Sunday, November 29, 2009

Planning for Mexico

My cousin, Nick, is getting married in Mexico this Friday, December 6th. I wouldn't even consider going to Mexico for a wedding, except Nick was instrumental in helping us with Mom...especially the last few days of her life when it was so rough. He traveled from Michigan to my wedding, as well as my sisters' weddings, so we decided it would only be right for us to make the trip. It'll be a short trip. Leave early Thursday and come back Saturday...not that my anxiety is lowered any. This will be my first time away, and it'll be really away. The longest I've been gone is significantly less than 24 hours at a time. I'm not worried about Noah. I know he'll be fine. Because I've had loss, I'm always keenly aware of that impact, and I just hope we don't die in a plane crash or get abducted by cartel drug lords or something! We haven't done a will and are going to do that before we go. I want everything as much "in order" as it can be before we go, and I'm certain it won't be but that's life! In the meantime, I've got to figure out a way to decorate our big Christmas tree, clean our house (which is a huge task at the moment, as I've got an explosion of Christmas decorations everywhere), train for a half marathon in 2 weeks after binge eating on carbs, write a will, pack, etc. It'll be a busy week!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Our Ginormous Tree

I didn't like the placement of our Christmas tree last year, as it blocked the view of the favorite view. We decided to move the tree location to the entryway, because the tree would be visible from the road as well as from the back of the house because of all the windows. We could also get a bigger tree because the ceiling is higher. We got a new Christmas tree tonight...a ginormous, 12 ft. tall tree. It didn't look that big at the store...but then again, showrooms are large! I have no idea how I'm going to decorate this thing! Michael asked, "Do you want to take it back and get a smaller one?" No way! I just need to find a way to tame the beast! I look forward to the challenge! Michael gets the tree up...and lit!
This is our "Clark Griswold" moment when we were trying to get the tree lit. The top 1/3 and bottom 1/3 lit...middle completely out! Luckily, we eventually found the plug!

Thanksgiving with my family

We celebrated Thanksgiving 2009 with my family at the home of my sister & brother-in-law, Denise & Brad. Michael had to work to make up for time he'll lose later this week when we're in Mexico, so that was kind of a bummer. Denise cooked a feast! My favorite part, by far was the stuffing. My family is from Michigan and we traditionally make bread stuffing and cook it in the turkey rather than cornbread stuffing that traditionally is the southern way. Both are great, but there's something about eating my mom's recipe for stuffing with my family around that just feels right. Noah wouldn't eat, so he colored and then played on my iphone. What am I going to do with that kid? He also wouldn't nap, so when all the other kids in the house were sound asleep, Noah was screaming...fighting sleep until I gave up after 30 minutes and cramping arm muscles. He played outside and had an absolute ball with Grampa and Ella especially. Denise has the Polar Express Train around her Christmas tree, and Noah was mesmorized watching the train go round and round. My dad, "Gampa," was so sweet playing with Noah. His face would light up watching Noah play. Grampa also showed Noah how to press the buttons on the train controller to make the train whistle. This was a big hit! When we got ready to leave, Noah went to every person in the house (Grampa, Oma, Aunt Susie, Uncle Doug, Aunt Denise, Uncle Brad, Andrew, Ella, Matthew & Nick Nick...James still asleep) and gave "huggas" and kisses. He was melting the hearts in the room with his sweetness. Dad walked us out and stayed at the top of the hill on the driveway to see us off...the same way he did when I was leaving home as a young college student leaving home for school. It was so special and so sweet. He's the best dad any girl could ever ask for. It's his personality that is most like my own. When we reached the bottom of the hill of the driveway, Noah reached his hand out as if he could touch Grampa, and said, "Bye bye....mmmmmmmmmuh!" (the sound he makes when he's blowing a kiss). I rolled down the window and shouted to Dad, "He's reaching for you and telling you bye bye, Grampa!" Dad's face lit up and he waved as we drove off.
Just a sidebar note about Dad. I can remember him telling me, "Yes, I'm married to your mom, and yes that's a legal thing. But every day, I wake up and I CHOOSE to love her, I choose to show her I love her that day." It's easy to see why it's easy for me to love having witnessed their incredible love. Happy Thanksgiving!

