Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Cate in the Box

... although I don't think that's what they had in mind with "Classic Child Carrier."

"My new brother Benjamin"

Even after 5 months, Cate often introduces Ben has "my new brother Benjamin." It's really sweet. And protective. And slightly possessive. I was joking the other day that she'll be 15, meaning he'll be 12 1/2, and she still be introducing him as her "new brother." Of course, she still calls our house, that we've lived in for six months, our "new house."

We'll talk to Ben. Or say, "Hey, Cate, Benjamin is talking to you." And she'll point out that he's not really talking and he'll be able to talk when he's bigger.

"When he's bigger." It's a popular phrase from my girl, who turns 3 next week. According to Cate, when Ben is bigger, he will ...

Talk.

Walk.

Give hugs.

Ride in the big red car at the grocery store.

The other day I was babbling to Ben about how he's getting bigger. And Cate corrected me: "He's not bigger yet, Mommy." No, I guess not. Not in the mind of an almost-3-year-old who sees the world as it is. Literally.

But, hey, he weighs 15 pounds. So he's indeed gotten bigger. At least a little.

Happy birthday! ... Almost!

Peggy is going on a cruise next week, so she'll be at some beautiful tropical location on Monday, when I turn 31, and some other sunny spot on Thursday, when Cate turns 3. So she organized a birthday lunch for us May birthdays today. Angela made this delicious chocolate cake. Notice the candles. 3 and 1. Nice work, Angela!

Side note: I asked Greg to get my camera. He did. Then handed it to me. Um, no, sorry, husband, you'll have to be the photographer at this party! So I'm glad he got this picture. I love it!

Worth Repeating Wednesday

If there are 43 "one anothers" in the New Testament -- serve one another, carry one another's burdens, confess to one another -- you can only do a couple of those in a church service. ... The question is, "Who do you call when your brother ODs on cocaine? If your mom is in the hospital, who comes and sits in the waiting room with you? When you cannot pay your rent, who do you go to and say please help me out?" That's your church.

--Rob Bell in an interview

Accomplished!

The truth is, we operate out of who we believe we are. And God needs us to be strong, because there is important work to be done. God isn't served when we can't own our own accomplishments. He doesn't want us arrogant, but He does want us confident.

I read that on Donald Miller's blog last night. It really struck me because too often I judge my day on the progress I see. But I'm called to a job right now that is more about long-term investments. Even so, in the daily life of motherhood, I find myself accomplishing many little things while investing in who my daughter and son are, as members of this family, as people in general.

Miller encouraged people to keep an on-going list of the day's accomplishments, which I realize that term alone is going to be defined differently by everyone. So I sat in bed last night and wrote, in no particular order, my "accomplishments," as a wife, mother and friend ...

* I made four doctor appointments for various members of my family.
* I folded the last of the nine loads of laundry I washed Sunday and Monday.
* I put away my basket of clothes, which I carried to my room with my almost-3-year-old daughter on my back.
* I made dinner for us and another family.
* I cut up lettuce for my lunch salad.
* I had lunch with my husband and daughter.
* I arranged childcare for Thursday morning, when I'm going to work at the office and get my hair cut. I then made plans for lunch at the park with friends because that's supposed to be the prettiest day this week.
* I walked to Jaclyn's house when there was a slight break in the rain.
* She then drove us all to the RSEC, where we walked some laps.
* I arranged childcare for one morning next week.
* I went to my diabetes check-up appointment.
* I talked to Jodi about "Fringe."
* I cleaned the kitchen. Twice.
* I read a chapter of "The Prince of Frogtown."
* I ordered a present online for a friend.
* I made some plans for the weekend.
* I scrapbooked two pages. And I thought about another one.
* I hugged Cate. She gave me kisses.
* I fed and snuggled with Ben. Multiple times.
* I helped Cate in the bathroom.
* I changed some diapers.
* I took my kids to Courtney's house before and hung out after my doctor's appointment.
* I talked to my mother-in-law, who was at home at night for the first time since my father-in-law died. That was three weeks ago.
* I skimmed the Ledger & Times.
* I chatted and texted with Holly.
* I held Cate after her nap and then had her help me in the kitchen.
* I made this list.
* I read some blogs and a devotion.
* I talked on the phone, emailed and talked in person with Courtney. Multiple times throughout the day.
* I laid on the floor with Ben and Cate.

