Monday, May 31, 2010

friends like this



don't come along every day.



 



andrea is the type of friend that every girl should have.  

hilarious, outgoing, kind, generous, thoughtful, loyal, and the type of person that quietly helps me to better myself.  not only that but she has a heart that no matter what is going on in her life, never stops caring.  i have never met someone so willing to work so hard to do what is right.  she's also an amazing mother to her two cute boys.  she listens to my vents and heartaches and has never given up on me.   
(or if she has she hasn't let on.)

i know you are probably extremely embarrassed right now drizz, so i will stop. 

even though i could continue on and on, i won't.


we've been friends for almost 7 years now and she is someone who has put me up to many shenanigans, including:

--having a girls' night where she provided mu mu's from thrift stores (that may or may not have smelled like urine)  and not only did we wear them, but took some pictures that will be forever locked up in a vault.  only to be opened if i am in need of a reason to blackmail her.
--driving by and possibly committing an illegal action (details also locked in a vault) surrounding a certain member of a certain 12 men in a certain church who at a certain time was a certain president of a certain university.  though i want you to know i was just an innocent backseat passenger.
--talking me into making commitments that i am NOT excited about but that are SO good for me....like 6 days a week for 60 minutes on the treadmill for 30 days, and starting tomorrow absolutely NO sugar for 30 days.  expect a few grumpy posts to follow.
--doing a photo shoot in the middle of a movie theater where we act like total morons. 
--taught me how to walk in big girl shoes, introduced to me to the spray tan (only experienced this once but am not against doing it again), and is my make-up and skin care go-to gal.


don't be mad about these pictures i posted, 
and if you bust out the gray t-shirt picture i will GET YOU.


 (if we had an engagement picture i think it would look something like this...except maybe without my head looking 4 times bigger than hers.)


thanks for 7 years of friendship, i love ya!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

the art of building up walls






a couple of weeks ago, caleb had one mission:

to build himself a sanctuary.




{p.s. his hair is looking rough with a capital R. that kid has more cowlicks than i can count and i gave up trying to fight them on this particular day.}

all day long he'd been running from leah's grasp. she has a tendency to pinch and scratch and yell, "NO!" even when nothing is going on. i think it's her way of dealing with being the shortest one in the room {little darlin' i feel your pain} and exhibiting some sort of control over her environment.

so with the help of a mother who was worn-out and tired of all of the yelling between the two children, a fort was built.





i think it was a necessary thing to do for all parties involved.


{out of all the forts i have constructed, i think this is my best one yet!}

for a few minutes, caleb retreated.

he crawled in and just sat. quietly. i imagine that he took several deep breaths enjoying his solitude as i took several deep breaths enjoying the silence.

while we were breathing, leah peeked in. {fort purposely built on top of the couch--another brilliant idea if i do say so myself--so that she was not tall enough to destroy it...which has happened in the past.}



she waited.




and waited.



and waited.



and occupied herself doing handstands and making herself dizzy.





while i laughed and took pictures.


caleb heard us laughing and peeked out, far enough away that he was out of reach of her pinchers.




leah squealed in delight, and it became a game.


he would peek out of the middle of the fort and call for her, and she would giggle and run over to the entrance.



then he would quickly crawl over to her,



and they would both laugh and hug.



and it would start all over again.



before i knew it though, he was climbing out.




they were laughing and happy. and the fort was no longer necessary.



as they played, i thought about the walls we each build up when we have had enough and just need some peace. the needs that have been un-met for too long suddenly rising quickly to our surface and just about swallowing us up.

these un-met needs can be caused by another who is continually taking, taking taking, or by one who is hurtful and attacks....or they can be caused by our selves, when out of good intentions we put all other things before us and then suddenly it becomes too much.

whatever the cause, realizing the necessity of taking care of those needs is what is important. choosing to no longer neglect the voice inside that has been ignored for too long, the one that says, i am withering here. please listen and take care of me.

that is when the walls come up. sometimes the walls are permanent; made of brick and bullet-proof glass to send the message that this will no longer be allowed. and sometimes the walls are temporary; made of soft pillows, just balancing for a bit before we can peek back out, knowing that time to take care is all that is needed.

i am someone who actually does not like walls. in fact, walls are very difficult for me to build. they feel...against my character...somehow. i don't know how to explain it better than that. to block things off, shut things down. it's not easy for me. i like to be open, to share, to love, to talk and to trust. i want that more than anything.

but the more i realize what these walls represent, and that it isn't mean or wrong or bad...as long as they are done in the right way...not in an unkind, controlling way. not out of fear, or anger, or guilt or shame. but in a firm and understanding way. out of protection and love and safety. the more i come to know that building them is okay sometimes.

it is necessary sometimes.

what i think is interesting, as i build walls that are some times temporary and are some times permanent, is that the more i listen to that voice that is begging me for care and and the more i surround myself with others who give me the space and time to come back, those needs become no longer needed.

to be treated a certain way, or spoken to like this. many times those needs melt once they are met.

it's really all about building back trust. trust in myself to reach out again and not lose myself again. trust to not push that voice back again at the expense of what i believe is more important. trust in others to provide love, safety and acceptance. and most importantly, trust that if there is no one else around, i will provide that for myself.



caleb's fort stayed up for several days. and each time i would walk past it and see the two kids playing i would smile. it symbolized other things for me than it did for them.



and when it was time

and the needs were taken care of

and trust was rebuilt,

the walls of the fort came down.









