Monday, December 14, 2009

And now...Preschool Musical!

The last couple of posts here have been pretty depressing, so here is the ultimate pick-me-up: pics and videos of Caleb's preschool Christmas musical! It was so incredibly precious. I cried happy tears through the whole thing!

The kids all had little "costumes"--and Caleb got to be a donkey. Ha! Here he is "sleeping" in the back row next to the angel.


Here is his class lined up for a photo op after the performance. Caleb is in the bottom row, second from the left.

I got 3 short video clips on my camera. Let's see if they work! This one is a segment of their song "Starry Night." I PROMISE these videos will make you smile, especially if you know Caleb!

video


"And when the angel came to Mary, he said..."

video


In case you didn't catch that, they were singing, "Fear not! Fear not! Don't be scared!" Caleb is the extremely fidgety one in the back. :)

At the end the kids sang "Go Tell it on the Mountain" in English and Spanish. Here you can see a bit of that. The kids just kind of mumbled through "Ve y grita a las montanas..."


video

Scott, Isaac and I sat proudly in the audience. Isaac needed a little entertaining while we were waiting for the show to start, and I put my hat on him. Is this not an adorable picture?


I love my boys.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Grieving

I miss my baby.

I miss being pregnant. I miss that feeling of knowing something amazing is coming.

I wonder if it would have been a boy or a girl. I wonder if the baby would have had my dimples or Scott's eyes.

We watched Up last night with Caleb. Scott and I both teared up at the part when Ellie loses her baby.

When we first found out I was pregnant, we told Caleb that a baby would be growing inside my tummy. He hadn't mentioned anything to us about the baby since the miscarriage, and we hadn't brought it up. Then yesterday I was wearing a baggy sweatshirt and Caleb pointed to my stomach and asked me, "Mommy, is the baby starting to grow in there?"

For the most part, I've been doing very well lately. The day I went to the doctor and found out for sure I had miscarried, I left the doctor's office and went straight to the dollar store to pick up things for Awana that night. I made it through Awana...and that's how it's kind of been since then. Every day, I make it through. There are so many things to keep me busy at this time of year. It's only when I am alone in the quiet moments that the grief and the pain hit me. I've lost a baby. I have a baby in heaven.

Don't get me wrong--I completely trust God in this situation. I know that He is in control and that He has a plan. I know that my baby is with Him now, and there is no better place to be. But I am still human, and my human selfishness wants my baby back here sometimes. I think it will take quite awhile to stop feeling that way.

I do rejoice in the two healthy children that I have, and the incredibly supportive husband who stands by my side. I thank God for the family and friends who surround me, especially those who have comforted me with the words, "I've been there." I am so blessed.

I am just grieving.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Glory Baby

On Thanksgiving morning, I woke up and took one of these:


Yup! That's a positive pregnancy test! I was so excited--Scott and I have been wanting to add to our family and have been praying for a baby. I woke Scott up at 7:00 to show him the results. (Yes, I thrust a pee stick in his face first thing in the morning. Isn't that a wonderful way to wake up?)

We went to Thanksgiving at my parents' house and told our immediate family members. Of course they were all very happy for us.

On Monday, I made an appointment with my Ob/Gyn for mid-December.

On Tuesday, I started spotting a little. I called and talked to a nurse at my doctor's office, and she said that what I described was probably normal and to just call back if the bleeding got heavy or if I started to have pain. That night I went out to dinner with some great girlfriends of mine, and during the evening I started to bleed more. By the time I crawled into bed that night, I knew something had gone horribly wrong. I cried myself to sleep while Scott held me tight.

On Wednesday, I woke up in pain. I called the doctor's office, and they asked me to come in that afternoon. I made an appointment for 2:20--by then I was bleeding heavily. At the appointment, the doctor gently confirmed what I already knew--I had lost the baby. I was only about 5 weeks pregnant.

