Thursday, January 28, 2010

She's a Very Busy Girl...

Today was a snow day. No school! Unfortunately, in addition to the blizzard outside, Hurricane Haven was full force inside. This is a very busy girl...she is like the perfect storm. If the Energizer Bunny married Dennis the Menace and they had kids, well, they would be Haven. She loves to "work" around the house with mom. Today:

Haven sewed with me. I was working on a sling when she climbed up on the chair behind me, put her little feet into the small of my back, locked her knees, and said, "It's my turn now. It's Haven's turn!" Apparently "Haven's turn" sewing involved making several adjustments to my sewing machine and completely unloading my thread box whilst stacking as many as possible on top of the machine.

I decided that being snowed in (or whatever since we didn't actually get any snow until late afternoon) would provide the perfect opportunity to work on potty training, so Haven went diaperless or with panties all morning. She managed not to pee in her panties or on the floor, but also refused to sit on her potty chair whenever I suggested it. Apparently she used it on her own at least once, however...a fact that I discovered when I found her baby doll sitting in the potty chair and upon closer inspection found to be hip deep in urine. Lovely.

Next, we baked blondies (you know...kind of a brownie without the chocolate). Well, I baked blondies and Haven repeatedly stuck clean utensils into the batter and "helped" me. Just to make this clear, I did not invite Miss Haven to help me with the baking. Rather, I went to the pantry to get cooking spray and by the time I got back into the kitchen she had pushed a chair up to the counter, climbed on top of it, and proceeded to dirty every utensil in the drawer.

After lunch we marked garage sale items for the school garage sale. Haven was very, shall we say, active in the process. She was all about unloading the boxes and bags and then re-loading them with both marked and unmarked garage sale goodies. She really had a high time when she found a bag of craft goodies to sort. Haven "sorted" them all over my carpet. I'll be vacuuming them up for weeks.

After nap and a snack, I reorganized the DVDs and attempted to match all of the empty cases with the caseless disks. Haven focused on removing all of the VHS tapes from their cases, stacking them in piles on the floor, then returning the empty cases to the rack. What a helper!

While I was making supper in a surprisingly Haven-free kitchen, Miss Hurricane evidently took it upon herself to feed the dog...from her snack bowl.

As I sit on the couch typing, Haven is busily lining out her baby dolls. They seem to be quite a discipline problem collectively, though they are also quite affectionate with each other and often kiss and hug. Haven just tattled on a doll that is really more of a figurine. "That girl won't give me her purse! Tell that girl to give me her purse...share," she insisted. Unfortunately, the fact that the purse is sewn to the doll's hands means nothing to Haven Esther. Just another challenge to conquer!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

10 Things

These are ten things that make me happy. Not the only things, mind you, just the top ten. When I sat down to think about this blog it occurred to me how many, many people in this life bring me joy. How much of God's creation I enjoy. I considered grouping some of this top ten together just to squeeze more in, but in the end abandoned that plan. So, drum roll, please, here they are: 10 Things.

1. God. I'm really not saying this to appear to be more spiritual,I'm afraid you all know me too well for that. Truly, He is the thing that makes me the most happy in this life. Without Him, I think I would love a little bit less, feel less deeply, see less vivedly. Without my Savior and my King, I would not know the hope and peace that infuse my life, making me capable of fully enjoying the other things it in. Knowing that I'm not good enough, that my righteousness is filthy rags is made a joyful thing in knowing that His righteousness He has given to me. I don't have to make it on my own merit. He paid my debt for me! What a release, what courage and joy that brings in facing this life with it's trials and pain. I live in amazement that He chose me. The knowledge that He loves me unconditionally makes my heart smile.

2. Jason. How happy it makes me to be married to my best friend! We enjoy each other's company so much. We love to hike, climb, kayak, snorkel, explore, try new things, go new places, talk, dream, and plan. Jason makes me laugh. He makes me feel beautiful. I can think of nobody else that I'd rather spend time with. I look forward to sharing the rest of my life with him and to the many adventures we'll share.

