Thursday, May 28, 2009

Thursday's Thought

Life is definitely adventure. Some days more than others.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

801 miles

Continuing with the busy month that is May, we took a road trip to Louisville ... and around. We left Murray on Friday afternoon for Louisville (225 miles one way). Laine cut my hair Saturday morning in Prospect (44 miles round trip). We went to a wedding in Vine Grove/Ft. Knox (91 miles round trip) on Saturday afternoon and returned to Louisville to visit with my aunt who was in town from New Jersey. On Sunday morning, we headed to Newport (216 miles round trip), just across the Ohio from Cincinnati, to check out the aquarium there. We got back in Murray (225 miles) on Sunday night and had a busy Monday here with friends and family.

But, first, Cate and I went out to the lake to a friend's house on Thursday night. Other than the bug injuring my eye, we had a good time ...

I love this view, coming around the corner on Ky. 68, heading toward the lakes from Murray.

Isn't that beautiful? That's the view from Lucas' back porch overlooking Lake Barkley.

Then for the road trip ...

Cate unpacked her clothes from the pink backpack and stuffed her stuffed animals in her bag + my purse. A few of them made the trip, but not most of them!

That Greg + I outside the wedding reception at Fort Knox. I got my hair cut quite a bit!

We enjoyed the Newport Aquarium ...

Then outside the aquarium, there are stores + restaurants + men on stilts, at least when we were there. Cate wasn't so sure about the man on stilts, but he made her a turtle bracelet (and Milla a poodle).

And Milla tipped him using her penguin pincher souvenir from the aquarium ...

Pardon the fact I was holding the camera vertically. When I realized I was, I figured I could just rotate the video file. Apparently not so much ...


There are a few more photos in my Facebook album.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Unsolicited Compassion

"Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience." Colossians 3:12

These characteristics are nearly impossible to teach with words. They're definitely learned in ordinary life lessons. I was thinking about these things as I was dealing with the effects of a bug flying in my eye, and causing a minor injury to my right eye last night. All this during the first barbecue at the lake of the summer.

I was standing outside talking to some friends and I felt a bug fly into my eye. I blinked much and tried to help the bug find its way out. I'm not sure if/when it came out, but, goodness, my eye was irritated. After rescuing my contact, my friends had plenty of suggestions ...

... Flush it with water. Check. No real success.
... "Let's look again," said with a flashlight in hand. Check. Yep, nothing visible.
... Hold an ice cube on it. Check. Wrapped it in a paper towel. Applied pressure. Temporary relief.
... Wear an eye patch. Um, nobody had one.
... Tape cold paper towel to face. Attempted. Medical tape wasn't strong enough to hold with any necessary pressure.
... Try duct tape. Um, nope. I draw the line there.

So I hung out with my friends + attempted to watch my 2-year-old daughter while holding a paper towel against my right eye. I'd try to blink. And it hurt. But gradually, it watered often and I was able to not feel irritable aching.

Good thing because I needed to drive home. (Greg was at a meeting, missing out on our summer fun.) So I put my contact back in, and I could see ... and the irritability was gone. I hung out a little longer, this time able to see clearly my friends. Then I drove the 30 minutes home from the lake, better cleaned off Cate's skinned knee and dirty feet, put her to bed and then took my contacts out.

Ouch.

Seriously.

I wasn't expecting for my right eye to water, hurt and want to close all the same time. Again. I guess I re-irritated it when I took my contact hurt. I was glad to be home, where no bugs were threatening my eye and I could wear my glasses. But I was once again holding a cold rag on my right eye.

After getting comfortable with my eye pressed against my pillow, I feel asleep looking forward to morning, when my eye would open normally. Other than a little inconvenient (but, thankfully, brief) awakening at 3:45 a.m., I slept all night. Only to wake up disappointed because my eye wasn't functioning like I anticipated.

After Cate and I were up, she asked for some milk while I was sitting down, tears running down my cheeks. Some of the tears were a lasting result of the stupid bug that irritated my eye; others were out of frustration because I really thought my eye would feel better.

"Cate, you'll have to wait just a minute. Momma's eye hurts."

"Kiss it."

