Sunday, April 29, 2007

Feel the Burn

I have a confession to make. I have spent so many hours on my laptop that I have "thermal damage" on the skin of my right thigh. I'm a little uncomfortable writing "thigh" on the Internet, but what do you do. So yeah, I have some lovely brownish splotches on my leg. Since I'm too lazy to make an appointment with a dermatologist, I had to ask my ob/gyn - the famous Dr. Clark - about it when I went in for my annual. (Have I mentioned that 7 of my friends go to him? That's why he's famous.) He said it's pretty common and he has it himself. So he advised me to get a laptop tray. And now I have one. I can still feel warmth but it's not the same searing heat that I feel without it. Sometimes I wonder if this computer is going to combust on my lap. Y'all will know what happened if you ever hear that B.M.'s D. died in a fire.

In other Jones family news, I cooked tonight. Yes, I deal with the sin of self-congratulation every time I cook. It was spaghetti and meatballs. Instead of pigging out and eating all of it like we normally do, we actually decided to ration it for the rest of the week. We're self-controlled like that.

Also, when is my son going to stop the yelling? I might have to start taking something. IT IS DRIVING ME UP THE WALL. Please pray for me.

And, another first for my little man...he busted someone's lip for the first time. It was mine. My lip is real puffy and red and, don't tell anyone, I think I like it. Forget collagen and lipstick! All you need is to hold a tantrum-throwing toddler in your lap!

Trading Traits

One unavoidable thing about close family relationships is that you take after one another in various ways. My hubby really doesn't like eggs. Now, he would never turn down eggs at the expense of someone's dignity. We all have those things that we will not eat no matter who we offend, but this isn't one. In fact, God has actually given me favor in this area by causing my husband to like my scrambled eggs. So I made breakfast tacos last night. The last time I tried feeding scrambled eggs to my son was three months ago. He hated them. But I thought he would have forgotten this unfortunate preference by now. So I sprinkled a good amount of cheese on the eggs and put them on Jackson's tray. Ha ha, silly woman! I will not eat these eggs! I even tried pouring some syrup on them (don't judge - it's tasty). No luck. He's taking after his father.

Today I watched the NFL Draft with Curtis. Don't even ask me why. I was horrified by the barbaric placement of the camera in front of Brady Quinn and his girlfriend during their anguish. I had a million questions about the whole process and ended up a little captivated by the whole thing. So I think I might actually try to watch it again with him next year. And do you know what else? I recently listened to his sports radio show in our car for ten minutes before I realized it wasn't my normal station. So I might be absorbing some of my hubby's interest in all things ESPN.

Tonight we went to Chili's with our friends Daniel and Amy. They are moving far, far away in a month and we needed some face time with them. I ordered a grilled chicken sandwich with fries and a side of ranch. There is nothing better than Chili's fries and ranch. However, my husband has a severe distaste for ranch and even smelling it or looking at it too long makes him gag and act like a junior high girl. It's almost like a small panic attack. Jackson was holding a french fry in his hand and what did he do but DIP IT IN THE RANCH. One after another after another... That's my boy! And guess what, Curtis? Your son likes pickles too!

Friday, April 27, 2007

Shake it Like a Polaroid Picture

One day Jackson will be old enough to finally ask that dreaded question - "Mom? Dad? Can we camp out in front of Walmart tomorrow night and be the first to buy that brand new $400 video game system?" As I begin to form an answer to this pivotal question, I will draw from the years of my childhood when I did my fair share of playing Nintendo and Sega Genesis. With my dad, mind you. You are talking to a Tetris, Dr. Mario, Contra, and Super Mario 3 hero. Curt's grandparents keep an old Nintendo in their guest room and I never fail to challenge the cousins to a few games. One thing that helps a lot when it comes to video games like Mario Bros. is knowing where the warp zones are. Well, folks, I found a warp zone today. In real life.

I took my oh so adorable son to get his second haircut. I've been meaning to do it for several months, but every time I get ready to, he has a fabulous hair day and I change my mind. Finally today I pumped myself up for it. You know, the first time was really hard for me. I was sad for a couple of days. This time, thank You Lord, he's older and the big boy haircut fits. He looks adorable. But that's not my point.

So the salon is run by a woman who is Ms. Lippy in the flesh. (Billy Madison, anyone? Paste? On the face?) Things are a When another employee takes Jackson I'm relieved because that means the conversation will not be bizarre. Right? RIGHT? This stylist is very nice. She takes a picture of me and Jacks at the end and spends at least three long minutes shake it, shake, shake it, shaking it like the Polaroid picture that it is. Then I say something about church which leads her to say, "Oh, you're a Christian? Well that makes sense because there was a lot of activity in the picture. That's why I kept it from you so long. I didn't want to freak you out."

Hmmmmmm. WHAT?

"There were faces all around you in the picture while it was developing. I've never seen that much activity before."

