Saturday, May 31, 2008

The only one for me

It was the end of January, the year 2000. I had just moved to New Mexico, and didn't know a soul.

There was a function at the church the day after I arrived, some sort of anniversary celebration. My new roommate invited me to ride along with her, and I accepted, happy that I didn't have to show up by myself.

We approached the double doors of the building where the celebration was being held. That is when I looked up and saw him.

Medium-tall, with jet-black curly hair. Broad shoulders a mile wide, it seemed, held straight and proud. Black leather jacket.

And my heart said, "Hmmmmmm."

I didn't find out who he was until a few weeks later. Ricardo, they said his name was. I passed him in the church lobby one Sunday morning, and, thinking to be friendly, greeted him with a bright, "Hi!"

I got a less than enthusiastic "hello" back, and promptly wrote him off in my mind.

It took him 4 months to get around to asking me out. And I use that term loosely here; I am not sure that calling me up and saying, "Hey, a bunch of us are going river rafting, and I have 2 spots that I have to fill....wanna come?" constitutes being asked out, but apparently it was his roundabout way of doing so. I agreed to go, and somehow ended up in his truck for the ride up and back. We talked non-stop the entire way, and the rest is more or less history.

6 years ago today, I walked down a grassy green aisle in Indiana and became the wife to the only man in the world for me. I saw him waiting for me there at the front, his eyes showing his emotion, and I felt so complete in that moment.

The day had dawned gray and rainy, and since we were planning an outdoor wedding in my parents yard, it wasn't looking good. I pictured trying to cram all of our guests in to my parents living room for the ceremony.

Fortunately, about an hour before it all started, the rain vanished, the sun appeared, and it was perfection. My daddy gave me away, and amidst tears from everyone in the audience, Ricardo spoke his completely unrehearsed vows to me...words that were beautiful and natural and came straight from his heart.

We had a dinner reception afterwards, celebrating with just close friends and family. I hear a lot of stories about how brides are too keyed up to enjoy eating at their own wedding, but I was definitely not one of them. We had a very simple dinner, nothing fancy, and completely in keeping with the rest of our casual setting. But, oh, it was good......roast beef, homemade rolls, potatoes, green beans. Comfort food. Homemade Mexican cookies that my mother-in-law brought along. Actually, I think the only thing I didn't really get to sample, outside of the customary bite that we fed each other, was the wedding cake. Oh well. I heard it was good, I'll take their word for it.

Look at the sunset in the background.....phenomenal.

Before we knew it, evening gave way to nightfall. And we waved goodbye and left to start our new life together.

Words cannot express how thankful I am for this man. He is the perfect counterpart to me. He is the decisiveness to my wavering. He's the push in my swing, encouraging me to go a little higher. He's the gravy on my mashed potatoes......everything is just a little better when he's around.

I could not ask for anything more. Happy Anniversary, my husband, my friend.

Friday, May 30, 2008

I lift up my eyes to the hills

We are back from our lovely night away. I could really get used to this whole celebrating-the-anniversary thing.

And according to Savannah, we now have a "new house".

She was in love with the hotel room, the pool, the elevators, and the fact that she could run up and down the halls unhindered. Upon entering our room, she immediately dubbed it our "new house". And since we have returned home, she has asked no less than 10 times when we're going to go back to our new house to go swimming.

Obviously, it didn't take her long to become accustomed to a life of leisure.

Ricardo and I enjoyed a romantic candlelight dinner Thursday evening while some friends of ours watched Savannah. It was a nice little steakhouse, and I really wanted a steak.

Ok, that is not entirely accurate. I wanted Ricardo to get a steak so I could steal a bite off of his plate, while also enjoying something else of my own.

Me: So! What are you getting?

Him: The burger.

Me: Really! Wow. Not a steak? Really?

Him: No. The burger.

Me: Man. I was really hoping one of us would get a steak so I could taste it.

Him: Well, you go ahead. Get a steak.

Me: I don't want a whole one. Just a bite.

Everybody does this, right? Eat off the plate of the hubby? I'm quite sure I'm not alone in this. Hubby is not overly fond of my habit, but he indulges me, and now even knows to offer me unsolicited bites. He let me taste his burger, and it was delicious. A Kobe beef burger, so it had a little extra class to it. And I know he really, really loves me.....because he really, really loves his burgers, and to forfeit a bite for the sake of the wife speaks volumes.

The resort is on the east side of town, close to the mountains that hem our city in on that side. Rachel at Badgers on the Loose had just requested that I post some pictures of the mountains, so since we were so close, I snapped a couple of shots. Here you go, Rachel! Hope it doesn't make you too homesick. :)

When I first moved here, the mountains were the first thing I fell in love with. I remember promising myself that I would never take their beauty for granted, and that I would look at them every single day and feel the same awe that I felt the first time I laid eyes at them. I would repeat that verse to myself from Psalms 121, "I lift up my eyes to the hills..."

Gradually, I stopped really seeing them. I started using them only as a landmark, an easy way to remember my directions...."if you're going towards the mountains, you're going east". I would stand at my kitchen window which directly faces them, and fail to notice the grandeur that once took my breath away.

Then I read Rachel's comment a few days ago, and realized how much I would miss those mountains if I had to leave. It's so, so easy to take for granted the beautiful things that you are surrounded by every day.

So, again, I promised myself I would take the time to stop and look and appreciate a little more. I sat yesterday evening, pool-side, as the sun started to set. It cast its glow upon the mountains and painted them a beautiful coral-red color, and it was the most gorgeous and peaceful thing I had seen in a long time. And, again, I was reminded:

I lift up my eyes to the hills
Where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord
Maker of Heaven and Earth.
Psalms 121:1-2

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Stealin' a kiss from Daddy - Wordless Wednesday

More Wordless Wednesday here!

The vacation where we stayed home

What is it about holiday weekends? Even though we didn't travel anywhere, it was so fun to relax and do things we don't normally get to do.

Like taking Savannah to the closest thing we have to a "beach" here in town. They even call it Tingley Beach, which is truly laughable since it is nothing more than a series of man-made ponds. But when you live in the desert, you take what you can get.

