29 June 2012

Of My Golden Day

Well, it's come and gone.  My Golden Birthday.  I turned 28 yesterday, on the 28th, and it was all I could have hoped for.

More than two people showed up to my party, which makes it a success right there, but, even more than the number of attendees, the amount of quality time was wonderful.  And on top of it all, Philip bought me one thing I have been wanting for almost as long as I can remember:
 A charm bracelet, complete with a charm for each of the kids' birthstones and one for he and I, too.  Yeah, he's pretty much the greatest.

1,000 Gifts:
638. Pain in my hip, a small price to pay for an evening of free Salsa Dancing Lessons
639. Relaxing at Starbucks with a Venti Frappuccino (what was I thinking?!) and my favorite man
640. Free clothes
641. Discovering a new favorite
642. More varieties of salad than one knew possible
643. Laughing with friends
644. Winning - even if just with a crossword puzzle
645. A quiet play-date
646. Party prep - the anticipation
647. Blessing, not impressing
648. Having just what you need
649. Perfect provision through store sales - yes, it can happen
650. A hand-made tablecloth
651. A birthday banner, also made with love
652. Borrowed decorations
653. Brownie batter fresh from the bowl
654. More friends than I hoped for 
655. Lots of bags 
656. Pulling out the folding chairs
657. A husband entertaining the kids
658. Weary from a wonderful day
659. Free fun in the sun (and water, too!)
660. Two little boys falling asleep on the car-ride home.
661. A closed door means a clear answer.
662. A still-clean house
663. "The light is green."
664. Watching on the monitor as he crawls into her bed for a movie (but only after the light is green)

Other Birthday Photos:

24 June 2012

Of Giving Glory

Don't ask me why - my brain just wanders, I suppose - but I was contemplating the question the other day, "If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?"  You know the question - it's a classic.

Of course, there's the scientific point behind the pondering: the concept of the precise definition of "sound" and its need for an ear to hear the physical vibrations for anything to qualify as such.

But, really, I had never stopped to consider just how vain we, as humans, have to be to even ask such a preposterous question.  As if our ears are the only ones to quantify a "sound" when the God of all creation, the very maker of that tree, is always listening.  In fact, the very waves of air sent out by such an incident are a sure cry of God's glory over Creation.

I realized, then, in my mental meanderings, that our entire view of ourselves is so over-inflated that we tend to believe the earth was put into motion for us alone.  We see ourselves on one side and Creation on the other.  When, the truth of the matter is, we are merely a part of all this glorious craftsmanship of God.

And when we shift our mindset, putting us on the same plane (though, yes, at a slightly higher altitude, recognizing ourselves as caretakers) as all God created in those six days at the beginning of all we know, there is a whole lot more that shifts, too.

When we recognize the earth was not made for us or for our pleasure, but that it was put into existence alongside of us to bring glory to the hands of its Creator, we see that the falling tree does not make its sound for our ears.

The sunset is not merely for our eyes, the rain is not only for the feeling of a drop on our skin, or even just to hydrate our crops.  God can, and does, create these things so we may take enjoyment and be satisfied, but the enjoyment is not for us.  The satisfaction is given so we may turn our gratitude back to Him, to give our Lord the glory and the praise for His goodness.

But by the same token, when we recognize Creation was not made for us, we can more clearly see the bad things that happen to good people are not necessarily punishment or neglect on the part of our Creator.  Just as the tree withers, the antelope is devoured or the thunder rages, so we, too, must endure hardship, not because God has turned against us but because these, too, bring glory to Him.  As so eloquently stated by C.S. Lewis, pain is God's megaphone to the world.

Because when we recognize that this world does not exist for our pleasure, we might be able to accept the pain with a little more grace.  We might recognize that this difficulty, too, has its purpose in this grand scale of all Creation in which we participate.  And it is our response to these seemingly un-endurable moments that has the ability to shout a declaration of beauty in the pain that can only come through God.

Still trying to figure it all out and still knowing I can postulate on this premise with all surety without my ever having experienced such unimaginable pain as I know to be possible, I will always and ever know - my God reigns.  He is sovereign.  And all is for His glory.

1,000 Gifts:
633. Sunday afternoons, a day to rest
634. A bleary-eyed girl emerging from her bedroom to snuggle in Momma's lap after a confusing dream
635. The easy giggles of an infant.
636. Baby drool
637. The hard-earned giggles of a toddler.

