There was the time that we saw Oklahoma! and Courtney cowered under the table during the scene where Judd is contemplating suicide. The gun went off and a young Courtney dived under the table. The play stopped momentarily to make sure she was ok and she received special attention the rest of the night. We laugh about it now.
Another time we were returning from a play in Longmont and listening to the radio on our way home. It was the night that we went to war with Iraq, the first time. It was a little surreal listening to terror after enjoying a family night out.
We've seen our friend Patrick in the Sound of Music; we watched Allison shine as Gladys in The Best Christmas Pageant Ever; we've seen Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Oklahoma!, Sound of Music, The Music Man, and the list goes on. We've gone as a family of six, with friends, and with extended family. We've celebrated birthdays, anniversaries, special achievements, and have gone "just because".
But Friday night was probably one of my most favorite nights. Jon had never been to a dinner playhouse before and we received tickets to the new theatre as a Christmas present from his dad. They were currently showing A Closer Walk with Patsy Cline and seeing as how Jon grew up listening to her music, it seemed the perfect fit.
The new theatre is beautiful, one of the classiest I've visited. Dinner was good, but the caramel-apple cheesecake was better. And it made my night to look at Jon over the table to see him smiling and laughing during the play. There were a few times he caught me watching him and he always answered with a wink and a smile. He thoroughly enjoyed himself and is already talking about future plays.
I can't wait to see what kind of memories we'll make with our own children and dinner playhouses. Of course, we're both in agreement that Hudson won't be going until he's at least 12 years old. By that time we'll be able to threaten him with a severe grounding if... he... doesn't... sit... still. =)
We have discovered a sure-fire birth control method. Come hang out with me and my three kiddos for a day. Seriously, I have already converted two sisters into thinking they’re never going to have children and I’ve convinced another friend that they should stop at two. While I’m half-joking, I also realize how chaotic life has become with three.
Please, please, please pray for MckMama and her five-month-old son, Stellan. You may recall I brought your attention to her blog last year, well it seems as though Stellan is back in the hospital with the same condition that he had in-utero. I have never prayed as hard, or as fervently, for strangers as much as I have for them. Please join us in covering this precious family in prayer.
I have cautiously joined the newest craze of Twitter. So now I maintain three different sites: my blog, Facebook, and now Twitter. While I’m still learning the basics of Twitter and unsure why I think anyone would find my life that interesting besides me, please feel free to follow along. (Why I think I have time for these things is beyond me.)
I have had a heavy heart this week. My first supervisor, an amazing, Christian woman, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and has taken a serious turn for the worse. I hurt for her family. Then another coworker was diagnosed with a brain tumor this week and is going in for surgery next Tuesday. I am going to be on my knees a lot in the weeks ahead.
With our fingers interlaced, we made our way up the same road we'd traveled eleven and a half years ago when we went up to the family cabin with our high school youth group to play flag football. The baby was snuggled in the sling, against my chest papoose-style, and Devyn and Hudson took turns running ahead to explore or waiting for Jon and I to hold hands with them. I turned to Jon and wondered aloud who would have thought that eleven years later we'd be a family of five. He smiled in response. It was both surreal and completely natural at the same time.
Devyn and I were holding hands, ahead of Jon and Hudson, when we'd decided on a little detour. We turned to head up the mountain, off the road, and we climbed. It wasn't a long climb, or even an arduous hike, just enough to get the blood pumping and to make us a little breathless as we made our way to the top. "A little further," Jon encouraged and soon we stepped into a clearing with the most magnificent view.
Jon led us to another small hill, which we climbed, careful of the small cactus on the ground, and from there we could see everything. We had the snowy mountain tops to our right, the green trees and rocks of the mountains below us, and to the right, a lake on the horizon. I wondered how anyone could doubt a God existed with this beauty before us. There were no signs of mankind at all, no roads, no houses, no cars, nothing. It was as though we were the only ones that existed.
It brought so many things into perspective for me. The world may be a scary place right now, we might not know what lies around the corner, its hard to hear how friends and family are losing jobs or homes, and its been questioned why you'd want to bring a child into such uncertain times. But up there, where no one else exists but God, my loved ones, and His amazing creation, I don't need to question it. Everything is because He said it was so, and He is perfectly able to care for anything we might need.
I closed my eyes, breathed in the fresh air, and memorized the moment. This is a moment that will sustain me for months to come. I reached over for Jon's hand and we locked eyes. No words were said, none were needed, for he knew what I was saying with the squeeze of my hand. We are blessed, more than we deserve.