Although this experience is hard and painful, I trust God. I know that He has my little baby in heaven right now. I imagine there is a special place there for babies who never even got a chance to make it out of the womb.

There is a song from Watermark (now just Christy Nockels) called Glory Baby that keeps going through my head. I wanted to share some of the lyrics here with you:
Glory baby, you slipped away
As fast as we could say baby....baby
You were growing
What happened dear
You disappeared on us baby....baby

Heaven will hold you
Before we do
Heaven will keep you safe
Until we're home with you....

Miss you everyday
Miss you in every way
But we know there's a day
When we will hold you, we will hold you...

But baby let sweet Jesus hold you
Til Mom and Dad will hold you
You'll just have heaven before we do

Sweet little babies
It's hard to understand it 'cause we're hurting
We are hurting
But there's healing
And we know we're stronger people
Through the growing and knowing
That all things work together
For our good
And God works His purposes
Just like He said He would...

I can't imagine heaven's lullabies
And what they must sound like
But I will rest in knowing
Heaven is your home
And it's all you'll ever know

My friend Vickey sent me a card yesterday that reminded me that God's hands were big enough to create the world, and they are also strong enough to heal me and gentle enough to hold me. Amen to that.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Caleb's 4th Birthday

Caleb turned four on Sunday. Happy birthday, big boy! It was just a short four years ago when he subjected me to a 24-hour back labor...Aw, sweet memories! :)

We had a family party for him on Saturday, which was lots of fun. I tried to keep it low-key (since I tend to stress out when I entertain), and I just made a bunch of appetizers for us to nibble on. After all, no one really wants a whole bunch of food 2 days after Thanksgiving!

I didn't get a great picture of our spread, but here's one:

We had lots of fresh fruit and veggies, sandwiches, hummus, crackers, cheese, trail mix, spinach and artichoke dip, and some chicken nuggets for the birthday boy. :)

To Caleb, birthdays are all about having cake. (He actually told me on Sunday that people don't grow up until they have a cake. How funny!) He wanted a Thomas the Tank Engine cake. I intended to make a 2-layer round cake with Thomas on top, but one of my cake layers stuck in the pan. So, I made another 2 cakes and turned the cake into a huge 3-layer monstrosity. I put a "track" on the top made out of chocolate Twizzlers, and then we put a new Thomas birthday engine and train car on the top. Here's how it looked:


Very easy, and not-so-Martha-Stewart in appearance, but Caleb loved it. And it was all homemade with love. :)

You know, I really learned my lesson 2 years ago when I had these elaborate plans for a 3D Tow Mater cake (from the movie Cars). I worked for so many hours on that cake, and it just fell apart the morning of the party. I fell apart, too. Scott went to Kroger at the last minute and told them what happened. He was hoping to just come home with a plain birthday cake. The lady at the bakery counter said, "Oh, he wants a Cars cake? Okay! That will take me about 10 minutes!" Scott came home with a beautifully and elaborately decorated cake, and I tried not to be bitter that it only took them 10 minutes and my slaved-over flop of a cake was in the trash!

Caleb's cousins helped him open his presents.



It was good to spend time with my wonderful family. Here's my brother, sister, and my sister's fabulous boyfriend.

My in-laws even came in from Oklahoma to celebrate with us.


They were so sweet to bring a couple of presents for Isaac so he wouldn't feel left out. And, surprise, surprise, Caleb wanted to play with those presents more than the ones that he got! (For a little while, anyway. Then he became fascinated with all of the cars and running them on the race tracks he got!)

It was such a wonderful day, and I think everyone had a good time. Next year I need to take more pictures!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Rudolph

I had a meeting at church last Monday, and Caleb went with me. He was playing fairly nicely while I was discussing all things Awana nearby. We were meeting in a big room that we use for lots of children's functions, and it afforded plenty of room for Caleb to run around and play.

