Tuesday, December 21, 2010

a long overdue (no pun intended) update!

Shame on me for not writing sooner! Graham is here, he is 11 days old, and he is absolutely perfect in every way! I have no excuses on the update, other than I have been soaking up my little boy and the rest of my family, loving every second of it. God has been so good to us over the past two weeks. After two prior hospital experiences that were filled with grieving, first over the loss of my grandfather and second with Poppy, a hospital stay with no shadow of grief to hang over it was amazing. Nathan and I could hardly absorb how different the circumstances were this time, but we drank it in and enjoyed it for the blessing it was.

The c-section was flawless, and 10 minutes into the surgery, the most beautiful, squalling baby boy was born, weighing 6 lbs 11 oz. Our time with him since then has been just as flawless. My recovery has been the easiest so far, and that is saying a lot because I am blessed with unbelievably easy recoveries. Today I feel like I never had a baby, which to me is totally miraculous considering I was undergoing major surgery 11 days ago! And Graham could not be any sweeter or more captivating. I am in love. Of course it was the exact same before with my first three, but once again I have been bowed over by the force with which a new baby captures my heart. I don't think it is possible to get enough of his face or his smell or the softness of his baby skin. There is nothing like it.

Since we've been home, Graham has spent the great majority of his time sleeping and cuddling. He wakes up once during the night to eat, and then he is back out like a light. Certainly no complaints from his mama there! His daddy couldn't be any prouder if he wanted to, and his sisters are pretty smitten themselves. Both girls have transitioned beautifully, a few hiccups notwithstanding, and are loving the newest addition to our family. I'll share a few pictures with you from the past two weeks, and then I'll try and be better about not falling off the face of the earth over the next few weeks =)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Countdown to Graham: 2 Days and on the mend

When I woke up this morning, the first two things that popped into my head were as follows: 1) this is the day my doctor was going to deliver me up until about two weeks ago, 2) I really wish he hadn't changed his mind!

Sleep is something that is beginning to evade me, and my back feels more like it is 80 than 28. I just got off the phone with Nathan, and he suggested maybe I should sleep on the floor tonight to see if that worked better. Since this was spoken out of genuine concern and with hopes it might really work, all I could do was laugh. I think the only solution is delivering this baby, but it's sweet of him to try and brainstorm.

On the bright side, things are looking up with all of our health ailments. Adrienne is cured, no one else is showing symptoms of the stomach bug, and Nathan has an antibiotic for his pink eye that has cleared it right up. Both girls did wake up with tell tale signs of pink eye themselves, but an antibiotic for them is waiting on us at Walgreens, so again, I'm hoping this will all be behind us by Friday.

Friday. Oh my goodness. I have no idea what to expect. I have had babies two times before, but with the dramatically different circumstances, it makes me feel like this is all new. I am thrilled, very excited, a little bit nervous, and overwhelmed with gratitude. I can't wait to meet our first son. I can't wait for Marianna and Adrienne to have the experience of a little brother. I can't wait to have the privilege once again to raise a child. It is an amazing thing. Thank you God for the opportunity, and help me not to waste it!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Countdown to Graham: 3 Days and some hiccups

Since I wrote yesterday morning, Adrienne has come down with the stomach virus and Nathan woke up with pink eye. Neither of those things bodes well for a three day countdown, but I'm trying not to get worked up about it. It is out of our control of course, but certainly not out of God's. Nathan and I both are doing lots of praying that neither the pink eye or the stomach virus spreads to anyone else so that hopefully by Friday, everyone will be in the clear!

These new developments have changed today's plans into a stay at home day, but maybe the forced grounding will be good for us. Here's to recovery Tuesday!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Countdown to Graham: 4 Days

We are going in to the hospital for a planned c-section this Friday at 7:30, so after a few weeks of wondering when, we are finally in the last days of the countdown! As I was thinking about the four days we have until his birthday, I realized I wanted to spend them intentionally. Not to say that I want to plan every second of every day, or even that I need to have many plans at all. But I do want to spend them, not just looking forward to Friday, but celebrating the last days I have with Marianna and Adrienne as my two girls, before we transition to two girls and a boy.