And I laid in bed, thanking God for the day because despite a battle with my up-and-down blood sugar, I managed to be surrounded by all these accomplishments that somehow work together to make God's peace and love evident. I'm learning that accomplishment means something different each day, but I never want to forget that it means spending time with, being with and teaching these little people who depend on me as their mom.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Happy birthday!
This time to Greg and Bryan.

We celebrated Greg turning 32 and Bryan turning 30 with a combined party, during which games from the television show "Minute to Win It" were played. The storms Saturday afternoon and evening didn't ruin our fun, just moved it indoors, where there were four different sized George Foreman grills for our burgers and hot dogs. I took many pictures, which you can see in my Facebook album. But here are some ...

There were games. And a serious time keeper.

And friends.

And more games. And more friends.

And much rejoicing.

Friday, April 23, 2010

my view

I love this view out of my living room window. The best part is I didn't even have to plant those pretty pink bushes.

Ben @ 5 months

I told some friends Wednesday how uninterested Ben has been in rolling over then I laid him on his belly on a blanket. And what do you know ... he rolled over. Twice. From his belly to his back. Like he was a rolling over pro, even though it was his first time. Nice. I guess he just needed some friendly pressure because he's done it several times since. [Although he's still holding off on going from his back to his belly. One thing at a time, people!] That was two days before he officially was 5 months old. In addition to his new discovery that time on his tummy isn't so bad, Ben ...

* Sleeps 11 hours at night and takes 3-4 short naps during the day.

* Chews on anything. Surely a tooth will come through soon ...

* Giggles and screams happily often. Especially at Cate.

* Only used Prevacid for a couple weeks after starting it last month. He still spits up some, but less than we attempted medicine.

* Likes attention. I think that's the trait of a second-born child who often isn't alone!

* Is still called "my new brother" by Cate.

I'm telling you ...

... he's a happy guy ...

... who likes to chew. On anything.
____

Here are a couple more shots from this week ...

Thursday, April 22, 2010

"... you're made for more ..."


I have this song in my head today ...

You look around and staring back at you
Another wave of doubt
Will it pull you under
You wonder
What if I'm overtaken
What if I never make it
What if no one's there
Will you hear my prayer?
When you take that first step
Into the unknown
You know that he won't let you go

So what are you waiting for
What do you have to lose
Your insecurities
They try to hold to you
But you know you're made for more
So don't be afraid to move
Your faith is all it takes
And you can walk on the water too

So get out and let your fear fall to the ground
No time to waste, don't wait
And don't you turn around, and miss out on
Everything you were made for
Gotta be, I know you're not sure, more
So you play it safe, you try to run away
If you take that first step
Into the unknown
He won't let you go

So what are you waiting for
What do you have to lose
Your insecurities
They try to hold to you
But you know you're made for more
So don't be afraid to move
Your faith is all it takes
And you can walk on the water too

Step out, even when it's storming
Step out, even when you're broken
Step out, even when your heart is telling you,
telling you to give up
Step out, when your hope is stolen
Step out, you can't see where you're going
You don't have to be afraid
So what are waiting, what are you waiting for

So what are you waiting for
What do you have to lose
Your insecurities
They try to hold to you
But you know you're made for more
So don't be afraid to move
Your faith is all it takes
And you can walk on the water,
walk on the water too


"Walk on Water" by Britt Nicole

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Worth Repeating Wednesday

Mothers, don't let the world rob you of the incredible joy of a life invested in your children. They are your mark on the world. They are your legacy, your testimony, and your contribution to mankind.

--Voddie Baucham in "Family Driven Faith"

The LOST Recruits

The thing about my bittersweet countdown is the closer we get to the end, the more I have to say. Yet I'm counting down, meaning my self-imposed structure of "Lost" blogging is backfiring somewhat. I guess I had hoped I would get questions answered, thus have less to say. But that's not how it's working. We have gotten some questions answered [like, yes, the Man in Black/Smoke Monster did indeed inhabit Christian Shepherd's body], but the answers always make me thing about things, thus making me want to say more.

