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!