Monday, December 8, 2008

Blog Award

A few weeks ago I was very honored to receive a blog award from a friend, Carrie McKean from Signs of Hope. I've only had the pleasure of seeing her a couple of times since she currently lives on the other side of the globe. It was a fun surprise, and now it's time for me to pass it on.

The qualifications to receive the award are:
A. Display a cheerful attitude
B. Love one another
C. Make mistakes
D. Learn from others
E. Be a positive contributor to the blog world
F. Love life
G. Love kids

The Rules:
1. Must link it back to the creator
2. Post the rules
3. Choose 5 people to give it to
4. Recipients must fill the characteristics above
5. Create a post to share this
6. You must thank the winner

I'm going to follow Carrie's lead and only choose 1 person. (Hey, if she can cheat, so can I. Right?) So, I choose Bryan Hackett at Simple Thoughts.

Why did I choose Bryan?

A. Display a cheerful attitude - if his current post, It's Only Stuff, doesn't display this attitude, I don't know what does.

B. Love one another - although a self-proclaimed introvert, it's impossible to come into contact with Bryan and not know that you are really loved.

C. Make mistakes - and he actually admits to them, from the pulpit. It's difficult enough for most of us to reveal our imperfections, but doing so in front of others can be even harder.

D. Learn from others - he's hungry for knowledge and it's encouraging to see that he is willing to acknowledge the value of ideas from unconventional sources.

E. Be a positive contributor to the blog world - his blog is very thought provoking.

F. Love life - yes, he'd rather be in heaven, but he's enjoying every minute while he's here and working to take as many people with him as possible.

G. Love kids - let's just say that if he does go to China some day, they'd better check his bags to make sure he doesn't bring back a few. Just kidding. He would bring at least one back, but I know he'd do it legitimately. :)

Anyways, thanks again to Carrie for the award and thanks to Bryan for everything you are and for everything you do. You're a blessing!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Thanks - Giving

As I sit in front of my Mac, in my warm home and with my full belly, I am thinking about the special holiday to come. Thanksgiving. It's probably my favorite. Everything is extravagant, lavish, full of delight. The images floating through my head are akin to these:

Like I said, extravagant, lavish, delightful. While sitting here thinking about Thanksgiving, it dawned on me that that's really one word, a noun, that is made up of two complete, separate words. Thanks, a noun, and Giving, a verb. Verbs require action. Yes, of course, I'm thankful for the things I have, for the people I love and who love me back, and for the incredible provision and abundance I experience day in and day out. However, how often do my actions re-affirm this sentiment?

Over the coming year, I'm determined to live with a greater attitude of thankfulness. Rather than just remembering to regularly acknowledge and thank God for the abundance in our lives, I believe we're called to take it one step further. Have you ever really stopped to consider the depth behind the idea of "dying to yourself so that others might live"? Recently I did just that and it blew me away. Before I'd always thought, "Yeah, yeah, die to myself. I know. That means I need to put the needs of others before myself." Somewhere along the way, I'd never really considered the true significance and weight of the part about the "so others might live". I'd never really stopped to consider how dying to myself might actually make a difference in the life (or prevent the death) of someone else.

Maybe this child? Or maybe one of the countless many like him?

I'm struggling in the middle of wanting to make a difference and sinking into despair with the weight of the world's problems. Can one person make a difference? And how? What kind of action does it really take to GIVE thanks? I'm sure you're like me, in that looking at pictures of children suffering can send you to the pits of guilt and depression in the matter of seconds. I've been there, and it doesn't help. It's not the point. What is? To GIVE thanks. How? We've got our instructions. Die to yourself. Be Jesus to the world. It doesn't necessarily take selling all your possessions and moving to Africa. But what about going without one more cup of $4 joe and giving it to the guy on the corner who may or may not have eaten today? What about giving your old coat to someone who's shivering in the cold? Little ripples can be the beginning of big waves. Battling Self is an on-going, never-ending process. I wish it'd get easier, but I'm sure it won't. I am "the chief of sinners". Thank God, though, that he cares even for the sparrow. He knows their needs. He hasn't forgotten them. Jesus, please help us to remember them, too.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Thank God...

I am in no way making a political statement here...other than "politics stinks"! I just can't believe how ugly people can get! Guess where I found this picture? It was on the side of a Blake's Lotaburger drink cup! Are they actually being audacious enough to call Obama an @$$ right on the side of something they hand out from their business all day long? Yikes! Jesus, please help us.

So, like I said: Thank God!

Thank God this election is almost over. And, more than anything, thank God that our future, our security and our peace lies with Him and NOT with whoever is in the oval office.

Monday, November 3, 2008

What do you think?

It's been a while now, but several months ago I came across a phrase online that I haven't been able to get out of my mind. I can't remember if it was the title to a song or what, but I thought it'd make an interesting blog topic. The phrase was:

the nobility of barren prayer

I'm a dictionary girl, so when I think about this in Webster terms, I come up with something like this:

a distinguished and exalted state of prayer that is incapable of producing results

Hmm. Is there a problem there, or am I just reading into things? Yes, I do understand that some prayers don't get answered. In our fallen state, we don't always ask for things that are in line with God's will for us. And, God's will can't always be expressed because of the influence of evil on the Earth. But? I guess I see a point in that there is something noble about persevering in the face of petitions that seem to go unanswered. After all, aren't we supposed to try, try and try again? But, I think the way I read it is more of a focus just on the "barren prayer" part. It smacked me square in the face. Is there any such thing? Regardless or whether the prayer is being answered, you're still communing with our Creator, right? Building relationship is paramount, I'd think.

What do you think?

Friday, October 17, 2008

Ladies' Man

I wish that there was some way I could have music playing in the background for particular posts. The song I'd pick for this one would have a definite "bow-chi-chi-bow-bow" theme.

First, I must start by thanking my brother, David or "Uncie Dave", for imparting such valuable nuggets of life knowledge to my Caleb. He is, I'm sure, the only four-year-old that knows what it means to drop a deuce. He's also got a killer handshake. He can "bump-it, pound-it and lock-it-down" with more enthusiasm and skill than the average Joe. All of these character defining abilities are due to Dave's influence. (Thank you, again.)

Yesterday, Dave taught Caleb how to wink. Not "just wink", though. He specifically taught him how to wink AT GIRLS. He told him, for instance, that he could wink at Nycole (Dave's girlfriend) and at Faerl. He told them that it'd make them feel really special and nice. So, he practiced his new skill for a few minutes and that was the end of that. When I picked him up from school, though, I was getting him into his car seat and he kept making the weirdest looking face at me. It was then that I realized I was on the receiving end of one of his special winks. Not wanting to fail in my responsibility to provide him with an appropriate reaction, I told him that I missed it and asked if he'd mind doing it again. He was happy to oblige. But first, he said, "Okay. I'll wink and then you say: 'Oohhh! I LOVE HIM!'" (Imagine Caleb with eyes rolled back and a swoony voice...) Yes. He's figured out how this winking thing works and, apparently, he's prepared to use it on unsuspecting females, so watch out!


This afternoon we were chatting while he was having a snack. He asked if we could have a baby girl some time. I told him that I'd LOVE to have a baby girl and I asked if he'd like to have a baby sister. He said, "Yeah! And I can kiss her, because girls are BEAUTIFUL!"

Yikes! I know most parents don't threaten/need to lock their kids in a closet until they hit puberty, but can we go ahead and throw him in now?

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Oh, Boy(s)!

Last night, Caleb asked for a corn dog for dinner. Ordinarily, he'd eat two, but his appetite has been a little sketchy lately so I only made him one. On the way back from the freezer, though, I decided I should make one for Owen, too. He's only had hot dog once, but he loved it. I figured the corn dog would probably go over pretty well. Once it was warmed, I started to take a bite, because that's what mommies do best. He didn't need the whole thing, so far better for me to squelch the craving for corn dog with one bite rather than two or three whole ones! But, I caught myself. I decided it'd be far more fun to cut the whole thing up for Owen and see how he did. The little piggy ate the whole thing!!! Mind you, that was following about a 5 or 6 ounce bottle of whole milk. Plus, he washed it all down with a sizeable bowl of applesauce. (Followed by another 4 or 5 ounce bottle about 45 minutes later, at bedtime!) My goodness, what a boy! He's only in the 10th percentile for his weight, but I think the boy's on a mission. Probably that mission is to out-weight his big brother within the next year, that way he can pay Caleb back for all the rough and tumble wrestling moves he's been unwittingly subjected to. Watch out, Caleb!

