Easter Bunny

So I went to see the Easter Bunny today.  Yep, you read that right…I went to see the Easter Bunny.
I thought I was taking Ella to see the Easter Bunny, but that isn’t quite how it worked out.
Ella and I got to Short Pump Town Center about 30 minutes earlier than planned and and hour before the bunny started posing for pictures.  We went to SPTC last week to see the bunny and to wave (which Ella couldn’t get enough of and even yelled, “Bunny!” over and over).  This morning, I got some coffee and some breakfast and we strolled around a bit.  Then we played in the play area for about 20 minutes before the Bunny was scheduled to arrive.  We talked about the bunny.  We pointed to his chair.  We did the sign for Bunny (Ella’s only has one ear…).  AND when that Bunny arrived we excitedly waved and yelled (while signing), “Bunny!  Bunny!  Bunny!”
Then it was our turn to sit on the Bunny’s lap.  Nope – not happening.
Now, this resistance was not nearly as funny as the Santa meltdown, but it was major resistance.  She was clinging to me for dear life and no longer remembered how to speak only making small whining noises. There was NO WAY she was going to sit on that Bunny’s lap.  So I decided to join her.  Of course, even with me holding her if she could SEE the Bunny it was a no-go.
So here is our picture:
I am barely sitting on the bunny’s knee (really just squatting) so that Ella is far enough forward that she CAN’T SEE THE BUNNY AT ALL.  She didn’t realize he was there.  So she even smiled at the lady taking the picture.
After the Santa picture (so bad of me)…I made sure I’d gotten a shower this morning and wore a spring color shirt…just in case I had to be in Ella’s Easter Bunny picture.
Just a couple more days until our Annual Egg Hunt at the church.  Hope you’re coming:
United Christian Church
2101 Fordson Road
Henrico, VA 23229
10:00 a.m. April 3

Easter is a-coming…

Easter is just days away.
I’m more excited about the commercial side of Easter this year than I have been in years.  Not only do I have a little girl to dress up:

But I also have a little girl who has found a love of Easter Eggs:
I’m not sure who is more excited – Ella or me.  I can’t WAIT to take her to see the Easter Bunny tomorrow.  We’re going to Short Pump Towne Center where they have a BROWN Easter Bunny.  We’ve been to visit and wave “hello” so I’m hoping she’s not going to freak out when we go up and she gets to sit on his lap.  Guess we’ll see.  I’ll dress Springy in case I end up in the picture (unlike the Santa pic where I look totally awful).  I’m excited about the Easter Egg Hunt at church this Saturday, too.  Ella is big enough to walk around carrying her basket and picking up eggs.  It is going to make for so much fun!  Mom may have to hand off the microphone and allow someone else to supervise the kids inside while we all watch Ella hunt.  Just wish Warren & Rach could be here for it.  Her first egg hunt when she can actually hunt!
I’m also more excited about the HOLINESS of Easter this year.  I was excited to sing songs about Jesus on Palm Sunday – “Hosanna!  Hosanna!”.  I wish I were going to a Maundy Thursday service this year, but alas my Christmas gift from Jeff which was snowed out is rescheduled for this Thursday (we’re going to see The Wedding Singer musical).  I am debating going to the Good Friday service at First Baptist where I’ve been attending Bible Study on Mondays.  I need to see if they have a nursery for that time.  Jeff’s aunt and I were recently talking about Easter and her Catholic upbringing.  As a child, she wasn’t allowed to speak on Good Friday from noon – 3 p.m. in order to pay tribute to Jesus at his time of death.  Wow!  Can you imagine?  What an amazing way to force yourself into reflection!
My friend, Amanda, who died one year ago last Thursday, tried very hard to get our church into the practice of recognizing Holy Week.  I believe that next year, I will pick up her torch and try my best to create the atmosphere of respect and majesty she was aiming for.  I’m going to do my research over this next year to be sure I pick carefully what I want to do and what can be picked up at a later time.  Our church isn’t big with attendance outside of Sunday morning, but I believe that with the proper education as to the importance of remembering that last week of Jesus’ life, they may just support that Amanda was going for.
I haven’t blogged in a week because I wasn’t sure what I wanted to say about Amanda.  If I had blogged on Thursday it was going to need to be all about her.  I have so much to say about her that I’m not sure I can channel it correctly.  I’m going to keep thinking on it and blog about Manda on April 22, her birthday. 
I will say right now that I was BLESSED to have Amanda as my friend:
Speaking of birthdays – Jeff’s is THIS SUNDAY – ON EASTER!!!
Just makes this weekend all that much more special…

