Friday, May 30, 2008

six years ago

Six years ago today I was birthed into the confusing, gut wrenching, sleep depriving, hair pulling, but awesomely rewarding world of motherhood. I feel more connected to this day as my day to celebrate being a mother than some Sunday in May. Six years ago today I got handed a 9 lb bobble head and officially was bestowed with the name Mother. And though I am exhausted, emotionally strung out, and nearly hairless I believe I am blessed.

I could never have imagined in 2002 what or who this bobble head baby would become. He had giant eyes and cowlicks galore. I looked for parts of him that resembled me but his father's genetics had the stronger say. I was, it seemed, just the vessel that carried this little child. What I didn't know then was that his likeness to his father in both personality and looks would only increase with years. What could a mother do?

He was an easy going baby. Slept through the night from the beginning. He didn't mind being held by others. He was a good nurser and then content with a pacifier. He was so chill that he never crawled. He was perfectly content wherever he was placed. When he finally did decide to move he just stood up and walked and that was the end of that. Once he was walking he moved quickly into running, then into swing a golf club and a bat by age 2 and has never looked back.

Though my identity is not solely wrapped up in being Jacob and Reba's mom I do believe they make my life complete. Without them I am sure I wouldn't fully be me. Today I celebrate the last six years for my son and all that he has become but I also celebrate it for me. Six years ago God gave me the gift of another human being that somehow separated from me and looking like his father was part of me. Awesome.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Take me out to the ball game...

We love minor league baseball. There is something pure about the sport when it's players aren't making millions and the fans aren't paying a fortune to watch them (can't beat dollar dogs and drinks!). Specifically we love our Round Rock Express. Going to a game is always a great family event. So, while my parents were visiting we decided a game was definitely in the plans (this is a family who routinely went to Dodger games) so my sis bought the tickets and the Queen and her entourage converged on the ball game. Here are some of the pics from our adventures.

Entering the gates

Where else will the press wave at you?

"Hi, Matt!"

Super coy

Dad, talking to Molly
Me and Mini Me
Look, Dad!
The Queen and Grandpa sitting next to very big people

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Ping Pong

To my delight my sister was able to fit in her Penske some things for me from my parents' house. It seems there was no longer use (room) for the old family ping pong table in Dear Old Dad's garage. Somehow they exhumed it for new life here in TX. And new life it has received - though I think it is time to replace the paddles. What do you think?

I don't keep it a secret that I am slightly (read very) competitive. My laid back personality and my ADD will frequently mask it, but it's there. For instance - my husband noticed this one of the first years we were married and mailing out Christmas cards and letters. We had to fold the letters and we each had a stack to do. I naturally was attempting to finish mine before he could -trying not to let him know I was racing. I wanted to beat him. It was a compulsion. I couldn't help myself. It happens all the time (and so you don't worry about my marriage - I don't always compete with Brian).

Now add to this a ping pong table. Hand eye coordination were never my strengths. But give me a paddle and look out. I shocked Brian the first time he played me a couple of years ago (he's seen me throw and catch). Now he challenges me every night. I am pleased to report that after two weeks of this I beat him last night. Interestingly this just made Brian want to play more. I say, "Game on!"

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

I failed to mention...

Jenny is here!! Jenny, my sister, arrived almost 2 weeks ago now with my dad and a Penske moving van. Good Lord, she had a lot of stuff. Even she admitted she had collected some things - which is surprising given Jenny's no nonsense personality. So, it was clear that she needed all of this so we made it fit. The only thing we couldn't make fit was her beloved leather couch (which looks strangely just like my leather couch) so she got a small storage unit. Climate controlled, of course, for the leather.

She quickly filled Reba's room and closet - which was an amazing great fit for all her belongings. And Reba gladly now bunks in Jacob's room (they've been praying for this). Jenny unpacked in record time and has taken up residence like she belongs here - which of course she does.

My family loves having her here. I especially love having my sister close. Even after all these years we still come out wearing the same thing (and apparently choosing the same furniture). She made banana bread tonight and the smell was what prompted me to write. It smells like home here. And it feels even more like home with my sister here. One down, one to go. One by one I plan to lure my family here. So far the plan is working.

More Quilts...

I made my friend and each of her children a quilt. Hers is almost queen size and the kids each have a kid size version. By the way, her son's name starts with "Q" but Jacob aptly pointed out that "Q" could also stand for quilt. Sure, Buddy... So, hours and hours later, I am totally satisfied with the end product. I just hope she senses how much we all love her when she wraps herself up with these (in Summer - oh well). I have a couple squares of Lily Pulitzer fabric left - I thought about incorporating it into something for her husband. I think I just might send it to him as is. Perhaps to tuck in his pocket on treatment days...

look at this expert binding - the result of my binding tutor (which I referred to often)

scriptures on faith, hope, strength and healing

six big squares total with four words each

even the back is cute - notice the little rattle?

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Cancer and Quilts

One of my roommates from college - a dear friend of mine - discovered during her second pregnancy that she likely had cancer. By her 29th birthday, just one month after having her baby she learned she had Hodgkin's Lymphoma. Cancer.