I know that baby time always throws a little tumult into any family dynamics, so I want to do everything I can this week to focus on how special each girl is to this family. It may be impossible to completely eliminate insecurities on their part, but as much as I can I want to show them how the baby in no way eclipses their role in this family, but instead, it enhances it. I'm not sure exactly what we'll do, but whatever it is, I hope it all works toward that goal.

In the meantime, there are some practical details to attend to. I would love for Christmas presents to be wrapped and under the tree, a final grocery trip to be made, work stuff needs to be completed, Marianna has practice almost every night for the Christmas program this weekend, and we would love to squeeze in a play date too. It will be busy, and normal, and completely unlike my past experiences leading up to a baby.

Gearing up for Graham without any known crisis on the horizon is uncharted waters for us. I am so grateful for that, but I also feel strangely less prepared. More on that tomorrow. For now, happy Monday! Enjoy the cold weather and the Christmas feel all around!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Birthday Girl

Sunday was Marianna's 5th birthday. I couldn't be more proud of my oldest girl, who is growing up right in front of my eyes. She is kind, funny, passionate, creative, competitive, smart, and sensitive. She is my companion, day in and day out. She is the one who love to cuddle, loves to read, loves to spend time alone and with people, loves her sister, and already loves her new brother. She is my heart.

I just took a walk down memory lane and pulled out pictures from all of her birthdays. Time has flown by, but it has been so sweet!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Five for Five: remembering Papa

Five years ago today is a day I will never forget. Marianna was about 12 hours old when my mom and dad came into our hospital room in the middle of the night to tell us that Papa was with Jesus. Hours before I had sent my video camera with my family to show Papa his first great grandchild, knowing he would never see her with his own eyes this side of heaven. On November 15th, in the middle of overflowing joy for my new baby girl, I wept and grieved for the loss of a man who had filled a bigger spot in my life than it seems possible that any one person could do.

But he was my Papa, and nothing about him was ordinary. Today, 5 years later, I want to share some of my favorite memories.

1. Game time. Nobody was more fun than Papa. He loved a good game, be it Monopoly, hangman, or football, more than anyone I know. I remember so many evenings sitting around my grandparents little glass breakfast table, with a monopoly board on the table, watching Papa's eyes gleam with competitive anticipation of another victory at hand. He was cut throat, always sitting on his money to keep everyone in the dark on how he was doing. It was always pure joy for both of us.

2. El Chico's. Really, that could be expanded to dinners out of all kinds, but El Chico's was definitely our favorite. I don't know how many happy nights I have spent with Papa and Grammy at that old mexican restaurant, but I know I always wish I could have just one more. So many birthdays, special occasions, and no occasions at all were spent there, it was as comfortable as home. El Chico's has closed its doors, but that's okay. It was never the same with out him anyway.

3. Holidays. I think maybe we feel his absence here the most. He was so central to the celebrating, to the joy, to the excitement. I am so grateful for 25 years of Christmas, Thanksgiving, and Easter memories spent with him, as he led in the fun, praise and thanksgiving of the seasons.

4. Preaching. He was the very best. How will I ever know the impact those sermons have had on my life? God used Papa in a powerful way to shape me into who I am today. I am so grateful!

5. Stories. Nobody could tell a story or a joke like Papa. He could make me cry or laugh at the drop of the hat as he told a story, the way the story was meant to be told, or maybe even a little bit better. He was a master, and it's because of that I can recall so many of them today. I love to tell a good story myself, but to have a talent like that would be something indeed.

Remembering often makes me cry, but even more often makes me smile. The blessing of having him in my life is something I will always be grateful for. He continues to live in our hearts until we see him again in heaven.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

sweetness, of all varieties

There has been so much sweetness around these parts lately, I can hardly stand it =). I thought I would share some of it with you.

* I think these four cousins dressed up is sweetness itself. Dorothy and the Lion are posing with Tink, and the barely pictured but unbelievably cute, Peter Pan.

