Friday, December 19, 2008

Tagged (twice)

I very rarely participate in tags. However, who can turn down a request from Jamie AND Jaime.
8 Favorite Restaurants:
1. CRACKER BARREL
2. Cheesecake Factory
3. Trulucks
4. Which Wich
5. McAlister's
6. The Cooker (sadly has been closed for years)
7. Pei Wei
8. Pancake Pantry in Nashville

8 Things That Happened Today:
1. Went to work
2. Drank a Starbuck's peppermint Mocha
3. Bought Christmas cookie cutters for KJ
4. Shared my dinner with Cbug without him gagging/puking...YAY!
5. Went to church
6. Made poppyseed bread
7. Shopped on-line for last minute Christmas gifts (apparently the same ones that every other mom in America wanted)
8. Went to bed too late (again)

8 Things I Look Forward To:
1. Christmas with family
2. Meeting BL3
3. Seeing my boys accept Christ in baptism
4. A date night with RRL
5. Putting up my Christmas tree
6. Meeting baby Asher
7. Going to Wimbledon with RRL (someday)
8. Going to Alaska

8 Things I'm Scared Of:
1. Losing someone I love
2. Not teaching my boys enough
3. Being held under water
4. Parking garages
5. Someone breaking into my house while I'm home
6. Hurting someone's feelings by saying something stupid
7. Waking up and realizing that I'm still in highschool (I dream this all the time)
8. Having a wreck with my kiddos in the car

8 Things I Wish For:
1. Family Vacation
2. Traveling more
3. Living closer to my family
4. Friends to find Godly husbands
5. Good friends for my kids when they go to school
6. Going to Europe
7. A cookies n cream milkshake
8. Less "clutter" in my life

8 Things I Watch on TV:
1. Curious George
2. Survivor
3. The Amazing Race
4. The Brady Bunch
5. The Cosby Show
6. Andy Griffeth
7. NCIS (thanks, Dad)
8. Christmas movies

8 People I Tag (no pressure!!):
1. Lori D.
2. Rebekah
3. Aimee
4. Haley C.
5. Kaylane
6. Jennifer B.
7. Chris B.
8. Summer B.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The cleaning Ninja

As an update to my previously mentioned wish for a cleaning fairy...
My cleaning NINJA (just as stealth and elusive as a cleaning fairy, yet way more studly and handsome) provided some major help at my house this weekend while I was out of town with the boys. After being gone less than 24 hours, I came home to a dusted, vacuumed, cloroxed, and mopped house. Someone had an idea that the chores I needed to get done before the Christmas festivities were weighing heavily on me and took it upon himself to ease the load A LOT. Have I mentioned how blessed I am?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

How to make PERFECT Christmas cookies...

...with special assistance from chef KJ.

FIRST
Rollout the dough. Be sure to use plenty of flour on the dough and the rolling pin (and might as well also cover yourself, the entire counter, chair and floor...just to be sure nothing sticks).

SECOND
Cut the cookies into your favorite Christmas shapes (circles work if your Momma couldn't find any Christmas cookie cutters).

THIRD
Pat gently to the perfect thickness (pounding with your entire hand might be required) and place the cookies on the pan

NEXT
Put your cookies in the oven (and be sure to run by frequently to check to see how they are coming along)
THEN
Add the necessary toppings...we like icing AND sprinkles at our house

ALMOST DONE
They just need a taste test before the last step...

AND FINALLY
Share some Christmas cheer by making a plate of cookies to share with a neighbor (and definitely deliver them very close to your 2-year-old's bedtime so that he'll be nice and wild during your visit).

KJ and I had a blast making cookies together and he was so proud when we took some to a couple of friends. Please don't tell him, though, that might not be necessary to roll, cut, and pat slice and bake cookies...especially if you are just going to cut them into round cookies. He had way more fun this way. Why ruin it for him?
ABL

Friday, December 12, 2008

O Blog Fairy, Where art thou?

Don't you wish you had a blog fairy that could take all of your pictures, memories and thoughts, organize them and voila, forever memorialized on your blog? I think my blog fairy must be hiding out with my laundry fairy and house-cleaning fairy. If you see them, could you please send them back IMMEDIATELY!
It has been awhile since I've had time or felt like blogging. But I thought I should give some updates. Here are the latest happenings:
THANKFUL
We had a great Thanksgiving, getting to spend time with my family and RRL's family. We have so much to be thankful for. Here is a glimpse of what is high on my list of thanks:
I'm thankful for my husband and thankful for the way he loves on our boys. And I'm thankful for Cbug. He has been quite the snuggler lately, preferring to take naps snuggled with his Momma or Daddy. Mostly, though, he loves to snuggle this blue bear. He sucks his thumb and rubs its silky hat to go to sleep. So sweet. He giggle with joy when we hand him the bear at night. If it is not sleepy time, though, he'll not even acknowledge the bear's presence. Too funny.