We turned and headed back to the cabin, where Devyn and Hudson asked to eat lunch on the porch. Its amazing how small their requests and how little it takes to make them happy, but that's another post for another day.
Tomorrow we are heading up to Jon's grandparent's cabin and it'll be good to get away just the five of us. Since the trip to Arizona and starting back at work, I think we're all feeling a little disconnected. It'll be a great end to what was a nail-biting week.
Going back to work was a little easier on me this time around. Granted it was hard leaving my kiddos, especially the baby, but there was such relief in knowing that I get to have more time with them. Wednesday will be a piece of cake, as I don't have to be at work until 1:00 and then four hours later I'm done. Thursdays and Fridays are my long days but oh, it feels good knowing that I'll be home with them again for another four days straight after that.
It was a lot harder on the two oldest this time around. Devyn is now able to articulate what it is she's feeling and what it is she wants. And she wants her mama home. Tears were shed and schedules were explained, but she's not going to get it until we get into a groove. I think she'll be ok. And Hudson, while he might not be able to say what he's feeling, his actions spoke much louder than words this morning. From the moment he woke up, he would not leave my side, nor let me put him down. It's quite a feat to get ready for the day with a two-year-old on your hip. =) Its nice to feel wanted, and I greatly treasure my cuddly, little man, but my arms are very tired now.
So, that's this week in a nutshell. I am especially thankful to God for this wonderful new schedule of only two and a half days a week; I have been praying for this schedule for a long, long time!
- Getting to meet Amazing Racer in person! I've been a private stalker of her life for over a year now and it was great to finally get to talk to her face-to-face.
- Getting to hear the infamous "wedding cloths" story. Oh geez, I can't go into it online but suffice it to say, hil-ari-ous!!
- Spending time with cousins, of all ages and sizes. Especially enjoyed watching my two older youngsters getting along so well with the next generation of cousins.
- Spending time with "aunts" and getting to know the newest one better. By mutual agreement, I won't be calling them Aunt So-in-So; its a little weird when they're only a few years older than me. (And no, my uncles aren't cradle-robbers, they're just very close in age to me.)
- Watching Dad get into the "Cha-Cha Slide" on the dance floor. Again, hil-ari-ous! It's his new favorite must-have dance at every wedding.
- Watching my cousin Ryan get pummeled by three preschoolers and a toddler. It was wrestle-mania to the max!
- Hearing Devyn use the word "Awkward" in the right context and using the right connotation. (Think Old Navy commercial or the reporter in Evan Almighty.)
- Getting lost in east-Phoenix looking for a Super Walmart and forcing someone else to run to the airport to pick up Christine, Caleb, and Elliana. Oops!
- Getting lost on the way to the wedding ceremony. Let's just say that I'm not a big fan of Mapquest anymore.
- Being asked if I was old enough to have champagne at the wedding toast. Seriously, something is very wrong when none of my sisters or cousins are asked that question, even my still-not-legal, underage cousin!!
- And last, but certainly not least, the wedding of Uncle Andy and Christina. It was a beautiful day! Welcome to the family "Aunt" Christina!
Did I miss anything? Any other highlights I forgot to share?
Last week Dad and I took turns following Uncle Grant and his family, as we drove through the night to Arizona. I was quite impressed with Dad as he kept up with Uncle Grant, even going out of his comfort zone by driving a good ten miles above the speed limit. We made great time and arrived much earlier than we'd originally planned. Go Dad!
On the return trip, it was just our van by ourselves; Uncle Grant and Aunt Debbie had planned on staying longer. Mom and I pleaded with Dad to go as fast as we did on the way out and despite his assurances to do so, I watched the speedometer never rise above 65mph. Grrrr! So Dad and I switched places and I had the cruise control set to 85mph.
We drove at that speed for a good two hours. Then we stopped for gas, and had to switch drivers because Reagan was being fussy. Again Mom and I pleaded for Dad to drive faster, I even offered to set the cruise control for him. He declined and we settled in for a long ride home.
That is, until I heard Dad say, "Oh crap!" and saw the revolving lights in the rearview mirror. Oh my word! A kind state patrol officer had clocked Dad at driving 90mph! 90?! My dad?! Are you sure?! Well, the officer was sure and ticketed Dad with a $374 fine.