* Planning ahead for next year, I went ahead and bought costumes for Nathan and me (the first time ever). What is sweet about that? The fact that they were 90% off! $3.00 apiece for these dynamic Spaghetti and Meatball costumes.

* Today Marianna and I made a baby chain with 30 links, one for every day remaining until Graham's birthday! I got the idea from MckMama, and I thought the girls would love the visual picture of the time drawing close.

* Today at the park, Nathan and I witnessed the sweet innocence of childhood in a special form. While the girls were playing on the playground, a young man with down syndrome came over and began playing with them. He was nearly an adult, but the girls were enthralled by the way he was so willing to play with them in a way most grown ups don't. They were oblivious in every way to his differences, and instead they saw him for what he was: a new friend. Marianna talked about how much fun she had playing with him all afternoon. Melted my heart.

* Marianna has been writing stories constantly. I think it is safe to say writing is her number one pass time of late, and one I picked up today I thought was especially sweet (and humorous). It is entitled "The Love of Me" and goes like this: "I love dad. I love mom. I love sistr.

* I finally took a picture of my very pregnant tummy. I cannot wait to meet this sweet boy one month from today.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

10 Things Thursday

1. Graham will be born 5 weeks from TODAY!! Boy, am I ready. I'm down to weekly visits and ultrasounds, and my doctor will continue to monitor as best he cans to make sure my incision is holding up until December 9th rolls around. Right now baby boy is 4 1/2 lbs, and if he keeps up the pace, he'll be 7 lbs by his birthday!!

2. The girls are thrilled about the new baby. For Marianna, I believe that excitement is based on experience and expectation. For Adrienne, not so much. I can't wait to see how she reacts to having a baby around, because right now I don't have much of a prediction. I really won't be surprised by anything.

3. I still feel great, but I'm wondering if I'll be able to paint my own toes one more time before delivery. I told Nathan it might be up to him, and he didn't respond.

4. Marianna's almost-spend-the-night birthday party is a week from Saturday, and preparations for the big day are in full swing. Actually, I chose this party theme because I thought the party planning would be pretty easy, and so far that has definitely been true. All the girls are coming in their pjs, and we will be eating pizza and popcorn, watching the Tinkerbell movie, and making fairy tutus.

5. Lately Adrienne has become a singer. Her music interest is a new development, because up until 3 months ago she didn't want me singing, the radio playing, or anything in between. But all that has changed, and we're so glad it has. Her sweet, super high soprano voice can be heard belting out "Happy Birthday" or "Jesus Loves Me" any time of the day. I think I can safely say we are all enjoying music a little bit more now that Adrienne has not only ceased to object, but is participating wholeheartedly.

6. On Monday night we wrapped up soccer season number two for Marianna. This fall she played for a league at church and Nathan was the coach, a winning combo in fun if not on the score board. Fortunately, this league is all about fun and score was not kept, so the fact that we wouldn't have won a single game if anyone had bothered to keep up, doesn't really matter. It was certainly fun seeing her start to get the hang of it, a 180 from when she played in the Spring where the number of times she touched the ball all season could be counted on one hand.

7. Besides doctors appointments and violin lessons, our weekdays have been relatively free of weekly commitments, giving us the chance to fall into a daily schedule that has been wonderful. Marianna is loving school, and I'm loving it too. Of course we aren't doing anything official, so there is no pressure to have to get anything done. But most days we sit down in the morning and go through math, phonics, reading, Bible, and writing, while Adrienne watches Letter Factory, colors pictures, and sits in my lap and listens to Marianna read. I was worried much more about how Adrienne would react to an every day school time than Marianna, so I've been really happy to see she does just fine.

8. This time last year I was knee deep in half marathon training and running magazines. Now I'm lucky if I walk two miles at a moderate pace. I would be lying if I said I wasn't looking forward to being able to run again. But not in the heat. Nothing could ever make me miss running enough to want to run in the kind of heat we had this summer.

