Saturday, February 28, 2015

Happy Anniversary!

Happy Anniversary to my wonderful Mom and Daddy!
Thank you for the wonderful example of marriage you have set.

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Friday, February 27, 2015

Vail Mountain

Vail Mountain is a very special place for me.

I have countless memories on that mountain.  To take a line from The Sound of Music, "That's my mountain -- I was brought up on it."  And, yes, I was brought up on Vail mountain.

The winter of 2013-14 was the first year since I was three that I hadn't skied on Vail mountain.  I was pregnant with Tracey Ann until the middle of January, then I was recovering from childbirth... and then, I didn't get a ski pass for the year, nor did I really want to spend a big, long length of time away from my baby to go skiing.  Plus, I was exclusively breastfeeding, so I would have either had to pump, or come down to nurse... it just wasn't worth it.

This ski season, I went skiing for the first time just a few weeks ago.  My first day on Vail mountain in almost two years.  As I stood in lines for the chair lifts and gondola, I found myself remembering so many beautiful memories on Vail mountain.  My first time skiing this mountain in nearly two years -- where would I ski first?
  • Maybe LOST BOY, because that was ALWAYS my family's first run, for decades, we would always take the Vista Bahn, and then Chair 3 and start with LOST BOY.
  • Maybe CAPPUCCINO, my first ever "favorite run", when I was a kid.  My friends and I would zip in a out of the trees.
  • Perhaps BLUE OX,  my favorite run as an adult, as I became a more accomplished skier.  A run my cousin and I race down almost looking like synchronized skiers.
  • Oh, but what about the BACK BOWLS?  It wasn't until I moved out here that I discovered the joy of the BACK BOWLS.  POPPYFIELDS would be wonderful, and less crowded.  I love POPPYFIELDS.
  • Or maybe SUN-UP BOWL, which has proven to be the best way for me to avoid crowds in recent years.
  • Then, there is RIVA RIDGE -- the black diamond ski run where my husband asks me to marry him.  I would definitely HAVE to ski RIVA.  Did I mention, this is also the ski run where my dad proposed to my mom?
But no... none of these would be my first run.

After nearly two years away, there was no question, my first run had to be NORTHWOODS, the beautiful run where my sister's earthly remains remain.  My sister Tracey was not laid to her final resting place in a casket, in a cemetary, witha  headstone for anyone and everyone to see her name and the dates she graced this earth.

Her wishes were to be cremated and her ashes scattered on Vail mountain, on her favorite ski run, where she could be one with the mountains, trees, animals, skiers, and breeze.  Her name is not engraved anywhere... but a tiny charm, the size of a dime adorns one small spot, of one pine tree, at the base of which, her ashes where scattered, twelve years ago.

Each year, I wonder if the charm will still be there -- winters certainly take their toll on Vail mountain.  But, thus far, the charm has always remained.  The only time it hasn't been there was when I've gotten mixed up, and been looking for it on the wrong tree.

I'm not able to visit my sister's grave and leave flowers... instead, I ski NORTHWOODS, almost every time I ski Vail Mountain, and I stop at Tracey's charm, and I pay my respects.

I don't go through every day in deep grief over my sister's death.  Time has lessened the pain of loss.  But then, on a beautiful, joyful ski day, I ask myself which ski run I will take first, and the answer rushes in with a flood of emotion -- NORTHWOODS.  I haven't visited my sister's charm marker in nearly two years... before anything else, I have to go to NORTHWOODS.  I haven't been to the charm since before my daughter was... well, conceived, and then born... the daughter I named after this sister, whose ashes were scattered there.

The first run had to be NORTHWOODS.
The charm was still there.

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Thursday, February 26, 2015

Yeah, I'm Going There... Today

I really try to leave politics largely out of my blog.  I do share my thoughts from time to time... but I don't want it to be the focus of my blog, and I do not want to make a habit of promoting disrespect for the leader of our country.

All of that being said... this political cartoon was WAY too funny (and a little too true, in my opinion) not to share.

As those of you who have followed my blog for years know, I respect and remember December 7th -- Pearl Harbor Day.  I have posted President Roosevelt's speech to our nation following that attach several times.