And, speaking of Caleb... We've been dealing with some grumpiness and bad attitudes lately. I know it's just a phase, because he really does have a wonderful, sweet spirit. For now I'm blaming it on the shortage of naps due to going to school 3 days each week. Anyways. I'm not sure what happened last week. He had been super grumpy and ill-mannered all morning long, as we did our normal routine of errands and other random things. When he woke up from his nap that afternoon, though, he had miraculously reverted back to his happy self. He was helpful and cooperative. He played well with Owen and was an absolute pleasure! It was amazing! When Zach got home, I made sure to make a very big deal about what a good boy he'd been all afternoon. Then, when I was walking down the hall to take Owen to bed, I heard him tell Zach in a very proud and cheerful voice, "Daddy, I left my bad attitude at Wal-Mart!"

Funny. Somehow I always manage to pick one up at Wal-Mart. But, if that's what it takes, I'd gladly take the boy to Wal-Mart more often! He's a good boy!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Good Stuff from God

God is so faithful. When your heart cries, He responds. Thank you to all the people who listen to His voice and who follow His direction - even if it's just sharing your own struggles. It's amazing how much it helps to know others are going through the same things and fighting the same fights. It's an incredible opportunity for us to learn from and with each other. Check this out...

Monday, September 29, 2008

Need vs. Want

Need and want. On paper it looks so black and white. Need is on one end of the spectrum and want is on the other. Or, at least, it should be. Why is everything so blurry, so fuzzy and gray? Why am I struggling to pay for things that aren't even necessary, things I think I need, when others are struggling to survive? Why do I have to go to the grocery store twice a week, when we could easily eat off the food in our pantry and freezer for a month? Why do I feel I need a new dress, since it's on clearance for $3, when I've already got 10 others hanging in my closet? And why does $3 feel so trivial to me, when it could make such a huge difference to others?

Why is my want for things winning over my want for people? Lord, please change my heart. It wants to know your ways. It wants to do your will, but obviously not bad enough...or it would be. It would sacrifice without pause.

Why? It's my heart's cry. Why? And how? My heart is longing for something bigger, something better. Something more significant.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

There's my boy...

Here's the picture I wanted to load the other day, but couldn't. It was worth waiting for, right? Look at that confidence, that body language, that belly... It does a Momma good.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

A Happy Birthday Baby!

The boys (all three...Zach, Caleb and Owen) were finally healthy enough this weekend that we could celebrate Owen's first birthday. Only a week and a half late. Oh well. He doesn't really know the difference, I suppose. Since he's so impossible to resist, he's already had ice cream several times throughout the last year. Cake, though, is a different story. We held out so that his first cake would come on his birthday. And let me tell you, the boy's reaction definitely didn't disappoint. He shoveled fistful after fistful into his mouth. If his mouth was already full, he settled for smearing it as near his mouth as possible. He, in true "dozer" (his nickname) style, just couldn't and wouldn't slow down.

I just discovered that the naked-baby-covered-in-chocolate-cake pictures are on someone else's memory card. So, unfortunately, for now you'll have to settle with the video of his birthday song serenade and his first lurches toward the cake. I'll get those pictures up ASAP. In the mean time, here's a picture of him doing his favorite new passtime...emptying Mommy's kitchen cupboards. Ah, what a busy baby! Okay. Nevermind. That one will have to wait, too. For some reason it's just not loading. Aagh! Technology. I've had enough...I'm going to bed!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

First Day

Right now my big boy, Caleb, is at school. He's finishing up his first week of pre-K, and he's loving it. He's only going 3 afternoons each week but, in hindsight, I know that's a perfect schedule for him. We met his teacher, Mrs. Crook (yes, her name is really Mrs. Crook), last Thursday at a special Open House they had for his class so parents and kids could come before the first day to meet the teacher, check out the classroom, etc. On our way to the Open House, he asked in a little voice if I was going to stay with him. I told him gently and lovingly that I was allowed to stay that one day, but that afterwards he'd be there without Mommy. His reply? "But I don't want you to stay!" Ah. Only 4 and already ripping my heart out.

It was for the best, though. He hasn't shown any hesitation at going or "being left" each day. He had a hard time sleeping after his first day in class, so I think it was all a little more overwhelming than he let on, but in his own words it's been "major fun". They do chapel, P.E. and Spanish each week, in addition to their core numbers-and-letters curriculum. He hasn't given me a whole lot of details, but I can tell he's having a blast.

There are 15 kids in his class - 10 girls and 5 boys, so the odds are definitely in his favor that he'll end the year with at least one girlfriend. So far, though, he seems pretty darn content to "rock out" with Noah and Zach. They're the two guys he befriended right away. While we were waiting to go in on the first day, Caleb noticed that Noah had a very cool Star Wars backpack and Caleb asked if he could tell him so. I suggested that he go over to tell him, to make sure that he heard. So, he did and he also asked for his name. After Noah's Mom prompted his "and what's your name" response, Caleb held out his hand for a shake and said, "I'm Caleb, nice to meet 'ya!"

My goodness, I just LOVE that boy! He's still so little, but so very big all at the same time...he never ceases to amaze.

Monday, August 18, 2008

This little piggy... broken!

It fought the door frame, and (obviously) the door frame won!

Not thirty minutes after we got home from our vacation, I had to chase Owen into the bathroom because he was making a bee-line for the toilet. I was busy watching him rather than discerning whether or not I was going to clear the door and...smash! There went the toe! The funny thing is, it didn't hurt as bad as other times I've done that. This is definitely the most magnificent bruise I've had, though. And, you should see it in person. The pictures really don't do it justice.

Why is it that all my most spectacular injuries result from moments of complete stupidity and clumsiness rather than moments when I actually do something adventurous and daring? I guess it makes sense. After all, the ratio of times I am clumsy to when I am adventurous is probably about 400:1. Shucks! Oh well, sigh....


This past weekend, Zach and I were blessed with the opportunity to spend some time in Durango. Zach had been before for quick snowboarding trips, but I had never been. It was beautiful!

(In front of the hotel.)

Our hotel, which we lovingly (?) referred to as "ghetto fabulous", was a constant source of amusement. When we first walked up to our room, we were afraid they had accidentally booked us in a meeting room. It had double doors...with huge pains of glass! There were curtains, of course, but you had to arrange them just so in order to prevent a peep show. We were on the 3rd floor, and we paid extra for a room that had an outdoor balcony. Our (or MY) plan was that we could sit out there in the mornings with warm coffee and enjoy the scenery. Rather than overlooking the mountain and river, though, it turns out our balcony looked right over the stairwell. We couldn't see a thing. Except for the stairwell, that is. So, we really only used the balcony to dry out our wet/muddy clothes. It also had some other "fun" quirks. For instance, I was excited to see a huge jetted tub in our bathroom and I gave that a try on our second night. It was nice, but you couldn't stay in for long. The jets were so high powered that they made my teeth chatter the whole time! Also, we noticed that the snack machine next to the elevator had a very polite note from management informing guests that all odd numbers were currently not working. So, if you wanted to select D6 for Cheetos you'd hit the jackpot. But if you were hankering for the Hershey bar at E7, you were plumb out of luck. Ha!

The hotel was downtown, so we spent lots of time wondering the streets and peeking in all the fun little shops. There was no shortage of things to see and do. Bike shops, art galleries, used book stores, pubs and fun restaurants, amazing architecture and beautiful residential areas. It was great!

On the first night, we had pizza from a place that Zach had visited once before. He remembered that it was good, but didn't remember exactly how large the slices were. Our lack of information quickly turned to embarrassment when we realized we ordered enough pizza to feed a small army. Oh well. I can't think of anything better than leftover pizza.