9. Nathan is teaching through David Platt's Radical right now, and I have been deeply challenged from what I have read so far.

10. I hope everyone will come to Christmas in the Valley on Saturday!!!!!!!! You don't want to miss it!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Christmas in the Valley!

I am very excited to announce that my sister has decided once again to to put on a Christmas craft show extravaganza with the second annual Christmas in the Valley event!! Last year was fabulous, and from what I can tell from the vendors she has put together, this year is going to be even better.

If you don't remember from last year, Christmas in the Valley is a one day Christmas shopping event you don't want to miss. Every available space in my mom's house is transformed into a shopping superhighway, with vendors offering a wonderful assortment of Christmas gifts and decorations. There will be a photographer, a massage therapist, children's clothes and accessories, frames, stationary and Christmas cards, beauty products and weight loss wraps, personalized bags and clothes, Scentsy candles, decorations, casseroles to order, jewelry for children and adults, and much, much more! (click here for more details about each of the vendors) The best part of Christmas in the Valley is the fact that every vendor will be offering discounts, and some of the discounts being offered are crazy good. I can't wait to get a huge chunk of my shopping done, and I hope many of you can come as well.

Friday, October 1, 2010

oh the difference degrees make!

I don't ever remember being this excited about the drop in temperature. This past week has been amazing. Everything about our routine seems a little sweeter with the backdrop of pleasant weather behind us. Soccer practice, errand running, free time, school work, you name it! I can hardly think of something that isn't enhanced by a perfect 73 degree day outside. A day filled with no other plans besides trampoline jumping would suit the girls just fine, and in fact, they've already each asked me a handful of times this morning when the jumping can begin.

I've been trying to imagine what life would be like if the weather was permanently like this. Theoretically it seems like everyone would be healthier and happier, but then I think about it more, and I wonder if it wouldn't just be something we took for granted and didn't even enjoy. If there wasn't the heat and the cold, could we really appreciate the perfect in between? Instead, the weather, both the heat that lasted up until last week and the coolness that has just begun, has reminded me a lot of God's faithfulness. He is faithful in the extended, uncomfortable hot seasons to keep us sustained and going, and then He is faithful to bring a time of relief as well.

I've been feeling like we are in a fall season of life right now in that regard. This pregnancy has been so, so good! Everything about it has fallen in place so perfectly. There haven't been any hiccups, but the blessings have been everywhere. Every morning when I get out my cup of water and begin my six vitamin regime, I am so grateful.

To tell you the truth, I'm grateful for the opportunity to be a mom period. Raising these girls right now is so incredible. The fun of it, the responsibility, the challenge, the calling to raise them as God would have me to, all of it is just incredible. I look forward to the days I have with them, and even though some are frustrating and some are hard, it is without doubt the most rewarding, wonderful thing I've ever done.

In two months those girlies will be joined by a brother, and I am sure the experience will only get better. Hard to imagine, but I know it's true! Until then, we will keep soaking up the season.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

a breath of fresh air

This city has been oppressive this summer. Most days in June through August were too hot to even consider doing anything outside other than swimming, so swim we did. But now that the temps have dropped nearly 20 degrees over the past week, I feel like the world is a new place. We've been to the park, to the zoo, and tonight we took the girls on their first ever fishing outing. It's a breath of fresh air.

And what warms my heart in the middle of this summer coolness? They do.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

off the radar

I feel like I've blinked twice, and a month has gone by. It wasn't until I got a comment tonight expressing worry about my extended blog absence that I even realized how extended the absence has been. 4 weeks exactly. The last post I wrote before going to the doctor for my 20 week ultrasound, and today I was back at the doctor for my next check up.

I might as well start there with my update. Baby Graham is doing great! Everything that can be seen via ultrasound has my doctor feeling very good, not only about Graham's development, but also my vertical incision. The biggest concern for this pregnancy centers around that incision, and from here on out I will be going every two weeks so that my doctor can keep a close eye on things. I feel terrific, but I'm trying to make a conscious effort not to over do things so that I can do everything in my power to make sure not to do something that would make the incision flare up. In the words of my doctor, "Just don't be stupid." So far, so good!

