Thursday, November 21, 2013

Prelude to a Post (Hopefully)

When I first received the miraculous news several months ago that I was “with child,” I really thought we’d survive this pregnancy together, blog style, and quite honestly, I’ve started or at least made notes for about a dozen posts, but I have yet to put the finishing touches on any of them… mostly because life has just been extremely busy, and any sedentary moments as of late have resulted in my immediately falling asleep. That, and the fact that pregnancy brain has effectively clogged the ducts of my creative juices.

 I have now been told by my doc that thanks to some pretty crazy blood pressure spikes, I need to take it as easy as possible and keep my feet up as much as I can until our little Button makes his appearance – hopefully within the next two weeks. So I thought that I might go back and try to see if I can salvage any of my random thoughts these last few months.

Now that I’m a whiny, swollen, uncomfortable, 9 months pregnant, wretched woman, it might do me some good to revisit some of the earlier moments of this blessing!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

While Waiting on Baby #2, I'd Better Remember Who's #1!

This last month, my pitiful little man has had to have some pretty extensive dental work done.  Due to a very underdeveloped mouth, he has had to have (so far!), 3 baby root canals, 3 caps, 3 jaw teeth pulled, 1 front tooth pulled, and wire spacers put in.  He has one more intense visit (and one more payment!), next week, and then a couple of follow-ups before he is all done. 
Poor baby

All of this work has resulted in what we call “Mom Mondays.”  After his appointments (which are, obviously, scheduled on Mondays), he and I curl up on the couch with a drool cup while we wait for the swelling to go down and the laughing gas to wear off.  Usually we watch TV and snuggle…. And we talk a lot.  Of course, he talks without opening and closing his mouth and without swallowing anything that has gathered there, so I have to be a bit of a detective to figure out what he’s saying!

I have to treasure these moments, because I know that after a few hours, he will be back to normal, rough and tumble and loud and crazy.  And way too busy to talk to me.

When Micah and I have our talks lately, we chat about school starting in a couple of weeks (he is so not excited), the trips we are going to take the rest of this year, and of course, talk often turns to baby.

Now, if I haven’t been clear enough on this subject, let me just reiterate that Prince Micah was perfectly comfortable in his position as the only child in Spalding Manor, and the thought of this new little creature is really cramping his style.  Micah has never been a big fan of babies in general, much less one that is poised to stink up his house and steal chunks of Mom and Dad’s attention.

So every so often, Micah will pipe up with quips like this:

“You know, you can’t sing any of the songs you sang to me to the baby.  Those songs are mine.  You’ll have to think of new ones.”’

The baby can’t get anything more expensive than me, because I’m older.”

“I don’t think Santa should even bring the baby anything for Christmas because he won’t even be able to open anything.  He’ll just stare at it… and probably drool on it.”

I’m really hoping he warms up to the idea of having a baby brother, but I kind of understand where he’s coming from.  Jay and I had eight years of marriage before Micah came along, and though we prayed and longed for him, he pretty much turned our pretty little marriage on its head!  I imagine that’s how it will be for him.  Eight years as the only child, and then BAM! - enter this Martian baby who will turn everything upside down!  Still, I hope and pray that there will be some moment when he will look down at his baby brother and feel some love – or at least tolerance – for him.

In the meantime, we are doing all we can to ensure him that he is loved and treasured, no matter what.  Very early in the pregnancy, when we had explained to Micah that the doctor had fixed Mom’s broken belly and a baby was a possibility, Micah said, “You just can’t love the baby more than me.”

I replied, “Micah, I waited for you my whole life, I could never love anyone the same way I love you.”

He thought for a minute and said, “Well, if I promise to never tell the baby, can you love me just a little bit more?”

I thought for a minute.  I could say, “Micah, I will love you both the same amount.  You’re both my children.  I won’t have any favorites.”

But I didn’t.

I smiled and said, “Absolutely.  But you can never, ever tell the baby, or I’ll deny the whole thing!”

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Eating for Two?

