Saturday, January 31, 2009

December pages

Earlier in the week, before there was ice, I scrapped some. I've been working on December pages, and this one is my favorite. I just started playing with the page + realized I could make it look like a present because the page is about gifts Cate received in the mail from a couple of friends + my aunt.

Things I Learned in the Storm

Well, OK, maybe they were more like reminders. Still, The Ice Storm brought some things to mind ...

(A view Thursday morning from my in-laws' back porch in Henry County, Tennessee.)

Females care much more than males about being connected to their friends + family.

Kids go with the flow easier than their parents.

Community -- whether it's family or friends -- really is important. We can help each other.

When people pool their resources, we can feast.

Ice-covered branches falling in the middle of the night create startling sounds + prompt vivid dreams.

The sun shining for the first time in a couple of days is especially beautiful, even if it causes chunks of ice to fall abruptly, shattering on the ground.

Inconveniences don't distort blessings; they actually help us remember that everything really will be OK.

Putting TV shows online was someone's good idea.

I really would take a camera, pen + notebook with me as my luxuries on that desert island people sometimes use as a writing prompt.

The Ice Storm: In Pictures

I've already told you our story, but here are some pictures to go along with it. Yep, posting pictures means we're home. With power. And luxuries like TV, cell phone service and Internet access.

A couple views of the branch that came to visit from the neighbor's yard ...

... Greg ended up sawing it with a bow saw that wasn't quite the right tool for the project. But he took care of it + cleared us a path.

Cate + I went outside briefly, but, as you can see, Cate didn't love the snow, just like her mama.

She apparently agrees that snow is more beautiful through a window.

There are more photos from our last few days in a Facebook album.

Cassie + Zac ...

... arrived in New Zealand. I would tell you what day, but I'm awfully confused on days this week. They left Indianapolis on Tuesday afternoon, just in time to get out of the area before the storm really came. The trip, including a few connections, took 20-something hours, with the longest leg from Los Angeles to Fiji. They arrived (I believe Thursday local time, which is 19 hours ahead of me in central time ...) + are looking for a place to live.

They started a blog, so you can keep up with them here.

The Ice Storm

... that really deserves a name. You know, like they name hurricanes. Greg + I discussed Genevieve, Margaret and Consuela, but none of them fit just right. So I'm just going to make it a proper noun by itself: The Ice Storm.

Oh, and my pictures are on my camera. They'll have to come later, when I am at my own computer, with my own built-in card reader + folders in which I like to organize my photos. Yes, that's right. I'm still not at my house, which has been dark and mostly cold since Wednesday morning. The gas logs are on, but we opted for my in-laws' house, with has electricity and more recently Internet, phone and cable.

I've had my notebook (and camera!) by my side since Wednesday morning, when we realized it could be an interesting week ...

8:56 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 28, 2009
I woke up at 3:27 because it sounded like a limb fell on our house. I knew it was 3:27 because my cell phone was on the table next to me; the alarm was missing its annoyingly red numbers. Turns out a limb didn't fall on our house, but you know how everything is exaggerated in the middle of the night.

After checking things out, although I couldn't see much because it was the middle of a night with no electricity, I returned to the warmth of my bed. Thanks to our gas logs, we slept comfortably all night. It's still warm, at least right now.

I had dreams about limbs coming through the windows, which were exaggerations of the real crackling sounds I heard all night as limbs of all sizes fell to the ground, mostly in our neighbors' yards. The largest one that fell came from one neighbor's yard, over her privacy fence, across our driveway. Greg is currently sawing away, hoping to clear us a path.

But we aren't sure what we'll do. Greg's parents have a gas-powered generator, but they live 15 miles away in the country that is northwest Tennessee. And we don't have cell service, so we can't call them.

We have some refrigerated food -- remember the Christmas steak? -- in a storage container on the back porch. If Mother Nature is going to dump this snow + ice, well, mostly ice, on us, the least she can do is keep our food from spoiling.

Candles + flashlights are close by, but the light reflecting off the snow is nice. Really, looking out the window is the best way to appreciate snow. Just ask Cate. She cried when I put her down in it. But, hey, she learned a new word: "snow." And she thinks it's entertaining to watch Daddy saw the tree.

