Monday, August 29, 2011

be still and know that you're in this place

This week has taught me a lot of lessons. Lessons about faith that I thought I had already learned, but apparently needed a refresher on. Lessons about talking less and listening more. Lessons about loving my husband and standing beside him. A couple of months ago, Brian got an amazing opportunity to take a training program at an international financial advising company. He would study for several months, take several national exams and if he passed, become a financial adviser with the company. It was risky, leaving a study job for one with the chance he could be let go if he did pass the exams on the first try. But we prayed and God gave us such peace as he breezed through the five interviews (you read that right).

Through the last several weeks, we have rallied around each other as he studied every day at work, every evening at home and all weekend long. I was exhausted from working all day and trying to keep Lila out of the house at night. I cooked Brian's favorite meals, scheduled a massage for him and tried to be as supportive as possible. He was passing every single one of his practice exams and feeling extremely confidant as he left the house on Tuesday very early in the morning. That afternoon, he came home with that confidence broken. 

How do you support your husband who feels as if he has failed as the provider of your family?  
You remind him that God is the ultimate provider. 

How do you hold your husband up when he falls? 
You rely on the strength that comes from above, not what comes from within.

What do you say to help remind him of his future which God holds in his hand? 
You let the silent embrace speak for itself.  

I know God has a plan for us, even though it is hard to understand why Brian has to work through this disappointment, looking for another job and feeling let down by the months of studying. I know this will be one of those moments we will look back on as a turning point in our path. Probably not ever with a knowing smile, but still believing it was part of a plan that could not come to pass without this uncertainty. In the meantime, we pray, we love each other, and we bow our heads. 

I'm finding myself at a loss for words and the funny thing is it's okay
The last thing I need is to be heard but to hear what You would say
Word of God speak, would You pour down like rain
Washing my eyes to see your majesty
To be still and know that You're in this place
Please let me stay and rest in Your holiness
Word of God speak
~"Word of God Speak" by Mercy Me

Monday, August 22, 2011

picnic time

Looks like someone is loving her new picnic table from her great-grandma.
  This is where we start every morning, with our cup of cold milk and a blueberry whole grain waffle. Or maybe a banana dipped in peanut butter. Basically anything yummy to fill our starving belly while we catch up on the latest episode of The Backyardigans. Because Lord knows what we missed since last night. Basically it is like her Facebook, but without bad 90's pictures and oversharing. 
 When late morning rolls around and you're feeling a bit out of sorts, don't worry; 
you're probably just a little eleven o'clockish.
~Winne the Pooh

Saturday, August 20, 2011

putting on my big girl panties

One of the best things about our kids are sharing the stories that we learn as moms. The times we sympathetically nod at the mom trying to check out faster at Target while her little ones is throwing themselves on the floor of the aisle at Target. The laugh we share with strangers when they make silly raspberry noises at the restaurant table. The kind words when we are having a hard day and just don't know how to balance it all.

For me as a mom, I have been able to learn to laugh off the dramatic stage falls on the floor when Lila does not get her way. For the most part, I try not to be frazzled when I am "that mom" with a diaper bag full of tricks and still holding a screaming toddler. I have a much harder time with the balance. The balance of being everything to everyone. Of trying to be an employee at work, a mom at home, and maybe finding myself for a few minuted in the middle. 

I read a recommendation for a new book from Raechel at Finding My Feet (who is fabulous and has two adorable blond haired kiddos) called "Loving the Little Years: Motherhood in the Trenches." I have taken my time ordering it on Amazon since every time I am on there I get distracted by cheap diapers. But when it arrived in the mail this week, I swallowed it whole in one sitting on the coach. So many amazing mom moments turned into God moments. The author Rachel Jankovic has five kids under five and if she can find a way to turn afternoon carpool from hell into a teachable moment about how lucky they are to have a car and how God has blessed them, then I should probably shut up and read.

One chapter in particular really spoke to me as she talked about letting ourselves feel pitiful and overwhelmed at our life as a mom, which I have a tendency to do occasionally (cough, every day, cough).
God gave this to me. I may not be overwhelmed about it. I can try as hard as I can, and maybe fail sometimes. I can try as hard as I can and fall asleep at the dinner table. I can try as hard as I can and be completely burned out at the end of the day. But I may not be overwhelmed. Actually, I may be overwhelmed, but I may not say I am overwhelmed! The words have a power over us. If you say it, you allow it for yourself. You give yourself that little bit of room to say, "But I can't."

