Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Happy 34th, Mary Beth!

Happy 34th Birthday to my sweet friend, Mary Beth! :) Love ya, girl!

Noah Right Now

Right now, Noah is teething, so he loves to have his fingers in his mouth!
He loves his special pillow. When he's tired, he'll say "pi-woe" and walk to his room.

Noah loves knocking down the blocks that Daddy works so hard to stack!

Daddy loves the blocks as much as Noah. He meticulously lines them up so Noah has a big stack to knock down. Boys will be boys!

Noah also loves showing his muscles. When I say, "Noah, where's your muscles?" he will bend over, make the above pose, and say uhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Kayak Time

Instead of taking a walk around the lake for our family time, we decided to go IN the lake...for a kayak ride. We've had some rain, and there was a light wind, so the weather was perfect for our kayak time.

Mommy & Noah go for a kayak ride.

Peek-a-boo, Noah!

"If you bungle raising your children, I don't think whatever else you do well matters very much."
-----Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis

Sunday, July 26, 2009

A Great Catch

I'm able to sit and write at this moment because my husband, Michael, is rocking Noah to sleep right now. After a busy day with his cousins & having more stimulation & less nap than usual, Noah is putting up a good fight to sleep. Michael has been in there almost an hour now. He's a wonderful husband. He puts his family first. We have some rental houses that need to be painted and cleaned before the new renters move in at the end of this month. Michael spends all day at work, comes home to help me with Noah, and doesn't leave to go to the rental houses until Noah is asleep. There have been more than just a few nights this past week that Michael has only had 3-4 hours of sleep, but this is a choice he makes so that he gets to spend time with his family. The REAL success is in the relationships we have; not in money, social status, or job titles. I found a great catch. The one night this week that Michael didn't go to the rental houses, he spent a few minutes fishing at the lake behind our house. Here's my great catch showing off his great catch of the night.

Noah & His Cousins

COUSINS- Noah is the youngest (although not the smallest!) ...then, Nicholas, James, Matthew, Ella, & Andrew is the oldest.

Today after church Noah & I went to my younger sister, Susie's house, and it was a special treat because my older sister, Denise, & all Noah's cousins on my side of the family were there. Noah had SO much fun! He laughed and laughed and played until he wasn't able to keep his eyes open anymore! He said, "Ella" for the 1st time today, actually, "Ewwa," (our only girl cousin on my side of the family). He enjoyed showing Aunt Susie & Aunt Denise his forward rolls and his muscles. When we left, he was blowing kisses, even though he could barely hold up his head. It's always special when I get to spend time together with both my sisters and their children. I wish we could've stayed longer, but I'm thankful for this day.

Friday, July 24, 2009

More Kisses

Without fail, rocking Noah to sleep is always a high point of my day. I love holding him close and sharing some snuggle time with my sweet boy. Tonight, while rocking Noah to sleep, I kissed his pink cheeks, and he spit out his paci, and said, "more," and did the sign for more with his hands repeatedly. I'd kiss him again, and he'd say, "more, more," while signing as fast as he could. I kissed my sweet boy until his hands grew still, and he eventually fell asleep...something I did when he was an infant. Good night, my sweet Noah Angel.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Mommy & Noah

Noah & I love to read books & play before bedtime.

Noah's 1st Library Trip

Today was Noah's 1st trip to the Tyler Library. I thought it would be a fun activity on a hot summer day. I haven't been to a public library in years, and evidently, I forgot one thing...they are quiet places! (Or they are supposed to be, anyway). As soon as we arrived in the children's section, Noah was thrilled. He was smiling, laughing, and running around the library. There were stuffed animals, chairs, kids, shelves, elevators...who needed books? Most people were kind and chuckled when they saw me trying to wrangle my red-headed toddler, as if they were thinking "Oh, I've been there, sister." However, there were a few folks who would scowl at Noah and give me "the look." You know the look, right? The one that quietly but sternly conveys disapproval that your child is not a robot. We just smiled and kept running. Noah found a large stuffed Tigger which he knows as a tiger. Well, in our house, tigers say, "RRRRAAAHH!" And that's just what Noah did. Over & over at the top of his lungs. I just had to laugh. Then we saw the cows. Same story, except with a loud "Moooooo!" time after time. Of course, all along I'm trying to take pictures, carry the ginormous diaper bag, keep him from tearing the place apart, and fill out paperwork for our library card. A bag of M&M's spilled out of my bag & left about 100 pieces of chocolate, candy-coated treats on the floor in the process. Noah dived to the floor and was eating them off the floor as fast as he could. Meanwhile, I'm trying to scurry up the illegal M&M's (no food allowed) from the floor & throw them in my bag. Let's just say that we were not inconspicuous! I was determined to get books for us to read, although that seemed like it was the last thing on my son's mind. I grabbed 3 books from a bin & we checked out. I confessed to the librarian about our M&M disaster, and she was kind and chuckled. It may not have been what I envisioned as our first trip to the library, but it sure was fun! Thank goodness I had the foresight to (once) not wear my high heels!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Family Walk