On Saturday, we rented a mountain bike for me and hit the trail. That's right, folks. I gave it a shot. If I were optimistic, I'd say I was able to ride about 50% of the trail. That's probably a gross overstatement, though. It felt like I had to start and stop about a million times. I rode whenever I was remotely comfortable/confident on the trail. There were some spots, though, where I definitely respected my limits. It was my first time and there was no way I was ready to go bouncing over big rocks or flying down steep drops. (I'm sure Zach would tell you that we never even encountered any BIG rocks or STEEP drops, but I maintain that that's all in the eye of the beholder.) Anyways, the ride was quite an adventure. All in all, I managed to finish the ride with only one episode of almost throwing up, one episode of almost crashing and only one episode of almost hyperventilating. The (almost) crash wasn't anything super spectacular. But, I do have an amazing battle wound to show for it. Unfortunately, it's in a rather private spot, so I won't be able to show it off. All I know is that God, in His infinite wisdom, probably never intended for his creation to participate in a sport in which their tender nethers were quite so close to such a hard pole. Ouch.

(From the trail...


Notice the ominous sky...)

It wasn't long after we'd stopped to consider whether we were ready to turn back when it started to sprinkle. Within a minute, the sprinkle turned to an outright downpour, hail included. Before long, the top two inches of dirt had turned into sticky, slippery sludge. Our tires looked like they were about 6 inches wide and we couldn't even ride. Zach tried a few times, but he was pretty sure his back wheel wasn't even spinning. We had to walk the bikes most of the way back. The very end of the trail was pretty rocky, so we were finally able to ride again, but it was slick! It rained/hailed the entire way back. But, we finished in style - splattered (actually, coated) with mud, soaked to the bone and happy as can be! Besides the minor hiccups, Zach and I both agree that the bike ride was our favorite part of the whole trip. It was quite an adventure!

Thank you to mom/dad and Anna/Justin for watching the boys so we could get away. It was amazing! We came back relaxed and refreshed. A little bruised, but completely happy!

Monday, July 28, 2008

What's Up, Chuck?

A quick word of warning: for those readers with squeamish tendencies, you may want to quit here.

My precious little Caleb. He's such a sweetheart. While he was taking his nap today, I was in the den working. All of a sudden, he started crying like crazy. I went running, because that's not a normal thing for him. His room was dark, but I could see him sitting at the edge of his bed. I was trying to assess the situation and see what had happened. He was a bit hysterical, though, so it took awhile before I could hear him choke out the words, "Momma, I spit up!" [Oh. You're right. Now that you mention it, I do feel something warm and squishy between my toes.] Some of you are thinking, "Big deal, a little spit up." Oh, no. Thankfully for Caleb and I both, he hasn't had enough bouts of nausea to make him aware of this stuff called vomit or anything else related to throwing up. He simply refers to it as "spitting up" because that's what Owen does. Nope. This was full-fledged vomit. I think his entire lunch was in his sheets, down the side of his bed, and in a puddle on the floor. (And, yes, gushed between my toes.) It was all there. I had even given him a few gummy bears after lunch as a special treat, since he'd eaten so much - fish sticks, ketchup, corn and macaroni and cheese. Mmm...

Anyways, I'm not sure what it was that caused his brief yet comprehensive stomach revolt. All I know is that we will most likely be avoiding fish sticks in the future. These may very well have been his first AND last.

Oh. And I think I'll flip the light switch from now on while I'm running to his rescue.

Monday, July 21, 2008

He'll Always Be My Baby...

...even though he's a great big 4-year-old now. I suppose at some point, though, I'll have to start keeping the "baby" comments to myself, lest they be met with rolling eyes and an "Aagh. Mom!" response.

We celebrated his birthday yesterday, and he loved every bit of it. He loved his cake. Actually, he didn't even eat more than two bites of it. He was too busy playing. It'd be far more accurate to say that he loved the guy on top of it, Bumble Bee. He's Caleb's favorite of new-found, big-boy loves.

As for the presents, all I can say is that it's always been fun to give that little guy presents. It's so gratifying. He's equally thankful and thrilled with each and every thing. It doesn't matter if it's a new bike, velcro shoes that he's decided to refer to as "C straps", cowboy jeans, or a card that makes race car noises every time you open it, each and every gift is met with an enthusiastic: "Awesome!", "Cool!" or "That's just what I always wanted!" And, he always means it.

I definitely wasn't a disaster this year, like I was when we celebrated his first birthday. Since then I've learned a few things. Although it's tempting to turn into a sobbing mess and get overwhelmed with how big he's getting, it's far more fun to look forward to the future with anticipation. Each and every year, actually, each and every day brings so many new and exciting things. Even though some days may bring challenges and new "phases" that I'm all too eager to see pass, they bring an overwhelming amount of good. I know that Zach would agree wholeheartedly when I say that we are blessed beyond measure. He is such an amazing boy, and we're so very proud.

Okay. I do have to stop now, or I will start to cry. I can only keep this tough mommy act up for so long, you know.


Goodbye Q

This guy's name is Quentin Tavener, but in high school, everyone called him "Q". He was one of the nicest guys I've ever known. We had classes together throughout high school, but during our senior year, we had several really intense classes together. One was a two-hour-a-day honors civics class. Every year the class competed in (and won) a state-wide competition and went on to compete in Washington DC at the national level. He wasn't necessarily the loudest voice in the class, but people definitely listened every time he had something to say. And when we were in DC to compete, we learned that Q was always either a) eating, b) sleeping on any horizontal surface he could find or c) smiling and having fun. Every weekday we went straight from that class to the next one we shared - an honors show choir class...the same one one that Zach and I were in together. The guy sang and danced with enthusiasm, even though it didn't exactly come naturally to him. He wasn't necessarily a born performer, but I'm sure that his smile always lit up the stage. And, speaking of his smile, whenever you'd pass him in the hall between classes, Q never failed to flash a special smile in your direction. It always included the slightest, yet very purposeful wink. He definitely knew how to make people feel not just noticed, but special.

He was in National Honor Society with me, he wrestled and played football with Zach. The guy did it all and he did it with grace, skill and an infectiously joyful spirit.

Yesterday afternoon we found out that he passed away last week. He'd developed a brain tumor. They operated, but it spread to his lungs. I just can't believe it. I was just thinking about him at Moriarty's 4th of July parade. His family owns a towing company there and they always have one of their big flat-bed trucks, covered with about 4 dozen little league players, in the parade. I saw one of his older brothers driving the truck and wondered, "Why doesn't Q ever drive the truck? I wonder what he's up to?" Little did I know that he was on oxygen and facing the last few weeks of his young life. The last time we saw each other very regularly was at UNM. We were both taking classes at the business school. We didn't have any together, but we'd run into each other between classes and he'd always stop to say hi. We'd sit on a bench for a few minutes to catch up...he'd tell me how excited he was about the new apartment he'd found that was so close to campus, or his recent endeavor to learn to play tennis. But, after a while either his schedule changed or mine did, and we didn't bump into each other any more. That was it.

It blows my mind to think of how easily and quickly people can move in and out of your life. I'm mad at this stupid, stinking world we live in. It's messed up. It sucks. (And I don't even use that word, but I can't think of any that is more fitting.) It makes me sad that good people die. That bad things happen to them. It makes me so very thankful for the healing and comfort that only God can bring. It makes me long all the more for things to be made right. I pray that day comes soon.

In the mean time, I'm sure that there are lots and lots of people whose lives were made richer and more joyful just for knowing Q.

Friday, July 11, 2008

And for my grand finale...

...a little end of the week fun. Zach spotted this little gem while driving down Lomas a few weeks ago:

Hard Core, Soft Shell

Guess what I did last night? I actually went to a gym, got a membership and worked out! That's right. I hit the gym! Actually, strike that. If truth be told, it would be far more accurate to say that the gym hit me. (And it hits hard.)

Given that it's been about 3 years since I've been able to properly "work out", I was super excited. The prospect of lifting weights instead of stinky diaper pails was absolutely exhilarating! I planned to start off gently. After all, I didn't want to get so sore that I'd never want to step foot in the place again. I figured on doing 2 sets of 10-12 reps on each weight machine. I wasn't overly optimistic when selecting my weight settings. I tended to stick to the wimpy side. After all, I probably fall into that category quite naturally now anyways.

Long ago, during my weight lifting days, I was trained in the Zach and Jared school of "lift until you fail". Given my strategy of easing in gently, I expected that reaching my failure limit would be on the distant horizon. After all, I'd specifically chosen extra-light weights. Unfortunately, by the end of my second set I was hitting failure on almost every machine. Darn it! I had somehow hoped that continuously hefting around my little butterball (Owen) had miraculously kept me in better shape than I expected. But, obviously, it didn't.