I would highly recommend you pick yourself up a copy. Or just read that paragraph above over and over. Not a sponsored post, I just really needed to hear that this week.
But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.
~2 Corinthians 12:9

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

slice and serve

I get so lazy with cooking over the summer. I don't feel like using the crock pot a lot because it is already hot enough inside my house. And we take longer getting home and getting into the swing of the evening because we still feel like playing in the beautiful weather. Or sitting longer with an open bottle of my favorite summer wine ever, Rex Goliath Cabernet Sauvignon
So by the time we are all starving and I am trying to throw a non-hot, non-extra-food-prep, non-toddler-offensive dinner together, all I can muster is the main course. Vegetable sides? Who needs em?! We get enough sides at Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas to make up for the rest of the year. But enter the Farmer's Market, in all its glorious ripe vegetables. We have decided on two easy to throw together side dishes that we have yet to get tired of to end our no-vegetable streak.

One of our new favorite things to make for dinner is Caprese salad. With tomatoes and basil fresh from the Farmers Market and yummy cool Mozzarella cheese. We slice the tomato as thin as possible, cover with washed and dried Basil leaves, add sliced mozzarella cheese from a fresh block, and then drizzle the whole thing with balsamic vinaigrette. I could eat this every day and die happy. 

Our other favorite standby was taught to me by a mom who I helped babysit for in college. She made this for dinner one day and I fell in love. So simple and so delicious. Slice up a ripe (but not squishy) avocado, halved grape tomatoes, sliced red onion, tossed with poppy seed dressing. This side is great fresh for dinner and yummy for lunch the next day. Hope you enjoy some summer sides tonight!

A fruit is a vegetable with looks and money. 
Plus, if you let fruit rot, it turns into wine, something Brussels sprouts never do.
~P. J. O’Rourke

Friday, August 12, 2011


Today Lila and I hit the road to spend the weekend with my two besties from college, Mary Allen and Emily. MA, Emmy and I have been through some fabulous, crazy, hilarious moments throughout the years. We met in the first few weeks of our Freshman year at college, bonding together over strange roommates, Steak N' Shake late night meals, library study sessions, fraternity parties and random beach trips. Our college years were spent laughing at football games, celebrating birthdays in style at country line dancing bars, sneaking cigarettes outside the dorm, working together at mountain summer camps, sending care packages back and forth between breaks, laughing and crying, hating boys and loving boys, and learning to share life together.
As we grew older, our moments together changed. Meeting new boyfriends and giving them a hard time, visiting new cities, sharing in family events and birthdays, taking vacations together in the mountains, and finally being bridesmaids in each of our weddings. 
And now we are having babies and growing families. Still best friends. Still call every other week to tell a funny story and catch up. I can't wait for our fabulous weekend of fun ahead and Lila cannot wait to see her Elon Aunties!
When you're down and troubled and you need a helping hand
And nothing, whoa, nothing is going right.
Close your eyes and think of me and soon I will be there
To brighten up even your darkest nights.
You just call out my name, and you know where ever I am
I'll come running to see you again.
Winter, spring, summer, or fall, all you have to do is call 
And I'll be there, yeah, yeah, you've got a friend.
~"You've Got A Friend" by James Taylor

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

sweet seventeen

Happy seventeen months Lila!
This has been the most fun, ever-changing, laughter filled and silly age. Every day you discover something new. You LOVE to sing and dance, stepping around in a circle then stopping to clap for your twirl. Your favorite songs to sing are Baa Baa Black Sheep, If All the Raindrops (circa 1997 Barney), Party In the USA, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, Part of Your World from Little Mermaid, and Here We Go by the ever-so-annoying Fresh Beat Band. Here We Go is your current favorite song of choice and I can stop a full blown toddler fit mid floor roll by starting the music video on my phone. You now go pick up my phone, walk over and hand it to me and start singing the song to ask me to turn on the video. 
You love to sort things, taking items out of drawers and baskets and putting them back together. You love shape sorter toys and the stacking blocks. You think Zaxby the Dog is your personal playmate and last week, spent fifteen minutes trying to put your pink sandles on her paws while she stared at me with sad eyes, begging me to save her from this impromptu game of dress up. 
You love meeting new friends and will ride in the cart at the store or at other tables while out at dinner, desparately trying to catch their eye until you can giggle, smile coyly and say "Hiiiiii." Your toddler walk is more of a waddle, always a few steps ahead of your balance. You are repeating so many words now, telling us "I do that!" when we try to help you or pointing at Zaxby saying "Go away!" and then running after her laughing. You yell for momma and daddy the second we leave your sight, just to make sure we can still hear you. 
Your big kisses on the lips, full arms hugs around the neck and high fives show us you know your family and love being around us. You call for your Grinch when you can't find him, yelling "Ohhh Eeeee, Ohhh Eeeee" and then grabbing him around the neck and hugging him in a death grip. We are not sure what that means but I am sure it somehow expresses your love for this green monster you adore so with so much passion. 
Every day is a new adventure with you and you keep us on our toes with your never-ending energy, quick mood swings when we cannot understand what you want and your constant games of peek-a-boo. We love this stage of life and watching your playful, friendly, silly personality emerge.
If ever there is tomorrow when we're not together, there is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even if we're apart, I'll always be with you.
~Winnie the Pooh