When I found out on my 34th birthday that after nearly 14 years of trying, I had gone and gotten good and pregnant, Jay and I sat down and decided that, with the exception of a handful of very close friends, we would keep the news quiet until the end of the first trimester.  So I have not been able to share via this blog all the fun turns and twists that occurred those precious first few weeks, so I thought I’d give you a little recap here and there.

I did pretty well at keeping things under wraps in the beginning. Opting out of dangerous activities (like practically repelling down a steep hill to stand by a river at Youth Councils!)? – well, everyone knows I’m a wimp anyway.  Not eating deli meat?  Watching my sodium.   No caffeine?  I’d given it up for Lent and it was just working so well for me!  Crying at the drop of a hat?  Well, that’s nothing new. Tired all the time?  Have you met my Micah?

I think we made it through the first three months without too much speculation.  The hardest thing to hide was the fact that for about a month of that time, I was pretty sick (for those of you Mommas who dealt with morning sickness for many months, I salute you!).  Certain foods, certain smells, and oddly enough, certain noises, sent me running for the bathroom.  Once, someone brought sauerkraut to a covered dish luncheon, and I disappeared into the Ladies for nearly the rest of the day.  No one seemed to notice.

At my very sickest point, I packed my bags and headed for a women’s retreat.

Now, let me preface this by saying that the combination of no soda, morning sickness, and complete fear in early pregnancy to eat anything unhealthy (totally over that.  Just polished off a nutty bar!) had me losing 22 pounds by the beginning of month #3.   I was, in fact, at my lowest weight in nearly a decade.

So, I’m sitting in the auditorium at this women’s retreat, waiting for the program to start.  The young lady in front of me, whom I have never met, turns around and starts telling me about her tremendous weight loss.  I smile and nod as I hear her tell her story… until she says this to me.  “Yeah, I lost like 115 pounds!  I was about your size when I started.”

First of all, in my defense, if I subtracted 115 pounds from my weight, what remains would be a healthy eight-year-old.  And an eight-year-old, she was not. 

I don’t know if it was the pregnancy hormones or the fact that I’d just deposited that night’s dinner into the latrine, but I nearly lunged over the row and attacked that poor girl.  At a Christian Women’s Retreat.  (Wouldn’t that have been an awesome story?)

The next day, Saturday, also known as the single sickest day of my adult life, I was on duty to assist with breakfast.  Basically, I had to be in the dining room at 7:00 a.m., greet people, and help clear tables.  This sounds simple enough.  Except that I was extraordinarily nauseous, and the smell of massive amounts of egg filled the room.  I just stood there frozen like a smiling, green statue.  It was the first time someone asked me if I was feeling sick.

My disastrous attempt to eat breakfast that morning resulted in no attempt to eat lunch, so when an afternoon snack was served, I was actually hungry.  I went up to the table to get my snack, and saw the most amazing thing.  My absolute favorite – red, white, and blue cookies (In case you’re not familiar, they are cranberry, blueberry, white chocolate, and glorious). And they were still warm.

I took one, and enjoyed one delicious nibble before someone walked by me and, referencing a previous diet I had been trying, said, “Hmm.  Guess you’re back on carbs.”

See?  This is the argument for telling people you’re pregnant.  So you don’t kill them when they accidentally say something stupid.

 Later than night, I had to be in a play and go out on stage and make people laugh.  Thankfully, my belly would calm a little when I was on stage (this baby likes the spotlight) so I made it through fine (no thanks to the trays of food that a very sweet girl had brought us…. Pulled pork sliders… normally tasty… this day?  Ugh).

Funny enough, the only meal I was able to keep down that weekend was a plate of French toast, consumed at 1:30 a.m. from the greasiest, grossest diner I’ve ever been to.  What can I say?  This baby knows what it wants!

These days I’m feeling much better.  And my appetite has definitely returned, even if some days I only want green olives and deviled eggs!  And I dare you to say something about it! 


Sunday, June 9, 2013

Whoa, Baby!