There is a small stage at the front of the room with a ramp coming down either side of the stage. I told Caleb he was not allowed on the stage, but I guess it proved too tempting for him. He went up on the stage while pushing a toy grocery cart. He came down the ramp from the stage...and tripped, toppling over the cart and smashing his face into the carpet. I saw it happen, and I ran over to help him. He was crying hard, and his biggest injury seemed to be a bloody, busted lip. But over the next few hours, I saw the big, red carpet burn start to appear on his nose.


It actually looks better in the picture than it did in person. It was horrible looking! Everywhere he went, people would stare at him and ask him what happened. Scott kept calling him "Rudolph." Now, a week later, it is still red but much smaller. Poor thing. Could have been worse, though! He just looked a little funny for his birthday pictures.

Caleb's Preschool Thanksgiving Party

We went up to Caleb's school last week for his class Thanksgiving party. His teachers are SO creative and craftsy, it is unbelievable. Caleb comes home every week with some incredibly imaginative art project. For this party, the teachers had things set up for the kids to make turkeys...out of apples, marshmallows, and raisins. Who'd a thunk it?

Here is Scott helping Caleb with his "turkey."


Here's the finished product. I thought we had a better picture of it, but evidently the only one we got was one that Caleb took while Scott was teaching him how to use the camera. :)



That poor turkey lost his left eye shortly after this picture was taken. Little brother got hungry for that raisin, I suppose!

Here is Caleb eating...very little. Most of the food on his plate went untouched.



Isaac ended up sitting up at the table with the "big" kids and joining right in at the meal!



When we left the church (that's where Caleb's school is), Isaac started running in the little courtyard out front and was having such a good time that I decided to snap a few pictures.



Friday, November 20, 2009

Caleb's Pony Ride

Caleb went to his friend Wyatt's birthday party last week. Wyatt is a cute little cowboy in the making, so it was appropriate for his party to be at a local horse park. Caleb and Isaac had so much fun! There were pony rides, 2 bounce houses, a campfire for s'mores, a barn tour, and lots of goats, sheep, dogs, and cats running around.

Here is Caleb's pony ride:




And I had to get a picture of this goat. I mean...wow! She was slowly lumbering around the park.


Poor mama goat!

Isaac's Tower

Isaac started building a tower of blocks the other day. Here's what it looked like after a minute or two:



He kept going. Before it fell down, it looked like this:


Yea, Isaac! It was almost as tall as he is!

Bedtime with the Boys

Okay, someday I'll get back to blogging about my vacation. Maybe. But time has been so limited lately--I am realizing I have too much on my plate--that I don't have time to sit down to think about what we did over a month ago now!

So, here's something non-vacation-y. ;) A couple of weeks ago, Isaac climbed right in bed with Caleb. Caleb tucked Isaac in beside him, and I read them their bedtime Bible stories together. Aren't they adorable?

Monday, November 9, 2009

Seattle/Victoria Trip: Day Three

We woke up in Victoria, BC in our lovely hotel room overlooking the Inner Harbour (you have to spell it that way when you're writing about Canada, you know). :)


We wanted to walk around Victoria a little more, but it was raining steadily that morning. So we decided to go to the Royal BC Museum for a little indoor entertainment and education. They have a fabulous "First Peoples" exhibit that has artifacts and stories about the "Indians" who lived in the lands before the Europeans settled there. (This first pic is from the BC Museum website. You can't use flash photography in the museum, so our pics are a little dark.)


This was an example of a pit house that the first people lived in. They would climb in and out through the smoke hole at the top. (I guess they had to wait until someone put out the fire, huh?)

The museum also had a neat modern history exhibit, with replicas of what buildings looked like in the early 1900's. Here are pics of the "town" courtesy of the BC Museum website:































I enjoyed the exhibit of the turn-of-the-century home, and the kitchen in particular. It was fun to imagine myself cooking in that kitchen, but it would have been a lot of work!
































