Glimpse of Spring

Monday morning has brought the cold dreary January weather back with it. Yuck! Work or no work, office or not, boss or freelance; I have decided everyone gets a case of the Mondays--even Loulie Bug Dasher. Who can blame her or anyone for that matter after coming off such a beautiful, fun weekend? It was 70 degrees here in Charleston--a nice surprise after what has felt like an endless month of bad news and gross inside weather.
We made the most of it. Friday night, Loulie and I headed over to Aunt Muffy and Uncle B's to have some dinner and so she could meet Collin, their nephew on Bruce's side. Loulie and Collin are 6 months apart and hit it off. I'm glad Bert wasn't there because by the end of the night they were hugging, kissing and had caught Bieber fever. He's already horrified that she can shake her hips like that.

Saturday we took a little adventure to Fresh Fields Village down at Kiawah Island. This is a mere 20 miles from our home but we have never taken the time to explore the area. This was the perfect time to take Loulie because it was quiet and tourist free, except for us. We walked around with our camera and Bert fell in love with some of the simple architecture. It gave him some great ideas for IceHouse designs.

We let Loulie run around, took some time checking things out and had lunch outside. We ended the day with a long family bike ride and more outdoor time with Bridget.

Sunday was even more perfect!!! Do you ever go to church and there might as well not be anyone else there because you are just sure that the minister God is speaking directly to you? That would have been me yesterday. One of our new ministers, Simon Guillebaud, has just joined us from Burundi. And man can he send a message. We haven't been able to attend church regularly in January due to illness and other things so it felt good to be back. Also, for the first time ever, we dropped Loulie off in the nursery without a single tear shed--Go Big Girl! The only slightly embarrassing moment was when Loulie, who has just learned the sign for stinky, turned to the pubescent boy not wearing deodorant next to us to share her opinion on his pheromones. Lovely.
I was able to catch up on a few projects that I'll post later this week and then spend the rest of the afternoon outside.

Have you ever met a dog that likes to slide? Bridget cannot handle anyone playing or having a good time without her.  At least she has learned to take turns with Loulie.  I'm not sure how it looks in these pictures but it is hilarious live.
I wish every weekend could be such a perfect combination of physical activity, rest and fun. It sure made facing this cold, wet Monday a little easier. I'm about to head off to the vet with Bridget and Loulie--pray for me! :) I'm hoping the equivalent of social services for animals doesn't take her away because she is approximately 500lbs. I am just bracing myself for the lecture from Dr. Patrick. 
Have a happy week!


The little things...

I am by nature a pretty anxious person. As a child I pretty much worried about everything from hitting a double pirouette in ballet class to the depleting ozone. About five years ago, the Lord spoke Matthew 6 to me so clearly and it changed the way I lived and looked at life. But beneath my faith, I still have a worrisome personality that can pop up on me every now and then. I knew parenthood would guarantee moments that would send me into a tailspin of worry. What I didn't know and what the Lord has chosen to surprise me with over and over again, is that these tiny moments of worry are useless and can be changed into moments of sheer victory and joy and pride.
Like today, Loulie and I were at her peewee gymnastics class. Keep in mind that Loulie does not have tons of experience with a room full of toddlers all vying for the same toys she wants. I get nervous that an uncontrollable tantrum could occur or even worse that she could get hurt or not included--all things that may not seem like a big deal to someone who is not her mother but that I wrestle with as I stand back and watch her navigate her new surroundings. 
First event--we were supposed to stand at the bottom of an elevated gym mat and verbally encourage our child to allow a complete stranger (the teacher) to roll them over a ball into a flip. I'm not sure who was more nervous--me or Loulie but I'm pretty sure it showed more on my face than hers. She was clearly confused, a bit scared and did not do the most stellar flip. I clapped and congratulated her and suggested we move on. But she stopped and watched some more kids take their turn and without me saying a thing, she got back in line to do it again. She still looked a bit undecided on whether or not this was a good idea but she tried again on her own accord. And I could not have been more proud! She landed that flip--think Kerry Strug--it was that kind of victory.
Second event--cleaning up the bouncing balls. Loulie gets attached to toys, as in she does not want to give them up and can throw a whopping tantrum when something is taken from her before she is ready. So I stood on the sidelines watching silently, praying there would not be a scene. Loulie stood by looking from the bin back to her ball and then to the bin. And then she did it. When the teacher asked for her ball, she placed it in the bin, turned around and had the biggest smile on her face running back to me. An "I did it" look beaming.