I should stop here to warn you: If you've not watch last night's episode, "The Last Recruit," stop reading my babbling now. Unless you don't care about plot talk.

And, so, with only four episodes [rather five hours ...] left, I'll confess, I am packing each point with many related observations and thoughts. It's not cheating. It's just making the most out of my formatting ...

1. Fake Locke said because Jacob chose them [Jack, Kate, Sawyer, et. al.] they were trapped on the island until Jacob died. Hmmm ... OK. Then later Jack goes into a sentimental moment about how John Locke believe in the island and its power. Despite being in Locke's dead body, Smokey doesn't buy it: "John Locke wasn't a believer; he was a sucker."

2. Off the island, Locke sure has some traumatic injuries that don't kill him. [His dad pushed him from a building window and Desmond plowed him down with a car. The first incident put him in a wheelchair. Will the second one, and Jack's surgery, take him back out of the wheelchair?]

3. Speaking of Jack operating on Locke [which I saw coming, but it still was a nice intersection!], I love how these characters lives are intertwining in the flash-sideways world. Sun even seemed to recognize Locke as they both were being wheeled into the ER. And then there's Desmond, who was really freaking me out. Apparently he was spooking Claire too. Then Ilana shows up as an attorney, who has been looking for Claire because she was mentioned in Christian Shepherd's will. Speaking of the Shepherds, Claire and Jack sibling moments both on and off the island were great. [I especially loved Claire's matter-of-fact explanation to her brother about being with Fake Locke now: "You decided the moment you let him talk to you. Just like the rest of us."] The other flash-sideways intersection moment I loved was Sawyer arresting Sayid. What a move, tripping him as he ran out the back door! And Sawyer told Kate, the fugitive, "It's like someone is trying to put us together." Seems like it!

4. Oh, Sun. You finally found Jin. And after his embrace -- which I thought was going to come amidst a shock from the electric fence, despite Zoe's request to turn it off -- your language issue was corrected. You know, after her encounter with Fake Locke that left her only speaking Chinese, I'm wondering if recognizing Locke's body off the island in the flash-sideways had anything to do with her being able to speak English again on the island.

5. Poor Kate has watched both men she loves jump from a moving vehicle that was supposedly their initial transportation away from the island. First Sawyer jumps out of the helicopter to lighten the weight. Now Jack goes overboard because he has doubts. Speaking of Kate, I realized her name is a lot like my daughter's name. Katherine Anne. Catherine Anna.

What moments did you love? Are you -- like me -- thinking Sayid didn't really kill Desmond? Where do you see all this going? Surely it's going to all come together ... somehow ... somewhere ... right?

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Elect Greg Taylor ...

... seems officially underway now that I ordered yard signs and helped publish his Web site. Spread the word, especially if you live in Murray, Ky., and are registered to vote!

There are 26 people (I know, seriously!) running in the May 18th primary. Two of those will be eliminated. Half of the 24 who continue on into the November election will be elected to at-large seats. Greg is #10 on the Primary Election ballot.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

2,000 posts and counting ...

I have a couple of posts started, but I haven't had time to finish them. One about rituals. Another about freezer cooking. Then I have at least one [probably more ...] brewing in my mind about what God has shown me the last week while dealing with Gary's passing. But I noticed this is post No. 2,000 for me. Since 2001.

Since then I've gone from a single, recently graduated working woman to a stay-at-home mom with two kids. It's been a journey, that's for sure. And it will continue to be, I'm sure. I'm guessing you'll hear more than you want to about it, thanks to the way technology makes the world even smaller.

Until then, just know that words are always running through my head and sometimes I'm able to catch the moment with my camera. Or even on my iPhone. Like yesterday. Angela was feeding Evelyn and I was feeding Ben while the other three kids were jumping on Gran-Gran's bed while she sorted through the many beautiful flowers and plants. All five were happy, so I proposed a picture. I can't believe they all laid there ... for a few minutes.

Everybody seems LOST

Two friends texted me last night about how great they thought "Lost" was. I had just finished watching and was a little disappointed. "Everybody Loves Hugo" just didn't live up to the previous three episodes for me. It seemed choppy and like the writers were trying to do too much. Now, with that said, there were some great moments, especially with Desmond.