You've got to be kidding me. What do you even say to that? All I can muster is, "Are you a Christian?" You know I had to ask that because I wanted to give her the opportunity to tell me if she was a witch or something. Turns out she's a believer. The "faces" finally disappear and she hands the photo to me. All I see is a perfectly normal picture of me and my son. I am now quite ready to warp out of this twilight zone. I pluck my child out of the chair and march over to the counter to pay, playing it off like the other customers did not overhear everything. Three fifths of me was thinking this crazy woman misinterpreted the cloudiness that initially covers all Polaroids, one fifth of me was struck utterly senseless by the astonishingly bizarre conversation I just had with a complete stranger in a hair salon, and the remaining fifth of me really wanted to know if they were good faces or bad faces!

Mr. Personality

Lookin' fly with the flipped up collar, baby boy.


Beckham likes to chew rocks and he's trying to steal one from Jackson.

Playing with Pappaw.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Fourteen Months

Dear Jackson,
You are fourteen months old now. You have definitely become a toddler since your first birthday. I couldn't, or wouldn't, see it then, but now it's undeniable. You completely stopped crawling three weeks ago and decided to walk. You have not looked back. This has made life very interesting for all of us. You, of course, love your mobility and having both hands free to pester Bill and Beckham, play with the TV remote, walk with your maracas, try to climb on the couch, or attempt to overcome the baby gate that your mother has failed to permanently attach to the doorframe. It has made life more interesting for your daddy and me in that you do not want to be held very much anymore. You practically dive out of my arms to get down on the floor.

Going out of eat has gotten hard again because the growing volume of your voice proclaims your emotions - happy and sad - to everyone around us. You get very excited about eating grapes, grilled cheese sandwiches, and french fries. You're obsessed with your bottle and if you see an empty one sitting out you get very emotional about it.

For the last week you've been putting your pointer finger to use. It's practically on point at all times. Last weekend your pointer finger discovered your nostril. That was an exciting event. This morning you offered me a piece of your cantaloupe and when I ate it right from your little hand you got really tickled. Later you thought it would be fun to feed me a piece of food you were already chewing. I appreciate your giving spirit, but I'll just let you keep that, Son.

This afternoon we were running errands in the car and I put your little sunglasses on you. For the first time in your life you left them on your face more than 2 minutes. In fact, you still had them on when we got home. You were so cute I could hardly drive for wanting to look back at you.

Your mommy and daddy are head over heels in love with you. You bring tons of laughter to our lives every day. For example, we were waiting in line at Fuddrucker's and you were in Daddy's arms. You were whining because you wanted to get down, but a pretty lady walked up behind us and suddenly you made a face that clearly portrayed your intent to captivate her with your good looks and charm. But, honestly, there's no need because you have both your parents completely captivated. We love you so much.

Ring Check

Curt and I got married so young that on our honeymoon I was kind of paranoid about people thinking we were teenagers. So my friend Michelle's explanation of the "ring check" was very enlightening. If you're single, if you just want to be in the know, or if you want to laugh, go visit Travels of a Lost Texan today. This is a very fun friend of mine from college who leads an exciting life in D.C.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

A Soldier and a Servant

All of your comments have been so precious. Thank you so much for the encouragement. Here is a link to my grandfather's obituary. It has a guest book in case anyone wants to leave a message for his sweet wife Madelyn. The text is below.

Major Albert “Al” Green, a soldier and a servant, was taken home to be with His Savior on April 21, 2007, in Sugar Land, TX. He died peacefully with loved ones by his side. Born on September 13, 1920, in Arkadelphia, AR, he enlisted in the Army at age 21 and served four tours before retiring. A decorated officer, he fought in World War II and Korea and helped liberate a German concentration camp. He loved traveling, gardening, and teaching Sunday School, but his passion was feeding the homeless. He is preceded in death by his late wife, Aletha Green, with whom he shared 58 years. He is survived by their children – Sandra Finley, Wayne Green, Gay Tuttle, Elizabeth Moore, and Tony Green; his brother Roy Green, and numerous grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and one great-great-grandchild. He is survived by Madelyn Green, his wife of eight wonderful years, and her five children who he deeply loved.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

H-town, Baby

Thank you so much for your sweet words and prayers. We got to spend the evening with my Uncle Wayne, Aunt Lisa, and cousin Ben. They live in Las Vegas and it has been years since I had seen Lisa and Ben. We had so much fun eating campechana at Goode Company Seafood and visiting on my parents' back porch. Tomorrow we will get to see the rest of the family and I simply cannot wait! I'm meeting my cousin Carleigh for the first time and she is 3 years old!

So happy to be at Biggies' house.

Pappaw, can I borrow your cane?

Jackson loves to play in the pebbles at the park.

My little walker.

Holy cow, Batman! It's a picture where they both look decent!

My loves.