My blog has been noticeably quiet the last several weeks.  And for good reason.  Because this is what has been on my mind:

Ohmygoodness I’m pregnant! Ohmygoodness I’m pregnant! Ohmygoodness I’m pregnant! Ohmygoodness I’m pregnant! Ohmygoodness I’m pregnant! Ohmygoodness I’m pregnant! Ohmygoodness I’m pregnant!Ohmygoodness I’m pregnant! Ohmygoodness I’m pregnant! Ohmygoodness I’m pregnant! Ohmygoodness I’m pregnant! Ohmygoodness I’m pregnant!

And let’s face it, that’s not interesting reading for anyone.

Though Jay and I decided to keep the pregnancy quiet until we made it to the second trimester, I couldn’t even carry on a conversation with someone without fearing that the news might explode out of my mouth.  After all, it’s news I’ve been dreaming of sharing for 14 years.

14 years.  I was 20 years old when my husband and I looked at each other and said, “Let’s make a baby.”  I thank God all the time that things never worked out the way we’d hoped or else we’d never have decided to build our family through adoption, and we wouldn’t have our first miracle – our Micah.  He is worth every moment of pain, worth every single tear.

But fast forward several years, and we felt that old familiar nagging in our hearts again.  As Micah got older, the more I felt a longing to have another baby and to give him a sibling (even though he really didn’t want one!), but as the years progressed, the less I believed it would ever really happen. 

Last year we decided to  seek some assistance(not for the first time) and give it one more good try before we sailed into old age.  I kept my hopes low, made a lot of sarcastic comments, and made sure my glass stayed half empty.  Sometimes it’s easier to guard your heart against disappointment. 

Something changed for me one month though.  We were four months into the process, and I was sitting in the doctor’s office, waiting for longer than usual as my doc finished up with another patient.  I was looking at the calendar on the wall and realized that my next appointment would logically be scheduled for the following Tuesday, when we were supposed to be in Branson on a family vacation.  I knew from experience that it was a hassle to have to reschedule an appointment, so I whispered a quick prayer that my appointment would be scheduled for that Thursday instead since we’d be home by then.  And then I sat and waited some more.  My phone was several feet away in my purse and I wasn’t willing to jump up in my oh-so-flattering paper gown to get it, so I just closed my eyes and sang in my head.  A few praise songs came to mind, and before I knew it, I was just having me a little Jesus time right there in the office.  For some reason, my cynicism kind of fell away, and I mouthed these words, “Jesus, please let me know you’re still in this with us.” 

As I continued to sit and wait for the doc to come in for my exam, I prayed a very specific prayer.  My ultrasounds always seemed to reveal the same thing – a less than impressive almost-mature egg.  So I decided to pray for a really good already-mature egg.  And since I still had to sit there for 15 more minutes, I went ahead and prayed for two eggs.


When my doctor came in, she did my exam (aren’t you glad I spare SOME details?) and said, “Well, girl, you have two beautiful eggs* this month.”  And just because my God is so good, she added, “I will see you next Thursday.”


I continued this throughout the month, praying specifically for certain blood tests and hormone levels, and each and every time, God came through.  I remember telling Jay (because I’m a pessimist), “I don’t think it’s going to work this month, but I love this feeling that God is on our side.”


Well, it just so happened that the day for my pregnancy test fell on March 27th, my 34th birthday.  My senior group at church had thrown me a surprise birthday party that day, and I was sitting with them, calling BINGO when the call came.  I missed it.  My always-chipper nurse (seriously, she gives bad news in such an upbeat way that it doesn’t occur to you to be sad) left a message to call her back.  I did and left her a message.  She called me again while I was visiting with someone bringing me a birthday gift.  She left a message to call her again and have her paged. 


I shut my office door, took a deep breath, and called.  She said simply, “Would you like some good news for your birthday?”


I couldn’t believe it.  I knelt right down on my office floor and cried out to my God, who does things in His perfect time.  I was bursting with joy that day… and since really.  (Okay, so I’ve also had days of pretty terrible sickness and shocking exhaustion, but still… joy!). 


Truthfully, I’m still quite nervous about things going smoothly these next six months.  And I sometimes get so overwhelmed about starting all over after 8 years that you’d almost forget I actually prayed for this to happen! 


But when I hear the thundering sound of that miraculous heartbeat, or hear Micah talk about how he gets to boss the baby around because he’s older, or daydream with Jay about what this little one might look like, I pause and praise God that He heard my prayer, and long after I’d given up real hope, He reminded me that He is Lord of my life.