She lives on the East Coast and that makes being there for her more difficult. I wanted to show her how much I love her and care about her. What better way to do that than make a quilt? I couldn't think of any...

So, that's what I have been up to as far as sewing. I used Lilly Pulitzer fabrics (her favorite) in pinks, greens and blues (her favorites) and some minky that is just sooo soft. I got enough of both to do small quilts for the kiddos too. One baby quilt and mom's quilt is almost done. I am too excited not to share some of what I have gotten done.

Of course the kids have noticed me working on the quilt and are asking who it's for and why. I explained as best I could that my friend, who is a mommy, has cancer - a bad disease that can make her very sick. "Could she die?" they want to know. Ummm. No, my friend won't die. But some people who have cancer do. And the medicine that my friend will take to make her cancer go away will make her feel very sick. This, I realize, is a very confusing matter for them to grasp.

Weeks have gone by now. We pray for her every night. Please, God, heal her from her cancer. Help her to be strong while she takes her medicine. Be with her family while they go through this. Amen.

Reba asked me the other day, "Mommy, what would happen if you got cancer?" Gulp.

The Season Finale

T-ball season is over. The team was on a winning streak losing only one game (that Brian coached on his own - no issues there) and arrived at the championship tournament in the first seed. It came down to the first and second place game tonight at 6pm. There was a huge turn out for what ended up being the hottest weather we have played in thus far. Both stands were packed with parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and local fans while the Yankees and Nationals battled it out for the title.

The Yankees (that one team that beat us before) showed up in a big way tonight. It seemed like the Nationals just couldn't get their glove on the ball. It was a nail biter and by the sound of things we were playing in the Majors (the parents can get a little excited). Miller played a strong first base making one of our few outs. Caught up in the emotion of the event his mother jumped out of her seat with her fist in the air and screamed for him (I didn't recognize that woman).

In a previous game this weekend Miller played well, scoring his first home run and making some decisive defensive plays at pitcher and first. Although his skills were strong coming into this league we have noticed marked improvement in his game. The fans and fellow critics were complimentary noting his strong offense and defense this season. Most impressive has been this kid's wheels. That boy can run.

So, a bitter sweet day in this household. T-ball is over for the season and the Nationals came in 2nd place. May I repeat, T-ball is over for the season and Nationals came in 2nd place. Whew! Season well played boys.


We named the cat, by the way. Thought I would let you all know, especially those of you who know "Little Dog," that this animal was finally named - not "Little Cat" as some of you predicted but a real honest to goodness name - that we even call her. What is feline and works with King Tut? Why Cleopatra, of course. We just call her Cleo, but this makes her no less royal. This cat only drinks running water and wouldn't be caught dead drinking from the dog's bowl. She also likes to perch on her scratching toy like a true sphinx. Sometimes we find her staring at the garage door like if she looks at it long enough she can open it with her Jedi mind powers. I collect only the special ones, I tell you.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

The Original Brave Pioneering Woman - my Grandmother - in honor of Mothers' Day

She's got olive skin. I always wondered why I didn't inherit that. In my youth she stood tall - 5'6" naturally - add a few inches for whichever heels she had chosen to wear that day. An educated woman before her time - she graduated from USC in the 40s. She worked and even when she didn't work for a living she would sometimes spend 40 hours a week volunteering (whether it was when the children were small or when she became small into her 80s). Up early always and dressed properly to boot she was always ready for her day. God forbid you were a non-morning loving grandchild for a visit. She'd wake you in the morning at the bleary eyed time of 6 am with a little scratch on the back, a "rise and shine" and the lights would flip on. Gads... Grandma.

Epic stories are told of this woman's stoicism. It's how she earned her rights as the Original BPW (Brave Pioneering Woman). Known for her tendency to go without on camping trips when a sleeping bag was supposedly forgotten the nomer was bestowed by her mischievous boys. She proved time and time again her BPW merit as she would always sacrificing herself - making due in any situation. No seats left in the truck? She'd ride on the hump with no seat belt. Not enough of the meal to go around? She'd have saltines and milk and it would be fine. Not enough help for the auxiliary gourmet kitchen/gift shop volunteer/book keeper/Sunday school/cooks for the church breakfast? She would take the extra shift and volunteer. You say her neck/leg/wrist/sternum/foot/pelvis is broken? She can still meet all her volunteer/social/church/family obligations. Seriously. She will try.

I distinctly remember her in her Halo for the broken neck (and orthopedic device, though I think she's earned the heavenly kind) - running down a pastor she hadn't seen in a while at the Annual United Methodist Church Conference in July in Redlands, CA (read 102 degrees in the shade). Nothing could stop this woman. Even recently during a hospital stay due to complications with a sternum (breast bone) fracture and abdominal pain she managed to convince the nurse that she was "in no pain" but frequently asked for ice packs. "No pain medication needed." Right. Crazy BPW.