Well, here is how that speech might have read if Obama was president when the Japanese attacked:


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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Flashback: Rome Update 5

Flashback: Rome Update 5

September 27, 2004

Hey Y'all -

The past week absolutely FLEW by. Some highlights included my first
visitor to Rome, another weekend trip and my first letter from home --
thank you Aunt Ginger and Uncle Bill! :)

My good friend and sorority sister, Lydia Toso, is doing service work
outside of Florence and came down to visit me this past week from
Tuesday to Thursday. She studied in Rome a few summers ago so she knew
her way around, and we just had a wonderful time catching up while
visiting old favorite places of hers and new favorite places of mine.
One of the places we saw was Villa Borghese which is a beautiful park at
the north end of Rome. It is quiet and green and you can actually hear
the birds singing (as opposed to cars and bus motors) and I am really
excited to go back one day with a picnic lunch and a book as it was so
peaceful. Lydia and I had so much fun together and are hoping to plan
some trips to other parts of Italy together, since we are both here - we
both find it kind of surreal. She is a wonderful friend and we had
great talks and great times.

Soon after I parted ways with Lydia on Thursday, my roommate, Christina
and I and a friend named Chris took off for a weekend in Naples. We
took the train and arrived in the late evening just in time for a dinner
of the famous Neapolitan pizza. Friday morning we went to Pompeii and
wandered around the old village that was preserved by the lava from
Mount Vesuvius. It was a beautiful day and we all agreed that the
village would make a great place for little kids to make a fort or to
play hide and seek. Friday afternoon, back in Naples, the three of us
split up and I went window shopping. The people in Naples are SO NICE!
Not all of them speak English, but they are so thoughtful and much nicer
than the people I've met so far in Rome. If Christina, Chris and I just
stopped on a street corner to look at our map to determine which street
to take, more often than not, someone stopped and asked us if we needed
help and gave us directions to where we wanted to go. They were very

Saturday, the three of us spent the whole day on the Island of Capri,
and it was BEAUTIFUL! I wish there was a study abroad program there.
It was very tropical, which I wasn't really expecting and as we walked
to and from different sites, it seemed that every view we saw was more
breath-taking than the last. We saw Villa Jovis where Jovis used to
through his enemies into the sea, and we took a chairlift to the top of
Mount Solaro, and we saw the outside of the Blue Grotta. My favorite
part was being on top of the mountain because you can see the entire
island, the sea surrounding it, and I loved being so high. It was nice
and windy, and I could have stayed there forever. Another thing I
really liked was the Villa of San Michele which was a home built by a
doctor before the first world war. He described the house as 'having
small rooms but plenty of terraces and patios to watch the sea, the sky
and the clouds. After all, the soul needs more room than the body." I
love that quote and I hope one day I can say the same about my own home.
The whole island was one of the most beautiful places I've ever seen
and I really want to go back.

Sunday I spent the majority of the morning at the Cathedral of the
Duomo which was a beautiful church near our hotel. Then I went to the
National Archaeological Museum which was free admission that day, and
there was a jazz band playing among some of the statues which was really
cool. Then I did homework at the train station until our train left.

The temperature has dropped here considerably over the weekend. It's
gone from tank-top to long sleeve shirt weather. Apparently it is
illegal for anyone to turn their heat on before October anywhere in
Rome. I think that's a little weird, but at least October is just
around the corner, so we'll be fine. I'm a little under the weather
today with some congestion and a sore throat, but I'm trying to get more
rest and stay warm and hopefully this won't turn into anything serious.

I hope all is well where you are and I'd love to hear from you and all
that is new and wonderful in your world. You are all in my prayers. As
always, visitors are more than welcomed here in my little villa.

I love you all!

- B

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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Tracey Ann -- 13 Months

So, this is a total Mama-Fail that I'm posting Tracey Ann's thirteen-month update before I've posted her 12 month update... major Mama Fail.  I do plan to keep posting monthly updates, but in a different format than I did for the first year.

I just want to post some bullet points of new things that Tracey Ann is doing -- not in the detail that I did for most of the last year.  I will eventually post the 12 month update, but I think having posted this 13 month update will help sort of divide up what she's started doing recently, and what she was doing a month ago, when she turned 1 year.