Consider yourself warned right now. If you haven't seen the most recent episode of "Lost," which aired last night, stop reading. Now. On to my bittersweet countdown. Sadly, there are only six hours of "Lost" left. But I'm oh-so anxious to see how it ends.

1. The theme of love continues with Hurley's mom trying to set him up. But then he meets Libby (again) and really falls in love. And then they finally get their picnic ... on the beach, which Libby describes as familiar. [Speaking of familiar, nice to see you, Dr. Chang. And you too, Michael.]

2. "If I tell you, you'll think I am crazy. " Don't worry, Libby. Hurley knows crazy. And then later Hurley realizes she's indeed not crazy. "Whoa. Dude. I think I am remembering stuff." Like love makes the island world surface in the flash-sideways reality.

3. Ilana says she has been trying her whole life to protect these people. "Nothing is more important than this." Then she dies. But maybe, just maybe, that doesn't matter, especially to Hurley, who says: "Dead people are more reliable than the live ones."

4. The whispers. Michael is stuck on the island because of what he did. He and the other whispers can't move on. Makes the island seem like purgatory.

5. Despite nearing the end, the troops are still splitting. This time it's Richard vs. Hurley. Should be interesting.

6. Just before Locke pushed Desmond down the very old well, I thought, "Fake Locke is going to push Desmond down there." So I wasn't surprised. But, still, it was quite a moment, especially after coming on the heels of their conversation about fear. [Locke asks Desmond why he isn't afraid. His response? "What is the point of being afraid?"] Back in L.A., courtesy more flash-sideways, Desmond seems to have more control ... especially when he ran over Locke!

Now you. What do you think about Hurley? Desmond? Locke? Any of our island friends?

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Ben and his friends ...

... are highly entertaining, if you ask this biased momma. But take a look for yourself. I bet Ben, Davey and Eva will entertain you too.

"Hey, Eva. You could help me sit up, ya know?"


"Seriously, Eva. You're not helping. Maybe Davey will ..."


"Hey, Ben. Seriously, man, I'm not so sure about this."


"What's Eva doing?"


"Now you too, huh, Davey? I can't lean forward to pick up
mulch without falling flat on my face. Maybe in a few weeks ..."


"So are we done here?"


Yes, us mommas love being together with our close-in-age babies!

Sunshine! Baseball! Spring!

Have I mentioned I'm happy it's spring? Hooray for sunshine ... and baseball season.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Gary and his boys

I was going through photos today while working on a slide show for the visitation tomorrow. I thought you might like to see some of the family gems ...

January 1992


Obviously, that is 1987 at Pike Peak ...


Gary's first Father's Day with 2-month-old Greg


Greg is 28 months; Charles is 10 months


And probably my favorite of this bunch ... It's undated,
but look at those boys. Charles is cheesing. Greg is pouting.
John is squinting. But Gary is happy to be with his boys.

Happily LOST

[I'm taking a mental and emotional break from looking through pictures of my father-in-law to bring you my delayed thoughts on this week's episode of "Lost." You can see past observations, thoughts and questions I have about the show here.]

In bittersweet honoring of the seven remaining hours of the show, here are some thoughts. Don't read them if you haven't watched "Happily Ever After," which confirms Desmond is a special guy.

1. Sacrifice. Charles Widmore tries to convince Desmond to trust him using what is most important to him. Seems like God did that to Abraham, with his son Isaac.

2. In L.A., Widmore calls his employee, Desmond, "indespensible." Seems like he feels like that about Desmond regardless of where they are.

3. Charlie's return was strange. But, not surprisingly, he's always loved Claire, even in this flash-sideways that is bound to make sense sometime. And, speaking of the return of characters we've not seen in awhile: Eloise Widmore. Daniel Widmore. Such a happy family off the island. And Daniel still loves red-headed Charlotte.

4. Desmond's philosophy seems like a crucial theme of the whole show: "There is always a choice, brother."

5. Whoa. Charlie and Desmond under the water again. And Charlie's hand. And the thought Penny! [I just read online that her name in the episode is mentioned as Penelope Milton. Seems like this could be important ... right?]