*Not to worry – two beautiful eggs will NOT be resulting in two beautiful babies!


Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Below the Line - Who's Hungry?

Did you know that there are well over a billion people in the world who live on the US equivalent of $1.50 per day?

Let’s just put that into some perspective….

The average starbucks coffee costs $3.50.  Can you live off of that alone for three days?

A value meal from McDonald’s cost $7.25.   Delicious, I’m sure, but will it hold you over for five days?

And if you want to really splurge and go for the Tour of Italy at Olive Garden… well, you just blew your food budget for nearly 12 days.  Good thing pasta is filling.

I don’t know that we can fully comprehend what extreme poverty is like.  Even those in the United States who are considered poor based on our federal poverty guidelines would be considered rather wealthy by the poor in developing countries. 

And those of us who fall in that huge expanse called middle class could not fathom the choices that some people have to make to survive.  During my last two week grocery shopping trip, I counted up, just out of curiosity, the things that Micah had asked for that I said yes to.  From ice cream sandwiches to special snacks for school, from lunchables to cutie oranges, from pricey breakfast cereal to a certain kind of juice boxes, he had weaseled me out of more than 60 bucks…. And my willpower was fairly strong that day.  What if he had to survive on less?  What if I had to?

A couple of weeks ago, Jay read something about a new campaign by the Global Poverty Project called Live Below the Line.  The challenge was to raise awareness (and money if you can) for world hunger by attempting to live off of $1.50 worth of food a day for five days (He didn’t read that part so he’s going for seven!).  Jay started right then comparison shopping, looking through advertisements, and making his grocery list for the week.

I thought I would share his experience in living below the line.

A few things to note up front –

First, the $1.50 that many in the world live on per day has to cover much more than food – it also has to pay for healthcare, shelter, education and transportation.  But this project is just to give people a taste of what it’s like to not have everything desired at your fingertips.

Secondly, those in developing countries don’t have the luxuries we enjoy like hopping in the car and heading off to a supercenter to pick up whatever might be on sale.  So this experiment in no way mimics the life that so many are forced to live, but it will get you to thinking!

Jay wanted Micah and I to go about our regular routine, so I went to the grocery Sunday night and got items for our breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and snacks.  I also picked up our vitamins, cleaning products, and toiletries.  I spent $149.32.

Jay, taking forever to shop, carefully made the following purchases –

One dozen eggs….. $1.88

Off-brand White bread (cheaper than wheat)…. $1.28

Jiffy Cornbread Mix…. $0.54

Pinto beans…. $1.38

Off brand sliced cheese (16 ct.) ….. $1.25

Package of bologna ….. $0.98

5 pks. of Ramen noodles…. $1.00

3 stalks of corn…. $0.45

White onion…. $0.51

Total: $9.27
Jay had $1.23 remaining and decided to keep that to “buy” condiments from our refrigerator and pantry (mustard, mayo, salt and pepper) when needed.  He carefully planned his meals (rationing what he has to last 7 days), and make him a jug of (can you imagine?) tap water!

Jay is currently at the end of day two of his project.  He has so far enjoyed such delicacies as bologna sandwiches, soup, and beans and cornbread.  While he has said that his meals have tasted fine, it’s been hard having no snack foods or fruit, he’s pretty sure the monotony of the food will get pretty boring soon, and he’s worried about the huge amount of sodium he has to eat every day.  He also mentioned that is has been a little difficult to stomach the white bread, which we haven't had in our house in over two years.

I know there have been moments when he has been hungry, but hasn’t wanted to dip into his limited supply, and there have definitely been times when I felt incredible guilt for eating my nice dinner in front of him (although remembering the countless times he has sat next to me, eating milk and cookies while I enjoyed apple slices, suddenly made me feel better!).

I will keep you posted on his progress, and should you feel so inclined to join him in living below the line, see the following website…


Saturday, March 23, 2013

A Place for Everything and Everything in Its Place!

