Monday, November 30, 2009

Thanksgiving Top 10

Just some of the highlights of this year's Thanksgiving festivities.

10.  Taking Christmas pictures with the grandkids.  Lots of stripes. Lots of squirming.  Hopefully one photo that will actually work.

9.  Staying at the (un)Comfort Suites.  I didn't think it was bad at all. D and S thought differently.

8.  Boys' trip to the car show.  Jamesy got to sit in a baby blue fancy/fast car -- one of two such cars made.

7.  Running/jumping/dodging 3.2 miles in downtown Dallas with 35,000 other people, some dressed like this:

6.  Sir W and Miss O meeting for the first time.  Really cute.  He liked to pull her hair.  She just smiled.  Match made in heaven, I'd say.

5.  Baby Will's blessing, making Thanksgiving Day even more special.

4.  A delicious spread, as always.  A moist turkey, amazing rolls, fluffy stuffing, and coconut cream pie which I secretly wanted a second helping of.

3.  The babysitter(s):  James and the door stop.  W could be entertained all day.

2.  Sharing what we're thankful for.

1.  We are blessed.


I'm not one for (overt) public displays of affection or even publicly gushing my affection.  But I am thankful for the one I am most affectionate for.  I'm thankful for him because..
--he makes me laugh. really hard.
--he turns the seat warmer on in the car before I get in so my seat is nice and toasty.
--when he discovers a new hobby, he gets really into it, becoming all but professional.
--he is sensitive to others' needs.
--he enjoys yard work.
--he can fix anything.  anything.
--he works hard.
--but he knows how to relax.
--he takes care of W on Sunday mornings so I can sleep a little longer.
--he keeps things in perspective.
--he says it like it is.
--he keeps things simple.
--he likes to cook.
--he enjoys soda and Mexican food together as much as I do.
--he loves his boy.
--he loves me.
--a lot.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Monday, November 23, 2009

Forever Thankful

Winston had his first ear infection this week.  His condition was hardly a crisis.  I mean, really.  It won't be something I mention on next month's milestone list.  It's been a small bump in the road, but to be expected.  Not a big deal.  Nonetheless, it certainly didn't make for the most enjoyable week.  Five nights in a row he got up two and three times each screaming at the top of his lungs.  Screaming like I've never seen before.  Holding him didn't work.  Neither did rocking him, rubbing his back or trying to wake him up from the night terrors (which I erroneously diagnosed).  I was trying everything, none of which worked.  It was dark.  Middle of the night.  And Tylenol was a failing companion.  I felt helpless.  I finally just held him out in front of me one night and said, "Winston, I don't know what's wrong.  I don't know what you want or need."
Following my mother's advice (because I'd been ignoring my own intuition for several days), we finally went to see Dr. Joe.  A quick exam determined an ear infection to be the culprit.  An RX for amoxicillin and we were out the door.  Twenty-four hours later, W is a new kid.  Actually, he's back to being the W we know.  But it was simple.  Fixable.  He is whole.  He is healthy.  He is happy. I'd say, his condition is what every mother hopes for.
This experience has made me more thankful for not just available medical help, but, on the grander scale of things, thankful for a child who is free from disability and disease.   This has been on my mind all week long.  We are so, so, SO lucky to have a healthy boy.
Just a few days ago, my friend/former co-worker gave birth to a beautiful baby boy.  In the first few hours of life, this little guy has already undergone surgery to fix a birth defect involving his stomach and esophagus.  He uses a feeding tube and will have to be in the hospital for a couple of weeks at best.
I also just learned that a classmate of mine has two children who are needing to undergo multiple organ transplants.  The youngest, a daughter, needs the transplants as soon as possible, as her condition is most severe.  Six days a week this mom takes her two kids to the hospital for dialysis for her daughter.  Her life has been turned upside down.  I would guess she wakes up each day wondering if this will be the day her daughter gets the transplants and a new chance at life.
And finally, shortly after W was born, my friend delivered a beautiful little boy.  This little boy's body was weak, but his spirit strong.  I have seen (via blog) my friend go through the heartbreaking challenge of receiving and returning her little B to Heavenly Father in the same day.  The thought of this is devastating and physically makes my heart ache.  But my friend has not been broken by this; I think quite the contrary.  She has become the epitome of strength and courage.  She is an example of what hope really is.  I admire her very much and I'm sure her little B is so proud of his mom, too.
Last week I learned a little bit more how sensitive and effected a mother is to her child.  It's weird how motherhood works.  Like some sort of voodoo, whatever he experiences, I do ten-fold.  I am thankful for the simple fix that healed and soothed W, because it healed and soothed me, too.  I am thankful for the examples of so many women who bear tremendous burdens in the name of their children and, without hesitation, manage to smile all the way through it.
I'm sure there are times when I feel like life is hard or I deserve a break, or I wonder why some things have to be so difficult.  But I am quickly corrected.  I am blessed; too blessed.  And I am forever thankful for my healthy, happy little boy.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

