Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Hello, Third Trimester!

We made it two-thirds of the way.  Which kind of sounds like I didn't expect to make it two-thirds of the way.  Which isn't the case.  But for someone who has wanted to have a baby for as long as I can remember, it's just downright weird to think that this is actually happening.  It's just...wild.

I feel little lady's hiccups at least once every other day.  Her kicks are getting stronger, although not painful.  Her head is down and she's in position for this 'birth' thing that her mama keeps telling her about. I've still only gained 8 pounds - but now that I'm in my third trimester, that number should spike up between now and D-Day! My belly is changing shape - although I still just think it looks like I'm extra chubby.  Especially with my winter coat on.  I'm sure people think I'm just a large lady who needs to use the bathroom (thanks to the obvious waddle, which is worse when I'm tired out) :)
19 Weeks (left) & 28 Weeks (right)
Our little lady is quite the sass, though.  She knows when her daddy puts his hand on her, and she immediately stops kicking.  Stinker.

We're all registered for our prenatal classes.  
The crib was set up this weekend.
I've got my nose in several 'how to push out a baby' books.
We've got our name picked out.  I think.  It starts with an - ha...just kidding! Not telling :)

You guys - we're having a baby.

We even had two whole days of practice as a family of four.  Granted, it wasn't our baby.  And she was a happy 9 month old instead of a screaming newborn.  But we were so curious to see how the soon-to-be Big Brother would do with a little lady in the house.

Working on setting up Baby Sister's crib - both kiddos were very 'helpful' :)
We saw so many good things.  I won't say that Carter loved her, but he absolutely tolerated her - and by the end of the second day, I'm pretty sure she was growing on him.  He pretended to feed her his ice cream after dinner from across the table....which is kind of like 'love', in Carter's world.  

Let's just forget about the fact that the next day when he saw her in church with her mommy & daddy, he made sure to tell us "No baby" :)

We found it so interesting that when little lady fussed, Carter went right to his room and shut the door.  He didn't want to hear it.  He definitely didn't like it.  At first, this made me sad.  It made me wonder what a screaming baby meant in his former, orphanage life.  It obviously triggered something in him, and he just wanted to get away.

The more I thought about it, though, I realized that this is probably a very good thing for Carter to understand.  He has an 'out'.  If it's just too much for him, there's nothing wrong with him sneaking off to his room for some quiet play time.  In fact, I can't really think of a better response for him to have.  He understands his limits, and he knows that he has a safe and quiet place to go when he needs a break.  

All good stuff.  

When 'nice baby' (as Carter calls her, when he's not saying 'no baby') left, I think Jake and I both felt relief.  It's going to be fine.  It will take some adjusting, for sure.  But just like we got into our groove when Carter came to our family, we'll get into our groove when Little Sister comes, too.

We talked about it the next day, and I admitted that before 'nice baby' came, I was a little nervous about what life would look like in 3 months.  Jake and I work well together.  We are in-sync 98% of the time.  We know each other - we help each other - we affirm each other.  And we also know our little guy.  We understand him and his quirks.  We can see what he needs before he needs it.  

What I'm saying is that we're like a well-oiled machine.  And now the well-oiled machine that we've worked so hard to perfect is being dismantled and will need to be rebuilt.  

That's a little daunting.

But after this weekend, we realized that it will be okay.  We're in this together.  And we'll just rock it. 

One Thing I Know For Sure: 28 weeks down, 12ish more to go!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

A Special Visitor :)

Last week, Carter had a special visitor show up at his house.  We had been debating if this was the year.  Even though Carter loves the idea of Santa, would he flip his lid when Santa actually rings his doorbell?  Would we ruin him forever?  Or is he the big boy kindergartener that we think he is?

Shortly before bed, the doorbell rang.  Carter knew.


We'll never know how he knew, but he did.

Let me start by saying that in my family, Santa is a THING (yes, all caps).  Santa has been visiting our family Christmas gatherings since I was itty-bitty.

In fact, I found the following photos of myself and Jolly Old Saint Nick in the basement just now.  I searched for about 3.7 seconds.  If I had looked longer, I could have found at least 12 more pictures from other years.

Santa loves our family that much.

We are a very well-behaved family, therefore, we know Santa on a personal level.


We love Jesus a whole lot, we read the Christmas story every year as a big family, and we know that HE is the real reason we celebrate.  But still, there's Santa.  There's always been Santa.

