Monday, May 2, 2016
Sunday, May 1, 2016
Today is the day I celebrate my sweet Lexie's birthday.
Only God knows when she was born... and God does know when she was born, but all I know is when she found me in early June 2008 -- June 7th-ish maybe?, the vet estimated she was about six weeks old. May 1 worked for me as a birthday.
So today, she's around 8 years old.
My sweet kitty who was the first of my dreams come true.
I dreamed of having several/many children.
I dreamed of becoming a mother.
I dreamed of owning a home.
I dreamed of getting a puppy.
I dreamed of being a wife to a wonderful man.
I dreamed of getting married.
I dreamed of falling madly in love -- the kind of love that becomes a marriage and endures the test of time.
I dreamed of moving to Colorado.
I dreamed of getting a kitten, who was my kitten, my first baby, to be with me to see all the subsequent dreams come true.
Lexie was my first dream come true... and she has witnessed all the subsequent other dreams come true.
Happy Birthday, my sweet Lexie.
Saturday, April 30, 2016
Friday, April 29, 2016
When the Denver Broncos earned a spot in this year's Super Bowl, it was an exciting two weeks here in Colorado leading up to the Big Super Bowl 50 to see what would happen. Frequently throughout those two weeks, I would be talking to friends and family across the country and nearly everyone wanted to discuss, at least a little, the Denver Broncos and their upcoming Super Bowl game.
The conversation was often some version of the same...
Them: Hey, how about those Broncos!
Me: Yeah, we're pretty excited, talk about a great defense.
Them: Yeah, but Cam Newton's pretty impressive... we'll see how it goes.
Me: Who are you cheering for?
and this is where the conversation changed and came one of three responses
Their Response A: Definitely the Broncos. I really like Peyton Manning.
Their Response B: I don't really care, but I like Peyton Manning, so I guess I'd kind of like to see Denver win for his sake.
Their Response C: I'm cheering for Carolina... but I really like Peyton Manning and so if Denver won, I would be happy for him.
Their Response D: I'm cheering for Peyton. Who is he playing again?
I was amazed at the absolute unity I heard far and wide regarding support for Peyton Manning heading into Super Bowl 50.
I have always liked Peyton Manning.
When I was in 7th grade, #1 Michigan beat #7 Washington State and was voted National Champions for the year 1997. This was back when the National Champions were decided by vote, not by playoff and championship games. One pole voted Michigan as Champions... the Coach's pole voted Nebraska Champions... because their coach was retiring.
Nebraska played Tennessee in a Bowl game that year, and Peyton Manning was the University of Tennessee quarterback. I was at a sleepover with friends during that Nebraska v. Tennessee game, and I spent the whole sleepover cheering for Tennessee and Peyton Manning in the hopes that they would upset Nebraska and Michigan would become the undisputed National Champions for 1997. Tennessee lost the game, but I cheered for and followed Peyton Manning from that day one. There was something special about that quarterback.
Now, fast forward 18 years (WOW!) and every conversation I have with people from all around the country reiterates that there really was something special about that quarterback.
In this day and age when Americans do not agree on ANYTHING -- when we have become not only so disagreeable, but so disrespectful toward one another... here is a man who does not fit the mold. Maybe everyone I spoke with was not cheering for the Denver Broncos, but everyone was cheering for Peyton Manning.
What a testament to the character of this man.
I recognized this back in February when he (and the Broncos) won Super Bowl 50... and then a few weeks later when he announced his retirement, but I still didn't know exactly why it was everyone wished Peyton well.
Then, yesterday, I saw a commercial and I realized that this is why he is beloved by so many and why, even opposing fans, continue to think of him with favor and respect:
Thank you, Peyton for being such a great man, a good role model, and someone I can, in good conscious, encourage the next generation to look up to. Two-time Super Bowl Champion is not even top of your list of accomplishments when you consider that supporting you unified an entire country, and wishing you well in retirement still does.
Thursday, April 28, 2016
We always pray with Tracey before meals and they are quick, sincere prayers and are different every day. We do not say a rhyme or the same poem every night.
We always thank Jesus for this food and for our family, or for this beautiful day... something like that. It is different every day.
A few days ago as I finished the prayer with Tracey, I said "A-men," and Tracey, instead of "A-men," said, "Yum! Yum! Yum!"
