Tuesday, February 28, 2012

How Did February Get Away From Me?

I know, I know...you are all waiting for the recap of our Grandmas Gone Wild trip to New York City.  But that is going to have to wait because, quite frankly, I didn't take many pictures at all.  So, I will have to get copies from Robin so that I can then post about the trip!

But here we are at the end of February and I still have not posted my monthly update for 2012.  And because I really do want to live by this year's motto of

"If it matters, you make the time.
If it doesn't you make excuses."

 ...I am going to quit making excuses and just tell you how it is!

It is not going very well, my friends!
  • Read through the Bible in a year - Thanks to the accountability of the Facebook group, I am doing pretty good in this one.  I have missed about six or seven days since beginning, and have made up all but about three.  Since tomorrow is February 29 and there is no set reading for that day, I am going to try and catch up what I have missed.  Thanks again, August!
  • Exercise 30 minutes a day - I did this for like four days...way back in January...and I haven't done anything since.  I am thinking of re-framing this one to be 15 minutes a day to start.   I would love some ideas on how to get this one to become a full fledged habit!
  • Weekly Meal Plans - I started out all gung ho on this one.  I downloaded an app to my iPad and started collecting the recipes to make it even easier.  Then, after our trip to Arkansas, I decided to trade in my wi-fi iPad for one that was 3G capable...which meant I had to start all over on the recipes.  I got two weeks in and the thing quit working.  Just quit!  Wouldn't turn off or on...it would just hang up and stay at the same place.  So, I got another iPad...which meant going back to AT&T to activate and reloading all my apps, including the menu planner.  I told Jim that I wasn't even going to start inputting all the recipes again until I was sure this one was going to work.  So far, so good...so I guess it is time to get back on that horse!
  • Eat breakfast every morning - Epic fail!  Nope...not happening!
  • Spend more time with the grandchildren - So far we have been able to exceed my ideal.  In January, we had Davin over one night while his mom and dad had a night out.  The next weekend we had Brooke and Maddux over for the evening while their parents went out.  And then I had the opportunity to spend time with Maddux for his birthday.  This month I hope to take a day to go with all three of them and their Mommies to the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo carnival for rides, funnel cakes and agri exhibits.  Lots of fun!
  • Remember to count my blessings - I did okay in January, but February has seen very few things added to my list.  I really, really need to get back to this one!
  • 2012: The Year Of Organization - I didn't share this one with you earlier, but this is what Jim has titled the current year.  We have a long way to go, but have been making great headway on this one.  We have totally revamped our Master Closet, we re-purposed the linen closet in our bedroom and I am almost finished with the remodel of our Home Office.  I have been setting a goal of one project a weekend and (other than the weekend I was in NYC) so far, so good!  I have carried two or three loads of things to Goodwill.  Bri has taken a TRUCKLOAD of clothes to WARM.  And Jim has burned or hauled off a couple of truck loads of trash! (Albeit, a lot of that was from an abandoned travel trailer left on our property by the previous owners.)  AND, Jim has been tackling the garage while I have been hard at work on the inside.
As to the other things I hope to accomplish this year:
  • I still haven't found that photography class, but Robin has offered to take a trip to Colorado with me to take Kristen's class, if we can't find one around here. 
  • Getting crafty again - well, one of my daughter's gave me my first project after reading that post!  Guess I better get busy on it!!
  • Making time for special relationships - I don't know if that family reunion is going to happen this year or if it will have to wait until next year.  I really need to see if we can book a block of rooms for this summer.  But, I am making time for those lunches and dinners with friends.
  • Jim's big day - I found a place that I want to check out that I think he will love!
  • Read for fun more - I just started Jane Eyre, which I have never read...and I really need to read The Hunger Games before that movie comes out next month!
  • Women's Bible Study - I've missed the past two Wednesday nights...but plan to be back at it this week.  And our Wednesday lunch group has been struggling with all sorts of illness and scheduling conflicts, but we keep plugging away at it!
  • Travel - I just returned from the New York City trip last week.  We had a great time!  And I'll be traveling to San Antonio next month to watch one of my beautiful nieces in a pageant there.  That will make three trips in three months...so, I'm thinking I'll need to stay home in April! 