Photo of the Day:
Daddy lifted Emmett up to touch the ceiling.  As you can tell, he may have loved it.

23 June 2012

Of Hitting His Stride

Our little boy turned two earlier this week (as you well know), and he seems to know it.

It's as though with one birthday he suddenly realized he was a big boy now - it's a big jump from being a one-year-old to a two-year-old.  Suddenly he's having his own thoughts - we're hearing more often, "No, Diddy!" (translation: "No, Sissy!") whereas before he would just do anything she said - he's playing his own games (I heard him pretending with his toys yesterday, where one was yelling, "Ah, it's a scary monster!"), and he's earning his own spankings (as in, he's getting into trouble all on his own now, not just because Sissy led him down the wrong path).

It really is astonishing.

Just the other day, as I heard the two of them having an actual conversation, rather than he just parroting her, it hit me - we have two big kids.  It's not just one little girl doing her thing while her brother follows behind.  They're independent people.  And we have two of them.  And soon, as Joey grows into his own within the next couple of years, we'll have three walking, talking, individuals vying for our attention.

This life thing just gets crazier and crazier.

1,000 Gifts:
633. Giving someone a break
634. Taking my time
635. Fresh blueberries
636. A sunny summer evening
637. The perfect shade to protect my fair skin
638. A Boston Cream Cupcake
639. Making plans

Photo of the Day: 
Eating dinner on the patio with friends - could the day end any sweeter?

22 June 2012

Of Holding Him

Each day I spread my love.  Four people in this house besides me, all deserving and it feels there's not enough of me for all I wish I could give.

And so I see my baby boy, all smiles, just happy to look into my eyes.  And I set him down, hoping the toys will keep him happy for just a few minutes - I'll be back, I assure us both.

While I help the big girl with the potty and the middle boy who sometimes cries for reasons unknown.  And I make dinner to feed them all and I wash the laundry and I move, from one thing to the next, missing one moment, then another.

And then it's naptime.  And all three lay down - even though that littlest could probably be awake a little longer, I know he'll sleep now and he'll sleep for awhile.  And isn't nice to have them all asleep at the same time?  So I can have my time.

My time to get things done.  My time to recover from the noise.  My time to let the stress which may have built through the morning seep out into the quietness of the afternoon.

And hope that it lasts.  For just as long as I need.

But then come days like today.  When that youngest, whose chubby thighs felt three needles today, needles to ward off the possibility of a greater sickness, sleeps a little longer than I expected.  And I open the door to be sure his tiny back is still moving up and down, up and down.  And when he finally wakes, much later than anticipated, I can feel, through his barely-there hair, the heat of a body just trying to process it all.

And this baby boy has no smile.  Only tears.  Cries of discomfort and longing.  Longing for relief.

And all I can do is hold him.  There are baths to be had, teeth to brush, bedtime stories to read.  And all I can do is hold him.  I give thanks for a husband who can take care of the needs.  While I hold.

And is this what it takes?  A fever?  A weary boy?  A hurt I can't fix.  Is this what it takes to slow my rushing body?  To give me the time to hold him?  To just hold him?

Where am I when the smiles flow freely?  When the hurt has gone away?  Am I there to hold?  Or am I turning away - to meet those other needs.  To spread myself a little more.  Just enough to cover it all.

I am grateful to be needed.  But let me take these moments as reminders that the good moments, the happy days, require just as much of my time, my holding, as those days when my arms are the only comfort to give.

1,000 Gifts:
624.  A cool washcloth on a too-warm forehead
625. Blue lollipops at the doctor's office
626. Healthcare
627. A cool morning
628. An afternoon phone call
629. Long-distance communication
630. Holding the stethoscope
631. Blue bandages to make the pain easier
632. 16 lbs and 10 oz of Baby Boy

Photos of the Day:
Snuggling with my Sickie

21 June 2012

Of Wiggle Time

I have been looking forward to the Summer Reading Program at the library ever since I learned the starting age was three years.  This was seriously my favorite part of summer growing up and I could not wait to get Micaiah hooked, too.  Because there's almost nothing better than getting rewarded for doing what you love to do.