So, I just rolled with it and said, "That's right! Jesus, this food is delicious Yum! Yum! Yum! A-men."
Now, when we say prayer, we incorporate, "Yum! Yum! Yum!" into the prayer.
Sure, coming before our Creator and Savior to say, "Yum! Yum! Yum!" is a tad informal... but I don't know if I've ever heard a more sincere prayer.
She may not have fully realized it, but, in talking to God, our toddler expressed her sincere gratitude for her blessings, her dinner -- "Yum! Yum! Yum!"
What a beautiful sound from such a sincere little heart.
If only I, with a much more extensive vocabulary, could offer a prayer close to that sincere...
"Dear Jesus, Yum! Yum! Yum! A-men."
Wednesday, April 27, 2016
I did not grow up with siblings my own age, with my same parents, growing up in the same house, at the same time as I was. In a lot of ways, I was truly blessed by being my parents' only child. The fact that both of them were able to devote practically 100% of their love and attention on me for my entire life has certainly shaped me into the person I am today.
That being said, ever since I knew what a baby was, I wanted a sibling. I never grew out of wanting a sibling, and to this day, it saddens me that I did not grow up with a sibling. I have very dear friends, I am close with a few cousins, I have half-siblings who are very special, and I am a part of Chris' family and included with his siblings -- all of these are wonderful things, but I do not have my own siblings that I grew up with.
It is for these reasons that I absolutely love watching Tracey, Howard, and Caroline together. The day-in, day-out sibling relations is what I never had. The constant living together, playing together, napping together, eating together, talking together, learning together, same parents, all the time, this is the family -- whether you like it or not -- that is what I never had with siblings.
Praise God, Tracey never seemed to dislike her twin siblings. She needed time to adjust to the major life change. She needed time to adjust to Mama dividing her attention. And, frankly, I think she needed to get to know them.
I think, as they are developing more personality, and as Tracey is growing in her role as a big sister, it is just now dawning on her that these are permanent playmates for anything she wants to do.
Lately, she has been Doctor Tracey and Howard and Caroline are her patients -- and then never complain. She listens to their hearts, looks in their ears, takes their temperatures, bandages their legs, and gives them shots, and they just gaze up at her with the biggest smiles.
I do not take these beautiful moments of sibling love for granted for a moment. My heart swells every time I hear Tracey talking to Caroline and Howard. I smile from ear to ear every time Caroline just beams when Tracey is giving her attention. The void in my own heart of not growing up with siblings gets a little smaller when I hear Tracey climb in the car after school only to hear her say, "Hi Howlard! Hi Airoline! Its Tracey!"
I know there will be hard times ahead -- arguments and trouble sharing and copy-cats and tattle-tales... but all of that is a part of having siblings too, and, Lord, Willing, the result will be that our children grow up to consider their siblings the greatest gifts we have ever given them.
Tuesday, April 26, 2016
The other day I wanted to hug one of the babies -- either Howard or Caroline and I couldn't. They are not even 4 months old -- they don't hug back. I can hold both of the twins, but I cannot really hug them.
Tracey has just begun giving really good hugs. I think a part of it is that when the twins were born, she started wanting to having some cuddle time. Before she had two younger siblings, she could crawl into our arms any time -- with two new babies, she had to specifically ask for cuddle time when she wanted it, which she does. Hubby has started doing a bit with her where he says, "I'm going to give you... a BIG... GIANT... HUG," in a big monster voice. She has started hugging back and actually giving big giant hugs back.
When I realized that Howard and Caroline cannot hug me back yet... and Tracey has just started really hugging us back it made me realize how precious each of these stages are. Right now, I can pick up Howard and/or Caroline any time and just hold them. It will not be long before both of them want to be down on their own -- crawling, climbing, standing, walking, running... Right now I get to hold them and it is amazing. On days when I am at work, or on days when one sleeps more than usual, my arms ache to hold each one.
Tracey, on the other hand, is rarely held. She is carried, she is lifted, she is tickled, she is hugged -- she is no longer held. I love feeling her little arms around my neck as she has learned and is learning how to hug... but she is not a baby anymore. I do not get to hold her the way I hold Howard and Caroline.
I feel very fortunate that currently, I have one baby to hug, and two babies to hold.