Friday, August 31, 2007

inviting new company over

I'm watching "Diana's Last Day" on E! right now as I'm finishing my lunch. And I have some thoughts ... The documentary is raising the idea that Princess Diana actually orchestrated the media coverage of her life, although she sometimes complained about it. Apparently she had favorite reporters and would sometimes tip them off herself. Sounds like a complicated relationship to me for someone who died supposedly be pursued by photographers.

Anyway, it's actually pretty interesting, and better than most things on television at 12:26 p.m. I'm telling you the noon to 2 p.m. time slots on TV are terrible. Thank goodness for TiVo-wannabe.

Now I feel like I need to clarify that in the afternoons I often have the TV on while I clean the house, feed Cate, type e-mails or stories. It's like having company over. There are plenty of times Cate and I just smile at each other or I read a book.

And speaking of reading a book ... One of my favorite series of books -- James Patterson's so far six installments of the "Women's Murder Club" -- is becoming a TV series. How great is that?! Seriously, great, I tell you. The show will be called the same and premieres in October.

Here's a summary from ...

San Francisco Detective Lindsay Boxer (Angie Harmon, "Law & Order") can analyze a crime scene in seconds, but she's frustrated that investigating and prosecuting a crime can take months or even years. To circumvent the Justice Department men's club, she assembles an all-female group of experts -- a medical examiner, a newspaper reporter and a young assistant district attorney. And because personal lives often blend into professional ones, they also become reliable friends. These women solve the latest homicides while unraveling the mysteries of their own turbulent romantic lives.

I'm not sure what you're thinking about that synopsis, but, to me, it sounds like a cross between "CSI" and "Grey's Anatomy." Seriously, could I ask for anything better? Yes, you can tell, my expectations are high.

Alright, lunch is gone. I'm going to get off the couch now while Cate is still sleeping.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Oh, yes, I need a subject line ...

I know how it is to go to a blog you're just dying to read, and realize there is absolutely no new news. My mom says no news is good news. I guess that depends on you ask. For instance, at the newspaper office, we like new news. At home, a few days without new news is welcome.

That's where we are.

Just living.

And working. Eleven more outside-the-home work days for me.

Then it's full-time at home. I'm sure I'll have news then. Well, maybe not news, but stories.

One of my favorite at-home moms has a new blog. You should check it out. Her boys are adorable and her creativity inspiring. And she's expecting a girl.

OK, totally just interrupted myself by knocking over my glass of water. Note to self: Don't set glass of water on hardwood floor when there is a coffee table within reach. I totally forgot the water was down there, and I got up, and kicked it.

And, now, whatever train of thought I sort of had going has completely derailed. Hope you are experiencing all of the news or none of the news you prefer.

Monday, August 27, 2007

505.6 miles

This weekend included ...
1 morning of sleeping in
1 bridal shower
2 games of Seafarers of Catan
1 birthday party
1 baby shower
2 Cardinal victories (and 2 Cub loses)
505.6 miles in the car in a 13-hour trip to and from Louisville in 1 day

The weekend got off to a good start with a few extra hours of sleep for me. Then Saturday was the bridal shower, Seafarers (Hey, we could have played more if we had more time ...) and birthday party. Then Jaclyn, Cate and I loaded in the car Sunday morning for a day trip to Louisville for Kelly's baby shower. She's expecting Amilia on/about Sept. 7. Then she's back to Mexico to be with her husband Carlos. (Long story ...)

So this picture doesn't really show Kelly's cute pregnant belly ...

But at least Jaclyn mostly made it in the picture. Obviously, we didn't take this. But, hey, it's the souvenir from the day. That the after-taste of the pasta baby food I had to taste as a tie breaker for a game. I did win, though.

The thing that sucks about day trips to Louisville is the lack of time with my family. I got to see Mom, Kevin and Milla for about an hour at Chili's. (And Mom showed off the new Costco. (Totally seemed like Sam's to me, but I still appreciated the huge cans of formula for just a few dollars more. Gotta love bulk of something that is used multiple times a day!)

And, just because I know you're wondering, this is popular look for Cate these days ...

Turned the opposite way from how we lay her down beneath her towns. Feet propped up on toy. Fingers in mouth.

Friday, August 24, 2007

2:22 a.m.

In the middle of the night, I heard Cate babbling happily. It seemed really dark in our bedroom, but I still remember thinking, "Is it already time to get up? Dang it." Well, then I looked at the clock: 2:22 a.m. Good news: I didn't have to get ready for work yet. But my daughter was "talking" to herself and doesn't seem to mind that she's awake at 2:23 a.m. (Yes, a minute probably passed with my thought process.)