At 13 months, Tracey Ann is:
  • Climbing on EVERYTHING -- I mean EVERYTHING!  As soon as she pulls herself up, she looks for the nearest thing to climb -- furniture, beds, stairs, toys... EVERYTHING.
  • Signing a lot of words -- she just started saying "Help" and "Sleepy" -- she now signs all the time.  In fact, she signs "Help" so often when she wants something that Hubby and I are having to ask, "You need help with what?"  She signs "milk", "more", "food", "all done", "up", "help", "sleepy", and she blows kisses, which are also "thank you."
  • Nodding and shaking her head to communicate.  We can literally ask her questions now, and she will answer.  "Are you hungry?" and she will nod her head vigorously.  "Do you want some banana?" and she shakes her head.  "How about some oatmeal?" and she nods her head.  It is SO helpful!!!
  • Giving us hugs and kisses -- wide open-mouth kisses.  We LOVE them.
  • Meeting one of Mama's closest friends from college, "Aunt" MaryCarol who came into Denver on business, so Tracey Ann and I went down to see her
  • Still breastfeeding -- about three times a day, but she's now to the point where she doesn't drink any bottle while I'm at work, and I don't pump when I'm at work.
  • Drinking water exclusively from a sippy-cup -- dare I say, we could possibly put the bottles in storage?
  • Hugging and petting Lexie whenever she gets the chance
  •  Throwing the ball for Lloyd... well, understanding which are Lloyd's toys and rolling them to him.  She rolls the balls to him, and she picks up his bones and carrys them to him.
  • Crawling with toys in one or both hands -- she also climbs with toys in one or both hands.
  • Loving brushing her teeth... and I must be clear, SHE loves brushing her teeth.  She doesn't necessarily love for me to brush her teeth.
  • Walking... occasionally, and when we least expect it.  Tracey Ann actually took her first steps before she turned one, but she only did it once.  Then a few weeks later, she walked again.  Then again a few days ago... but most everything she does, she tries it once, and then she HAS it.  Walking has not been that way.  She can do it, but for her, she is so fast when she crawls and she loves to climb, so she's not all that interested in walking.  Most recently, she has started walking while just her little bottom is sliding along a cupboard giving her just the smallest degree of reassurance.  She is getting there (and frankly, I'm not rushing her).
  • Sharing any chance she can -- she will hand me my phone, she will share her food (with Mama, Daddy, and Lloydey), she will share her toothbrush -- and she wants to be the one to put the food or the toothbrush in your mouth.  It is so sweet.
  • Giggling and laughing all the time.  Her little sense of humor is developing, and she loves to laugh, which we love because she took so long to really giggle, that it is a sound we just cherish.
  • Not loving getting her diaper changed.  She does not like to lay still for that length of time.  So, I must admit, I have caved, at least for the moment, to turning on cartoons when we change the diaper.  She immediately lays still and is patient.  I know, it's probably horrible of me... but its a LOT easier than wrestling with her each and every diaper change.
  • Drinking from a straw -- and blowing bubbles into a straw
  • Fully vaccinated!!!!  She's been up-to-date with her vaccinations all along, but her turning twelve months was a big milestone for us because it meant she could get her MMR (Measles Mumps and Rubella) vaccine, which she did this past month.  We feel SO fortunate that we live in a country where vaccines are so affordable and available.

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Monday, February 23, 2015

The Irony...

I really enjoy the Academy Awards each year... which is so ironic, because I'm not a big movie person.  I enjoy movies... but not new movies that are released in theaters.  I think $10/person is WAY to much to spend to see a movie on the big screen, when I can wait a few months and rent it for $1.50 from redbox... and I think most movies that are made these days are really lousy, or so violent that I don't want to see them even if they are good.

It is therefor ironic how much I would enjoy the Academy Awards each year.

Mostly, I think I love the pomp and circumstance, the history, the ceremony, and the show.