I'm thankful for KJ and the way he reminds me to enjoy the simple things. While we were at my parents' house, KJ got to experience a taste of real fall leaves. He loved playing in this huge pile in their yard. Sheer delight.

EMBARRASSING Moments, by KJ:
1) While eating with a good friend from high school, who I have not seen in probably 7 or 8 YEARS, KJ turned to her for one of his "famous" jokes.
KJ: Knock, knock
Unsuspecting friend: Who's there?
KJ: See
Sweet friend playing along: See who
me, realizing suddenly where this is heading, turn to KJ and grab his face right as he says:
KJ: SEE FOOD (and reveals his half chewed PB&J)
Thank you, KJ, for helping me create that lovely first impression of my parenting

2) KJ is definitely in a time of testing the limits. He loves to ask "why" and he also loves to occasionally blatantly disobey over things that really shouldn't be an issue, just to see what will happen (well, he loves it until he sees what happens). Recently, we were at the mall and he kept taking one shoe off, dropping it out of the stroller and waiting to see if I would notice. Finally, I got down in his face and told him that if he took his shoe off again he was going to be in trouble. We walked into the next store and at the top of his lungs, he announces "If I take my shoes off , my momma is going to spank me" THANK YOU, KJ. Lets please leave the impression with people we don't know that your mother spanks you for just taking your shoes off. Could you please give the REST of the story?

CBUG's favorite thing
Our sweet little Cbug is so animated and full of life. He races towards the door when he sees one of us coming, and squeals with delight when we as much as speak his name. He is such a joy! Nothing gets him more excited, though, than his FOOD. The boy just enjoys eating. He sees the pantry door opening and starts bouncing up and down in anticipation. He can sign "more" and frantically starts waving his little hands toward one another the second he picks up the last bite from his tray. It is pretty funny. That said, we've had some issues with feeding him table foods. He seems to have a really strong gag reflex and chokes/throws up on things that we wouldn't expect to make him gag. It has been a bit of a struggle and causes a mommy concern. We just keep trying different things and praying for the best. It doesn't seem to bother him in the least, so I'm just praying he'll grow out of it soon. Anyone else struggled with this?

BL3
We got to hear the baby's heartbeat this week. It was 150...so right in the middle of the range and not very helpful for any of you trying to guess gender! We'll go back in January for a full ultrasound and get to find out then, whether we'll have "my three sons" or a little princess to add to our rowdy crew. For those asking if I'm feeling better and whether my appetite has returned....
I may or may not have eaten a peanut butter and raisin and marshmallow sandwich for lunch this week. This may or may not have occurred after my innocent 2-year-old asked if we could have marshmallows for lunch and i told him "No, silly, marshmallows are only for after we finish lunch". But it sure sounded yummy. Um yes, my appetite is back and I'm feeling much better, thank you.

The amazing RRL
The last week or so has been really interesting/tough for RRL work-wise. He's been involved in several situations with teenagers in crisis that require late nights, rearranged schedules, meetings with parents/counselors/school administration, and just a lot of emotional investment. I've been so proud of the way he professionally yet lovingly has handled each of these teenagers. He's gone out of his way to make sure that each of them feels like they have his undivided attention and has worked hard to help their families know how to lovingly handle the situation. I've seen him pray through tears for the souls of lost kids and I'm so blessed to get to watch him use his gifts to minister to others.

Christmas
I do love Christmas, I really do. I love the excitement of decorating, baking, traveling and gift-giving. I love getting to have time set aside for reflecting on the birth of baby Jesus. I love getting to begin traditions with my children and trying to keep things in perspective for them. I love KJ's early understanding of it all and I look forward to getting to teach him (and his siblings) more and more about what makes this holiday special. That said, I'm way behind this year. Maybe my cleaning/decorating/preparing for Christmas fairy is hiding out with the others. My tree isn't up (gasp for air), I haven't even gotten the stockings out of the attic (try to lift your jaw off the floor) and I haven't bought the first gift (I know, I know). In the meantime, we are at least talking about Christmas and baby Jesus at our house. And KJ and I did bake a batch of Christmas cookies on Tuesday (pictures coming soon). Hopefully this weekend we'll add to that and really jump into the season...we'll see.

