Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Jackson's Favorite Day

Tomorrow is a very big day for Jackson and Mommy. We are flying on an airplane. Alone. Without Daddy, Bibby, Nana, or anyone else. Jesus will be our only travel companion, but I think He'll be a good one. Jackson loves, loves, loves to see airplanes in the sky, so I'm optimistic that tomorrow could be his favorite day. Please, God!

We are making our annual summer trip to visit Curt's family in Missouri. Now that we live in Houston, the drive is about twelve hours. Hmmmm, do you think Pregnant Girl would do very well after 12 hours in the car? Probably not. And what about The Tod? I don't even want to know.

So here's the plan we came up with. Curtis took some Tylenol PM and went to bed at 7:00. He will wake up at midnight and drive up to Tulsa, Oklahoma. Jackson and I will get picked up at 7:45 a.m. to head to Hobby airport (which I haven't stepped foot in in years). Our Southwest flight will take us to Tulsa where we will meet up with Curtis. Then I'm sure I'll get in the driver's seat and take us the rest of the way to Springfield. I think it's 2.5 hours from there. So is this the lesser of two evils? We will see. I'm sure you're wondering why we didn't fly to Springfield and that is simply because IT IS SO STINKING EXPENSIVE AND RIDICULOUS. But I'm not bitter. Plus, who wants to have a layover at DFW with a toddler? Not Amanda Jones.

Y'all, I am absolutely exhausted and tomorrow could be the longest day of my life (until the day we travel back home). I'm begging for your prayers that everything will go smoothly, that Pregnant Girl will not have to reach for a barf bag, and that Jackson will be entertained by the bag of tricks I've assembled for him. Most of all, pray that my hubby is safe while he drives through the night. I'm trying to take my thoughts captive!

We are super pumped about spending time with Curt's family. I can't wait to see Lindsay's little baby bump. She will be the cutest! Alrighty, I'm off to pack. Yessssssss! See y'all next week.

Monday, July 28, 2008

The Circus, The Class of '98, and Weird Eating

I know y'all are on the edge of your seats waiting for me to recap my weekend. It is always so exciting to read about, isn't it? First of all, Jackson was sick all last week. He ran a fever from Tuesday to Thursday and just felt crummy. We had a lot of night-waking and every time I got up I thought about what it was going to be like having a newborn again.

On Friday evening Jackson and I went over to my parents' house and had dinner with them. Since Jackson had been sick, I'd hardly seen my sister (who was in town from Atlanta) all week. Jackson was kind of a turkey after not feeling well and getting anything he wanted for three days straight, but we all had a good time together.

On Saturday morning we took Jackson to the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. We had so much fun. Jackson was too young to pester us about buying him a million things but he was old enough to love the show itself. Next year I'm sure it will be a different story. I could not believe how many booths were set up with stuff for sale in the foyer. The flashing lights, bright colors, and music made all the junk very hard to resist. I am 28 years old and I was like a kid again begging Curtis to get me one of those light-up toys. He said no. But when he asked me to get him cotton candy and it was $12, I delivered the goods! Is that not insane? It came with a clown hat. The snow cones in a light-up cup were $15. Amazing. AMAZING!

I'm not sure what Jackson's favorite part of the circus was (probably the popcorn - not bad at $2.50), but mine was the horses. They had the most beautiful black Lippizaner (I think) and white Arabians running around a ring. They were breathtaking. The trapeze artists were also really cool. Okay, I won't lie. Pregnant girl almost cried during the opening act when all the animals and performers came out. I was fighting it back.

We spent Saturday evening with some of my girlfriends from high school and their families. Cypress Falls Eagles, lift your banner high. Most of us missed our Class of '98 ten year reunion due to people traveling and others having babies, so it was fun to get together on Saturday and let everyone meet the newest arrivals. The Sheffields were sweet enough to host us at their house and feed us fajitas. Normally I am very uncomfortable taking my toddler to a house where no children live, but I knew that if anyone on earth understood what it's like to have a very lively boy, it was Mrs. Sheffield! When Justin (Jennifer's hubby - they were HS sweethearts) was a very little boy his parents woke up to find him frying bacon in the kitchen in the middle of the night. He also attempted to drive his mother's car (a standard) down the street at like age 7. He made it past several houses. She could seriously write a book. All that to say, I moved some crystal out of the living room and then didn't stress too much about Jackson.