So I fumbled for my glasses (like that's going to help me see in the dark ...) and went to her room. No, wait, I made a pit stop in the bathroom, but that's not really part of this story. So, I opened her door. Yep, she had a lot to say. I leaned over her crib with the only light for her to see me or me to see her coming from the bathroom. (OK, see, yes, the pit stop was important.) But the light was enough for me to see her huge smile. It was like she was saying, "Oh, Mom, you heard me. I'm glad you came."

My thoughts: "Yes, Cate, I'm glad I came too. You're beautiful. You're precious. Even at 2:24 a.m. Now, here's your pacifer."

I saw one more smile. I'm certain it was a smile because she couldn't hang on to the pacifer and I had to put it back in her mouth. Then she rolled over as close to the bumper as she could get (which is how she likes to sleep) and apparently went back to sleep.

And when I left for work at 6:38 a.m., she was still sleeping.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

The survey says ...

So I'm going to take an informal survey.

You see, recently I've learned my blog readership is larger than I often think it is. That doesn't take much because 10 regular readers is more than I really consider as I'm rambling. But if I stop to think about it, I realize I know I have some regular readers who have been with me from the beginning. OK, well, at least one. Ryan. I think. Then I know I have some new readers. Like Teaque. (I can't decide if her link goes on my sidebar under "people i know ..." or "... strangers." I've met her once and she's one of my friend's friends.) I know a few childhood friends check in. (This is where I would link Katie Kerns, but she seems to lose her blog on her move back to Lexington from Boston.) And I believe Katy keeps up with Cate's progress, but probably mostly because she has a daughter who is like 20 days younger. Oh, and, I know my mother-in-law reads. (Who can blame her? Those pictures suck her in on a regular basis!)

So, anyway, I realized not everyone who reads this knows me from my days as the shy principal's daughter in elementary school, the fellow former amusement park employee or the girl who walked and talked as our commitment to exercise.

Here's some random facts about me:

I don't usually like leftovers. Call me snobby. Whatever. But a couple exceptions (there are a small handful ...) are taco soup and baked ziti. Those also happen to be two dishes I don't mind making. I say making because I'm not sure it qualifies as cooking.

I love game shows. Always have. And always more than cartoons. Even as a kid. Conveniently, Cate often wants to eat during the 2 o'clock hour. And that's when "Family Feud" is on.

I swore I'd never live in Murray after I graduated from college. Loved college here. But I told myself (and most anyone around me) that I had enough and needed the city again. Louisville. Lexington. Wherever. Now I never see myself leaving. I feel settled.

Adoption was the best decision Greg and I have ever made. Well, getting married was up there and without the adoption wouldn't really be logical, but, you get my point. I have absolutely no doubt Cate is our family and God intended it that way.

I usually don't use nicknames. Pretty much one friend has one nickname for me. I tend to think people were given their names with some sort of purpose (even just because their mom liked how it sounded/looked when flipping through a baby book ...). And who am I to change it? Ironically, my name has no meaning beyond Mom liking it. But, hey, she chose it over Jennifer and Kristy, which not all moms in 1979 didn't do.

OK, I told myself five things. See, there I go making rules and goals for myself ... Oh, the things you can learn on a blog.

Now, on to this survey I was talking about ...

You who is reading ... Yes, you, the lurker who I might know but I don't know you're reading. Yes, you, my high school friend who I chatted with for the first time in 10 years at the reunion last month. Yes, you ... Leave a comment with one random fact about yourself. And if leaving a comment is too public for you, then e-mail me.

Oh, and I should add, if leaving your name with your personal tidbit also is too public, just say enough that I will know who you are!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Pests and Puppies

A fly has been hovering over my desk this morning. It apparenetly likes to be perched on top of the iMac. But what does it really want in a newsroom? Then as soon as I forget about it, the fly buzzes around my head getting closer than anyone/anything should to my ears. Seriously. So I shoo it away, because I'd rather have it sitting on my iMac screen than buzzing in my ear.

On a completely unrelated creature matter, I'm not a dog person. (See, creature. I was going to say animal, but a fly doesn't really see to qualify. I guess technically it does, but that seems to be given the fly a little too much credit ...) So, anyway, Greg, thankfully, isn't a dog person either. So I woke up this morning remembering I dreamed he brought a cute, fuzzy dog with feet proportionally too big for its puppy body home. In my dream, he didn't call. Just surprised us. (That's me and Cate.) Well, you know, that's sweet and all. Except I'm not a dog person. And Cate is a bit too small to care at this point. So I asked Greg to make sure he called before he brought any puppies -- regardless of how cute they are -- home. Despite his grogginess, he clearly reminded me that's he not a dog person.