It's in moments like this -- with no cell phone calls + texts, Facebook updates or e-mail messages -- that life somehow becomes simpler and quieter.

10 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 28
Greg cleared the driveway. Now just to figure out what we're doing.

Cate wants to watch a movie, but I had to tell her it was "broke," the only way I can help a 20-month-old to interpret a power outage.

10:47 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 28
After making use of the path he cleared to check on the office, Greg reported; "It's a mess out there. Maybe worse than the ice storm in Lexington." He was referring to January 2003, when ice shut down Lexington, where we lived during our first year of marriage. I remember waking up that Sunday morning + showering by candlelight because our apartment bathroom didn't have a window. Some of the city has power, so went to Applebee's and then to a movie. Our power still wasn't back on after our impromptu date, so we ended up at our friends' house. But the lost power not long after we arrived. All four of us ended up at another couple's house, where we and yet another couple, stayed a few nights. UK was shut down, so Greg didn't have to go to his law school classes + nobody had to work. Except me. I worked in Richmond + the ice didn't go south of the Kentucky River.

So, anyway, after reminiscing, Greg went back out, this time to check on some friends. He planned to tell them that we have gas logs that are heating one room really well while keeping other rooms from being completely chilled.

12:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 28
It's crazy to me that the only way to check on people is to get out. But, strangely enough, the roads aren't that bad, unless, of course, you have to have a downed power line or tree in your path.

Greg's aunt Jennifer came by because she had talked to Greg's parents (thanks to her office landline at MSU) + they asked her to check on us. Then Jaclyn came by to touch base. It's definitely an adventure right now, but it may get old if we really don't have power for 3-5 days. And there isn't water, which is the priority.

5:15 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 28
We're out at my in-laws' house, where things are "normal." Charles, Angela + their kids have been out since Tuesday because they lost power before The Ice Storm really came. The kids are playing. Peggy is cooking. And when I flip a light switch, the light really comes on. The generator is definitely a luxury on a day like this. They have phone service, but it's limited to outgoing local calls + anyone who can manage to get through. I know my mom probably knows what is going on, but I sure would like to check in with her.

10:40 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 28
I'm writing by the light of my battery-powered book light, but only because Cate is snoring in a crib in the same room. Peggy + Gary have electricity! And a back-up generator in case it goes out again. It came back on during our game of Trivial Pursuit: 1990s Edition. Our friends Sabrina + Nate, who have weathered more hurricanes than ice storms while living in south Florida, ended up out here after dinner.

I finally got a message to my mom -- through Greg's brother, John, who called from Illinois. And while our phone service is limited, I did get online + updated my Facebook status, thus reconnecting with the world, at least momentarily.

9:40 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 29
We woke up this morning with the electricity still running, thankfully, but lacking phone, cable + Internet. Still, we're warm + comfortable.

Greg + Gary went into to Murray to check on our house + some friends. Nate + Sabrina were headed to Clarksville, where Nate was going to do his strength coach duties with the MSU team was practicing at Austin Peay's gym.

4 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 29
Greg + I just got back from a drive farther into Henry County, Tennessee, because I wanted to call Mom. Our cell phones don't work at my in-laws' house, even when there aren't telephone issues in Murray. We got a signal just past the gas station we filled up at, so we pulled off on a little country cemetery road. (Filling up wasn't absolutely necessary, but without electricity in Murray, we figured we'd get gas while we could.) While talking to my mom, I saw a cow licking the ice off a tree branch. I sent a couple texts while Greg made a couple calls. Then we went back to our warm hub of isolation.

11:30 a.m. Friday, Jan. 30
Our friends Daniel + Kayla (and their 2-year-old daughter Malaika) came out yesterday before dinner. Having them has been fun. Cate + Malaika have played so well together.

Greg + Peggy have both separately been in town today, returning with reports that water is back + power is gradually returning.

The sun is shining + the ice covering the trees is melting. We're just talking about how we probably need to be cautious of possible flooding!