Last night, my favorite moments were
  • when Best Supporting Actor told everyone to call their parents
  • when Idina Menzel mispronounced John Travolta's name
  • the 50th Anniversary tribute to The Sound of Music sung by Lady Gaga -- I have to say, I was INCREDIBLY impressed with the class, grace, and respect Lady Gaga paid to The Sound of Music.  Her voice was amazing, and she was dressed beautifully.  My husband couldn't believe it was Lady Gaga... but it was clear that she realized the tribute wasn't about HER, she was the one honored to be performing the tribute.  Then, she introduced Julie Andrews as "The incomparable Julie Andrews, "which was pure class.
There are less and less people who Thank God every year, which saddens me.  But, I am paying more attention to what people say about their children in their acceptance speeches.

What a fun event -- I just wish it wasn't on a Sunday.

... And I just have to say -- these people are actors, can't they memorize their acceptance speech?  I understand the directors, sound guys, make-up artists not being able to memorize things... but these actors are WINNING AWARDS based on their awesome acting talent and a part of that is memorizing lines.  Shouldn't they be able to memorize their acceptance speech?

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Sunday, February 22, 2015

Girls Weekend

Hubby has been doing graduate school most of the weekend, and so Tracey Ann and I have had a girls weekend.

She and I have been on our own before, but this weekend felt different.  It felt like a fun girls weekend instead of my being a solo-parent with the baby.

We read a lot of books, we followed Lexie around (even under a few beds), we threw the ball for Lloyd and rubbed his belly, we had our first pillow fight, we met PEO sisters for coffee, we giggled and shrieked and napped. Tracey Ann helped me vacuum, do the dishes and the laundry, and we spent a lot of time turning our family room into a jungle gym.

I had a headache on Friday, so we took it easy that day -- we watched some tv.  I was pretty strict about Tracey Ann's television exposure during her first year of life... and I still am very careful to limit her screen time... but I have relaxed a little now that she is one.  We took it easy and watched some cartoons while I was fighting my headache.

Our baby girl is SO much fun.  She is really turning into Mama's Little Helper... well, she's trying to be Mama's Little Helper.  These days, I do appreciate it when she sleeps, but I get so excited for when she wakes up.

She lets out a few shrieks to let me know she's awake, I open the door to her nursery... and there is my big, beautiful girl, standing up in her crib, with a HUGE smile on her face, and as soon as she seems me, she starts bouncing up and down because she is so excited to see me.  A moment later, she reaches her arms up to say "Up, please," and gives me the sign for "Milk," and I say, "You're hungry?" and she nods her head enthusiastically.

Our little princess grows more every day, and every day I love the stage she's in... and then she does something new, and I love that new stage she's in.  Every day I don't think I can love this baby more... and every day, I love her more.

I feel like the luckiest mother, the luckiest woman, the luckiest person in the world that I get to love and care for this perfect, happy, loving, beautiful baby girl.

 I really need to get some more pictures of Tracey Ann and me together... its just hard enough to get pictures of Tracey Ann by herself these days... that selfies of the two of us are nearly impossible.  But I need to try.  These days are flying by, and she's doing more and more every day and I want pictures of the two of us together.

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Saturday, February 21, 2015

My Heart as a Mother

Sometimes I wonder if I have what it takes to be a mother.  I know, it's a little late to wonder, as I've now been one for over a year.

But the longer I am a mother... the more I wonder if I'm cut out for the job.  I don't know if my heart can take being the heart of a mother.

When Tracey Ann was a newborn, we just focused on learning how to keep this precious baby, this life with which we had been entrusted, alive.  I have joked that her turning one year old is such a celebration because we have kept her alive for an entire year -- and people laugh because, of course, it is said in jest... but it also said with a great deal of sincerity.  We are fully rejoicing that all of our mistakes as parents -- all of my mistakes as a mother, and I made many mistakes during that first year, were not fatal mistakes.  It is truly a miracle and blessing from God that our precious baby is one year old, and healthy and thriving.

Now that she is no longer a baby... I mean she is... but she's not, she's a toddler, I'm beginning to see more of the road ahead, and I look at the year behind us, and I wonder... can my heart withstand the joy and pride and discipline and training and growth and turmoils that lie ahead.