Not all that long ago, I used to be incredibly organized.  In fact, I was quite known for it.  My house, office, and car were all neat and tidy.  I would even help other people organize their stuff. 

Then something happened.  About eight years ago, Micah entered my world and turned it upside down.  Suddenly, I was shoving things in drawers, hiding things in closets, and kicking stuff under the bed.  I was just happy if the diaper genie was emptied, and everyone made it out of the house without spit-up on them.  Micah got bigger, but I never really got back to my old ways.  Before I knew it, I was a bonafide slob.  Okay, that’s an exaggeration.  If you come to my house (with some notice… NEVER come without notice!) it will all appear somewhat in order.  But I know… it’s a façade.  A shadow of the house I used to keep.

I understand that this is really no big deal to some people.  Some people can toss a candy wrapper in the floor board, throw laundry on top of the dryer to be folded at some point in the future, search the cabinets for dinner plans at the last minute, and not get incredibly anxious about it, but not me.  A messy house can put me in a bad mood before just about anything else. 

I’m not striving for perfection… just a little order.

So I’ve made a plan.  And maybe if I blog about it, it will keep me accountable.

I’m organizing my house.  Spring cleaning on steroids!  And I’m getting the boys on board with me! 

I’m giving myself six months to organize IT ALL – well, provided I don’t get a call in May telling me I’m being transferred!

I bought an organizing magazine as we left for vacation at the beginning of this week, and in a few hours, I was already ready to go home and get started.  So far, I’ve broken most of the rules of the magazine –

1)      Don’t bite off more than you can chew!  There’s so much to do, and I don’t know where to start so I just try to start everywhere.  You know what that makes?  A huge mess!  So I’m slowing down.
2)      Don’t buy any containers or organizers until you empty the space and assess what you have.  Who has time to stop in the middle of a project to go shop for containers?  Besides, they were having a HUGE sale at TJ Maxx.  I did spend more than I wanted to - $77.00.  BUT as part of my organizing mindset, I had taken any clothes that I no longer wear to a consignment shop and just picked up a check for $76.  So there.  It was practically free.
3)      Don’t get distracted!  How can you not get distracted when you discover a box in the garage filled with teeny tiny baby things like onesies that say things like “Future Rock Star” and “Party at My Crib?”

I’ve worked for two days, and have started a lot of projects, but after a deep breath, I refocused and actually finished my first few things.

So here you go….

The kitchen pantry – the result of allowing the kiddo to help put groceries away and get his own snacks out, plus several grocery trips without actually throwing anything way (like there was Halloween candy in there somewhere!) and just clutter, clutter, clutter… yeah, embarrassing!

An hour and one large trash bag later...

Who knew there was (terrible) wallpaper in there?  Oh well, baby steps.

And now.............drum roll.....................

 I was actually able to fit another entire cabinet worth of stuff in there!  Thanks to repurposing some other things I had around the house, this project cost about $30.

And since I had labels left, I organized Micah's homework station.



I'm not sure where I'm focusing next...I'd really like to figure out what to do with all the paper I have everywhere... bills, coupons, mail, etc.   Any tips?

In the meantime, I'm thinking of moving a cot into the pantry.  It's become my new happy place!  Serenity now!


Sunday, January 20, 2013

Feel Better Soon(ish)!

Micah has been trying to get sick for over a week now.  This morning when we got up for church, he was coughing and saying he didn’t feel well and probably needed to stay home.  I happened to mention that I had printed off a coupon for Incredible Pizza, and that if he was too sick for church, he would definitely be too sick for that…and guess what?  Hallelujah, he was healed!  (Okay, that’s a bit of an exaggeration.  What he actually said was, “I think I’m feeling a little better now. *Sniff!”)  

Several hours later, it was apparent that he had not been embellishing his feelings of yuckiness.  By mid-afternoon, he was full-on ill - he felt warm, snotty, and achy (praying it’s not the flu!)  And he was very clingy.

By the time we got home, his temperature was over 101.  So sadly, no Incredible Pizza for us today, coupon or no!

Micah doesn’t get sick very often.  Well, at least that’s been the norm for the last 4 or 5 years.  The first few years were a bit more of a health roller coaster – but two major surgeries, 25 nights in the hospital, plus two sets of tubes in the ears and adenoids removed and voila!  My boy is the picture of health.

