Sunday, February 28, 2010

Overheard #3: My husband "overheard" this one. I call it, "What a shame."

Middle aged woman with an attitude just standing behind a mini-van that is about to run her over:

"Oh, I'm about to get paid!"

The van didn't hit her. But, Dwayne stayed to ensure that if it had, he would be there to give his testimony against the woman to the police officer.

Overheard #2 - I call this one, "Well, at least he's being responsible... er, sort of."

Middle-aged man to another middle-aged man who wanted him to park in the fire lane:

"We ridin' illegal, so I ain't tryin' to get pulled."

Overheard #1 - I call this one, "Why do so many young people insist on being cliches?"

I heard a 16 yr. old girl say to another 16 yr. old girl:

"I got wasted in like fifteen seconds..."
I thought I'd start a collection of all the absurd, shocking, interesting, etc. things I happen to overhear. I got the idea here.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

I find Cheerios all over the place now that she's eating and dropping them (mostly dropping). The other day, I went to change Avril's diaper and...

Friday, February 26, 2010

She likes saltines... a lot. She must get that from her Grandad Evans.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

I'd walk a thousand miles
Or sit and count bathroom tiles.
I'd endure any number of trials
Rather than go through all my piles.

-Veronica Boulden

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

I have the kind of kid who jumps into the pool to see if she really will sink like her mom said she would. I think they call it "strong willed." I have a few words of my own for it, but I only say those under my breath in moments of desperation. Norah got a bead stuck up her nose yesterday. She came up the stairs from the playroom hysterical. I managed to stay calm (on the outside). If had showed any worry, she'd have passed out, she was that upset. I thought we may have to visit the ER, but I looked up her nose, saw the bead was close enough to reach and talked her into laying down on the couch and letting me get it out with tweezers. Luckily, she cooperated and it came out without any trouble. Add this to Norah's of "firsts," not to mention my own. I have no idea where this bead came from, by the way. It figures that the first time I ever see it, it's up Norah's nose.

Monday, February 22, 2010

For the next two weeks, Norah's doing chores around the house to raise money for "the hurricane in Sadie." You may know it as the earthquake in Haiti. Her teachers at our church small group gave her this little box and told her the story about "big walls falling down, people being hurt, or killed, or having really bad boo, boos." They explained to us parents that an anonymous someone at our church is matching all donations (up to $100,000 dollars). Norah's been sweeping the kitchen floor, picking up messes, helping with dinner, yet all the time, reminding me she isn't doing it for free. She's been inspired to give and I'm impressed by her heart. Her gift may be small, but God can multiply it and others like it by thousands.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Add Cheerios, scrambled eggs, macaroni and cheese and spaghetti to Avril's menu. I'll lay these on her tray and she'll pick them up and feed herself now.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Toss 1 to 2 pounds of fresh broccoli with 2 tablespoons vegetable oil. That's right- vegetable oil, not olive oil. Sprinkle it with salt and pepper generously and roast it on a baking sheet with raised edges for 10 minutes. Take it out and turn it and let it roast for another 10 minutes. This turns plain 'ol brocolli into an unbelievably tasty, simple (not to mention healthy) side dish.

Friday, February 19, 2010

I saw this beaten sticker in the back of an NYC taxi and thought,
"How quickly the shine wears off..."

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

My little girl.

You're big enough to inspire her imagination.
Good enough to keep her coming back for more.
Your plans would satisfy any thirst for adventure.
Your passion would capture her heart.
My little girl.
But, that spirit, Lord!
That will!
Only you can bend it.
Use my hands, of course.
Make them firm and sure.
Gentle, too.
But you must do
What only you can do.
Pour out your spirit on us.
Cover her with your grace till then.
My little girl.
May she be your little girl.
And soon!

-Veronica Boulden

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

A picture of me at fifteen.