3. Hannah. My first baby. We bonded together over seemingly endless sleepless nights. She was such a challenge. Our precious little one who didn't like to sleep, eat, or play. She nearly sucked me dry, then, suddenly, she turned into a toddler who was loads of fun. She danced, sang, told stories, amazed us with her intelligence, loved to help around the house, and blamed "Beeda" for everything. Inspite of all of my incredibly inept parenting, Hannah has blossomed into a beautiful, confident, godly, talented woman. She amazes me. She dances like sunlight on water. She speaks three languages. She's smart, witty, sharp, independent. She loves to read, research, watch movies. Spending time with her and watching this process as she becomes the woman God created her to be brings me great joy.

4. Addy. The easy one. From day one, she seemed intent on making my life easier. Even labor was only 45 minutes with her! She slept through the night the day we brought her home from the hospital. Her easy-going nature didn't mean that she had any less personality, though. Addy is what we call a corker. As a baby, she crawled around with little dollies' heads in her mouth, climbed everything she could find, and was a mini houdini. She is still a person of contrasts. Addy is remarkebly easy going, but also extremely competetive. Addy's standardized testing will blow you out of the water, but she might not know what day of the week it is. She has a heart for the Lord, a sense of humor as sharp as a scalpel, a sense of mission, compassion. She's artistic and musical. She has the sound track to "The Phantom of the Opera" and "Flyleaf" on her mp3 player. She is an individual, deal with it. My Lulu is quirky and fun! I never know what she'll say next and I love the way she keeps me guessing. Just being in the same world with Addy makes me smile.

5. Haddon. My bubba-man. How did I get so blessed to have this little boy? After two girls, the sheer boyishness of him makes me so happy! Although we knew we were having a boy (thanks to the miracle of ultrasound technology), I will never forget the moment of panic I had the first time I held him in my arms. "I don't know how to hold a boy!" I thought. But, practically, other than the circumcision and the frequent fountainous diaper changes, newborn boys aren't any different than newborn girls. I'm not sure when that changed, but it did...and how! Boys make noises more than they make words. My son is wild, he's crazy, he's a lego maniac, he's all about star wars. He's a young, male, me. He's loud and rowdy. He loves babies and animals. He's all about science and nature. He loves a challenge and lives for meeting the goal. Haddon is happiness to me.

6. Avery. So sweet and so funny! When Avery does something, she does it BIG. As a toddler, she loved my "beans" which is actually arm pit stubble. She always had her hand in my pit. She would only eat macaroni and cheese (not the homemade kind, the kind from a box) and zonies (zone protein bars). She's loyal to a fault, but doesn't know a stranger. Avery has been best friends with Jakob since before she was born. Grown men willingly wrap themselves around her little finger. Avery loves coffee, puppies, soccer, books, glitter, glam, boys, drama, dancing, music, and the outside. She says, "nudist" instead of noticed, "commershical" instead of commercial, "Star Whores" instead of "Star Wars." She's been known to announce, "Ah, that's a good cup a joe!" Watching movies with her is the best because Avery has the best giggle in the entire world!

7. Haven. Hurricane Haven keeps me so busy, and so delighted. She is a walking disaster. If it can be broken, Haven will break it. If it's poisonous, she'll eat it. If it's high, she'll climb up it and then fall off of it. She has scared us to death since before she was born, but I can't imagine life without her. She makes me laugh every day. Haven is so busy. She loves to "fold" laundry and "put away" groceries. She enjoys undressing her babies and then pushing them in her stroller. Haven likes to tell us to "be patient," and "don't you tell me no," and "you stay right there," and "you stand up and hold me." Haven loves animals and strikes fear into the hearts of animals large enough to eat her in one bite. She is a sticky, sweet, noisy ball of perpetual motion. She is a living breathing miracle, one that shouldn't have made it to the ripe old age of two.

8. The written word. Reading is a mini vacation without the hassle of packing, travel, or the laws of the physical universe. Anything is possible in literature. It amazes me how mere words can transport me to magical places far or near. I love the smell and feel of pages, the weight of a book in my hand, the anticipation of taking up a story where I left off. I love getting my words down on paper (or on the computer). Making my imaginings into something solid, tangible. There is something magical about having the power to invite somebody else into my imagination. The written word makes me happy.