After a long morning in the museum, we headed for The Sticky Wicket for lunch. The food was incredibly good, especially for a pub! Scott had fish and chips, and I had hot crab and artichoke dip served with warm flatbread. Yummmmmmmmmm.... The service was lousy, but the pub itself was really inviting and the perfect escape from the wet weather outside.

The rain had let up by the time we finished lunch, so we walked around and shopped for awhile. We went into a cozy local bookstore, and then we stopped in at LUSH. Have you ever been there? I'd been wanting to try their solid shampoo (pictured here), so I convinced Scott to go in the store with me. Oh, what an experience! I guess I am just a good little Southern girl at heart, but I am not used to salespeople using foul language while trying to get me to buy products. There was a sales guy there who repeatedly dropped the f-bomb like it was absolutely normal to cuss at customers. Wha?!? I guess that's what we get for going to the "left" coast. ;)

We walked back to our hotel and had about an hour to kill before we had to go catch our clipper back to Seattle. So we each decided to settle in one of the plush armchairs in the hotel's comfy lobby and read our books in front of the fire. I always like to choose a book based on the place I'm traveling, and for this trip I chose Timothy Egan's novel The Winemaker's Daughter. I'll talk more about the book in a later post, but for now I'll just say I was happy to curl up and read for a little while after all the walking we'd done that day.

After about 30 minutes, we heard bagpipes coming from the patio outside overlooking the water. Soon, we saw a beautiful Scottish wedding party enter the lobby, complete with a kilted groom. Awww....

We left for the clipper and had an uneventful ride back to Seattle. The boat wasn't nearly as crowded this time, so we shared a set of 6 seats with just one other couple. Scott got a few pics from the back of the boat as we were heading toward Seattle.





Gorgeous, eh?

Friday, November 6, 2009

Seattle/Victoria Trip: Day Two (Butchart and Swans)

When we booked our clipper ride to get to Victoria, we found out that the cheapest way to get to the Butchart Gardens (which is the most popular tourist attraction in the Victoria area) was to take a bus tour offered by the Victoria clipper people. We are not usually "bus tour" type of people, but this worked out well. The bus driver was appropriately funny and informative. I learned a few fun facts about Canada:
  • Lots of people have hobby farms. Canadians get a big tax break if they make a certain amount of money each year by selling their own produce. So Canadians will put out little tables at the ends of their drives with their produce laid out. They put up a sign showing how much the food costs, and buyers simply put the requested amount in a jar. No one mans the booths. Do you think that would work here in the US? Seems like Canadians are more trusting than we are!
  • When I saw my first gas station in Canada, I was shocked. The price was just $.97! That was a fabulous price! Why would the price be lower in Canada than in Texas, I wondered? But then the bus driver cleared it up for us. Of course, those prices are per liter. Duh. So, that wonderful price ended up being about $4 per gallon.
  • In 2004, Canadians voted Tommy Douglas as the "Greatest Canadian" in a nationwide contest. Douglas was a socialist and founder of the country's universal Medicare program. (Alexander Graham Bell and Wayne Gretzsky were in the top 10.)
  • Canadian elementary children go to school for 10 months out of the year. High school and college kids have an 8-month school year (mid-September to April).
Okay, enough useless Canada facts. On to The Butchart Gardens! We went to the gardens because....well, as tourists, I suppose we were expected to go. Flowers aren't really our thing (I tend to kill them, unless you count all the beautiful little white flowers that cover our lawn) but we wanted to go anyway. In the end, I'm glad we went. It really was beautiful, in spite of the light rain while we were there.


There was no shortage of photo opportunities.


For those of you who don't know my husband, yes, he is always this goofy.

I want this tree in my backyard. LOVE it. Of course, it's probably bigger than my backyard, but whatever.





I hear the gardens are really special at Christmas. They put lights everywhere and they have a twelve days of Christmas theme. You can round a corner and find "nine ladies dancing" or "ten lords of leaping."