They have a cute little train that runs back and forth from the zoo to Tingley Beach and the botanical gardens, so we took her for a ride. It lasted an hour, which was a little long....I think the highlight was when I broke out a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for her. That cheered her up and provided some distraction for a good 15 minutes.

Neither of us have any family that lives close by, so sometimes it can be a little sad during holidays when everyone is getting together with their families to celebrate. But we have the most awesome friends in the world.....different couples will invite us over for every holiday and basically adopt us into their family. For this Memorial Day, our friends Robert and Ana called us up and told us to come over for a cookout.

When we got there, I thought they had invited at least 20 people. They had 3 huge racks of ribs, a pile of steaks, tons of chicken, burgers, hotdogs, a couple of different kinds of potatoes, beans, salad, corn....the table was loaded. And there were only 6 adults. Needless to say, we were stuffed to the gills when we left. So, so good. All diets were certainly out the window for this meal.

So, it feels like we have been on vacation even though we haven't left our house. Funny what a change in your day-to-day routine can do. And....the fun continues! This weekend is our anniversary, so we will be celebrating on Thursday. Before he left his old job, Ricardo's boss gave us a very generous gift certificate to a really nice resort/casino here in town. So, we get to party in style, and best of's free! Can't beat that! We'll have dinner at one of the great restaurants at the resort, and then get a room for the night. And enjoy a big buffet breakfast and swimming in the morning.

Hope you all had a great weekend as well!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

The tone-deafness only adds to the charm

Sometimes I look at Savannah and daydream a little. I wonder what she'll be when she grows up. That thought alone is hard to wrap my head around.......grown up. It's impossible to imagine anything past this age right now....she'll always be two, running around, saying, "I miss you!" as she wraps her two little arms around me. Right?

Well. In my dreams, maybe. But eventually, she'll grow and be....what? A teacher? Nurse? Artist? Journalist?

Or maybe a pianist. Or singer.

I come from a very musical family. All of us play at least one instrument, and while none of us can claim to be a professional singer by any stretch of the imagination, we can certainly carry a tune and we all play by ear.

I always assumed that I would marry someone that possessed a similar musical gene.

That is not the case.

We discovered last month, by accident really, that Ricardo is basically tone-deaf. He will admit it, so I'm not saying anything he doesn't know. Sometimes, when we are sitting together in church, he will harmonize perfectly with me. This initially led me to believe that he did indeed have a great ear, and I was excited! We could sing together! And sound decent!

But then his harmony would more often than not trail off into something....else. Something that was not especially harmonious.

So the other day, while we were giving Savannah a bath, he picked up one of her bath toy instruments, and started to play a "song". Mind you, it is a one-note instrument. After he played this one-note song, he asked me if I knew what it was. I hadn't a clue. He was all, You don't know it? I can't believe it! Here, I'll play it again....

I started to get a sneaking suspicion about the tone-deaf theory. So I said, Ok. Can you match this note that I'm going to sing?

And he said, What do you mean by "note"?

I explained it.

He said, They all sound the same to me.

So we tried it. I sang a note, he tried to match it. He always ended up above or below my note, and he said that he couldn't hear the difference.

This was pretty amazing to me....I have never actually known anyone who was tone-deaf. And as someone who plays the piano almost strictly by ear, it's so hard for me to imagine that someone cannot hear the changes in pitch.

So I'm curious to see who Savannah takes after. She sings constantly....ABC's, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, B-I-B-L-E. All day long, over and over. She bursts out in song at the grocery store, the doctors office, wherever and whenever she feels like it. She dances to Ricardo's 80's music, to the Backyardigans theme song, to American Idol. She's not picky. There is no denying that the child likes her music. But it's a little too early to tell whether or not she has a natural ear for it.

I wouldn't change a thing about my hubby. I love standing next to him in church, listening to him sing out whole-heartedly his love and adoration for his Heavenly Father. Who cares if it's a little off-key?

God doesn't, and neither do I.

Friday, May 23, 2008

My assistant baker

Savannah hates her booster chair. She refuses to sit in it at the dinner table; she wants to sit in the "big chairs" like Mama and Dada.

However, she has just discovered its magic heightening powers as she drags it around the kitchen and boosts herself up to reach whatever she can find on the counters.

Today it is rainy and cool; it feels more like a chilly fall day than a summer Memorial Day weekend. Perfect weather to make beef stew and cookies.

I just pulled the cookies from the oven, and set them on a rack on the counter. Savannah lugged her trusty booster chair over to supervise the cooling process. And possibly swipe a chocolate chip or two.

(And yes, I know, Savannah desperately needs a haircut. I am debating whether to cut her bangs or let them grow out. My indecisiveness has led to the shaggy-dog syndrome).

Pul-eeeze, Mama?

That's it. I'm not waiting any longer....


Yes....definitely finger-lickin' good.

There's nothing sweeter....

Thursday, May 22, 2008

I don't want to miss even one song

Today I just want to grab my baby girl and hug her tight.

I want to seal inside of me ever precious word she has ever said, every baby giggle that has bubbled from her lips, every memory we have made together since she entered our lives two and a half years ago.

My heart is broken for the Chapman family. Tears keep coming to my eyes when I think of how completely devastated they must be. Their beautiful little girl is now in Heaven with her Father, but oh, how the ones left here on this earth must miss her.

I listened to the song Cinderella again today. Since I first heard this song, it has been one of my favorites, and even before the tragedy occurred last night, I couldn't listen to it without crying. Now, those words are more poignant than ever, and my heart hurts for these precious people that I don't even know.

I know that my baby doesn't really belong to me. She is first and foremost a child of our Heavenly Father, and He has blessed me beyond belief in giving her to me for a little while. I don't even want to imagine that she might not always be here on this earth with me, but I know none of us are promised tomorrow. So today as I weep for the Chapman's precious Cinderella, I hold my own a little closer. I memorize the little details that make up our day, the things that may sometimes seem monotonous or mundane, but in reality are priceless treasures.