All about Ella

So, I’ve been letting Ella cry it out (CIO) for naps lately…
Some people find this to be cruel.  I can see why.  I wasn’t sure if it was something I could/would do.  I wasn’t sure it was something I even wanted to try.  Then bedtimes became unbearable.  It could take hours to get her to go to sleep.  She was mad…I was exhausted…  It wasn’t pretty.  She started “sleeping through the night” at 10 weeks.  To me, that meant I got more than 5 hours of solid sleep.  Then, the trouble started at around 8 months.  She just wouldn’t go down.  I’d end up holding her while I watched t.v. until she finally fell sound asleep.  I wanted more than anything to be able to lay her down (drowsy, but not asleep) and have her drift off into sleepy land.  At 10 months, I finally bit the bullet and decided we’d try the CIO method.  It took three nights.  That’s all.  The first night: 45 minutes of crying.  Night 2: 20 minutes.  Night 3: 5 minutes.  Night 4: nothing.  We’ve been pretty good since then.  Other than a few instances of getting thrown off…
Naps have been another story.  She rarely has napped longer than 30-45 minutes.  I did post a while back during a TWO HOUR NAP.  It was crazy – and hasn’t happened again.  So, last week I decided to let her CIO.  So far, she’s still only taken 30 minute naps.  Today, she’s been quiet for 15 minutes.  I decided to post quickly just in case the jig was up at 4:30.  And yes, I already am aware that some children just don’t need those long, solid naps.  I just still hopeful that Ella isn’t one of those.
Other than this one hiccup, she is amazingly cool.  She has figured out just what that baseboard heater is for:

Amazingly, it hasn’t fallen off the wall (yet).
We have made some good friends (who I’ve posted about before).  For my birthday, Jeff gave me my one requested gift…a family membership to Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens.  We’ve been twice (and will get there again one day this week).  Last week, we went with a few other mom’s including my friend, Amy, and her son, Jackson.  Jackson and Ella take good pictures together.  Here, I believe they are conspiring to be chefs one day:
And just because I think she is so cute, I had to include an upclose shot of my pretty-in-pink princess.  Just don’t fail to notice the grass/mud stains on the jeans.  They won’t come completely clean, so these are now play jeans.  She may be a princess, but she can totally keep up with the boys.  (That’s MY girl)  The adorable bass guitar shirt was purchased by my dad (Pop) since Jeff plays the bass.  So cute:
I will admit that I CAN remember what life was like pre-Ella.  It was a good life.  Going out for dinner and to concerts whenever we felt like it.  Never needing a babysitter (except for overnight things – and then it was a petsitter).  I remember going out with friends for the entire day.  Deciding to go out to dinner on the spur of the moment and grabbing nothing but keys and money.
Ella was a huge surprise.  A historic surprise.  It altered the entire universe for me. 
SHE altered the entire universe for me. 
NOW?  I’d alter the entire universe for her. 
I have big hopes and dreams for her.  Will she fulfill them?  Maybe…
All I know is that she is amazingly cool and that parenthood is definitely the best experience.  Parenting with Jeff is fun.  He is a really, really cool dad and I love to watch them together.
Will we go for #2?  Who knows….maybe…someday…
For now, we’re just ALL ABOUT ELLA.

Old Bibles…

Being the daughter of a minister and raised in the church, I have quite a few Bibles. 

I have lost the normal, brown, hard-cover NIV that I received when I was baptised at age 7.  But have another copy of the same Bible that I got at 13.  It is autographed in the front cover by the members of 4Him.  I loved them.  The back cover has a list of scriptures we discussed at the Southern Christian Youth Convention…whatever year that was.  Circled in that list is 1 Timothy 4:12.  That used to be my favorite.  I says, “Do not let anyone look down on you because you are young.  Instead, set an example for the believers in speech, life, love, faith and purity.”  That was a favorite for a long time because it spoke to me where I was.  I was young, but my parents expected me to be an example to those around me regardless of who they were or what their age.

Somewhere in a box in the garage is a white leather Bible that zips up.  That one is OLD…

Of the Bibles sitting next to me at the computer table, the next one chronologically is a Zondervan NIV Study Bible that my dad gave me on 2/9/1994.  His note inside the front cover says, “from mom and dad on your sixteeth birthday.  If you are in the word the word will be in you.”  There is also a picture of Josh Kennedy and I taped in the front cover.  I think it is from one of our birthdays or maybe even a graduation party.  We were really good friends.  I miss him.  I’ve actually written a scripture in the front of this Bible.  2 Timothy 2:15 – “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who doesn’t need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.”
This Bible is the most worn of all my Bibles.  I used it faithfully until 2 years ago (when my dad bought me another Bible…we’ll get to that).  There are entire sections of this Bible falling out.  I carry it in a case where it is zipped into its own compartment as not to lose those sections.  This one is full of bulletins from over the years.  I cleaned out the case last week and recycled a lot of the bulletins in it (but kept a few).  Eventually, I may clean out this Bible but for now, it speaks volumes to my life.  One of my favorite underlined verses comes from an SCYC held in Stone Mountain, GA where Rich Mullins led worship.  He had us get out our Bibles and underline Exodus 3:5b – “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.”  He went on to explain that God was among us, making that auditorium holy ground.  He then asked us all to take off our shoes and worship on that holy ground.  It had an impact on me.  If you ever see my kick off my shoes during worship in church (happens very rarely due to my self-control) it is because I’ve been led into that “place” of worship where God is really present and I can feel Him.  I have to remove my shoes, because I am standing on holy ground.
There are so many verses underlined in this Bible, I don’t have room to share them all with you.  I can’t help but notice Matthew 6:25-34 entitled “Do Not Worry”.  This section stands out to me because it was preached about on August 19, 2001.  I wrote in the margin: Divorce final, no $$, grandma in the hospital, no job, overcommitted and tired.  I wrote there again on July 20, 2003:  No $$, but have a scholarship to attend school full-time, Grandma dead, Grandpa in TN…  I wrote again on 11/16/03 after which I direct the reader to turn to the back of the Bible.  I wrote again no 12/15/04, 10/9/05, 01/08/06, and 9/3/06.  It is interesting to read my thoughts on those days of my life…
I think the oldest bulletin in this Bible (which has obviously been cleaned out at somepoint) is from Towne South Church of Christ on January 12, 1997.  I sang on a worship team there with my two childhood best friends, Michael Lease & Eric Woolard, as well as Shannon Wagner.  It was fun to sing in four part harmony all the time.  Man do I miss that!  Anyway, the bulletin includes an announcement for the Super Bowl Party held by TSCC that year (Jan 26) in their “new” building.  It didn’t even have interior walls yet.  I have a picture of myself from that party.  No heat in the building, but instead those huge heat fans were set up.  It was a great night.  I still remember it.