Jen with Baby Jaylee, Leah with Baby Elise and Elle, Lauren with Baby Ethan, me and Jackson (who was having an interesting hair moment).

Jaylee, Elise, and Ethan

Elle and Jackson

*As soon as Elle arrived, Jackson started doing all his moves to impress her. Y'all, he was trying so hard. She wanted nothing to do with him at first but he eventually won her over with his big hair, I mean smile. They chased each other and the dog in the backyard and wore themselves out.

Michelle with Ethan

Laura with Ethan

*Thanks for the pics, Lauren!

Sunday was just a regular, low-key Sunday. Curtis spoke to the 11-12th graders about going off to college and I joined him. We enjoyed getting to do that. After church I let Curtis talk me into eating at Chili's instead of Pappasito's. I was all excited about getting the Asian crispy chicken salad, but they don't have it anymore! What?!?! Pregnant Girl was not happy! I got a chicken sandwich and only ate two bites of it because I had gotten too hungry and felt sick. Then I ate the rest when we got home. We call this the Humperdink effect since our first experience with this was in Irving at Humperdink's three years ago. They are SO SLOW. And this post was SO LONG and boring to read. Bless you, child. Now I am going to eat the rest of my Freebird's burrito that is waiting for me in my fridge. Woo hoo!

Friday, July 25, 2008

More About Baby

Your comments have been so fun and so sweet! Thank you for the support! Now here's a little back story on the pregnancy. I started getting baby fever last winter when Baby Noah Benesh was born. His mommy and I were in a really special Bible study together one summer NINE YEARS AGO (what?!?!). We have hardly seen each other since (they live in Boston) but have enjoyed keeping up through the wonderful world of blogging. Every time I saw a picture of Baby Noah I got the ache. So by Jackson's birthday I was good and ready to try for another baby, but I desperately did not want to be in my third trimester during the horrible, hideous, humid (shall I go on?) Houston heat. I hoped that I could be pregnant in the same season as before so I could wear the maternity clothes I already had and be able to reuse Jackson's clothes if we had another boy. So we waited until the window of opportunity opened and hoped that God would bless my plan to be economical (and covered up with sweaters when great with child).

Sure enough, we found out while we were in San Antonio that another Baby Jones was on the way. I used one of those early detection tests and I was only three weeks when we found out. Once I was five weeks along the nausea set in and I started feeling more confident about the pregnancy. I had been sick until 15 weeks with Jackson, so I think I would have worried if I hadn't been sick this time around. Weeks 6-8 were extremely hard. During that time Janelle and I went to Deeper Still. God gave me so much grace during that weekend, but the minute we landed the anointing was lifted. Seriously. It was rough. For a couple of weeks our house was an absolute wreck and I was very unpleasant to be around. Bless my husband's heart. All I wanted to do was sit on the couch and talk about my misery.

Thankfully, my friend Kay had just walked through this a second time and she had been prescribed Zofran for her morning sickness. I never knew there was anything that worked and since I needed to be at least functioning to care for my two-year-old, I got a prescription too. FYI, Zofran is ridiculously expensive but you can get the generic brand without insurance at Costco for about $30 for 24 pills. It does not take the nausea away but it makes you throw up less. So there you go.

Thank You, Jesus, I am doing better now and expect to have just about another month of not feeling quite right. The mornings are actually my best time of day but around lunch and dinner time it is challenging. I know I need to eat but nothing sounds good. I get tired of eating. Y'all know that is so unlike me! So far I am craving salad and Freebird's burritos (but I've only had two). Freebird's...not surprising. Salad...very surprising.

This is how we told our parents. Jackson and I went to Babies R Us and found a shirt that says "Big Brother." It wasn't that cute, but it did the trick. We invited our parents to join us at the wonderful restaurant dear to the heart of every Texan - Luby's Cafeteria. Weren't we all raised on their fried fish and mac and cheese? Not to mention the Jello? I had dressed Jackson in the Big Bro t-shirt but then I put another shirt over it. I let him get good and messy with the red Jello and then I took him to the bathroom to "clean him up." When we came back to the table he had on his Big Brother shirt. It took my mom about 3 seconds to realize what was going on and then she was thrilled. My dad's way of showing his elation was to say that he thought I looked pregnant when I got out of my car. I'll let him get away with that since he's my dad and since I had on an empire waist dress (from last summer) with some jeans. I love you, Daddy! We quickly left Luby's and headed over to my parents house where we could properly celebrate.