It’s rare that he’s sick enough to need to stay home.  And maybe that’s why I feel this way… and this will make me sound like the most terrible mother in the entire world… but when he’s sick… I kind of love it.

Awful, right?

I can’t help it. 

See, normally my little dude is fiercely independent.  He’s been an “I-can-do-it-myself” kiddo as long as I can remember. I mean, sure, he likes to play a board game every now and then, and I always get the “cuddle with me, Mom!” begging at bed time, but for the most part, he has much more important stuff going on in his life than to hang out with me.  (NOTE: Important things include, but are not limited to: Sponge Bob and the Goofy Gooper, various Xbox games, wrestling matches with plastic wrestlers, wrestling matches with his dad, downloading games on his ipod, Diary of a Wimpy Kid).

When Micah is sick though, he only wants me.  When we got home from church, I made him a bubble bath (he’s a shower boy!) and even washed his hair for him (haven’t done that since he was 4!).  Then I wrapped him up in a towel, dried him off, helped him get his pjs on, and got him all settled in bed.  He was sweet and loving and so snuggly – so yeah, I’m gonna get whatever he has!  Luckily we are all off for Martin Luther King Day tomorrow so hopefully, the plague will be on its way by then.

But for a little while longer, I will get to baby my baby.  Love it!

Don't you just want to hug him???

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Such a Precious Gift

8 years ago this month, I met a young woman.  She was 19 years old, hispanic, pretty.  She had dark, kind eyes and a nervous smile.  She was pretty quiet at first, but once she opened up, she was warm and kind of funny.  She was lovely.

A few weeks after meeting me, she made an incredibly selfless decision that I'm sure broke her heart... she gave me her baby.

If you haven't read that entire story, you can start ---> here

I have always treasured the fact that Micah shares so many of the same traits as Jay and me.  He is neurotic, high-strung, and curious (me), and he's rough, loud, and charming (Jay).  I can't help but wonder though, what parts of his silly personality, his quirkiness, his cool-guy charisma, come from his first parents?  We were so lucky to have been able to spend a few dozen hours with them, just enough to get  a sense of who they were, to hear them laugh, to learn their facial expressions. I have never had to argue nurture vs. nature when it comes to my little guy, because when I look at him, I see pieces of all of us... and I love that.

We have a semi-open adoption, which means we are free to keep in contact through the adoption agency.  As was our agreement, a couple of times a year, I send pictures of Micah to her, and I write a letter about what's going on in his life.  I agonize over what to include.  I always want to show the best sides of life, but also want to paint an honest picture of who our boy is - and so I share, just like I share with you.  I don't ever want to seem like I'm rubbing anything in her face, as if to say, "Here's all the things we can give him that you couldn't," so instead, I capture his eyes (that look like her's) and his smile (that hopefully gives her confidence in her decision) and his wackiness (because it's impossible not to love it).

I always invite her to send a letter or pictures if she ever wants to.  I tell her I'll save them for him for "one day."  She did once, several years ago, sending pictures of her older two children, writing a letter sharing the dreams she has to go back to school, to build a life that all three children will be proud of some day.

I wonder a lot about her now.

Did she go back to school and make the life she wanted?

Did she find someone to love her and treat her well?  Did she get married?

Did she have more children?

 I pray for her often, that she will find happiness, that I will live up to the confidence she had in me, that the things that make my life so full don't leave her feeling empty, that she has found peace.

Micah only understands adoption in a seven year old mind, and knows he didn't grow in mom's belly.   He hasn't asked much about the belly he actually did grow in, but he will someday soon, and I pray that I explain it in a way that teaches him to respect and appreciate the woman who gave up everything so that he might have all he needs.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Smells Like Home

As I’m sitting here typing this, my husband is baking chocolate chip cookies (yes, at 11:30 p.m.  That’s how I keep up this body!).  The smell has taken over the whole house.  I was feeling a little stressed about getting the house back in order after the Christmess Eruption, plus catching up on everything from being away, when the comforting smell of fresh baked cookies came wafting through the air and suddenly, I was calm, relaxed… under a spell of some sort.  