The next Bible is The New American Standard Bible “The Student Bible” issued to me as a textbook at Roanoke Bible College (now Mid-Atlantic Christian University).  It has a card in it from Debbie Lockhart telling me she’s thinking about me and referring me to read Psalm 121.  That scripture became a great comfort to me when I flew into Haiti a year or so later.  A bookmark that says “Teach me YOUR ways” is tucked into Ezekiel.  It is from the Women’s Retreat at Parham Hills Christian Church on January 19, 2002.  In Mark, I find that picture from the Towne South superbowl party.  I’m huddled closely with Megan Lease.  There are lots of Towne South bulletins in this one.  On April 27, 1997 our Worship group (called the “Young Quartet” sang “There is Still Power In The Blood”.  I apparently also used this Bible when I worked with Campus Crusades back in Richmond.  In a Crusades meeting on 10/2/98 I underlined Colossians 4:2-6.  Verse 6 says, “Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned, as it were, with salt, so that you may know how you should respond to each person.”  Interesting that I turned to that one.  I’m currently in a Bible study of women at First Baptist Church on Mondays.  We are doing a study called Conversation Peace – it talks about our speech and taming our tongue.

I also have a Serendipity Student Bible (NIV) that I bought when I was the Youth Director at Parham Hills Christian Church.  I job I’ve always regretted letting go.  I loved being the Youth Director.  In the front of this Bible are quotes I like by famous and not-so-famous people.  I have a quote by President Ford that says, “Your best friend is the person who helps keep your dream alive.” and a quote by my dad (9/24/00) that says, “If you look at God through your circumstances, He will look small and far away. If you look at your circumstances through God, He will draw near and be close.”
I love this Bible because it has discussing questions all through it (which I used in youth group meetings).  They are deep and my teens really thought about them.  It also includes a picture of the PHCC YOUth t-shirt we were designing with our theme scripture: Acts 4:29 – “Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness.”  I wanted those kids to speak God’s Word with BOLDNESS!

And finally, my least used Bible of all time (used only for cross reference and when I need a neat wording for Praise Team on Sunday morning) – my copy of Eugene Peterson’s The Message.  There is only one bulletin (01/26/03 – Baby Dedication) and just one thing underlined.  There are a few pictures from a youth trip tucked in, but that is all.  The underlined?  Jeremiah 29:11-12 (my favorite)

I love old Bibles.  Someday, I hope to inherit at least one of my dad’s or my mom’s.  My dad has my grandpa’s and I love that one, too.  It connects me to a great man of God.  What does your Bible say about you?

A book report

I read.  A lot.  Most people don’t know this about me.  I don’t always pass along books and I often don’t pipe up my opinions on books unless I’m asked.  This is the reason I got a late invitation to the book club I attend.  No one knew I read, so no one invited me.  Until one day, a friend posted that she was really looking forward to a glass of wine at bookclub.  I asked her about her book club and the person who founded the club (also a friend) quickly emailed me to invite me to join explaining that she didn’t know I liked to read.  So….now that we’ve gotten that out of the way…
I need to apologize to all to all of the people that have suggested to me that I should read Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert.  There was so much hype (which turns me off) and so many people suggesting it that I was actually relieved that I was going to be out of town for the bookclub meeting that would discuss it.  I didn’t even read it.  Until last week…  I had already read the March bookclub book (finished that the day of the February meeting) and really needed something to read.  Since we’re discussing reading Gilbert’s newest book, I decided that I should cave and read Eat Pray Love.  Man, I’m so glad that I did.  It was great!!!
I enjoyed reading about good places to eat in Italy (though I’m not sure I’ll ever find them if we get to go).  I now want to go stay in an Ashram in India someday.  And I totally want to go to Bali and find Ketut Liyer and sit on his porch talking about life.  Seriously…great book!!!