Speaking of Gifts
I think I'm a little too late pointing you to this in time for Christmas, but you really must check out the "by Emily" etsy site. She is amazing, her work is extraordinary, and her creations are treasures to keep for a lifetime. Some of her items, that are not custom, may still be available in time for Christmas gifts and if she can't get you something in time for Christmas you can always make a creative "I Owe You" to wrap for your loved one letting them know that this gift is worth waiting for! Check it out TODAY!!
That's about it for now, stay tuned for "How to make perfect Christmas cookies"
ABL

Monday, November 17, 2008

Thank you, Lord, for orange shirts

This weekend, RRL and I traveled with a group from church to run the Rock N Roll 1/2 Marathon in San Antonio, TX. I paid to do this race in July, long before the BL3 morning sickness set in and my exercise goals changed radically from 1/2 marathon training to just getting off the couch. Being the accountant that I am, I hate to waste money and since the race was not cheap, I was determined that whether they had to push, pull or drag me, I was crossing the finish line. I did not care how long it took, I just wanted to finish and enjoy the fun of the run.
It ended up being a perfect day for a nice (long) jog through the fun town of SA. I finished much faster than I thought I might and lived to tell about it!

Here are a few things that motivated me to finish:
1) THE ORANGE SHIRTS- There was a team of people running this race to benefit Crohn's Disease Research, all wearing orange shirts. The first time I saw one, it nearly brought me to tears. Here were people like me, who had been impacted one way or another by this disease, and were out to do something about it. I thanked every single one of them that I saw, but could never have said thank you enough. Thank you to each of them for what they are doing, and Thank you to the powerful Healer that I serve for giving me such a miraculous 4 years, pain free. I'm not exaggerating when I say that the Lord brought at least one of them across my path every single mile to help motivate me to finish this race (and keep pressing on in my health race). That's pretty amazing considering the 30,000 people in SA to run...no accident, I'm sure that each one of these orange shirts crossed my path.

2) I saw a woman on the biggest hill in the race, really struggling. She was zig-zagging back and forth across the hill. She was struggling up the hill because she was in a wheel chair. She was doing the full marathon (26.2 miles) and I have never seen anyone so driven. Several people asked her if she needed help and she refused each one. What an inspiration!

3) Along the way there were tons of Daddies with their children holding signs that said "Way to go, Mommy" or "Run, Mommy, run" or "Mommy's pit crew". Even though my husband was running ahead of me and my boys were home with their Grammy, I didn't think these families would mind if I borrowed from their motivational moments. Nothing motivates me more than the three (soon 4) I love most. Even just imagining that it was them standing behind those signs pushed me on.

A few not so wonderful moments:
1) About the only kind of power bar or energy drink that I can tolerate is the snickers marathon bars. I have a race routine of eating 1/2 before the race and finishing the rest during the run. I was carrying my left-over 1/2 on the race with me this time and had decided I would make it to the 60 minute mark before enjoying it. At 57 minutes, I dropped the bar in the middle of a crowd of runners and it was unrecoverable. I almost cried.

2) At about the 11 mile mark, I was taking a (scheduled) walk-break. I usually run about 8 minutes and walk 1 minute. As I was walking along, a snooty girl and her friend came running past and smugly said "I hate it when so many people start walking at this point in the race". BAH. ARGH. And how far along in your pregnancy are you? Not nice.

3) At the end of the race, I was exhausted (to say the least). All I wanted to see was RRL's sweaty face. I knew he would finish ahead of me and that there was a HUGE crowd to sort through, but I just needed to find him. We had set up a meeting spot, but it took forever to limp-along and find it (and him). I felt so lost and started to panic before I realized I was in the wrong place and got turned in the right direction. I kept thinking "If I could just call the people we are supposed to be meeting, I could find them" but I couldn't remember anyone's phone numbers. Where I finally made it, and got to release some tears on RRL's shoulder, he sweetly reminded me that I had written the phone number on the back of my race number pinned to my shirt. NICE.

All in all, it was a great weekend, making lots of fun memories with friends and accomplishing a difficult goal. The Lord is good to give us what we need for each of the "races" we run and I was so thankful to have this race to remind me of that!

ABL

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Guessing Game

Our family has one of the best surprises EVER headed our way. Wanna guess what the surprise is? Below are some picture clues to help.

10,000 points to the person who guesses first. 5,000 bonus points to anyone who can correctly caption the pictures as to how they relate to our "little" surprise.


Who am I kidding? As if I could wait until the end of some fake contest to give away the answer.

So award yourself the points if you labeled the pictures as follows:

1) My dream of owning a mini-van may come true sooner than I expected!

2) Recently I had lose-my-mind moment #1 (for this round) and actually buckled both boys into each other's car seats (KJ in the infant seat, Cbug in the big boy seat). NICE.

3) Foreshadowing to family of 5. Actually, this is us meeting sweet baby GCH for the first time. Isn't he handsome? You might be able to tell in the picture that I am a little green and feeling very sick.

4) Speaking of sick, nothing makes me gag more than opening a can of babyfood. I have to hold my breath to feed poor Cbug.

So NOW can you guess?

That's right...BL3 is on the way! We are absolutely over-joyed and so thankful that the Lord chose to bless us in such an unexpected way. We had our first doctor's appointment today, everything looks very healthy, and BL3 should arrive sometime at the beginning of June (right after KJ's 3rd birthday).