We had about 2 hours at the gardens, which was plenty of time for us. Afterward, the bus drove us back into Victoria proper and even dropped us off right at our hotel. We stayed at the Delta Ocean Pointe right on the Inner Harbour. I would recommend it highly. Here is a view of our room:


The room had windows that opened and offered great views of the Inner Harbour. In the harbour, you saw everything from cargo ships to sea planes. It's impressive how all that was orchestrated.


That night we headed out on foot to walk around Victoria. Most of the shops were closed, but it was a nice night (the rain had stopped for awhile, and it was just nice and cool) and we enjoyed our walk. We settled on a pub called Swans for dinner.


We ate on a covered patio area, which was cozy and full of locals. There was a couple behind us who played cards while they drank some in-house brew, and a couple of elderly ladies at another table who split a pitcher of ale. I had shepherd's pie (with lamb braised in oatmeal stout). It was so good, I don't even remember what Scott had. Anything smothered in mashed potatoes is my kind of meal. Ha!

Here's a goofy pic of me before we ate.


Next post (hopefully it won't take me 2 more weeks to write): wrapping up Victoria and heading back to Seattle!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Seattle/Victoria Trip, Day Two (The Clipper)

Okay, so day one was not exactly riveting, I know. We spent most of the time in a plane, so of course there wasn't much to report. But don't worry, day two got better.

We had decided that we wanted to take advantage of being so close to Canada and hop over the border for a day. Victoria B.C. is less than 3 hours away by clipper ship, so we thought that would be a logical destination.

We had to get up earrrrrrrrrrly. For some reason, the clipper only leaves at 8:00 in the morning in the off-season. We were supposed to be there to check in by about 7:00. So, we woke up around 5:30, got ready, left the majority of our luggage with the concierge at the Seattle Doubletree, and took a taxi to the clipper. It was a cool, drizzly morning. Typical Seattle in October.

***Before I start posting pics, let me share this: our camera is horrible. Yup, horrible. It's a Canon PowerShot--you know, just a point and click kind of deal. It's only about 6 years old (I think we got it right before we got married), but it's obviously at the end of its life. The automatic lens cover doesn't close anymore, and sometimes it actually gets stuck half-way open and blocks half the shot. It's kinda funny that it's so quirky. People give us odd looks when we're banging on it, trying to get the lens cover to open. Anyway, I'm just sayin'. Our shots will not be award-winning ones, but hopefully they'll give you an idea of what we saw. ***

So, here's a little shot from Pier 69 in Seattle, where the Victoria clipper leaves from:


Here's hubby (holding both of our coffees!) and the clipper we took:

The clipper ride to Victoria was probably one of the highlights of the trip for me. It started out kinda crappy, because the boat was packed. I was hoping that we'd get to spread out and snooze or read or just be left alone, but it didn't work out that way. And I'm so glad it didn't, as I'll share later.

The clipper is a double-decker. All of the seats are inside (and out of the rain). The top deck has fewer seats, and that's were we went. The seats are arranged in clumps of six--three on one side, three on the other, and a table in between. We ended up sitting with an older couple who live in the Victoria area and a middle-aged couple from Seattle. My ears instantly perked up when the lady from Seattle said, "My husband is a travel writer. He's writing about traveling to Victoria in the off-season."

A writer! A travel writer! Man, how do you get that gig?? And do you have some travel advice for us???

We started up a conversation that lasted the entire three hours of the trip. I relished every minute of it. Both couples gave us lots of advice about Seattle and Victoria, and they were all just joys to be around. The older lady sitting next to me started talking about a commercial currently on TV in Victoria for a local insurance company. She and her husband shared how much the commerical drove them crazy. Evidently it shows a lady who is a very bad driver, and a voice-over says, "You don't drive like her. You shouldn't pay like her." The point is, of course, that if you are a "good" driver, your rates shouldn't be the same as those of a "bad" driver. But the way the point was made drove the couple batty.