(Not) Thankful

Two words:  Night.  Terrors.
That's the only thing I can chalk these middle-of-the-night frantic screaming episodes up to be.  This sweet little boy turns into something I don't recognize.  I don't like it.  Not.  At.  All.
But here's a good thing to cancel out the bad.  I was feeding W some applesauce this morning.  When he finished, I clapped my hands and told him good job.  He got a big grin on his face and clapped right back.  It was only 9:00 a.m. and my day had been made.
Now it's almost 10:00 and I put him down for a morning nap.  Hasn't quite gone to sleep yet; I can hear him singing/talking to himself upstairs.
But it's a time to be thankful.  So hey, I'll take it.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Churro Please

The past two days I have been trapped at home, fleeing the cold, wet conditions outside while trying to manage an under-the-weather little boy who coughs like a smoker and breathes like a purring cat.  I haven't accomplished much, to say the least.  But today was a big day.

(Please excuse sub-par photography.  It's embarrassing how delighted I am to spend an evening in a warehouse.) 
Today the new Costco opened just miles from my house.  I am very thankful that I don't have to drive 25 min. to get my bulk cereal, paper towel and other stuff I probably don't really need.  Nonetheless, Dave took us to the new store tonight and it was glorious.  Just glorious.  We hadn't eaten dinner yet, so I skipped the obligatory Diet and/or churro.  But I'm sure I'll be back soon.  Maybe even tomorrow.  And this time I'll leave with my churro.

Monday, November 16, 2009

High Centered

At 7:25 this morning (after already having gotten up three times with the little man), I was lying in my bed listening to W crawl around on the floor.  He suddenly started to cry, then scream, then really scream.  I shot up out of my bed envisioning in my half-awake, half-comatose mind the dresser on top of him or his fingers smashed in a door, only to discover he had managed to high center himself on a basket.  Now, I am trying to raise a confident, problem-solving, independent child here.  But a basket?!  The poor kid couldn't push himself through the handle and over the basket any further, but the handle was blocking the reverse motion as well.   Stuck.

W was more than a little distressed at the situation, and, as the cruel mother that I am, I had to laugh and take a picture before rescuing him.

Near Death

I'm thankful I didn't die on my run on Saturday.  It was one of those runs where I felt that at any moment I just might kill over dead.  Eight miles felt more like 80.  Short hills felt like mountains.  My running partner was likely embarrassed as I sweat and breathed like a fat kid.  It was horrible!  
I blame this near death experience on two things:  A) my lack of sleep, and B) because my current shoes were completely shot .  Shot, as in, part of the right heel was missing (worn off) kind of shot.  [Or maybe it's just C) and I had a bad run].
So, coupon in tow, I picked these up at the local store.  I'm excited to try them out.  And I hope my next run is better.  My life is counting on them.    

Friday, November 13, 2009

Orange You Glad...