Curt's parents, I'm sad to say, did not get an exciting announcement in the midst of a crowded cafeteria. (How hillbilly was it to tell them at Luby's? I did not even think about it at the time.) Curtis called them on the phone to tell them the good news. What we didn't know was that his sister Lindsay was already 12 weeks pregnant! That little dickens! Of course we are thrilled that we get to be pregnant together. What is more, our little ones will enjoy having a cousin the same age. If we have a boy too I cannot even imagine the fun that will be had on my in-laws' land. It will be craziness!

I have always pictured us having another boy, but at this point I don't have a strong feeling about what this baby will be. I entertained thoughts of pink little dresses when I was throwing up over the toilet when pregnant with Jackson. It's what got me through it. But I quickly became convinced that we were having a son. And the Lord seemed to have "told" everyone around me. Right now I'm up in the air. But I told Curt that if everyone convinces me we are having a girl and then we don't, I will be so ticked! So I am staying neutral. Either way, I know when we find out that I will smile through tears. Assuming this is our last go-round, I will either never have a daughter or I'll never have the second son I always pictured. Something about seeing another little man in Jackson's clothes would be so sweet. Anyway, my main feeling is that WE CAN'T LOSE! We are blessed either way! Thank You, Lord! I'm so glad He is in control. If He gave me the choice, I'd honestly ask Him to make it for me. He knows exactly what we need!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Things Once Spoken

Like I was saying the other day when I got completely and hopelessly off track, four summers ago we were wrapping up our time in Northeast England. On our last Sunday at Thornaby Baptist Church, our dear friend Maxine presented us with two gifts in front of the congregation of about forty saints. I was doing an ugly cry and was desperately in need of a Kleenex. I kept turning around to face the other way because I was so embarrassed. Then in a moment that brought a bit of comic relief, we opened up the gifts to find these:

I started giggling immediately because I was a bit confused and I knew everyone was going to wonder if I was pregnant. At that time in our marriage we didn't have maternity insurance and we were not even talking about having a baby. Maxine realized that I was a little embarrassed and announced, "Amanda is not pregnant!" Actually, she called me "Amander" but I always loved that. There was a quick consensus that Curtis and I must be pregnant in the spiritual realm, meaning God had spiritual fruit and offspring that would come forth soon. I refused to believe that the father-son figurine was a prophecy of any kind. ;)

Later I realized that Maxine and I had been talking about Willow Tree figures one day and I had mentioned that I thought the one with the pregnant lady was beautiful. I had seen it at my friend Jennifer's house. She remembered that conversation when she saw the figurine and wanted to bless me with it.

We took the figurines back to America with us, but we didn't display them right away. I did not want any visitors to our house to think I was expecting. At some point during my pregnancy with Jackson I got them out and proudly displayed them at long last. It would be some time before Jackson was as old as the little boy in the second figurine, but he was a boy nonetheless.

Nowadays Jackson Jones is looking a lot more like the little boy in the picture. He's definitely not a baby anymore. Around April I noticed that I had stopped identifying with moms I saw with babies in strollers. I wasn't one of them anymore. It was such a strange feeling! We had graduated on to little-boyhood.

My heart is kind of pounding right now because I am so excited and blessed to be able to say that at this brief moment in time, both of those little Willow Tree figures are true of our family. A prophecy given to us four years ago has come to pass! We are expecting another Little Jones around February 12, 2009. Tomorrow I will be 11 weeks along. We had an OB appointment yesterday and got to hear the little heartbeat. He or she seems to be doing well in there! I have so much to say, but it wouldn't be that fun to stuff it all in one post. I will save some for later. For now I am just going to talk about it on this blog and not the other one. I may announce it tomorrow or maybe in a month. I'm not sure. I guess the numbers over there make me a little more nervous! So it's our little secret, okay? :)

By the way, I went into Baby Gap for fun yesterday after my appointment and I was blown away by the cuteness of all the fall clothes for baby boys. Oh my word. Pregnant Girl almost cried over this. I am so ready to shop in the 0-24 month section again. I've missed it so! Stick around for round two of Baby Bangs!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Doctor Drama

First of all, thanks to everyone who left me their potty training input. There is a wealth of knowledge in my comments!

So today has had a little drama. I enrolled Jackson in a really great Mother's Day Out program for the next school year and tomorrow I have to turn in this huge registration packet or else he will lose his spot. Let me just tell you that in a family-saturated area, MDO spots are not easy to come by!