Since becoming parents, Jake and I have been torn.  We never really thought we'd be Santa people.  Because how does Jesus compete with someone who delivers fun presents and rides a sleigh driven by reindeer?  How can we ever find the balance between this little Santa thing, and the Savior of the world?

And then.

And then we had a little boy whose eyes light up every time he sees Santa in a book or on a show.  And we remember our wide-eyed wonder at this happy, kind, jolly man and how he helped to make our childhoods so very special.

So we threw our hands up and decided that it's okay.  We emphasize Jesus and the nativity.  Because that's what it's really about.

But this Santa guy is special, too.

If our kids can just learn love from our Christmas traditions, then I'd say we did it right.  What's love?  It's giving without expecting anything in return.

I'd say Jesus and Santa both have that figured out.

Maybe 20 years from now, we'll wish we had done things differently.  Or maybe we'll look back on all these special, treasured memories and be so grateful for each one - which all happen to reflect our own childhood Christmas wonder.

So for now - we'll thank the Lord for his indescribable gift of his one and only Son.

And we'll throw in a 'Ho, ho, ho' every now and then.  Because this is the way we're choosing.  We're doing it our way.  And stop shaking your head at me, because we don't have to agree on everything.


The visit was a smashing success - Carter loved his stuffed elephant (elephants - his latest obsession), colors for his bath, and activity/coloring desk (coloring - his other new obsession).

But most of all, Carter loved Santa.  And Carter's mommy and daddy loved Santa, too.

As Carter would say "HO, HO, HOOO - baaaaaary kik-kis!"

One Thing I Know For Sure: So grateful Santa's knee held out for a quick visit :) Love you, Santa!

Monday, December 01, 2014

It's That Time!

I've secretly been listening to Christmas music for several weeks while Jake has been at work.  I've always prided myself on waiting until after Thanksgiving.  This year, I just couldn't wait.  Maybe it's the new life in my belly, or the new house, or the wide-eyed kindergartener who is so full of wonder.

No matter - there was no waiting, this year!

The day after Thanksgiving, we bundled up and headed out to cut down our Christmas tree.  Possibly my favorite tradition of the whole year.

It was cold.  Dang cold.  But it's Wisconsin, after all.  So we've just learned to suck it up and deal with it.

We saw a tree we liked almost right away, but had to walk around for 45 minutes to make sure there wasn't something better.

There wasn't.

It was cold.  My body wasn't prepared for all this walking in boots and snow and snow pants.  Carter's mittens were wet from dragging them in the snow.

This special tradition was turning into a crapstorm.

We went back to the first tree we saw, and guess what we did?!  We cut it down.  Forty five minutes of senseless walking in the cold.  But, memories!  And, traditions!  At this point, we didn't really care.

"Let's just get the heck out of here. Mmmkay?"

So, Jake got down on the snowy ground and started sawing.  And sawing.  And sawing.  Nothing was happening.

More sawing.  Some tree-pushing.  More sawing.  And then - 'snap'.

Our saw broke.  Thankfully the family nearby had a saws-all.  It saws-all.  Saws-all to the rescue.

We finally got the tree loaded on to the top of the car.  (You know, the one we could have cut down after five minutes of looking around).  We tied it down good and tight.  Off we went, home! 

And then, a mile down the road, we realized it wasn't really tied down all that tight.  It was sliding off our car.  We tried to laugh, but it was hard.  So we pulled over, and tried to fix it.

Carter is yelling from the back "Nooo! No! Home! Carter's house!".  He didn't like that we were stopped - he didn't care that the tree was slipping and sliding and would soon be in the middle of the road.  

We got it fixed, only to stop again a mile or two later.  Eventually we made it home, and just as we pulled into the driveway - laughter.  It's okay.  It's just - life.  Life is messy and funny and sometimes hard.  

But we're learning.  Actually, I suspect we'll spend our whole lives learning.  


That night, as the tree defrosted and dripped off in the garage, we did the only thing you really can do after such a messy day.

We ate chips.  And salsa.  And lots of rice.  And fajitas.  And drank coke (or chocolate milk, if you're in kindergarten). 

And we laughed.  We laughed so much.  


The tree is up, and even though the cutting down part was messy - the putting up part was perfect.  

Our sweet boy was mystified by the lights and was so eager to help.  After he went to bed for the night, Jake and I pulled out all the ornaments and got to work.

We cried a little bit.  Because some ornaments can't be unwrapped without shedding a few tears.