Oh well...onwards and upwards! I had successfully finished my circuit through all the weight machines and, given my tendency to spook (bolt the opposite direction at the first glimpse of anything unsettling), that was something to be proud of. It was time for some cardio. I didn't want to do the treadmill. My legs were a little too wobbly for that. I didn't want to do the stair-steppers, ellipticals or bikes, either - been there, done that. But then, I spotted some sort of new machine! It looked sort of like an elliptical, but not quite. And better yet, no one else was anywhere near the vicinity, so I could stumble through my maiden voyage in anonymity. I hopped on and got going. Admittedly, I am not the most graceful person around, but this machine made me feel even more awkward than normal. The only thing I can think to compare the motion to was if someone were to try to climb a hill while wearing snowshoes...going backwards. Exactly. Why would anyone in their right minds ever do such a thing? But, nevertheless, I chose the 20 minute program. After all, I thought, "I can do anything for 20 minutes". Apparently not. I made it for 5 minutes, and then called it quits. Once my heart rate was rivaling the pace of a thoroughbred at the Kentucky Derby, I figured I'd better admit defeat before having a complete coronary blow-out. I'm not even sure what the machine is called, so I've decided to refer to it as "The Machine That Kicked My Butt". I mentioned the name to my sister this morning and, without any further description, she knew exactly which one I was talking about. So, I'm guessing the name is going to stick.

Despite the fact that my finish fell far short of spectacular, it was still fun! I was out of the house without my two precious helpers and I was getting exercise - it was great! The only thing that was missing was some music. I decided that next time I'll definitely have to bring my iPod. I thought about asking Zach to make me a special workout playlist. Something inspiring. Something fiery and motivated. Then I realized, why do I need that, when I have Enya? After all, that's what Jasmine and I always listened to while we pumped iron. Now that I think about it, though, I'm not sure that Jasmine and I really quite reached our potential or fulfilled our goals. But, we sure had fun. Since I'm on my own this time around, maybe I'd better rethink that spit and vinegar playlist. My time is limited. I'd better get tough...and fast. Otherwise, this hard core mama will never break through her soft shell. (Ha!) I can't help but laugh at that and, for those of you who know me well, I'm sure you'll have to snicker as well. I can pretend, can't I?

Monday, July 7, 2008

A Happy, Happy Birthday for Me!

Last Thursday, the 3rd of July, was my 29th birthday and, boy, was it fun! Ever since I was little, I've never been able to imagine a better day of the year to have a birthday. It falls right at a time when people are ready to kick back and P-A-R-T-Y! Plus, I'm sure there was a time when I was convinced all the hoop-la (the parades, the fireworks, the massive amounts of yummy summer foods) were all in celebration of me. I'm over that now, or at least that's what I let everyone believe. (So, there you go Mom and Dad. If you ever wondered why I showed up six weeks early, it's because July 3rd is so much more fun for a birthday than boring, ol' mid-August.)

Unfortunately, my friend Jane was out of town for the weekend. So, in her honor, here's a complete, very thorough recap:

THE FOOD. (This segment will be particularly detailed, as I'm aiming to insight drool, especially from Jane.):
Thanks to my sister's willingness to (as I lovingly refer to it) "sit-on" my boys, Zach and I were able to go out for an amazing lunch date. We went to Scalo in Nob Hill. It was great! We shared a salad of baby lettuce, goat cheese croutons, pine nuts and balsamic vinaigrette. Mmm. The croutons sounded intriguing, but they were so much more-so once we got into them...warm, gooey in the middle, crispy on the outside edges and surrounded by pine nuts. Whoa, baby! I had a yummy pizza for lunch - olive oil, mozzarella, gorgonzola, pears and carmelized onions. There were several moments when I couldn't help but close my eyes and savor. Zach had a sashimi-grade tuna dish that he thoroughly enjoyed. For dessert, he had tiramisu and it was strong - just the way he likes it. I couldn't pass up the bread pudding. It had dried cherries, almonds, caramel sauce and it was served with vanilla gelato. I lingered over every last bite. It was, as some say, to-die-for. Or was that just the feeling of death coming on because I ate so much? (I neglected to mention that the bread pudding was almost as large as my head. And yes, Zach, that's pretty darn big.) Our lunch really couldn't have been much better, in my opinion.

Being as how we were both in need of wheel barrows to exit the restaurant, we spent our afternoon perusing the Nob Hill shops. Not all of them, mind you. We stuck to the more tasteful, less tacky ones. It was fun, and a great way to re-route the blood circulation from our stomachs back into the rest of our bodies.


There. I had to lead with that one, just for shock value alone. God bless my precious hubby and his crazy sense of humor; he took the cake with this one. It's a t-shirt that he found and couldn't resist getting for me. It made me laugh so hard that I instantly wanted to show it to anyone and everyone. At the same time, I was overcome with a flushed color of pink because it's a bit risque. Or, maybe A LOT risque. Regardless, I find it hilarious. So, my apologies, but please do remember that "a merry heart doeth good like a medicine."

That was by far the funniest gift, but definitely not the only gift. I was so blessed! Gift certificates for stores that I love (mommy gets to go shopping!), beautiful ruby jewelry handed down, books, flowers, music...that was just the beginning. The wonderful Torres clan gave me a hand-blown glass ball that is absolutely beautiful! I hung it in my kitchen window and can't stop staring at it! My parents gave me money to re-do the floor and walls in my laundry room. I have this theory that if the laundry room were a little more lively and cheerful, that maybe the laundry chore would be more enjoyable. Right? I'm not sure if it will work or not, but I'm excited to test my theory.

A surprise! I can't even remember when the last time was that I actually had a birthday party, but I'm pretty sure I was 10 or younger. What fun! My dear friend, Faerl, organized a get together that was a wonderful end to a great day. A beautiful summer evening, 20+ of my nearest and dearest, Mexican food, fizzy lime punch that had sweetened condensed milk in it (Mmmm...), a periwinkle-frosted cake that was adorned with sparklers, a moth so large that it was mistaken for a humming bird, the fun of watching several "grown" men (?) and their antics in trying to get said moth out of the house with a pool net,... It was definitely an evening to remember.

I was so blessed on my birthday, just as I am every day. God is so good, and life is so good. I'm blessed with a godly husband who always makes me laugh, beautiful boys that truly are my pride and joy, friends and family that encourage, support and strengthen me, a beautiful home, a rewarding (developing) career as a doula, etc, etc. The list really is overwhelming. Like I said, life is good. And, the best part is, the older I get the better it gets. I'm so happy to be exactly where I'm at. In closing, there was a nice little blurb on a card attached to the glass ball I received and it summed up my sentiments exactly:

This ball sparkles in the light the way a good friend (& family) brings sparkle to your life. The colors swirl and mingle across the surface of the ball enhancing each other just as the talents and varied personalities of your friends (& family) bring color to your life.

Thank you to everyone that helped make my birthday such an enjoyable treat. And thank you to everyone that fills my life so richly with...the finer things.

I love you all!!!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

"Thank You" isn't enough... express my appreciation for you, Zachary Wayne Taylor. Over and over I tell you that you are precious to me. According to the dictionary, that means that you are dear, beloved and of high value. What does it mean to me? It's means there's no one else for me. No one else that I'd rather be with, partner with, give myself to.

You are so encouraging. You never fail to lift me up and spur me on. Everything that I have accomplished is in large part due to you and your never-ending support. You are an incredible source of strength that I rely on more than you know.

We just celebrated our 8th wedding anniversary. So much has changed in that time. It has been amazing to watch you grow. You have overcome so many fears and have risen mightily to meet so many challenges. You truly are more than a conquerer. My time with you has been so incredible, and it keeps getting better and better. It really does take my breath away to think of what the future holds.

All I know is that I look forward to it, with all my heart. I look forward to growing old with you. I can't wait to pick (more) white hairs from your curly head. (I was going to call you "Old Man", but I guess I shouldn't. If you're old, then what does that make me?) I love to imagine what you'll look like as you get older. You're so handsome now, so I can only imagine you as a more distinguished kind of handsome. I try to imagine what it will feel like to hold your hand when our hands are not quite so strong and are much more wrinkly. I'm not sure what it will feel like, but I do know that I'll be happy no matter where I long as my hand is in yours.