I am a terrible procrastinator and I hadn't even looked at the papers since I first glanced at them on the day they came in the mail 2 months ago. Idiot girl. I needed a doctor's signature (um, we don't even have a doctor here yet) and Jackson's shot records. Fun times. Jackson's old doctor's office said they could send me the stuff, but I'd need to fax them some forms first and then I would hear back from them in 48 hours. That is 24 hours later than I need them. They would not budge. They would not even tell me over the phone what shots my child has had since May of 2007, which is the last record I have. (I misplaced some things in the move.) Are you stinking kidding me? I am his mother! I brought him there to get the dumb shots! I nearly lost my testimony on the phone but the Lord helped me be civil.

My dad called right after I got off the phone and asked if he and Pappaw could drop off Jackson's new sandbox that Pappaw made him. I burst into tears and started wailing. It's not a good time! I'm so maaaaaaaddddddd! Whaaaahhhhh! My poor dad. He was not prepared to hear his 28-year-old daughter having a meltdown today.

I ended up taking Jackson to a family practice just so he could be seen and okayed for MDO. My mom has a close relationship with the staff and they were very gracious. They bent over backwards for me and got all the records mess sorted out. I am going to have to send them a card. If only I had mad baking skillz I would send some cookies. Jackson had to get the chicken pox vaccine (which I thought he'd had!) but he recovered quickly thanks to some huge stickers and a dum dum.

Jackson is napping happily (hopefully dryly) and once he wakes up we get to take our papers to get notarized. Yeah! I can't wait!

By the way, my sister's birthday was yesterday. I never feel older than the moment when I ask her, "How old are you now?" Ugh! How is my little sister 26? I'm only supposed to be 24!

Friday, July 18, 2008

The Theme of the Day...

...Is pee. Adeline unfortunately just took one for the team. We had just spent a ton of time in the backyard, so I naively thought we were okay. I will be diligently setting the microwave timer now. At least she had good aim. It was right on top of a yellow flower.

Star is actually not the reason for today's theme. Jackson is the culprit. He has developed an extremely awful habit this week. Yesterday during this nap, he stripped off his shorts and diaper and peed all over his crib. Today he put his hand down his diaper and made a tunnel for the pee to exit the diaper and soak his shoulder and the back of his pants. He has been soaked almost every morning this week and I just clued in to the tunnel effect. I do not even know what to say right now. I am not freaked out about him putting his hand in his diaper. I am trying to discourage it, but I know that's a pretty normal boy thing. I just cannot deal with having a pee soaked child! It's just gross! Has this happened to any of y'all before? What did you do?

*Edited to add:
Jackson will be 2.5 in August. I have been planning to wait until that time to start thinking about potty training. I feel like I'd rather wait longer and have him train quicker than do it too early and have an extended period of accidents. Anyway, this evening we were playing in the backyard with the dogs and Jackson pooped in his diaper. He came over to me right away, indicated that he had pooped, and laid down on the concrete for me to change him. He has never, ever done that before. So maybe he is ready.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Some Randomness

1) Janelle and her hubby are going to Sudan next week. They are going to need lots of prayer...starting now! Y'all know that there is so often spiritual warfare right before something like that. Janelle shares some prayer needs on her blog, like that she and Heath will not come down with Ella's stomach virus this week.

2) As of July 1, I am officially a part timer at LPM. My responsibilities have been cut in half! Therefore I am super behind on work emails. Yikes! Tomorrow I have to bust it in the office.

3) Star (my parents' puppy) is coming to stay with us this weekend while my parents go to Minnesota. She is going to entertain my boy all weekend. They have so much fun together. My rugs, Henley and Adeline, will need some prayer in case anyone would like to lift them up by name.

Sweet Adeline.

Precious Henley.

4) Jackson has been saying really cute things lately and I discovered that he can count to 20. Who taught him that? I have seriously only gone past 10 with him maybe three times. Some current frequently used words are canny/candy, police car, fire truck, tratis/tractor, starbis/starburst, peach, Diet Coke (that is from his father), crocs, hotcorn/popcorn, firerocks/fireworks, and awesome.

5) We might take Jackson to the circus this weekend. I'm pumped.