I hope I have a better report for you in March...until then, I'll keep 'striving for excellence, not perfection."

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Mad Dog's Birthday: Day 2

As I mentioned in yesterday's post, Maddux spent the night with us after his birthday party because he had one more gift from Nonna and Pappaw to go. His pajamas give a little hint.

That's right, we were going to see 'Elmo Makes Music' at Reliant Arena on Sunday afternoon.  He was a Champ when it came to spending the night.  He hung out with Pappaw and the Uncles for most of the evening...but when it came time to crawl in bed, he headed straight to Auntie's room. 

We got up the next morning and ate a big breakfast, played and then it was time to get ready for the show.

Here he is in his seat waiting for the show to begin.

All smiles...of course, the Sprite, the pretzel, and popcorn helped too!

We had really good seats.  I think he had a better view than a lot of the little kids that were sitting in the floor seats.
Finally, the curtain came up and we found ourselves right in the middle of Sesame Street Live!  Bert and Ernie and Big Bird and Elmo and Oscar and Cookie Monster and the rest of the gang.
On top of the experience, he walked out with his own Elmo...a twirly, lighted Elmo...
...a bag of cotton candy...

...and his very own Elmo balloon.
I don't know about you, but that sounds like a pretty good birthday to me!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Mad Dog's Birthday: Day 1

We often joke in our family that birthdays are not to be celebrated on just one day out of the year...but for at least a week.  Maddux's was no exception!

On Saturday, February 11, we all converged on Kelli's and Matt's household to shower the birthday boy with love.  But when we arrived we found that he wasn't feeling very well.  A mysterious fever had suddenly appeared during naptime.

Doesn't he look just pitiful? Thankfully it did not last long...for as we all know, "starve a cold, surround with presents for a fever!"
Boy, did he ever rack up on the Transformers!!  Nonna and Pappaw got him two really neat ones...but Auntie, Uncle Brian and Uncle Duck-Duck got the same ones only BIGGER! (But that's okay because  Nonna still got the best gift!)

After presents came a Batman cake!  Yum!!
And since we missed singing to Aunt Meagan for her birthday, (it came at the same time as Super Bowl and the cheesecake was halfway eaten before we had a chance to sing)...
...we bought her a cupcake and sang to both her and Maddux at the same time!

After the party, Maddux rode home with Nonna and Pappaw because we had big plans for Sunday.  On the way, while partied-out Mad Dog napped in his car seat, we saw hundreds of ducks.
This was just one field of them. We saw several! 

Join us again tomorrow for Part 2 of Mad Dog's birthday.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Weekend Links: 2/10/12

For your web browsing pleasure this weekend:
  • Remember to breath out - Ever get overwhelmed just reading about what everyone else is doing?  You suddenly feel like you SHOULD be exercising, cooking organic, painting a room, homeschooling and knitting winter caps for the whole family...before bedtime rolls around tonight!  I think you will enjoy Stephanie's post over at (in)courage.
  • Puzzling - Michelle of Graceful is doing a series of posts titled '29 Days of Quiet' and I am really enjoying it.  (Hmmm...there is that theme again!)  I think I may pull out a jigsaw puzzle for the sitting room this weekend.  I love doing puzzles with my kids.
  • Hair-story - Deidra at Jumping Tandem wrote about her life through the lens of her hair.  Her story took me back to an elementary school playground where another second grade girl named Patricia mentioned that she had spent the weekend at her auntie's house having her hair ironed.  I never had the nerve to ask her exactly how that happened, but I will always remember the mental picture that arose of her leaned over an ironing board while her aunt pressed her hair with an iron.  And then I remembered Kim, who sat behind me in Mrs. Avery's fifth grade Arkansas History class and always played with my long hair.  (Kim's younger brother grew up to become a household name in the Sports world...my closest experience with Celebrity!)  I never liked to have my hair touched because I was so tender headed, but Kim was so gentle that it was actually quite relaxing and I would fight falling asleep in class.  Man, it has been a long time since I've thought about Kim or Patricia...thanks Deidra for the flashbacks!
Oh, and by the way, I poured out a Santa puzzle in the sitting room last night and just like a charm, Bri joined me in there within three minutes of sorting the pieces.  Sweet!