Don't hate me because I'm wearing my veil in this picture. It looks good with a black tank top, doesn't it? I tried on my wedding dress, too. Give praise to God that it still fit. However, no tan + no updo + no professional makeup application = no pictures. Get a load of my mom's jasmine. They smell as good as they look.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Little Things

I have a splitting headache - evidence of what this day has held. After Jackson's morning nap we drove out to Daddaw and Madelyn's house to be with my mom and whoever else had made their way over. When I pulled into the driveway I was served my first dollop of loss. Daddaw was always the first one out the door and you wouldn't have your seat belt off before he was standing there waving, ready to give you a kiss. There was no one today.

Inside, the house was still warm from his presence. The Scrabble board game and dictionary were off to the side of the kitchen table. One of his index cards with a Scripture written on it was laying next to a lamp. There was a note in his handwriting taped to the computer screen that said, "We are God's ambassadors." I love my grandpa's distinctive handwriting. It had gotten a little shaky lately but it still had that look.

There was a rose in a vase on the counter top. Madelyn told me he would cut a fresh flower for her every day from the garden and that he would act real sneaky while he was doing it. I guess he had cut that very one two days ago. I wondered if I should dry it for her.

I didn't look, but I felt sure that there was a jug of orange juice or a half-eaten sandwich still in the fridge that he had once enjoyed. Speaking of sandwiches, Daddaw was the ultimate sandwich maker. His Reuben's are famous.

The bar of soap next to the bathroom sink was smooth and worn down. I teared up washing my hands knowing that he had washed his own hands with that bar of soap. Silly, I know. But it seems profound to me right now. In a few days, after the whole fam damily (as it is affectionately called by my aunts and uncles) has descended on this house, these traces of my grandpa will be gone. Fresh fingerprints will be smudged, erased. Things he put here will be moved over there.

Mom and I had to load the car with his clothes, a box of medals from his army days, and a picture of him and Maddy to take to the funeral home tomorrow. When we got back to my mom's house, I began unloading the car. It was then that I saw his black shoes in the floor board. His shoes. The grief hit me between the eyes and said, Here, let's have a good cry. And a good cry it was. Only it left me with this splitting headache.

My Grandfather's Homegoing

With a tender heart I sit here thinking of a way to write this next sentence. The Lord welcomed home one of His good and faithful servants today - my grandfather and my mom's father, Al Green. He suffered a massive stroke yesterday and died peacefully this morning with his precious bride and my aunt Gay by his side. Family members from all over the country are making their way home to say goodbye. Please pray for us as we spend the next few days together to cry, to say goodbye, and also to celebrate a life very well lived. Please especially remember his wonderful wife Madelyn in your prayers. They have spent the last eight years together fiercely in love and having great adventures.

Curtis asked me about some of my favorite memories of my grandpa and I'd like to share my answers with you. I'll just go ahead and tell you right now that I call him Daddaw. I know it's weird, but it was my first word. Okay, now I can get started. When I was a little girl, Nanny and Daddaw had a big backyard with a huge vegetable and flower garden. Somehow Daddaw managed to build a relationship with a swamp rabbit who regularly visited their garden to nibble on Nanny's plants. He would go on the back porch and whistle and call out, "Thumper!" Sure enough that big ole bunny would come bouncing into the back yard. He would even let Daddaw hold him and feed him carrots. As an animal lover, watching that happen was one of the thrills of my childhood.

My very favorite memory was from the time Daddaw let me tag along with him to a soup kitchen. My dad had killed an elk that year and our freezer was full of more meat than we could ever eat. We loaded the meat into the car and took it to a place where Daddaw regularly served called Loaves and Fishes. It was such a neat experience to feed the homeless with my grandfather. I loved seeing him serve so selflessly and diligently. I will never forget how the other men treated him with so much affection and respect. I knew he was a big part of their ministry. I got the same feeling yesterday when I sat in his hospital room and visitors were streaming in and out to love on him and Madelyn. They are both so well loved.

The thing I will take most from my grandfather's legacy is that you never retire from serving the Lord. He served with all his might until the end of his life. He was always willing to take any opportunity the Lord presented. That is something I would like to keep in my heart and remember. One day, God-willing, when Curt and I are old and gray and the only expectation the world has of us is to retire and do whatever we please, I want to remember my grandfather's example. I want to be completely poured out on my last day.

Thank You, Lord, for giving me the chance to know my Daddaw. Thank You for the souls he fought for and the blood he shed in World War II and Korea, for the family he raised, for the church members he loved, and for the underprivileged he served. And thank you for all the memories.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

What is wrong with this picture?

Congratulations, Cho. You've managed to point a gun in the face of every single American. Job well done to all the news outlets who helped him accomplish such a feat. Really, good for you!

Am I the only one thinking that Virginia Tech should call it a day on this semester? The administration owes it to the staff and students. Can you even imagine having to return to the classroom a week after a massacre on your own campus? When Bonfire fell in November of 1999, campus was quiet and sullen for the rest of the semester. We were all traumatized. And again, that was an accident that killed 12 of our classmates rather than an act of hated and violence that took 33 lives. How can these students and professors be expected to perform? Let them go home. Pass them all and graduate the seniors. Have mercy. They all deserve it.