Here are four quotes from the book that have really stuck with me and why:

“…to even believe [what good works will yield] is an act of faith, because nobody amongst us is shown the endgame.  DEVOTION IS DILIGENCE WITHOUT ASSURANCE.”

Wow!  What a way to put it!  I’ve always explained faith – at least MY faith – as being willing to step out into darkness and trust that God will lead the way.  The author goes on to say, “There’s a reason we refer to ‘leaps of faith’ – because decision to consent to any notion of divinity is a mighty jump from the rational over to the unknowable…”  But what a great sentence – “Devotion is diligence without assurance.”  I actually put the book down for a moment to mull that one over.

…the day of the week that you were born is more important in Bali than the year…the patron god of children born on Thursdays is Shiva the Destroyer, and that the day has two guiding animal spirits – the lion and the tiger.  The official tree of children born on Thursday is the banyan.  The official bird is the peacock.  A PERSON BORN ON THURSDAY IS ALWAYS TALKING FIRST, INTERRUPTING EVERYONE ELSE, CAN BE A LITTLE AGGRESSIVE, TENDS TO BE HANDSOME (‘a playboy or playgirl’) BUT HAS A DECENT OVERALL CHARACTER, WITH AN EXCELLENT MEMORY AND A DESIRE TO HELP OTHER PEOPLE.

Ella and I were both born on Thursdays.  I just thought, “hmm..well, I’d definitely fit my character description in Bali”.  I’ll also say that I LOVE Banyan trees.  I thought that was cool.  I am trying to learn not to talk first or interrupt, but those are long lessons.  I actually started in a women’s Bible study today called Conversation Peace.  It is about taming the tongue (interesting since we JUST read that passage in James in Sunday school).  I also love the line from the age-old poem that, “Thursday’s child has far to go!”

“…LITTLE GIRLS WHO MAKE THEIR MOTHERS LIVE GROW UP TO BE SUCH POWERFUL WOMEN.”

Wow…I love that sentence.  I have a little girl and my life is amazing since she entered it.  She definitely makes me live.  She is full of energy and requires energy to keep up with her.  She is loving the “warm” weather we are experiences (the 60s) and longs to be outside.  Yesterday, Jeff walked back and forth in front of our house with her.  Everytime he tried to direct her to me (to go inside), she immediately started running the opposite direction.  It was funny, though not so much when he did carry her in.  I do believe she can be powerful.  Oh, God, let me be the mom that raises up a woman of power – power within herself that no one can push her down or around and power in YOU.

“But I was always coming here.  I thought about one of my favorite Sufi poems, which says that GOD LONG AGO DREW A CIRCLE IN THE SAND EXACTLY AROUND THE SPOT WHERE YOU ARE STANDING RIGHT NOW.  I was never not coming here.  This was never not going to happen.”

My favorite scripture is Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV) “‘For I know the plans I have for you’, declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'”

Just think.  Before I was born, God knew that Ella and I would be having a rough-nap afternoon.  That I would have given up naptime in her crip and reluctantly put her in her swing (so grateful it has a high weight limit and that she loves it), and returned to writing this blog.  God drew a circle around this chair and this desk….well, kindof.  He knew I’d be married to Jeff.  He knew I’d be the mom to Ella.  He knows if I’m going to have another baby someday or not (and how soon is that someday, God?).  He knows our days.  The Bible also says is Psalm 139 (NIV) “Oh Lord, you have searched me and you know me.  You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.  You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways”.  God knows us.
I’ve known this for a long time.  Psalm 139 is my second favorite scripture in the Bible.  The whole chapter.  I love it.  It just really hit home when worded by the Sufi poem, “God long ago drew a circle in the sand exactly around the spot where you are standing right now.”
WOW!

So that is my book report.  I went into Eat Pray Love thinking it would just be a good read and came away with for page corners flipped for statements I wanted to remember (for various reasons…hence the Thursdays child thing).  That last one rocked my day.

Where are you standing right now?  Do you see your God-drawn circle?

Friendships

So, Ella has been napping (in her swing) for an hour.  I prioritized and worked on church stuff first, so hopefully she’ll snooze long enough for me to blog too.  We’ll see…

This past weekend I had the priviledge to serve as a bridesmaid for one of my longest & dearest friends, Christie Lynn Grubbs (now Christie Brust – that sounds odd).  Christie and I have known each other since we were youngish – late elementary, I think.  We met at Oak Hill Christian Service Camp and saw each other at area-wide church things.  She was perfect.  So smart – she could sing you anything you wanted to know about the Bible and probably still can.  We both attended Music & Drama camp and both returned to become counselors of that week.  That is where our bond formed.  There was one particular summer where there was a shift in staffing at M&D.  For those of you who don’t know – this is a RARE thing.  We had two female staff members choose to do other things leaving Christie and I as the two “young” staffers.  We stayed together a lot on tour that year.  And we’ve stayed close ever since.  When I was planning my wedding to Jeff in 2006, it was Christie (co-deaning with me by then) who would meet me at church, take me by my shoulders and say, “Okay – now we need to talk about CAMP for one hour.”  She is a great grounding force.  She was my bridesmaid that year and I returned the favor this year.  It was nice to get to wait on her Saturday since it usually works the other way around…especially with Ella tagging along.  I’ve said it on facebook and now I’m saying it here.  IT WAS A HONOR TO STAND BESIDE CHRISTIE AT HER WEDDING.