    Thursday, February 9, 2012

    This Is Going To Be A Challenging Week!

    I don't know how you feel about it...but my God has quite the sense of humor!!

    Just yesterday afternoon, I poured out my heart to all of you and let you know how excited I am about our upcoming Grandmas trip to NYC.  I told you all about my frantic pursuit of a 'Mix and Match' wardrobe that would make for lighter and easier travel.  I even told you about all the different things I have been looking forward to seeing and doing while we are there.

    Frantic thinking...anxious expectations...giddy with the thought of it all!!!

    And then, I go to Wednesday night Bible study, where for the first time in forever I did not complete my homework.  (A Huge Red Flag that my priorities may be off!)  As the video portion begins, I hear the challenge: Be Still!

    If I want to hear from God, I have to Be Still...Sit...Wait.  What?  But, I have so much to do!  I need to pack and to plan and to...'be still'?  Wow!  As I listen to the video and take notes, I see it written by own hand.  "Am I missing out on being filled because I won't be still?"  Hmmm.

    And because He loves to make me laugh out loud at myself...and he knows how quickly my mind goes back into "To-Do' mode.  He reminded me again this morning in the Scripture reading. 

    "Love God, all you saints; God takes care of all who stay close to Him, but pays back in full those arrogant enough to go it alone.  Be brave.  Be strong.  Don't give up.  Expect God to get here soon."
    Psalm 31:23-24 The Message

    He also knows how stubborn my heart can be.  So for good measure and reiteration, He threw in the voice of Chuck Swindoll as I drove in to work saying, "Be Still".  (I have searched and searched for the actual words he opened with because I really wanted to write them down...but I was driving down 290 and did not consider it a wise thing to do at the time!)

    So, I think the challenge this week is going to be to still my thoughts as well as my heart and body in order to stay close to Him. 

    It is not that preparations do not need to be made...but they are not to be my focus.  Listening to Him is!

    Wednesday, February 8, 2012

    Gettin' Giddy Wit It!

    One week from tomorrow I will be 'Leaving On A Jet Plane' and headed northeast!  I find that I am already in an 'Empire State of Mind"!

    That's right, it is Grandmas Gone Wild time again and we are heading back to the "Big Apple"! 

    It is a place I never, ever thought I would visit.  Couldn't even imagine wanting to visit...and yet, this will be my fourth trip and "I Love New York"! 

    I find myself wondering if it will be "Snowin' In Brooklyn" when we arrive.  And I can hardly wait to see the "Bright Lights" of "Broadway"!

    Okay, I'll quit quoting song titles...but you get the picture!  I am excited!!!!  And I am ready to go!!!!!

    I can't stop thinking about what I am going to pack...and that is no small decision!  I am TRYING to pack lightly this trip.  It hasn't happened on any of the previous Grandmas Gone Wild trips, but a girl can dream can't she? 

    Actually, I just don't want to be burdened lugging all that stuff through the airport.  I read articles where people can pack for a long weekend in an overnight bag.  And I want to be one of those people!

    So...I am attempting to make sure that everything that goes into my suitcase this time can (and will) be worn at least twice without looking like a repeat!  I usually return home from a trip with almost half of my clothes still clean and ready to go back in the closet.   

    I have been working on getting my clothing into more of a 'Mix and Match' style since coming home from Boston last year.  I am trying to think more basics with just a few trendy things thrown in for interest.  And now that my closet has been purged and neatly sorted, I am finding it much easier to get dressed without wearing the same thing repeatedly.