Dennis Rainey's daughter, Laura, has issued a call to prayer for the Virginia Tech community tonight. If you haven't heard about it yet, click here.

(A little side note: Dennis Rainey has a GREAT radio program called Family Life Today. If you listen to it you will be blessed!)

Wednesday, April 18, 2007


I've gone three days without posting, which has left me with three separate topics to discuss.

1) The massacre at Virginia Tech has been on my mind non-stop. I have a hard time not watching CNN all day long. On Monday I was shocked and numb, but yesterday the tears came when I saw the faces and heard the stories of the victims. I can't get over that Israeli professor, a Holocaust survivor and a genius, who sacrificed his life so that his students would have time to escape through the window. What an amazing man.

I keep imagining the whole thing playing out at A&M. I had all my Spanish classes in the Academic Building and that's where I see it in my mind. I insert all the memories and grief I have from the horrible day Bonfire collapsed. Except that was an accident and this was a mass murder. Oh, Lord, this world is so painful.

2) Completely switching gears. I am about to talk about my appointment with my OB/GYN, so any males or easily embarrassed females should stop reading now. Thanks. On Monday I had my annual appointment that is every woman's privilege. That is just the highlight of my year, let me tell you. I got to have a blood test that my doctor said would check my cholesterol and who knows what else. So he's about to find out how many french fries I've eaten in my lifetime. On top of that, I'm pretty sure I had high blood pressure that morning because I was so dreading my exam, so nervous about whether my son was going to be charming or demanding, and so hoping that my weigh-in would make my doctor proud. The most noteworthy moment of the appointment was when my doctor began the discussion about family planning and, completely unprovoked, proceeded to give me a handful of samples. It's not important that I identify what these samples were. Our moms and grandmas read this blog, you know. But you can imagine how many close calls I had with all these samples behaving like Mexican jumping beans and trying to escape my purse-slash-diaper-bag any time I opened it in public. It was a humbling day.

3) Today BooMama is hosting a love offering on her blog for a young woman named Heather. Heather is a designer at Swank Web Style (they designed my mom's and BooMama's blogs). She has a husband and three children. One of her children, Emma, has autism and mitochondrial myopathy. Heather just got the devastating news that she herself has an inoperable brain tumor. The fundraiser is to love on Heather's family and help ease the burden of the unimaginable costs they are about to incur as they seek treatment in another city. If you feel led to pray or give or both, please stop by their blogs today.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Crash Course on Baby Bangs

This post is for my friends who are relatively new to the blog. If you missed my meaningful, thought-provoking explanation of "Baby Bangs" back in February, here's a link for you.

And if you're like me and have nothing to do this weekend except go to church, here are some of my favorite posts. I'm not sure why, but when you click on the links you'll have to scroll down past this post to see them.

The one about Hooter Hiders

The one about fish heads

The one about the Virgen de Guadalupe

One of many about Bill

The one about my church family

The one with pictures of the nursery

Friday, April 13, 2007

More Than You Cared to Know About Our Stormy Night

I've always imagined it - in my vain imaginations - and tonight it actually came to pass. We had been warned all day about the bad weather that would hit the metroplex tonight. I hate it when I hear things that like in the morning because then I have to fight a sense of dread all day. So at about 6:00 the newscasters began telling us about a tornado warning near downtown Fort Worth. We listened as a woman spoke to an anchor while she was taking cover in a ditch (not my idea of taking cover). (Read about it here.) You could hear the tornado sirens through her phone. She was shouting about the debris flying all around and then she actually saw the beastly cloud coming her way. Is that not terrifying? I reached out my hand toward the TV and said, "God, have mercy!" I believe it dissipated and she's probably sitting down for dinner right now. If she can even eat. I'm not sure I can.

They warned us that the storm would hit our city within twenty minutes. I've always wondered what Curtis would do in this situation because he's always the one telling me to chill out. My fear has been that he wouldn't ever give us the go ahead to take shelter in the church basement, which doubles as our super nice fellowship hall. When I asked when he thought we should head over to the church basement, he said soon. At that point I knew it was really serious and not just me freaking out.

I got Beckham's leash because I couldn't stand the thought of him being here all alone. He gets so scared during storms. And if our house was to be destroyed, at least we wouldn't have the grief of losing our dog. Y'all know I love Bill, but he just wasn't making the cut at that moment. He would probably hide out under a bed and be fine. I packed the diaper bag with food, a flashlight, Jackson's pajamas, toys, a blanket, and diapers. We jumped in the Suburban, sans carseat, and took the twenty second drive to church. There was going to be a concert to raise awareness for the Invisible Children in the gym, so some of our college guys were up there getting ready. Right after we arrived, the tornado sirens began going off. I thank the Lord that we were already there because that was very eerie. We didn't have those in Houston, so that was my first experience with sirens.