I’ve had lots of friends in my life; and quite a few “best” friends.  My first “best” friend was Melissa Crane.  We went to Skipwith together.  We spent a lot of time at each other’s houses, too, since we lived around the corner from each other.  After I moved to another school zone I had three besties: Mary Hairfield, Carrie Cauthorne, and Lisa…oh, I’ve forgotten Lisa’s last name.  We also had coordinating boyfriends who were best friends too.  It was fun.  Our parents actually dropped us off at Ridge Theater for a group date in fourth grade.  What parent now-a-days would drop off six 4th graders saying, “See ya in two hours.  Don’t cause trouble!”  None.  I can recount that day in great detail.  Especially that they had two theaters showing the same movie (ours) and we lost Jason & Lisa and did cause trouble trying to find them in the middle of the movie.  I’ve lost touch with all those people these days, but that was so long ago.

I changed best friends in middle school.  I started with a girl named Jenny and ended up with a gal named Miranda – who remained one of my besties until 2001 when a large fight split us up.  There won’t be any details of that here.  I will say that Miranda and I were “those” best friends.  We dressed alike – not always matching (but yes sometimes head to toe), but we loved to buy the same exact outfit in two different colors.  We were always “the same, but different”.  I still love that phrase.  We switched houses for a weekend and lived with each other’s families.  We kindof stole a car together when I was 16.  (We BORROWED it – it was going to be Miranda’s but she was too young to drive and we needed to go rent movies.  I say “stole” because we in no way had permission to drive that car anywhere.)
When I got to RBC (now MACU) in 1996, I ran into a childhood friend named Erin from whom I became inseperable.  She had a roommate, I didn’t.  Her roommate had a computer and Erin’s t.v. worked better in my room on the opposite side of the building.  So, her room became the study haven and my room became the place to chill.  Since I had an empty bed, Erin spent lots of nights in my room.  I even covered for her (and a handfull of other gals) after accidentally telling a staff member (who was dating Erin) that we’d watched “Seven” (rated R).  I wouldn’t confirm that I watched with with anyone other than myself.  Luckily, I escaped major punishment, too.  She was in my first wedding and I was in her only wedding.  Our friendship lessened after we were living in different states, then cities, and now countries.  I’m friends with her on fb, but have yet to send her the message I have started a hundred times.  I want to tell her everything that has happened since we lost our closeness.  There is just so much to say…especially that I miss her very much.

I didn’t have any good girl friendships for a while after that.  Actually…not until 2005 when Melissa Hess moved to town attached to the church’s new youth minister.  Mo and I quickly bonded and she quickly became like a sister to me.  We went on trips together (with and without our hubbies) and there was a point in time that we did something together every Friday or Saturday – and sometimes both.

Around the summer of 2006, I also became good friends with a former camper – Bobbi Jo.  Now, to know Bobbi Jo is to love Bobbi Jo.  Well – for me.  She’s one of those people who you’re gonna love her or you’re not, but there is little inbetween.  We were both bridesmaids for Christie this weekend and one of the stylists (not Kathy, but her coworker who doesn’t know us well) asked if BJ and I were sisters because we bickered/picked with each other like sisters do.  It was a great feeling to be mistaken for her sister.  I a certain brother-in-law would get to a point he was ready to date someone seriously, I’d be hooking BJ up so that we really could become sisters.  Oh, that would be FUN!!!

Then, along came Ella.  Wow – how my world changed.  Jeff and I could still choose to do something on Friday and Saturday night, but that would require (1) exhausting our moms as they alternated care or (2) paying Katie Quinn a lot of money to babysit.  Needless to say that our social life has suffered.  People actually stop asking you do things after you have a kid – do you know that?  People just assume that you’ll say no.  We’re adjusting to this new form of life okay, though.

After about 6 months of being home and not being very social (we did take Ella to the Hess’ new years eve party and I was feeding her as the ball dropped), I needed some mommy friends.  Gals who had little ones too and could talk “shop” with me.
[Ella wakes up screaming…be back later]

And thus began my venture into the world of RichmondMommies.com.  Thanks to that site I have found four good girl friends (Amy, Bridget, Katie and Whitney) who I get together with at least once a week (with our kids).  As seen on a previous post, we went out withOUT our kids on my birthday and are planning to do something for Whitney’s bday this month.  And this Thursday night Amy and I are heading out to a preview for a consignment sale this weekend.  They’re having give-a-ways and other vendors on hand offering discounted and free services.  I’m so excited.