    I do confess that I have also started perusing Bri's Lucky magazine for fashion tips because I am stuck in a Mom-Rut, y'all!  I had fallen into the "I don't like my body type now so I will just cover it with anything big and loose fitting until I get time to exercise" trap.  Problem is, I am now going on year five of this trap...I still don't exercise...and I don't like the way I look in the clothes I have been wearing.  So, I started googling fashion tips for my body type and taking notes. 

    Guess what?  Belts are my friend again!  And I now know why I like to wear certain jeans over others!  It may cost me a little bit of money to get this wardrobe updated...but I find that I am not wasting money on things that I decide later I don't like or that can only be worn with the same thing over and over.   And guess what is even better?  I am going to New York (where it is still winter) but I live in Houston (where winter never came) so most of my new items have been found on CLEARANCE!!!  Score!

    Okay, I think I'll go listen to some Alicia Keys now!

    "New York,
    Concrete jungle where dreams are made of,
    There's nothing you can't do
    Now you're in New York!
    These streets will make you feel brand new,
    Big lights will inspire you,
    Hear ït for New York!"

     Lyrics from: http://www.lyricsforsong.net/

    Monday, February 6, 2012

    How We Spend Our Saturdays

    The last two Saturdays have turned into unexpected pleasures for Jim and I.  Saturday before last I received a mid morning telephone call from Matt asking me if I could come over to their house and sit with Brooke while he and Kelli took Maddux to the Urgent Care.  It seems that Maddux had uncovered a brick in their back yard and somehow or another the brick ended up hitting him in the back of the head! 

    Thankfully, I was at Robin's when all this activity began...so, I could get to them before anyone else.  Maddux is fine.  They were able to put him back together again just like Humpty Dumpty with a little glue and a lollipop!

    But while they were gone, I got to play Barbies again for the first time in YEARS!  The last time I played was with my girls. 

    This time I got to play with our Brookie Bear!  We had a blast redecorating Barbies Dream House and getting everyone dressed up for a party.

    Isn't she precious?! 

    Then this past Saturday we had a last minute overnight guest when Meagan and Derrick decided to take us up on the offer to keep Davin so that they could go out for Meagan's birthday (which was Friday).

    As the evening wore on and the energy levels began to plummet, I looked over to find Davin and Pappaw snuggled up in the Lazy Boy watching The Zookeeper!
    Jim does looking dashing in zebra, does he not?  The next morning, as I was making pancakes, I overheard the following conversation:

    Davin: "Pappaw, why do you always sit in this chair?"
    Jim: "Because it is my chair.  It's my Lazy Boy."
    Davin: "I need a Lazy Boy too!"

    Boys!  They do start early with that whole recliner thing, don't they?

    Even though neither event was planned in advance, I was thankful for the one on one time with each of them.  And it fits right in with my desire to do that more often in 2012.  Next up?  Maddux and I are going to see Elmo next Sunday for his birthday -- just the two of us!

    Friday, February 3, 2012

    Weekend Links: 2/3/12

    Hey, guys!
    Sorry I have been MIA this week.  Wednesday's post took a lot out of me.  In fact, I wrote it on Tuesday evening and wasn't even able to move again until Wednesday afternoon.  I just skipped work and decided to take my time getting out to run a few errands before Bible study. 

    Today is Meagan's birthday and we have plans for that, as well as the big Super Bowl Watch Party at the house on Sunday where we will celebrate her birthday with the rest of the family.  I hope to be back next week with some pictures and a 'Goals Update'

    Until then, I hope you enjoy this week's favorite links:
    Hope you and yours have an amazing weekend!

      Wednesday, February 1, 2012

      The Phone Call

      I remember it like it was yesterday.  The call that ushered us into our "new normal".

      Something in my gut just told me that I needed to answer it on my iPhone and not allow it to come over the Bluetooth speakers as my four-year-old grandson sat in the backseat watching his Veggietales movie.

      On the other end there was a wailing sob.  The sob of our oldest daughter, Meagan.

      Just an hour earlier she had stood in the doorway of my office with a concerned look on her face. She came in to let me know that she had called her obstetrician's office and he had told her to go on to the hospital.