And I can parent on those two moments for weeks because in spite of my own insecurities and fears of things I may be passing on to Loulie or all the things that I could be doing wrong, the Lord showed me once again that worry of any kind is useless and that he has her sweet and eager to learn heart right in his hand. That by love and (with his help) a good example, that she will be able to persevere through any fear and do the right thing. 
This probably sounds like not a big deal to most, but I find that it is the little things, the small lessons from above that encourage me when the daily responsibilities and pressures of raising a whole and happy person become a bit overwhelming. I should probably start taking some tips from my Bug-- just get back in line and try again.
Thank you Bugs for always surprising me, showing me your sweet and loving spirit and encouraging me in my job as a mother everyday. Proud doesn't even cover it!


Stage an intervention, I have an addiction...

I should not be allowed to read--Period! I get so completely wrapped up in a good book that I all but put aside basic hygiene and daily responsibility because I just succumb to the turning of the pages. That is if it is a good one. When I was reading the Twilight novels, I had to give myself rules so that I could get other things done.
As a resolution this year, I made an actual list of the books I want to read but could never have prepared myself for the little surprise Suzanne Collins would have for me. Oh, I have some C.S. lewis, a book on photography, some John Irving and a book on parenting in the first few spots on my list. But while I was in Augusta, my cousin handed me the first two books in the Hunger Games trilogy describing the basic outline of the first book. I was skeptical just like with Twilight, thinking "I don't do sci-fi, scary or post apocolyptic." Wrong. IT IS AWESOME!!!!!!!!!
The down side is Loulie has had to learn to bath herself and work the stove because I can barely get my nose out of now the third book in five days! Just kidding, it's not that bad. No need to call child services. I have been taking care of my child and house but after that Bug is in the bed; I am concreted to the sofa flipping pages until all hours of the morning. 
Bottom line--go get it! Unless you have a lot to do, then wait for spring break or something. I won't describe the plot to you because you will think I am crazy--just take my word, pick up Hunger Games and read 40 or so pages. Then forget about showering, brushing your teeth or eating for four days and call me when you've finished page 390 of the Mockingjay!


Team Peeta,



Needing a facelift

Is this the most hideous blog design you have ever seen? I agree with you. For some reason I cannot figure out how to make it look the way I want and I am convinced this is the world wide web's way of paying me back for all the teasing I throw at my mother for her technological challenges. 
Anyhow, it is my goal to figure it out this weekend. In the meantime, I will just plug away with my ugly background so you'll just have to concentrate on my compelling words (quit laughing). Okay, then just focus on the pictures of my cute and squishy child. 
Moving on. Did anyone see the Golden Globes on Sunday night? Well if you did then you probably noticed the number of pink dresses floating around the crowd. I am super excited about this because just a week ago, I bought 2 yards of what I call hibiscus matte jersey to make a dress out of. I am a terrible decision maker so it took me forever to decide on either this fabric or a muted blue. After Sunday, I confident in my decision and hopefully will have a finished product by this weekend. I have a zipper and some sleeves to attach and I'll post my final design.

In other news, life is almost back to "normal", whatever that means. Loulie had her first gymnastics class today. I would have taken pictures but I don't own a shutter that moves as fast as Loulie does in gym class. You really have never seen anyone have so much fun. Once she realized she was in a room where she could jump and run and bounce and not get hurt, she was off. I tried to keep up, I really did. Basically I stood close by and made sure that the white blur was not crashing into other children. Occasionally she would stop, make a farm animal noise at someone and then take off again. It was a big time that will be repeated every Wednesday until June. 
I hope everyone is having a good week--we are about to go outside for the first time in days and enjoy this beautiful sunny day.

Hoping to escape the background of green,



Did I just dream all that?