Thanks for sharing our excitement!

ABL

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Disappointed

This blog is NOT about politics. It is rarely about anything outside of our little family. But I just can't get something out of my head. Maybe blogging will help. Two days after the election and I'm still very disappointed.

Obama won. I didn't really like either candidate but when I ranked things that were most important to me, based on my core values, I couldn't vote for Obama. But he won.

HOWEVER, that is not why I'm so disappointed.

I'm disappointed in the response...from both sides. This morning on the news I was still hearing about how much Palin spent on her campaign wardrobe. And yesterday on the ride home, the radio station I listen to went on and on about how bad things were going to be under Obama. Seriously?

In the media, and even in Christian media, I've had trouble finding a response that I can support. Our roles as Christians did not change one bit from November 3rd to November 5th. A new leader for our country was elected. And as our preacher pointed out last weekend, we elected a new leader and will see power change hands peacefully. A real honor and privilege.

We may agree with him or we may not (chances are we'll do a lot of both). But we'll stand behind him and we'll pray for him. And his policies on the economy, abortion, or the war won't change in the least my personal responsibility towards the poor, the helpless teenage mom or world missions.

Come on people, let's move on. Lets embrace CHANGE... and I do not mean "change" by Government. I mean change in heart, change in our churches, and change in our communities. If people got half as worked up about providing services for marriage reconciliation as they do about voting against gay marriage, what would it do for our families? If people spent half the energy they spend on welcoming the unwed mother and providing services for her unborn baby as they spend energy protesting abortion, how many lives could we save? And if we spent as much money on meeting the needs of the poor in our own neighborhood as we do on publishing articles about economic policy, how different would our communities be?

None of what I'm saying is new or original. In fact, I've read several really good blog articles lately about these kinds of changes. Thanks to so many of you who are sharing your hearts! I just needed to vent and to move on. I'm moving on towards change in my own life. Are you?

That's my 2 cents.

ABL

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Birthday, Fall Fest, and a Joke

BIRTHDAY

I did have a wonderful birthday! Thanks to so many of you for the sweet wishes. However, there were a few bumps in the road (feel free to skip over all of this onto the pictures of the boys. I just had to document it)...

Some of my sweet girlfriends did a little surprise gathering at Starbucks after the kiddos were in bed on Tues night. It was so sweet and so much fun. Unfortunately, the party planner made one terrible mistake. In order to get me to come to Starbucks she called, practically in tears, told me she had a huge fight with her husband and asked if I could come meet her. Of course, I threw on sweats, rushed out of the house and drove the whole way there begging the Lord to take care of their marriage and make me a supportive friend. I even drove the long way around to get "prepared" and try to compose myself. When I walked in and saw them all, I was definitely surprised and relieved that no marriages were coming apart and just overwhelmed. It took me a few minutes to sit and change gears into party mode. I made her PROMISE to never joke about something so serious again....and then thanked her for such a fun time.

The morning of my actual bday got off to a terrible start. I forgot to set my alarm and as a result was late to work. I had to take my breakfast with me and in my rush dumped the entire cup of cereal in the parking garage. When I finally breathed a sigh of relief at my desk, I realized I left my laptop at home. Argh. The rest of the day was much better (oh, except that I got ANOTHER jury duty notice when I got home). My sweet coworkers decorated my office and brought lots of yummy treats (so many that I was literally sick the next day).

Even though we technically celebrated in NYC, RRL definitely made the day special. He gave me a very sweet letter including thoughts and encouragement from a few of those that are closest to me. So very thoughtful, requiring weeks of preparation. He also took me to dinner on Thurs at one of my favorite places. What an amazing man!

FALL FEST

Here are pictures of the boys from Fall Fest friday night.

-KJ, the soccer player/superhero/accountant. He started as a soccer play, but insisted on taking the calculator, too. And he leaps buildings in a single bound. Not really, but he's so into jumping off of anything and everything these days. We have to really watch what he climbs up on.

-Cbug sure was cute in his outfit from China, but it did not last long so we went with the "I'm a baby" costume.
JOKE
(Courtesy of KJ- please let us know if you can interpret the punch line)
Knock, Knock
Who's there?
Banana
Banana Who?
Banana Beans

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Countdown to 30...My Favorites

It's been real and it's been fun (maybe even real fun), but the countdown is drawing to an end. I've reached the day (unscarred, I might add). If you missed the first 3 pieces of the countdown to 30 and want to check them out:
A trip down memory lane
A bit about me
Embarrassing moments

Now for a few of my "favorites"

25) I always tell RRL that he is "My favorite" and to KJ I say "My favorite little boy" and to Cbug "My favorite baby boy"



26) Favorite scriptures

-If any of you lacks wisdom he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. James 1:5

- Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess for He who promised is faithful. Hebrews 10:23

- I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone Oh Lord make me dwell in safety. Psalm 4:8

27) Favorite vacations

- NYC in 1997 with my parents andd brothers

- Backpacking in Italy after 2000 Summer Abroad

- Honeymoon in Boston/Nantucket Dec 2001

- Backpacking in the Grand Canyon with RRL, Labor Day 2005

- Anna Maria Island, the last trip with both of my Grandmothers, Dec 2005

- Honduras in 2007 with my family and RRL's family

- NYC with RRL, Aug 2008

28) Favorite treats

- Any kind of cookie (especially varieties containing chocolate)

- JLS' famous chocolate chip cake

- Ice Cream Cake

- Blue Bell Cookies and Cream Milk Shake


29) Favorite music

- For running: RRL's rock mix (containing favorites like U2's Beatiful Day and Bon Jovi's It's my life)

- For relaxing: JMCH's mix of hymns (love Fernando Ortega)

- For driving: "Mel's Music Memories with the Babe's" (from our college days!)

- For crazy fun: A mix CD that LNS sent me when I was in the hospital in 2004. What other CD can combine MC Hammer and Amy Grant?

30) Favorite age: 30! I'm love being a wife and a mommy. This really is one of the very best times of my life.

ABL

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Robin Hood, an Adventure, and a Milestone

Robin Hood:
Our little Robin Hood was recently discovered emptying all of the change from my wallet into his bank. When I asked him why he was taking Momma's money he replied "Its for people to learn about Jesus". How do you argue with that?
An Adventure:
We have a creek that runs through our neighborhood. When we first moved here, before we had kids, I used to go for runs and leave the sidewalk to go down to the trail right by the creek and feel like I was on such an adventure. I'd get muddy and love it. Now I like to take the boys over to the creek to throw rocks in the water. We love finding spots where there are breaks in the trees enough to roll the stroller close to the water so Cbug can watch while KJ makes big splashes. Here are a few pictures of our recent adventure (including a picnic in the park, first).

Picnic




"Look, Momma!"



Digging for rocks.



Big Splash.


There was an inch of mud caked to KJ's boots after our "adventures" were over.


A Milestone:
KJ got his first tattoo recently while attending family day at my work. And wore it proudly for nearly a week (we washed around it). He would flex his muscles and show anyone that asked...and a few people who didn't.





We certainly are having fun around here!
ABL

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Love me some Cbug

Cbug is nine-months-old (plus a couple of weeks)! This month I have loved listening to him crack himself up. He'll just be in his bed or playing and just laugh at himself. It is too funny. Also, he is finally crawling. Its still pretty rough, but he can definitely get across the room with a combination of crawling, pushing with his feet, and belly scoots.

Here are a few of my favorite recent pictures:

Yes, that is definitely an amazingly long string of drool.
Poor guy has pretty much been teething constantly for about a month!

Cbug is amazingly patient with this kind of displays of brotherly love. Sweetness

This little video is a pretty accurate display of Cbug's animated personality.
video


Cbug, you are such a joy to your Mommy, Daddy and Brother! We love you!!

ABL

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Mama's Little Pumpkins

Thanks to a dear friend and amazing photographer, we got some fun pictures of the boys at the pumpkin patch this year. This is one of my favorite traditions and I love to compare these to years past. Especially look at the very last picture in last year's post (it's from 2 years ago). Do you think KJ and Cbug look alike?

I set my expectations pretty low for pictures because getting a two-year-old and nine-month-old to look the same direction, smile at the same time and stay put for any amount of time is pretty much impossible. Thank to the patience of the photographer, though, here are some of my favorites...




"You do the clutch, I'll steer"


"This one is a little more my size"


"TA-DA"

"YUM, I'm going to LOVE fall"




"Baby brother, I'm going to let you in on a secret.
If you will just fake a smile we can both get out of this mess""












Here is what the boys really thought about our little photo shoot

"I'm outta here!"


Happy fall!
ABL

Monday, October 6, 2008

Little boys who get new boots should definitely play in the rain!

Thanks, Uncle D for sending such a fun gift. KJ put them on as soon as he opened the box...

...and today the Lord sent rain so that he could REALLY enjoy them.


DISCLAIMER: If anyone tries to convince you that KJ is actually crying in the last picture because he tried to go down a very wet and slippery slide, and I took his picture before helping him because it was so stinkin' funny to see him sprawled out in the wet grass...

I'd probably deny it.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Countdown to 30...Embarrasing moments

If you are new to the blog or just a sporadic reader, I'm continuing my countdown to 30. Be sure to check out the first installment, Blasts from the past, and the second installment, A bit about me.