Curtis headed downstairs with Jackson and Beckham while I stood at the window and called Sunni. I was hoping she and Ava would make it in time, but the storm came upon us so quickly that it wasn't safe for her to leave her home. There were very few cars driving around, but the ones that were were driving really fast. A few people were standing in their yards watching the sky and talking on cell phones. Then there was a loud crack of lightning and I boogied my beehind into the basement.

We actually had a fun time down there. Jackson walked all over the place while Beckham ran around and made friends with everyone who was hiding out. They had a blast. I fed Jackson his dinner while we watched The Office on someone's laptop. Once we were there, I was in complete peace. The Lord is sweet to me. He knows I've just needed a basement my whole life.

The storm just barely missed us. I think the north part of town got pretty bad hail. Haltom City got some bad damage and actually had a tornado touch down. Tomorrow will tell what all actually happened. We are getting more storms tonight but they aren't supposed to be as bad.

So that was my very long-winded report of our first tornado evacuation to the church. Now that we've experienced it one time I think it will give me confidence in future storms. Well, it turns out I am hungry and will be able to eat after all. I'm going forth to make my Lean Cuisine.

*Update* I just tried the Chicken Primavera and I highly recommend it. And here's a link to all the freaky storm pictures.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

The Birds and the Bills

Mr. and Mrs. Mockingbird are officially empty-nesters. The day before yesterday I saw three fat little birds perched in different branches on the tree. They were just looking around, enjoying the view from outside the nest. One of the parents was supervising from a power line. That was the last I saw of the baby birds. I suppose they learned to fly that very day and are now finding their own worms.

Although I'm thrilled that Bill can go outside again because now I don't have to hear his claws scraping on the back door, I'm completely amazed by how quickly the baby birds grew up. I read that they leave the nest after 10 to 12 days. The dad continues to feed them and teach them to fly while the mom gets busy making a new nest. So this has got me thinking about how quickly the years with our children at home are going to fly by. I hope we make the most of it. Enjoy it to the fullest. I want to make the most of every stage and not wish it away for the next.

Forty-eight hours after the baby birds' exit from the nest I felt confident that it was safe for Bill to be set loose. I finally opened the door tonight and called him. He was very eager to get out there and I wondered what sounds he had been hearing and hoping to investigate. So that's the end of the mockingbird drama. I'm very happy it was only a drama and not a trauma. My dilemma now is whether I should remove the nest so that we don't run the risk of some other bird family moving in and taking Bill's freedom.

In other news, I took on a project this semester that has a mid-May deadline. So I am in the midst of working very hard on my regular job as well as this project. It is coming along but it is the kind of thing that requires concentration and long blocks of stillness. So, my dear friends, if I am out of the loop for the next month that is why. I will be back to pestering you with my emails and requests for lunch dates as soon as this is over. But any lunch dates between now and June must be to diet-friendly places because this project is financing our anniversary trip to Mexico! I have two words for you: bathing suit. And three more words: second-honeymoon-hottie.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Please Don't Laugh At Me

My friend Courtney just did a really fun post on her Schiskablog called Please Don't Laugh At Me. Courtney confesses that, please don't laugh, she is a closet NASCAR enthusiast and has taken to spending her Saturday nights watching old episodes of Star Trek. She has kept this hidden from her friends for fear of being ridiculed. And rightfully so.

It is time, folks, to open up and share the real us. Courtney accused anyone who didn't share their own P.D.L.A.M. secrets of being sissies. Although I feel I have done my share of publicly exposing my embarrassing activities, traits and tendencies, I will not be called a sissy. So here's mine.

Please don't laugh at me, but after Jackson was born I went through a phase of watching Days of Our Lives. Maternity leave and post-partum hormones drove me to it. My favorite characters from when I watched in high school were suddenly back on the show and I couldn't help myself. When I passed the point of not being able to blame the conviction on feelings of exhaustion or baby blues, I stopped watching. But I tuned in on the day my favorite characters, Austin and Carrie, finally told Sami off for the last time, got married, and rode off into the sunset together on a motorcycle. And it was glorious.

Alright, share if you dare. I promise I won't laugh.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Bill's Will

Bill's will has not yet been broken. He escaped last night when a salesman from Verizon came to the door. I had not gone anywhere all day and was in a rather small tank top and holey jeans. I was holding my whining child to cover up my poor excuse for a shirt and trying to explain that this wasn't a good time. My husband was in the back room doing our taxes and couldn't be interrupted from his attempt to get as much money back as humanly possible. Bring it home, honey! And, sir, I'm not exactly dressed in such a way that I am going to stand on the porch in 50 degree weather and discuss fiber optic cables. Okay? At that moment Bill took advantage of my vulnerability and the wide open door and bolted outside. Look what you've done, Mr. Verizon! I was just trying to save the mockingbirds! He stammered and said he felt bad and wanted to catch my cat for me. Then he said, "He's declawed, right?" Um, no. But thanks so much. I did manage to get him back inside before he roughed up the birds.