Sunday, May 23, 2010

#46, the little guy with the big heart




well, one soccer season down, a tramillion more to go!



when we signed him up, we were wondering how caleb would deal with
getting involved in the game and being able to handle defeat.
we were pleasantly surprised to see that he is pretty darn fearless and tries his hardest.

giving us a wave.



chasing the ball, #46.


he even volunteered to be goalie for a bit, that is until he got popped in the face with the ball and cried his eyes out.
but after a lot of encouragement from his dad he even ran back in and finished being goalie.

even though he wasn't the youngest on the team, he was the smallest.
and we love him just the way he is.
besides, has anyone seen "rudy?" big things happened for that little guy with the big heart.
i still tear up at the end.


all the way on the left, listening to his coach.


he made quick friends with his team-mates and was constantly yelling out run! run! run! in an excited voice as soon as the ball hit the field.

he earned his good sportsmanship medal and hasn't been without it for the past 48 hours.
he even wore it to his friend's birthday party yesterday and took it to bed tonight.

we had so much fun at his games and will definitely be doing it again next year.
way to go mr. c!




the color coordination going on with leah & i was not on purpose...
some moms roll like that, but normally i do not.

Friday, May 21, 2010

days like these



i woke up this morning to my 3 favorite people.

caleb bouncing around on his own version of this:



and now making me call him caleb-5-years-old-bouncing-frog-boy

leah proudly displaying her new tooth that has taken several restless nights to pop through, laughing and clapping at her 5-years-old-bouncing-frog-brother

and ben, offering to make me breakfast.

a couple of great phone conversations with people i love,

and after we went out for a morning family swim, to get cool before the 100 temps sweltered in.

then off to school went ben, leah for a nap, caleb for a quiet time and me on the treadmill to burn off some calories and empower myself.

now we are playing, bouncing, dancing, clapping, singing and laughing. soon to head out for some type of a bug finding adventure led by the 5-years-old-bouncing-frog-boy.

and i am grateful for days like these, where i can be able to watch the product of something i have helped to create.

a family.

and on days like these,

i choose to look for the good.

and be happy.



***and p.s. to those who posted that they want to see some baby comparison pics of ben & leah, i don't own any of ben as a baby BUT will see if i can get a couple of them emailed to me so you can see what i'm talking about!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

at almost 15 months she can....


{for my personal family history}

make animal sounds for: dog, cat, cow, horse, sheep, monkey, duck, owl, elephant, chicken, rooster, alligator, lion, fish, tiger, rabbit, snake, bird, pig, dolphin
say:
hi, apple, bye, dad, mom, leah, bath, up, down, no, cracker, baby, ee-i-ee-i-oh, pop, night-night, ball, shoes, go! go! go!, stop, uh-oh, choo-choo, potty, what?, cat, trees, papa, bear, doll
two word sentences:
hi dad, bye dad, baby leah, go bye-bye, eat cracker
do signs for:
more, eat, all done, stop, go, baby, drink, bath, train, book, read, mom, dad, potty, fish, papa/grandpa, nana/grandma, doll
sings: popcorn popping, ABCs, old mcdonald, itsy bitsy spider, patty-cake, i don't want to live on the moon, twinkle twinkle
can find her:
nose, mouth, eyes, hair, belly, fingers, toes

loves: her hippo, to dance, to sing, baths, reading books, swimming, other children, hugging caleb, pinching caleb, goldfish crackers, to pretty much do whatever we're doing
is not great at: sleeping. she loves to stay awake. or riding in the car for long amounts of time. it's a struggle for us all. being confined by anything...whether it's trying to get her dressed, or strapping her into a swing or carseat or stroller, it becomes a battle of the wills.
looks exactly like: a girl version of her dad. {seriously, we looked at ben's baby pictures last weekend and it kind of freaked me out! she is his female carbon copy. such beautiful, brown happy eyes. i love it!}

leah through the looking glass.


adding it to the collection of favorite photos of 2010.
compliments of ben.