Now for a few of my most embarrasing moments


17) Once my roommates and I were running around the coliseum track. C had just finished knee surgery so we were kind of making fun of her by running circles around her while she hobbled along. While running backwards, I tripped over my own feet, flew back and hit my head so hard that I briefly blacked out and peed my pants. (I can't believe I just admitted that on the www).

18) I've always been directionally challenged. When I was first driving on my own my Daddy taught me that I could typically get my bearings in Nashville by identifying where downtown is. Downtown was typically to my north. Easy to remember...Nashville, North. Unfortunately, despite how clever I felt as a freshman in college, downtown in my new town was NOT to your north.

19) Only a few months after beginning work at my current employer, I was walking up the stairs while talking to the VP/Controller of the company who was standing at the top of the stairs. I tripped over the edge of a stair above me, crashed down, and dropped everything I was carrying.

20) At our wedding reception I was amazed by the fact that all of the songs were familiar to me. I'm not typically very in touch with music and rarely know words to songs. I thought it was awesome that the band kept playing songs I knew and loved. It was not until we were on the plane headed to our honeymoon that I remembered that I had given the band the play-list. Welcome to marriage, honey! Did you know that your new wife is so brilliant?

Equally embarrassing, here are some fears/quirks...
21) I am not sure where this phobia started. I once either read a story or saw something on TV about a snake swimming through the sewer pipes and up a women's toilet. To this day I can't sit down without first looking in. If it is too dark to see- forget it.

22) I remember very clearly sitting in an assembly in 1st grade about hygene. The only big thing that stuck with me is that if you do not dry between your toes after a shower you might get a fungus. The first time I saw RRL dry his feet and not get between every toe, I freaked out. He told me it was irrational. Because I couldn't find any concrete research to support my case, I've since met him in the middle and allowed drying on top and bottom without necessarily going between every one.

23) I have an unreasonable fear of empty parking garages. I think it started when I was auditing a company and would leave late at night to wander out to my lonely car in a dark garage with elevator-type music playing in the background. CREEPY!

24) I used to be very afraid of escalators (and truth be told, still prefer an elevator). I would stand at the top and almost sweat from fear of making that first step onto the moving stairs. I was so convinced a shoe-lace would get stuck or I would fall all the way down that it was almost paralyzing. I can't remember exactly how I conquered the fear.



Stay tuned for the final installment of my countdown to 30. I'll tell about some of my "favorites".



ABL

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

2nd Annual Get-Away

How many times do you have to do something before it becomes "annual"...twice in a row, five times in a row, one time with the intention of repeating next year?


As I fully intend to continue my little tradition of a fall escape, I'll call this my second annual. Last year, RRL sent pregnant-me off to lectureships at our Alma mater for a few days of r&r. It was so much fun and much appreciated. As the event approached this year, I was a little more hesitant about taking off. We had just returned from our fabulous week away and it seemed incredibly selfish to leave the boys AGAIN (not to mention that I kind of like spending my time WITH them). RRL encouraged me to go, nearly pushing me out the door on Sunday, and I'm so grateful! It was a great 2 days.

On top of just getting to be on campus, stay in a college-girls' house and visiting with so many fun people who have graduated from our youth group, highlights included:

1) Yummy zucchini bread from Hickory Street. (we'll not discuss amount consumed)

2) A record number of hours spent alone in the library where, among other things, I achieved a very balanced and tidy family budget (can't help it, I'm an accountant).

3) WONDERFUL lectures by KV. I loved getting to hear this story again. It made me want to go back and reread all of the blog entries they wrote on how mightily God worked to bring sweet their youngest daughter into their family. Even more it was a inspiration to spend some time studying the Word on all of the scriptures related to how precious we are as adopted children of our Lord.

4) Lunch with two of my favorite people, Dr. and Mrs. Willis. Seriously, I learn from them in every second I spend in their presence. It's almost overwhelming.

5) Catching up with Dub-dub and discussing the sad state of our social club (and other very important topics). While at their house I had the distinct honor of having an orange grasshopper named after me...thanks, CK.

6) Of course- coming home. Its strange to think that in last year's post I just came home to RRL and KJ. We've since added Cbug, but I already can't imagine a time without him. Isn't it strange how quickly that happens?

Thanks, Babe, for taking such good care of our precious boys so I could go. I love you!!

ABL

Sunday, September 21, 2008

The boys

Just two quick snippets on my favorite topics...the boys-

- Colter wore this outfit this weekend. He can't crawl, still eats baby food and doesn't know any real words yet. However, he is wearing clothes that his brother donned at around 17 months. Have I mentioned that they currently wear the same size of diapers? We've found him the last couple of mornings STANDING in his bed when we go in to get him. He's growing up so fast. MAKE IT STOP!