6) We have had my Jeep for four years and we have only ever had one key to it. Well, this week Curtis took it off my key ring because he was going to take the Jeep to get inspected. (Y'all, one of the main reasons I got married was to have someone to take care of my car.) He was about to walk out the door with the key in hand when Jackson tripped over my computer cord in the living room and wiped out. In the chaos of him flying through the air and the screaming and crying, the key got lost. It is in this house but we absolutely cannot find it. So for three days we have been sharing Curt's truck. Tonight we had to pay a locksmith $200 to come to our house and make another "smart key" for us. Dang Gina. That was after my Jeep failed the first inspection and we had to pay $700 for a new computer system to go in it. Fun times!

7) My sis-in-law, Lindsay, is having a boy! Yipee!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Weekend Trip

This weekend the Jones family took a little road trip to North Texas. A friend of mine from our old church is getting ready to have her first baby and her shower was on Saturday. When I met her almost four years ago, she was going through an immense trial that no one would ever imagine going through. Over the next few years I got to see Jesus bring her full circle and bring tremendous beauty from ashes - ashes that were the result of another person's rebellion and not her own. The Lord has given her a wonderful, handsome, godly husband and now a bouncing baby boy on the way. There was much to celebrate!

The shower was on Saturday morning, so Curt, Jackson and I drove up to Irving on Friday night. We stayed at the Embassy Suites because I'm a sucker for a good breakfast. My boys dropped me off at the church after we drove by our old house and got to visit with one of our neighbors who was watering his yard. We found out there are people living in our house for now, which surprised me. We sold it to a developer and they never even had it inspected, so we thought it would just be torn down. Who knows? That is probably on the horizon. Everything looked okay except there are no cute rocking chairs on the porch and there is a big dent in my pretty red door from someones knee. I was so sad! Then I remembered my beautiful white house in the burbs and got over it.

A few minutes later I walked into the fellowship hall and was greeted by a ton of sweet Irving friends. It was so good to be home. I'm telling you, I feel like I have three homes - Houston, Irving, and Missouri. But really there is only ONE home and one day I will get to see it with my own eyes, walk on it with my own two feet (which are hopefully smaller and more dainty in glory), and fellowship with my Savior in person. That is going to be awesome!

Anyway, the shower was cowboy themed and it was just amazing. The ladies had gone all out and my friend surely deserved it! For those of you who are like me and believe that the point of every shower and wedding is to eat cake, it was delicious. It was so good to get to visit with so many ladies of the church, from the very young to the most senior of saints. A ton of my girlfriends were there and it gave me so much joy to be with them and chat while we watched our friend and her hubby open present after present for almost 2 hours. What an outpouring of love for this couple!

After the shower, Curt and Jacks picked me up and we drove to Dallas to make a very quick stop at JD's Chippery. Thank You, sweet Jesus. When I walked in I needed a "cone of silence" (anyone see Get Smart?) so I could properly express my delirious happiness. I won't even tell you how many cookies we got because I'm too embarrassed. We intended to share them with our friends but they left us too many to take home! I have a ton of them on my counter and that is dangerous. Very, very dangerous. I also got a cherry limeade and I decided that theirs are better than Sonic's because they aren't fizzy.

Then we went to Janelle and Heath's and just sat on their couch and vegged for a while. Ella and Jackson had a ton of fun playing together. Jackson stepped on Ella's foot right off the bat and there were a few tears. My child's feet are like the size of a six-year-old's, so I couldn't blame her. Bless her heart...and his too. They also swam in the baby pool and Ella was very patient with her friend who likes, no lives, to splash water.

Later we met Sunni and her crew at Central Market for sushi and burgers. Sunni did not get to go with us to Deeper Still because Xavier had been sick and in the hospital that week, so it was great to see her. Ava had grown so much, I couldn't believe it. Once the tods got antsy we sent them to the playground with their daddies. The playground was extremely crowded and it was not that fun. Due to the heat, crowds, and fussiness of tods and maybe even one adult whom I love very much, our time was cut shorter than I would have liked it. But I was very thankful for the time we did have. The Lazos had to get home and pack for their Cancun trip early the next morning. Poor things!

After dinner, Janelle's parents bravely took on our hot, sweaty, exhausted, cranky toddlers while we went to see Get Smart. I am still laughing about the "cone of silence" in case you couldn't tell. The popcorn was amazing, thank You Lord.

On Sunday morning we got ready for church, had a good breakfast at the hotel (bacon and spinach omelet for me), packed up and went to First Irving. It was so good to be there. I can't say enough about how great it was. The church members are so incredibly loving and they truly care for each other. It is a special thing and I think people can see it even on their first visit. It's truly a family.