Like this one.

Confused? Click HERE. 
And some remind us of people who aren't here anymore, and maybe we are still learning lessons from those people.

Others remind us of pets who aren't here any more, and maybe their floppy lips and perky ears left great big holes in our hearts.

A few ornaments fill us up with all good feelings and each time we look at them we can't help but rejoice and be thankful.

So it's Christmas.  And this is where we are.  Remembering, rejoicing, and learning.

Always learning.

Merry Christmas, friend.

One Thing I Know For Sure: It's the most wonderful time of the year :)

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

This, That, & The Other Thing.

It's been a little quiet here lately.  Want to know what I've been up to?!

I know at least one reader does.  I'm always surprised when I get comments from people that I don't know in real life.  I forget that actual people read my blog.  So to that sweet, dedicated, concerned reader who I don't even know - here is the answer to your question:

Pink or Blue?! from Ashley Gibson on Vimeo.


We will be welcoming a little sister into our family in March.  Carter has been working so hard on saying 'sister'.  Last night was the first time that it actually sounded like 'sister' and not 'bloddyter'.  I don't even know.  I'm pretty sure he's got 'baby girl' down pat, so at least we've got that to fall back on.

Carter has also been helping us pick out sister's name.  I don't know why, but it's important to me that he can at least kind-of say her name.  Maybe because if he can kind-of say it now, there's a good chance he will be able to say it really well in a year or two.  Maybe because there's so much that he can't say right now - I want his sister's name to be something he can say, and say confidently.

We've been cleaning out the office-turned-nursery, which has me kicking myself.  When we moved in back in March, I had a gut feeling that we should just leave the room empty.  I knew deep inside that it would be a bedroom soon...but guess what?!  We filled it with junk, anyway!  Stupid.  Always trust your instincts.

So I suppose you could say I've been nesting.  Or at least planning out my nesting.  With lists.  Lots of lists.  I will soon need a list to keep track of all my lists.  Which is, essentially, Pinterest.  Amiright?

My list currently looks like this:
Organize office in master bedroom
Set up crib (never too early, people!)
Decorate nursery
Wash windows (for some reason, this seems like something I should do before her big arrival)
Build kitchen table (this is on Jake's list - it should be done by Thanksgiving!)
Buy kitchen chairs (there's nothing more satisfying than crossing something off a list)
Organize Carter's closet (again, this just seems like a good idea)
Organize the basement (this keeps moving farther and farther to the bottom of my list.  Soon it will just be crossed off, purely for satisfaction's sake.  And I will put it on my 'Summer To-Do List')
Make info binder for whoever will be with Carter while baby sister is being pushed out
Pack hospital bag (I've got time, but it deserves to be on the list)
Arrange for baby to kick when Jake is around, so he can feel her

So that's it.  My month, in a nutshell.


Enough about baby.  Let's talk about Carter.

October and November are big months for us.  We do lots of reflecting and celebrating and crying and rejoicing and remembering.

We met Anton on October 7.  He became Carter Benjamin on October 24th.  We took him from the orphanage for good on November 9th.  And he came home - right where he belongs - on November 15th.

Six weeks filled with big emotions and all the feelings that one can possibly feel.  We watch old orphanage videos, and read his special life book.  This year he was able to verbalize some things that he's never been able to in the past.  Whether he remembers or understands is unknown - but we'll keep sharing with him.  Because it's his story.  And we are his only connection to his past.

And as we reflect on his past, we also see so many good things happening in the here & now.  Just yesterday, Carter's teacher sent me a photo that made me cry.  Hormonal?!  Maybe!

And these were taken at our field trip to The Little Farmer back in October.  I never blogged about it, although I fully intended to.  I wish you could have seen all these kids.

I think Carter gave 328 high-fives during our four hours there.  And they aren't given out of pity or obligation.

And then this, from his trip to the firehouse:

See where he is?  See who he's surrounded by?  This all makes my heart so happy.

The other kids really, truly WANT to know Carter.  They want to spend time with him at recess.  Does he do things that most Kindergarteners and First Graders don't do?!  Absolutely!  But they are part of an open, caring family-classroom.  The other kids know they can ask questions about Carter, and why he does what he does.  Education!  Advocacy!  It's all so very good.

We are so grateful for Carter's school - his team - his classmates.  Three years ago, I never envisioned Kindergarten being this good.  I think I was even fearful of it.  Everything felt so safe and cozy and protected in the Early Childhood setting.  I just couldn't imagine our sweet little guy moving on to the great big Kindergarten family.

