) what I so often hear: "It's a crazy week," as if someone else besides us is filling in the days. We do get to decide whether or not we want our littles to know what "hurry" means or not. And I have decided to let them know what peace means, what quiet is, what rest feels like.

"The Lord gives strength to His people; the Lord blesses his people with peace." Psalm 29:11

Monday, June 11, 2012

Highlights and Bloopers

The last few weeks have come and gone so very quickly. But then this is the new normal. Emie's kindergarten year is in the rear view mirror. After the most circuitous route taken to get us to this point-- I feel that we both should take a victory lap. A child's first year in school brings with it enough quickened pulses and sweaty palms before you add in a cross-country move mid-year and a teacher gone on maternity leave. She managed it all so very well even amidst some legitimate misses of some true friends and her lifelong buddies. She'll have to make yet another school change due to new boundary divisions. Whoever said change is the one thing you can count on must have lived in our house.

Before school wrapped up, Ainsley and I met her at school for lunch. Emie had asked if we would come and she could "be a tray". Being a tray in Emie-speak means you get to purchase a meal from the lunch lady. A novelty since I make the cutie's lunch each day. Emie has had the option to purchase another choice all year. An account had been all tidied up on her behalf but she had yet to purchase one meal. We talked about it one day - why no trip up to the cafeteria line. She couldn't really articulate it although it was clear there was some trepidation involved. Well, after one little visit there myself I got the idea. Soup Nazi does come to mind. The poor lady who doles out the vittles really ought to retire (God bless her soul). When a boy in front of us asked for a salad (without the required pre-order) she really seemed to want to climb right over the aluminum counter and give him what for. I get it. She had probably calculated just how many little salads to make that morning and had done exactly that - he was throwing things off. And Cafeteria Nazi no likey change. Poor dear. In any case --this type of personality and Miss Fairy Wings Emerson Hope are not a good match. Emie wanted her mama there to ensure she got the pinnacle entree of the month: Nachos.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Carry Higher

Ainsley, whenever she wants to be held inquires if she can "Have a carry." Ever a softie for her dear phrasing she's in my arms within seconds of her request. It's becoming increasingly challenging to acquiesce to these appeals as the lovely girl is just shy of three months from celebrating her fourth birthday. Sigh. In the midst of the sometimes seemingly endless days the years fly by without any courtesy to slow down for us to enjoy the view. Boom - they're not babies anymore.

Lately when I've been carrying the love she's been slipping down a bit on my hips. I'd love to think it was for lack of ample space to perch but that ain't it. Is it okay to say ain't? Well it just seems to fit in this context. Any old way, she often says, as she's slipping southward, "Carry higher". And it just kind of slays me every time. Isn't it so like us with the Father? Carry higher. To the mountaintop if you please. Enough with the day to day stuff -- carry higher already. It's not enough that we're being carried through this life - we want to be even higher up so that we might have more than a glimpse of the wonderful view from up there.

Life isn't lived on the mountaintop. At least mine isn't. And mine's a really blessed life. I mean ridiculously blessed. And yet the reality is amidst the beauty that surrounds me so does a world filled with pain. I'm not trying to go Debbie Downer or be an ingrate or a cynic - but the hard truth is that life is often really, really hard. The older I get, the more I realize this. I'm an optimist. I will find silver in the grayest of gray clouds. I love the bright side - live for it actually. But I realize that even in a life set on a solid foundation focused on eternal glory some days are really painful for a lot of people. One of my dear friends is wonderful at keeping what we together refer to as "an eternal perspective." She's like me and probably some of you in that she still struggles with the daily stuff in this life and feels seeds of discontentment creep in when she least expects them to crop up. Yet she's the first one to remind herself (and others willing to hear) that this green earth just isn't our home. When we remember that our hearts will ever yearn for something this world will never be able to provide we are at rest. Peaceful - done with striving. It's a rare thing to walk this out but she has ever done it beautifully and on my best days I try to do a bit of the same.

Two weeks ago I learned that her healthy, youthful brother, while driving down the street going about his day, was hit by an oncoming car and killed instantly. His life was over. My heart is crushed for my friend who lost her brother, for his wife who lost her husband and the father of their children and most especially for her parents who would bury a child. No matter the age - parents just aren't supposed to outlive their children. But they do sometimes. We weren't meant to stay here forever.

And so it is with new resolve that I embrace the words of my dear Ainsley love. I will ask my Father to carry higher. Take me to the place where I can see what's of eternal value. Remind that in this world we will have trouble but He has overcome it. Through him we can do all things. And one day we will be in His presence forever and ever amen.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The Stone was Rolled Away...

Easter was celebrated here with much fanfare and fun just one week ago. I prepped the girls' baskets early as we had the great pleasure of hosting our former Lakeville neighbors for a wee short visit here a few days earlier. There was a chance they might be popping in again the night before Easter so I didn't want any time that could have been spent with them spent stuffing eggs instead. So these were ready to roll good and early.

Early prep is not always my specialty on holidays. I like to be organized and tend to plan ahead with shopping but it seems no matter how early the collection of treats began I'm always up until the wee hours of the morning the night before putting them all together. Dirk did his share of fanfare as well in hiding dozens of eggs outside for the girls to hunt in the morning. They were thrilled to find this sweet surprise here in Texas. In Minnesota we had another set of dear neighbors who always hid a number of eggs for the girls in our yard much to the girls' delight. Here are the jammie-clad lovelies checking for more goodies in both the front and back yard.