You know, come to think of it: We're just not much on pets, or, for that matter, pestering insects that apparently want to make friends with me and my computer.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Definitely ...

(Thanks, Jodi, for the onesie that totally sums up how we feel.)

And because that's how we feel, I've come to the (tough) decision to stay home from work.

It's not tough from the aspect that I can't get enough of my daughter. But it is tough from the standpoint that I love my job. I love being involved and telling people's stories. But after a couple of months back at work since Cate's birth and six weeks home with her, it's really more important for me to be involved with her and tell her story. Greg and I don't want to send her to kindergarten and wonder why we spent the first five years of her life shuffling her back and forth and passing each other in the process.

So my last day as a newspaper reporter will be Sept. 14, but I'm trading my pen and paper for what I'm sure will be the greatest profession possible: a full-time mama.

A Princess Moment

Cate's dress this morning prompted a mini photo shoot ...

(Great choice on the outfit, Cathy!)

Remembering the Past; Sharing the Present

This weekend some Louisville friends of mine came to visit. Somehow the road always seems longer come southwest, even though it takes us as long to go northeast, so we always appreciate visitors from the other part of the state.

Long story short: It was their first trip to Murray despite our history together. (Well, once Aaron came to MSU to visit me ... well, really to see Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds perform.) I became friends with Aaron when we worked at The Park at Middletown (an amusement park with mini golf, bumper boat, go karts and an arcade that has since changed names and lost some of it charm ...) as high schoolers. Katie and I became friends through a mutual friend, really connecting when we were in college ... at different colleges. Aaron and Katie both ended up at Purdue, and I knew their common interest would help them click. Sure enough, we had a planned a weekend for them to meet when I visited them in West Lafayette. Well, they couldn't wait, and ended up meeting, and were already friends when I got up there. Then they got married. I was in their wedding; they played music in ours.

We've seen each other a few times over the years, most recently when Cate was born and they came to visit us at the hotel in southern Indiana. Then we talked about them making a trip this way. They did this weekend, and we showed off some of western Kentucky, including Kentucky Lake.

Last time (We decided it was about 1998 ...) I had Dave to attract Aaron, this time I have a darn cute girl. Yes, Cate came on the pontoon boat with us. And she was dressed appropriately for her first swim.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Creating and refreshing

I channeled my frustrations tonight into making this page. And I feel better.

JOURNALING ON THE PAGE: Milla loves to tell Cate secrets, and Cate seems to just take it all in. Although we'll never know the details of the moments they share, Milla is quick to tell us that she loves Cate and Cate loves her. Well, of course. And I'm glad Cate has a cousin like Milla who wants to care for her and teach her things. This day in July, Milla called Cate her "best cousin." And, yes, she has other cousins!

I was feeling overwhelmed with wife and mother duties, household chores, my day job, all the ideas I have in my mind to one day create ... and the fact there just isn't enough time. Plus, I don't feel that well (headache, sensitive stomach ...) and I'm having a bad blood sugar day.

But looking at these two beautiful girls for the past hour or so was much better than thinking about all that other nonsense. And now I'm going to bed.

One of the best parts in life is that tomorrow is another day. I can start fresh.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Love Song for a Savior

in open fields of wild flowers
she breathes the air and flies away
she thanks her Jesus for the daises and the roses
in no simple language
someday she'll understand the meaning of it all

He's more than the laughter or the stars in the heavens
as close a heartbeat or a song on her lips
someday she'll trust Him and learn how to see Him
someday He'll call her and she will come running
and fall in His arms and the tears will fall down and she'll pray

i want to fall in love with You

sitting silent wearing sunday best
the sermon echoes through the walls
a great salvation through it calls to the people
who stare into nowhere, and can't feel the chains on their souls

This morning at church, a friend looked at Cate and said, "I know it's not possible, but Cate looks like you guys."

This wasn't the first time someone has told me this. Sometimes I say, "Yeah, I think it's the dark hair, makes it look like she goes with me."

And sometimes I say, "Yeah, it's one of the many ways I know she's meant to be with us."

I'm glad I chose the second response today. It's true.