And I don't want to take even one second for granted.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

I won't be winning any Mommy of the Year awards for this one

Do you ever have something happen, something that is not fun and pretty terrible and even embarrassing? Then, as the days and months go by, and you put some distance between yourself and the incident, it doesn't seem quite so bad? And you can even see a tiny bit of humor in it?

Well. This is one such episode. (Warning to my mom...don't freak out. It all turned out ok.) :)

It happened this past February. It was a stressful time, Ricardo's dad had just had his stroke, and we were going back and forth to the hospital several times a day, trying to figure out what was going to happen.

It was a Friday evening, and we were home relaxing. Ricardo went to take a shower, and I was vegging out, watching TV. Savannah was playing on the other side of the couch, where I couldn't see her, but I could hear her coloring.

This is where my mothering skills take a turn for the worse. I was so engrossed in whatever I was watching that I didn't realize that Savannah had left the room. For at least 5 minutes. It suddenly occurred to me that I hadn't heard her in a while, so I went to see what she was up to.

Now, obviously, I don't always know what she's doing throughout the entire day. She pretty much roams around, comes and goes as she pleases, and that's fine. But as any momma can tell you, when things get quiet, it's time to investigate.

She was in our walk-in closet, playing on the floor. Fine, I thought. She's entertaining herself. That's good. Then I took a closer look. And gasped.

She had climbed up on a chair and then on some suitcases that we keep in the closet, grabbed an old (and ugly, I might add) discarded purse that I don't even use anymore, and then dumped out the contents all over the floor to play with them.

Among them was a bottle of Excedrin Migraine. In a childproof bottle, of course.

Which was childproof no longer.

She was surrounded by all of the pretty little green capsules, taking them in and out of the bottle, having a good old time.

Did I mention I gasped? And probably screamed. I jumped on her, made her open her mouth, looked at all the capsules. Nothing in her teeth....good sign. No wet capsules....good sign.

But still. How can you be sure about something like this? She never gets candy, so I was pretty sure she wouldn't think it was candy and eat them. She wasn't in there very long. They weren't wet. Oh my. Oh my goodness. I'm a terrible mom. How did this happen? I didn't even know I had them! Why didn't I check on her 5 minutes sooner? I don't even take Excedrin Migraine anymore! Why didn't I throw them away 3 years ago? What if she really ate 17 of them? What if she DIES from poisoning?

Such were the thoughts that raced through my head in about 1.5 seconds.

I called Poison Control. The guy was not very helpful, but really, I guess there's not much he could do. He told me a few things to look for, and he also did a calculation on the amount she would have to eat in order for it to be harmful. I think it was something like 5 or 6. I asked him if I should take her in to the ER and he said yes, he would recommend it.

It was already about 10:00 at night. She was exhausted. I was exhausted from crying and freaking out. We went ahead and put her to bed, and I thought I would sleep in her room just to be close and keep an eye on her. Being the calm and collected mother that I am, I couldn't leave her alone, I kept hovering over her, touching her stomach to see if she was breathing. Which she apparently didn't like, because she woke up, screaming. Which led me to think something was wrong with her because she wouldn't quite crying. Which led us all to freak out and head to the ER at midnight.

We arrived at the ER, and after a long wait, her name was finally called, and we were taken back to a bed with a curtain around it. Vitals were taken, questions asked. I had to keep repeating my humiliation to different nurses, all the while praying they wouldn't turn me into Child Protection Services.

Then the doctor came in.

For the record, I like most people. I want to see the best in them. I want to connect. I want us all to just get along.

But this doctor? It was a lost cause from the beginning.

We told him our story, and the look he gave me would have normally made me curl up in a ball and shrivel away from mortification. However, being that it was so late at night, and my daughter's well-being was at stake, I decided not to let it bother me.

Doc: So where is the bottle of medicine?

Me: (blank look) Um. At home. In the trash.

Doc: (glare of disbelief) Well! That's pretty much the most important part of this. I won't know what to treat her with unless I know what she took.

Well, sor-RY! This is my first attempted child poisoning and all, so forgive me if I'm not familiar with the protocol.

Doc: How many were in the bottle to begin with?

Me: Um. Well. I really don't know. I have not used them in over 3 years. I didn't even know they were there.....

Doc: (basically rolling his eyes)How far away do you live?

We tell him.

Doc: (thoroughly incredulous by now): You drove by five hospitals to get here!!!! Why???? Why would you come here?

I was beginning to wonder the same thing....if I had known I would have gotten him as our doc, I would have driven 50 miles out of the way. And for the record, since we have never had to take Savannah in anywhere, or ourselves for that matter, this was the only ER that I knew of that was reasonably close. Five hospitals! Whatever!

In the end, Ricardo drove all the way back to get the pills. I stayed with Savannah, who had to get blood drawn twice. Not a pretty picture.

Ya'll, we were there for over three hours. Three. We waited and waited and waited for the lab tests to come back to see if she had anything in her system. The doc popped his head in a few times to tell us it should be any second, which it wasn't. Savannah got a second wind somewhere during this time and jumped around on the bed, peeked under the curtain at the patient in the next partition over, drank some horrible charcoal substance that was supposed to counteract the poison, pretended that her Pooh Bear was pooped and that she had to change his diaper, then pooped herself which was so convenient seeing as I had forgotten to bring any diapers or wipes along.

The doctor finally came back with the verdict. She hadn't taken any pills.

They discharged us, and then came the final disgrace: they handed me a pamphlet that basically said, Since you can't keep your baby from shoveling poison into her mouth, here are a few tips to help ya with that.


And the nurse also said to me, "Next time I need help opening my child-proof lids, I'll know who to call."

Hahaha. Nothing like a little humor at 3:30 a.m. Hahahaha.

And do you want to know the only thing that made me feel a little better during all of this? Right before we went to the ER, I sat down and googled child poison excedrin bad mommy. Or something to that effect . And what should pop up but this link to a post done by Shannon at Rocks in My Dryer. Just reading her story and all of the comments that were posted there made me feel like I was not alone in my loser-mommy situation. It's nice to have support at a time like this.

So the moral of the story is:

1. Things happen, and all we can do is pray and trust God to watch over our little ones when we can't be there every second.