I have always cared what is going on in the world -- through wars and terrorists and political policies with which I disagreed -- but I knew the Lord was directing my steps, and my future was with Him in Heaven.  Now, I see the world differently.  Our world, our country, our military, our freedom has to last beyond my lifetime because I now have a child.  When I see horrible things on the news, now I do not just grieve and pray for the situation as I used to... I have within me a very deep smoldering fear about the world in which I have to raise my daughter.

The Bible tells us hundreds of time not to fear... but I really feel like there should be a mothers version, because I have more fears now than I ever knew existed.  I know some will pass... but others might be there forever.

I know I am called to put my faith in the One who loves Tracey Ann more than I do... which I can't even imagine, but God does.  And yet, when I think of the future, when I think of our world so full of evil, I am overwhelmed with emotion in my heart as a mother.

People said being a mother would change my life.  People said there is no love like it.  Some may have even said that it would change the way I see the world... but no body told me what it would mean for my heart to become the heart of a mother.

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Friday, February 20, 2015

How We Prepared For Our Hospital Birth

A few months ago (yikes, where does the time go) I posted as to why Hubby and I chose a hospital birth over a home birth.

As I promised in that post, this is how we prepared for our hospital birth, and choices we made that we feel made the experience very positive, healthy, predictable, and joyful.

The most important thing we did in in preparing for our birth... was PREPARE FOR OUR BIRTH.

Yes, I realize I just said the same thing, and yet I couldn't believe how many first-time pregnant moms with whom I spoke hadn't prepared for the birth.  Sure, they had a beautiful nursery, really cute baby clothes, they had their newborn photo shoot booked... but they had not done any preparation for the BIRTH of their child.  At most maybe they had toured the hospital and decided which room they thought looked most cozy.

Hubby and I prepared for the BIRTH starting seven months before our baby was born, and kept studying up until D-Day.  My body was spending nine months preparing itself for the major event of birth... my mind, spirit, and husband needed to prepare as well.

During my first trimester, I read, Husband-Coached Childbirth by Robert A. Bradley, and Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way by Susan McCutcheon.  These books helped me even begin to mentally prepare for what it would mean to give birth and decide if I wanted to try to give birth naturally, and if I thought The Bradley Method would be the right choice for me.

After much research, I found a Bradley instructor in my area and signed Hubby and me up for the twelve-session class beginning in October (our baby was due in February).

The Bradley Classes were amazing, and helped both Hubby and me to prepare for everything from pre-labor, to relaxation techniques, to routine labor, to what to do if unforeseen circumstances arise.  To read more about our Bradley experience see this post or the Bradley Label of the blog posts.

The Bradley Classes involved class sessions, workbook homework assignments, physical homework for both my husband and me, and physical exercises for me to practice.

I had shared the face I was studying the Bradley Method with my OBGYN doctors, but within a month of my due date, I went online and used a few websites to help me actually write out a birth plan.

I used several birth plan websites, but I believe the one from which I drew the most information was

My birth plan outlined the training I had had, how I planned to handle Labor, Induction and Labor Augmentation, Anesthesia, Cesarean Section Delivery, Delivery, Immediately after the Birth, Newborn Care, Postpartum Care, and Breastfeeding.  Yes, it was not a short document.  It was mostly made up of headings and bullet-points, with some bold for a couple of important details such as "Please do not announce the baby's gender.  My husband will do this when he sees for himself," and "Please do not offer me any anesthesia unless I ask for it."

I then took this birth plan with me to every doctor's appointment I had during my last month of pregnancy and discussed it with each of my doctors.  (When I say "each of my doctors" there are four OBGYNs in the practice, and, by not knowing when the baby would arrive, whichever physician was on call when I delivered the baby would be my doctor.  So, during my last 6 weeks of pregnancy, I had a doctors appointment with each of the four doctors who might delivery the baby.

I thought it would be a pretty simple process, hand off the birth plan, and tell them I'd see them at the birth.  Each and every physician took the birth plan and read through the entire thing, there, in the room with me, as soon as I gave it to them.  They also, each, told me point-by-point the aspects of the birth plan that they did not like.

Although from the same practice, each doctor had different parts of the birth plan that they would not agree to.  It was through this process, that I learned which of the four obstetricians aligned most closely with my plans for childbirth. 