While I do feel bad for Dad, we can't help but laugh because of all the people to receive a ticket, it had to be him! Rest assured, whenever he did drive, Dad did not drive above 70mph the rest of the way home. Its a good thing that I drove most of the way. I even passed a state patrol car going 80mph without being pulled over. Poor guy!!
- Bags packed... check.
- Oil changed... thanks to Jon, check.
- Air pressure checked... check, check.
- Van cleaned... courtesy of Jon, check.
- Diaper bag... check.
- Camera battery charged... check.
- Audio books ready... check.
- Money... double-checked!
- Buy snacks for the trip.
- Pack up the van.
- Decide which toys are going with.
- Pray really hard and keep fingers crossed for a successful trip!
We have been preparing for this trip for months now! Travel plans have been scratched, changed, cancelled, and reworked more times than I can count. I have scoured stores looking for wedding/Easter apparel for the little ones and am pleased with what I bought. (So pleased, in fact, that I can't wait to post pictures for you all. Similar in color, without being too matchy-matchy.) I finally gave in and tried on some of my summer clothes. I was discouraged to find that nothing fit (yes, I'm very aware that I just gave birth a couple of months ago but a girl can dream, right?) and had to do some emergency shopping for myself.
I think we have everything covered. (Of course the minute I say that, we're going to forget something.) Our plan is to leave tomorrow evening, drive through the night so the kids will sleep the majority of the trip, and arrive in Arizona sometime mid-day on Thursday. I am really looking forward to spending time with family! I'll write more when we return. Until then...
I'm not sure if its the Z*oloft, or the fact that I'm only going back to work part-time, or maybe, just maybe, my God is bigger than post-partum depression. Regardless, this is the best I've ever felt and I'm incredibly thankful.
We're still in the midst of Hudson's obsession with hockey (aka golf) and any other sport involving balls. My days consist of hitting balls while breastfeeding or racing Hudson for the ball in hockey. I'm quite pleased with my developing skills, although there are times I swear Hudson looks at me with contempt and disbelief that I could possibly miss one of his pitches. That boy makes me laugh!
He now uses the B*oppy pillow as his pitching mound. Quite ingenious if you ask me.
Devyn reached a new milestone these past couple of weeks and is now writing her name!! Uppercase and lowercase, without any help from me. Excuse while I take a moment to bask in the glow of my daughter's success.
In all seriousness, however, I got pretty teary. I can't believe how big she is getting and how fast she is developing. We're currently working on Hudson's name, at her request, and we've gotten an ABC handwriting book for her to start practicing letters.
I've still got another year and a half with her before I have to think about kindergarten. Thank goodness milestones come in spurts!
As my mother-in-law witnessed this past weekend, I have quite the charmer/Romeo on my hands. For the past week or so, I have witnessed/experienced Hudson practicing his "moves" on his sisters and his mother. Before I gross anyone out, lets remember the child is two and has no idea what he's doing. But when he tilts his head, closes his eyes, and kisses with his mouth open, I have to wonder what he's been watching! Could it be the newlywed couple? Who knows, but I'm going to have to lock the kid up when he turns 14 and his hormones start raging!
I think we might have a redhead on our hands. Reagan seems to be getting some definite red tones in her hair and her complexion has gotten much lighter. I'm wondering if peaches 'n cream will describe our little girl.
While some friends seem to think that I have this mothering-thing down pat, let me reassure them that I do not deserve any mother-of-the-year awards. I have stopped counting the number of times that I've been low on patience, low on self-control, and quick to anger. *Sigh* It is a humbling thing to be told by my four-year-old that, "Mama, you need to obey God too" and realize that there is so much truth in her words. It's then that I have to take a step back, look back on the day, and realize that forgiveness must be sought.
I have loved Elise's posts on "Taking Back the Days (and Nights)" and realize that just one mess-up doesn't have to define our days. I am human, I mess up, I will continue to mess up, and all I can do is my best in mothering these beautiful babes of mine. And with each forgiveness comes a fresh start.
And last, but certainly not least, we are in the midst of getting ready for a trip to Arizona. We leave in three days for my uncle's wedding and a part of me cringes at the idea of a 14-hour road trip with three little kids. Please say a prayer for my sanity and a safe trip for all. We should be back next Monday evening.
Jon will be staying behind as he missed three weeks of work when Reagan was born. Besides, its still the middle of the winter season here, and as boss, its probably not a good idea for him to miss even more work. I hope he doesn't get too lonely without us. *wink*
Good luck Uncle Randy!