2. I am not alone in sometimes not being the best mommy in the world.


3. Please! For the love of all that is holy, don't hang on to really, really ugly purses and store them in your closet full of expired and lethal medicine. Chances're gonna regret it.

All you ever wanted to know

So, Kerri at Colored With Memories tagged me to do this meme, and although I typically don't like to go on and on about myself....well, I'm going to. :) Feel free to skip right past this, I'm afraid it won't be too exciting.

4 things I was doing 10 years ago:

1. Wow....1998. Let's see, I was living in Dallas, going to Bible school.

2. I was working at a restaurant as a hostess/cocktail waitress in downtown Dallas. I was terrible at both, but was especially inept at the whole cocktail waitressing thing. Let's just say I am still scarred from the time that I dropped a glass of wine, and I watched in slow motion as it reached out its liquid tentacles toward my unsuspecting customer. Fortunately it just missed her, but oh, the horror.

3. I was busy spending more money than I was earning...on school, going out to eat way too much, and making other stupid and reckless purchases of junk that I didn't need. Not to mention Starbucks. I'm embarrassed to admit how much I used to spend at Starbucks monthly.

4. I was also paid by a church in Plano to play the piano for their services every week. It was 45 minutes away, but the money was a huge blessing at that time in my life.

3 things I was doing 5 years ago:

1. We were getting ready to celebrate our first-year anniversary on June 1.

2. I had a job as an office manager for a small office, which in hindsight was a terrible position for me because I hate conflict and I hate dealing with irate people. I would wake up every morning with a sense of dread because it so messed with my peace-loving nature. Fortunately I had a good boss who recognized this and moved me to a new position shortly after. So, no more manager jobs for me.

3. We were planning a vacation to Puerto Vallarta. Oh, the good old days when we actually traveled!

4 things I did yesterday:

1. Dusted.

2. Laundry.

3. Exercised.

4. Read way too many blogs.

4 shows I love to watch:

1. The Office

2. American Idol

3. Anything on Food Network that involves a contest of wedding cake decorating.

4. Seinfeld.

4 things I love to do:

1. Take a nap while it's raining.

2. Go on a date with my hubby. (Rare, but so special when it happens!)

3. getting lost in a book.

4. Sing silly made-up songs with Savannah. I love it when she picks up on the silliness and sings it right along with me.

So I think I'm supposed to tag some other people, but I'm going to skip that part. Feel free to do this meme if it sounds good to you!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

My new favorite store for.....

What comes to mind when you think of the Dollar Store?

Possibly picking up some matches? Birthday card? Toilet paper? Hairspray?

All good and normal purchases to make at such an establishment, yes?

Oh, but you would be sorely limiting yourself, if you did not also pick up a few of these:

Yes. Steaks. At the Dollar store, and for a dollar! Who would have guessed?

It might just be me, but I am having issues with this. Maybe they are perfectly fine, but I have a hard time believing you can get a good piece of meat for a dollar. It also says you can find them in the frozen foods aisle. I have never seen a frozen foods aisle in any Dollar Store I have shopped at. I have seen those little mini freezers that they put near the registers that hold different varieties of ice cream, but those hardly seem like the right receptacle to hold red meat.

Ricardo wants me to take the add to Walmart and see if they will price-match.

I'm thinking the answer will be no.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

They're just PLAY scissors....right?

So, Savannah has this weird fascination with scissors. She is NOT allowed to have them, obviously, but she loves it when I'm using them. She hang around me, apparently hoping that I'll have a change of mind and hand them over to her.

This morning I woke up to the sounds of the ABC song coming from her crib. I tell you, this child definitely got her father's genes when it comes to early morning rising. And it's not even that it's so early by the time she wakes up, it's more that I like to sleep late. Terrible, I know. And not helped by the fact that I stay up waaaaay too late almost every night.

So, I went to get her up. And her first words to me?

"Scissors, Mama! Savannah's scissors!"


Apparently, I made the mistake of leaving her closet door open just a crack last night. It was enough that she could see inside up to the top shelf, where a big bucket of Play-Doh stuff sat. And inside that bucket? A little orange scissors.

Sometimes I wonder how her little mind works. It has literally been months, maybe almost a year, since she played with it. How did she remember it was in there? What little trigger goes off in her mind that says, Hey, I'm pretty sure there's an orange scissors up there, and I have to have it NOW?

So I gave it to her. It seemed safe enough. I mean, they surely wouldn't put anything dangerous in a kids' Play-Doh bucket, right? Then she ran up to me saying, Snip, snip, and jammed it into my arm. Ouch. It's not sharp like a real scissors, but it has that rough plastic edge to it that is not conducive to jamming it into someones' arm.

And it made me think of the time when I was two. My four-year-old sister decided to play barber, and proceeded to cut all my curls off. With a play, not-real, non-sharp scissors.

And oh, the lamenting that commenced after that incident. My mom was not happy, especially since it had taken that long for me to grow what little hair I had.

So I'm re-thinking the orange scissors now. Maybe not such a great idea. I think I'll go hide them back in her closet and hope she forgets about them for another year.

Friday, May 16, 2008

You're only as old as you feel

Today, per the request of my doctor, I went to a lab here in town to get some blood drawn. I signed in and sat down to wait for my name to be called.

The door opened, and two ladies entered. Elderly little ladies, one was at least 85 and the other was probably around 75. I like watching older people, because you never know what they will do or what is going to come out of their mouths.

Right away I could tell they were going to be entertaining. They didn't know where to sign in, they bickered slightly about how to go about it, then the younger one told her friend to go sit down, and the older one looked bewildered and unsure of which of the 10 chairs to sit in. They finally settled in a few chairs away from me, and started yakking back and forth about all kinds of stuff.

Older one: Hey, I really like your watch, is it new?

Younger one: Nah, I've had it awhile, and I really love it. I probably have 15 of these in different colors, they are only $10 so I can afford to get a whole lot of them. I love matching my watches to my clothes.

Older one: Yep. It sure does match that bird on your shirt.

And truly, it did match. The watch was a mint green color. She had on a purple sweatshirt with a green bird, and green pants. Somehow this ensemble worked on her, but probably only because she was 75 years old. I don't think I would be able to pull it off, or if I tried, I would fully expect somebody to pull me aside and suggest that I start watching What Not To Wear.