I am back...sorry to leave you with such dark and sad thoughts for two weeks. 2011 certainly has not started the way we expected but what is that saying about making plans? Oh yeah, don't. After my uncle's passing on Jan. 3rd, I hopped in the car leaving my sweet Loulie, Bridget Bojangles and my parent's two dogs in the care of Bert so that I could go be with family. The funeral was on Thursday and after getting home late that night, I awoke the next morning to an aching back and tickle in my throat which turned into five days of a 102 fever and ravaging body pain. Just as the fever let up, we received news that my brother in law (married to Bert's sister) was shot in a hunting accident. He is okay--praise the Lord! but gave us quite a scare and is still dealing with some rehabilitation and pain control issues. Needless to say, it has been a doozy of two weeks but one thing has been certain--the Lord shows up EVERYWHERE! In the darkness and pain and fear, he is right there answering prayers, making things more bearable and sending signs of love through all of it. I'm sure I'll want to divulge more of my experience over the next few weeks. But for now I would just like to pretend that everything is back to normal. So I'll focus on one of the more important occasions of last week...
That's right--MIss Bridget Bojangles Dasher celebrated her fourth birthday last week. Because it was on the day that I had the flu and there was a winter storm and everything was closed, we still have not celebrated. We will though, right after we get her to the vet for her yearly check up. She is a big fat oaf but I just can't help but love that sweet face. As Bert put it last night, that's breath only a mother could love. Like in the morning when she lays across my feet and I say "Bridget, get off." And instead of getting off, she crawls closer and presses her freezing cold nose into my arm. That's love! She was my first lesson in unconditional love and I realize it's ridiculous but I just couldn't go without recognizing her big day! Happy Birthday to my big polar bear!
I'm not making any big promises or expectations for the week but I hope I am back and blogging more regularly and with happier (or at least more boring) news!

Cheers to an uneventful week ahead,



A Day Unlike any Other

Is it possible that this day never happened? That it was all a bad dream? that facts were misconstrued and communication was crossed? Is it possible that I will wake up tomorrow and it will be Monday January 3rd and I will spend my day cleaning and boxing up Christmas and go to bed tired and content with the world still in tact? Oh, how i wish that were so.

I had planned on sitting down tonight to write a post on Christmas and how we spent our New Year and how our baby girl won't quit growing. It seems strange that today of all days, the beginning of a new year, the Monday kick off to all resolutions and organization of 2011 started like any other day. If it had gone on like any other day, then I would be droning on about our daughter and the joys of sharing the holidays with family. Instead, around 5:30 my phone rang and my family will never ever be the same and there is a hole in my heart. I am sorry to share this sadness and please don't read it if you don't want to. But I have to write about it because there seems to be nothing else more soothing right now. Sitting in a catatonic state on the floor because nothing else seemed important enough to do was just indulgent and ridiculous and I would rather share the loss and ask for your help in praying for my family than do nothing.

We lost my uncle today and to say that his death and the circumstances surrounding it is the greatest tragedy my family has experienced pretty much describes the current state. My heart is breaking because someone I love has died but breaking even more because people I love so much have lost someone they love. Our entire family was just together Christmas Eve and I can't help but think the pictures I have on my camera are at the same time a haunting reminder and a glorious capture of the last time that my family will be whole.
As terrifying and tragic as this day has been, I can't help but acknowledge that the Lord has answered prayers and arranged circumstances that have allowed it to be bearable. That my mother was still in Charleston allowing all of us to be together when we found out, that my cousin in Texas was still at work when he received the news of the loss of his father and that a coworker has lovingly reached out to support him tonight, that Bert was home when my phone rang, that God blessed us a long time ago with a close family that has always shared everything. Through the tears and the confusion the one verse that the Lord keeps placing on my heart is this... "That all things work for good for those who love the Lord."
My uncle was the kindest man you ever met--generous and care taking. You have never met a better grandfather or someone so involved in the life of his family.
I ask that you please pray for
-his wife, they have been together since middle school. My mother says she hardly remembers her own sister before my uncle.
-my cousins and their families
-that the truth around his death be revealed and my uncle's life rightly honored.
-that guilt be lifted for everyone and that answers will be uncovered to this accident.
-that my family will be drawn closer together through this and even closer to the Lord.
-that throughout this time, the Lord will be honored and his loving peace be revealed to my aunt and cousins.
-that God will give me the words to speak and ears to listen. My cousin has been there for me anytime I have ever needed him and I only hope and pray I can return his support. I do not begin to know what to do or say and I am scared I will fall apart when the time comes to head to Augusta.
-for my mother. She has had a crazy holiday and will be needing encouragement and support herself to take care of my aunt.
If you are reading this, thank you for your prayers. I am sorry to unload such a burden on others but I do feel that the more people praying for my family, the faster peace will come.

In His Name,