- Our church does a special collection each year that all of the children participate in by filling banks with coins to bring to the service. This is KJ's first year to participate. This kid LOVES money (of course this is just because it makes noise and is fun to collect, not because he is greedy). So I know we are going to have to do a lot of preparation for the day when he takes his bank full and gives it away. We've been talking about ways for him to "earn" his pennies. He gets a few when he has a great attitude or helps us around the house. Every time he makes a deposit we talk about what the money will be used to do "It's for people who don't know Jesus or who don't have anything to eat or who are sick". A few minutes ago he wanted his treasures OUT of his bank so I went through this explanation again. He responded "I get sick". Good thing we still have more than a month to work on this concept- we're going to need it.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Good Manners Award

Tonight as we were driving home from dinner RRL was trying to tell me something about his day when we heard KJ's volume getting louder and louder from the backseat. How dare we try to have adult conversation while our children are present? We've been trying to explain to KJ lately that the way to get Mommy and Daddy's attention is to say "excuse me please" instead of yelling "HEY" or instead of just screaming at us until we answer. Tonight it clicked. Here was our conversation...

The previously mentioned volume increase was due to the fact that KJ wanted his window rolled down a little farther so...

RRL: Try again. Instead of screaming, just tell us what you want
KJ: Excuse me, please
RRL: Yes?
KJ: Want my window down
RRL: Thank you for asking nicely
RRL fixes window and we go back to our previous conversation
KJ (whose imaginary light bulb just went on): Excuse me, please
RRL: Yes, sir
KJ: "ummmmmmm"
at which point RRL and I go back to our conversation
KJ: Excuse me, please
RRL: yes, sir
KJ: (From way out in left field): wise man built his house on the rock
ABL: yes he did, do you want to sing that song (we sing then rrl and i go back to our conversation)
KJ: Excuse me, please
RRL: yes (trying not to crack up as we wait to see what he is going to come up with this time)
KJ: (grinning ear to ear) n'ermind

We gave up on our conversation.

At least he is learning good manners.

ABL

Monday, September 15, 2008

Dessert/Desert

So I realized that on several occasions in my NYC posts I referred to desert (the sandy place) when meaning dessert (the yummy goodness following a meal). If you've been following DRRF this will not come as big surprise...guess what, I wasn't an English major. Sorry to some of you who were (I did fix the errors I found).


In other news...

It has not been easy to adjust to real life after our week in NYC. RRL started his new job last week, KJ was a little sick and I'm trying to get back in a routine around the house. A week away from the boys, though, has certainly made me appreciate the little things with them. I've done a lot more snuggling, reading, playing, kissing, laughing and singing since we've been back. Of course I did all of those things before, but sometimes put them second to cleaning or cooking or whatever. I enjoy them in a new way now and find myself much quicker to look for ways to say "Yes" to the boys. One of the main reasons RRL and I decided to get-away was knowing that it would make us better parents if we continued to put our marriage first. I love that I can already see how the Lord is blessing us through that!


Since this post is about real life, here is what is going on with us:


RRL>> As I mentioned, RRL just started his new job. He will be the program director for a brand new non-profit organization to help hurting teens in our area. It will definitely use his amazing talent for building relationships with teenagers and I can't wait to see how the Lord is going to use this program. Please continue to be praying about this big step into something completely new for us.


ABL>> I've started playing soccer with a team from work. Its actually really fun, but it is very apparent to me that the last time I played was BEFORE I had two babies. Wow, I'm out of shape. We're also trying to train to run a 1/2 marathon so I guess I better fix that. In the meantime, soccer has been a great way to meet some new people and be outside and do something for me. I do have a pretty cute fan club.


KJ>> KJ is just, well, HILARIOUS. I know we are his parents and therefor very biased, but seriously, if you are around him for more than 4.2 minutes, he will have you endeared forever. We definitely have our rough days, but seriously if this is what being 2 is about, I love it! I do wish that I had a tape recorder on at all times because the things that comes out of his mouth are so funny. He loves to remind C-bug "maybe when you get a little bigger" usually referring to the toy he does not want C-bug to play with. He has no shortage of self-confidence, either. My mom said that while she was here, he would ask her "Am I precious?" Yes, KJ, yes you are!


Cbug>> Cbug has his first two teeth. They pretty much came at the same time and it seemed like it took forEVER for them to make it all the way through. He is working on the crawling thing still, but prefers to roll and scoot. He is an absolute delight these days and laughs and plays from the moment he wakes up. So full of life. He pretty much can entertain himself and be perfectly content (which he rarely has to do with big brother around). Can you see the two pearly whites in this gummy grin picture?

I would sign off with something witty about how I'll work on my grammar skills, spelling skills and basic sentence structure before my next post, but it wouldn't be true. So, signing off the same way as always....
ABL

Saturday, September 13, 2008

A Warrant for My Arrest?

So I've had quite the run in with the City lately and as far as I know there may currently be a warrant out for my arrest on two matters...

#1 I got a speeding ticket.