Me & Dad
Most of our rowdy crew(minus a few kids' heads that were bopping)
Aunt Denise & Grampa showing Noah the train
Grampa shows Noah how to work the train remote to make it whistle
Noah & Ella play outside

Friday, November 27, 2009

Happy Birthday Mom

Today would've been my mom's 63rd birthday. Happy Birthday Mom. Love you.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Amazing Rebekah

I have to go on record regarding how my sister-in-law, Rebekah, totally stepped up to the plate this Thanksgiving. She not only stepped up to the plate, she hit a home run. Without going into the details, Rebekah was told in a matter of hours...she'd be having several more guests for Thanksgiving than she was expecting and Michael's mom wasn't feeling well so she wasn't going to be able to come. Grammie always makes the turkey and dressing. It's just what she does. So here Rebekah is...already planning to make an amazing dinner...and oops...guess what? You get to make it for more people and the main person you had making some of the big-ticket items won't be there. Good luck! I have to say....SHE WAS A TROOPER! She said that she never even made a turkey or her mom's dressing before. "I've seen her do it, but there's no recipe written down." Seriously? I would've been calling Luby's or just declared that there would be no turkey or dressing. Not Rebekah. She just jumped right in with no fear...and it was FABULOUS! She even made homemade apple cider and THE BEST pumpkin pie I've ever eaten. (Mary Beth, you have got to try this recipe. I was WOWED!)

I was so proud of Rebekah & ESPECIALLLY proud that, although she was stressed...she did NOT let the stress or dynamics of the day steal her joy or her committmet to give her children the memory of a wonderful family meal. The meal wasn't about everything being perfect, but about creating the feeling of warmth that her kids would remember long after the holiday passed. I know this to be true, because that's exactly how my mom was. And the ultimate compliment because there is simply no one more amazing in my eyes.

Thanksgiving at Rebekah & Brian's House

We spent Thanksgiving Day with Rebekah & Brian and their kids Sam, Lucas, and Alice. Despite a little family drama, Rebekah did so much work to make it such a special day. She helped me to stay in the present and be mindful of our many blessings. Noah had a super time with his cousins, Aunt Rebekah ("Bek-uh"), Uncle Brian ("BRYYYYYY"), Sam, Lucas, Alice, Paw Paw, Granny Meg, Garrett, Sarah, and Aunt Betty. Grammie wasn't feeling well this Thanksgiving and was missed. Happy Thanksgiving! Daddy gives Noah a sample of Aunt Rebekah's pumpkin pie

Hands down...the BEST pumpkin pie I've ever had...Noah agreed!

Noah & Alice "scoot" down the stairs. Allie was such a sweetheart with Noah and played so nicely with him.

Noah tries to sample some of Daddy's bottled beverage.

Rebekah, Michael, & Brian

Sam, Luke, & Sarah

Noah & Paw Paw

A.J., Meg, & Betty

Fort Worth Turkey Trot

We started turkey day with the Fort Worth Turkey Trot. It was the biggest group of participants to date. It was cold, and we had a rough...I mean rough...night/am with Noah. Let's just say this...He went to bed at 2:30 am & got up at 5:00 am. Enough said? By the time we started trotting, my little angel was already tired and laid his head down on the stroller with the blanket over his head. That's pretty much how we all felt! Rebekah, Brian, Sam, Lucas, & Alice met up with us and Noah perked right up, and it was fun to have them with us. Mommy, Noah, & Daddy in front of the big turkey

Michael & Noah walk with Bryyyy, Alice, Sam, Lucas, & Rebekah

My tired little angel could barely keep his eyes open. Look at those copper locks!

As soon as we started walking, Noah put his head down on the stroller. It looked hilarious!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Visit from Matthew & Nick Nick

Today was a special treat because Matthew, Nicholas, & Susie came to visit. Nick Nick is 5 months older than Noah (and about 10 pounds lighter!) and I always love seeing them together. All the boys helped me pull out the impatiens and then put them in the trash. It was hilarious to watch and dirt was a flying! Then they all hopped in the bath for a scrub down, followed by pizza. There are certain family members that you'd be friends with, even if they weren't your family. Susie & her family definitely fit the bill! Great time!