There are other friends not mentioned here – my sister-in-laws, for example.  And I didn’t go into detail about the fact that I didn’t have many female friends at all until the last five years.  That is when I met girls who weren’t girly-girls and then met a few girls (Bridget) that are girly-girls and inspire me to want to be girly…sometimes…

I guess the point is that friendships come and go; or change as life changes.  I wouldn’t trade any of my friendship experiences.  They’ve made me a better person.  I savor my friendships now.  Like all relationships, friendships require work.  I’ve always known that, but now I’m proactive about it.  Who are you favorite friendships?  Have you thought about it lately?

Okay – back to my angel.  Gotta Go!

Perfection

I’ve been thinking a lot about “perfection” this week.  First, there is this entry on my sister-in-law’s blog.  I have been deep in prayer for her over this since she posted.  I have so little to offer her.  As my good friend Amy said (while we were out on my birthday), I had the “perfect” pregnancy and no room to every complain to anyone about it.  I agreed with her whole-heartedly.  The comment to me came after another mom-friend said, “I just never can understand those women who say ‘I loved being pregnant’.”  I was THAT mom.  I loved being pregnant.  I never had morning sickness (well, twice, but I call that never).  I didn’t swell to odd proportions.  I didn’t bloat in my face to the point you couldn’t recognize me.  And I didn’t have a rash covering my body (all my love to Amy & Katie K here) and making me miserable.
The conversation that night continued on about labor & delivery.  Whit was hopitalized two weeks before she delivered and knew everyone in the maternity ward when her time came then ended up having a c-section.  Katie told me stories that blew my mind.
Now, I had a not-so-short delivery.  They induced me (broke my water/gave me pitocin) around 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday night and Ella didn’t make her appearance until after 7 a.m. the next morning.  HOWEVER, I was also comparing birth stories to my mom, aunt, and grandmother whose longest labor (i.e. from “I think it is time” to “Baby’s here!”) was around 6 hours.  I was hoping that was genetic, but it was not.  Of course, I was induced and none of them were…inductions always seem to take FOREVER.  There was only one major problem during my delivery – Ella’s cord was wrapped around her neck.  This wasn’t known until she made her entrance and instead of being placed on my chest, the doctor quickly unwrapped the cord (as horror appeared on my mom’s face) and handed her off to the nurses to be checked over.  She passed her Apgar with FLYING colors.
I had the “perfect” pregnancy and the “perfect” delivery.  And now, I have a PERFECT child.
I am lost in reflection on this after being pointed to a blog by a women who delivered a Downs Syndrome baby girl in January.  I posted the link to her daugher’s birth story on facebook yesterday.  I have since taken time to continue reading through her blog.  I’ve only gotten through January’s posts and haven’t started Februarys yet.  I read and I feel a bond with her.  I know – not normal, as we have little in common.  We each have at least one daugher.  That’s it.  Here is where my emotional tug is…
Before I was pregnant with Ella I attended the funeral of a child.  I had been friends with his dad and dad’s extended family from years ago.  This child was a precious, special child.  I didn’t know him.  I only went to show support for his dad and that extended family.  I sat there like stone listening to what people had to say about this precious child of God.  I believe he was autistic.  But that isn’t what people talked about.  They talked about how special he was to the world of people around him.  How he laughed.  How he smiled.  How he made you feel special.  I carried that day with me.  I had worked in special education as a substitute teacher in our county.  I was one of the few who willingly signed up to sub in special education classes.  I loved it.  I loved working with kids who needed that extra attention.  I wonder all the time what has happened to the class of kids at one Elementary that I can to work with every week and loved dearly.  I was allowed special permissions to know their stories because I was working with them so closely and so often.  Have you ever heard of chiari malformation?  I hadn’t.  It is amazing.  Can you imagine have a child that never sleeps?  That is one unique strain of chiari malformation.  One of the girls in that class had it.  She had no body fat.  She was restless.  Her mother slept while she was at school.  It was their only way to cope.
Two of the kids had severe emotional disorders.  I watched one throw a computer through a window.  The other and I became good friends.  When he got mad, he threw desks.  When he got mad, if you sat in a chair right in front of him and put your face within a foot of his and started counting backwards from 100, he’d calm down.  I loved learning that.
Two of the children were downs syndrome.  Oh, how I loved them.  The sweetest beings alive – full of hugs and loved playing hide-and-go-seek.  Oh, how I loved those children. 
Why does this consistently weigh on me?  Why do I always, ALWAYS think about it?  I have no idea.  I can tell you that one day during my pregnancy, I became acutely aware that something was going to be wrong with Ella.  I just knew it.  I never told Jeff.  I still haven’t told him.  (Hi honey)  I knew…I just knew.
But there is nothing wrong with my child.  She is SMART.  She is BEAUTIFUL.  She is IMPORTANT.  (Sorry- I read The Help recently).  She can say “two” after I say “one”.  Of course, all numbers are “2” and all letters are “E”.  She can recognize her name when it is written down.  She can repeat “E” “L” “L” “A” when prompted.  There is nothing wrong with my child.
People have been asking me lately when we’re going to have #2.  Today – it could be tomorrow (well, after April).  Yesterday – I only wanted Ella.  We may get there…
People have also been asking me what I’m going to do for work once I return to work (do I ever have to?).  I think, perhaps, that God hasn’t been speaking to me about MY child, but instead about others’ children.  I think I might go into special education by choice.  I’m not so sure I want to teach in a regular school.  I think I’d like to work with specific children.  I’m not going to make up my mind yet.  But I had to get it off my chest.
To my sister-in-law, Kristen – you are a wonderful mother.  Your son adores you.  Your son is perfect.  Your delivery was not.  Please don’t let it define your motherhood.  Motherhood is so much more than that.  THAT is what I wanted to say.  It just took me a week and this blog to find the words I wanted to say.
To you- my friend & reader…I leave you with two pictures of my PERFECT CHILD:
 Here she is conducting her own business meeting in our living room:
And here she is getting ready to run the rounds with my parent’s cat Cricket:
And now my angel is crying to me from her crib.  She took a near two-hour nap there today.  See – perfection.  Gotta go!