We often finish up our day by taking a family walk around the lake. On our walk tonight, we could smell the rain coming, which was a welcome treat. There's nothing like seeing the water, smelling the woods, and spending time with my boys to finish off my day with a smile.

Really Living

Today Noah went with me to the Cancer Institute, where my WONDERFUL friends Sandy and Mary Beth entertained Noah while I did the cancer support group. #1. How amazing is it to have friends like that? #2. How BLESSED am I to have a job that views children as a blessing and not a nuisance? Believe me, I know I'm lucky. Oprah Winfrey says that there is no luck, that luck is where preparation and opportunity meet. I probably believe that is generally correct. Let's just say...I know I am blessed!
While putting Noah down for his afternoon nap, I paused to just soak up the joy in bonding with my son. He was almost asleep, when, out of nowhere, he opened his eyes, waved, and said, "Hi. Hi Mama." His grin was from ear to ear, and I wish I had a camera to capture the twinkles in his eyes. I couldn't help but answer back, grin from ear to ear myself, and then give kisses to my sweet boy. There was no going back after that. He would stick his tongue halfway out, still grinning from ear to ear, and giggle while I did the same. It was perfection, really living.I'm glad I've learned to be in the soak up those special moments of too much perfection, rather than focusing on "the small stuff" as I sometimes relapse & do...but not today. And boy am I thankful. There's something to be said for mindfulness and living in the moment. Another gift that cancer has given to me. My dishes may be dirty and there's unfolded laundry on the floor...but I'm o.k. with that. That's the small stuff. Putting everything else aside & soaking up the goodness of my son...that's really living.
It's one thing to exist, another to really live. I really live, and I thank God for that lesson.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

A Bitter-Sweet Weekend

It was a bitter-sweet weekend at our house. My Uncle Larry was diagnosed with an aggressive, incurrable brain cancer. He is a pastor that lives in Kansas. He has 6 children and 16 grandchildren. As devastating as this news is to us, it's amazing how positive he remains, reminding us of God's love, reminding us not to fear. Listening to my cousin give accounts of the restless days and nights at the hospital brings back all-too familiar memories of my mother's cancer, her illness, and that painful loss. She, much like my Uncle Larry, was unbelievably inspiring, positive, & faithful in the Lord. She told us repeatedly, "Fear not. Only believe." It's actually written on her gravestone. Grief isn't "cured," rather, something we manage. However, I choose to believe that out of every crisis, there is an opportunity to learn, to grow. One of the things I learned from my mother's illness is that life is a huge gift. I take nothing for granted. I dance every day. I laugh every day. I feel happiness and joy every day...not all day every day, but every day.

So whereas devastating news and grief comprised the "bitter" part of this weekend, I also took time to notice the "sweet" moments as well; Moments with my son, Noah. Michael spent most of the weekend working on our rental houses so Noah and I had lots of Mommy & son time. We went to Bergfeld Park & Discovery Science Museum, ate ice cream, played in the dirt & the hammock, read lots of books, and laughed a whole lot. We also went on a kayak ride on the lake with Michael & that was extra fun for us because Noah is a little older & could enjoy the ride. Noah is getting little curls at the ends of his hair, and running my fingers through his beautiful red hair brings me happiness. My son was definitely the "sweet" part of my weekend, and, now that I mention it, the sweet part of every day of my life.