Love is a verb...Pillow Hunt

I woke up at 4:55 am this morning so I could run before Noah woke up. Great right? Noah woke up 5 minutes later. Michael is NOT a morning person, so I gave him a loving gift and got up and skipped my run (at that time, not for the day). To be extra-generous, I took Noah to Wal-Mart so Daddy could really sleep in peace. We even stopped by Whataburger on the way home to pick up Daddy his favorite taquito breakfast. I was feeling pretty good about being super-efficient and generous....go supermom/wife...NOT TOO FAST! In all the bustle of our Wal-Mart & Whataburger trip, somehow "supermom" (I say that facetiously) misplaced/lost Noah's FAVORITE pillow (not that I noticed right away). Some kids have security blankets or security stuffed animals. Noah has a security pillow. It's his thing. He takes that thing everywhere...Wal-Mart included. He doesn't sleep without it. We're dependent. When we were in Dallas, Michael & I looked at the Galleria for some other like it but couldn't find any. Fast forward to 8:30 am. Noah is wanting to nap, tired, fussing. I know we needed that pillow to sleep. I tore the house apart. I mean...really apart. I looked in my car 4 times, looked in all the cabinets, under the furniture, under cushions, every room of the house. No pillow. Noah is telling me "Pi-woe, pi woe," which is code for, "Duh, Mommy! Put me to bed already!" I had a stand in UT pillow, but it didn't fit the bill. He eventually got to sleep, but it wasn't an easy put down. I then called Wal-Mart, had the lovely experience of talking to customer service...which I personally find to be an oxymoron...heavy on the moron. Big surprise. No sign of the pillow. After Noah woke up, we went to Wal-Mart. Here's the visual. We park near the carts. I look through all the carts, buckle Noah in, and then we headed uphill to the next cart station. No sign of pillow. The next cart station. I stared at the carts of total strangers just trying to get to their car to see if Noah's pillow was somehow in their cart. I must've looked like a total mental case...pushing a child in a shopping cart around the parking lot a good 20 minutes before we even entered the store. Oh, the things we do for love. We then waited in line to talk to customer service on the off chance that they found the pillow & just forgot to call me back. Our "helper," Tippy (yes, that was her name) quickly glanced in the direction of some bin under the counter and blandly told me, "not here." We then walked all through Wal-Mart looking at everyone's cart, scanning it for pillows, scanning the counters and floor to see if Noah threw the pillow out somewhere & I just didn't see it happen. No pillow. After being in the store (and parking lot) an hour, and with my toddler increasingly becoming irritated at my seemingly mindless wandering, I decided to check out. (Of course our cart became full after all this time.) At the last minute, I impulsively headed down some random Christmas aisle...and low & behold...NOT OUR PILLOW...but it was a close replica to our pillow. There were four on the shelf. I bought two on the spot. Noah noticed that they were different but I introduced them as new fun pillows. He seemed to buy it. We'll see. So my entire day was basically dictated by a toddler's pillow...rather, by the desire to make my toddler happy. OHHHHHHh, the things we do for love! Love is a verb, indeed!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Remember this feeling

When I got home from work today, Noah crawled up on my lap and just nuzzled his head closely into the nook of my neck and just snuggled. Since he's such a busy toddler, I really appreciate these moments of sweetness. We then danced and danced until the bottoms of my feet were aching and I was way beyond my target heart rate! And when we were getting ready for bed, I asked for a "hugga," (how Noah says hug) and he wrapped his arms around my neck and squeezed me tightly. Then we gave kisses, and it was special because he gave me a kiss, said, "MMMMMMMMUH!" and then gave me another, another, another, another, and more hugs. It was the greatest feeling...just the exchange of genuine love and affection for each other. After working 1/2 a day with psych patients that are suicidal, then spending the other 1/2 of the day with cancer patients/survivors...I have to consciously focus my attention toward the blessings I receive in order to leave work at work. It can be a challenge to "rationally detach," but something, thankfully, I do well, so that I can keep the toxic emotional baggage of clients from coming home with me. All the way home today I kept asking myself over and over what I had to be thankful for...and suddenly I'm back in the present...ready to dance it out and give my best to my guys.
I'm so thankful for the feelings of joy, warmth, and excitement I feel when I am greeted with Noah's smiles, and "Mama!" I cherish the FEELING of complete contentment and authentic love I felt tonight when my son sweetly gave me hugs and kisses.

A key part of "positive psychology," (a growing area of psychology based on research of positive people and the behaviors/attitudes they choose to increase happiness) is that we take "mental photographs" of happy moments in our life, so we can review them on our down days as a way to recall the positive emotions associated with the memory. My mental photograph today was definitely the moments of hugs & kisses from my angel boy.
(Of course, I also have an iphone app that will literally take pictures of the mental moments & keep them for me to review...all at my fingertips & all based on positive psychology...gotta love the iphone!)

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Runner Girl

I just started back with my running longer distances, as I've signed up for the White Rock Half Marathon December 13th. I'm running it with my friend, Stacy. I'm just doing this for fun, not for time. She ran last year in about 3 hours, so I don't have to try to increse my pace thank goodness. I'm going to try to focus harder on stretching more to prevent injury and speed recovery time from long runs. Signed up for the Ft. Worth Turkey Trot. I wish I could do the Tyler one so I could cheer on Mary Beth! (Go girl! I'll be calling!) I think I may invest in some new running shoes to help keep me motivated and on the road. Found a good website that has my favorite new quote:
"Yes, I run like a girl! Try to keep up!"

Roof-top lights...complete!

Ta Daaaa! It's after 9:00 pm but Michael finished the roof-top lights! Task completed! We still have more to put up, but they won't require a 32 ft. ladder...thank goodness!