            As I have said before, I have an extraordinarily keen sense of smell.  I’ve always heard that smell is the sense that is most connected to your memory, and I know that is true in my experience.  This past week, I was so blessed to be able to go “home” to Kentucky.  We were only there for two and a half days – we left early the day after Christmas so we knew we would need to save a few vacation days at home for Micah to play with his Christmas gifts, and for Jay and me to recuperate a little from a busy season – but I was able to visit a lot of friends and family in that few days.  I don’t know if I was on sensory overload, or just emotional because of the season, but several things brought tears to my eyes… mostly the smells.

            I visited my Grandma Burns.  She brought me into the kitchen to show me that she had a plate of Christmas candy for me…. peanut butter and chocolate fudge, this amazing concoction called Peanuttier, and the crème de le crème, Peanut Butter Balls (or Buckeyes as they’re called in Oklahoma – no clue why).  As soon as she pulled the aluminum foil from the plate and that sweet candy smell swirled around me, I was transported back many years.  Suddenly I was a nine year old, following Grandma around in the kitchen, hoping she might pass me a peanut butter ball before anyone else got one (she always did).  Even as she explained to me in the kitchen how easy it would be to make the candy for myself, I knew that I would never try.  It was her smell. 

            Later, at our family Christmas party, even though it was held at a rented hall, the smells…. I’m not sure if it was the food cooking or the people cooking it… but the smells brought me back to Grannie Annie and Pa’s house (where we used to have Christmas before our family grew so big).  If you closed your eyes, it felt the same.

            And when I hugged my mom goodbye, the smell of her, some mix of her perfume and hairspray, it just absolutely overwhelmed me, and I had a little breakdown right in front of everyone.

            Something about smells.  It’s ineffable.  It brings you back.

            I understand now why my sweet cousin, Casi, hugged me when she saw me and said, “you smell like Jamie.”  Why every year, despite the fact that I have an array of wonderful, pretty expensive perfumes, Jay buys me a cheapo bottle of Navy from Walmart and asks me to wear it just once.  It’s what I wore when we were just kids… young and crazy in love.  That smell brings him back to those days.  Why Micah will hug me tight after I’ve been gone for a while, bury his nose in my neck and say, “I missed your skin, Mom.” 
           What about you?  What smells bring you back home? 

            You think on that.  I have a belly full of warm cookies and am going to go indulge in one of my very favorite smells – my own pillow!


Tuesday, January 1, 2013

525,600 Minutes....Putting 2012 to Bed

Hey there readers!  I hope you've missed me nearly as much as I have missed you.  The Christmas season is extraordinarily busy for me work-wise, so when I was able to grab a few precious minutes here and there, people who live with me expected me to do crazy things like laundry and grocery shopping, so alas, no blogging.

It's a shame too, as if I would have had time to share the excitement of our lives with you, you would have known that my husband bought me some pretty wonderful pre-Christmas gifts to keep my spirit merry and bright.  You would know that Micah named our Thanksgiving turkey Vanna White so we got to say things like, "Vanna should come out of the oven at 1:00," and "Yum, Vanna White is delicious!" You would know how my family had been all but terrorized by Elf on a Shelf.  AND as a follow-up to my previous blog, you'd know how I have made honest attempts at embracing technology (as evidenced by the fact that I'm typing this blog on our handy-dandy new IPAD.  Oh, and pardon the typos.  My fingers have never felt so fat!)

We had a wonderful Christmas, and next year I will plan ahead so I can share some of our family traditions.  Christmas 2012 is gone though, despite the fact that I continue to sing Christmas carols and drive those around me crazy.  So... moving on.

I am doing a little 2012 highlight reel before I embrace 2013 (I know I'm already many hours into 2013 but since I haven't changed out of my PJs, it's not real for me yet!)

January -
* Celebrated NYE with my favorite people, all gussied up at a country club (for the record, I'm aware I'm not a country club gal... everyone else became aware when I walked passed a buffet of smoked salmon and tuna tar tar and exclaimed, "Ooooh, look!  They have egg rolls and chicken fingers!")
* Post NYE pig out, Jay and I gave up sugar, soda, and bread and subsequently lost 20+ pounds each.