I am absolutely honest when I say that I'm living my dream life, and it's because of you. The sacrifices you make in providing for our family are a blessing. You have put us before your own wants and desires. I can't even begin to tell you how humbling that is. You are an amazing man, a wonderful husband and an incredible daddy. Thank you for everything you do, Zach. But most of all, thank you for being you and thank you for being mine.

I love you.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

A Great Day

Yesterday was a great day! In the morning, the boys and I had to go by the pediatrician's office to have Owen weighed. He had lost weight over the last few months, can you believe it? So, for the last 3 weeks we've been packing down the food to make sure that we could get the downward trend to reverse. And, of course, it did. 3 weeks ago he weighed 16 lbs 10 ozs. Yesterday, he weighed 18 lbs 2 ozs. A pound and a half in 3 weeks! For a baby his age, that kind of weight gain is a bit astonishing. My good boy! I knew he could do it! In the last week, he has also managed to refine his method for getting around. Previously, he was resorting to a very walrus-like flopping method. Yesterday, though, he actually started to crawl. Before I know it, there'll be teeth and talking and walking and... Okay. I have to stop or I'll cry. My baby is growing up.

Next stop was my parent's house. They watched the boys while I ran to Edgewood to redeem a gift certificate I'd received for a massage. Aagh! A real massage. My first one, and it was amazing! Unfortunately, the jostling and hair tugging components of "mommy massage" may no longer cut it. My horizons have officially been expanded.

After all of that, it was time to head home, because it wasn't long before Zach would be headed home from work. I had tried a new crock pot recipe (Cheesy White Chili with Cauliflower) and I wanted to make sure it was ready by the time he made it home. I forgot, though, that Zach rode his bike to work yesterday, so I was expecting him home a lot earlier.

Yes, that's right. Zach rode his bike to work - roughly from Menaul & Tramway to Gibson & Yale. From the foothills to the airport. My husband is an animal. It's roughly a 15 mile trip, each way. In the mornings it's not so bad, because it's down hill all the way and the temperature is quite nice. On the way home, though, it's up hill and the temperature is definitely close to, if not, in the 90's most days. Plus, he has this insane compulsion to catch up to everyone he sees. (Except for people on road bikes. Thankfully, he has the sense to let them fly by without feeling the need to keep up.) Anyways, he made it home in about an hour and a half. Incredible time, but he was darn near passing out when he walked through the door. He grabbed a drink and a snack and flopped onto the couch in a sweaty puddle. (Ick!) He got to see Owen crawl before baby had to proceed to bed and then it was time to hit the shower. Afterwards, we got to have a lovely meal (the chili was a success) in the backyard while we watched Caleb play. Then Zach did bedtime with Caleb. He's much, MUCH better at bedtime than I am. When I read Caleb's stories, I read them. That's it. When Zach reads them, though, he can come up with an entertaining and unique voice for each character, no matter how many there are. It's a wonder Caleb ever lets me read his stories.

After all of that, we got to cuddle on the couch and watch a couple episodes of Lost, one of our favorite TV programs. Then we went to bed...early!

It wasn't glamorous or exciting but, in my book, it made for a wonderful, super-enjoyable day. (Thank you, Jesus, for good days!)

Sunday, June 22, 2008

A "Deuce" Like No Other

While I was cooking dinner this evening, Caleb was busy playing in the backyard. He came to the back door and was hollering for me, so I went to check out the situation. "Mom! There's POOP in the backyard!" No big deal, I thought. It was probably a stray cat or something. He was pretty upset, though, and went on to frantically tell me that some of the poop was on him.

"Great." I'm thinking. "What in the world is he doing in our backyard with poop?" He's three, though, so there's no telling. As with most problems when you're three, the solution is a bath, so I proceeded to strip him down in the backyard before herding him straight to the tub. By the time I got to his undies, I discovered that he had been the originator of the poo. He doesn't really have accidents, so I was pretty surprised. "Did you not feel it coming, Buddy?" "No, I did. The rest of the poop is over there...," he said, while pointing towards the wall at the back of the yard.

I should have known, and it's probably my own fault. No, I do not go to the bathroom in our backyard - or anyone else's, for that matter. But I did make the mistake of letting him pee on a tree at the park one day because he really had to go. At that time, I didn't realize it was a mistake, but since then he's developed quite a fondness for relieving himself in the middle of the great outdoors. (As, I understand, most men do.) It never occurred to me, though, that I needed to create a distinction between the acceptability of the occasional going potty on a tree when absolutely necessary and going outside just because it's fun. Especially #2! Further proof that there's somehow a total disconnect in a three-year-old's ability to reason.

So, my question is this: how the heck do you reprimand your son for defecating in the yard while mentally picturing the little guy squatting by the back wall? I can tell you, it's darn hard to do with a straight face.

I related the story to Zach, who thought it was quite amusing. (Although he probably wouldn't have found it quite so funny if he was the one who had to scrub poo out of Caleb's clothes.) When Zach got home, he went to check on Caleb in the tub. He again asked him if he hadn't felt the "poops" coming, but he got a totally different story than I did.

"No." Caleb replied, quite seriously. "They were sneaky ones!"

Thursday, June 19, 2008

My Pot Garden

Okay, okay. Not that kind of pot. Don't want you to think I'm misbehavin'!

There's this ugly little flower bed in our back yard that Zach and I have been ready to get rid of since we moved in last summer. The only problem is that we didn't have any ideas as to what to put in its place. This week I finally made it to the store to get my summer flowers. When I set about planting them last night, I planned to put them in the various pots I had scattered around the back yard. But then, I had a better idea. Surely a flower bed full of pots with plants would look better than lots of pots with flowers all spread out, and a flower bed that's ugly and empty. Thus, the birth of my pot garden! I think I like it.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Any resemblance?

A few months ago, Dawn, our pastor's wife, said that Owen looks like Chris Farley. I totally disagreed. It wasn't long afterwards, though, that I saw the following photo of him on my parents' fridge. What do you think?

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Oops, I did it again.

So, I tried another recipe with jalapeno. A really yummy salad that a friend from church brought to a get-together a few weeks ago. Brown rice, grape tomatoes, black beans, corn, shredded cheddar, avocado, diced jalapeno... It was great! Mine, however, didn't come out quite like hers. I'm not sure what the problem was. And, yes. I did it again. Somehow, despite my careful attention to washing and NOT rubbing anything, it wasn't long before the side of my face was on fire. It was right next to my left eye. Thank God I didn't actually get it in my eye! Yikes. I'm wondering if I'd better quit while I'm ahead. (If you can call this ahead.)

And another thing... Caleb, as usual, was quite amusing today. While we were getting ready for church this morning, he heard something on TV about it being Father's Day. He asked, "Mom, who's a father?" I told him, "Daddy is a father. And so is Papa." (My dad.) But apparently this didn't sit right with him. "No! He's not. He's an old man."

Also, at the lunch table today, he announced to the entire family that the reason mommy feeds Owen instead of him is because his "milkers" aren't big enough. Ha!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

What is love?

Okay. It's confession time. Lately I have been far, far too impatient with Caleb. Sometimes I'm just at a complete loss as to how my precious, first-born baby turned into a wild little tornado who is capable of being rude and disobedient. If you'd have asked me 3 years ago whether or not he'd ever do such things, I'd swear that it was certainly not within his capacity. However, if you ever need proof that mankind isn't inherently good, you need look no further than a young child.

What bothers me most is the tone of voice I've found myself using with him. I know it isn't good or excusable, no matter what the provocation. Last night, though, I really thought about how I'd feel if someone talked to me over and over again with that frustrated, disappointed tone. I decided that I'd most likely cry. And that's what Caleb does, only the response he gets from me is typically even greater frustration.

I prayed about it last night (while I lay awake in between Owen's unexplainable 3:30 and 5:00 wakings). The answer God gave me was pretty clear. LOVE IS PATIENT. Oh, right. In the well-known 1st Corinthians list, patience comes first - before all else. If this was a list of ingredients on the nutrient label on a package of food, that would mean that it's the most prevalent ingredient. Patience is the biggest component of love. I think that's true. Without patience, how can I be kind, hopeful, trusting or any of the other things that make up love?

In the dictionary, the definition of patience is:

1.the bearing of provocation, annoyance, misfortune, or pain, without complaint, loss of temper, irritation, or the like. ability or willingness to suppress restlessness or annoyance when confronted with delay: to have patience with a slow learner.
3.quiet, steady perseverance; even-tempered care.