Along with keeping a chart to track our reading time, the Summer Reading Program also comes with a calendar filled with fun weekly activities for kids at the library.  Unfortunately for our household, the vast majority of these events occur at 2pm - a.k.a. the same time as naps.  Thus, I was not going to miss the second of only three days this summer when my children would be able to participate in 10am Wiggle Time (especially considering we missed the first date while they were out of town)!  What toddler doesn't want to go to Wiggle Time?!

So that's what we did this morning - hung out in a room with about twenty other kids (including some wonderful church friends!) and wiggled.  Toward the end, the kids had had enough - apparently an hour of wiggling is just about their limit - as Emmett begged to be held and Micaiah declared she was ready to go play (she's a big fan of the library toys and computers).

But before the giving up point, I was having a blast watching them slither like snakes (yes, mine would be the only kids in the room literally on their bellies pretending to be snakes and also literally hopping like frogs, rather than merely jumping up and down - I think you can tell who regularly pretends to be animals of varying nature at home), wave their arms and shake their shakers.

And one of the things that caused me giggle the most was watching the two of them run back to their chairs to sit after every song (again, they were the only ones to do this), only to be told there was more singing and dancing to be had.

What good little Baptists.

1,000 Gifts:
619. A stormy afternoon to coincide with the Potato Soup and Bread Bowls written on the menu
620. Little giggles after big tickles
621. Squishy hugs
622. Arms filled with little ones
623. Dark gray skies, low,rolling thunder and flashes in the distance

Photos from Today: 
This is what I found in the hallway when I opened my bedroom door this morning.  Every single one of these books was shoved under the door by my mischievous son.

Slithering like snakes at Wiggle Time.

"Dreaming" at Wiggle Time (with their friend Sarah).

Galloping like a horse.

Joey got to sit with Mommy during the story-time portion of the morning (only after Emmett graciously gave up his seat on Mommy's lap).

Emmett and his shakers.

A lazy, stormy afternoon, playing with his new Transformer on the couch.

Meanwhile, Micaiah read one of her new library books (about "Frankles" - aka Freckles).

20 June 2012

Of the Darnedest Things

One of the best things about having a 3.75-year-old is being in that "Kids Say the Darnedest Thing" stage, as my two most recent Facebook statuses indicate:

"While reading Mr. Popper's Penguins, I asked Micaiah some questions to aid with comprehension:

'Where did Capt. Cook sleep?'
'I don't know.'
'Capt. Cook sleeps in the refrigerator! Do you think we should have a penguin in our refrigerator?'
'Where's our penguin?'
'We don't have a penguin.'
'Let's go get one!!!'

Next item on the shopping list: penguin ;)"


"After her third helping of Chicken Nugget Casserole:

Micaiah: 'Ok, I'm full.'
Philip: 'Chicken Nugget Girl doesn't want any more?'
Micaiah: 'No, Cupcake Girl wants a cupcake.'"

The enthusiasm with which she decided we must go get a new pet (regardless of the fact that Joey is supposedly our live-in penguin) cannot be adequately portrayed in writing.  And Cupcake Girl - that was all her.

I never cease to be surprised by the things she comes up with in normal conversation.  She's a firecracker, that one.

1,000 Gifts:
612. Fresh grass clippings littering the lawn
613. Bugs made fat while churning up our compost
614. Dark brown material for feeding our garden
615. The sprouting of new tomatoes
616. A little girl loving on her baby brother through kisses and giggles
617. A Daddy-Daughter sing-along
618. Her beautiful curls swept up in a ponytail

Photo of the Day: Micaiah decided to play with Joey while I got ready this morning.  I loved watching her bounce all over our bed, bending over her brother to kiss his tiny face.

19 June 2012

Of Parties

For as long as I can remember, I have looked forward to the day I would celebrate my "Golden Birthday" - when I would turn 28 on the 28th.

In fact, that and going to college were the two highlights of my future.  I didn't dream about my wedding day or what it would be like to be a Mommy (though I assumed, of course, both would happen at some point), but going to college and celebrating my Golden Birthday - those were big.

Now that my university days are five years in the past, the final of my big goals is soon to take place.

And, while I knew it would be fun to say, on that one day of my whole life, "I'm turning 28 today - on June 28th!,"  I really did not have any plans as to how that celebration would go down.  So, I told my husband it was up to him.  He better make it special.