I just bought my first box of clementines of the season.  You know what that means?  Christmas is coming!
I love Christmas.  I love Thanksgiving.  I love these final months of the year and all of the sentiments that go with them.  With the arrival of the clementines at the local grocery store, we get to...
 buy plane tickets to see family (instead of heading somewhere for work)
make and love elaborate meals to share with the people we care about most
start and keep family traditions (which may or may not include watching Ralphie in his bunny suit and waxed snow saucers)
take family pictures and laugh at the changes from the year before
sing goofy songs
sing meaningful songs
sip extra hot hazelnut hot chocolate in holiday-themed mugs
brave the crowds
listen to "We're sim-ply ha-a-ving a wonderful Christmastime" over and over and over again (don't act like you don't know what song this is)
color luminaries
address Christmas cards and remember all the cool people in our lives all the world over
wear ugly sweaters
bake lots and lots of treats
wrap presents
tie ribbons
make ornaments
see what the house looks like by the light of candles and white christmas lights
plan surprises
be sneaky
remember childhood
remember Jesus
 Thank you clementines.   I can hardly wait.

Thursday, November 12, 2009


Today/night, I'm thankful to be going to
The end.

Eight Months

Happy eight months little W!  I never thought it was possible for someone to get cuter ever single day.  But alas, it is.  W is changing all the time, too.  Milestones:
**Crawling, climbing, standing.  This boy gets around!  He's pulling himself up on the fireplace step, shelves, boxes and baskets.  At least a dozen times I day I have to pull him out of Lucy's bed or away from Dave's bike.
**Four teeth on top.  They make him look so old!  
**First tastes of juice...for medicinal purposes.  After a good week, the juice finally started to really work.  
**First trip to Nauvoo.
**First Halloween.  Dressed up like a little German yodeler.  Classic!

And of course, there are plenty of reasons why I love this boy:
**He has this funny hand movement that he always does.  It looks like he's rolling his wrists and tapping his fingers at the same time.  
**He's tough.  We are becoming more and more familiar with the thud of his body (usually his head) meeting the floor.  I promise we're good parents!  :)  We try to keep an eye on him, while at the same time give him the opp. to try things out.  Though he tips over or rolls off, he usually just lies there for a minute, then rolls over and is on to something else.  Not even a hint of crying.  Tough, I tell you.  Tough.  
**He pulls hair.  No, I don't particularly love this, but it is a bit funny.  When a woman picks him up, he'll immediately inspect her face, then move right to the hair.  He intently focuses, then goes in for the kill.  If it's a man, he hones in on the target, then goes right for the arm hair.  It hurts.  A lot.  But he's so intense about it, it's funny.    
**He's ticklish.  Several people asked me when he was younger if he was ticklish.  Well, he wasn't.  Really, not ticklish at all.  But now, this boy will laugh and laugh and laugh when you get him right under his chin or his little ribs.  I love to hear that sound.
**He's enamored with his dad.  I don't know if Dave notices it, but every night when he comes home, W drops me and goes right for his dad.  W just looks and looks at Dave anytime he's around.  He loves to watch his dad work on his bike and even work in the yard.  I love watching this bond sort of blossom.  It helps me understand and appreciate more the importance of having both a mom and a dad fully involved.  

Love you, baby boy.  

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

You Can Do It!