While it's not perfect, and we're always working through little kinks, we couldn't be happier.  Carter is totally rocking this Kindergarten thing.  Duh!  I should have known.  He always, always, always surprises us.

Carter CAN!

One Thing I Know For Sure: Now you're all caught up.  And I need to go make another list - "Hosting Thanksgiving - 2014" :) If you don't hear from me for a while, now you know why!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

My Pregnant Head.

"How are you feeling?"
"Oh, I'm awesome!"

"Any nasty pregnancy symptoms?"
"Nope! Feeling great!"

I sort of lie sometimes.  Because if I told people about my weird symptoms, I'm pretty sure they'd think I'm nuts.

I didn't have any of the dreaded morning sickness, so I feel like I really can't complain about anything.  But my mouth! My face! My head! You guys, it's been rough.

Thankfully, I've been seeing an amazing chiropractor who has helped me with my jaw issues.  That's all fixed up, and I'm so relieved.  But my mouth! My head! What the what?!

I'm not sure if I should blame hormones, or expanding blood vessels, or stress, or who-knows-what.  But some days, I don't even want to open my mouth to say words.

So I take Tylenol when I can.  And I use ice packs.  And every single morning at 2:30a when the Tylenol wears off, I whine my way to the bathroom to take another dose before I wake up too much.  Sometimes I take a shower and brush my teeth, because it helps.  Which is psychological, I know.  Then I come back to bed and lay there for hours.  And I think about things like wiggly teeth and sight words and nursery decor and why is this Tylenol not kicking in? And should I just get up and start my day?

So that's fun.

There's so much I want to be doing right now.  Cleaning out the office, which will soon be a nursery.  Finishing odd jobs around the house before baby arrives (or before I get too enormous to do odd jobs).  But I just can't do those things when I'm massaging my temples all day and laying with ice packs on my face.

At this point, you're probably all ready to send me meals and offer to clean.  Don't!  Really.  If you're going to feel sorry for someone, feel sorry for Jake.  He asks me a question, and sometimes my answer is "Ijusswantsomeorangejuice...".

And he's like "What did you just say?".  So I repeat myself - because, how can you not understand me?!

And he's like "Are you mad at me about something?" and I'm like "Nomyfacehuurrrts....".

He's the best.  He rubs my temples until his fingers are sore and almost bleedy (not really).  He asks if I want anything from the store before he comes home (just cherry 7up, please!).  He calls to check on me.  He tells me that he wishes there was something he could do, and he really means it.  You guys, I got a good one.  

So the next time you see me, and you ask "How are you, pregnant mama?!" - I will probably say "I'm doing great...couldn't be better!".  And it might be the truth....or it might not be :) 


When are you due?!
March 9th! Which means I'm 20 weeks pregnant - halfway-ish there! My maternity clothes are getting lots of use these days :) If I wear regular clothes, I still just look extra-pudgy.  Or like I just gobbled up a whole pizza.  But in maternity clothes, it's pretty obvious :) In fact, one of Carter's nurses at the doctors office told me I looked 'tiny' for being this far along.  In my entire life, I've never - ever - ever - ever been called 'tiny' :)

Will you find out the gender?!
YES! In one week! Yes, we'll share it. This is the first tiny-baby on both sides of our family, so we know people are eager to buy cutsie blankets and things :) And I'm eager to set up the nursery and do all those fun nest-y things!

Are you doing any fun baby projects?!
I've got a couple easy sewing projects once we find out the gender.  And I'm working on a baby book (through iPhoto) every couple weeks.  I add things like names that we've been talking about, belly pictures, what/how the baby is growing during that week, and other pregnancy facts & stories. I'm also taking a few belly shots every so often.  Not, like, shots of liquor off my belly. But photos of my growing belly.  Which doesn't seem to be growing that much to me.

13 weeks vs. 19 weeks

I had a hard time choosing how I would take these belly shots.  I know myself.  I know that I'm not going to get dolled up every week to take a photo of adorable (or frumptastic) me, in front of a chalkboard.  I'm just not.  So I saw this silhouette picture somewhere, and thought it was perfect.  I don't have to do my hair or makeup - I can wear leggings and a tshirt - and I can do it whenever I feel like doing it.  So there.  Take that, Pinterest.  