#2 I skipped jury duty.

The first matter occurred the day we left for our New York trip. I got pulled over for speeding on the way home from work. This was a huge deal for me because I never speed in the city. I'm talking always within 5mph of the posted limits (I will say that I view interstates as a different matter). Years ago, I was speeding through a neighborhood and got a serious guilt trip from a very stern policeman about how I might have killed a child. I promised the cop that if he wouldn't give me a ticket I wouldn't speed anymore. And I've made every effort to honor that commitment. So it was a huge deal when I got this ticket. I was on the access road going 50 (with the flow of traffic I might add) but the speed limit is 35. He was absolutely right, I was wrong, no excuse. I didn't even try to get out of it.

I did, however, wait until after he handed me the ticket to do my good citizen duty and tell him that I thought it might not be the safest thing for him to step out into the middle of the access road (where he had already commented everyone speeds) to wave me over for my ticket. He did not appreciate my advice.

Sassyness aside, the reason this might lead to my arrest, though, is the fact that he told me I just had to call the phone number on the ticket within 11 days. I did call...on about the 9th day (why wait until the VERY last minute) at which point I found out that the cop was wrong, I didn't have to call I had to mail it within 11 days. Next day was Saturday, 11th day was Sunday. I didn't mail the ticket until late in the day Saturday and it probably didn't get picked up until Monday. I don't think they'd really arrest me for mailing my ticket one day late...but they could.

Second matter had to do with jury duty. I was assigned to city court jury duty on a day while we were out of town. Being a responsible citizen (who rarely speeds), I called in advance to ask to be rescheduled. I talked to a lady that must have been working in that office longer than I've been alive. She was kind, though, to set a new date for me and let me know that my new summons would come in the mail. It never did. So, I called back (again with the responsible stuff) after we got back to town. "Oh, honey," and I quote, "You've already missed your date". Yep, she never changed it and had no record of our previous conversation. shocker. Technically you can be arrested (or at least fined) for missing jury duty, right? When I asked "Grandma" at City Court about this she said not to worry and that she'd "take care of it for me"...just like she took care of rescheduling my last appointment. That's a relief.

Think I should be worried? I've gone from a responsible citizen who rarely speeds and tries to keep policemen safe to a sassy rebel who avoids tickets and dodges jury duty all in one fail swoop. We might have to move.

ABL

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

NYC fun (continued)

Sunday
Sometimes you pay for the experience
We started Sunday attending church service where our friends that live in Manhattan normally go. It was cool to get this small glimpse into their lives in the city. I tend to feel more connected to people when I see what their Sunday worship experience might include so this was really important to me.

The rest of the day was pretty much centered around food. We had an awesome brunch at "Good Enough to Eat" (thanks, C&J) followed by a leisurely nap at the apartment. RRL and I spent the rest of the afternoon/evening shopping downtown. We had so much fun at F.A.O. Schwartz picking out presents for the boys and also loved Dylan's Candy Bar- how could you go wrong with 3 stories of goodness?



For our evening fun we all 4 decided to go to Serendipity for frozen Hot Chocolate. After waiting 1.5 hours and paying way too much for dessert, I'd say it was definitely worth it to do once. It was a fun experience and fun hanging out with friends, but probably not high on my list to do again.




Monday
Our favorite NYC attraction
On Monday, our favorite NYC attraction arrived. Baby J came home! I've loved her Mommy for as long as I can remember and have been anxiously awaiting a chance to welcome this angel to the world. Her parents are the ones that graciously let us (and friends) use their apartment and we were so thankful. But even more, we were just glad to have some time visiting with them, catching up on their lives and sharing what the Lord is doing for us. We pretty much spent the whole afternoon/evening just enjoying this amazing family. And to top it off, Baby J's Daddy sure does make some incredible milkshakes!
Tuesday
Just a walk in the park

We still had two things on our list that we wanted to take care of on our last day in the city. #1- A long run in Central Park and #2- Chicken and Waffles. Check. Check. The long run would have been even more fun with our running buddies...we missed you guys being there. I didn't take any pictures in the park at all. Shame on me. I did get a few of Amy Ruth's, though, where we went to get Chicken and Waffles in Harlem. YUM YUM. If you haven't ever had this yummy dish, you are missing out. My brother, M, introduced us to it in LA and we've been fans ever since. (Yes, you put the fried chicken on top of the waffles, and yes, you still add syrup).


Wednesday
Homecoming

We spent much of Wednesday traveling. One long busride and several hours on a plane brought us back to these adorable faces. (Someday I hope they'll forgive me for the diaper pictures, but they are just so cute I can't help myself!)



So, there you have it. The highlights. A great trip with a wonderful husband in a super fun city. But boy was I ready to be home. Thanks again, Mom, for taking such good care of our boys. We certainly missed them!

ABL