Today Bill was pretty calm. He only bothered me at the door for a few minutes. I thought he was giving over to a sedentary lifestyle. But when I came home from Kroger's with ten grocery bags cutting off the blood supply to my hands, he took advantage of me again and bolted. I could hear the squirrels in our neighbor's yard discussing his presence. I wrangled him back in the house an hour later before it occurred to him to make a visit to the Christmas tree.

Bill's will is going strong. Hopefully he will not get a chance to meet up with Mama Bird's will. He might end up like one of those cats on America's Funniest Videos who gets dive-bombed by a bird and ends up winning its family ten thousand dollars. On second thought, where is that cat?

Monday, April 09, 2007

To Save a Mockingbird

The circle of life. Instincts. The call of the wild. Nature's way. The food chain. Whatever. I'm battling the force that pits cats against birds.

We have a little evergreen tree on the side of our house. Curt has been begging me to let him chop it down, but I, the resident tree hugger, cannot let him do it. The sweet lady who sold us the house is from Sweden and she told me that it was her first Christmas tree. How sad would it be if she drove by to see it and it was gone?

The tree has had several dead branches for the past few months (more like 7 months) and Curt decided to eliminate those branches last week. Yesterday I was getting out of my car when my eyes began playing tricks on me. I looked at the tree and saw little baby birds opening their beaks as wide as they could go. Surely not! But yes! We had a nest, a momma bird, a daddy bird, and three baby birds in the Christmas tree. They were now a little more exposed than before since the tree has a few less branches. I got as close as I dared, with mom and dad Mockingbird squawking wildly, and watched the precious babies as their heads bobbed up and down in their plea for regurgitated worms. Mockingbirds don't mess around, so I cut my visit short. New moms appreciate that anyway.

I was so excited...until I remembered how many cats we have on our street. My heart sank. The nest was well hidden until we decided to hack away at the branches only hours before the baby birds came out of their shells. I looked at my bedroom window and I could tell Bill had been messing with the blinds in order to get a view of the tree. He was already onto them. I'm not new to cats, Bill. Sorry to break it to you, but there were others before you. I know how your kind works. You like to present things, things that once were alive but have now passed, as gifts to your masters.

What does all this mean for Bill? Well, he absolutely cannot go outside until the birds have left their nest. How will I know? Believe me, I will know! They are making a precious racket. What does this mean for me? I get to deal with an agitated cat who passes the hours scratching at the door and crying. This will go on until I've broken his spirit and he accepts his fate of lounging all day long on the dining room chairs. Bless his heart. Don't feel too sorry for him, though. I found him licking his chops by the window today.

Easter Pictures

Saturday Easter Egg Hunt at church

Apparently the preschool craft room is the new place to see and be seen.

Dad is making a craft "with" Jackson.

Heath, Janelle, and Ella

Xavier, Sunni, and Ava

Me and the boy

Enjoying the moment

Laughing with dad

The dads got really into it.

He very quickly learned how to open the eggs and find the candy. Which I promptly confiscated. Which made him just a little mad.

Finding some eggs in a swing. One that he probably spent a lot of time in in the last year.

Easter Sunday

The cutest boy in the pew.

Trying to get a cute pic of Ella and Jackson. We didn't really have any luck.

Caleb Durham's car collection was way cooler than anything the Easter Bunny could give me.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Save the What?

Sunni's on a mission to "Save the Boobies." Check it out.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Easter Snow

It's been snowing today. Curtis, Jackson and I literally walked over to the church's Easter egg hunt in the snow. I'm so glad I never bought an Easter dress. It has hardly been cool since February and now on Easter weekend we have this! The Dallas Morning News reported that there hasn't been a spring snow in this area since April 8, 1938.

In honor of the Risen Savior and this rare April snow:

"As I looked, 'thrones were set in place, and the Ancient of Days took his seat. His clothing was as white as snow; the hair of his head was white like wool. His throne was flaming with fire, and its wheels were all ablaze. A river of fire was flowing, coming out from before him. Thousands upon thousands attended him; ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him. The court was seated, and the books were opened.'" Daniel 7:9-10

"Surely you desire truth in the inner parts; you teach me wisdom in the inmost place. Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice." Psalm 51:6-8

"Come now, let us reason together," says the LORD. "Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool." Isa. 1:18

"There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men." Matthew 28:2-4

"And among the lampstands was someone 'like a son of man,' dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest. His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire. His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters. In his right hand he held seven stars, and out of his mouth came a sharp double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance. When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: 'Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.'" Rev 1:13-18

Friday, April 06, 2007

On Dying

Our church had a service today at noon - a solemn assembly to grieve the death of Jesus on the cross. Childcare wasn't offered for it and I definitely don't have a baby you can take into a church service. So I took Jackson to Gymboree like I normally do on Fridays. It seemed ridiculous to be going there while everyone else was at church observing Good Friday. But God is so faithful. He had prepared a solemn time for us together while I drove out there and back - about an hour total.

