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".


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!!


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.


Monday, September 15, 2008


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....

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.


Wednesday, September 10, 2008

NYC fun (continued)

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.

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!
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).


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!


Monday, September 8, 2008

We interrupt this program...

I want to finish blogging about NYC and I need to give you some updates on my boys, but right now there is only one story on my mind. It is an amazing story of Faith and Hope and a testimony to the healing power of our loving Jesus. I'm a little late pointing you to it, and I'm sorry. They could still use your prayers, though, so please join me.

About 2 and 1/2 years ago, I was sitting at my desk at work in a blubbering mess. I had just received an email from Rick C. about the daughter that he and his wife, Amy were expecting. The prognosis did not look good, but the faith of this couple was compelling to say the least. As I felt KJ moving inside of me, I was especially touched by their story and their ability to witness to so many people in the middle of their pain. Even in the middle of the work day, I sat in my chair, crying, talking to my baby boy about his friend, and praying. "Oh, God, please please please, save their baby". Amazingly, it was Rick and Amy who brought me to the place where I could pray those words and know they were heard. They said, and TRULY BELIEVED, that they knew the God they loved could heal the baby they loved. While their journey was rough, their faith was strong. And against all medical odds, they were RIGHT. Precious Eva Faith is 2 now and such an amazing little lady.

But that wasn't the end of the story for this family. Next came precious Ella. Please go over to their blog and read more about Ella Hope and her family. And when you do, be prepared to be amazed and inspired. Inspired by the Hope and Faith in this family and AMAZED at what a mighty God we serve.

Also, Sweet Mindy, has been doing a great job of putting up scriptures each day that I'm sure are such an encouragement to those that are close to this story and will bless you, too. Stop by her blog and thank her for her tender heart.


Saturday, September 6, 2008

I want to be apart of it... NEW YORK, NEW YORK

What do you get when you mix turning 30 with the craziness of two small boys, a marriage that you want to keep as a priority, a small window between changing jobs, and a certain husband's dream of attending the U.S. Open? A MUCH NEEDED WEEK AWAY IN NEW YORK CITY WITH NO CHILDREN!

RRL and I were so blessed to get a week of just enjoying each other away from the responsibilities of home. While we certainly missed our boys, this break was much needed at this time in our lives and we were so thankful that we could make it happen (with special assistance from Nonna on the homefront)! Everything about the trip just fell in place. We were able to fly on miles, stay with some VERY generous friends in Manhattan, and score free tickets to the Open. We spent the week in a nice balance of seeing the sights, eating some amazing food, and getting some much needed R&R. There were a few mornings when I slept later than I have in YEARS. Here is a quick *haha* day-by-day recap (it might take more than one post):

the day to learn a few lessons

On our first day in the City we had tickets to the Yankees v Red Sox game- the last time these two rivals will meet in the Old Yankees Stadium. It was so cool to be part of this historic occasion. We did learn, though, that just because it is much cooler in the City than it is for us at home, the sun is still shining. Despite one application of sunscreen, I got FRIED. I'm usually a little OC about sunscreen so this was a big blow to me and I learned to carry sunscreen with me everywhere I went for the rest of the week.

After the game we headed to Brooklyn for some amazing pizza at Grimaldi's and ice cream at The Brooklyn Ice cream Factory. Both were recommended in our Frommer's book (don't leave home without one) and both certainly lived up to the hype! Our original plan had been to get our pizza, walk across the Brooklyn Bridge for sunset and come back for ice cream. Sounds romantic, right? Well, after over an hour of looking for Grimaldi's, RRL found a hotspot to connect on his iPod Touch and we realized that restaurant was indeed right between Front and Water St (as we had been told) but there were Front and Water St on both sides of the bridge. NICE! From that point forward we learned to rely heavily on the iPod and never think that we could just wander until we found something.

What follows a delicious dinner and dessert better than a movie? A MOVIE UNDER THE BROOKLYN BRIDGE! Again, sounds very romantic and the scenery certainly did not disappoint (looking up at the lights on the Bridge, sailboats on the water, sitting in the park with a perfect view of the skyline, snuggled up with my husband). The movie, however, was The Shining. Watching a man try to kill his family while I am far away from my boys was not my idea of fun, so we left early.
A most unfortunate event occurred as we were leaving Brooklyn. Thinking that after a whole day of subway hopping we were experts, we accidently "hopped" onto a train going to Queens...and rode it about 30 minutes the wrong way. We arrived home 1 and 1/2 hours after leaving the movie. Good thing we didn't stay until the end of the movie and that we learned from then on to read the signs before anyone hopped anywhere.

Something is brewing and 'bout to begin

We each had one main thing we were especially looking forward to and Friday was mine. I was like a kid waiting for Christmas all day. Just a few weeks before, after much on-line research, I had finally found affordable tickets to see Mary Poppins on Broadway. This has been high on my "list" since it opened. RRL was very gracious to make it a really special time for me and did not complain at all as we sat down in the middle of a bunch of families with little girls (none of whom were nearly as squirmy with anticipation as I was)! The musical did not disappoint. IT WAS AMAZING and left you just believing that maybe, JUST MAYBE, the magic of Mary Poppins has a little truth to it.

Before the show we went to eat at a super yummy restaurant in Little Italy. We had been told to meet Antoine at the door and he ushered us to our seats with kisses and Italian hospitality. It was great (not to mention some of the best food I've ever tasted).

A dream come true
RRL's "big day" was Saturday...a whole day of Tennis at the U.S. Open. We saw an amazing line-up of players all day, including Venus, Serena, #1 ranked Nadal, Mike and Bob Bryan, and the fun upset match between Mardy Fish and James Blake. It was a LONG and very hot day of tennis that didn't end until after mid-night, but it was a lot of fun. It was so special to get to watch RRL enjoy it so much after waiting so long to be there.
We also had the fun surprise of having the Brackeens join us for the weekend, including the Open. She does a great job on their blog of talking about the amazing day and also accurately described the only downer of the day as "the expensive/horrible food...more expensive than an airport, worse than a school cafeteria!" Because of that, we asked around and were excited to find out that there was a "Spanish Restaurant" not far from the tournament that we could walk to between the day and night sessions. Unfortunately, this is what we found:

It smelled as bad as it looks (I think that poor dog might be next). We went back to the $10 hamburgers.

Can you believe it? All of that in just 3 day! And there is still more to come. Stay Tuned for:

Sometimes you pay for the experience

Our favorite NYC attraction

Just a walk in the park