God orchestrated this adoption. I should be surprised he knew what he was doing. He's the creator of the world, and he adopts me and other imperfect beings into his family every day. He created me. He created Greg. He created Cate's birth mother in a way that gave her strength not to terminate her pregnancy. And he created Cate. He gave us hearts open to adoption. And he strung together all the circumstances leading up to us meeting Cate's birth mother and in turn meeting Cate.

We loved her before we met her. And we feel in love again when we first touched her tiny fingers.

She does belong with us.

We really shouldn't be surprised she looks like she belongs. And we know it is about more than her dark hair.

... it seems too easy to call You "Savior"
not close enough to call You "God"
so as i sit and think of words i can mention
to show my devotion

i want to fall in love with You ...

(Jars of Clay song)

Friday, August 10, 2007

Trying to stay cool yet ignore Barry Bonds

From today's Ledger & Times ...

It’s really too hot outside to do anything that doesn’t take place in the air conditioning.

Trouble is, there’s nothing on TV either.

Waiting for Barry Bonds to break Hank Aaron’s home run record with live at-bats interrupting the Cardinals game does not count as entertainment. In fact, the Cardinals themselves aren’t entertaining at this point considering I’m cheering for them.

Seriously, though, at least Bonds broke the record. Surely the next couple of homers he can muster won’t be headlines.

Well, wait, who am I kidding? Between homers, steroids and an ex-mistress in Playboy, I’m guessing having Bonds live a private life is out of the question.

But hopefully his record won’t stand very long. Here’s to hoping Alex Rodriguez surpasses it. Yes, I’m admitting I’m rooting for a Yankee. But just one. Just this once. Not the whole empire.

And I admit that I’m holding out some hope that Albert Pujols continues his consistency, doesn’t get hurt and plays long enough to hit 757 ... and counting ... home runs.

So while my Cards are floundering and deciding whether they even want to try to defend their World Series title, I’ll hope their schizophrenic play isn’t interrupted with breaking news from San Francisco.

At least next month there will be more on TV. Yes, following that drama that follows Meredith Gray, watching Gil Grissom lead his team to solve another case, laughing with Denny Crane and Alan Shore is entertaining to me and anticipating how Danny McCoy will save the day at the Montecito is entertainment to me.

Being the daughter of educators and a journalist by trait, I must say here that I have read multiple books this summer. Not only have I kept some baby reference guides near, but I’ve gotten through a few James Patterson novels and a new Richard North Patterson book. And I have a whole pile of novels awaiting me.

Thank goodness for new primetime shows scheduled for late September. I wouldn’t want to get sucked into another match-making reality show now that I know Mark Philipoussis picked Amanda, who at one point was a Nashville Predator’s dancer, from a pool of 20-somethings and 40-somethings on “Age of Love.”

Even watching one-time tennis star Philipoussis try to make a comeback of any kind was better than watching Bonds strike out or hit a fly ball. (No, I never saw any of those homers worth the at-bats that interrupted my TV viewing.)

So now I’ll just wait for the weather to cool off enough for me to sit on my porch swing with one of those novels and I’ll be getting my DVR ready for fall premieres.

And I will have no record of Bonds* latest at-bats.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

The ingredients: Imperfect, flawed, broken

It’s not about perfection; it’s about our intimacy with God, or our connection, our relationship with God. Once we get through that, once we realize that we can be imperfect, flawed, broken; those kinds of things are the ingredients of spirituality.

We’d like to have it all neat and orderly. We want to be able to measure it and control it, but the reality is that Jesus is a mystery. The Christian faith is a mystery. The disciples spent their entire time following him going, “Uhh, what the heck are you doing? We don’t understand what you’re doing and we don’t know why you’re doing it.” And when he would explain why he was doing it, they still didn’t get it.

I am beginning to understand that faith is not the way around pain, it is the way through pain. Faith doesn’t get rid of the opposition, it invites it over for dinner. Faith doesn’t give you the winning point at the last second, it ties the game and sends you into overtime. Faith doesn’t give you the solution, it forces you to find it.

The power of the Church is not a parade of flawless people, but of a flawless Christ who embraces our flaws. The church is not made up of the whole people, rather of the broken people who find wholeness in a Christ who was broken for us.

I want a lifetime of holy moments. Every day I want to be in dangerous proximity to Jesus. I long for a life that explodes with meaning and is filled with adventure, wonder, risk, and danger. I long for a faith that is gloriously treacherous. I want to be with Jesus, not knowing whether to cry or laugh.