During my first two years of college I would drive home for the weekends in my '87 Mustang with an old Sons and Daughters tape playing. He and I spent lots of time talking about the condition of my heart and mind. I was coming to after several years spent under the influence of the flesh instead of the Spirit. Those kinds of things usually aren't changed or healed overnight. We did some serious business during those car rides. I'm no stranger to His works on wheels.

So today I popped in the Hymns CD from the people at Passion. Jesus and I talked again about the condition of my heart and mind. It wasn't real pretty. I had a very strong sense of His worthiness and a very deep sense of regret for a spiritually wasted year. I wanted to put on sackcloth and rub my head in ashes. My love for Jesus has not abounded more and more in knowledge and depth of insight (Phil. 1:9). Instead there have been excuses, self-inflicted boredom, self-pity, and compromise. I can probably squeeze a big ugly complacency in there, too.

Becoming a mother requires a woman to die. The one who did what she wanted, when she wanted, wore what she wanted, and hung out where she wanted and with whom she wanted, has to go. It's not about what she wants anymore. It can be a slow, horrible death if it's fought and resented, or she can give up the ghost quickly and accept her new life with a smile. I was probably somewhere in the middle. (I'm making this sound bad. It's not bad, but it is hard. And very much worth it.) As I surrendered more and more of myself for my son, I think I took back pieces of myself from Jesus. Why did I do that? I'm not sure yet. I suppose it has to do with wanting control. And rights. And not wanting to "lose myself."

Here's what God used to shine a light on my heart this morning. It came out of Reliving the Passion, by Walter Wangerin Jr.

Take my life. And consecrate it to thee. Take all that I have and all that I am; replace the self in me with thine own holy self - that when the wicked world would kill me it finds me already drowned in thee, untouchable. Death in the world is death indeed. But death in Thee is life forever! Amen! (p. 73)

I am ready to die, Lord. I repent of not dying to myself each day. I repent of letting my spiritual pace slow to a crawl. I'm ready to run again.

In Christ Alone

In Christ alone my hope is found;
He is my light, my strength, my song;
This cornerstone, this solid ground,
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace,
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease!
My comforter, my all in all—
Here in the love of Christ I stand.

In Christ alone, Who took on flesh,
Fullness of God in helpless babe!
This gift of love and righteousness,
Scorned by the ones He came to save.
Till on that cross as Jesus died,
The wrath of God was satisfied;
For ev'ry sin on Him was laid—
Here in the death of Christ I live.

There in the ground His body lay,
Light of the world by darkness slain;
Then bursting forth in glorious day,
Up from the grave He rose again!
And as He stands in victory,
Sin's curse has lost its grip on me;
For I am His and He is mine—
Bought with the precious blood of Christ.

No guilt in life, no fear in death—
This is the pow'r of Christ in me;
From life's first cry to final breath,
Jesus commands my destiny.
No pow'r of hell, no scheme of man,
Can ever pluck me from His hand;
Till He returns or calls me home—
Here in the pow'r of Christ I'll stand.

Words and Music by Keith Getty & Stuart Townend
Copyright © 2001 Kingsway Thankyou Music

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Congratulations are in order

I'd like to offer a BIG, HUGE congratulations to my dear friend Allie, who on Monday night gave birth to her beautiful twins.

Lauren Kate
10:17 pm
6 lbs. 12 oz.


Bradley Blake
10:16 pm
6 lbs.

Folks, that is 12 pounds, 12 ounces of babies! Allie, you are every woman! I know you appreciate that high compliment because you are Whitney Houston's number one fan. No longer are you called, "One who is afraid of needles." Your new name is "Fearless Mama."

I'd also like to congratulate my husband on winning the men's biggest loser contest at work. He lost 9.5 pounds by working out and eliminating McDonald's and Taco Bell from his diet. Way to go, Hubs! You're hotter than ever!

While I'm at it, I will offer my (probably not heartfelt) congratulations to Joanne, the winner of the Dyson vacuum. I'm clinging to the hope that God saw a Dyson in my future and knew I didn't need to win one.

Congratulations to my little boy for being a big walking stud this week. He's up to 10 steps. And congrats to him for making me love another person so much that sometimes I feel I might melt away.

Job well done to Bill for finally making me take him to get his rabies shot. He came to the back door today with a bloody foot. You've never seen a woman pack up a cat and head to the vest that fast in your life. I just knew he'd been mauled by a rabid squirrel and he was going to bite all of us before I could get him vaccinated. I know, shame on me for letting him outside without updated shots. The vet said he cut it on a chain link fence, so that makes me feel better.

Way to go Beckham for figuring out how to lift the gate latch today and escape the backyard.