Monday, May 17, 2010

365 days in the making



from the moment caleb turned 4 last year, all we heard alllll year long from him was,

"i can't wait until i'm 5!"

over and over we were informed that once he hit the big 5, his life would basically begin.

it was the year that he would be able to go to school {i tried my best not to take it personally that he was so elated to leave}, the year that he would run faster, grow taller, and just overall....be more amazing.


his birthday was technically yesterday and we were stuck in a car for about 12 hours driving back from utah to arizona. but luckily we were able to celebrate his birthday with all of our family while we were on our trip.


first up was a day out with nana, {my mom} who took him to jungle jim's playland where he got to ride rides and use up tokens until he couldn't think straight. then we went to lunch & then off to toys 'r us where nana let caleb pick out two special presents that he has begged me all morning to open. {i just need to unpack & clean before i am ready to get out something with a bazillion tiny pieces for him to spread out everywhere.} i was my usual botard self and forgot my camera dang it all.

then on saturday we decided to throw him a little party at my dad's house. he had a great time with a caterpillar cake, balloons and of course playing with his cousins. such a fun party.
there are a lot of moms out there who don't want their kids to grow up. while i understand what they mean, i actually feel quite the opposite.

i think it has something to do with living in fear during his first two years that he may never make it to age 5. not knowing if he would walk, or be healthy, or function as a "normal" kid takes its toll. i looked forward to each day that he grew bigger, and older and was grateful that God had given us more moments with him.

caleb knocked me off of my feet as a first-time mother, but taught me the true meaning of gratitude and the true meaning of joy. he changed me, and taught me and pushed me to find strength i didn't know i even had.

i love that we have had another year with caleb, full of laughter and memories and being able to watch him grow up and learn.
i love his sweet personality {though he can be quite fiesty some times}, and gregarious attitude about life in general. i love that he can be bossy and tells knock-knock jokes that don't make sense. i love that he has a soft heart and makes up kung fu moves and still loves music. i love that he adores his friends and always tries to be kind to them. i love that he gets the crazy-tired-giggles just like his mom and we can lay in bed for 10 minutes or more just laughing at each other with tears streaming down our cheeks. i even love that he argues with me and can be a total stinker at times.

because i love that he just
is.

he is happy, and healthy. and there's nothing more that i could ask for then that....the rest is just green icing on a caterpillar cupcake.



and he is 5.



we are so grateful for you caleb, and love you so much.

happy birthday big kid!
hope this year is all that you expect and more!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

instead of worrying about whether or not they honored me today,


i decided to honor the fact that they are mine.

{and i am so so glad that they are.}

on why i became a mother.






"my mother's a nurse who fixes and patches,
all of my hurts and my sores and my scratches."

these are the lines that caleb will be saying today in church during the Mother's Day tribute.

i find it pretty ironic, since ben came home from a 4 day vacation with a fever, ear infection and swollen lymph nodes that are so painful he can't chew food.
i researched, made calls, filled out paperwork and he will be checking himself into the instacare in just a moment.

meanwhile, i will be tackling the parenthood thing by myself today.

i was remembering last year's Mother's Day.
it was rough, and i had a terrible attitude about it. i've never written about that day, or what my negative outlook did to spiral me into what i consider a dark place last summer & fall. {i will at some point though. i just have to figure out how to do it.}

it was a similar situation to today, where i was on my own in the parenting department. where i found myself wanting to not have to get up with the kids in the morning, to not have to be rushing around getting myself and two kiddos ready for church by myself and to not have to take them to church by myself. to not have to prepare every meal, change every diaper, stop every fight, and wipe every tear by myself. where i just wanted to be laying in bed, sleeping in as long as i wanted to and be served breakfast and told how amazing i am. {not that i don't deserve that, because i totally do! every mother does!}

BUT.

this
morning, after my super-rushed shower {because i don't feel comfortable showering when leah is out & about...the girl is attracted to danger, so i had to put her in her crib with a bottle and ziiiiiip! through my showering regimen.}, i was blow drying and thinking.


what is Mother's Day for me??

why did i become a mother?
was it really so that everyone would drop to their knees one day a year and worship and honor me and tell me how amazing i am??

no.


i thought back to being 9 months pregnant with caleb....on bedrest...laying on our couch because it the cushions supported my back better...and ben sleeping on the floor next to me {out of his own choice, i never asked. because he is so sweet like that}...and suddenly i was gripped with a suffocating anxiety.

bringing a baby into this nasty, vile world where there are mean and ugly and evil people just waiting to pounce on innocent and beautiful souls. my mind went to scary places, and pictured unthinkable things being done to this innocent child i was about to bring forth.

i couldn't do it.

i rolled over, onto the floor, and lay down next to ben, wrapping my arm tightly around him and sobbed quietly. {he snored.}

what were we thinking? how could i do this to another human being?