In other news, the little ladies in my life have had quite an eventful month of their own. If you remember, I had several big goals to accomplish before Graham's arrival in December, and many of those centered around Adrienne and Marianna. I'm very happy to report that this little ball of sunshine has some very exciting news.

She is very nearly completely potty trained!! And of virtually all her own doing. A little over a week ago, Adrienne decided that despite a shaky introduction, she very much likes the potty! Amazingly, we have had only two accidents in 10 days, and again, that has remarkably little to do with me. She also made her debut in big girl bed sleeping this past weekend, and in similar fashion to the potty training, she took to it without so much as a blink. Our trial run actually took place while we were visiting Nathan's sister in Birmingham this past weekend, but since the bed sleeping was a success, we have decided to make the official move from her crib to Marianna's room this weekend.

Marianna has had her share of newness this month as well. We have been doing "school" together since she has been two, but starting 3 weeks ago, we started something a little more structured. I ordered a curriculum from A Beka Books, and we have been having fun working through that each morning. We're just working an hour a day, but it has been something we are both enjoying. School time has brought some structure to our mornings, and even more than that, I feel like the added structure has made our days more productive all the way around. Marianna has also embarked on a new adventure into the world of music lessons. We gave her the choice of which activity she would like to participate in, and without any hesitation at all, she landed on violin. Lessons have been going on for a month, but we just got the go ahead to get our real violin yesterday. She is letting me know without any subtlety that every day that goes by without one is painful for her. I'm hoping that enthusiasm holds once practice begins in earnest =).

I could keep going, but just because I've waited a month, doesn't mean you want to read a month's worth of updates in one sitting =). Instead, I'll leave you with some pictures from August. And here's to better blogging in September!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


Tomorrow is a flagship day for me. Adrienne and I will be driving to Dallas alone, which will make for the longest I've ever been behind the wheel, and the farthest I've ever traveled by car with one of the kids. I'm sure praying it goes well! Especially in this heat. Goodness gracious. I thought it was hot here (temps around 103) but in Dallas they're even hotter (108!!).

But tomorrow is also a flagship day for another very important reason. For the first time ever, Nathan and I have a very good friend running for political office! Our friend Paul Boyd is running in the Shelby County election for Probate Court Clerk, and tomorrow is election day!!! It is so wonderful to be able to really know that the person running for office is someone with integrity and ability who can be trusted to do a fantastic job while in office. I hate that politics has become a dirty business in some many areas, but that's one more reason why I'm all the more excited that Paul is running. I early voted, so I will not have to make an early dash out to the polls before we take off, but I hope that if any of you living in Shelby County have not yet voted, you will make it a priority to make it to the polls tomorrow!

Before all of that excitement begins tomorrow, we have our big 20 week ultrasound for baby Graham today. Nathan and I have decided to take Marianna with us, and I am excited to be able to experience the ultrasound through her eyes. I have already had the opportunity to see our baby on an ultrasound screen 4 times before today, but Marianna will be seeing him for the very first time. It is such an amazing thing, something that still takes my breath away every time. We are so grateful to go into today with an amazing peace surrounding us, but we continue to pray that everything today will point toward a healthy, growing baby!

Monday, July 26, 2010

my July to December list

Last Thursday we found out some big news: a baby boy is on the way! Graham Christopher Luce. I found out a wee bit early, but even so, I am 18 weeks, which means this pregnancy is getting very close to being half way over! Especially since the doctor has already told me he will need to be born several weeks early, due to my past vertical c-section. So we're looking at 4 months before he arrives, and I have a list of "want to's" that feels like it's a mile long to try and complete before then.

Here are some of the heftier items on my ever lengthening list:

1. Potty training Adrienne. If nothing on the list but this got done, I could live with that. It's always been a personal goal of mine to never have more than one child in diapers at a time, and if we can keep the dream alive, I would be a happy mom indeed.