Today I am thankful to be a woman.
Autumn in St. Louis means leaves.  Lots.  Of.  Leaves.  Dave mulched about 1/3 of our backyard at about 7:00 Monday night.   Neighbors might've cursed the evening noise he was making with the loud lawnmower.  But it was pitch black outside, making him practically invisible as he passed back and forth  through the leaves.  When all was said and done, we ended up with a pile of leaves about four feet high on the back patio.
A couple of days had gone by and those leaves were still sitting out back.  So when I got home from running around today, I headed out with my shovel and brown bags to fill with leaves.  In my poor estimation, I guessed I'd fill two, maybe three bags with leaves.  Wrong.  Really wrong.  I scooped and scooped, stuffed, smashed and scooped some more.  In the end, five bags and one garbage can were bursting at the seams.  Now the task at hand was getting these bags and can to the curb.  I lugged and trudged down the hill and to the street.  I was dusty and several leaves were hanging on to me, but I felt like I had accomplished something.  The mound of leaves was gone.  One less thing for D to do.
Shortly after my leaf feat, I was out front planting some tulip bulbs when my neighbor walked over.  He's a nice older gentleman.  Frank, but very nice.  Well he walked over and asked how those bags got out to the street.  They weren't there earlier today.  I told him that I had carried them to the curb, to which he quickly suggested that I call him next time I have leaves that need to be carried.  "Those bags are much too heavy for you," he chided.  I assured him I was fine and that I appreciated the offer.  Again, he politely requested that I not pick up those heavy bags; he would be happy to help.
Frankly, I could have taken offense to said-neighbor's lack of faith in my ability to take the leaves to the street.  Does he think I'm weak?  I mean, in the end I probably would have pointed out to D how heavy these bags of leaves were in an effort to show off my toughness.  But instead of being offended, I was pleased that my neighbor A) cared enough about us to offer his help, and B) appreciated the work I was doing outside, but knew I had more important things to do.
I am thankful I am strong.  I am thankful that I don't worry about getting dirty and dusty.  I am thankful that I know how to work.  And I am also thankful for a neighbor who respects the work of women and seeks for an opportunity to lighten the load.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


Today I went to Lowe's to investigate some paint options for the little treasure I found at a yard sale on Saturday.  I opted for an amazing orange color; Roasted Squash, to be specific.  So what does this have to do with showing thanks?  Perhaps this is a stretch, but I'm thankful for the little paint samples.  No longer do I need to agonize over choosing the wrong paint color.  No longer do I need to panic when that soothing sage turned my bathroom neon green, or when my fireplace "accent" appeared the exact same color as the rest of the wall (Gah!  Shoulda gone with a sample.). I purchased just a little nibble of the Roasted Squash.  No commitment necessary.  But...thankfully...I love it.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Precious Metals

Friends:  A Case Study
Today I am thankful for good friends.
It was my darling friend's birthday this weekend.  Like the slacker I am, the only birthday gift I bore was the lame-o, archaic (free) e-card I sent to her.  But luckily enough, I caught her on the phone.  I love this girl.  I love talking to her and catching up.  I love hearing about her funny stories (i.e. warrants out for her arrest and kissing one of our best (let's be clear, BOY) friends).  She is a beautiful girl.  I hope she had a beautiful birthday.
I  also talked to one of my dearest friends on the phone last night.  We live far away from each other.  Our lives are busy; time tends to get away from us.  But still, we can go months without talking on the phone or e-mail and pick up right where we left off.  How's the fam?  How's the babe?  How are YOU?  Are you happy?  Stop being so type-A.  Life is hard.  Life is great.  Can't wait to see you soon.  That's the gist of our conversations.  But as we were brainstorming our soon-to-be-planned holiday party, she reminded me of something.  She reminded me of the importance of reconnecting with old friends to remind oneself of where she came from.  For me, to remind MYSELF of my roots.
Just now I got back from lunch with another friend of mine.  (Gee, don't I sound popular?)  This friend actually used to be my boss.  Hmm...odd.  But now that neither of us is working, we've left the professional fodder out and now we're just friends.  She's nice.  She's outspoken.  And she likes to hold W.  What's not to like?  She is becoming a good friend to me.
So...I'm thankful for friends.  Old friend.  New friend.  Gold or silver.  I love them all.  That's the great thing about friends; either way, you end up with something precious.

Friday, November 6, 2009

I'm Thankful for This

Weekend Weather!!!