7:46 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 31
Last night we had a lazy, quiet night. My in-laws left town yesterday afternoon to visit my brother-in-law + his wife in Illinois. Charles + Angela took their kids out for pizza, and we just stay here. I made some phone calls. We watched "Henry Pool Is Here," a quirky but entertaining moving that we rented from Red Box before the storm + still have in our possession. Then I caught up with some online communications, finished "Reclaiming Nick" bu Susan May Warren + started "Taming Rafe," the second book in the same romantic suspense series.

We don't have a plan yet today, but Greg hopes it involves watching Kentucky basketball + I hope it involves sleeping in my own bed, even though I'm beyond grateful for our accommodations.

Pictures to come later, hopefully soon, when we're back home ...

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

19 hours

My 25-year-old sister + her husband are moving to Palmerston North, New Zealand. TODAY. Zac is going to get his doctorate in physiology at Massey University, and has a scholarship to do so. Cassie is along for the once-in-a-lifetime ride.

We spent the past weekend in Louisville to get a little more time with them, but Cassie didn't want her picture taken because she hadn't fixed her hair. If you know her, this won't surprise you. She told me to just use the one of us from Hilton Head ... seven, almost eight, months ago. (So I did ...) Yes, her hairstyle has changed since then, but you maybe have seen that in our family portrait.

Anyway, I'm going to get a Web cam so we can Skype. (Isn't it interesting how these technology companies go from proper nouns to verbs?!) But I'm really going to be thankful for e-mail, digital photos + Facebook. Cassie + Zac also are planning to start a blog.

We have had trouble figuring out the time difference, but I found this clock converter and world clock that was helpful. It's one the other side of the International Date Line, so this afternoon here is tomorrow there. New Zealand is 19 hours ahead of me, here in the central time zone.

I know Zac is going to take good care of my little sister. But I'm still going to miss them.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Jax @ 6 months

Babies are especially fun when they start noticing themselves + things around them. At 6 months old, that's my nephew Jaxson these days. Learning the joys of sitting up, he slobbered all over that mirror + loved every minute of it!

The Tale of First-Borns

Think of all the stereotypes you know about first-borns: Bossy. Independent. Organized. Peace-keeper. Responsible.

Yep, that's me. Sometimes to a fault.

But falling into those first-born tendencies is how I would help my mom when we had my grandparents or other family over for dinner. I'd set the table and take drink orders. Related to the kitchen, I also put away the groceries, probably because I liked restoring order in small ways.

Watching my 5-year-old niece this weekend was like looking into a time-warp mirror. Twice, Milla wanted to set the table and carry people's drinks (for which she solicited orders) to their places.

Also, now that Milla has a brother (6 months old now) and a younger cousin in Cate, she has plenty of opportunities to be bossy and the know-it-all of the group. I'm sure my brother and sister can look at her in those moments and see another version of me.


I was so ready to leave home. I'd been to week-long summer camps and a few vacations with my friend's family. But I hadn't really been away from home. Like do-my-own-laundry, think-about-my-own-meals away from home. Yet somehow I thought I was ready.

Along with a going-away care package that surely included a mix tape, I gave my boyfriend a Kentucky map with the route from Goshen to Murray highlighted. Our last date before I moved 242 miles away included seeing "G.I. Jane" at Oldham 8 and walking around downtown La Grange. It wasn't odd we went to the movies; we saw lots of movies together. But even though we both lived in Oldham County, we hardly ever hung out there. The grass was greenier to the southwest, in Louisville.

I exchanged the familiarity of the place I'd lived basically my whole life for a dorm room and my first e-mail address at a college I chose because it had a reputable journalism program and was as far away as possible while still maintaining in-state tuition. I left my parents, 15-year-old brother, 13-year-old sister and boyfriend who would do anything in the world for me, including change my car's oil, for a town that I had visited once. My closest friend since fourth grade was going to the University of Kentucky (although she and another friend would end up at Murray ...) and my neighbor-turned-best-friend had one more year of high school. I knew my roommate and one family.

Yet somehow I just went.

I'm sure I was nervous. But I know I was determined. I was ready, even though I had absolutely no idea what to expect.