Then I realized that was a lot of undue pressure, so I planned it myself (like I, frankly, have planned all my birthdays throughout our marriage, as our birthdays are three days apart and it's just plain easier to plan a joint outing rather than separate the two) - and I was going to have a party.

A real birthday party - with people other than just my family (who are great, don't get me wrong, it's just not the same as having an official "party," you know?).

And saying that makes me feel like I'm five, which, by the way, is the age I was the last time I had a real official birthday party and had more than two people show up (yes, having a summer birthday the same week as the fourth of July kind of ruined my chances of ever having a good turnout - in fact, I only ever even tried twice, and both were epic failures).

Well, sure, there was the one year, nearly 10 years ago now, when my high school friends and I all went out together and they spent the night after, but since we pretty much did the same kind of thing all the time, I'm not sure it counts as a party so much as "Let's hang out - and, hey, it's my birthday, so we'll have cake, too!"

Either way you slice it, it's been a long time.  And I'm kind of giddy about it as I buy frozen deliciousness for my ice cream bar and plan the toppings I shall offer - as this will be the central theme of my "party" - no pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey or musical chairs at this shindig.  Just a lot of calories and some spoons (oh, and purses, because I want my friends to treat themselves just a little).

And then I realize, it's still summer.  And people are still generally gone during the summer, no matter how old you get.  Stink.  So, maybe me and two friends (who are as vacation-poor as we) will have a great time - but at least we'll have ice cream!

 PS My husband gets a little bitter on this topic as no one made any special mention of his first birthday (even though we have video that proves otherwise).  Thus, with his birthday on July 1st, I've told him we'll do it up right when he turns 71.  Until then, I think he'll be glad when this 28th nonsense is done.  Love ya, sweetie.

1,000 Gifts:
604. Playing on Mommy and Daddy's bed before bedtime
605. Acorn Squash served like bowls
606. Bacon wrapped around chicken - need I say more?
607. Dimples on my little boy
608. Her getting comfortable around dogs
609. Him climbing up the slide
610. A little guy falling asleep on my chest
611. The prompting of the Holy Spirit building habits 

Photos of the Day:
Playing on our bed after dinner, Joey had a great time standing (one of his favorites) and then laying on Mommy.

18 June 2012

Of Bamboozlin'

Imagine this: A little boy is playing with one of his favorite toys - a play laptop, let's say - and along comes his big sister with another toy he'll just love - a plastic dinosaur, perhaps - offering to allow him to play with it.  Sweet, right?


Unless that big sister happens to be slicker than a used car salesman who walks up to you, after you pull into the lot next door in your shiny Lexus, and tells you she's got a 1976 Chevette (or some useless car - I'm only pretending to know what I'm talking about) in back that you'll just love and she just needs to be rid of.  So, here you're thinking, free car!  Yay!  Maybe you'll drive it when you're hauling the kids around so they don't get the Lexus dirty.  That's cool.  Until you take it out for a test drive and come back to find your Lexus gone and the overly helpful used car salesman gone with it.

Sad day.

Yeah, that's kind of like the scene that unfolds here daily.  Usually multiple times a day.

"Hey, Emmett!  Don't you want this dinosaur?"

The innocent and unsuspecting two-year-old answers, "Yeah."

And as he reaches for the dinosaur, she snags the laptop.  Because, you know, Mommy and Daddy always taught her to share.  So, she's sharing.  And he's sharing, too, whether he likes it or not.

Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on how you're looking at it), he never quite seems to catch on.  So, while he'll occasionally fuss at the fact he was just bamboozled, he's usually so caught up in the dinosaur, he really couldn't care less.

Sometimes Mommy and Daddy step in for him at the first offer of the alternate toy, because we see what's coming and we like to protect our innocent little boy from his conniving big sister.  But sometimes we just let them sort these things out on their own.  Because as long as they're both happy, we're content to just let it slide.

1,000 Gifts:
601. His little fingers wrapped around my pinkie
602. A little boy calming down after a phone call with his father
603. Warm summer evenings - not hot, just right.

This photo is from yesterday - but I'm sharing it today because it's just too cute not to.  This kid finally got to spend some time in his exersaucer this weekend, and he's kind of a fan.

17 June 2012

Of the Father of My Children

The other day, Emmett was having a bad afternoon.  It was one of those afternoons when he had woken just a little earlier from his nap than he should have.  And he was not happy about it.  