"First of all, it's just demeaning. But more than that, it uses improper English. You don't drive like her, you drive like she."

Oh, man! Did I mention that I really liked these people?? They all started discussing grammar and syntax, and oh, I was in hog heaven! Ha!

I found out that the writer has actually just published a book. How exciting! He said it is his third book, and it's called Literary Feast--The Famous Authors Cookbook. What a cool premise--he went to various local and national authors and found out what their favorite recipes are and then compiled them in this book. Food and literature always go hand-in-hand. The author is Terry LaBrue, and the book is a bestseller at thriftbooks.com right now! He said that he just got a contract with Costco to sell it in their stores. That's hitting the big time!

*****
I'm going to have to split this post into two sections so it won't get outrageously long (and the boys should be waking up fro their naps soon). Next post: Butchart Gardens and a cool pub!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Seattle Trip, Day One

Last Thursday, we sent the boys off to Meme and Papa's, and Scott and I packed up and left on our first vacation without the kids! Our plan was to fly into Seattle and spend one night, then taking a clipper to Victoria B.C. and stay for a night, and then travel back to Seattle for three more nights. There is so much I want to remember about our trip, I'm going to try to break this narrative down into segments.

So, this post will be focused on the first leg of our trip--our first night in Seattle.

We had an afternoon flight out of Dallas, so we arrived in Seattle at about 4:30pm. Seattle's public transportation is pretty comprehensive--you can get a free bus ride from the airport to the light rail station, then ride the rail from there to downtown Seattle. Easy.

Well, theoretically easy. This is the part of the post which I will entitle "We Would Suck at The Amazing Race."

Here's Scott going up the escalator at the light rail station...


...and here I am going back down the escalator after we figured out that the light rail actually leaves from the other side of the station.


Hmph. Anyway, we finally got on the train and headed to Seattle. As we took in the scenery on the ride into town, the first thing I noticed was how different the houses looked. None of them were made of brick like the ones here in Dallas--they all had siding and large rectangular windows. I asked someone later about this, and he said that brick doesn't last in an earthquake. Ah...earthquakes. I am definitely not in Texas anymore! I asked the man who told me about the houses: "You get in a doorway if there's an earthquake, right?" "Yes," he said, "and if it's in the middle of the night, roll off the side of your bed. That way if the ceiling collapses, it will fall on your bed and not on your head." Useful advice....

We got out of the train at our stop in Pioneer Square, then realized that we didn't know exactly how to get from the station to our hotel. We consulted our map and got a vague idea of where the hotel was. We went up an escalator and left the station...and our hotel was literally right across the street. Bonus! :)

We stayed at the Doubletree Arctic Hotel. I highly recommend it! Nice bathrobes, amenities, fluffy duvet, flat screen high-res TV, and as everyone who has stayed in a Doubletree knows.....


...cookies. Straight-out-of-a-warmer chocolate chip and oatmeal cookies given to you upon your arrival. Mmmmm. I almost went back and asked for more.

By the time we got checked in, it was about dinner time. We were pretty tired (we had stayed up really late the last couple of nights cleaning and packing), so we decided to just eat in the hotel restaurant for dinner. (Yes, I had just eaten a big fat cookie. Don't judge me!)



The restaurant is called Juno, and it was pretty yummy. Scott and I both had a seafood pasta and some local wine. After a relaxing dinner, it was off to our room. We had to get up earrrrrrrrrly in the morning to catch the clipper to Victoria.

We had a huge wall-length window in our first-floor room, so we slept to the sound of the city. It was not like the sound of New York--full of sirens, loud voices, and car horns, but what we soon learned to be the distinctive sound of Seattle--the buses. Seattle has such great public transportation, and their buses run all night long. So our sleep was punctuated (not unpleasantly) by the buses making their rounds in the otherwise silent city.

Next post: Victoria, B.C.!