While the boys were sick with the flu, we spent some of our time decorating and crafting for Noah's 5th birthday party. I love that Noah loves helping decorate for his party and that he appreciates all the work that goes into throwing a birthday party!
I took Noah across the street to a big boy salon for a big boy haircut. You can see from the first pictures that he was a little nervous. But, in true Noah style...he charmed everyone at the haircut store and came out with 3 suckers to boot! Love this little ham!
This is just a small sample of some of my Noah's sayings tonight as I tried (key word tried) to get him to rest...
"Mommy, I can pull my Pull-Up down and shake my naked bottom like this (shaking his bottom) & that'll be funny and make you laugh."
"Mommy, there is a huge star outside tonight. It's Jesus' star."
"Mommy, I can't close my eyes because I see pictures in my eyes." (Long story, but we have talked about the song "My Favorite Things" & how if he pictures his favorite things (trains, Angry Birds, hugs) he can not feel scared. Then I sang "My Favorite Things" again & again until he requested "Go Tell it on the Mountain."
Noah: "Mommy, can we sing Go Tell It On the Mountain again?" (After we sang it several times already). Me:"Why Noah?" Noah: "Because I have to practice it for my Christmas program."
"Mommy, can you sing Silent Night 100?" (This means Silent Night 100x...a lot!)
"Mommy, tomorrow we need to do a circus. We can be the clowns & Daddy can be the customer."
Me: "Noah, Mommy is going to leave now & you can go to bed by yourself because you're not resting." Noah: "I am asleep." (Further discussion about how if he can verbalize "I'm asleep" he's not asleep.) Me: "So what choice are you going to make?" Noah: "Rest & keep." (Backstory...those are some lyrics to a song I was singing while Noah was supposed to be sleeping...."Now the light has gone away."
5 seconds later...."Mommy, can you pat my belly?"
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone.....while Still trying to get Noah to sleep.
Poor Noah, Jackson, & Daddy...down with the flu. Is there anything worse than having sick babies? But I must say, we are blessed that we have insurance, that I can take time off work when I need to, and that our sickness is time-limited. So many other folks have it so much worse.
Tonight I received a pretty cool email from a friend of mine. My friend is going through the stresses of getting married. The marriage is going to be rock solid. It's the GETTING THERE that is the stressful part---You know...the booking of this and that, picking out invitations, narrowing a huge guest list, the fun family dynamics that inherently arise, etc. etc. Anyway, the gist of the email goes something like this.. This friend thought that perhaps he was destined to live life alone, and felt pretty o.k. with that. The email continues, "Watching families like yours makes me figure there must be something more." The email continues, "You know I'm not great with kids, but every once in a while you run across one like Noah--or like my friend Marianne's daughter Caroline--that makes you want to roll the dice."
Wow. What a wonderful and unexpected email!! I feel humbled that our family of 4 could make anyone feel that way! I'm going to do a little free association here, close my eyes as I type, and say whatever pops into my mind. I'm told I'm best when I'm unfiltered, so unfiltered it is!
MY DEAR FRIEND...