Love is a Verb...Christmas Lights

I'm well known for often saying , "Love is a verb." It's my thing. When Elizabeth reads this, she'll laugh, because she knows it's true. She even made me a scrapbook with that as the title! I say love is a verb because it's true. A verb is an ACTION word. Sometimes we say things or intend things, but the follow through, the DOING isn't there. I put a lot of credit into the DOING part in the way I love and the way I want to be loved. Well, Michael was the total verb today! He knows that I love everything Christmas and he decided to put up our Christmas lights today. I like icicle lights, so he went up, up, and away to put the lights up! It took all day & going back to Home Depot for a taller ladder just to get the rooftop lined with lights. See? Love is WHAT YOU DO!!! One day Noah will read this, see his Daddy on the roof, and read the importance of SHOWING people you love them, as well as telling them. FYI, Noah...Mommy calls that having congruent words & behavior! A good thing! If you look closely on the roof you'll see Michael tilted, hanging on for dear life, trying to hang the lights! God bless him! Love is a verb.
Here is my view from holding the ladder while Michael hangs the lights. This wasn't even the tallest peak!

We actually had to go BACK to Home Depot, because the 24 ft. ladder wasn't tall enough to reach this peak. We had to get the 32 ft ladder. Gulp!

These are my favorite pics of the light-hanging adventure...still in progress, I might add. Noah & I went to the 2nd story bay-window room & Michael climbed up the ladder because he was hanging lights there. Noah thought that was too cool that his "Dadd'N" climbed up to see us! I love how Michael's face lit up when he saw Noah...never mind that he could plummet to his death. His eyes were fixed on his son. Awwwwww, love these boys!

Noah & Michael sweetly touch hands through the window. I started yelling, "HOLD ON!" I couldn't believe he was that high in the air & was holding onto a ladder with one hand! I'm grateful I'm not a widow today!

Infinitely blessed

I'm happy with my life. I love my husband. He loves me. We have the most amazing son. Sure we have our challenges, but on the continuum of life, enjoying life...we're doing damn good! I'm infinitely blessed!

Brenda Joy McBride

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Dearest Noah Michael

Dearest Noah Michael~
When I feel sad or start to worry, your smile, your laughter, your happy dance, and sweet kisses make me stop feeling sad. I hold you in my arms, rock you to sleep, and am reminded that God blessed me beyond my wildest dreams by sending me YOU!

I love you with my whole heart, and I always, always, will!
Love you, sweet Angel,


Thursday, November 19, 2009

Smile...picture day

Today we had our Christmas pictures taken. Unfortunately, Noah woke up at 5:00 am, and our pictures were scheduled at 9:00...which meant he'd be good and tired for the pictures. And he was! We did our best, but pictures with a toddler is truly a challenge. Noah was so tired/fussy that his Christmas pictures consisted of him eating a sucker. Seriously! But it made him happy (or as happy as he had the ability to get at the time) so we just rolled with it. Of course, Noah wouldn't smile for our professional pictures...but when we got home, no problem!
Belly laughs for Mommy!

Smiles for Mommy

No matter how difficult the day, Noah's smiles take my troubles away.

The ultimate therapy!

Noah's Shoe Fascination

Like his Mommy, Noah appreciates the stylings of a fabulous shoe. Last night, he literally started crying when I took his shoes off. So, we put them back on. Pick your battles, right? After we put his jammies on, Noah continued to try to put his shoes on his feet. So we did. Here's the visual...he's got skin-tight Halloween PJ's on, and a pair of white Nike tennis shoes. He said that he wanted to dance to songs, and proceeded to tell Michael "more," until I finally put the songs on Ghostbusters. He danced to Ghostbusters in his Halloween PJ's, with his Nike's on. Ahhhhh, life is so sweet!
Of course...there's always irony in life. I was at Wal-Mart at 5:15 am this morning because I didn't realize until late last night that Noah didn't have a pair of black shoes for his Christmas pictures 9:00 before the stores opened. So, I get the black shoes at Wal-Mart...and he refuses to wear them! You gotta love it, right?

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Noah's Hair Right Now

This is Noah's hair when he got finished with his bath tonight. Can I just say HOW MUCH I LOVE HIS HAIR?!?!?!? There's not been a day in the last 6 months that we've been out that someone hasn't just ooohed and ahhhhed over his precious copper locks. I just love it...and the curls coming in now make me smile. Joy personified! Research studies have confirmed that when mothers view random pictures of children smiling, and then see a picture of their own child smiling, the brain sends a chemical "hit" of happy chemicals to the brain when the mother sees her child's smile; comparable to a high from drugs. I believe it when I see this boy's smile. That's one drug I won't be needing rehab for!