In tough times, it's easy to feel helpless. So, I try to to remember what I can and can't control. I can control my attitude, my behaviors, my prayers, and how I react to the things that are out of my control. In thinking of my family in Kansas, I couldn't control that they were in a hospital, up all hours of the night, scared, drained. What I could do was pray, send messages of hope and encouragement, and send plenty of pizza to the hospital room so that they at least had a fleeting moment of something fun, something other than cancer. So, that's what I did.
And I focus on my blessings, things for which I have so much gratitude, including:

  • My husband, Michael
  • My son, Noah Michael
  • My father, Fred
  • The gift of my mother, Marie
  • My sisters, Susie & Denise
  • My mother-in-law, Anne
  • My sister-&-brother-in law, Rebekah & Brian
  • My nieces & nephews-Matthew, Nicholas, Andrew, Ella, James, Sam, Lucas, & Alice
  • My wonderful friends-Elizabeth, Stacy, Michelle, MaryBeth, Jill, Christine
  • My health
  • My God, my faith
  • This day, this breath, and the opportunity for another.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Beautiful Life

Tonight I was finishing off some Blue Bell ice cream (one of my many maladaptive coping skills after a long day at the psych unit) and Michael & I heard Noah saying, "Beh Beh, Beh Beh" over and over. (That's how he says baby). His vocabulary is just exploding right now, so we thought Noah was just perseverating on the word baby. A minute or so later, Michael said, "Oh, no! Look what he's got." I went to discover that my son was absolutely correct! He got into a drawer that had at least 100 superfluous baby pictures of Noah. He had them spread on the floor but (somehow) was not tearing them up or eating them...which is unusual at this juncture in his little life! He was pointing at all the pictures of himself, saying "Beh Beh, Beh Beh." Too cute. Too smart already!
After getting Noah to bed, I went outside and sat on the upstairs back porch and just breathed in the beautiful view thinking, "I am so blessed to have my life, my family, this beautiful view, this beautiful life."

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Do what works

Noah's afternoon nap was about an hour short today, so he was not his normal cheery self when he woke up. The normal things that usually would improve his mood didn't work, so we got a little creative. He played in the kitchen sink (fully clothed), ate a chocolate cookie that Daddy made, and enjoyed looking at all of Mommy's shoes. I told Michael how funny it was to me that going to look at shoes was exciting for a 17 month old. He replied, "He's always liked shoes." Hmmmm....I wonder where he gets that! A little unconventional, but sometimes you've just got to do what works!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

My Sweet Angel, Noah

This morning when Noah woke up, I went to his room and said, "Good morning, my Noah angel. I love you." He said in his sweetest voice, "wuf." (Not woof like a dog but "love" in sweet baby talk;)
Oh, how this boy melts my heart! We had a nice weekend, although it went by too quickly! We read books, sang, danced, and swam in the kiddie pool and the big pool. Today, we were all in bed and Noah could not stop laughing when I was jumping on the bed. He laughed until his pacifier fell out and his face turned red! His laughter is the biggest shot of joy. I was rocking him to sleep tonight, just staring at this miracle that God has given us, thanking God for the blessing of my sweet son.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Fourth of July 2009

Fourth of July 2009! We had a great 4th of July party!

Michael fired up the grill, and Noah had a great time swimming in the kiddie pool. He looked so cute in his 4th of July swim trunks. We ate, swam, broke a pinata, and watched some fireworks.

What would I do without my best friend, Elizabeth? She made 60 stars that we hung on the fence to add extra sparkle. She makes everything beautiful!

WE ARE INFINITELY BLESSED to live in America and have such wonderful friends!

Michael set up the pool for Noah & Audrey.

I made homemade star sugar cookies for a sweet 4th of July treat!

Noah & Summer had a great time!

1 red-headed boy


1 red-headed girl= 2 CUTE!

My First Note

This is my first entry, and I guess I will learn as I go along. My curiosity was peaked when my friend, Mary Beth, mentioned that this is a great way to document and share the special moments in life that we too easily forget. When I read that the blog could be put into a hard-bound book, I felt like I could honestly give this some effort. I guess after losing my mother to cancer, I became painfully aware how pictures, a hand-written recipe for sugar cookies, and other tangible objects (like books) can preserve memories. Life is so precious. Moments with those we love are the real stuff of life. Noah is now 17 months old, and I hope that he will one day be able to read about these special moments, and know fully that he is and always has been...truly and unconditionally loved. When my dad baptized Noah, he spoke to us personally during the sermon, about the importance of continually telling your children how much they are loved, & how God continually loves His children. He looked me right in the eye and said, "Tell him over and over how much he is loved...and never let him forget it." In addition to taking endless pictures (I'm constantly teased that Noah is the most photographed child in Texas), it is my intention to write down these special thoughts and feelings as a way to remind Noah and all my family and friends that they are loved...and never let them forget it.