The truth is, it's hard....real hard. When you're married and have children, suddenly, your life is not your own. You are responsible for the the emotional, physical, financial, & developmental well-being and safety of someone that is totally DEPENDENT upon you. DEPENDENT...that can be a scary word. I get that. I mean, I'm a girl that can rarely even find her keys...the girl that can't even read a map...the girl that sings "Raindrops on Roses and Whiskers on Kittens" when she's afraid of the dark. And I'm going to be responsible for a little life? Absolutely. You see, my dear friend...there's no ONE way to travel this remarkable journey called life. There are many ways to do it well. And many days, I don't. The truth is, many days I feel guilty for something I said or did...or didn't do or didn't say...and that's tough, too. Some days I long for a perfectly clean and organized house...time to watch movies...money to take extravagant vacations. But, that's simply not my reality. I've got a sick toddler with the flu right now...and I can assure you that I will be juggling work appointments so that I can stay home tomorrow. I can assure you that when I'm home all day...I won't be cleaning or organizing. I can assure you that my sick time and PTO time are most often spent at home with my kids when they are sick. There are days that I don't even get a shower until 10:00 at night. Hell, there are days I've waited so long that I just didn't shower at ALL that day! There are times when I'm SO TIRED, from getting only 2-3 hours of sleep at night because I've been rocking a sick baby most of the night...or cleaning up vomit...or diarrhea...or the other various things that come out of these people's little bodies----I assure you, it's always something! I can assure you that there are days that I do not pee alone; that the 5-second rule is a mainstay at our house, and that somebody is almost always naked! I can assure you that my dinners often consist of drive-through or nuke-up because when I only have 30 minutes to myself a day...cooking is not on the priority list. I can assure you that there are some days my marriage is 50/50...but in reality...some days it's 90/10, 20/80, or other unequal ratios. And I think that's part of God's design. I mean, I can't do everything... be everything... for these precious boys that God has entrusted to me. I'm blessed that I picked a good spouse. (And you did, too, by the way!) I'm blessed that even when I haven't bathed in a day...have put on some frump weight from eating junk food when I'm too tired or stressed, he loves me anyway. I'm blessed that I have the physical and (most days) emotional health that is necessary to be on call for my 24-hour need machines. I'm blessed that I know that I have certain family members...as well as INTENTIONAL FAMILY ("non-blood relatives that I have intentionally placed in my life"...such as yourself) that I can call upon to vent or help me in a crisis.
It's all-encompassing, this "building a life" thing. It really is. There are certain things in this life that change us forever. There is the "before" the event and the "after" the event.
Certainly, the death of my mother was one of those events. I can recall her battles with cancer vividly. I can remember the words that she told me, my sisters, my father...and anyone else...when we were fearful of the unknown. She said, "Fear Not. Only Believe." She said it with a faith that was so strong to her core that no one could (or did) argue with her. Having 3 daughters as middle school, high school, and eventually college cheerleaders...she did lots of cheering in her lifetime. I can remember us even trying to pep things up by making it a cheer, "Fear Not! (clap! clap!) Only Believe! (clap! clap!) Actually, that's written on her gravestone. Well, technically there are 2 X's where the claps are written...but you get the idea. The "after" Brenda was changed. Changed by grief, changed by loss, changed by the pain of having a black hole in my heart...changed by the unanswerable questions. I made a decision....CHOOSE JOY TODAY. Because today is all we've got. I know...just as do you...that nothing is guaranteed, so we might as well suck the marrow out of life THIS DAY...rejoice in THIS day, THIS moment. So... I'm not afraid to dance. I smile. I laugh...loudly! I dress up and wear costumes! I buy the bounce house and the slide. I decorate for every holiday and for every party...even if it's just our party of four. I take the pictures. Hell, I hire a photographer to take pictures at my kids' birthday parties so that I can try to stay focused on the present moment without having to miss capturing the moments. And I TRY...although I'm certainly not always successful...to stay present in the moment. Fear Not...Only Believe.
And then God blessed me with Noah Michael...and then Jackson Joseph. Yes, it's hard....I've made that perfectly clear, right? It's also THE SINGLE MOST life-affirming experience I've ever imagined. I can remember times during pregnancy when I could feel the baby moving. And seeing those first movements on an ultrasound? Seeing that little heart beat? Realizing that....oh what's "The Sound of Music" reference? Ah yes...."Somewhere in my youth or childhood...I must've done something good." You see, the truth is...life is made up of MOMENTS. People get so caught up in the day-to-day rush...they (I'm guilty, too) often miss those once-in-a-lifetime MOMENTS. THAT is what we don't get back...time...moments. We can go back to school. We can make more money, buy more cars, build bigger houses. But we can't take back moments that we didn't savor or that we weren't present enough to appreciate because we were focused on the next big thing. Pastor Rick (The Purpose Driven Life Author) says it well, "A lot of people today have a lot to live on, and nothing to live FOR." My boys...my husband, Noah, Jackson....They are my FOR!!!
There are MOMENTS...when I look in the eyes of my children, when I see the world anew through THEIR eyes, when I see them reach for me because they know I am their safe place, when I gaze in their eyes as I rock them to sleep, when we eat whipped cream right out of the can, when I hear their precious little voices...when I cradle them in my arms, hearing the precious things they think and feel and say...THESE ARE THE MOMENTS that fill my heart with so much joy...I can hardly contain myself. I feel so blessed. Immensely blessed. And I simply cannot imagine my life without them.