Yikes. I knew that I was missing the mark, but if I wasn't fully convicted before, I certainly am now. A willingness to suppress restlessness when confronted with delay. How many times a day do I find myself annoyed with how slow he is at doing everything? And how often am I irritated that he doesn't do things the first time I ask? Although I do wholeheartedly maintain that he must be respectful and obedient, how many things does he do simply because he's still only 3 years old? He seems like such a big boy, and he is. I am trying to remind myself, however, that he's still small and ever learning. I'm sure that the world is a much more complicated place when you can't tie your shoes by yourself or open doors or understand directions (no matter how clear I feel I've been). After all, I think I've had sufficient proof that there's absolutely no telling what's going on in that little head of his.

I know he knows that I love him. But I never, ever want him to feel like he's a disappointment to me. He's not. He's precious and I'm trying to learn from him. Trying to learn that slowing down is a good thing. That doing one thing at a time, and doing it slowly, is better than rushing through six things at once. It makes for a much happier, healthier soul. We're both new at this and I'm trying to remember that we both have things to teach and to learn. In the mean time, I need to remind myself of the many, many reasons I have to love him, to cherish him and to swell with pride for him. They are far greater than any shortcomings. He is precious.

He's also hilarious. I have to end this post on a happy note. He told his first joke yesterday. It goes something like this:

Q: Why did the penguin use soap on his hair when he was in the bath?

A: Because he ran out of shampoo.

I know, it was definitely one of those "you had to be there" moments. Just picture Caleb telling it and, in the process, being so absolutely tickled and pleased with himself that he was about to fall on the floor laughing. It was wonderful.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Why, oh why, am I in a slump?

I still very much enjoy reading blogs - keeping up with friends and, admittedly, total strangers. However, it seems I can hardly bring myself to write my own these days. What's the deal? I just don't know. I'm wondering if I am feeling a little tired of only talking about Caleb and Owen. But, what else is there to talk about in my world? It seems that for the next several years, at least, my world is set to revolve around theirs. How much did Owen eat today? Are his teeth ever going to come through? Did Caleb take a nap? Did he really brush his teeth or was he just pretending? And what, dear God, did he just say???

I'm thinking that the best way to get over my posting slump is to forge ahead and post whatever I can - whether it's about the boys or, wonder-of-wonders, if I can come up with something else. I think I'll try for at least one a week. Hopefully that will push me through to the other side.

Even though I haven't been posting regularly, it is by no means an indication that Caleb has not been in fine form. He has, indeed, been up to his usual antics. He announced last weekend that Natalie Portman is his girlfriend.

(I should qualify that. She is ONE of his girlfriends, for apparently he has many.) I was pleased to find that my little guy is quite chivalrous, though. When he told Zach that she was his girlfriend, he also told him (with all sincerity) that he lets her sleep on the bottom bunk, because she's too scared to climb up to the top one.

In his new-found, yet quite innocent interest in girls, he was a little curious about their anatomy. The other day he hugged me and then, pointing at my chest, asked, "What is that?" My policy is to give him as little information and as little terminology to add to his vocabulary as possible. My fear is that I may never know when his new words would come back to bite me or, more accurately, to embarrass the heck out of me. So, I said, "This is mommy's chest." But, I wasn't getting off easy that particular day. "No, no, no." Leaving little room for confusion, he asked again, "What are those?" So, I caved. "They're called breasts, Caleb." It seems that answer satisfied his curiosity, but he wasn't quite finished with the conversation. "Yeah," he replied, in a very casual, all-knowing manner. "I think they're disgusting. Know why?" "No, why?" "Because, they're made out of worms." Aagh! If only he would continue to believe that for about 15 to 20 more years!

As for Owen, he's on the verge of crawling at any moment. He actually may bypass crawling and proceed straight to running. He spends most of his play time up on hands and knees. However, he keeps pushing his little rear up in the air. He looks like a runner at the starting blocks. He just rocks back and forth, smiling and fussing with frustration all at the same time. Any day now, one of his little hands will slip forward a bit, his knees will move forward to catch up and he'll be off. Thus will begin the chase.

And how am I? About the same as ever. I checked out about 10 vegetarian cookbooks from the library this week and I've really enjoyed pouring through them - looking for new ideas and solutions to the age-old question. "What's for dinner?" It's just a harder question to answer, now that we're not eating meat. It's been fun, though, and we're thoroughly enjoying it. This afternoon I've been making a new recipe that we'll try for dinner. It's for sweet potato & black bean salsa. The recipe looked intriguing, so I figured I'd try it. It calls for jalapenos - this is, admittedly, my first time cooking with jalapenos. I have to say that, on the whole, I'm not a big fan. But, my only experience with them thus far is on nachos and I think that's downright yucky. We'll see, though. It called for one, finely-chopped jalapeno and that it should be seeded (if that's your preference). Since we like it hot around here, I seeded half and left the other as-is. It seems to have worked out just fine. The only problem? I washed my hands afterwards, but apparently not well enough. I must have gone after a stray little tickle on my nose, because all I know is that now it's on fire. Absolutely on fire. Oops. I guess it's bound to happen to everyone once.

That's all the time I have for now. It's time to get Caleb down for a nap and, most likely, get Owen up from his. I swear they time it this way on purpose!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

For Jane, From Caleb

You've been patiently awaiting more Caleb stories, so here you go...

Yesterday we were in a co-worker's office to discuss a project. We were in the middle of conversation when Caleb interrupted. He was standing by my side, with his pointer finger held high in the air and said, "Mommy! There's something on my finger." While grabbing a tissue to collect the offending "something", I said, "I wonder where that could have come from?" With a rather bewildered look on his face, Caleb replied, "I think it came from my nose!" Ha! Good thing the co-worker was a mom...she took it right in stride.

And this morning, I think we may have found a solution to his yearning for a pup. The boys and I were resting in my bed because they both have a habit of waking up FAR too early. In my state of being half-asleep, I made the mistake of pretending to be a sleeping dog in order to amuse the fussy Owen and restless Caleb. He thought it was hilarious. He kept patting my head and saying, "That's my good boy, Sparky!" I played along for quite a while, but I'm not sure how long I'll keep this up. Every time I said something, he'd demand, "No! Only barking." He's smart. I'm sure he realized that I can't reprimand him if I can only bark. Where did I draw the line? When he went running to his room to find a leash.

Last weekend, while riding in the car, Caleb asked, "Mommy? Was I ever in your comfy tummy?" I replied that, "Yes", a long time ago he had been in my tummy, when he was very small. He thought about that for a minute and said, "Oh. 'Cause I think I forgot a pillow in there."

That's all for now, but I'm sure there'll be more to come. He never disappoints!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

What to say?

It's weird. I haven't published a post in so long, that I feel I hardly know what to say. It's not for any lack of "goings on". Life in our little Taylor-world has been its usual whirlwind of activity.

So? What's happened in the last several weeks?

We had quite the attack of various little germs. Eye boogers, tummy aches, fevers, etc. Thank God, I think we're finally past all of the bugs that were plaguing us. Caleb still insists, though, that there are bugs in his tummy that sneak in from under his bed during the night. No telling where that came from.

With the help of family, we tore out an old shed and various "stuff" from the corner of the yard and installed a very nice play area for the boys. I'm really praying that it will lead to many hours of enjoyable (safe) play for them. I know that Caleb is excited, and will be even more so, once a sand box is added to the area. Owen hasn't been able to partake in the fun, yet. He definitely does seem eager to get down (and dirty), though. I'm sure his time is coming, sooner than I'd like.

I took on a project in the back yard as well. Our grass suffered last summer from our inexperience in how to properly tend to a lawn. So, last week I raked out all the dead grass and re-seeded. It was quite a chore. By the end of the day, it took me FAR too long to straighten up again. I was kinked, for sure! As the song says, "I'm much to young to feel this 'darn' old." Ah, well. Thankfully, I'm still young enough to recover!

Then my mom, Caleb, Owen, my Uncle Jerry and I all participated in the March of Dimes' March for Babies. It was fun, definitely an experience I'd like to repeat, but not for another year - thank you very much. It was long and hot, but not bad at all. Especially considering the year before it was long and cold. I'd take the hot any day.