The Bible says, "It is good for a man to follow the Lord in his youth." I read that at fifteen when I was a new Christian and thought that verse didn't apply to me. I wanted it to, but I thought the words described all my friends in my youth group who got baptized when they were three, whose parents kept them in church and out of trouble till they were my age. Back then, I felt only pangs of regret over the years I had missed out. But now, I read that verse and my heart swells at the years God has given me. I'm thirty, so that means I took off after Christ some fifteen years ago. I ran in the way of His commandments and He has been faithful to enlarge my heart. Do you know what else this means? The verse actually applies to me now. Praise God! It was good that I followed the Lord with my youth.

Monday, February 15, 2010

This billboard outside a small town in Minnesota made national news last week.

I got the photo off the Fox News website. Read more here.
I used to wonder, "Why is it too hard to bend over and pick up a naked Barbie doll out of the tub?! And why are all the dolls naked anyway?!"

I'd often ask myself, "Why couldn't that mom have just taken a second to sweep up when her baby was through? Just one second!"

"You mean to tell me she was too busy to even close the cereal box?!"

I've gained a ton of insight with the birth of my second child and the answers to these and many other similar questions, are the wages, Nay! the rewards!!! of we busy mothers of more-than-one.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

baby was loved, deeply. And he was wanted, desperately. I had to pass his bed on the way to see Avril while she was in the NICU. So, I saw him several times while our daughter was still in the hospital. I always marveled at his form. I think I almost marveled at him more than I marveled at my little Avril. She was my daughter, yes, and her precious, newborn hands could just barely wrap around my thumb. She was so beautiful. But, his hands were the size of my thumb prints! He was breathtaking in his tiny perfection.

That afternoon, his parents stood by his covered bed, hovered by it really, visibly torn between their desire to cradle their boy and their awareness that such a gesture might actually kill him. So, they stood as close to his protective plastic case as they could manage and they did what they could. His mother had her hand in one of the special openings. From within a special glove attached to the hole, she gently stroked her baby's tiny hand (and I mean tiny) with her pointer finger. The father was standing a little behind and to one side of his wife with one hand on her shoulder communicating empathy and support. His other hand, I'll never forget, was stretched wide and placed, with meaning, right on top of the protective case covering their son. He was bowed down a little. I believe he'd have put his hand right on his son's chest, if he could have. You could literally feel the prayers they were sending up as they stood there, paralyzed with their inability to do anything, just willing their child to live, just wanting him to be well.

I took all this in in a matter of seconds and I was touched by the scene in several ways. I felt sympathy, since my daughter was also in the NICU, officially out of my care and in the care of doctors and nurses until they decided to allow her to be legally discharged. I felt compassion, too, since my child was in excellent health compared to theirs. We were actually preparing to bring Avril home that day. I felt thankful that I could walk over and pick her up, kiss her, nurse her even. I wondered, then quickly doubted, whether the couple had been able to ever even hold their son. It occurred to me that he must be very premature, months maybe... maybe months and months. And, then, all at once, the scene warped to something disturbing to me. I realized that their baby looked no different than the ones I've see in the pictures, those pictures of babies covered in blood and waste and piled up, the aborted ones that make everyone angry, then sad. Their baby was actually less developed than some of the children that are aborted, in fact. The only difference was that he was wanted. His mother (and also his father, in this case) chose him. For one second, I was appalled by the country we live in, where we say we champion the rights of humanity all over the globe, but where parents determine the worth of their own children.

I try to say all this with care, attempting to temper my words and strong feelings with grace. I want to tread lightly, knowing that some of the women who read this blog may likely have had an abortion and more importantly, may not have found the grace of God to deal with it yet. I do not claim to speak for God about this, but I assure you of one thing. There is grace from him to cover everything, even abortion. There is nothing humanity can do that His love will not heal completely.