2. Move Adrienne into her big girl bed. She and Marianna have bunk beds and will be sharing a room just as soon as the switch is made. I'm nervous because she is the greatest sleeper on the planet, and I hate to mess with something so good. But it has to be done, and Nathan says now is better than later, so we are looking at the transition taking place sometime in the next few weeks.

3. Establish an everyday routine starting in August. Summer has been fluid, to put it mildly. No two days ever look the same, and routine is something of the distant past. But starting when school starts up, I'd like for us to get on some kind of general schedule, that will include time for chores, school, playing, resting, etc. I'm hoping having this established for several months before the baby comes will make it easier to keep it up after he is here!

4. Finish all Christmas shopping by the last week in November.

5. Plan and implement Graham's nursery!

6. Sew. I haven't sewn in 6 months, and I want to get a few things cranked out for all three of the kids before our little guy gets here.

7. Work on building some age appropriate aspects of independence in each girl. There are a lot of things I do for Adrienne and Marianna that I know they could do for themselves. I do it because I can, but come December, some of those things I'm going to need the girls to take over and do themselves. I figure it's better to get them used to doing it now and ease into it, rather than throw a curve ball at them once the baby arrives.

Will it all get done? I'd be kind of blown away if it did. But I don't see anything wrong with setting the bar high and going for all the gusto. We'll see how it goes but one thing is for sure, come December, whether these things are in place or not, Marianna and Adrienne will be the proud big sisters to a new baby brother. And compared to that, none of the other things will seem all that important.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

my camera makes a comeback

I'm afraid the month of June went by without a single picture snapped, and after 5 months of extensive usage, I'm sure my camera was wondering, "Why the neglect?". I think I'm going to have to blame the heat for the month long absence. I definitely prefer taking pictures outdoors, but around these parts, June was brutal. July has actually been much, much nicer, resulting in the camera's return from sabbatical.

On the 4th we went to lunch with Nathan's family, and afterwards I tried to get a shot of the girls I could use for a new 20x20 frame I got for my birthday. I'm toying with the idea of using one of the two I got of the girls together, but it's hard for me to commit to any picture that is going to be that large. Any thoughts on which one I should use? Nathan thinks one, and I think another.

Friday, July 2, 2010

reality check

I had the Today Show on one morning last week, and there was a lady on talking about time management. She gave a handful of shocking statistics, with one in particular totally blowing me away. According to her information, the average stay at home mom spends 4 hours per week playing with her children. Not a working dad, or even a working mom, but a stay at home mom. Wow.

After the shock wore away, that number made me sad. It made me realize how easy it is to lose sight of what it's all about, because I don't think many stay at home moms go into the venture anticipating just over 30 minutes a day spending quality time with their kids. That is so outrageous! Yet I can see how it happens. Life. Busyness. All of it can creep in, and without intentionality toward something else, the things that really matter can go away without you hardly even noticing.

It was really a wake up call. Not to spend more than 30 minutes a day playing with the kids, but to think about carving out sections of time throughout our day for nothing else than sitting down and doing things with the girls. It made me see how important it is to prioritize our reading, puzzle making, picture drawing, game playing time together. Those are the things I want to do every day, not just the days that happen to be slow and I have a few extra minutes before it's time to run the next errand or change the next load of laundry.

What are my girls going to remember about their childhood when they grow up? Who can say, but I sure hope many of their memories are filled with things they did with Nathan and me, spending time together.

Monday, June 28, 2010


I've disappeared for the past few weeks, but not for any particular reason other than life has been good and busy and filled with summer things. Most days involve swimming, and my two little fish wouldn't have it any other way. One of the first words out of Adrienne's mouth in the morning is "Pool?" and Marianna has made it clear that the summer out of doors is misery if she's not in the water. Because of that, we're grateful Nathan's parents have a pool ready and waiting just ten minutes away!

We've also had some really good news about our baby on the way. Several weeks ago I went in for a nuchal translucency ultrasound that would screen for trisomy 18 and several other things. Both the ultrasound and the blood work indicated nothing other than a perfectly healthy baby, and we are thrilled and grateful. I feel nothing but peace as we move forward with this pregnancy, and that is something I know is straight from God.