What a great weekend…and it is only Saturday night!

Just had to post that I am having a fantastic weekend.

First – I got to spend a lot of time yesterday with my friend, Bobbi Jo.  We have a good time when we’re together and I always laugh a lot around her.
Then – last night was Christie’s Panty Party.  It was less about embarassing her with lingerie for she & Andrew (though we certainly did and with lots of laughs) and more about getting to celebrate my really, really close friend before she gets married.  This is such a special time and I’m so excited for her.  I wanted to make her feel special last night and I think we accomplished that.  Thanks to our friends who came out to shower Christie with laughter & lingerie.

Overnight was not pretty since Ella isn’t sleeping well and she & I were up battling it out between 11:30 pm and 2:30 this morning.

BUT – I woke up at 7:30 this morning next to my beautiful baby girl.  Then – I got to get ready and head out to breakfast with my friend, Melissa – who I feel like I never get to see and we used to go out at least once every weekend when she & Jay first moved here.  It was so wonderful to just sit with her and chat for a couple hours in a local coffee shop.  So needed!

Then, lunch today was a celebration of mine & my dad’s birthdays.  My grandmother, great-aunt, and aunt came in town from Newport News to eat with Dad, Mom, Jeff, Ella & Me.  We had a good time and Ella got to show off a bit.  After lunch we went back to mom & dad’s apartment and hung out while Ella really showed off how much fun she is to be around.  So good to have Ella spend time with her GG, EE & Aunt Carla.
Tonight, we went to Jeff’s parents for dinner in a late celebration of Jeff’s mom’s birthday (Feb 3).  It was great since all three boys (Jeff, Jerry & Gabe) were all able to be there with no schedule conflicts.  Kristen & I were there, too, but the most fun is watching Nana and Papa interact with their two grandkids.  We were all together.

It has been a great two days and tomorrow is lining up to be fantastic too…
I actually get to go to church at United tomorrow.  I feel like it has been a lifetime since I’ve been there and for me it has.  The last time was January 24.  Church was snowed out the 31st & February 7 and then Jeff & I were away last weekend (Feb 14).  I can’t wait to hear my dad preach.  He is my favorite minister…and it isn’t just bias.  I feel that he preaches from the heart to the heart and I love that about him.  Tomorrow’s theme: God as our shepherd.  So excited!
Then tomorrow night is my book club meeting.  I haven’t posted about book club before…not sure why not except I just post so little…
Tomorrow night we’ll be discussing the book, The Help.  It was a GREAT book that I recommend to anyone interested in a fiction story set in a all-too-real 1960’s segregated Jackson, Mississippi.  I had to remind myself that Mae Mobly and Aibileen weren’t real people.  Oh, little MaeMo – your nanny Aibileen loved you.  It has been a month since I read the book and I can’t recall what MaeMo called Aibileen in the book, but it tugged my heart strings.  SUCH A GOOD BOOK. 

I’ll have to do posts on the books I read since I have become a voracious reader.  I read the bookclub book and then find as many other books to read in the remainder of the month.  I can’t stop and I love it.  I’ve also found that I’m currenly very drawn to stories (fiction & non-fiction) set during the 60s that focus on segregation and integration.  I find it fascinating…okay – that is another post too.

Well – that’s it.  It is a great weekend and I just found the desire to share that with you.  Thanks for reading!