"Sure," as I removed my glasses.

{She kissed it.} "Better?"

"Much." OK, so maybe it really wasn't any better, but my heart melted in that moment because my 2-year-old daughter showed me compassion. Completely unsolicited by anyone. All on her own.

Cate must have noticed tears were still streaming down both sides of my face because she said, "Momma sad."

"Yes, a little. But I'll be OK. Thanks, sweet girl."

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Thursday's Thought

There are often moments in our ordinary days that melt my heart. At the top of the list are definitely unsolicited kisses and hearing the sweet words "Love you, momma." Then there's sleeping little ones. As I've seen Cate grow taller, verbalize more complete thoughts and use her imagination to have conversations with her dolls, I've realized she doesn't seem as grown up when she's sleeping. Something about seeing her sleep takes me back to when she was a newborn and would sleep anywhere.

I was blow drying my hair (I know, really, not a ponytail ...) while Cate was watching "Finding Nemo" late Wednesday morning. Then as while I was in the kitchen gathering some things for a lunch meeting I had coming up, I realized Cate was being awfully quiet ... so quiet I needed to check on her. This picture above shows you what I found. She had positioned that pillow + covered herself up with her favorite blanket. And, yes, she found a place just her size among the clothes I had been folding earlier in the morning.

Add that to the list of moments that melt my heart.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

1979

May 1979

I've been going through things, partially for a yard sale I'm having in June and partially because I have the desire to get rid of clutter. I was making good progress with household items + baby clothes, then I got distracted by a box of random memorabilia ... notes, cards, ticket stubs, journals, postcards and pictures. And among all of that, I found a 1979 calendar on which my mom had jotted down things about my first few months.

I was born May 3, 1979, but I learned from this calendar that my due date was April 29. And, actually, May is missing from the calendar and June's notes are pretty sparse. I'm sure Mom was busy with her first born! Here are some notes from the following months ...

July 12 (10 weeks old) -- holds self up
Aug. 3 (three months old) -- pictures at Sears
Aug. 9 -- noticing toys
Aug. 11 -- turned over in bed
Aug. 13 -- turned over third time
Aug. 18 -- rolling over
Aug. 22 -- thumb sucking
Sept. 3 (four months old) -- playing with toes
Sept. 4 -- 25 1/2 inches long; 16 lbs. 12 oz.
Sept. 8 -- baptism
Sept. 18 -- scoots
Sept. 19 -- rocking back and forth
Oct. 10 -- holding self to side on one arm
Oct. 18 -- fell down steps

November and December are missing, probably because the calendar is 30 years old.

I called Mom to tell her that I found the calendar and we talked about how things seem so major at the time they're happening, but how our minds become filled with so many other things and those once-big things become blurry. Like me being four days late. At the time, Mom was probably frustrated with not having a baby yet. But now, 30 years later, four days is nothing. Although she did say she remembers it getting hot. Good thing she wasn't having an August baby, huh?

Finding this calendar has made me thankful I document Cate's life on this blog + in scrapbooks. Here's to hoping that holds true for whenever we're blessed with Baby No. 2.

Now, back to sorting through memorabilia ...

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Balls, Animals and A Car ... Oh My!

It's never too early for some ball practice, right? The little basketball goal was a birthday present from Kevin, Laine, Milla and Jaxson.
_____

We took a road trip through Illinois, and slightly into Missouri, this past weekend. Cate + I had lunch with sister-in-law Christine and then went to a shower for a friend who is adopting while Greg + his brother John went to a Cardinals game. We all met back up for dinner and a game of Settlers of Catan, of which I was the victorious one!

Then we went to the St. Louis Zoo (which is free!) on Sunday. The weather was perfect -- 60s and sunny -- while we were there in the morning.

As you can see, Cate is rather fond of the animals that star in "Madagascar"! (OK, well, I guess there's really not an elephant in Madgascar, but those are among her favorites with the hippos, zebras and giraffes.) Plus the "brown bear" from her favorite book ...

_____

Then the fun continued Monday when Jodi came to visit from Lexington, bearing gifts ...

And you know how much she likes to drive!