What else? I am just about to dive into John MacArthur's 12 Ordinary Men. I thought Toy Story 3 was amazing. The girls are teaching me patience in this hot summer season as dawdling seems to be the order of the day getting in and out of the car. I love patriotism and the 4th of July. For some reason the summer has brought my picture taking to a total halt, so I have zippo to update. My summer blog break is now officially over.

Monday, June 7, 2010

back in the saddle

We were gone for seven days, and I feel like it has taken me almost that long to catch up on everything again. Traveling can really take it out of me evidently. Up until today, a nap was in order every single afternoon since we got back on Wednesday. I'm not complaining or anything; a nap (and I mean one longer than 15 minutes) is a welcome part of any day lately. I'm just giving the reason behind the delayed update.

Our trip was fantastic from beginning to end. We began in New Haven, Connecticut where we toured through the quaint little New England city with Nathan's older brother Micah. Micah has lived in New Haven for the past three years, so he was able to give us a wonderful tour of Yale, a New England beach, one of the two mountains of New Haven, and the local airport where he is currently getting his pilot's license.

From there we headed to Boston, one of my all time favorite cities, to go to a game at Fenway, walk through the historical part of town, and go whale watching. The weather was amazing and the city is picturesque in every way. Best of all, we finally got to see the Red Sox win!

We ended the trip with a couple of days in New York, and again, the city is amazing! Nathan and I have been twice before, but seeing it through Marianna's eyes made it exciting all over again. We toured the city from a water taxi, went to the Museum of Natural History, explored FAO Schwartz and Toys R Us, had lunch at the American Girl Place, and experienced Mary Poppins on Broadway. It was such a whirl wind, but every bit of it was terrific.

We knew the pace and scope of the trip was not really two year old friendly, so Adrienne had an adventure of her own, which began with my parents and ended with the wonderful Pepper family, who she was with the first three weeks of her life before she was able to come home. She had the time of her life as well, but we were so happy to get home to see her by the time Wednesday came around!

The normal ho hum pace of life has been very nice over the past five days. Vacation is fun, but it's hard to beat home sweet home.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

oh diapers, where art thou?

Today was packing day, because in the morning we are off for a 7 day vacation to Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New York! We are all thrilled about the trip, but this packing...whew. It has really taken it out of me this time. 7 days worth of packing for four has left my mind boggled and my body beat. Or maybe that's the new baby on the way. Or maybe it's both.

I think my strategy in attacking this project was flawed from the get go. Instead of packing for one person at a time, I began packing for all of us in stages. I'd do a little in our room, then head to Marianna's, then to Adrienne's, then back to Marianna's to put back everything that Adrienne had just pulled out of Marianna's bag, then back to Adrienne's to see what she was pulling out in hers. It's been crazy. And in the midst of the craziness, I realized that I had lost 100 diapers. Gone. Vanished. Diapers of all things. I scoured Adrienne's room then Marianna's, and I found nothing. I knew I had bought the giant pack of diapers from Sam's just a week ago, but knowing that doesn't mean squat if I couldn't find them. So it was off to Target for me tonight to buy a new pack.

When I got home, I found all the diapers in the girls' doll house. We are now definitely covered for the trip.

So once we finally get off on this trip, what do we have in store? A visit with Nathan's brother in New Haven, which includes a tour of Yale (where he works) a hike, and a visit to a terrific ice cream parlor. A 3 day trip to Boston where we will go to a Red Sox game, walk the Freedom Trail, and do a little whale watching. We are wrapping it up with two days in New York where we plan on visiting the American Girl store, and seeing Mary Poppins on Broadway.

We can't wait.

And we can't wait for that new little baby either. I wasn't really going to leave you with just that snippet. We are expecting this next little one early December, and we are so excited and ready to see what God has in store. I don't know everything the next months hold, but I couldn't feel more sure that God is in control, and He will be walking us through every step of the way.