Older one: Hey, what do you think about going on that cruise?

Younger one: Oh, I sure think it sounds like fun, but do you think Ellen will want to go?

Older one: Humph! Probably not! She'd be too scared of falling overboard. Can't you just picture her trying to swim back to the boat? (laughing as they pictured the unfortunate Ellen chasing down a cruise ship)

The receptionist called her name, and the younger one stood up. Stay right here, she ordered her friend.

The older one looked at me and rolled her eyes. She's always bossing me around, she informed me.

I laughed. But mentally I was taking notes and filing them away. I want to be just like this when I am 85 years old. This little lady walked with a cane, and looked every bit her age. But she was sharp, spunky, had her makeup on and her hair fixed. Her friend, despite the purple and green outfit, had her toes painted pink, and her jewelry all in place. I didn't matter that they were little old ladies, they still knew they looked good. And judging from their conversation, they still had plenty of life left in them.

So, in about 50 years, you can look for me....I'll be hobbling my way toward a cruise ship, hollering for my friend to keep up with me.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

His Time

This month of May marks a complete year that we have been trying for Baby #2.

When we first were married, we talked about starting a family, and we both agreed that we wanted to wait 2-3 years. It seemed like a good amount of time to set aside for ourselves; we wanted to get to know each other, travel, just have fun. We had just hit the 2 1/2 year mark when we decided we were ready. Within two months we were pregnant, and I was ecstatic. Everything had gone perfectly according to our well-laid plans. My pregnancy with Savannah was mostly uneventful, outside of an insensitive nurse that completely freaked me out by telling me that my initial pregnancy test came back with a positive result so weak that I would probably miscarry. I remember driving home that day bawling so hard I could hardly see the road.

My due date happened to fall on Christmas Day of 2005. Everyone that I told thought that was the coolest thing ever, the perfect Christmas present. But our Savannah decided she wasn't ready to be a Christmas present after all, and came two days late, on the 27th.

We were in love, so overwhelmed by this perfect little angel that had come in to our lives. And we knew we wanted more...we had always talked about having a big family, at least four kids, and maybe even five or six. I am a planner, so once again, I had it all mapped out. We would try again for another one when Savannah was about a year and a half, so that she would be just over two when the second one came along.

Since I had gotten pregnant so quickly the first time around, I never doubted for a second that it would happen again, and right away. Oh, I knew, of course, that nothing is guaranteed, but I didn't give it much thought. We'll start trying in May, and hopefully it won't take longer than a few months....surely by September or October....

June came. July. Then suddenly it was fall...October, November. Still nothing. By the time Christmas rolled around, I was beginning to wonder, starting to worry a little bit. I knew something was not quite right with cycles were all messed up, which didn't help in the charting and planning and timing of things.

Some friends of mine had some really good success getting pregnant after being treated by a chiropractor, so I decided that was the next step I should take. I made an appointment, and went in for an examination. He told me right away that my pelvis was WAY messed up, that one side was about an inch and a half higher than the other, and that he suspected that this was a major part of my problem in the conception department.

So he started me on a regimen of twice-weekly adjustments in January of this year. I have been going to him ever since. My back and hips feel sooooo much better. He says my pelvis is about 80% back to where it should be. Which is really great news.

But. I'm still not pregnant.

I had a talk with a very dear friend of mine last week about this. I had pretty much kept it all inside up until that point. People, well-meaning people, would ask me when we're going to have another one. Isn't it time that you give Savannah a little brother? Are you guys done, do you want more? And I would smile, brush it off, say, Oh, yeah, we do want another one.....hopefully soon....keep it upbeat, don't let them see the anxiety, the fear that maybe it will never happen.

So when my friend and I started talking about this, I suddenly broke down. Tears that I didn't even know were just below the surface suddenly bubbled over. My friend is an unbelievably strong person who has had more than her share of heartache recently, yet still has an unwavering confidence and trust that her life is in His hands. So she sat with me, listened to me, and offered some really beautiful encouragement, stuff I needed to hear right then. Things she had learned from walking through her own dark valleys.

There are still questions. Things that come into my brain late at night and keep me awake. Am I expecting too much? Is there something in my life that needs to be dealt with? Did I try to plan it out too precisely? Is God just showing me that it's His timing, not mine? Is this something that isn't supposed to be? Is He trying to teach me to rest confidently in Him, using this to draw me closer?

I know there are so many others that are going through things much harder to deal with than this, things that leave them breathless with the pain they are feeling. Still, I know that since it is something that I am struggling with, God cares, no matter how big or small it is in the scheme of things. I read this today over at Bring the Rain; Angie articulated it so perfectly that I have to quote her here:

I was disappointed with God.

Do I praise Him? Yes.

Do I love Him deeply and with abandon? Yes.

Do I trust Him? Yes.

Am I disappointed? I am.

I have said it before, but it bears repeating. He isn’t intimidated by my disappointment. It doesn’t make God turn away from me because I wish that things were different sometimes, in fact, it makes Him come nearer.

Isn't that so beautifully expressed? And so true?

I am so, so grateful for the blessing that I already have in Savannah and I don't downplay that for an instant. I hesitated to write this post at all, because I didn't want to come off as so absorbed in this struggle that I can't see the past the little miracles that occur daily in my life. But I wanted to be able to come back to this point, later down the road, and be able to look back, no matter what the outcome, and say See? He was there, working all along. He knows.

He has made everything His time.

Let it Rain

We had a thunderstorm last night. And it was awesome. There are few things I love as much as a really good storm, and I was so excited when I heard the distant rolling thunder getting closer and closer. By the time I finally went to bed, it was increasing in volume, with bright lightning flashing intermittently.

Then it started to drizzle, and oh my word, I was in heaven. I think falling asleep to a light rain is one of life's greatest little pleasures. Growing up in the Midwest, it rained often. The louder the thunder and the closer the lightning, the more it thrilled me. And taking a nap while the rain cascaded down just outside my window? Divine. So when I moved to the desert, it was a huge adjustment living in a place where it usually only rains one month out of the year.