I ended up making friends, breaking up with my boyfriend over the phone (an unwise means in retrospect), appreciating my family in new ways, working at The Murray State News ... and that was just the first semester. The next semester I convinced two friends that Murray was better than Lexington (I know, crazy, huh?!), went out for ice cream (in February!) with a boy who would become my husband and made more new friends.

Taking risks often means something daring, like jumping out of a plan or moving 16* time zones away to New Zealand. But taking a risk that took me the length of the Western Kentucky parkway was daring for an 18-year-old girl who resisted change. And, turns out, these moments leading up to the risk prepared me for the journey and -- along with other people and places since -- influenced who I am today.

EDITED: New Zealand is actually 19 hours ahead of us here in the Central Time zone. I think the International Date Line caused some confusion. Even so, that's not really the point. Rather the morale of the whole story is the journey through life is made up for people + places that will always matter on some level because they helped me become who I am. Still, I strive for accuracy!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Thursday's Thought

Just write ...

I don't remember when I decided I like to write. But I never minded taking notes in school or at meetings as a reporter. I still remember a writing assignment we had in Mrs. Spainhour's seventh-grade English class: Write a personal narrative without using the word "I." Writing content pieces in classes other than English never bothered me; I could even write about a math problem. After being part of The Clarion Colonel staff my junior and senior years of high school, I decided I wanted to be a journalist.

So I went to Murray State University, as far as I could go from Oldham County without leaving the state, and majored in print journalism. I never thought about changing my major and worked for The Murray State News all four years. I thought about being a copy editor, but reporting jobs seemed more available, so I interned at the Lexington Herald-Leader after I had my bachelor's degree in hand, then took a nine-month temporary job at The Associated Press. I worked at The Richmond Register before we moved back to Murray, and I spent four years at the Murray Ledger & Times.

Yeah, it reads like a resume.

But I realized today these past 16 months mark the first time I haven't had an assignment to complete. Since learning to write on that lined paper to guide my letters, I haven't had an essay to write for a teacher or a newspaper article to write for an editor.

Please do not read I miss my job. I don't.

But I seem to miss writing.

For me, there is a freedom in telling stories. There is the possibility to inform + inspire with the same piece. A story can make someone cry or make someone laugh. Maybe at the same time. People turn to newspapers (albeit less since the Internet has come to rule our lives) to find out what happened, what's going to happen, who died and who won.

Since leaving the newspaper to hang out with my daughter, I've volunteered to write some press releases for our state senator who ran for re-election (and won!) and to help promote some local Red Cross fund-raisers. I wrote our annual Christmas letter in October then tweaked it in December because I am a nerd and like having a writing prompt. And, yes, I blog + write notes on Facebook.

Sometimes I read things (about motherhood or television, or even in an e-mail from a friend) and think, "I really wish I'd written that." I have my favorite journalists bookmarked on my computer + read their stuff regularly. But somehow I'm waiting to be inspired.

Maybe I should just write. When I wrote for a paycheck, my best stuff always seemed to come when I was busy, as if the words flowed better when I just kept going. So maybe I need to apply that principle now. Just write. If you want to read it, good. But if you don't, I should still write. For me.

Then maybe I'll come up with something profound. Or funny. Or worth telling.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Lunch with Daddy

Cate + I really like when Greg comes home for lunch, which is usually three or four days a week. It's a good time to catch up with what's been going on + what we have planned. Today Cate managed some pre-nap cuddles while Greg read her a book. Notice she wanted her bear with her!

Sharing with Baby

Cate has a blanket (which has been calling "this," like that's what it is called!) that she sleeps with. We have a back-up blanket that is similar for when "this" needs to be washed, but she can tell the difference and definitely prefers the original. The last couple of days, she's wrapped her baby up in her blanket. She did it again today at lunch, and then brought the baby to me so we all could cuddle. Greg actually realized it would make a cute picture + got the camera out of my purse! Go, Daddy!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

159 words *

While I was changing Cate's diaper last night, she heard Greg turn on the TV in the other room. She heard the cheers of a basketball game, so she said, "ballgame." I realized that's one of only two compound words she says. (The other is "bathroom," as in the room in the house, not the way we sometimes use it as a verb.) She is starting to put two words together -- "sit down," "down, please." So I told Greg this mommy revelation of mine, and we started making a list of all her words, the ones she says regularly and in the right context because really she'll try to repeat anything ...