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

spots and stripes

For eighteen hours this weekend, we thought Lila had chicken pox. For eighteen hours, I felt such guilt that I had taken her to a children's toy store, where she touched everything and possibly exposed a dozen children and several pregnant women that I could not warn. For eighteen hours, I let her walk around without a shirt to stare at her torso, searching for raised red bumps that kept popping up. For eighteen hours, my mind was racing with WedMD questions and Google image searches for rashes. 
Chicken pox were no big deal when we were little. We all had them, including my poor little brother at five weeks old. It got you two weeks off school, lots of slurpees, pink Calamine dots all over your face and a free pass to watch The Little Mermaid five consecutive times in one day. But since all these crazy kids and their crazy vaccines, chicken pox is almost unheard of. My heart was racing about the discomfort, pain and confused sad cries I knew were coming. How do you explain normal childhood illness that helps your immune system to an itchy toddler?
And the working mom part of me was rethinking schedules, replanning trips, going through my mental rolodex of illness approved babysitters so I could sneak over to the office for an hour or two. All while feeling guilty that there was a part of me that was thinking about this illness as an inconvenience to the busy week ahead. 
Thank goodness Brian's parents were in town to watch her so we could break away to my dad's retirement day at his church of 20 years. Thank goodness the pediatrician's office has a "Chicken Pox Room" with a separate entrance and could see us on a Sunday. Thank goodness that Lila has inherited my family's penchant for unexplained, weird looking illnesses. No chicken pox, just a strange looking rash. And 18 hours of mind racing, heart pumping, baby chasing worries put to rest. 

A leopard does not change his spots, or change his feeling that spots are rather a credit. 
~~Ivy Compton-Burnett

Monday, August 8, 2011

stepping out

So I meant to finish up my Alabama wrap-up last week. And then I got a cold/flu. That turned into a raging sinus infection. And then we had company this weekend. And then my dad had his retirement celebration on Sunday from our church where he has been the Senior Pastor for 20 years. And then we thought Lila had chicken pox (but she didn't). Basically my life exploded last week. More on that later...

The wedding was a whirlwind trip, but it was fun to have a little time with my parents, Lila and my sister. My dad had to fly back to NC right after the ceremony to preach on Sunday morning, so it was a girls only reception party. We don't get all gussied up too often so it was fun to just have some dress up pictures and time together.
Lila had been playing with my sister's jewelry when we were getting dressed and decided she wanted to wear some pearls to the wedding. We were worried she would get tired of them and try to pull them off, but apparently we have an accessorizer in our midst. She spent the whole evening lovingly touching her pearls and smiling whenever anyone told her she looked pretty. Oh the hearts this girl will break...
We got to spend time with my aunt and uncle from California and my cousins who live in Chicago and in Alabama. We don't get to see them very often so it was fun to catch up and laugh all night. All the cousins met in Asheville for a long weekend in January this year and we are hoping to keep it an annual tradition since we are all so scattered about the country. DC Cousins Weekend January 2012 baby!
Stepping out with my baby
Can't go wrong cause I'm in right
It's for sure, not for maybe
That I'm all dressed up tonight 
There will be smooth sailing cause I'm trimming my sails  
In my top hat and my white tie and my tails
~"Steppin' Out With My Baby" by Irving Berlin