I had just dozed off when a seriously loud explosion of thunder shook the ground. I rolled over to look at the baby monitor, sure that it would light up any second with the announcement that Savannah had been awakened. No surprise, it flashed bright red as she started to cry. I rolled myself out of bed and stumbled to her room to pick her up. She was so freaked out, in that half asleep mode where she didn't know what was going on. Listen, I said. It's raining! It's so nice! Don't be scared...

She has obviously somehow acquired my love of rainstorms, because she stopped crying to listen. I put her in bed between us and she pounced on Ricardo. Dada. Wain. WAIN! It's waining!! See, Dada?

That signaled the end of a peaceful night's sleep for any of us. She was wide awake for at least an hour or two, I sort of lost track of time as I dozed in and out. She sat up at one point and asked for milk. Then for a banana. Ricardo swore he heard her ask for cake, but I think that he was dreaming.

I so hope that she doesn't become afraid of thunderstorms as she grows up. I want her to be in awe of every clap of thunder, of every better-than-fireworks show of lightning. I want her to stand in amazement as she sees God even in the rain.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Sometimes, it IS the thought that counts

My first Mothers Day came in May of 2006. Savannah was almost 6 months old.

So, Ricardo.....being a new father and all, he either didn't realize the day was coming, or he didn't know he was supposed to get me a card from Savannah. Either way, the result was this:

Gotta love him....he is nothing if not resourceful. (Read: forgetful).

But you know what? This hastily-scrawled card still sits on my dresser, where I look at it every day and smile. And he wrote some really sweet mushy stuff inside that pretty much makes it the best card I have ever received.

Just goes to show that sometimes the best things in life can't be bought.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

A Mom....who prays

I packed my bags and headed off to Dallas. I was leaving home
to go to school, eager to leave Indiana and be out on my own.

My mom sent me off. And prayed for me.

A few years later, I was moving to New Mexico, beginning a whole new chapter of my life. I didn't know a soul out there, but I knew that my steps were being guided, so I went.

And my mom prayed for me. And worried, I'm sure. But mostly prayed.

I met my hubby-to-be a short time later. After a year of dating,
we were engaged. My parents loved him, and whole-heartedly
gave their approval.

And Mom kept on praying.

We got married back in Indiana, a very small wedding that was intimate and perfect and expressed who we were so well. Mom cried during the ceremony, but I knew she was happy.

She sent me off again, this time a married woman. And the prayers continued.

Savannah was born....her first grandchild. There was a new little somebody to pray for now, and I know nothing thrilled her more.

I might not have always understood or appreciated the way Mom thought, the way she did things. But one thing I have always been quite certain of; the woman can pray, and when she does, God listens. And moves.

So thank you, Mom, for raising 5 great kids. For 31 years of praying for me. I know we only see you once or twice a year - so not easy - but your prayers span the 1285 miles that separate us, and make things a little better.

And thank you to my beautiful made me a mama.......and you made me the happiest mama in the world.

Happy Mothers Day!

Friday, May 09, 2008

Foody Friday - Cilantro Lime Salmon

Jenny at A Latte Talk is once again hosting Foody Friday. She is cooking up something spicy this week, and according to the definition she posted, a spice is anything of a pungent, aromatic substance of vegetable origin.

So this dish isn't particularly spicy, as in hot spicy, but it has lots of garlic. And onion. And...mmmm...cilantro.

This is my favorite way to prepare salmon, and you can have the entire dish ready to eat in about 30 minutes. The ingredients are easily adjusted to suit your taste...I always like to add extra lime.

Cilantro Lime Salmon

1/2 c. onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1 cup honey

juice from one lime

1 bunch cilantro leaves, chopped

4 Salmon steaks

salt and pepper to taste

Saute onions and garlic in a splash of olive oil. Add honey and lime juice; heat until honey is easily stirred. Add cilantro leaves and cook for a few minutes until wilted. Remove from heat; let cool slightly.

Place salmon steaks in a baking dish; season with salt and pepper. Pour marinade over salmon, cover, and refrigerate 10 min. (You can also reserve a bit of the marinade to serve with the salmon).

Cover dish with foil and bake at 375 for about 15 minutes, or until fish is easily flaked with a fork. Serve with reserved marinade, if desired.

Hair Woes

It's always an exciting event when one of my friends has a birthday. It means one thing: girls night out. For an entire evening, we forget our responsibilities. We laugh. We have actual adult conversation that doesn't even remotely involve talking about Dora the Explorer.

And we get to eat yummy food cooked by somebody else.

So the plan tonight was to meet at a little Italian place in town at 6:30. I scheduled my afternoon so that I would have enough time to shower, do my hair, get Savannah ready to go with Ricardo, make her some dinner, figure out what to wear, and get dressed. Simple, right? I hate to be rushed, so I allotted plenty of time.

I was doing great until I started to blow dry my hair. By the way, not one of my favorite things to do. My hair is pretty thick and wavy, but lately I have been on a straightening kick, so I have to dry it with a round brush, then go over it with a straightening iron. Time consuming, and it makes me hot.

So anyway, about half of my hair was dried when the hairdryer made a weird sound. Click. Click. And a very weird smell emanated from its depths. The little orange thing (coil? heating element? ) that normally glows inside was glowing no more. Let me just say, when things like this happen, it makes me nervous. I imagine that fire will start to leap out, scorching my hair and face, or that the whole thing will just explode in my hand.

So I put it down and went to find Ricardo.

I think my hairdryer just broke, I inform him.

He is busy looking out the window, scoping out the neighborhood. (Is my hubby the only one that does this? He gets the biggest kick out of spying on everyone that walks by. Hmmmm.)
He looks at me, half my hair up in a clip, the other half smooth and beautiful.

Oh really, he says.

I wait. Nothing more is forthcoming. I am not sure what I expected. Maybe something like, Oh! Well, let me just run down to Sally's and pick you up a new one!

What? Oh. Yes. Probably asking too much with that scenario.

Do you think it's ok to keep running it until I finish my hair? 'Cause it doesn't smell right.

He shrugs and says, "Sure, probably."