There are more pictures in my Facebook album, if you're interested in seeing the assembly of the car and more zoo animals.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

this week's news blurbs

* Cate had her 2-year check-up appointment yesterday. She weighs 28 pounds 2 ounces (almost the 75 percentile) and is 36.5 inches tall (just above the 95 percentile). The nurse practitioner said many babies are long, but if they're still tall when they turn 2, then they're probably on their way to being tall.

* We chose an adoption agency, through which we hope to connect with a birth mom. It's called Gladney Center of Adoption and is based in Fort Worth, TX. After some research online and telephone calls to three agencies, I was leaning toward this one.

One detail that made me hesitant about Gladney was the all-day orientation we'd have to attend in Fort Worth. While looking over the notes I took during a phone conversation with someone from Gladney, I realize she told me the orientations were scheduled the third Friday of each month. Turns out, we already have a trip planned to San Antonio in July ... and the third Friday of July falls at the end of our vacation. So, if things go as expected, we'll go to an orientation in Fort Worth then, and even have childcare available because we're going to Texas with Greg's parents, brothers and sisters-in-law.

I like it when a plan comes together ... especially when it's really two plans intersecting! I think about this and smile because I believe God knew what he was doing when he put Texas in our summer plans.

* I decided to have a yard sale in June to raise money for our adoption. I realize a yard sale isn't going to pay for the adoption, but, hey, something is better than nothing. Stay tuned for more details on that.

* I started reading "8th Confession" by James Patterson. I must say, reading about Lindsay Boxer, Cindy Thomas, Claire Washburn and the gang makes me miss the show that was based on these characters. It also makes me wonder why some shows make it and others don't.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Cate's House II

Most of you have seen Cate's house, but for her birthday she got a second house ...

I decided this one should go in her bedroom; I just didn't realize how large it was going to be! Greg got it set up last night.

I moved around her bedroom furniture, so it would fit. Her desk fits nicely in the house.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Celebrating Cate!

Cate turned 2 on Wednesday, and we celebrated with a party on Saturday. Thankfully, the sunshine decided showing up for the party was a good idea!

Didn't my friend Courtney do a fabulous job on the cake?! Cate said: "Eat Nemo cake." That's what we did, and everyone enjoyed it!

Poppy (my grandpa) and Papaw (Greg's grandpa) spent some time chatting on the swing.

Then it was time for the presents ...

Cate opened a few, but ...

... I opened most of them! She was really into those two pink phones, and nothing else seemed all that important. At least until she got sunglasses, a necklace and bracelet to go with them ...

Back to that delicious cake ...

Doesn't everyone want some Cheetoes with their cake?!

I was really excited that my family (Mom, Dad, Kevin, Laine, Milla, Jax and Poppy) got to come to the party, although we missed having Cassie and Zac with us! We had breakfast at Cracker Barrel this morning, and then I thought I said good-bye to them, but Mom, Dad and Poppy ended up staying around for my surprise party.

I'm sure Saturday was kind of a blur for Cate, but she took some time to read her cards this morning before church!

More pictures from the party are posted on Facebook, in the album that keeps growing with birthday-related parties!

Surprise!

I'm not easy to surprise because I ask many questions and makes lots of plans. But Greg (along with tight lips from my family, his family and our close friends ...) did it. He surprised me with a 30th birthday party on Mother's Day.

This video nearly brought me to tears ...


Add to that a sweet note from Mom in a book she gave me, 30 memories my long-time friend Katie wrote on pink notecards, the note my sister sent from New Zealand that Mom passed along, 30 things my mother-in-law wrote on paper butterflies in a beautiful wooden keepsake butterfly box ... and, really, I can't believe I didn't have tears of being so thankful for my life streaming down my face.

Oh, and remember my list of 30 songs on the soundtrack to my life? Greg put them on CD, so I really do have a soundtrack to celebrate this season of my life!

Let me back up ... I had said good-bye to Mom, Dad and Poppy after breakfast this morning at Cracker Barrel. (They were in town for Cate's birthday party ... which is a whole other post!) We went on to church and then planned to go to my in-laws' house to celebrate Mother's Day. When we pulled in the driveway, I realized there were more cars than I was expecting. Then I noticed among the cars was Mom's Honda CRV. They hadn't left!