In fact, it was through this process that I learned that the obstetrician that I had been seeing has my primary doctor informed me that would not agree to not offering anesthesia.  There was more to the conversation, which ended with me, sitting in my car, on the phone with Hubby, crying and wondering if home birth was not the better way to go.

Again, it was through my written birth plan, that Hubby and I learned which doctor most closely aligned with and supported our plan for labor and delivery, and we started praying like crazy that she would be on call when the time came for my birth.  God is wonderful, and she was on call the entire time I labored and delivered.

Hubby and I also toured the hospital, which was nice to learn the layout, although I think it benefited Hubby more than it did me.  I didn't do a lot of traveling around the maternity ward once we arrived.

I would say, of everything we did to prepare for our hospital birth, the most important thing Hubby and I did was study together.  For us, it meant Bradley classes, but going into labor and delivery we BOTH felt ready for a test -- we had prepared and studied, both together and a part, and we both had our own roles to play during our final exam.

Hubby knew to stay calm, and relax me, and not let the pain I was in impact his actions and decision making.  It is not uncommon for a woman to be encouraged to get an epidural because her husband is so upset watching her in pain.  He is the one tracking down the nurse and demanding that someone help his wife.  If a husband is acting like that, you better believe, the hospital staff will respond.

We remained very calm, informed, and felt very in control of our hospital birth the entire time.

Feel free to contact me if you have any more questions about the manner in which we prepared for our hospital birth.

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Thursday, February 19, 2015

Smiles Lately

Lately, I saw these two commercials that made me smile.  I hope they do the same for you.

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Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Flashback: Rome Update 4

Flashback: Rome Update 4

September 20, 2004

Hey Everyone -

I have to warn you, this has been a really exciting week, so this may be a long email. :)

I really got into the swing of classes last week and feel like I am finally 'adjusted'.  During my sketchbook art class last week, I was sitting in a corner of Rome's Capitole Hill sketching a Piazza designed by Michael Angelo and a number of tourists were around, and all the sounds of the city of Rome were everywhere, and I finally had the sensation that I am studying abroad, and this is what it is all about.  It was pretty cool.

This past weekend was REALLY exciting as I traveled to Munich, Germany with two of my roommates.  They stayed with other John Cabot kids in the city for Oktoberfest and I spent Friday afternoon with them, but then I was fortunate enough to visit really good friends of our family who live about an hour outside of Munich, Tim and Heike DeYoung and their kids, Laura (13), Joel (11) and Jona (8). I had SUCH A WONDERFUL weekend with them!!!!

Friday, my roomates and I had a morning flight which gave us plenty of time to figure out the metro situation from the airport to Munich and reached the city in time for a late lunch. We ate that afternoon in THE HOFBRAUHAUS which is one of the more famous Beer Gardens in Munich. It was such a hilarious place with long wooden benches pulled up to long tables where one eats, a Bavarian band playing, and waitresses and waiters in the traditional German wardrobe. The food was German (surprise, surprise) and very good and the atmosphere was a stitch! I am so glad I was able to see it, because I don't think I would have believed anyone who described it to me.

After lunch I split from my roomates and wandered around the old part of Munich (Marienplatz) and window-shopped until I met Tim in the early evening to go back to their home. We know each other because our fathers are best friends from many years back, and our parents travel together and the families usually see each other at least once a summer.

I had SO MUCH FUN at Tim and Heike's home and with their family. It was just what I needed this weekend. I saw so much of the German countryside and met so many really nice and sweet German people and was able to get a much more cultural experience than I'm sure I would have seeing only Oktoberfest. The kids made a real effort to speak to me in English and would remind each other to include me in the conversation when one would speak in German. The whole family was just wonderful and were truly a blessing to me this weekend.

Over the weekend there was a once-a-year market in town, just down the road from Tim and Heike's home (it was a little like an art fair) and so the kids and Heike and I spent some time both Saturday and Sunday at the market. I was able to meet a lot of nice people and see the types of things they sell and it was great to observe the whole thing (and shop a little too).