My only disappointment at church was that Jackson did not perform like I was hoping he would. It was such a lesson for me. I had hoped he would walk in and be all smiles, hug people, and just be charming. (He really is a people person. It wasn't that much of a stretch.) He was dead-set against it. What can you do? Let go, Amanda!

After church we headed out to Fort Worth to have lunch with Jennifer and Sabrina (my bff's from high school) and their families. Jennifer has a newborn and we had not all been together with our kids. It was kind of a huge moment. I was thinking about how different our conversations were now compared to when we were sixteen. (Thank God, right?) We still talk a million miles an hour though. I must add that Jackson was p-e-r-f-e-c-t during this visit. Props to my boy.

After that we drove down the street to see the Burgers who had literally just gotten home from their own road trip. We got to meet their newborn son Justus and catch up with them for a bit. They have a pastor from Sudan living with them while he goes to seminary. His name is Victor and he is a wonderful man of God. Victor entertained Jackson for like an hour with some matchbox cars and a race track. He is not only Jackson's new bff, but mine as well!

It was finally time to head back to Houston. It seemed like it took forever to get home. For-stinking-ever! We all slept like rocks last night and I swear I could have slept the entire day if someone had let me. If I could, I would reward everyone who made it through the end of this post with a JD's cookie, but it would totally be stale by the time it got to you. So I'll eat one in your honor. I know you appreciate it.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Noah's Ark

I should really be drying my hair right now, but the blog needs some attention. This will have to be quick or my hair will not dry and straighten into the right texture if I wait too long. Just call me risky.

Anywho, I took Jackson to this place called Noah's Ark pool today. It was our induction into a Houston-area classic. We were meeting Michelle and Fay and their kids. Fay is in town from North Texas this week. As soon as I got out of my car, I saw my girl Jenn H. getting out of her car with her boys. She was meeting another mutual friend. It was a current and former HFBC member extravaganza! There ended up being 7 of us there. And, ironically, some moms from my and Jenn's neighborhood (which is 30 min. away) were having a playdate and one of them approached me to ask if we were part of that group. They had no idea who we were, so it was totally a random guess that we lived in the same neighborhood. So weird.

Our friend Diana was there with her 20-month-old son who has been in swim lessons since January. He was absolutely amazing! He totally swam! She dropped a toy down in the water, and with very little help, he swam down and got it. Holy Cow. I am kicking myself for not getting Jackson in lessons last winter, but I guess we kind of had a lot going on.

Jackson fell asleep on the way home but by God's grace he still napped for me! It was a festivus miracle! So yeah, I should really be drying my hair.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

A List for My Dad

It's my Daddy's birthday! Happy birthday, Pabs! In honor of you achieving 52 years of life, I've made you a special list.

10 Things I Never Would Have Done or Been If You Hadn't Been My Dad:

1) I would never have been the proud owner of Coco the Wonderhorse and I never would have played with a BB gun.
2) I never would have achieved such greatness at the age of 9 in Future Problem Solving.
3) I never would have figured out stupid fractions, decimals, or variables. I probably would have failed second grade.
4) I never would have gotten a blue ribbon in the science fair for my cricket project. (I still regret not doing the alligator gar thing! Maybe Jackson one day?)
5) I never would have tried to understand why people are the way they are and learned to be more compassionate.
6) I would never have made it through adolescence without our talks about friends being fickle and how "goodbye" is a necessary life skill. I would be drowning in false guilt in my adulthood.
7) I wouldn't know how to fix a toilet. I would never dare stick my hand in the tank. I wouldn't know that Charmin is the best way to abuse your plumbing system.
8) I'm pretty sure I would have been a vegetarian had you not been my dad. I might have even been in PETA. But how could I get away with that in your house? So because of you, I'm going to enjoy a nice filet tonight.
9) I would've had a lot less confidence and courage to do new things.
10) I would look exactly like mom! ;)

I love you, Daddy! I still need your influence in my life BIG TIME!