On these afternoons, his typical course of behavior is to cry about wanting to be held (and typically by whichever parent is busiest - "Is mom making dinner?  Then she must be the one to hold me - not Daddy, who is sitting on the couch waiting to snuggle.").  Thus, on this particular day, it was me, feeding Joey, who was the target of Emmett's needy nature.  

"I want Mommy!" he cried, as he sat on the toy box.  

Daddy, who had gotten home only minutes before the breakdown, knelt next to Emmett and to ask what was wrong and if there was anything he could do to fix it while Mommy was otherwise detained.

It was in that moment, Daddy kneeling in the glow of the afternoon sun streaming through the front door, face only inches from his teary-eyed son, speaking soft words of consolation, that I was grateful for the father I have in my husband.  

Neither of us is perfect - especially when it comes to parenting - but his moments of patience come when mine have run out, his horsey abilities far exceed my own, his shoulders were made for carrying toddlers and his prayers of protection over kids frightened by the dark (or pretending to be so Daddy will comfort them) are what make him the best father I could imagine for our beautiful little ones.

594. A little boy in overalls
595. Backyard time
596. Stirring of a heart's conviction
597. "It's my birthday!  I'm two!"
598. Learning a new game
599. Shrimp Scampi and Cheddar Biscuits from my own oven
600. Sharing videos with family far away

Daddy and his babies - Father's Day 2012

Daddy said to put on their angry faces - only Micaiah cooperated.

Silly face time.  I love the look Joey is giving his sister.

Still silly faces, only Micaiah's is downright creepy.

16 June 2012

Of a Second Birthday Celebration

Today we celebrated Emmett's second birthday.  We let Emmett have his day a little early so as not to conflict with Daddy's day of pampering tomorrow.  I don't think Emmett was very sad about it.

I have, however, discovered that birthdays stress me out.  Even keeping things low-key as we do around here (mostly because I'm not a good event planner - at all) causes a little anxiety.  Because even though we didn't throw a party or invite any friends or have any family close enough with which to celebrate, I still felt some sort of pressure to make this day Emmett's perfect day.

There's a problem with that plan.

Emmett's two (or not even).

He's not very good at expressing what he likes or dislikes and every request he makes is typically a mere mimic of his sister's desires.  Thus, we have yet to learn what Emmett really wants.

Still, keeping with the knowledge that, again, he's two, and he'll be unlikely to remember this event in the future, on top of the fact that toddlers are fairly easy to entertain without big bonanzas or fancy outings, we opted to stay in.  We enjoyed his favorite breakfast - eggs and banana muffins - before heading out to play in the two tents Daddy set up with a tunnel between them, and also with the bubble-blowing lawn mower from Grandma and Grandpa.

He opened the rest of his presents later - just a few from family as our children have quite enough with which to entertain themselves as it is - and had donuts for lunch (because Mommy tried to make them for breakfast before she noticed the dough was required to chill for two hours). After a dinner of pizza, he blew out the candle on his baseball cupcake.

And then we all headed out to play with his new tee-ball set from Gram and Grandy.

We finished the evening by dancing to the credits of his selected movie ("Megamind") and listening to Micaiah read his new book from Nenaw and Papaw ("Brown Bear, Brown Bear").

And he seemed pretty happy.

So, even though it wasn't a big affair and still left me feeling like maybe it wasn't perfect enough, I'm guessing, even if it might not have been a "perfect" day, he considered it pretty good, indeed.

1,000 Gifts:
585. Tiny fingernails needing clipping
586. Curly hair freed from its ponytail
587. Keeping cool with a fine-misting hose
588. Colorful tunnels
589. Rainbows in a misted spray
590. Donut holes fresh from the oil
591. His tee-ball stance
592. Dancing with my littles (again)
593. Her reading the bedtime story from memory

15 June 2012

Of Simple Pleasures (and Overeating)

We may have splurged a little much on food today and my belly may be a little larger than necessary as a result, but I maintain taking the kids out for a spontaneous IHOP breakfast with Mommy and, later, the entire family through the Taco Bell drive-thru, just for the heck of it, may have made the day (or the first half of it, anyway).

Then again, the playing with trains in between the two lavish meals didn't hurt, either.  Especially not when it meant listening to Micaiah's gruff man voice saying, "Thank you for the air conditioner" (this girl never ceases to amuse me in her pretend-play world).