February -
* Attempted to give up television for Lent.... failed after 3 weeks. 
* Taught Micah all of the Snow Day rituals (put an orange in the fridge, flush ice cubes down the toilet, wear pjs inside out and backwards, etc).  This was also a miserable failure as all surrounding school districts were out for a snow day, but Micah's school was still in session.
*  Attended a dinner theater with friends.  Quite a memorable date night.
* Pretended to care about the Super Bowl, but really only for the games and snacks.

March -
* Had great fun with my ladies at a scrapbook retreat where I did almost no scrapbooking whatsoever.
* Carbs found us... it was a blessed reunion. 
* Participated in the 30 hour famine (for reasons other than the results of the above reunion!)
* Micah turned seven years old with a carnival birthday party
* We took a family trip to Texas.  We got to be part of a very special wedding, then went to NASA, Sea World, and the hospital where Micah was born.
* I turned 30-something
* On my birthday, I got to see a prayer answered - welcome baby Levi!

April -
* Raved at Youth Councils
* Accepted the fact that I'm too old to rave
* Saw my beloved University of Kentucky Wildcats win their 8th National Championship
* At my little man's leading, I helped Micah pray to ask Jesus into his heart. 

May -
*Dressed like an old lady a lot at Women's Camp
* Danced on stage in terrible clothes to "All the Wrinkled Ladies."  Awful.  and Fun.
* Hosted a murder mystery night.  Good fun.
* Jay got to play golf in honor of a dear, departed friend
* Helped Jay organize the Porn and Pancakes breakfast.  (Yeah, that's what I said)
* Saw Flogging Molly in concert.  Enjoyed the opening band more than the actual band!

June -
* Micah became a jr. soldier (a jr. member of the church).
* We took a family camping trip to Missouri.  Like for a whole week.  With canoeing and cooking on a fire.  (Message me if you'd like to know the address to send my medal!)  It was actually quite fun.
* Started a blog - you're welcome ;)
* Jay turned as old as I am. 

July -
* Went to New York.  Ok, not really.  But pretended to in Vacation Bible School
* Accidentally got a pet - Squeaks Sinatra, the giant rat
* FINALLY applied for a passport.

August -
* Attended NSE in Colorado Springs.  Amazing experience.
* Learned to lay tile for a Habitat for Humanity house
* Family Camp - "Those Were the Days!"
* a new diva was welcomed to the family - baby Jaylynn
* sweated through the hottest summer in history (115 degrees in Tulsa!)

September -
* craft show - flop!
* Rally/ Dessert Reception - success!
* Celebrated Micah's Gotcha Day at Incredible Pizza and Build a Bear Workshop

October -
* Took a little Mexican cruise with my one true love
* Masquerade Restaurant Crawl
* Had a good family day at the pumpkin patch
* church trunk or treat
* celebrated 15 years of marriage, knowing with absolute certainty that I'd do it all again

November -
* Let zombies into my life
* ORU Christmas Concert
* Thanksgiving with my family, my inlaws, and my Wallaces
* Decided to give one thing one more really good try

December -
* Angel tree, Angel tree, Angel tree
* Great fun at the Holiday Parade of Lights with sweet friends and my little elf
* Got surprise tickets to see Bryan Adams.... one of the best nights of my year!
*  Cirque Du Soleil
* Anti-climactic end of the world
* My laptop died.  Just in case you're wondering why I'm not replying to your emails.
* Christmas open house party
* trip to KY, just long enough to hug (almost) everyone I love there.
* NYE.... at home... with my boys... in my pjs.... where I fit in perfectly.

2012 wasn't too bad at all.  2013 seems full of possibilities.  I have a few goals for my year - try to get and stay more organized, adopt a slightly more organic style of living,  read one book that I would describe as "amazing," spend a little more "unplugged" time as a family, dig deeper into God's Word, and make a difference to someone. 

Big plans.  Maybe I should get out of my pajamas?

Nah, I have one more day of vacation!

Happy New Year, y'all!