i knew that i would not be able to stop the pain that my child would eventually feel. his first hurt feelings over a kid who teased or did not like him, his first broken heart from a girl, the disappointments he would face. it was a part of life and i could not stop it or protect him from it.

and i was overcome.


i lay there crying and prayed to God to help me. i could not go back from this point, and un-do the pregnancy.

then i remembered a conversation that my sister and i had about this exact thing.
where we discussed that there are some horrifyingly ugly people in this world. there is the potential for traumatic things to happen to our children. they will face heartbreak and hurt and frustration and anger. {and what's more fun is that they may at some point try to blame me for all of it.}

BUT.


what would happen if all of the decent, good humans on earth decided to let this fear of pain for our children stop us from procreating?


where would humanity be then????


SO.


i decided that i wanted to become a mother.

not just for myself and the ability to feel that overwhelming unconditional love. not just to be able to snuggle a warm, soft baby and know that they are a part of me and i am a part of them. not just to clap and smile and laugh as they said their first "mama," or beam with pride as they take their first steps. or have the feeling of love cause me to about burst as they hug me tightly at night and kiss me and say they love me.


those are the rewards. the easy parts.

but i also became a mother
so that i could have the opportunity to do my best to raise up good, honest, hard-working, considerate, compassionate human beings. human beings who are able to overcome and still be good through the bad that the will inevitably face.

to attempt to bring a balance to the nastiness of the world.


and if i can do that...if ben and i can do that together....then the rest will be worth it.


so as i was blow-drying my hair this morning, and realizing that this Mother's Day may not be what i had hoped it would be, that it was okay.

i made the choice to believe that it is okay.


and realize that it isn't about being honored. but that it is really about being with these children today and remembering what an honor and a privilege it is just to be with them. and that it was a righteous desire and a choice for me to be a mother.

so.


now i will go re-build caleb's fort, change leah's poopy diaper, find ben's insurance card, get the rest of us to church, listen to caleb say his line over the microphone, feel leah's chubby arms wrap around my neck. fix meals, do dishes, wipe tears, stop fights.

and feel grateful for this choice that was made more than 5 years ago.

and teach and teach and teach and teach through it all.



and love every minute of it.

Happy Mother's Day to all of you!



{and also, a special shout out to those who may not be mothers in the conventional way...to those who adopt, or take in foster children, or are the teachers who provide the soft place for children to be while they are away from home. i believe there is an exalted, special place for you in heaven. and i THANK YOU for being amazing and wonderful women!}

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

splashing away the cranky.





since we're on an energy-saving, money-saving plan here in the devil's crotch {sorry for the crass-ness, but seriously. that's the only description that comes to mind when things heat up around AZ.} which prohibits us from running our AC between the hours of 12pm-7pm, right around 4pm we all get overheated and super cranky.

starting with me.

i don't want to cook, clean, play, wear clothes, laugh, blink, think....or move.

luckily our complex has a fabulous pool that is never over-crowded. but some times being the only adult with two kids who do not know how to swim {YES caleb will be taking swimming lessons this summer. remember how i didn't have a car last summer? that's my excuse and i'm sticking to it.} can be kind of overwhelming.

especially when i can't touch the bottom in half of the pool. {of course it had to be one of those deepest-in-the-middle type pools. short people hate those.}

ummmmm. spare me the short jokes.
call a friend instead, because i've probably heard them all.


anyway, about a 5 minute drive from our house is a really great park with a splash pad.
so instead of water wings, life jackets & a quick review of my CPR skills,
all we had to do was grease ourselves up in sunblock {see shiny, pasty-skinned leah below. i coat the stuff on thick!},
call a friend and grab a towel.




here is caleb anticipating the fun. and asking me over and over and over and over when we were going to leave. to which i mustered up my best mothering skills and said, "when i am done taking pictures of you!" {see what i mean? c.r.a.n.k.y.}



it was leah's first splash pad experience and i wasn't quite sure what she would think.

but she barreled through it just like she does everything else. the girl is fearless.

fearless i tell you!

here she is ready to charge.



if i had known then what i know now, i would have dismissed the light skirt/t-shirt combo i had on and just worn a swim suit myself.
leah kept plowing right into the middle of the sprinklers and then stand there shocked that she was getting sprayed in the face, unable to move.


which is when i would have to walk in to grab her hand and lead her outside of the middle.

which is when she would turn right around and go back in.

which is when i would get completely drenched and wish for my lovely swimsuit sitting tucked safely inside my drawer at home.










caleb had a great time with his cute gal pal eve {whom we secretly hope he will marry someday}.



and we all returned home refreshed, happy, hungry, and most importantly...

cooled off.

and this is just really our first day of high 90's temps.

oy to the vey.

my overheated cranky voice has told me that we will be visiting the splash pad park quite often.