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

kicking and screaming

This weekend was a whirlwind of airports, port-a-cribs in hotel rooms, very little sleep, and lots of Starbucks. Traveling to Alabama for my cousin Matt's wedding, we ventured on our first plane ride with a toddler. Actually, four plane rides. We have discovered the key to traveling with toddlers:
1. Bring a brand new toy for them to play with for the first time on the plane. That will buy you approximately 90 seconds. Hopefully she will forget about it by the second plane and you can relive the excitement for another 90 seconds. 
2. Pack more snacks than a college football player can eat in a weekend. We had a small insulated lunchbox with a freezer pack filled with organic Go-Gurt, string cheese, steamed carrots, applesauce, mandarin oranges and Trader Joe's fruit crusher packets (Lila's new favorite thing EVER). 
3. Let the toddler run up and down the hallway of the airport, yelling baby talk at every passing person. Regardless of how embarrassing or annoying it is.
4. Stock your phone full of baby music videos, i.e. "Part of Your World" by Little Mermaid and "Here We Go" by Fresh Beats Band. 
5. When the toddler full on meltdown happens, hold on for the ride, smile apologetically and then close your eyes and know it will be over soon. Or you will land at your destination soon. Whichever comes first.
Our meltdown occurred on the last flight of the day after missing two previous flights because we were flying standby. Meaning Lila had been in the same airport terminal for 6 hours. Which is even unacceptable for adults. Coupled with Lila's inability to take her aggression out in passive aggressive conversations with the airline employees or partake in an in-flight adult beverage, she was long overdue to lose it on someone. Then the flight attendant stopped by our row (where were sitting in the middle seat between two big burly men) and told me Lila had to sit down from where she was standing on my lap to baby talk to the people in the row behind us because we were taking off. Lila decided she had enough with being told what to do. 

The screaming. Oh the high pitched screaming. And the kicking and hitting me (and the burly men). And the throwing of the bow and shoes. And the biting of my finger when I tried to shove her paci in her mouth, so hard that I started to cry. I ended up holding all of her flailing limbs against my body, holding her paci in her mouth, singing Baa Baa Black Sheep over and over in her ear. About five minutes of screaming later, she passed out mid-scream, arms going limp, and slept on top of me for the next hour and half. 

We have never been more glad to see our suitcase, car seat and stroller on the roundy-round.
And Brian's smiling face. And a big glass of wine.

Weatherwise it's such a lovely day
Just say the words, and we'll beat the birds
Down to Acapulco Bay
It's perfect, for a flying honeymoon - they say
Come fly with me, let's fly let's fly away 
~"Come Fly With Me" by Frank Sinatra

Monday, August 1, 2011

if only we could all be as eloquent in our prayers for our children as tina

“First, Lord: No tattoos. May neither the Chinese symbol for truth nor Winnie-the-Pooh holding the FSU logo stain her tender haunches. May she be Beautiful but not Damaged, for it’s the Damage that draws the creepy soccer coach’s eye, not the Beauty. When the Crystal Meth is offered, may she remember the parents who cut her grapes in half. And stick with Beer. 
Guide her, protect her when crossing the street, stepping onto boats, swimming in the ocean, swimming in pools, walking near pools, standing on the subway platform, crossing 86th Street, stepping off of boats, using mall restrooms, getting on and off escalators, driving on country roads while arguing, leaning on large windows, walking in parking lots, riding Ferris wheels, roller-coasters, log flumes, or anything called “Hell Drop,” “Tower of Torture,” or “The Death Spiral Rock ‘N Zero G Roll featuring Aerosmith,” and standing on any kind of balcony ever, anywhere, at any age. 
Lead her away from Acting but not all the way to Finance. Something where she can make her own hours but still feel intellectually fulfilled and get outside sometimes. And not have to wear high heels. What would that be, Lord? Architecture? Midwifery? Golf course design? I’m asking You, because if I knew, I’d be doing it, Youdammit. 
May she play the Drums to the fiery rhythm of her Own Heart with the sinewy strength of her Own Arms, so she need Not Lie With Drummers. Grant her a Rough Patch from twelve to seventeen. Let her draw horses and be interested in Barbies for much too long, for childhood is short – a Tiger Flower blooming Magenta for one day – And adulthood is long, and dry-humping in cars will wait. 
O Lord, break the Internet forever, that she may be spared the misspelled invective of her peers. And the online marketing campaign for "Rape Hostel V: Girls Just Wanna Get Stabbed." And when she one day turns on me and calls me a Bitch in front of Hollister, Give me the strength, Lord, to yank her directly into a cab in front of her friends, For I will not have that Shit. I will not have it. 
And should she choose to be a Mother one day, be my eyes, Lord, that I may see her, lying on a blanket on the floor at 4:50 A.M., all-at-once exhausted, bored, and in love with the little creature whose poop is leaking up its back. “My mother did this for me once,” she will realize as she cleans feces off her baby’s neck. “My mother did this for me.” And the delayed gratitude will wash over her as it does each generation and she will make a Mental Note to call me. And she will forget. But I’ll know, because I peeped it with Your God eyes. Amen.”
~Tina Fey