I have often tried very hard to value a woman's choice, to see where others are coming from. I am living up north now and we have several "pro-choice" friends. And, I realize that so many woman I meet must have chosen to abort at least one child. These days, they say it is one woman in three. So, odds are, I know a few women, maybe more than a few who have made that choice. But, I will never be able to erase the image of that couple from my head. And, for some reason, the memory of them will be set in my mind within the context of abortion rights from now on. The mother and father, doctors and nurses, just wanted to build the same child that others on another day, in another room of a hospital, would tear apart. The whole thing seemed so absurd to me all of a sudden. And, I bet, at that moment, no matter how the couple leaned politically, they would have spit on a woman's "right to chose." They would have wept that anyone would not, even through the worst of circumstances, see the inherent value in the life of a baby just like their own.

It may be legal. And, no doubt, the situation will always be difficult when a baby is unwanted, particularly by the woman who is carrying it. But, I do not see that anyone has a moral right to choose who lives and dies, even if a baby's life depends on a woman's life and even if that baby inconveniences her or "ruins" her, as far as she may think. The value of a human being is never subjective and, therefore, it should not be subjected to any one person's opinion.

Of course, the same argument could be made in defense of a woman's right to choose. How can our opinion over this issue dictate what she does with her body? But, by undermining her baby's life, the way I see it, a woman undermines her own as well. Human worth isn't dependent on the right conditions to be worthy.
That couple did not determine the worth of their son, as I see it, though they obviously wanted him and had made a place for him in their lives. But, even if no one stood by his bed, that baby deserved a champion because he's human and that makes him precious. And, if something is precious, by definition, that thing can't be made any less precious by anyone, even those who, for whatever terrible reason, would chose to deny it's value.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

For once, I think I finally captured her spirit in a picture! This is what every afternoon is like with Avril (when she isn't teething). No, really, sometimes it occurs to me how blessed I am and the impression nearly knocks me over. I am always glad when I can catch those moments with my camera. I am so humbled and thankful for the life God has given me.

Friday, February 12, 2010


and then I like to compare my pictures, to see how quickly my kids have grown. This serves to remind me how quickly time flies, how what seem like insignificant minutes add up to hours, days, years.

For what is your life? It is a vapor, that appears for a little time, and then vanishes away. James 4:14

Thursday, February 11, 2010

We're off to a home school Valentine's Day party today. Norah's giving each kid a pack of twenty-four crayons as a valentine.

I had Norah write the word "COLOR" on one side of a piece of construction paper. Then, I told her to flip it over and write her name on the back of each little card, so everyone would know who it came from. That much she could do herself.

I went back and filled in the words to make each card say, "You COLOR my world." I adapted the idea from this valentine.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

God forbid!
I resent
having to pick up
so many blankets
around the house
and fold them again
and again
and again.
Maybe one day
He'll give me
the grace to just
let them lie.
So many blankets
around the house!
Or even better,
just enough grace
to be thankful
this is why I wanted
so many blankets
around the house
in the first place.

-Veronica Boulden

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Notice the Halloween bib over the Christmas pajamas.

I've got two words for you:

Laundry day.

Two more:

Second child.

(I would not have allowed Norah to be caught dead in either of these things, let alone these things together).

You know those two famous words:

Things change.

Now I live and breath by the two words:

Who cares?!

Monday, February 8, 2010

From Orlando, we traveled back to South Carolina for a night. We got to see my family for dinner and again for breakfast before we left town. From there, we traveled to Virginia. We arrived late in the afternoon, so we swam in the indoor pool at our hotel for a few hours and then had a nice dinner. We planned to leave first thing in the morning, but when we woke up, there was a few inches of snow on the ground. Dwayne checked the roads and interstate and nothing had been cleared and snow was still falling, so we decided to stay another day. We enjoyed more time in the indoor pool that day and more Chic-fil-a, of course. We left the next day and made decent time getting home.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Our vacation days were filled with simple pleasures.

The resort had seven pools and even though we swam everyday, we only visited three of them in all. Norah poses by a fountain near one of the pools.

Most every pool had a kiddie feature or wading pool of some kind, but Norah spent most of her time in the large, heated pools with me or one of her grandparents. The wind made it pretty cold to be anywhere other then under the water. But, that was a blessing in disguise, too. With so much practice, Norah was swimming on her own, even diving for toys by the end of the week!