A couple of years ago this amazing woman who has accomplished so much in her lifetime mentioned to me through some emotion that she wished she had done more with her life. My jaw dropped. I couldn't even begin to come up with the accolades that have or should be bestowed on this woman. When cleaning out her house four years ago in preparation for my family to come live with her for a time my mom and I uncovered boxes of awards and recognition that grandma had never put up - much less probably showed anyone. There they sat - in boxes. Knowing that awards and accolades were not what she meant I tried to vocalize some of her incredible gifts to this world.

We discussed her contributions to the church, endless hours of volunteering, being among the founding members of our local church, and her never failing tithe. We talked about her commitment to the hospital and her contributions on the board of directors, the volunteer community, and the fiscal donations making possible growth for the future. We talk about the educations she has helped fund, her own children, her grand children's and now her greats'. I don't even know, I realize, the vastness of the impact this one now little woman has made. How many lives has she touched?

She is the most proud, of course, of her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. What a legacy she has left. Gifted, intelligent children married to solid and gifted spouses. Each with their own family her children have raised good children. Each of us grand kids have gone on to productive lives - a few of us with spouses of our own. And then there are her great-grands. Those beautiful babies that she dotes on. Her eyes sparkle brimmed with tears when we talk about her family. I am reminded of the clear plastic holders in her wallet filled to the max with her granddaughters' pictures (she only had granddaughters until Jacob). We are good women because we learned from the best, I tell her.

I think about the long days at Grandma and Grandpa's when our parents would "David-Union-Mary-Paul (parent code for 'dump') us at the folks". We played and Grandma's imagination spurred us on. We typed on real typewriters that Grandma kept running just for us then she would read our nonsense like it actually said something. We built forts out of handmade quilts and mushroom stools from the 60s. She and Grandpa kept trampolines for their coffee table and we would set them apart bouncing back and forth on them. We would practice the piano and Grandma would click along with a noise only she can make with her mouth. She would take us swimming in the summer and gladly spend all afternoon with us at the pool doing the side stroke so as not to get her hair wet. She would invent projects for us to do and I wonder now how her craft closet was always well supplied - who keeps googley eyes, pipecleaners, and pom poms on hand? Grandma. When we trick-or-treated at Grandma's she was always dressed up with her witch hat. I have the coolest grandma. I told her that she always made us feel important and loved.

By the end of our conversation I think she had resolved to meditate on those things - all things that are good. My mother gave me a plaque some time ago that reads, "Good women; may we know them; may we raise them; may we be them." In this sentiment Grandma, you have succeeded in every way! Your BPW legacy lives on. Happy Mothers' Day to all the Good Women in my life!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

The Jeep wave

The Jeep wave. It's an unwritten rule that if you should own/drive a Jeep Wrangler you must hold a minimum of two fingers up on the hand that is holding the steering wheel when passing another Jeep Wrangler. It is expected that the other person will reciprocate. This rule is passed down like a secret code of Jeep drivers. In CA not as many folks driving Jeeps were true Jeep drivers - no wave - posers.

When I moved to TX I realized the sheer population of Jeep drivers is greater and every one of them waves. On my way to work commuting a little over 12 miles I might wave 6-8 times to a passing Jeep. I have gotten the usual two finger acknowledgement, an actual wave and once even a full on salute. If someone waves and I am spaced out on auto pilot and don't see it I feel bad that I missed it - like they might now view me as a fake (I am especially sensitive to this being a woman driver of a lifted wrangler).

 I wonder as I drive why drivers of other cars don't have this code. I think about this as I realize I have a horrible urge to wave at Jeeps when I am driving our Honda Accord. What would an Accord wave look like? What kind of exchange might that be? Would you politely raise one hand in understanding that you are both incredibly practical people, saving at the pump and driving a car that will last forever? Maybe this doesn't work with other car drivers because they just aren't as cool. When you drive a Jeep you add an element of adventure to your life. You wave with a nod of understanding that you are just a little bit different than the rest of the commuting masses - you drive a Jeep.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

The joy of reading...

As I was recovering from my last 5 out of 6 nights in the ER (working) I was supposed to be watching Reba who is home ill (I never escape). I laid down on the couch to let her be my "doctor" as she took my blood pressure, attempted to find my reflex points (occasionally hammering on non reflex points), and giving me pretend shots (which actually hurt a little) all while wearing her doctor scrubs I made her for Halloween - for authenticity, of course. As she did this I found my eyes grew far too heavy to keep open so I just was resting them a little.

Next thing I know I am being roused only slightly to Reba yelling at me, "Does this say YESTERDAY?!?" I open my eyes only enough to see a word in double and confirm it does in fact say, "Yesterday." This was followed by many other words as I fought to stay awake - totally failing miserably. It came to a point when Brian (from his office) could hear her sounding it out and then confirmed that it was the word she thought it was or that she almost had it. Despite my poor parenting, my 4 year old is reading.

I am reminded of this incident only now that I am fully awake and coincidentally Jacob (almost six everyone!) is reading The Napping House which of course is the house where everyone is sleeping. I hear him get to the last page and he exclaims, "Whoa, look at all those words!" then dives in to read them all. It makes a mother's heart soar. In particular this word loving reading queen of a mother's heart soars. My babies are growing up and they love to read! (Incidentally, Reba is now napping in my spot.)