Overall, the day was definitely not too shabby.

1,000 Gifts:
575. Tiny green sprouts sitting in the window sill
576. Little man hairs falling to the floor
577. Homemade pizza
578. Baby poop that doesn't yet smell bad.
579. Getting out the exersaucer
580. Finding just what I needed at the garage sale
581. Whipped butter
582. A thunderstorm in the night
583. A clean plate and little-man pants needing to be unbuttoned to make room for bulging belly
584. A mailbox filled with only colorful cards (no political postcards, K-Mart ads or electric bills)

This photo was from yesterday, when Micaiah took the Slinkie Joey had been enjoying and arched it over his back.  I love my kids.

Enjoying IHOP.

This is Joey's form of enjoying IHOP.

We played with Story Dice while we awaited our food and, later, while we awaited the check.

Train time!  I had fun setting out every single piece of that.  And I might be proud to say that every single piece was also put away before dinner.

13 June 2012

Of Noise, Noise, Noise

The transition back into life as a family of five may have been a little rough on our first full day together.

I may have had a headache during all the waking hours of our children.

And I don't get headaches.

Apparently my brain had detoxed from the regularity of constant noise that accompanies the life of a stay-at-home mother of three (it seems the noise-level multiplied exponentially when the second one learned how to work his vocal chords voluntarily).  And being thrown head-long back into the world of non-stop sound was too much for my poor ears.

Thus, we have begun to work on volume control.  Probably something that should have happened a long time ago, but I think when the rise in volume just happens gradually it becomes much less noticeable than when it's been gone for awhile and suddenly turns back on.  Like your car radio - when you keep turning up the knob, little by little, as you cruise around town and it sounds just fine, but then when you get back in the car the next day, turn the key and hear your favorite station blaring, it seems like an assault on your ear drums.

Yeah, kinda like that.

So, now my favorite phrase is, "Quieter, please."  Micaiah seems to understand, but Emmett has not yet learned the art of volume control on his own voice.  And it seems his favorite volume is yelling.  Probably to be heard over his sister.

It's a slow process.  But I believe there is hope.  In fact, I haven't had a headache since that first day.  Which means we're either making progress or my brain is de-sensitizing once more.

Either way, we're functioning.  And life is good.

1,000 Gifts:
567. Happy pills
568. Opportunities left and right
569. A glowing red orb of the setting sun
570. Her looking so cool in her shades
571. Smoothie popsicles waiting in the freezer
572. Her silly face in the picture
573. "Applesauce is nummy!"
574. Sharing

Photos of the Day: 
The doula who delivered Joey (as she was the first one qualified who walked in the door) stopped by today.  I had to be sure to get a photo of the two of them together.  Micaiah wanted to be in the picture, too.  So she could do this:

She certainly missed playing with this little guy.  Looks like he missed her, too.

He also discovered the Slinkie today.  I think he has a new favorite toy.  

And the excitement was just a bit much for him in the end.

Finally, we took Joseph's Jemima picture today, as he turned four months old yesterday.  I couldn't choose my favorite, but here are a few.  Note: He doesn't actually sit up on his own, yet - there was much flopping seconds after these two were snapped.

In reality, this is his favorite position of late.  Always on his belly, this guy.

11 June 2012

Of Monsters and Men

Just in case you were wondering where I've been (besides enjoying the past two weeks of quiet around this [previously] empty house), I spent the weekend surrounded by guys ranging in age from nine to, well, I can't really fathom a guess without possibly causing offense, but I'm fairly confident there were a number of men over the age of forty, at least, all drawn together by the love of a game.

No, not basketball, as might be presumed at this time during which the Oklahoma City Thunder are gearing up to face the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals.  And not baseball, either - another logical guess as the season is now in full swing (had to do it!).

But this:


It's a tabletop miniatures game that involves monsters trying to kill each other while destroying a city filled with buildings and commanding their minion grunts around the map.

Yes, it is extremely nerdy.

And I'm not gonna lie - I had the best weekend.