Bailey (who is a babysitter's name as well as Grandmom's dog ...)
Jac (short for “Jaclyn”)
My (short for “Milla”)
Nor (short for “Norah”)




I want …
mere (short for "come here," and usually meaning she wants someone to pick her up!)
night night
thank you

bop (meaning “laptop”)
mote (short for “remote”)
pick (goes with the guitar, you know …)
tar (short for “guitar”)

hop hop
pound (She makes it explode sometimes too …)
wh-off (meaning “wipe off”)

snack (specifically for fruit snacks)

chair (also means carseat)





* Admittedly, I've revised this once (from 157 to 159) since I originally posted it this afternoon. I can't promise this is her entire vocabulary, but it's a close as I'll probably get!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Peanut Butter

Cate has only had peanut butter three times. Each time this has happened in a matter of seconds after she ate it, but then it goes away after 20-30 minutes. I'm just going to hold off on peanut butter until after her 2-year-old check-up with the doctor in May.

And the thing about today was I ordered her a grilled cheese, but YaYa's Island (an indoor play place) was crowded and the concession cashier was really not really functioning at an effective pace, so I didn't feel like requesting they make us a new sandwich after we waited longer than probably necessary for this one. I just figured since Cate hadn't had peanut butter in months, maybe it would be OK. Not so much.

Brown Bear, Brown Bear ...

"Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?" by Bill Martin Jr. is one of Cate's favorite books. She'll pick it off her bookshelf and say, "Bear." It's the book that inspired her fish face. Her other favorite book is about trucks.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Thursday's Thought

I've learned a lot about community since moving to Murray in August 1997. College is a kind of community that is unlike any other phase of life. It's a transition. Yes, I feel like I really started growing up in college. But I also know college is where I gained independence from what I had always known and where I learned the value of interdependence on people. I made some life-long friends in college who grew along side of me. Since then we've gotten married + some of us have kids.

Of course, I also have my family who has known my awkward and ugly phases better than anyone + continued love me all the same. I've grown closer to my brother + sister since I moved away, giving them space at home. I call my mom regularly to talk about something or nothing.

These little communities of friends + family sustain me, influence me, encourage me and amuse me in so many wonderful ways.

But then there's a larger community in which I live. Calloway County, Kentucky, where Murray is the biggest town, is home. Our Pier 1, Hallmark and Dawahare's have closed in recent years, and Goody's isn't far behind. But we've gotten an Applebee's and Tumbleweed since I graduated college in 2001. We have a couple cute gift shops. And I know my way up + down the aisles at Kroger, thanks to grocery shopping trips to another Kroger with my mom as a kid.

We enjoy our church, like going to the two parks on days warmer than the below-freezing temperatures like today, wish there were sidewalks down our street, appreciate the convenience of heavy traffic really not being much traffic and realize we do have a choice between Subway + Quizno's. I could use a Target + a hairdresser. But we're only 45 minutes from Paducah, two hours from Nashville, three hours from St. Louis and 3 1/2 hours from Louisville. Not bad for a town that is supposedly in the middle of nowhere in far western Kentucky.

And, you know, I wouldn't trade my life right now in this place for anything. Greg + I were driving through campus tonight reminiscing about the conveniences of our college community, and I told him that I wouldn't want to go back to college. I loved being there, but I was ready to move on. I moved on to Louisville, then Lexington, and wound up back in Murray.

But it's different this time.

My friends live in houses, with garages, and their kids. Not down the hall. Jaclyn + I bundled up our kids earlier today + met for lunch. It takes a little more work than saying, "Hey, let's go eat." But it's worth it. She knows me. She knows how much I missed Greg when he was studying in Germany the semester after we went on our first date even though we technically were taking a break. She told me about the night she started falling in love with the guy who would become her husband. We planned our weddings the same summer. We had trouble having babies. Then she had one, a precious boy, and gave me all the hope I needed to wait on Cate.