Will you share the name?!
Nope! We are horrible, aren't we :)  So far, the names we like aren't all that common.  We just hate the idea of sharing our names, and having people say "That's HORRIBLE!" or "WHY would you name your baby that?!?".  It would probably sway our decision, and I want to pick a name that WE love.  We also know that if people see our baby in the hospital or sometime after birth, they will probably have the decency to keep their lips zipped about their opinion of our baby's name.  So the name will be a secret.  Which is kind of fun.  We (and everyone else) knew everything there was to know about Carter.  We even had a picture!  There were no surprises.  This time, we'd like to do things a little differently.

What does Carter think?!
It's hard to say.  He definitely talks about the baby.  Whether he actually understands that there is a baby in my belly is debatable :) I sometimes wonder if IIIII even understand what's going on! HA!  He will touch my belly, though, and say "Babyyyy!" or he'll say "Mom, dad, baby!".  Eventually we'll start preparing him for baby's arrival by using a dolly.  Honestly, we think Carter will be an awesome big brother.  He loves to help us, and I'm sure he'll love to help us with the baby.  

What gender are you hoping for?
We couldn't care less.  A boy would be so fun - two little boys.  Brothers.  I love the idea of brothers.  They would have a special bond, for sure.  And a girl would be so precious.  A boy and a girl.  Every little girl needs a big brother to look out for her.  I've always wanted to have a boy and a girl.  Truly, we don't care.  We're just thrilled to find out! 

Any other cravings or symptoms?
Well, my chin hairs are growing like weeds.  I just can't even.  If you want to really feel bad for me about something, feel bad for me about my chin hairs.  I haven't had any true I-need-this-right-now cravings.  But I do eat lots of cereal and orange juice.  I am also into peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.  And pears.  Lots of pears.  Thankfully, a friend brought over a whole bag just this last Wednesday!  My usual desires for things like creamy pasta and comfort foods have only gotten stronger.  But I think I do a good job of balancing everything with lots of fruits and veggies (raw green beans!).  If my Grannie is reading this, and would like to make me the orange/grapefruit citrus salad, I'd be very grateful :) I've had a hankering for it several times over the past few weeks, but I hate the mess I make peeling & separating all those citrus fruits! I've had a few nights of nighttime leg cramps - but now they seem to have stopped.  Let's all hope that's the end of that! 

Have you felt any kicking?!
I felt the first kicks around 17 weeks, just one time.  Then a little over a week later, I felt it again during church.  And I haven't really felt it since.  But I've been a little crampy/achy (from all the stretching and growing going on), so I'm wondering if I'm just feeling that so much and not really feeling the kicks.  

So.  That's that.  You now know everything there is to know.


I've got to say - I wrote most of this post over a week ago.  A few days ago, my mouth pain and headaches totally eased up and I feel like a million bucks.  I'm really, really, really hoping that I'm finally entering into the 'honeymoon' period of pregnancy where things are totally peachy, and I'm still not too big or too tired to feel good.

Bring on the second half!

One Thing I Know For Sure: Omigosh - I'm pregnant!

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Down syndrome Awareness Month

October is Down syndrome Awareness Month.

I can honestly say that I celebrate Down syndrome almost every single day.  From Carter's beautifully perfect almond eyes, to his sweet turned-up nose, all the way down to his wide feet and big adorable gap between his first two toes, his inquisitive nature, his sunny disposition (spattered with bouts of stubbornness and defiance) - I love Down syndrome.

Because I love Carter.  And Carter's Down syndrome can't be separated from who Carter is.

If the two things could be separated, I would keep them together.

In fact, Carter's Down syndrome is what brought him to our family.  If he was born with 46 chromosomes instead of 47 - he'd be living with his first mom & dad in Kyiv, Ukraine.

I'm grateful for Down syndrome.

It's no secret that Carter has some unique needs.  Lots of things have made Carter who he is - over three years of orphanage life, hyperactivity and impulsivity that are currently through the flippin' roof, life on the spectrum...and Down syndrome.

Of all the things I listed, Down syndrome is the least of our concerns and the easiest of his special needs.

In fact, I think Down syndrome is pretty beautiful.


Let's just cut to the chase (because my brain is tired from two surgical procedures for our little buddy on Monday, limited sleep from being a concerned mommy, and having a busy bee at home every day this week).  During Down syndrome Awareness Month - here's what I want you to know:

+Different is good.  Yes, Carter is different.  You will see he is 'different' the moment you lay eyes on him at the grocery store, or while he's walking down the school hallway.  And that's okay.  Actually, it's good.  Different is good, and we need those people in our circles who think differently - learn differently - play differently - grow differently - and approach things differently.

