Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Old friends and...(much) older friends.

 Graham was born in February 2002, just 13 months behind his big sister giving our family three precious children under three years old.

I remember talking to my friend Carey ad nauseum about how in the world I was going to go to Target.  Do I leave the kids in the car, grab a cart, and then load them up?  What if it was hot and someone saw me and called CPS and they took my children away?  If I took everyone out of the car, I would have a toddler, a barely walking 14 month old, and a baby in a carrier - how could I even make it to the front door?  What if I parked by the cart return and then just loaded the kids there?  What if my timing was off and they had just cleared the parking lot of carts - I'd be screwed?  TOTALLY SCREWED!!!

I wholly believe now that sometimes, she would just set the phone down, go do a puzzle with her kids on the floor, start a load of laundry, and come pick the phone up thirty minutes later just as I was coming to the end of my monologue and saying 'TOTALLY SCREWED' in a screechy-high, panicky voice. 

Truth.

Anyway, about this same time, we got a call from our church.  A precious blind couple living in the US from Africa had just had a baby and they were wondering if I could help the new mom out with new mom type things.  By the above paragraph about the aneurism I almost gave myself going to Target , it would appear that my only qualification to be of any help was my actual ability to birth small children.

For the next year or so, I got to hang out with Afi and Godfried as we nursed babies (but not for inappropriately long or inappropriately short periods of time so as not to wage some stupid Mommy War), changed diapers, worked on sleeping schedules - oh, for the babies, too - and did laundry.

We baptized the little munchers together...

and celebrated their first birthdays. 

Side note:  Here is Trey and I looking young and spry at Godfried's birthday party. 


And, just for fun, I stuck in this picture from my 40th birthday weekend.  You know what the difference is?  If you guessed Trey's t-shirt you're wrong.  I think he might be wearing that bad boy under his jacket.  The difference is my favorite couple - decent lighting and photoshop.




Moving on...shortly after he turned two, Godfried's family moved out of the country and we hadn't seen them in years.  Godfried came back this week to visit friends in Dallas so the kids and I got to hang out with him and swim and eat 10 popsicles each thanks to the Steele's.

  
The kids were so small when Godfried moved away, they barely remembered each other but, like old friends, they laughed and played all morning.

And speaking of old friends, Carey turned 40 this weekend so we celebrated with a little G.N.O. here in Dallas.  G.N.O. is short for Girls Night Out, not gynecological appointment like I initially thought.  She likes to remind me every 48 seconds or so how I'm older than she is by a good 6 months.  And that I wasn't a cheerleader.  I think it's payback for having to listen to me agonize about going to Target.

This isn't a picture of the whole crew but the pictures we have of everyone are by the pool which, for some of us (and by 'us', I mean 'me'), stretch the capabilities of both decent lighting and Photoshop.


Which both become more and more necessary when celebrating old friends.  Some, older than others...

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Back from the Land of Good Hair

After three weeks on the road, we're home and settling back into the swing of summer.  It looks kind of like this: drive kids to the pool, apply sunscreen, rinse, repeat.

But, we are rested and refreshed - it was a fabulous time.

All in all, we drove about 3700 miles through Colorado, Utah, Arizona, and Texas and got all but four states in the license plate game, three if we blow off Washington D.C. like I voted to because I knew it was just going to cause angst.

We saw a lot of really beautiful places.



Totally straight up, I didn't see that place because it was really hot that day and Sadie thought she was going to "re-hydrate" so I stayed behind and took she and Olivia on the driving tour of Arches National Park.  Just as good, only with Diet Coke.

We took a LOT of pictures but oddly enough, very few of all of us turned out. Perhaps it has something to do with my precious angels and their new little habit of throwing West Side signs, peace-out signs, or fake-mooning the camera every time we take a picture.


 
 

Tee's not even pointing at anything real in this one, he's just trying to annoy me. 


Getting everyone to smile, look mostly normal, and not pretend their in a gang where street-cred is key is getting more and more difficult.  This one is actually almost there except that Graham is now tall enough to cut off 1/2 my face off with his unkempt hair.  I'll take it.



Speaking of hair, it is amazing to me how much the humidity effects us Texas gals.  For three glorious weeks, I had no frizz, no fly aways, and no weird puffiness.  As a fun trade off, I had skin like an alligator and perpetually chapped lips which, when combined, made me look super-not-hot.

What was hot, though, was the trip through the desert to Arizona.  Remember my desert fear?  I desperately needed something to distract me on that four hour leg, so I suggested to the the kids they might recreate the YouTube viral video of the Harvard Baseball Team dancing to "Call Me Maybe". 

Seen it?  Cracked me up. 

'Alright, Momma, we'll take that challenge and conquer it in only 8 takes and one bathroom break'.




Good news is that riding backwards filming your children and listening over and over and over and over to that kind of lyrical artistry is a hands-down cure to desert fear.  It may promote other fears, but desert fear is definitely not one of them.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Bigger.

We're on leg three of our family vacay and week two of Trey's sabbatical. 

Estes Park and Crested Butte were beautiful and cool and the hiking didn't make me die which I'm considering a bonus. 

Although we saw deer and elk daily, none of the kids were able to claim the $8 prize for spotting a bear. They did ask what they'd get if they were actually attacked by a bear and so, as a group, we decided that would definitely be worth an extra $10. 

Although it seemed totally legit at the time, now, driving through the desert and gaining clarity, it might not have been fair compensation. 

Speaking of desert, this part of the drive has made Trey and I realize for the first time we share one more thing in common - desert fear. Perhaps we've seen too many movies where people are stranded in the desert with no gas, water, or sunscreen above 15 SPF.  Anyone seen Brad Pitt's movie, Babel? Lady struggling to get out of the desert with two small children, no water, and wearing pantyhose an uncomfortable shoes?  It's become one of our worst nightmares. 

We have seen some pretty beautiful things, though. Utah being no exception. 


A recurring theme with what we've seen is how much bigger everything is - and that's coming from a Texas girl.   From mountains, to white waters, to gorges and canyons, they are so much bigger they make us look tiny in comparison. The Lord's creation has astounded us, dazzled us, and given us new perspective on how big He is and how infinitely small we are. 


And to get a glimps of His immensity and not also be certain of His goodness would indeed be terrifying.  But as we've gotten to see the glory in His creation, the Lord has been equally gracious to show our family His goodness on this adventure. 

Perhaps especially by preventing the aforementioned bear sighting/attack payout. 

In his hand are the depths of the earth;
the heights of the mountains are his also. (Psalm 95:4 ESV)