Tim works at LegoLand and on Saturday all of us but Laura went to a big Back-To-School concert day that LegoLand was hosting and I had such a blast being at the amusement park with Joel and Jona. They showed me all of their favorite rides and thought I was pretty cool for going on the rollar-coasters. If any of you get the chance to visit a LegoLand somewhere (there are four in the world), I would definitely recommend it. It's a great place for kids, but all of the things made out of legos is fascinating and interesting for people of any age. I had a great time.

Then on Sunday I went to church with them and in the afternoon, students of Heike's were in a children's musical/opera. (Heike is an extremely talented soprano singer and now teaches voice lessons). I really enjoyed watching the show and then afterwards, some of the students came over and spoke English with me! They were SO sweet and so
nice to bring me into the conversation and talk with me, and spoke English very well.

It meant everything to me to see Germany and learn about the German culture, but also have a bit of home by the familiar faces of close friends and the fact they spoke English.

Sunday night, Tim dropped me off at the Oktoberfest and I was able to take in the whole event. It was really cool -- somewhat like a cross between a big and happy frat party and a big state fair. It was really cool. I hope I didn't committ some type of sacrelige by only drinking a Diet Coke while I was there...

This was a wonderful wonderful week, and it has me very excited about upcoming weeks and upcoming trips and all the new experiences coming my way. Thank you for all the prayers coming my way -- things are going too smoothly for anything other than Christ to be at work. It's a really cool thing!

- B

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Monday, February 16, 2015


This year, I was incredibly unfair to my husband on Valentine's day.

I did not mean to be, and it took me the majority of the day to figure it out... but my wonderful Hubs definitely was unfairly blindsided this Valentine's day.

Our little lovebug hardly sits still long enough for me to get pictures of her these days... but I managed to snap a couple.
This is the sixth Valentine's day Hubby and I have been together -- the fourth since we've been married.  We always do something romantic and small for Valentine's day.  In the past we've gone out to dinner, or cooked dinner together, we've gone to a movie, or we've seen a play... just something fun and out of the ordinary, and we exchange Valentine's card, but nothing major.

Getting in Mama's makeup to be ready for her Valentine's date (Mama and Daddy)
So, to review, our Valentine's day of have been fun and out of the ordinary, but nothing major.  Well, this year, due to many demands on his time and energy, Hubby focused more on the "nothing major" instead of the "fun and out of the ordinary" part of Valentine's Day.  He knew that we had never made a really big deal, and always tried to be wise with our money, so this year he was pretty content to just go along with whatever I wanted to do that day, and not really make any plans of his own.

What I learned this Valentine's Day, and what my poor Hubby, was told very unfairly, apparently, now that I am 4 years into marriage, 1 year into motherhood, keeper of the home, and working a full time job... I want him to make some kind of Valentine's Day plans.

Here we are waiting for a table, while Tracey Ann eats a pretzle
As Hubby was content to do whatever I wanted that day... as the day progressed, I couldn't figure out why he didn't have anything planned.  He couldn't figure out why I was upset.  He's never really planned anything before -- I made our plans, and he would do what I wanted, and bring a Valentine's Day card along.

This year I had a few surprises for him, and I was crushed when he didn't return the effort.
Tracey Ann is very into sharing these days... here she is sharing her pretzel with Daddy
Finally by mid-afternoon, I realized that I had, very unfairly, changed the game on him.  I didn't know, until this year, that I want a Valentine's Day celebration.  It doesn't have to be major, or expensive... but I want my Hubby to plan SOMETHING special and out-of-the-ordinary as a way for him to let me know that I am his love, and his Valentine.

What a CUTIE!
Our days are so full of chores, life, responsibilities, plenty of joy... but lots of routine.  I want Valentine's Day to be a break in the routine.  I don't care if its a simple and inexpensive as Hubby telling me he's doing the laundry that week, or he's giving me a 30-minute back massage after Tracey Ann goes to sleep, or he's letting me sleep in that morning and he will get up with Tracey Ann... I want a break in the routine, and a demonstration of love.

I love this outfit!
My wonderful Hubby was so loving and understanding when I finally shared my thoughts.  He also lovingly forgave me changing the Valentine's game and being so unfair with my expectations for a Holiday that's never really been a big deal.

Just another change that motherhood brings.

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