      You see, she was 32 weeks along in her pregnancy and she hadn't felt her daughter, Desi, kick all day.  It had happened before.  But there were always ways to make her move.  Drink something cold.  Eat something sweet.  But today, none of those little tricks seemed to be working.  

      So, we rushed out the door.  Her in her car.  Me in mine.  We headed to the hospital.  The doctor's office had told her to go straight up to labor and delivery.  Derrick was going to meet her there with Davin.  I was going to pick up Davin and take him home with me.  We planned to meet up later, maybe for dinner where we would laugh at how pregnant women's emotions can get the best of them at times.

      Davin and I had driven twenty minutes or so toward home.  We had just pulled off the highway onto a rural road that leads us home when the phone rang.

      As I said, I answered it on my iPhone instead of the Bluetooth.  That was when I heard the wailing sob of my oldest daughter.  "Momma," she cried, "She's gone!  Desi's gone!" 

      My heart was in my throat and tears flooded my eyes, but I had this little four-year-old looking at me; so I tried to speak calmly.  She asked me to come straight to the hospital.  So, Davin and I made a u-turn at the very next intersection and headed back east...toward Houston...and toward my baby.

      One stop was made on the way. Derrick's mom, Teri, had called and wanted to pick up Davin.  She was concerned about how he would respond to seeing his parents raw grief.  So, we swung by the Wal-Mart parking lot.  I told Davin that he was going to stay with Granny that night and that I would see him later.  He's always up for a trip to Granny's house.  Granny has a swimming pool!  So, he thought nothing of it and went on his way.

      I called Jim as soon as Davin was out of the car.  I knew I couldn't call him earlier because I wouldn't be able to control my emotions.  I filled him in on what was happening and asked him to meet me at the hospital. 

      We pulled up at nearly the same time and parked near each other.  We held each other for a few moments, letting the tears spill, before we heading into the hospital.

      It was a moment I will never forget.  It was a moment that I pray no other mother ever experiences.  To see your daughter, 8 months pregnant, sobbing and with no hope.

      It was a long evening.  Many decisions had to be made.

      In the end Meagan had decided to deliver Desi naturally instead of having a Cesarean section.  So, we were told to go home and get some rest...what little we could...and be back at 7:30 in the morning when they would start her labor.

      Early the next morning found us in her hospital room.  Her and Derrick had talked late into the night until the sleeping pills took effect.  Each decision seemed just so overwhelming to both of them. 

      The nurses came in and started the medications.

      It was a long day of waiting.  But not the kind of waiting we had experienced three times already with our other grandchildren.  It was a wait without hope.

      There were many, many emotions that day.  So many that I can't even begin to put them in words.  The thought that circulated through my head a million times was, "how am I supposed to say goodbye before I've even said hello?" 

      It was a horrible day filled with so many decisions.  Live birth/Cesarean.  See Desi/don't see Desi.  Hold Desi/don't hold Desi.  Funeral service/no service,

      Late that afternoon, Meagan delivered Desi.  We stayed until she was brought into the room.  And, oh my goodness, She. Was. Perfect.  Absolutely perfect.  The red, red lips.  The full cheeks.  The downy black hair.  Our Desi looked just like a cupie doll.

      Watching my daughter hold her little girl with tears streaming down her face, whispering sweet words of love into her ear.  It was one of the hardest things I have ever watched.

      Jim and I were both there, as were Kelli, Brianne and Meagan's best friend, Dori.  We sat by the bed, oohed and aahed over Desi and cried. A lot!  We told Desi how much we loved her, kissed her cold cheek and left the hospital so that Meagan and Derrick would have time alone with their little girl and so that Derrick's family could have time to say their goodbyes too.

      That was six months ago.  Six months ago today when we were told that we had lost Desi.    Six months ago tomorrow when we saw her face.  Six months ago next week when we said our final goodbyes.

      There is a song that I have always liked.  It is 'Closer To Love' by Matt Kearney. There is a line in that song that says, "I guess we're all one phone call from our knees." 

      That was our phone call.