I know what you're thinking and you might be surprised to hear that the Convention was not filled with acne-ridden teenage boys who haven't bathed in months or even forty-year-old men who live in their mother's basement.  In the course of my own competition (yes, I even participated in this geek-fest!), I sat across the table from a comedian, a member of the United States Navy, a postal worker (and amazing artist), a Canadian and even the most adorable nine-year-old boy you've ever met.  Also in the room was a teacher, a preacher, a nurse, fathers, sons, more artists and even a manager of a Dairy Queen.  They came from New York, Washington, Chicago, Memphis, Louisiana and (as previously mentioned) from across the Northern Border.  All gathered together for one purpose - to play their game.

You might even think, if they've come all this way to march a plastic alien across a paper map they're going to take this thing seriously - a little too seriously, really.  But you would be wrong (again).

These guys play like kids - with joy, laughter, friendly competition, yes, but mostly just good sportsmanship and a mutual respect for anyone who appreciates the game.

The fact that they let me join them after only two days of studying figures and icons, making multiple mistakes, but also being kindly led back in the right direction, is a testament to their good-natured spirits.

I mean, hey, if a stay-at-home mom of three is going to take interest in their passion, then come on in.  And just bring that baby with you!

I mean, really, this is how Philip played the Final round as he competed for the top title (which he, sadly, lost, but we're both still awfully proud):

It's hard to play cut-throat with an infant at your feet.  And they didn't care (actually, honestly, Joey was the hit of the party - all those Daddies missing their babies back home and all those single guys glad they can look at those adorably chubby cheeks and know he's not waking them up tonight).  The more, the merrier.

So, yes, I spent the weekend with nerds - I'm sayin' it loud and sayin' it proud.

And, not gonna lie, a little sad that MonCon comes but once a year.

1,000 Gifts:
555. Entering his world
556. Seeing the health tracker get to zero
557. Tiny plastic monsters smashing buildings (in theory)
558. A bleary-eyed hug two weeks in the making
559. "Where's Joey?" from little tongues
560. "Twinkle, twinkle little star" coming from the back seat
561. An abstract scattering of Cheerios across the floor
562. Considering making dancing with the little ones a daily workout
563. Skipping around the living room
564. Plastic necklaces
565. Ice Cream
566. Crossing the friendship threshold.

06 June 2012

Of Perspective Shifts

When we were new parents, the transition, as for everyone, was rough.  Going from free-spirited newlyweds  who can run out to Wal-Mart at 11:30 on a Friday night because they have a hankering to play Mouse Trap and need to go grab a copy to parents of a newborn who can't go anywhere without first buckling the baby into the carseat, making sure the diaper bag is stocked, considering the feeding schedule and how that will coincide with the time away from the house, the entire process adds at least five minutes to getting out the door and, well, it all becomes too much of a hassle to where you'd rather just stay home (or send one adult delegate out for the errands while the other stays home with the sleeping baby).

Suddenly you feel constricted, tied down.  Because it's not just the two of you, anymore, it's the two of you and "the baby."

It's an entirely different perspective going from being the two of you and a pre-schooler, a toddler and a newborn to it just being the two of you and "the baby."

Suddenly there is FREEDOM!  Because now, when we want to get out, instead of requiring twenty minutes to round up tiny shoes, change three diapers, check the diaper bag, grab snacks (if necessary), buckle three car seats and finally head out (to the cries of, "We wanna watch!"), we buckle a baby into his carseat, make sure the diaper is stocked, consider the feeding schedule and plan accordingly.  The entire process adds only five minutes to getting out the door.

Incredible what a shift in perspective does.

*Also, please note, we have felt much freedom for the past couple of weeks with an only child, but very much look forward to entering back into the pre-school/toddler fray shortly.

1,000 Gifts:
546. Slivers of potato flying off the peeler, over the bowl, into the sink
547. Reading, belly down, on a made bed at 7am with little one squirming nearby
548. His little head twisted all-around to see momma
549. Little boy asleep on his play-mat
550. Tiny male voice over the phone: "Good night, Mommy and Daddy"
551. Scribbling notes as I prepare to enter his world
552. Beautiful rain = Free car wash
553. Lounging with Little Mister, who just needs a snuggle
554. Raindrops on the windshield

"How I spent my Summer Vacation" by Joseph Peter:

Once this little guy learned how to get to his tummy, he never looked back.  Now he flips over the moment he's laid on his back.  And he always seems to hold his hands together - so proper!  He hasn't started working on flipping back, yet.  Apparently he's quite happy with the belly!