Another part of my life is involvement in our bigger community, the one that on paper may lack some retail outlets and restaurants. In addition to being involved at our church, I volunteer with the American Red Cross as a board member for our local chapter. Today we kicked off our annual fund-raising campaign with a breakfast that informed local businesses, governments, churches and civic groups how they could help.

I know lots of people in the community because I used to walk up to them with a notebook in my hand + ask them on-the-record questions. But, you see, we talked off the record too. I developed relationships with people. When I'm at things like the Red Cross breakfast, I see some of these people. This morning a couple people asked me about the newspaper: Did you miss it? Have you written anything for the Ledger lately? Are you working now?

No. I don't miss it. My daughter is way too much fun.

No. I've freelanced for the Ledger once since Sept. 14, 2007.

No. I'm not working now. I'm volunteering. I happen to have my camera because I like to take pictures with it and I figured the Red Cross would like some photos.

I'm involved in this community. This is where I grew up. This is where I live. This is where we're raising our daughter. We want to do what we can. Even if that's snapping a few pictures + writing some press releases.

around here

We've been congested around here. I, specifically, have been congested since New Year's Day. I remember that precisely because I initially blamed it on staying up too late on New Year's Eve. Turns out it must be more than that, because I've slept plenty since then! It's gone from having a head that feels like it may explode to having Kleenex in the necessity category to talking with a scratchy voice to that feel that there's something stuck but a cough doesn't really help. At least that's how I've been. Cate, on the other hand, can't really tell me exactly, but I've observed a congestion turn into a runny nose. She's been such a good sport about me wiping her nose!

And I've lost count of the number of times she's watched "Finding Nemo," at the beginning. She's going to know the first 25 minutes so much better than the last hour because she doesn't watch it all. And I usually just restart it. I guess next time I could start it in the middle.

It's not like Cate has been sick, just not 100 percent herself. She's still managed to amuse me with all the ways she's becoming a big girl. Like using a straw. She's liked drinking from straws for quite awhile, but it's just to the point we let her hold the cut (even with a lid!) when it's not her spill-proof sippy cup. But she's managing well ...

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


I used to think January was a boring month. As much as I like new starts + fresh slates + new calendars, it seemed like a bore following Thanksgiving + Christmas + all the preparations between.

But then, several years ago, January became a pivotal month in my life ...

Jan. 23, 2002 - Greg proposed.

Jan. 28, 2004 - I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes.

Jan. 20, 2006 - I was diagnosed with endometriosis, one of the complications in why we couldn't/haven't gotten pregnant, after a minimally-invasive laparoscopy surgery.

Jan. 18, 2007 - We met Cate's birth mother for the first time at a doctor's office in Bloomington, Ind., and saw Cate for the first time on an ultrasound.

new toys

I've got a pile of December pictures to scrap, and I'm enjoying a new toy. These colored inks are an accessory for the Cricut machine that I love, especially to cut out titles. I like how red around the edges helps the white letters pop. "Refusing Santa" is also cut out using my new font, Opposites Attract.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

cousins + basketball + time together

My family (meaning my mom, sister, brother-in-law, brother, niece and nephew ...) came to visit this weekend. The trip was initially planned because Cassie + Zac are moving to New Zealand, and I felt the need to get some time in with my sister! So we picked the weekend that Murray State (mine + Greg's alma mater) played Austin Peay (Cassie + Zac's alma mater, where she played soccer + he played basketball).

But first we gave Milla her birthday present. She turned 5 on Jan. 6.

In the middle of opening her present, Milla decided Cate needed a sticker. So from then on, Cate was much more interested in the Curious George sticker than Milla's birthday present.

Then Saturday was game time ...

See, it was a sea of gold with little bits of red, courtesy my Austin Peay-supporting sister + brother-in-law (and mother who joined their side!). My brother remained neutral. Here's a close-up ...

Milla enjoyed her first basketball. She was ready to go with about 2 minutes left in the game. But it was a back-and-forth ending, so there was no leaving early for us basketball fans! Austin Peay ended up winning by 1 point, if you're interested.