Really, Really Bad at Blogging

So I’m the first to admit that I am AWFUL at blogging.  Despite wanting to blog weekly, I just can’t seem to make the time.  Oh, the time is there…I just end up doing other things…like reading and posting on Richmond Mommies.
So what’s happened since the last time I posted?  This:
This happened!  SNOW, SNOW and more SNOW.  My sidewalk is still covered (since it never gets sun) and the same for my driveway which is now a solid sheet of ice.  If I thought taking a hairdryer out and melting it to the ground would do the trick, I think I would.  Except I’d get cold too fast and quit.  I can’t get warm.  I’m cold all the time and that hasn’t happened since I got pregnant.
Let’s see…what else?  Oh – I turned 32.  It was a very eventful day.  Jeff got up at 2:30 a.m. very, very sick.  All the plans for the day went out the window because I wasn’t going to leave him alone just yet.  He seemed to be better by lunch, but that all went south again around 5:00.  Originally, we were going out to dinner with his family, but that got moved around (and not yet rescheduled) because of his brothers’ schedules.  So, since my friend Amy had planned a girls night out that I thought I wasn’t going to go to (due to dinner with the fam), I called the girls and said I might be there.  Then, I quickly arranged for mom to keep Ella at her apartment while I went out.  Jeff wasn’t thrilled with the idea, but like the loving hubby he is – he let me go have some goodness on my actual birthday.  I met my girlfriends – Amy, Bridget, Katie (not Quinn), and Whitney – at The Cheesecake Factory in Short Pump.  Amy ordered a yummy app & bought she & I drinks (just one a piece); then I ate steak for dinner; and Whitney bought me cheesecake.  After being serenaded by the waiters, Bridget got this picture of me getting ready to blow out my candle:
The cheesecake was YUMMY, by the way.  It was a great night.  I picked up an asleep little girl (who woke up as soon as we went out in the rain) and then spent an hour getting her back to sleep once we were home.  Well worth it.
That Friday night, Jeff invited my parents over to dinner and came home with Hardees Fried Chicken and an ice cream cake from Dairy Queen.  We had a small belated birthday party for me.  It was nice.  Jeff gave me a family membership to Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens – which I was dying for.  I can’t wait to take Ella to play in the children’s garden this spring & summer.  Plus all the events – it will be great.
The weekend after my birthday we headed to Lynchburg to see Margaret, Nanny & Kenny.  Ella LOVES her Aunt Margaret and they had a lot of fun playing together.  The pic below is them looking at birds on the bird feeder:

We got home Valentine’s afternoon and I promptly got dressed and ready to head out with my mom to The Carpenter Center to see the Richmond Ballet (and Richmond Symphony) perform Romeo & Juliet.  I love the story – love the play, LOVE the Leo/Claire Danes movie – but wasn’t so sure how much I’d like it as a ballet with none of Shakespeare’s words.  I LOVED IT!

Jeff & I celebrated Valentine’s on Monday, the 15th.  It was a great night with dinner & small gifts.  I got him a book, Ella got him a stuffed version of that brown thing that chases kittens in some internet thing.  He got me a Starbucks gift card.  Now that rocks.

Well, my little one has blessed me with 30 minutes of time, but is now up and fussing in her crib.  I need to start dinner anyhow.  See ya sometime soon…just maybe longer than 7 days.

Already broken my resolution to post…

Oh well…such is life, eh? I planned on posting Friday, but with a sick little one I just didn’t get to it.

Baby sickness stinks. Let me tell you! And we have been extremely fortunate where this is concerned. We went Ella’s entire first year without a major illness for any of us. Granted, for the first two months of her life we had some tenuous moments with the feeding stuff. She’d gorge herself and throw up, but we all thought there was more to it. It took about 4 weeks to work it all out, but once we did we never looked back.

As soon as she turned one, she got strep throat. Then an ear infection…then another. We’re currently preventing #4. Thursday (1/21) we went to story time at the library and then to a playdate at our friend Whitney’s (Becca). All was well. We came home & I put Ella down for a nap. Twenty minutes later she was up screaming. She hates to nap in her crib during the day and always cries when she wakes up in it, but this was different. She was irate. I went to get her and she was burning up – a fever of 103. HUH??

So off to the doctor where we have every test known to man run to eliminate anything not viral. It’s viral. So home we go with instructions to alternate Tylenol & Motrin every 3 hours as long as her temp is over 100. Then Friday, we’re still hitting 103 at least once every 3-4 hours. So back to the pediatrician we go (their call) to be sure something worse hadn’t developed in the 24 hours since Thursday’s visit. The only difference? Her ears are starting to look gunky (not yet infected) and they don’t want to go into infection #4 so she gets a shot of a powerful antibiotic and we get a script for more oral antibiotic.

We’ve been fever free since Sunday morning and I’m thankful. I’m also thankful to a great mom & hubby who carried the brunt of Ella-care on Sunday. Both Jeff & I were scheduled for praise team and I didn’t want to expose the tiny baby in the nursery to anything so mom came to our house to care for Ella while Jeff & I went to church. Then Sunday afternoon was Christie’s bridal shower. The plan had been for Ella to go with me & mom, but after a diaper blowout during church time, Jeff decided to keep her home. Good call since he had another diaper blowout that afternoon.

Yesterday we only ventured out to the library (quick visit for me to pick up a hotly sought after book) and Target for needed essentials (like wipes). Other than that we were home in sweatpants.

Today, my mommy friends convinced me that being fever free for 48 hours meant it was okay for Ella to play so off to the playdate we went. It was a lot of fun and I really like my mommy friends. They are wonderful. Thursday we’re going to Maymont to see the animals before the weather predicted for the weekend.

Wouldn’t you know it – they are calling for a FOOT of snow and Jeff had bought me tickets to The Wedding Singer musical for Christmas. Oh…my present better not be ruined. I may cry. Oh well…

Oh – and Ella has a black eye! Our world is fun. You should join us.