+Don't be afraid.  When you see someone with a special need, just treat them like you would treat anyone else.  Smile, genuinely.  Say hi, if it's appropriate.  Or ask how their day is going.  If they can't answer you, it's okay.  They'll be glad that you took the time to ask.

+Educate yourself.  I'm not going to take the time to go through myths and facts about Down syndrome because you can find them all over the internet.  Here are a few sites that I like:
Down syndrome Facts from the NDSS
Down syndrome Myths from DsA-OC
Here's a fact - people with Down syndrome are people.  Here's another one - they deserve to be treated with fairness and dignity.  Pretty simple, isn't it?

That's it.  If you can grasp those three simple things, then I'd say this month will be a success.


In honor of Down syndrome Awareness Month my girl Juli, and I, put together this video.  We asked the principal at our boys' elementary school if they would show it to the students sometime this month. I half expected them to say that while the video is a great idea, there are only 3 boys in the elementary school with Down syndrome...and you want us to show the video to all the students?!

I was so wrong.  Our efforts were applauded, and they sent the video out to each elementary teacher, asking them to show it when it's convenient for their particular class.

Oh yeah, they are showing it to the school board, as well.

We're awfully grateful.

Different is good!

That's all I have to say.  So reach out.  Don't be afraid.

Down syndrome is beautiful.

One Thing I Know For Sure: Their ability is stronger than their disability!

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

This is 30.

So, I'm thirty.  As in, 30.  Like, thirty years old.  

Thirty looks so much different than I thought it would.  Not that I sat around and dreamt about being 30 when I was a kid....but we all have an expectation of what we'll be like when we're older.  

Hear me: thirty is better than I ever imagined it would be.  I have the sweetest little sunshine-boy to wake up each morning.  I live in a community that I love, with people that I love.  I've got a sweet baby on the way, and couldn't be more excited.

And my husband.  Guys, he's the best.  Don't believe me?  Let me tell you a little story.

About a week ago, Jake told me he was taking me out for my birthday.  On Sunday night.  Huh? A Sunday night date? That's weird.  Oh, and none of our family is available to watch Carter, so we're hiring a sitter.  Huh? Weird!

So Sunday night: I got ready, the sitter came, and off we went.  We arrived at one of our favorite restaurants, walked through the parking lot, and went up stairs to the second floor.  Huh?  We've never eaten on the second floor! Weird.


Huh? For me?

Remember - that's a baby belly.
Keep this in mind as you look at these pictures, please :)
I couldn't believe that all these people were here for my birthday.  On a Sunday night, too! (Because who does anything exciting on Sunday nights?!)

So I greeted my family, and then I saw my friends.


Guess what I'm saying here.
"Haaayyyy!!!" :)

Do you ever wonder if people really like you?  I do.  All the time.  If this sounds crazy to you, we'll call it an 'adoption/abandonment' thing (because I'm adopted, too).  But when I saw all these precious people, I felt so loved.  And I later told Jake that I was surprised that "so many people really like me.".


My awesome husband then said all kinds of nice things about me.
"She deals with Carter with such grace and love." - HA.
"She takes such good care of me and makes me fee so special." - I do?!
"She's such a good pregnant mama (notice the coke I'm drinking) and doesn't complain about her nasty jaw pain." - Well, yes I do.
And he pretty much went on like this.  Have I convinced you yet?  He's the best.

My face here says exactly what I'm thinking.
"I'll pretend he's talking about me, but he HAS to be talking about someone else."
And then I heard music.

Yes, my husband hired a mariachi band.


As I looked around the room, I was reminded of our wedding day.  Everyone was smiling and laughing.  Everyone was having a good time.  People who don't clap and sing were clapping and singing.  And they weren't even under the influence of alcohol!

"Guantanamera, guajira Guantanameeerrrraaaaaaa!"

"Ay, yai, yai, yaaaii, canta y no llores!"

Then they sang Happy Birthday and I cried.  So there was that.

We ate tacos.  I drank non-alcoholic pina coladas.  We laughed.  We sang.  I cried.  My baby belly was patted.  We talked.  We laughed more.  I blew out candes.  We gave hugs.