9. Nature. Our creative God has constructed a magnificent world to be explored. I love, love, love being outside exploring it. I love trees, mountains, oceans, deer, sand, snow, fish, wind, sun. I love being out in it and I want to see it all, touch it, and smell it.

10. Motion. I love doing. Walking, running, dancing, skiing, climbing, hiking, paddling, swimming, sliding, jumping. Moving makes me happy. Oddly, when I'm tired, moving gives me energy instead of stealing it. I am so at peace when I am DOING and GOING. Motion makes me happy.

Happiness. What makes you happy?

Friday, January 15, 2010

Happy Birthday to Me!

I am a HUGE baby about my birthday. I love my birthday and want it celebrated to the nth degree every year. It's the one day each year that I don't feel guilty about being completely selfish. My wonderful husband knows this about me and not only does he put up with it, he feeds my birthday bliss compulsion. Every year he plans something more fun than the last. There was the year he arranged for some friends to take me out, then they delivered me back home after a wonderful supper to a surprise party complete with decorations! Another time he swept me away to a spa day in the city. I honestly don't know how he manages to come up with something every year. This year he put the icing on the cake (pun intended)!

On Tuesday, I left school an hour early so that Jason could whisk me off to OKC. We headed first to Rocktown, an indoor climbing facility housed in an old silo. Now, I have never been rock climbing (been boulder scrambling, but that's a whole different ball game) and though I was excited about trying, I was also worried about a few things. Let's face it, I'm not the most physically fit that I've ever been! Would I embarrass myself by not even making it off the ground? Would they even have climbing gear for chubs like me? If I fell, would my superior body weight yank my husband off the ground and catapult him to the top of the silo as he tried to belay me? Still, I'll try almost anything once, so I pulled up my big girl panties, pasted on a smile, and prepared to make the best of it. Guess what? The harness fit me, the staff did not measure, weigh, or laugh at me, and the other climbers did not gawk at my rather un-streamlined body. Jason and I geared up, then headed into the training room to take the required beginners' course. Morgan, our instructor, showed us the ropes (haha, I've got a million of 'em) and asked us which one of us wanted to belay first. My mind quickly calculated the options. I could climb first and risk humiliation by showcasing my incompetence...OR, I could belay first and watch Jason risk humiliation from the safety of the ground. Bingo! Option 2, belaying it was! Turns out belaying is tricky. Not difficult, mind you, just has more of a procedure than simply ascending a wall. There are a series of commands for the belayer and climber to use. The belayer has to learn how to clip the rope through their harness and through the floor cable, the proper way to take slack out of the line as the climber climbs, the "brake" hold, and how to operate the release apparatus on the belay device so that the climber will be lowered to the floor rather than dropped (sorry, honey, I couldn't remember which way was "slower" and which way was "faster"). Jason looked like a spider monkey as he scaled the wall easily, but I had to have four practices to get belaying down pat.
Then it was my turn. My nervousness had dissipated and sure enough, climbing proved to be easier than belaying. Jason practiced twice, then we were on our own. We had a great time and spent two hours trying all of the easier routes we could find. I was pleasantly surprised to find that I not only like rock climbing, I LOVE it!

Next Jason took me to the Warren theater in Moore. We sat in the balcony in cushy, recliner-like seats with seat warmers! We had a little table and a call button to summon our waitress. Yes, our WAITRESS...Jason and I just ordered popcorn and soda, but a full menu was available. We were presented with 3-D glasses. Not cardboard ones, but "real" glasses that we were to return after the show. We moved the armrest so we could snuggle and watched "Avatar" in 3-D. It was amazing.

After checking in to the Radisson, we walked a couple of blocks to Abuelos for a late supper before turning in. The next day was my actual b-day, so Jason let me sleep in. Then we went to the mall where he picked out my gift: a beautiful James Avery, 3 carat, garnet ring! A fabulous lunch at the Cheesecake Factory, quick stop at Hobby Lobby, visit to friends at Children's Hospital, and then we were headed home.

I can't WAIT to see what he comes up with next year!