6. Daniel: "What if this wasn't supposed to be our life? What if we had some other life and for some reason we changed things? I don't want to set off a nuclear bomb. I think I already did." Am I supposed to make sense of this? Eventually, maybe ...

7. And another scene for Desmond at the stadium. I think that's the third (the second with Penny and another with Jack earlier in the series).

Any thoughts from you, dear readers?

Remembering Granddaddy

You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with you in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand. Pslam 16:11

My father-in-law, Gary Taylor, passed away suddenly Tuesday night from an apparent heart attack. He was 58. And he was one of the greatest examples I have known of someone who lived to know God and make God known. He was genuine, honest and loyal.

And he loved his five grandkids fiercely. Above is one of my favorite photos of him with the three oldest grandchildren. It's from Father's Day last year, so Ben and Evelyn weren't born yet. His smile was always present when he was helping Cate write her ABCs, singing songs with Elijah or dressing up in beads with Ethne.

Without a doubt the hardest part yesterday was thinking about how these three oldest grandchildren are going to have few memories of him and how the youngest two [and the one on the way ...] aren't going to have any. But, trust me, they'll hear stories and see pictures and hear more stories. Of how Granddaddy loved them. Dreamed for them. Prepared their dads to be family men. Entrusted them to God.

We got the news of Gary's death on Tuesday night and Greg immediately went to take care of his mom. I did some dishes, cleaned the floor, started a load of laundry, then climbed back into bed with my Bible open to the Psalms.

Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. Psalm 23:6

But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing to the Lord, for he has been good to me. Psalm 13:5-6

He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me. Psalm 18:19

It is strange, but if ever there was a man whose soul was prepared to spend an eternity with God, it is Gary. He wasn't afraid of dying, and he lived every moment until he met Jesus face to face. This eternal life is the one he longed for. We'll miss him, no doubt. We'll talk about him for years to come. We'll cry and laugh. But we'll know he's home.
_____

If you're interested, visitation is from 4 to 8 p.m. Friday and the funeral is at 10 a.m. Saturday. Both will be at Glendale Road Church of Christ. Burial will follow at Murray Memorial Gardens.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Egg-cellent Easter

We spread out our Easter-related festivities over a few days. We started Friday and continued through Sunday.

After last year's experience of the too-crowded egg hunt, we took Cate to another local egg hunt. This one was much more organized and definitely a better choice. And we were even able to walk there!

_____

We had a baby shower for sister-in-law Christine later Saturday. The sun stayed around to attend, so much so I managed to burn just one of my arms. No complaints, though. I was happy to have the sun in attendance.

_____

The busy but good day that was Saturday ended with a date! Greg and I went to eat with Courtney and Andy and then we all met some other friends at the Casting Crowns concert. Caleb Chapman and Tenth Avenue North opened.
_____

Ben and his friend Davey looked really cute at church on Easter morning.
_____

Cate hunted eggs for a second time at Gran-Gran's house ...

_____

There are a few more pictures on Facebook that didn't make it here. Go take a look.

A lesson in eating cake

My niece Evelyn put on a nice cake-eating demonstration at her first birthday party, which was held in conjunction with Easter. Really, I think we could take some life lessons from this.

First, make sure what is there is what you are expecting ...

... before you sample.

Then just dig in. Whole heartedly. Who cares if you need a bath afterward.

Friday, April 2, 2010

A Good Friday indeed

I spent some time this morning thinking about how Good Friday is only good because we know the rest of the story, the hopeful part of the crucifixion. In reality, the first part of the Easter story is dark. But then because Jesus is who He said he was the world had new life, and light, and hope.

The angel said to the women, "Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has rise, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay." --Matthew 28:5-6

And then I thought about how my Good Friday is good because I have been blessed with these two children, one who likes reading "Let's Celebrate Jesus on Easter" and the other who will soon be able to sing "Jesus Loves Me" just like her sister does.
_____

Today was Cate's second time dying Easter eggs. And even after a year, she seemed to know what she was doing. Ben wanted to be near the action ...

Deciding which color to use is a big decision ...

... and can be messy ...

But the finished product is something to be proud of ...

... and colorful ...