And the Ainsley love complete with her Disney princess crown atop her head which she indeed slept in the night before. We had, incidentally attended the Tangled on Ice performance the day before at the Alamodome. Dirk had purchased these crazy great seats while on a lengthy guilt trip for "making the family move again" so we all benefited from being on the very front row on the floor. We could feel the ice shavings as they whizzed by. And, for the record, he did not "make us move" we are all in this together and are following the same leader Who knows the beginning from the end. But that's a post for another day.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

I started this post weeks and weeks ago and it never made it out of the draft folder for your viewing pleasure. Thought I'd best get it out there so I could write what's really been on my mind lately. I actually left town A L L A L O N E or at least without my family peeps so of course that means I used my brain in a whole new way and have new things to share. Prepare to be amazed. (smile)

So now in re-reading this post it all this time later it sure does seem tinged with cynicism over school functions. Posting any old way because anyone who knows me knows that I am the eternal optimist and ever find (or at least look really really hard) for the best in everyone. Anyway - don't hate - these events range from inane musings (our dinner menu) to the perils of Fairy Tales (which okay, is also an inane musing) so there really isn't any range at all. But it's what I have for today and I want to get something out there so I can be cleared to keep this puppy semi-current and share some more another day. So much to be thankful for. So here's what's been happening lately...

Oh my Gracious~

So behind here that a highlight reel may be in order. The days have been so full.

Over the past many few weeks I:

Attended the Fairy Tale Ball at Emie's school.

This event was solely for the Kinder students and each was asked to dress as a fairy tale character. Neighborhood moms of boys explained to me why this was a rather big hoop to jump for their little loves. For us, not so much. Fairytale costumes we have. Each student's name was called over the PA in the cafeteria as they walked across the stage. After the last name was read they were fed sugary juice pouches and muffins and all mayhem ensued. It was the end of the day which is also known as Martini time for we moms. Just keeping it real here. After they've been going strong since 6:30 that morning there just isn't much left to give by 2:00 pm. But alas, this is the very hour when the "Let's get this Party Started" tunes started cranking out at ridunkulous decibel levels for all to enjoy endure. Nowhere to be heard were the lyrics: "A dream is a wish your heart makes." Instead kids were whipping each other around the room until one boy was catapulted into the linoleum - head first. Screams, tears, and louder music followed. At least it seemed louder everywhere at that point. Soon many of the little fairy princesses joined in the sob-fest because they were not part of the whiplash inducing conga line or circle dances forming exclusively throughout the room. One of those fairy princesses may or may not have been my very own first born. Yes, let's let them learn what being a wallflower feels like at the age of six. We left as early as I could manage and walked through the pouring rain (umbrella-less) to our car parked on the other side of the world. I do love may babies and yes, that picture was taken before she imbibed the sucrose and heard the music pound. Weeee....

Thursday, February 16, 2012


So Ainsley and I have been spending a good bit of time together these days. After we moved here I began (in earnest) a search for a little preschool for her to attend a morning or two a week. Well, as I should have guessed, everything's big in Texas! They don't do a morning or two a week they do "Mommy's Day Out". As in the whole day and not just one day but at least two and how about three. Though the idea of having all of that time to myself was more than a wee tempting, I just didn't feel right in my heart about missing all of those hours with the lovie. She's growing so fast. The moments so fleeting. And as I've said before, there's just no one like Ainsley. She is her own little bird. Such a sweet homebody who loves nothing more than to be in her jammies all the livelong day right at home with me. Much as structure is a wonderful development tool, I was reasonably sure that sending her away for three of five days of the week might just rock her world to its precious core. The risk was not worth it to me and the place I really liked didn't have any openings until next year:)

The place I found is through a local church that came highly recommended. One walk through the place and I wanted to enroll myself as a student. Lovely place, lovely people, lovely philosophy. So the bluebird will go there in seven months when we're both a little more ready for some time apart. I'm so excited for her to go. I'm having her little darling bookbag embroidered with her name in the cutest font. Having a precious little cover made for her nap mat and planning already just how cute her little lunch bag will be. All the same, we just weren't ready to say goodbye to one another for so many of the hours in our week. We've become quite a pair us two. I am treasuring the alone time we have after so much of our time has been divided with dear Emie. As I've said before, I'm altogether aware that Ainsley love has never known a mommy with undivided attention. She met me as a mother of two and so I shall always be. But I'm so glad to sneak the moments where we can just hang together and she is really good company.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Deja Vu All Over Again

It's the start of a new year which makes my heart happy and full. I do love a fresh canvas and new beginnings. In the rear view mirror to 2011 I can't come up with a lot to say other than, "Did that just happen?" It was, unquestionably, the fullest, deepest, richest, longest year of my life so far.

Before 2010 even ended we were contemplating opportunities for change presented to us and as you well know by early spring 2011 we had decided to make one of the most significant leaps we little comfortable ones can make: to change our address. I hope I won't forget what it felt like to walk through Honeysuckle Court across the dark walnut floors (we laid ourselves) for the last time.

To look once more at all of the trim and cabinetry changed from honey oak to purest white that took more than a few "Blast it" moments to complete. Bless Dirk's heart.

The house was home for us for more than eight years. Not an eternity but the biggest whole of our married life. Inside those walls I experienced the fullest joys, the heartiest laughs, the most searing grief and so many lessons learned along the way.

I can still picture in my mind's eye just exactly where I was standing when I was ministered to like healing balm as "Blessed be the Name" played to my broken heart after learning our first daughter had died in utero. I can also remember just where I was on my knees begging God to take my desire to mother right out of my heart if He didn't have that for me. I can remember where I was upstairs when I felt clear as a bell's toll the affirmation to read Joel chapter 2 and the message of hope that spoke straight to me. I can see myself carrying in the tiniest bundle of pink across the grassy lawn in front of the cul de sac only one year later. And where I was two years later when I got the call from my precious believing OB nurse who uttered the words, "God has been very good to us today. You are very pregnant." Announcing the pending arrival of the one and only Ainsley love. Home.