My husband is much more mechanically-minded than me, so if he says it's ok to keep running it, I will keep running it.

For about 2 more seconds, anyway. The "clicks" increased in volume as my peace of mind evaporated. I had to resort to Plan B.

Plan B included running out into the backyard where a fierce wind was blowing, turning my head upside down, and letting nature do what my hairdryer could not. My hair was dry in 5 minutes. I finished up with the straightening iron, and it turned out reasonably well.

I went to tell Ricardo that my hairdryer had indeed died, but again his response was less than enthusiastic. Fortunately my friend called at that very moment and I was able to share my tale of hair trauma with her. She commiserated with me over the very poor timing of it all.

And something I read earlier today came to mind: Your husband is your best friend, not your best girlfriend.

I would do well to remember that in the future.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Friendship defined

A good friend, a really good friend, is hard to find.

Someone who will sit and laugh with you, listen to inane ramblings and still get what you're trying to say.

Someone who will cry with you, pray with you, encourage you that God is still on the throne.

Someone who will offer to make chicken soup when you are sick, or insist on babysitting so you can go out.

Some people fade in and out of your life. There are seasons of closeness, and seasons where things happen and you drift apart. Then there are those people that you just know are forever friends. It doesn't matter if you don't see each other for a period of time, you can pick right up where you left off. Friends like this can see you at your absolute worst and it doesn't change their opinion of you.

Can I just say....

Tonight I am very, very thankful to have a friend like this.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

New Every Morning

It's mine!

I don't want to!

I do it!


Sound familiar? These are some of Savannah's most recent favorite phrases. Usually accompanied by a baby hissy fit and tears of hurt and anger.

But today as I looked at her, watching her resist and defy and struggle, I was struck with the thought that these words sound familiar for a completely different reason.

I have said them. Many, many times. Maybe not audibly, and maybe not even consciously, but the attitude of my heart has said them. Sometimes accompanied by tears of hurt and anger. And I'm sure that God looks down, much like I look at Savannah, and shakes His head. Wondering when I'm going to get it.

Don't you know it's for your own good? Don't you know the peace you will have when you surrender? Don't you know that I love you too much to let you go on like that?

And in His great love, He guides us. Disciplines us. Lets us make our own choices, and then gently steers us back to the right path.

There are things in my thing in particular.....that I struggle greatly with. It is such a back-and-forth battle. I feel like I gain an inch and then fall back a mile. I wonder when God is just going to give up on me, let me go my own way, because I have fallen so many times. When will His mercy run out? When will He throw up His hands and say, "I've had enough?"

I know that His mercies are new every morning, and wow....what a comfort that is to me. He forgives the moment you ask, doesn't even remember it. I can't imagine anyone loving someone more than I love my Savannah, yet I know He loves me infinitely more than that. Yes, He is probably shaking His head when He sees me choose the wrong things again and again, but just as it doesn't change my overwhelming love for Savannah, it doesn't change His all-consuming love for me.

Thank you so much....

A boo (also known as I love you)....

Mama, hold you....

Also some favorite phrases of Savannah's. And ones that are much sweeter to my ears, words that absolutely melt me and make me wonder how I can contain all of the love for her that is bursting in my heart.

Words that I need to express to my Heavenly Father more often. Because I'm pretty sure when He hears them, it melts His heart too.

Who is the mama here?

It was such a gorgeous spring day today. Savannah and I went outside to get some fresh air and to enjoy the sunshine. I sat in a chair and watched her as she ran back and forth, so excited to be out of the house.

She hid a little princess toy inside her playhouse, and then came scampering over to me.

"Mama! Where princess go?" she asked, pretending like she didn't know where she put it.

I played along and said, "I don't know! Where is it? Where did it go?"

And she smiled brightly, that beautiful baby smile that gets me every time. "I go find it," she announced as she bustled off importantly.

Then she turned and added, "Don't worry about it."

My child is becoming me.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Coupons are a beautiful thing

Since the start up of the business, we have really cut back on our budget. That includes what we spend on food...we have trimmed that back as much as possible, which means that we have had to give up some of the more novelty food items, and just focus on getting the essentials. It actually hasn't been too hard.

At least on me.

When we go to the grocery store, Ricardo takes Savannah over to the donut aisle. It's not even the bakery donut section, where the donuts appear to be slightly fresher. No, it is to the Hostess Cupcakes/Little Debbie aisle, where the very air reeks of preservatives and trans fat. And they stand there and look longingly at the boxes of Twinkies, and cakes with sprinkles, and chocolate-covered things. Savannah say, "Ooohhhh...mmmmmm," as Ricardo looks at me and laughs. But he's been very good.....he hasn't purchased one box since our food budget crackdown.

Today I finished clipping out the coupons from the Sunday paper. I try my best to only keep the ones I will use, and that are for things that I already purchase. It's easy to get sucked into buying extra things "just because I have a coupon" so I try really hard to avoid that. After cutting out the few that I wanted, I placed the rest of them back by the newspaper so that Ricardo could throw it all out together.

We were all relaxing in the living room this evening. Ricardo was glancing through the paper again, and he saw the rejected coupons that I had left there.

"Hey! You didn't cut this one out.....White Castle burgers!"

"Um...yeah...that doesn't exactly fall into the category of 'necessity'", I said.

Oh. And then....

"What about this? Pringles...3 cans! We would definitely eat these."

"Ha! You mean I would definitely eat them." He's well aware of my chip weakness.

He just smiled sweetly and said, "Well, you is a part of we. So we would eat them." Sure. Unfortunately the subsequent pounds I would pack on as a result of eating 3 cans of Pringles would only belong to me, so I think I'll pass.

He seemed determined to find a coupon treasure somewhere, and he finally happened upon one for a toothbrush. That made us both happy...he got to clip his coupon, and I was relieved it wasn't for a package of junk food.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Wake Up, Little Susie

I can hardly believe it.

It hasn't happened in such a long time I had forgotten what it was like.

I'm talking about a date, folks. A real, honest-to-goodness date with my hubby.