And NOBODY let on all weekend what was going on. Even after Katie and Brad left Cate's party earlier than I expected and I texted Katie to tell her how sad I was that we didn't get to spend much time together. We made plans to see each other today ... I just didn't realize it would be at my own party! In addition to my family, Greg's family and Katie, who is like family, a few other friends came.

I found out later that Greg had been planning this for MONTHS! He'd been coordinating with my mom, his mom and my two best friends. Apparently, it started out as lunch after church but became something different when he realized it was Mother's Day too and my family was going to be in town for Cate's party.

So, yeah, look at my hat! Mom brought it for me, so I made her pose for a picture!

This is Jaclyn and I, and none of our kids are in this picture, but, actually, Cate is sitting on my lap, eating cake. Holly decided it needed to be just us moms in this shot! Oh, and, yes, the cake ...

More pictures are on Facebook. And, just as a reminder, even if you don't belong to Facebook, you can look at these albums I link.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Thursday's Thought

We've had a great birthday season in our house. Thanks for a birthday wishes that came electronically and in the old-fashioned mail.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

We have this hope ...

God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope offered to us may be greatly encouraged. We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain. Hebrews 6:18-19

"A Woman's Heart" -- the Beth Moore Bible study I'm currently doing -- is really speaking to my heart. I find myself jotting down so many notes notes during the video sessions each week and highlighting many truths during the weekly homework.

For those of you unfamiliar with the study, it's about the Israelites building the Tabernacle as God outlined so he can dwell among them. Beth Moore does such a fabulous job of relating those Old Testaments moments to how we can know God dwells among us today. Like the instructions God gave Moses for the Tabernacle, God makes order out of the details in ours lives. Thankfully, we don't have to make sacrifices at the altar like the Israelites did, but we can still experience the intimacy the priest knew behind the curtain that separated the Most Holy Place from the rest of the Tabernacle.

With all of that said, I love the verses above. And, more importantly, I love how God is anchoring me in his hope. Not every season of live is somewhere we want to stay. But that's OK. God didn't intend for us to stay the same. He intends us for us to be transformed from the inside out. (One of my favorite truths: Don't become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You'll be changed from the inside out ... Romans 12:2 {The Message})

So this season of my life involves raising a 2-year-old (officially, today!) and filing out paperwork in hopes of adopting a second child. And, you know, I wouldn't want to be anywhere else. But, with that said, I have this incredible hope that we are going to have a second child. I mean, I really haven't doubted it, but now I'm in it, and I am experiencing that peace that passes all understanding. (OK, another favorite: Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-)

God reassured me of this hope last night during our Bible study, and he added it today while meeting with our social worker from the agency updating our home study. (And on Cate's birthday! What a way to go into the future, reminiscing about the beautiful story from our past.) I started researching placement agencies, and instead of feeling overwhelmed by the process and fees, I felt like I was being led in a direction for our family. We'll have to see, as I have some more research to do, but it's really exciting to be in the middle of this. And knowing we're not alone in it.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Rainforest Cafe

Jaclyn had the fabulous idea to take the kids to Rainforest Cafe on Monday. There was a lot for them to look at ...

... including lots of fish that look like Dory.

There are more pictures in my Facebook album.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Celebrating 30!

The kids were excited we were taking the bus to Paducah for my birthday dinner at Olive Garden.

Thanks, John and Christine, for my Cardinals shirt!

We enjoyed dessert! Gary asked me if I wanted him to take another picture because he caught Greg mid-bite, but I told him it was better this way ... action shot! As you can see, Cate enjoyed it too!

Andes Mints were a hit too! In fact, Cate stole her daddy's mint!

Birthday surprise!

This group of girls (plus, Kim, who chose to take the picture!) gave me a picnic table for my birthday. It was a really great surprise because I'd been wanting one and had no idea they were granting my wish.

Go Fish!

We (OK, really, honestly, Greg ...) finally got Cate's new fish tank up and running ...

There are three fish in there -- two on the right side and one on toward the bottom left. We still need some rocks for aesthetic purposes, but they've survived their first 24 hours here.