Monday, July 07, 2008

I Clean Up Blocks

Dear Jackson,
You were a little bit of a turkey today. For some reason you were determined not to take your nap, although conditions were 100% perfect for a normal nap time. I don't know what went wrong. Please keep napping, son. So tonight after we ate our Papa John's pizza and got you in your pajamas, you and I headed upstairs for your early bedtime. You are getting too heavy for me to want to carry up the stairs, so I let you follow me (the bearer of your cup of milk) up. When we got to the top it was apparent that we had left your new blocks strewn across the playroom floor. I had a one track mind - bedtime. You, however, got very excited and said, "I clean up blocks!" I am marking this down in your baby book/blog because this could be the one and only time that you initiate cleaning up anything and indeed get excited about it. What a sweet moment. You love your new blocks and you wanted to be responsible for them. It was a sweet end to a long day for both of us. I love you, little turkey.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Four on the Fourth

(I wrote this yesterday, so humor me.) It's my dog's birthday. He is four. Since our family has recently lost two beloved canine friends, I feel like I need to throw a party for Beckham today. I haven't been as loving to him as I should be lately. If I had it in me I'd go buy him some new toys and chews and maybe make him something yummy to eat. But really, why would I need to make anything? He'd be so happy if I just gave him some hot dogs or some uncooked ground beef out of the fridge. Tonight we'll give him some leftovers and he'll be so happy.

In honor of Beckham's fourth birthday, I'll tell you about how he came to be ours. We had just gotten home from England and moved straight to Irving. We were desperate to get a dog as soon as possible, so we rented a townhouse with a fenced backyard that was a stone's throw from a great park with a big pond and lots of ducks and squirrels. Rewind a couple months to a Sunday before we actually moved. We were at Houston's First Baptist and I ran into Helen C. on the way into church. She told me she was feeling tired and frazzled because she had a new puppy. It was a British blonde golden retriever, which is exactly what we were hoping to get one day. Her puppy, Bella, was from a breeder in Georgia.

That October we moved into our puppy-perfect townhouse and immediately started the search for our new baby. We already had a cat at this time, but he was very independent, not cuddly, and basically psychotic. If I looked him directly in the eye he would lurch at my head. When I was pregnant with Jackson he decided to mellow out and become a good cat. My pregnancy made him obsessed with me, no lie. He wanted to lay on my belly all the time. Is that not weird? Even so, he was never really our "baby." Okay, so I did a search online for Bella's breeder and I was able to find them. They were not planning another litter, but they had one puppy left that was Bella's brother. He had been the breeder's favorite male and she had saved him for a friend who ended up not being able to take him. We were kind of sad that he would already be 13 weeks old and we would miss the puppy breath stage, but we felt like this was our dog!

We talked through some names and, having just been in the UK during Euro 2004 (a soccer tournament for European nations), we decided to name him after one of the British footballers. Our choices were Owen, Rooney, and Beckham. Well, who better to name a handsome blonde dog after than David Beckham? Beckham it was. If I ever go temporarily insane and let us get another dog, we will name it Rooney.

Beckham was shipped to DFW airport on a Delta cargo plane. You have never seen two more excited people in all your life than Curtis and I were on that day. (We would surpass that in February of 2006!) We went to the cargo building and waited with some other pet people for our animals to be handed over to us. There were a couple of ladies waiting for a special show cat. They already knew the drill and had come prepared with towels. Towels? Why would we need those? What was fun was that all the people there for animals were so excited to see everyone else's pets.

We were finally taken to Beckham's crate. He was trembling, soaked in pee, and wouldn't come out of his crate. But he was so cute. Eventually we got him out of the crate and the cat ladies lent us a towel to dry him off. Sick, I know. That stinky white fluff ball rode on my lap on the way home. We were so happy!

Even though it was dark when we got home, the first thing we did was walk him down to the park so he could see how sweet his new life was going to be. I have such a vivid picture in my mind of Curtis skipping down the sidewalk with his big old Clifford puppy bumbling behind him. Curtis' inner seven-year-old was having the time of his life.

It took about two weeks to potty train that dog, but his bladder was already big enough to hold a lot. The carpet was pretty much ruined. Yeah, we didn't get our deposit back from that place.

As soon as Beckham was old enough, we started taking him to White Rock Lake dog park where he could scamper around with other dogs and swim at the doggy beach in the lake. When he was five months old he retrieved a small tree out of the water. It was 11 feet long and as big around as a man's bicep. We were beaming with pride and we hoped all the lab owners just happened to see it.

We took Beckham everywhere we could and he was really the ultimate dog. And still is. He has obviously taken a back seat to Jackson, but he has done so graciously. When Jackson was born he would never leave his baby's side. Wherever Jackson was, you could be sure that Beckham was no more than two feet away. He has been incredibly sweet, patient, and eager to please. I have tons of stories of how he nearly drove me insane, and in fact did drive me to get counseling over my anger issues, but I will leave those stories out in honor of his birthday. You know, it may have been the greatest gift of all that he made me deal with my junk, even though I hated the journey toward it. He definitely got me ready for motherhood.
I love you, Beckham big, white, smelly jug head!