We dropped Savannah off with some friends around 6 this evening, then took off to the mall/theater. We bought movie tickets for a show starting a little later on, then walked over to Johnny Rockets, which has always been a favorite date spot of ours. I know, nothing fancy, but since I apparently belong in 1952, I guess it should come as no surprise that I enjoy a noisy burger joint with dancing waiters and oldies blasting over the speakers.

Johnny Rockets brings out Ricardo's romantic side. He always puts a nickel in the tableside jukebox thingy and selects "Wake Up, Little Susie" for me. We decided tonight that if The Newlywed Game is ever resurrected and we are chosen to go on the show, and if they ask us what "our" song is, we will mutually pick this song.

The reason this is our song? Well, back in the day when I actually had a "real" job (ha!) working outside of the home, Ricardo would wake me up early every morning.

I am not a morning person. I wish I could say I bounce out of bed full of vim and vigor every day, but I would by lying. Cranky? Yes. In no mood to converse with anyone? Definitely yes.

So here I am newly married, and Ricardo would wake me up in the most jarring fashion possible. Jabbing me in the side while saying, "Get up! It's 6:30!" And not in a quiet, pleasant voice, either.

And I would roll over and groan and snap at him to stop poking at me.

I guess it's not his fault...he can't help it that he is up every morning at 5:20, and unlike me, chock-full of vim and vigor at that hour.

After a few mornings of this cheery routine, it became evident to him that he needed to come up with a different method.

And so he started singing to me instead. He would serenade me with "Wake Up, Little Susie" every morning.

I'm pretty sure I still rolled over and groaned. But at least I didn't snap at him anymore. And so was born "our song". Maybe not so romantic, but it works for us.

Now that he doesn't have to wake me up every day anymore, we don't think about the song very often. Except when we go to Johnny Rockets.

It was fun to sit back and relax and talk, just the two of us. I know we don't get out by ourselves often enough, but we're working on it. We have some great friends who love Savannah and have offered to take her anytime (thank you, Tara...we will take you up on that soon!)

It was almost 9:30 when the movie was over, so we drove back to pick up Savannah. She hadn't missed us in the least. Apparently the highlight of her evening was racing around our friends' house with a toy vacuum cleaner, because the rest of the night she kept telling me that she "cleaned, Mama, cleaned!"

For the record, she didn't get her love of cleaning from me.

So that was my night. Thank you for taking me out, honey....makes me feel like a newlywed again.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Cinnamon Streusel Apple Pie

1 (9 in.) unbaked pastry shell
6-7 Granny Smith apples
2/3 cup sugar
2 T. all purpose flour
2 tsp. cinnamon
2 T. melted butter

Peel and slice apples; place in a large bowl; add the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Set aside.

1 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
6 T. butter, chilled

In a separate bowl, mix first 5 ingredients. Cut in the chilled butter with a pastry cutter or knives until crumbly.

Pour apple mixture into pie crust. (I made a whole wheat crust to try to be healthier. And I'm quite sure it made up for all the butter and sugar in this recipe). Mound the apples in the middle, leaving less around the edges. Pour the streusel mixture over the apples, covering completely. Place on baking sheet. Bake at 400 degrees for 35 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake about 40-45 minutes longer, until the filling is bubbly and starting to peek through the streusel topping. Cool one hour.

The streusel topping gets nice and crunchy...finished off here with a dollop of whipped cream.

Now I'm off to find someone to give this away to before we eat it all.


You Belong in 1952

You're fun loving, romantic, and more than a little innocent. See you at the drive in!

Thursday, May 01, 2008

A woman who fears the Lord

For about the past month or so, I have been taking part in an online "Women of the Bible" study, done by Rachel Olsen. Rachel is absolutely awesome, and I have learned a lot from her insights. It's refreshing to see her being so honest and real, especially coming from someone that we all might look up to as having it "all together".

This past week we studied the Proverbs 31 woman. I have always loved this chapter. When I was younger, I would read it, and picture her in my mind. I would think that someday I would grow up and be like this woman. The very essence of beauty, grace, diligence, wisdom, strength.

Then I grew up. And I am nothing like this woman.

Or at least that is how I feel most days.

Oh, there are parts that I can relate to. My husband trusts me. I am pretty good at preparing food for my family, taking care of them, making sure they are properly outfitted in cute clothes. My house is passably clean.

On second thought, "clean" is a pretty strong word. I think "picked up" is the term I'm looking for. (Ricardo came home the other day and told me how nice and clean the house looked. I hadn't cleaned a thing, but I HAD just put everything away. I smiled. And did not bother to correct his error).

I realize this was written a very long time ago and obviously things are not the same. I am not comparing myself to someone who stitches every piece of clothing by hand, or goes and and buys a field, or plans the days' work for the servant girls. Servant girls! Ha! I should be so lucky.

But there are some things that jump out at me. Painfully so. Words like energetic. Hard worker. Strength. And the one that gets me the most, ".....suffers nothing from laziness".

By definition, I am quite phlegmatic in personality. So, I guess it goes without saying that my absolute weakness is....laziness. I've said before that I don't use the categorizing of different personality traits to excuse the weaknesses in myself, but rather to identify and work on them.

So that brings me back to this verse. This awesome Wonder Woman of the Bible. I have prayed many, many times that a lazy spirit would not reside in me. But all too often, it seems like I look back at the end of the day and chastise myself for not getting more done. For not reading more books with my baby. For not having more meaningful conversations with my hubby. For not applying myself in God's Word like I should. The list goes on and on.

I know there is a balance. I know every one has different strengths. My mom absolutely THRIVES on cleaning. I have never seen anyone like her when it comes to scrubbing a floor. I, on the other hand, only clean because I absolutely HAVE to, so we don't end up living in a germ-encrusted mess. But I love to cook. If I could try new recipes all day, I would totally be in my element.

So I'm trying. I'm trying to see the balance in life, the balance between the laziness that threatens to overtake me sometimes, and the self-reproach that tries to tell me that I haven't been good enough, haven't done enough. I know it's not possible to be perfect, and that is not my goal. I simply want to know at the end of the day that I have given it what I should have, that I've given my family what they deserve.

And hopefully they will rise up and call me BLESSED.