On Mother's Day, Zach took me for a ride on his motorcycle. That was fun! We hadn't been able to go for a ride together, because we bought the bike while I was pregnant with Owen. This had been our first opportunity. I'm definitely still a weenie. But I'd rather be safe than sorry, especially when asphalt is involved.

Last week was a doozie. Zach's dad, Phil, received a kidney transplant. They got the call that the organs were available on Wednesday morning and he had the operation on Thursday afternoon. His recovery has been a little challenging, but overall, it's been so-far-so-good. What a blessing!

Also on Wednesday, Dave took a spill on his motorcycle. Actually, it probably shouldn't be referred to as a spill. The term "spill" makes me think of being poured out on the ground. He did hit the ground, eventually, but only after hitting a wall. I guess he did spill, in a round-about sort of way. His collar bone is broken and his bike is totaled. I'm praying that he's blessed with quick and thorough healing, with financial break-through and with enough maturity and responsibility to keep this from happening again! (By the way, he did successfully reaffirm my commitment to "weenie-ness".)

Owen has been up to his same old cuteness. He's getting closer and closer to crawling. He has definitely mastered skootching. (I'm not exactly sure how to spell that.) He's enjoying the increase in mobility and, you can see by the sparkle in his eye, that he can tell there's something incredible that's just beyond his grasp. He'll get it soon enough. He had his first "real" food yesterday - green beans! He finished about half the jar before he really stopped to consider his opinion of the new taste. He made a funny face and had a bit of a shudder, and then that was it. No more green beans for Owen! We'll try again today.

That's all I can think of for now. There was more involved in there (work, a graduation, a wedding, knitting with a friend, etc), but you get the point. Life is busy...and good!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

A Posting Hiatus

Just wanted to let you all know that we're all still alive and kicking. My recent lack of posts has been just that...a brief pause. I simply haven't felt like posting.

My silence hasn't been due to any lack of material. For instance, I could definitely write about Owen's eye boogers, Caleb's claim that he "kisses lots of girls" or his faked ear infection. I could write about our weekend backyard transformation in which we tore out a shed, bagged about a million fallen leaves, did a significant amount of dirt work and set up a swing set/play area for the boys all in one day. I should be telling you about my plans to walk in the March for Babies walk on Saturday. (If, by the way, you'd like to help support the cause, my site is set up to receive donations.)

I'm sure that in the not-too-distant future, I'll get at it again. The posts will continue. In the mean time, though, I just wanted to say that I love you all. After all, what more is there to say?

Friday, April 18, 2008

A Girl's Gotta Do...

Right now I should be doing bookwork, but it can wait for five minutes. Sometimes when a blog topic presents itself you have to put everything on hold and strike while the iron is hot. After all, a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do. And, right now, what I've got to do is embarrass the heck out of my brother.

Hmm. Embarrass. I never realized exactly how close that word is to sounding like two other words...bare ass. Pardon my French, but as with most things colorful (or should I say off-color) in my life, it's Dave's fault. He stopped by this afternoon to watch the guys for me while I ran a few errands. He told me he had to be at work by 3pm, so I was back in plenty of time. I figured that, as usual, he'd have to stop by his house on his way to grab his uniform. It was getting closer and closer to 3 o'clock and he still hadn't made a move for the door, so I asked, "Don't you have to stop by your house?" "No," he said. "I've got my uniform in my car." Okay. (Although he was still cutting it insanely close.)

He finally headed out the door. A minute later I noticed the mailman drive by, so Owen and I went out to see if there were any surprises waiting in our mailbox. We didn't have to go far, though, before we got a heck of a surprise...Uncle Dave standing in the middle of our his undies! Aagh! He was changing into his work uniform right out in the open! To his credit, he blushed a little. But, he did admit to changing in public places more than a UNM parking lot, at the Monte Vista Fire Station parking lot, etc. "All the way down to your undies!?!", I had to ask. "Well", he shrugged, "that's what you do when you change your pants."

I have to admit, I was glad to hear that he does it in more places than just my driveway. At UNM, I could see that he could possibly snag a girl. At the Fire Station, he could possibly score a free meal. At my house, though, the best he'd probably do is thrill an elderly, widow neighbor!

Again, aagh...DAVE! He is too much.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Always Good for a Smile

Too bad I can't stick him on the dash of my car, because his little bobble head is the most entertaining I've ever seen. Zach seems to think he's actually implying a "no" response each time he does it. For instance, Zach asks, "Can you say 'Mama'?" Every time his little head wobbles back and forth. But, if Zach asks, "Can you say 'Dada'?", he usually answers with a smile. Stinker!

I don't doubt that it may actually be a "no" response, though. It seems likely to be the most common answer to the questioning he'll eventually receive. Already, Caleb has been plenty eager to blame things that go awry on his little counterpart. "Caleb, did you open this package of spaghetti?" (While we're still in the store.) "No. I think Owen did it." It wasn't the first time and I'm sure it won't be the last. Eventually, I probably will have to start questioning Owen. Something about that little sparkle in his eye does, admittedly, make me nervous. But for now, I am pretty confident that he didn't mess with the spaghetti.

Monday, April 14, 2008

What he wouldn't do...

After Squirt relocated to the porcelain bowl, Zach asked if we should go to the pet store and buy the "other" fish for Caleb. I opted no. I wanted to wait until Caleb actually asked. No sense in getting another fish if he's not going to be interested.

After this morning, however, I'm wondering if he wasn't so impressed with his brief stint as a proud fish-owner. He has resumed talk of getting a "pup", as he calls them.

In answer to his "Why not" question that I get so often these days, I again tried to explain that it might not be safe while we have a baby in the house. "Oh, okay," he said, with a surprising level of acceptance. But, I should have known better. His solution? "Maybe we can get a pup after we sell Owen."


Sunday, April 13, 2008

Rest in Peace, Little Squirt

Yep. You read it right. The poor little guy made it for exactly two days. I'm not sure what went wrong. It seems, though, that with a goldfish all it could take is the wrong barometric pressure and they'll turn belly up. Sorry. Bear with me, I'm trying to use humor so I won't get too sad about a dead fish and my role in his early demise. Because, it turns out that I was definitely the most affected.

Caleb was vaguely aware of what was going on. Suddenly Mommy was washing out Squirty's bowl...a last ditch effort to revive the almost-dead fish. I had hoped some nice, fresh water would do the trick. Unfortunately, it didn't. We were going to wait and tell him after his nap, so that at least he would be able to rest peacefully. (Although I am entirely convinced that we were both just stalling...still praying that the floating-on-his-side fish would make a miraculous recovery.) Before he made it to bed, though, Caleb noticed that his fishy was awful still. "Daddy, why isn't my fishy swimming." I was in another room taking care of Owen, so I cringed and waited for what was coming. I didn't exactly hear what Zach said. All I really heard was Caleb's unaffected resolve as he chirped, "Okay. I'll get the other fishy from the store."

WHAT? He was completely fine. At first, that bothered me more than the death of our new little pet. Not that I want to see my Caleb in tears, but... Does this say something about his personality? Is he already cold and calloused at the ripe young age of 3?

I was quite disturbed by the whole afternoon's events. Thankfully, though, God started the healing process quickly. He made me realize that Caleb is as precious and innocent as ever. And, better yet, he's been listening to his parents. Thankfully, we haven't had to talk to him too much about death yet. But when we have, we have always incorporated Jesus and his love for us into the discussion. So. What did Caleb take away from our conversations? That death isn't something to fear. Yeah! He seems pretty darn confident that he doesn't need to worry about his fishy. So, I guess I won't either.

May You Swim in Peace
Squirty Squirty
April 10 - April 12, 2008

But, to end our Squirty memorial on a happy note: On Friday night during dinner, he kept coming up to the top of the bowl and touching his round, little mouth to the surface. Caleb thought he was drinking his water and, as only a 3-year-old could, thought it was absolutely hilarious. "Look Mommy, look! He's drinking his water! He wants to get big and strong, so he can lift up cars like Uncle Justin." Ah, my Caleb...

Friday, April 11, 2008

Meet Squirt...

...the newest member of the Taylor household. That's right, we've had an addition. He was initially dubbed "Squirty Squirty", but thankfully it got shortened before too long!