Monday, May 24, 2010

saying goodbye makes me sad

And after two nights in a row of saying goodbye to my TV friends, I'm feeling blue. Isn't that silly? But I do. Eight years of 24 and 6 years of LOST, and now, in back to back nights, they are over. I knew it was time, but I still don't like the moment when goodbye actually comes.

Goodbyes make me want to grab a pack of sour straws and do something frivolous or get a tall Chai, curl up with a book, and read until the blueness lifts. I think the book without the Chai will have to suffice for tonight, and hopefully by tomorrow I'll be as good as new.

But for tonight, I will mourn. Goodbye 24 and LOST. It's been a fun ride.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


How many of you know what it is like to parent a reserved child? I would guess many of you, although I'm sure there are some out there with only extroverts that have never known a day of reserve in their lives. I actually have one of each. My super-extrovert, Adrienne, has never met a stranger. I used to have to retrieve her from the laps of random mothers during story hour and keep her from joining the picnics of those seated around us at parks. She checks herself into her class at church, runs to greet friends (adults included), and I can count on one hand the number of times she has cried when I have left her.

But long before I had my super-extrovert, I had Marianna. She has lived life right in the middle of extrovert and introvert from the moment she was born. What I mean by that is that she is either very reserved or very unreserved, not that she is actually in the middle. Because she is most definitely not. She is a mixture of both extremes, and I never know which it is going to be. Sometimes she will strike up a conversation on the play ground with a stranger and run off with that child as if she has known her for quite some time. Other times she will not even glance at other kids or offer so much as a, "hi." This week at church we were walking through the halls when a cute little boy her age yelled, "Marianna, Marianna! Hi!" She almost ran and hid because she said she didn't know his name.

If any of this sounds familiar, then you know that one of the difficulties of parenting a child who has both tendencies is not having much of an idea how your child will react in a given situation. Do I know for sure how Marianna will respond to going into her class? Not really. Do I know whether she will talk to the people Nathan works with when we visit his office? Nope. Do I have any idea whether she will hide behind my back or jump right into the action when we walk into the middle of a birthday party. Not a clue. So this past weekend, I really didn't know how she was going to respond to her first ever dance recital. She has never been on stage. For my intro/extro, the day held the possibility for many outcomes. I hoped it would be a day she really enjoyed 1) because of all her hard work 2) so she would have a positive first experience in front of a crowd. But I reallly didn't know.

30 minutes before the show started, I dropped her off backstage. One of the last things she told me was, "Mom, these socks are really hurting my feet." Not a good omen. I sat out in the auditorium and waited til her number to see what it was going to be. 10 seconds in, I knew she was a performer. The stage, at least for now, is like a second home.

It could have gone very, very differently, and if so, that would have been fine. I never want to force her to do something she doesn't want to do. But I also never want her reserve to keep her from doing something she loves. I'm glad to say that for her first recital, it definitely did not.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Birthday Days

After a weekend of celebrating, Adrienne officially turned two on Monday. She seems unaware that this is her moment to become terrible, so thankfully she has continued on just as always. I hope none of her older friends let her in on the secret =)

We started the celebration on Saturday with a cookout party in Adrienne's Jannie and Smokey's (my parent's) backyard, newly equipped with play set and a trampoline, making it a fun party destination. There was only one problem. Two minutes into the party, Adrienne took a nasty fall. Probably the worst one to date. There was blood and swelling, both things that don't seems right for a birthday girl, but she took it in stride and seemed to enjoy the party regardless of all injuries sustained.

There were presents, games, jumping, crafts, and my very favorite part, a lovely pig cake!

Adrienne's wounds are healing nicely, and she got some encouraging news from her doctor when we went for her two year checkup. She is now officially on the growth chart, weighing in at the 5th percentile for weight! For a girl who has never gotten to the first, that's something to celebrate all by itself. She also has been doing some vertical growing as well, hitting the 50th percentile for height.

Our girl is growing up. She is talking more every day, growing more lovely all the time, and she has never been a greater joy. Happy birthday, baby girl!