Cate had fun too ...

She sported Zac's red hat and even sat with the opposing fans! (I think they were all interested in the guys walking in hamster-like balls through an obstacle course at half time!)

We also enjoyed just hanging out with each other this weekend ...

Friday, January 9, 2009

Welcome home, Racers!

We were glad the Racers were back home! There were no home men's basketball games in December, so Greg + I were starting to go through a little withdrawal. Although the game ended up being closer than it should have been, the Racers pulled out a win over Tennessee State last night.

As you can see, Cate also had a good time. And she even has a new-to-her sweatshirt that fits her great, thanks to a friend.

Ethne enjoyed the game too ...

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Thursday's Thought

I've never been one for plants. But I like the plants I have. I have an amaryllis that a friend gave me for Christmas, this aloe plant from my sister-in-law and two philodendrons, one from my sister-in-law and one Jodi gave me about five years ago.

(And, just so you know, I haven't killed the philodendron in all these years, which means it's my kind of plant! But I completely blanked on what it was called, so I had to ask.)

So, for claiming not to be a plant person, I really like these additions to my kitchen. I need to find the amaryllis a permanent home, but it is growing well so I'm a little afraid to move it.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Say cheese?

Cate looks like she's asking, "So I say cheese now?" This was the best of three tries, but, hey, I'm in a picture. That's my sister-in-law Angela. We celebrated Elijah's fifth birthday with lunch at Mr. Gatti's today.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

20 months

Dear Cate,

You're really growing into such a big girl. You keep Daddy and me laughing on a regular basis and amaze us with everything you're learning. Your vocabulary has exploded, with a new word pretty much every day.

And you give the best kisses. That picture above is a frequent face you make. You'll be across the room and decide you want to give kisses, so you'll start with this face and move toward whoever is the lucky recipient of your kiss. And you go for the lips.

You like horses, purses, balls and dolls. You dance -- by shaking your head from side to side and usually squating while moving your body from side to side -- whenever you hear music, rather it's my CD, a commercial on TV, the marching band at a ballgame or a song on something you're watching. "Finding Nemo" is at the top of your list, and you request it by sitting in your chair and saying "fish."

You ask me, Daddy and Gran-Gran to take off our coats -- "off, off" -- when we come in the house. And you want yours off too. If you have socks on, you want shoes on, otherwise, it's bare feet in the house.

You can say "diaper" and tell us when you've pooped. I listen to friends tell stories about potty training your friends and I wonder if I'll know when it's time to start.

Since we were at Grandmom's for Christmas, you've often said "Cassie" and "Zac." I'm assuming you want them to come play. I'm glad you learned their names before they moved to New Zealand, so you can say them again when your aunt and uncle come to visit you here this coming weekend.

Daddy asked me not too long ago when we were going to stop telling people what a blessing your adoption process was for us. I told him I don't think I ever will because you are a blessing and that process is part of your story, our story. Not a day goes by that I don't thank God for your birthmother and praise God for fitting you with us perfectly.

You have blessed us -- and so many others -- these past 20 months. I love watching you walk around, lips puckered, loving life. And each day I'll take your hand and see where you take us next. So far this is the best adventure yet.

I love you.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Happy New Year!

We had some friends over to celebrate the new year. We ate, talked and played games. "The Game of Things" is the new group game around here, thanks to the Tompkinses' Christmas present to Greg. Our tradition that started as a party with college friends has expanded to include other friends + children. (Although, my child was asleep by 7:30 p.m.)

More pictures are on Facebook.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Thursday's Thought

Happy 2009! In honor of the new year, I have a new project. Each Thursday I'm going to post a picture. Any picture. Whatever I'm seeing. Or doing. Or thinking. And I might have something to say, unless I really let the picture speak for itself.

This quote that is now in my kitchen was a Christmas gift from a dear friend who understands the joy is indeed in the little moments. It's been a goal of mine for awhile to appreciate the details of everyday life. For me, that usually means documenting them.

So there you have Thursday's Thought. Welcome to my new project.