SO.....I don't measure my success anymore in how much billing is completed, my salary,a perfectly cleaned house or in fancy vacations. I measure success in my relationships with those I hold dear. I measure success in how well I'm staying focused on receiving the BLESSING of the GIFT of this life, the GIFT of sharing it with my boys...My "FOR."
It is certainly a journey that has many forks in the road! (Noah calls those "branch lines," as he remains obsessed with all things trains). So, sometimes we take a branch line...and wind up somewhere that was everything we never knew we always wanted. Fear Not!! Only Believe!!
I am so happy with the result of Noah's Angry Birds birthday invitation! I noticed that so many of the invitations put all the focus on the Angry Birds & not the CHILD! I was so happy to travel to SweetPeaPrintz on Etsy to find this adorable invitation! I couldn't decide which picture I liked better, so she made 2 at no extra cost! Wow! That doesn't happen every day! So, needless to say...our house is getting geared up for some Bird-Day fun soon!
Poor Jackson...has the flu.
He's been running fever for about 24 hours. I called Dr. Mark & he was working a 24 hour shift in Winnsboro. He wanted to check out his lungs and ears but won't be back until tomorrow. I called the ER...and some woman that did NOT speak very good English told me that there was at least a 3-4 hour wait. Of course, I called about 30 minutes before Jackson's bedtime. Anyway, I emailed John my woes. (No, I hadn't even bathed yet, picked up the house, or done the dishes...one of those glamorous days.) He & Jenny (AKA Pediatrician Dr. Calvert...until they get married...and I don't know if she's going to take his name, keep her name professionally or what...to discuss later, I'm sure) were going to dinner & the symphony tonight & he offered to bring Jenny by for a house call. SERIOUSLY? Not long after my email, I received a knock on my door. Jenny & John made a house call for poor Jackson (and his poor parents!) Is that not the sweetest thing? She prescribed him Tamiflu and checked him out. No having to go to the ER or even wait for Dr. Mark. Talk about BLESSED!!! THANK YOU, Dr. Jenny (& for bringing her, John) for your kind and selfless gift! We adore you both!!!
It's a new year...2013! Full of new hopes, new dreams, and new chances to say YES!
Wouldn't it be great if we stopped all the obsessing...all the worrying...all the "shoulds"...and just said YES? YES to living fully and vivaciously! YES to sucking the marrow out of life. YES to the things that bring our hearts joy?
This week, I'm saying YES to...
My 3 loves...Michael, Noah, & Jackson. These 3 men make up my entire world.
I say YES to beginning to plan for Noah's 5th birthday party! How is it possible that my red-headed angel is now almost 5?!? We'll be doing it up big time...Angry Bird style.
I say YES to stepping outside of my comfort zone..
YES to celebrating the engagement and upcoming nuptials of my new amazing friends, John & Jenny.
YES to being spontaneous!
YES to forging on with my battle to become more organized! Oh how I WISH it came more naturally to me!
I say YES to being connected...having REAL, AUTHENTIC, CONNECTED relationships with those with whom I hold dear.
YES to becoming STRONG! This is the year that Mama is going to pack on some muscle, baby!
YES to grace, a free gift God gives us. And Lord knows...I need grace.
YES to being unapologeticlly, unequivocally ME.
I say YES to dancing every day...being PRESENT in the moment.
YES to Jillian Michaels' return to The Biggest Loser! I cannot even verbalize how much I big-red-puffy-heart LOVE that woman!
Yes to taking lots of pictures and planning the boys' Valentine's photo shoot.
I say YES to doing my best at getting caught up on paperwork! YES to checking things off my list!
YES to laughter and smiles.
YES to the wonderment of my everyday life with my boys...watching Jackson learn and pronounce new words...the way Noah's hair curls at the ends...our precious moments under the covers in Mama & Daddy's bed before the chaos of the day.
YES to making a difference in the lives of others.
YES to serving as the co-chair for this year's Race for the Cure (God help us all!)
My new super-best pal, John Hardy, & I met for lunch at Corner Bakery to celebrate his 37th birthday. John isn't a big fan of celebrating his birthday, so I was SO proud of him for humoring me with a fun lunch together. Happy birthday, dear friend!!