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Pour It Out

Four years ago right now Curtis and I were having our big adventure in Northeast England. We spent five months trying to build a youth group at a small Baptist church that was being interim-pastored by a retired American couple. I would not trade that experience for anything in the world. Sometimes when my flesh feels tied down and weary of every day being much the same, I remember that great big adventure I had with my husband when we were younger. It does my heart good to know that we went out on a limb and did something (that I would call) crazy. I don't feel that I wasted the years when I was so free to give others my all. I know that there will come a day when we do something like that again. Maybe we will be one of those "retired" couples serving all over the world. I want us to be the kind of people who pour it out until the very end, you know?

For now we, actually I, am in a season of serving Him most effectively in my home. Sure, I serve in various ways that are not in my home, but my focus is here. Curtis and Jackson are my ice cream and anything else is just chocolate syrup. When we were living in Irving and I hadn't had Jackson yet, I went to lunch all the time with my college girls. I loved doing that. It became very hard and then nearly impossible after Jackson was born. Having deep and meaningful conversations with a baby or toddler next to you in the high chair is a bit of a challenge. I will never forget the time that I drove out to meet Sarah C. at a Chili's across town and Jackson, maybe three months old, really did not want to be there. I tried everything, even to the point of nursing my baby under a hooter hider in front of one of my college girls at the table. (Do I need to tell you how desperate I had to be to do that? I was so embarrassed.) Not even that worked. I had to get my food to go and leave. Ugh. I could cry for myself thinking about how hard that day was, realizing that things had seriously changed. I have so many stories of lunches gone awry. I hated to see that part of my ministry basically dissolve. I am a quality time person and not really a teacher, so meeting one on one with the girls was where I felt most useful.

I hope it goes without saying that I absolutely love my husband and my son and it is my greatest joy in life to get to serve them. I pray that I communicate that through this blog. I would not go back for anything! I'm extremely thankful to be Curt's wife and Jackson's mom.

Okay, when I started writing this post I was going somewhere completely different. I don't know how I ended up here and I have no idea how I will finish this. I guess I will conclude by saying that if you are single or married without children, make the most of your freedom by pouring it out for the Lord. Let Him take you on an adventure. Use it for the kingdom. It excites me when I see ladies I know doing this. They will never look back and wish they had spent more time on the couch waiting for xyz to happen to them. I mean, let your future husband catch you in the act of serving! He will love it!

Check out these verses. The Apostle Paul agrees with me, or rather I with him, that the single woman has a unique ability to devote herself to the Lord. The unmarried man is anxious about the things of the Lord--how he may please the Lord; But the married man is anxious about worldly matters--how he may please his wife--And he is drawn in diverging directions [his interests are divided and he is distracted from his devotion to God]. And the unmarried woman or girl is concerned and anxious about the matters of the Lord, how to be wholly separated and set apart in body and spirit; but the married woman has her cares [centered] in earthly affairs--how she may please her husband. (1 Corinthians 7:33-34, AMP)

Huge props to Sarah C. for pouring it out for the Revolve tour, to Alicia for pouring it out for Southeast Asia and CBU students, to Angela for pouring it out for Eastern Europe, to Jane for being a huge light at a big law firm in town, to Nat for sacrificing nearness to friends and family and a healthy paycheck to disciple girls, to Mari for her huge adventure coming up, to Vonda for pouring her blood, sweat, and tears into World Changers, to Amy Beth for pouring it out for her ministry so fabulous, and to all my friends who are doing their thing for the Lord. I'm so proud of them.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

She Lives!

Hello all. I am just checking in to say that I am still alive. Last week we went to youth camp for a few days and once we got back I immediately headed to Atlanta for Deeper Still. We had an incredible time (seriously incredible) but I think everyone who went is probably still exhausted! Monday and today were also rather crazy, so I am looking forward to Wednesday, which is the first day in over a week that I don't have anything planned. Give Him praise. I have lots of work to catch up on and I might even take a nap. That sounds nice. Which is why I need to go to bed right this minute. When I'm not so tired that all I can do is whine and cry about it, I will be back! Bless y'all for stopping by!