Caleb has been desperate for a pet lately. I explained that we couldn't have a cat or dog right now, because it could be dangerous to have them near a baby. It wasn't a complete lie, even though the primary reason Zach and I don't want a "real" pet is because we don't want to invest the time and money that they undoubtedly require. I realized, though, that my explanation could leave him feeling a little (extra) resentment towards Owen. Plus, if and when we ever announce that a third Taylor baby is on the way, I don't want him to lose all hope of ever having his pet dreams-come-true. So, Caleb has a pet fish. On the way home, it was almost a draw as to whether he was more excited about the fish or the accompanying net that we had to buy, too. Now, though, it seems he's quite in love.

While on our way home with Squirt, we had a discussion about how Caleb would have to take very good care of him. It didn't take me too long, though, to realize that Caleb's idea of "good care" may not always be in poor little Squirt's best interest. I'd hardly gotten the bowl cleaned and set up before Caleb proudly announced, "I gave Squirt a piece of cereal, in case he gets hungry." Oh. Sure enough, he did. I found a Cheerio, that no doubt came from some corner on the floor, floating in Squirt's bowl. Aagh! So then we had to have another discussion about how sometimes the things that are good for us are not necessarily so good for fishies.

We also had a discussion about death and that all fishies eventually go to be with Jesus, even when you take really good care of them. He was okay with that, but yet I still find myself breathing a sigh of relief every time I walk by and see him wiggling in his bowl.

I have a feeling we'll be having lots more of these "discussions" in the following weeks, but that's good. It'll definitely be a learning experience for all of us. In the mean time, it's fun to see Caleb so excited about his new little friend.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Home Sweet Home

He's home! He trudged off the plane in Albuquerque at about 7:30 on Saturday night. He was bleary eyed, stuffy headed (from a cold he'd caught on their last day) and completely exhausted. And yet, still a sight for sore eyes!

There's lots of stories and pictures to share. But, for now, I think his first priorities are family time and sleep! We laid down to take a nap after church yesterday afternoon at about 2:30 and he didn't wake up until after 7pm! Oops. He needed it desperately, though. The only drawback came at 3:30 this morning when he was wide awake. A little early to get up for work. But, he did get up and do all the laundry from his trip. What a wonderful man!

I'll let him pick some of his favorite photos and we'll post them soon. In the mean time, I know that he's very proud of this one...

This is the monastery at Petra. If you look closely, you can get an idea of its size. The little specks near the doorway are people! He's the only one from the group who got to see it. He skipped out on lunch that day and asked Bryan if he could "take off". He did, and hiked as far and fast as he could to get in the sights during his limited time. This, some spectacular views and a run-in with a small boy and his obstinate goat were his reward. Well worth it, if you ask Zach.

Thank you, again, to all of you. Your prayers helped bring him home safely!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Almost Home

It's 1:45 in the afternoon and I just kissed Zach goodnight. It's almost 11:00pm in Jerusalem. Believe me, we are both ready to be done with this expanse of time and space that is separating us.

When he wakes up, it will be the beginning of his last day in Israel. They will be visiting all of the notable crucifiction and resurrection sites, going through the Holocaust Museum and then heading for the airport and home. Their plane leaves in the middle of the night. It sounds like it would be an emotionally and physically exhausting day on it's own. Instead, it's been preceded by about 11 equally challenging days. Please pray that Zach is able to enjoy this last part of his voyage. He is so thankful he's been able to take part in this trip. It's been the experience of a lifetime; such a blessing. At the same time, though, he misses home.

Thank you, Jesus, for your presence and for your protection. Thank you that you will never leave us or forsake us... Thank you for bringing my husband home safely.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Zach called!

All is well, and they're having a wonderful time! Aside from the phone complications (none in the Bedouin tent and the system was down in the first hotel), everything has been great.

He absolutely loved Petra. And, yes, he did some climbing while he was there. Not on any of the important places and not on any rock faces. Actually, he said it was more like "scrambling" with hands and feet. Either way, he is having the time of his life!

He said that everything has been amazing so far. On the first night, he opted to take his sleeping bag outside of the tent and sleep under the stars. While at Petra he climbed just shy of the very highest point. He said he could see ruins all around. Tomorrow they're going to the Dead Sea. Beyond that I have no idea what's in store for him. All I know is that he's gung-ho and loving every minute!

Thanks so much for all your prayers!

A Text from the Holy Land

No, not some ancient scroll. A text. I got a text message from the Holy Land last night! It was 8am their time, but at midnight last night I finally heard from Zach. Essentially, "I love you. Sorry I haven't called. No one has been able to. I miss you. I can't wait to talk."

I'm not sure why no one has been able to call. Or why he was able to text but not call. Hmm. He'll have some explaining to do when he finally does call!

I knew they had arrived safely. One of the travelers started a message board, of sorts, before leaving. Yesterday she said that they were there and already having a great time. They'd slept in a Bedouin tent (she said it turned out to be more like a large hut), been for a ride on camels and had seen the Dead Sea. The next day (I've completely lost track of which day they're in and when they're doing what) they were on their way to see Petra and Jordan. Zach has REALLY been eager to see Petra, so I know he's going to have a great time. If you are unfamiliar with Petra, you'll have to look online. It's considered one of the new Seven Wonders of the World. Great, huge walls of stone with elaborate entrances to a temple carved right in to the rock face. All I know is he'd better not start climbing the walls! I wonder if he'll be tempted?

I'll let you know when I hear more.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

A Mother's Nature

Guess what, guess what?!? Baby Owen slept through the night last night. Yippie!!! I laid him down at 8:30 and didn't hear another peep until 7:45 this morning. Now, of course, the goal has to get mommy to sleep through the night. At 3:00 this morning, I woke up and thought, "Hmm. He hasn't woken up yet. That's odd." But I was able to conk back out. But then at 6:30, I woke up again because he still hadn't made a sound and my thoughts instantly turned to, "Dear God, please, please, pleeeease let my baby be okay." It happens every time you're wanting a baby to sleep through the night, or even to fall asleep, for that matter. You pray and pray for them to sleep and then suddenly everything is quiet. Then you can't help but pray and pray that they make just the tiniest noise so that you can know they are okay. I laid in bed for a while at 6:30, but it wasn't long before I had to turn the furnace on for some "cover noise" and go peek. He was laying on his side, as comfy as could be, in his little sleeping bag and I could hear him sucking on his pacifier very contentedly. Thank you, Jesus! Now, like I said, the goal will be for me to sleep through the night again! Thank God it's close...I figure it's been about a year since I've had a solid, uninterrupted 8 hours of sleep.

He is so worth it, though. Here's a pic of my little party animal from his Uncle Dave's Birthday dinner on Monday night:

And what is big brother Caleb up to this morning? He is continuing in his never-ending pursuit to entertain. I wish I had the camera (Zach took it with him) so that I could take a picture of his outfit this morning. He's been dressing himself and lately he's taken to layering his clothes. So what did he choose for today? He's got a t-shirt with a long sleeved shirt on top. His snow suit. His snow jacket. And his snow boots. Once he topped it off with his backpack and his Uncle Dave's paint ball mask, the look was complete. He looks like the Michelin Man...quite round. I told him that his snow clothes were for, well, when there's snow outside. Boy, was I wrong. I got "the look" and he said, "No, Mom. This is my motorcycle riding suit." Oh...

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

A few hours down...

...only about 275 to go. Ugh! Perhaps it's too soon to start counting the hours until Zach comes home. Did I really agree to this? Stop the plane. I want my husband to get off.

His plane left Albuquerque at 8 o'clock this morning. From here he goes to Atlanta, then New York and then all the way to Tel Aviv...Israel!!! I'm praying that this trip continues to be the complete and total blessing that it has been from the beginning.

Please keep him in prayer while he's gone. Pray for his protection and safety from any sort of harm. And, if you think of it, please say a prayer for the boys and I, too. Zach and I have never been apart for more than 3 or 4 days. So, this 12 day trip feels like an eternity. I have a particularly hard time sleeping when he's gone. I'm thinking I may steal one of Caleb's teddy bears to snuggle with. Hopefully that should help usher in peaceful sleep and help keep the blues at bay!

And, in the mean time, thank God that Caleb is here to cheer me up. We spent a little while this morning having fun with the computer camera. He thinks it's hilarious. And, come to think of it, it really is:

Thank you, Jesus, for safe flights and for silly faces.