Running in the Dark

I tried something new.  Last night was the first meeting of the "Social Sunset Run" something-or-other offered by a local running store.  Basically a group of about 30 people got together to go on a run.  However, there was no sunset viewing; it was actually pitch black outside.  But the brisk weather was perfect, so we donned our blinking lights, headlamps, reflective clothing and set out.
Now, I didn't know a single person in this group.  Aside from making superficial judgments based on how short a man's shorts are, how teeny a woman's legs are that run on her teeny dainty feet, or how "tough" one appears to look as he/she waits (like he/she has something better to do) for the group to leave, I wasn't familiar with how fast or how slow these people might run.  What kind of pace are we running here?  Would I do the three or five mile run?  I hope I don't trip.  What if I have to go to the bathroom?  Would I be that girl that runs by herself the whole time?  These are the kinds of things that went through my head.  But, like many things I do, I just show up and figure it out as I go.
About a mile into the run, I had found a group of three other women who ran at a comfortable pace.  We didn't talk much at first, just ran.  But by the end, I was glad I wasn't alone (A) and (B) that I'd found some cool people to run with in the dark.  And thankfully, I didn't trip either.
I didn't join the group for the post-run pizza and beer (shucks).  But I am excited for the run next week.  Maybe I'll meet some new friends.  Maybe I'll run faster.  Maybe I'll even wear short shorts.
I like trying new things.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Sometimes It's the Small Things

Today I'm thankful that prune juice seems to be working for this guy.  At least working a little bit.  I'm sure he is thankful for this, too.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

An Ensign to the World

I went out to the mailbox this afternoon not expecting anything more exciting than bills. When I opened the box, it almost looked empty. I had to turn my head to look all the way to the back to discover a lone magazine; the ENSIGN arrived. I'll be honest, my heart doesn't jump every time I receive this monthly mag, and today seemed no different. So I ripped open the plastic wrapping and took a glimpse of the front cover. But this time, my passive feelings changed just by looking a the cover.
The front cover depicts the story of King Benjamin addressing his people who pitched their tents toward the temple to hear his teachings of service, humility and repentance. King Benjamin petitioned his people to " steadfast and immovable, always abounding in good works." He urged them to teach their children to "...walk in the ways of truth" and to " one another, and to serve one another." Regardless of one's beliefs, these are enlightened principles that bring strength to those who heed the counsel.
Today I am thankful for not only the reminder of the prophetic words of King Benjamin, but for the chance I have to review the prophetic messages shared during the last General Conference. I am thankful to be able to read -- verbatim -- the words spoken by the Prophet's voice and the counsel given by the Apostles of Jesus Christ. I am thankful to review the brief notes I took while listening to the Conference and be reminded of the feelings I had and the re-commitments I made. I am thankful for the gentle reminder of the things I need to do that God might "...seal you his, that you may be brought to heaven, that ye may have everlasting salvation and eternal life, though the wisdom and power, and justice, and mercy of him who created all things, in heaven and in earth, who is God above all."

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

A Good Laugh

It's Tuesday. Today I am thankful for blogs like this:
I can't get enough of it. I hope I an write as honestly some day.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Halloween Should Be Spent At the Park

It finally stopped raining, so Saturday we took a little field trip to Forest Park. This is one of my most favorite places in all of St. Louis (aside from Ted Drewes, perhaps). It was a beautiful day, and it felt so good to see and feel the sun. The intensity of the sun is very obvious in my pictures.
We took a walk around Art Hill. Lucy was all sorts of muddy before we were finished. W enjoyed getting out of the house...and his new hat. It was a good day.

Things To Be Thankful For

Everybody likes an appreciative person. I have a lot to be thankful for myself. So, since November is here, how 'bout sharing something that I am thankful for everyday? This will be a good little exercise for me.
This morning when I awoke to the blaring lights of the baby monitor, I blindly put on my glasses, pulled on my robe and walked out of my room, prepared to walk up the stairs in the dark. But instead of darkness, I was greeted with sunlight. This not only means our clocks fell back and Daylight Savings is over, but it also means W slept through the night.
That's a lot to be thankful for. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.