The grace of God is dangerous. It’s lavish, excessive, outrageous, and scandalous. God’s grace is ridiculously inclusive. Apparently God doesn’t care who He loves. He is not very careful about the people He calls His friends or the people He calls His church.

For the Christian, there is no distinction between the sacred and secular. Everything a Christian does is an expression of his faith. He does not make choices based on the religious significance of the alternative. As a Christian he makes the choice that is a logical extension of the values he has derived from his faith …

We’re attempting to convince the world how good Jesus is by how great we are. This is precisely how Madison Avenue sells toothpaste, automobiles, and underwear. People don’t need any more images of success, wealth, and power; they’re surrounded already. What they need are their sins forgiven. What they need is healing. What they need is love.

The tragedy of modern faith is that we no longer are capable of being terrified. We aren’t afraid of God, we aren’t afraid of Jesus, we aren’t afraid of the Holy Spirit. As a result, we have ended up with a need-centered gospel that attracts thousands… but transforms no one.

--Author and Minister Mike Yaconelli

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

jumpin' and chillin'

One little Milla jumpin' on the bed ...

Yes, her Uncle Greg and Aunt Kristin let her jump from one bed to the other after. She stayed with us after the wedding because Greg's mom watched her and Cate while we stayed late at the reception. It was a slumber party of sorts. Although Mom and Kevin forgot to pack Milla clothes, so she had to make do with one my T-shirts. I think she liked it.

So while that commotion was going on, Cate was just chillin' out with Daddy ...

Monday, August 6, 2007

Three months

Cate's three months old today. She's an ounce or so shy of 13 pounds, which means she did some growing this past month.

my little sister ... the bride

My sister looked beautiful Saturday. This picture surely doesn't fully capture it. But I have to say, I had a lot of things to do as matron of honor and the glue that holds the Hill family together in stressful situations, so I left the picture-taking up to the professional. His shots will capture the beauty of the bride, the groom's love for her and the Catholic church as well as some celebrating after the ceremony.

First things first. We really like Zac. He's a great balance for Cassie and he's easy to get along with. He's been with vacation on my family, stayed at my house for the weekend with most of my family, spent many weekends in Louisville since my parents' idea to down-size into a townhouse and eaten out many times after Austin Peay soccer games with my mom, Greg and me. Needless to say, he knows my family and we know him. I'm glad he's officially part of the family now.

So Mom and I ran some errands, Cassie and I got manicures and pedicures by a couple of Asians who seemed to enjoy talking about us in their own language, Greg hung crepe balls above the dance floor, I gave directions to Zac's family and other out-of-towners, I (along with the other seven bridesmaids) got my hair done, I read some verses from Genesis, Greg read some verses from Second Corinthians, I kept Cassie or Zac from stepping on her really long veil after my dad accidentally had his foot on it as Cassie walked up the alter with Zac at the beginning of the ceremony, we drove them to the reception, Greg set up the laptop so all 275 of so guests could see the slide-show presentation I made about Zac and Cassie growing, I gave an impromptu toast along with the best man and two other bridesmaids, I carried gifts to my car, I then moved the gifts to my mom's car the next morning ...

Once my mom turned to me and said, "It's a damn good thing you are here." In the Hill family, I take that as a compliment.

Most of all, I really rejoiced in knowing my sister is marrying a great guy who is going to take care of her and be a welcomed addition to my family. And it was fun to celebrate that in the same weekend I celebrated my fifth anniversary.

Side note: Katie sang beautifully during the ceremony and I loved seeing her this weekend. But as always it wasn't enough time with her.

That's us with our husbands. I think we hugged at least 12 times while posing for two pictures.

5 years ago ...

Greg and I celebrated our fifth anniversary on Friday with a lunch near the chapel in which we were married. Greg planned the trip down memory lane between my endocrinology appointment and Cassie's wedding preparations. But it was nice to just and be together.

And we were glad it wasn't just us this anniversary.

Cate chilled out in her seat while we ate Tumbleweed and reminisced a bit.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Happy August!

Greg and I will have been married five years on Friday. Because we're going to be in Louisville starting tomorrow for my sister's wedding and all the accompanying events, Greg thought he'd start the anniversary celebration a couple days early. Fine by me! Here's what he had sent to me at work today ...

I thought they were real flowers at first. They are from this gift store about a block away from our house. I've never been in, but I wanted to. And this artificial arrangement makes me want to even more. (I was going to say fake, but that seemed to take away from how beautiful I think the flowers are.)

Teething away ...

Cate is enjoying her fingers these days. Guess they feel good on the three places where she seems to be working on teeth.