There was so much love in the room, I could collapse under the weight of it.  How did this happen?

Hey Ben - how many pictures do we have exactly like this? Twenty? Ninety?  Now I'm curious.
Also, this hat looks so studly on you! You should wear it more often.

My mom made the awesome cake.  She's the family cake lady.  Carter knows this well - all we have to say is 'birthday', and Carter is saying "NaNa! Birthday cake!" :)

I have always loved 'The Wizard of Oz'.  It's easily my favorite movie. Because, Dorothy! How can you not love her?  And when she sings 'Somewhere Over the Rainbow' and is secretly wishing to be somewhere else, someone else...and then it really happens.  But it's scary, and she has to be brave and strong and independent - but, her friends! They already have everything they think they need! The tin man is already loving! The scarecrow is so smart! And the cowardly lion is no coward, at all! But they just didn't realize, until someone told them.

And maybe that's a little bit like life.

We think we need more of this or less of this.  Or we wonder if people really - actually - truly like us.  And then someone tells us it's so - and we can believe it.  Someone shows us they care, and we know it's true.  And everything we need more of is right there - we just need to grab it and believe it.

I'm believing big things for my thirties.  And I know that everything I need - joy, love, peace, patience, understanding, kindness - it's all right there.  It's within me.

Raise your coffee or tea or non-alcoholic pina colada or Coke or whatever.  Here's to 30.  And because I've said enough words - let's let someone else talk.

May I always remember "There is no pit so deep that God's love is not deeper still." - Corrie ten Boom, says.

Thomas Edison said "When you exhaust all possibilities remember this: You Haven't."

Elisabeth Elliot want's to tell me "Don't dig up in doubt what you planted in faith."

May I always "Be somebody who makes everybody feel like a somebody.".  Thanks, Kid President.

Some dude named John Gottman once said "Admit when you're wrong. Shut up when you're right." Words to live by.

A.W Tozer reminds us to live big for God - "God is looking for people through whom He can do the impossible.  What a pity we plan to do only the things that we can do by ourselves."

Even Audrey Hepburn has something decent to say - "Nothing is impossible.  The word itself says I'm possible."  Hmm.

And finally - "Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better.  It's not.".  We can thank Dr. Seuss for that one.

Three cheers for Thirty.  Three cheers for family.  Three cheers for friends.  Three cheers for love, love, love, love, love.

One Thing I Know For Sure: I'm thirty!

Friday, September 26, 2014

What's Missing?!

Did I tell you that Carter had two wiggly teeth?  He did.

Now he has one wiggly tooth because one was pulled out by an eager daddy last night.  It was definitely time - we've been watching that little thing wiggle and move all week.  He got off the bus yesterday and that tooth was practically twisted around backwards.

Carter didn't even cry.  He opened his mouth so big for his daddy, he said "Ahhhh - dentist!" and Jake just tipped it forward, and it popped right out.  

Or at least that's what Jake told me.  I didn't actually witness it.  I was on the other side of the house, with fingers in my ears, trying to think about anything but teeth.

Can I tell you something about teeth? I don't even know how to say this.  I have a thing about teeth.

I have dreams about losing all my teeth.  I clench my teeth at night, to the point of being in pain, and then dream about them falling out.

I can't stand looking at loose teeth.  I don't want to see them wiggle.  I don't want to touch them.  Just, deal with it yourself, kid.  {Thankfully, this kid happens to have a dad who can handle wiggly teeth.}

So he's down to one wiggly tooth, one little gap, and some molars poking through.  

Now here's a question for you.  Carter has ground his baby teeth down to basically the root.  I'm not even exaggerating.  He came to us this way, so don't blame us for it.  But now...what happens?  His adult teeth will come in, and they will be towering over his sorry-excuse for baby teeth.  And how will he chew? Won't his enormous adult teeth be in the way and mess up his bite?

I think for the next several years, I just won't ever look in his mouth.  Ever.

Omigosh.  I can't even.

So our little kindergartener went to bed a little older last night.  A little more mature.  And mommy and daddy felt our baby boy slip away just a tiny bit more.  Big boy, for sure.  

{Side note: the other day, Carter was running around outside and when he came in, I hugged him.  And I smelled something I've never smelled before.  His head.  It smelled like a dirty, sweaty little boy.  Oh my gosh.  He's a real boy.}

One Thing I Know For Sure: Did I mention - today is picture day :) I hope his big cheesy grin shows off his new little gap!
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