And finally, I'm giving myself a little pat on the back for finally getting my planner! If I have plans with anyone in the next two months, please remind me so I can write it down.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Dallas Blooms

Yesterday was Mommy and Me Monday at the Arboretum. It was our first time. Um, I kind of thought this was a little underground secret that only a handful of moms knew about. Yeah. Right. Jackson and I ended up waiting about 2 hours in a long line to have his picture taken with the bunny. Yes, I asked myself more than once if it was going to be worth it. As hard as it was with our babies while waiting in line, the ones who worked the hardest were the moms with two-year-olds. Bless their hearts. By the time we got up to the picture staging area, I was very nervous. What if we waited all this time and he doesn't cooperate? It's not like a private photo shoot where they will spend more than 2 minutes coaxing a smile out. But I completely underestimated my son's love of smiling at perfect strangers, especially ones holding cameras. Judging by how unspeakably precious he looked while having his picture made, I think the long wait will have been worth it. I'll know in about a week.

After the picture, we spread out our blankets and had a picnic with the rest of the playgroup. The grass was completely free of stickers or ant beds, so I had a blast chasing Jackson around in my bare feet. We were completely filthy by the time we left and I had grass stains on my knees. I suppose that is the sign of a very fun day when you're a boy mommy. There were gorgeous tulips and lilies everywhere. Jackson really did not want to have his picture taken in the flowers. He told me his outfit was precious enough; he did not need it to be enhanced by girlie flowers. He preferred trees. Manly trees.

So here you go. My little man in the trees.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Spring in all her glory

(Sorry, this turned out to be terribly long!)

We were very busy this weekend having a lot of fun and making interesting memories. Friday night a lovely angel of mercy, Miss Rachael, babysat The Turkminijan (Jackson) while Curt and I went to see a movie. When we arrived there was a sign on the theater door that said "Tornado Watch in Effect." I already knew. In fact, hours before we left Curt asked if I was going to freak out about the weather and make us go home in the middle of the date. I scoffed at him and told him what I thought about that little remark. But seeing how important the tornado watch was to the theater management forced me to deal with a sudden onset of rapid heartbeat and shortness of breath. Whoever made up "March goes in like a lion and out like a lamb" was a stinking liar! I will say that I had just read this post by AKat at A Cosmic Dance and was already on edge. Curt's words echoed through my mind and I chose to walk through the door and focus on popcorn. I had already given Rachael instructions regarding where she and Jackson should hide if the tornado sirens sounded. I thought about having Curt leave her a key to the church basement, but I worried she might think I was A LITTLE OVER THE TOP. So there's just a teeny-weeny chance I just might suffer a tiny bit from lilapsophobia - the abnormal and persistent fear of tornadoes and hurricanes.

Saturday morning I went shopping in Southlake with my good friend Jennifer. We were on the hunt for Easter dresses. No success for me, but that's okay. It was the most perfect day - cool, blue, and sunny. Southlake Town Square is a really neat outdoor shopping center that you must visit as soon as possible. Please stop by Snuffer's, if you can pass up the Cheesecake Factory, and have some cheese fries.

That night we had a seder meal at church. Mom introduced it to our family years ago, but this was the first time I had ever been a part of one led by a messianic rabbi. It was really cool. At the end of the meal some ladies led us in a song while we held hands in circles around our tables. It was only natural that some of my college girls and I felt led to do a dance. Vonda Jo got us looking good with her instructions to "Grapevine left! Grapevine right!" Do not even think of blaming it on the four cups of wine because you know we were rockin' the grape juice FBC style.

This morning I left my boys - one sleepy, one sick - at home and went to the Palm Sunday celebration. Probably the highlight for me was at the end when Pastor John called me up to stand with two young ladies who were joining our church. He mistakenly thought they were college students and chose me to accompany them since I'm the college pastor's wife. Well, once I was standing front and center before the entire congregation, he realized these were young singles rather than college students. So instead of saying, "Holly, why don't you join them since you are involved with the young singles," he called out, "Holly, why don't you come stand up here with them since they're closer to your age." Then all that could be heard was a very loud and enthusiastic "OOOOOOOHHHHHHH!" from the bride of Christ. Isn't that awesome? The Lord does not need to worry that I will take pride in standing before the church again. Nope, not ever again. And I'd like to say that actually, I am closer in age to these lovely young women than I am to the college students. And I would guess we are not more than 3 years apart. Three years, people!

In order to recover from my humiliation, I went to the Galleria and bought Jackson's Easter outfit. He gets to wear it tomorrow since the playgroup is going to the Dallas Arboretum to have the babies' pictures taken by a professional photographer. There will be a live bunny. Y'all, please remember the bunny in your morning prayers. As if the joy of buying this precious item were not enough, I also had the best cup of tea of my life. The Galleria has a Teavana and up until now I have never ventured inside. I've always settled on a tall Awake tea from Starbucks. Y'all, it pays to go to a specialty tea store. They use German rock cane sugar to sweeten it. Amazing. I will be getting some of that very soon.

This afternoon we spent some time welcoming Spring. Curt mowed the lawn and I cleaned off my rocking chairs. They had months and months of dirt caked on from the wind and rain. We spent a good while sitting in our rocking chairs discussing important things such as how big the shrubs had gotten since last year and pondering mysteries of the universe like why two people in dress clothes were speed walking down the center of our street. Anyone know the phobia name for "fear of sidewalks"?