We enjoyed the sun. I assumed that a week spent away in warmer weather would make the rest of my winter more bearable when I got home. It didn't. It just made the winter seem that much colder than it did before I had a brief period of sunshine. No wonder Mom and Dad don't visit after August and before May. It really is cold here.

Avril liked to play in the middle of our king sized bed. We'd push her over into a big stack of pillows and she'd laugh.

Norah loved the full length mirror in my room. Miss Priss played "dress up" with gifts my family gave her when we saw them a few days earlier.

I let Norah eat her yogurt with her finger! No spoon required. Gasp! And, I let her eat pizza on the sofa! Shocking! I know! But, we were on vacation!

I took Norah to the resort's arcade. Norah liked Mrs. Pac Man the best of all. Dad, thanks for the five bucks cash for game tokens, by the way. I did mean to pay you back.

The resort also had a put put golf course. Our game was complimentary. Norah insisted on going first every time and always ran ahead of me to the next hole or the next or even the next... until I'd yell and she'd run back. It wasn't crowded, so she was free to roam.

Steering the "pirate ship."

In the stockades...
Kind of wish I had one of these instead of a time-out chair.

Avril played on the floor with her toys.
She got so much practice rolling free, she was army-crawling by the end of the vacation.

Norah watched a lot of kid's channels and DVDs on the big television.
She loved it since we still don't have a tv at home.

When it was too chilly or too late or too rainy to go to the pool, Norah swam in the jacuzzi that was in our bedroom. It took forever to fill up, but it had a waterfall, so that made it super fun!

Bath time in the kitchen sink.

Having a snack on the kitchen floor.

Like I said, our days were filled with simple things. 'Tis a gift to be simple.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

On Saturday morning, we drove from Dwayne's parents' house to the resort in Orlando. Dwayne's parents followed us in their own car. Our Jeep isn't big enough for everybody. It barely holds us. Dwayne's company was providing us a room because he had to be there for the conference. His parents were coming along to stay with us while we were at the resort so we could spend more time together.

When we arrived, I was the last to walk into our hotel room. I think it because I was bringing the baby up in the stroller. But, I used the door that lead into Dwayne's parents' side of the suite, but didn't realize that I was walking into "their side" at the time. I thought their living room must be the main room for all of us, their laundry room must be our laundry, their bathroom must be our bathroom, etc. since it was so all so nice and so big that it had to be the space we'd share... right? Here are some pictures of "their side."

But, that's when Dwayne said, "Come see our side." So, I walked through the door that connected our rooms and I think my jaw must have hit the floor! Here are some of the pictures of "our side" below.

I still can't believe how exceptional the accommodations were! The room was so comfortable, it was hard to leave, even when it was just to run down to the Jeep for something! I found myself so thankful we hadn't purchased tickets to the various parks. We couldn't do so because we hadn't saved enough cash to cover the expense. We were very tempted to put it on our credit card, but Dwayne made the hard decision not to and I, after some fussing with him, submitted to him about it. I arrived in Orlando very discouraged that we couldn't take Norah to Disney ...again. But, once I saw our room, I realized that I would have hated feeling obligated to stay away from it just to get our "money's worth" at the parks. I would have been even more discouraged not to have been free to enjoy such a beautiful suite and time at such an awesome resort with my in-laws. Once again, I find that God knows me better than I know myself! If I submit to Him, even when He says, "No" by not providing the means for something I really think I want, I am never sorry for it in the end.

Dwayne and I have since vowed to stay in an absolute pit of a hotel if/ when we do go to Disney, so we don't feel like we are wasting money on a nice room we don't really use. On our way home, Dwayne also commented that he wasn't as eager as he thought he'd be to get home since he didn't feel as if he'd been living out of a suitcase for two whole weeks. The room at the resort was so much like a house, it was so comfortable and spacious, it was as if we were at home while on vacation.

Praise God! He is the giver of all good gifts! And, in the case of our accommodations, He really did give us "abundantly more than we could ask for or even imagine!"