Friday, May 30, 2008

Spirit of Adoption

Once upon a time, not so long ago, my pride and joy was just a figment of my imagination, a dream yet to come true. I hadn't seen him. I didn't know his name. His life, his entire being, was a mystery. If I could go back in time I would tell myself to pray through the pain of that experience with even more fervor than I actually did. I would carefully explain that crying so hard I almost threw up was a little over dramatic, even for me. Oh it isn't that I've forgotten the pain, it was so acute, so peculiar, that I think I will remember it for the rest of my life. It's just that if I'd really trusted God, I think the pain would have felt a little less like kicking against the goads.

Garrett was nine months old when we decided a sibling was in order. He'll be two in July and the Lord God Almighty, in all of his infinite and perfect wisdom, has kept us a three person family. I'd be lying if I said that I didn't sometimes want to march right up to heaven's gate and demand an explanation. Why us? Again? And there are days when I want to pummel pregnant people for the simple fact that they look cute in their maternity shirts. But oh how I am trying to learn new lessons and not fail the same old tests. I'm trying to understand that, like James says, the testing of my faith develops perseverance and that perseverance must finish its work so that I may be mature and complete. I'm believing that this is wholly the will of God and that we have nothing to do with it.

We've been discussing adoption again. We haven't chosen an agency or landed on any kind of program. We certainly don't have the small fortune it costs to bring a child into this family. But I can feel the stirring in my soul. I do not know what my family will look like at it's completion. We were set to adopt once before and I found myself carrying our biological son. I do know that Troy and I have always had a deep appreciation for adoption. Of course we would eagerly accept another biological child, but more and more I wonder if God has chosen us to love a son or daughter born not of our own flesh, but of our hearts alone. Perhaps He has given us no choice but to live out James 1:27 "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress..." I know that we cannot look after them all--orphanages throughout the world are filled and so many children in our own country need homes--and I know that He could close the doors even on us saving just one, but for this moment in time, I can feel the *spirit of adoption moving once more.

Romans 8:15 "For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, 'Abba, Father.'”

America's Finest City

We're back in Utah now. After we froze our limbs off camping, we enjoyed wonderful weather in San Diego and, if we weren't both missing Troy, I would have stayed for awhile. Garrett is horrendously sick with a nasty snotcoughheadcoldthingy and I was dreading the flight home. After screaming his head off before we ever left the terminal and writhing and kicking me for no apparent reason whatsoever, he conked out in my arms and that was that. When we landed he woke up. Turns out that the flight from San Diego is a lot shorter when you are not trying to entertain a toddler the entire time.

On Tuesday we had fun at the zoo where this one really exciting thing happened but for reasons I cannot go into, I am not allowed to blog about it. You should just know that it would make a phenomenal story if I were permitted to tell it. I'm really sorry if you're just dying to know now. Perhaps, one day, in my memoirs or something, it will be told.

Garrett learned several new words while we were there and I am starting to think that he might talk in sentences before his seventh birthday after all.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Honk Honk

Camping was freezing! Seriously, since when is Southern California the new Salt Lake City? Of course we still had a great time relaxing and hanging out in the mountains.

Garrett learned how to tell the dog to "heel" and it is very funny. He also ate more sugar yesterday than is appropriate for anyone of any age. And being that he calls any vehicle with wheels a "Honk Honk" we heard a great deal of it for three solid days. Cars, trucks, fifth wheels, trailers, motorhomes, they are all excitedly shouted at, "HOOOONNNNKKK HOOOONNNNKKKK!!!"

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

San Diego

It's been three months since I've been to San Diego.

My flight leaves tomorrow at 10:25 am.

I can't wait. We're camping for much of my stay and I know Garrett is going to have a wonderful time playing outside all day long with his best friend, Grandpa.

Yip. Eee.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

When Did He Become a Big Boy?

We had four really good days with Garrett--in a row! We were able to talk him out of tantrums before they became colossal. He did exceptionally adorable things and was being incredibly sweet. This morning he woke up and the power struggle went something like this:

Me: Hi bud. I can't believe you are 22 months old today.
Garrett: Mama say what? I am not a day younger than two.
Me: Whatever do you mean?
Garrett: I'm TWO! I'm TWO! I'm TERRIBLY TERRIBLY TWO! Take me outside NOW! Give me fruit snacks now! No I don't want to change my diaper. Get away from me! Come with me! Hold me! Put me down!

But he still only manages twenty-five words so all of that came out as grunting and yelping and pulling on my arms. Then I turned on his music and, just before I laid him down for his nap, he gently put his head on my shoulder and closed his eyes. I thought to myself, "This is what it's all about. We sift through the tantrums and the filthy diapers and the talking back and the childbirth for these moments of peace and joy and utter adoration.

Dear Garrett,
I cannot believe that you are 22 months old. You speak like a fourteen month old but you clean like you're thirty. Just this morning, when I told you to pick up your toys, you ran into your playroom and, without my help, put all of your toys (except for one truck) back in the exact places they are supposed to go. Then you closed your closet door and, aside from that one truck, the room could not have been cleaner if I had done it myself. It's because of my dad's side of the family. Stories about their cleaning habits are legendary. You can climb up onto just about anything now. This includes the dog and, while he pretends to be annoyed, we know he enjoys it when you grab his tail and run along behind him in the backyard or pounce on him when he's asleep on his bed. He ate the crocodile from your pirate set this morning. I'm sure it was an oversight on his part and not at all linked to retaliation. He was scolded severely for committing such a sin against you. You looked with concern at the remaining portion of the mangled croc and then dismissed it completely. It was almost as though you knew it was merely payback for all the jubilant bouncing you do on that poor dog's head. Like the wheels turned in your little head and you thought, "Call it even, then?"

You have a neck now. I suppose I ought to inform you that you've always had a neck, it's just been hiding somewhere between your shoulders and your chubby face, as is the custom with most babies. Therein lies the problem. You aren't a baby anymore. You've grown a neck and thus have dealt me a swift blow to the stomach, taunting me with all of your big boyness.

You want a baby in the worst way. Every time we pass an infant--or a toddler, small child or occasional teenager--you scream, "BABY!" and point at it. If we ask you if you want a baby brother or baby sister you nod emphatically. In the absence of a real baby, you have taken to carrying around your glow worm. You cradle it in your arms and, when you grow tired of it, you put it in my arms, get a bottle and force me to pretend to feed it. It is very cute and I think that, one day, you will make a very good big brother. I'm not sure you're ready quite yet. This morning you put the glow worm in the microwave of your play kitchen and then pretended to turn it on.

You are my joy. When I hear you squealing and practicing your limited vocabulary in the mornings I can sometimes barely wait to get you up. I can't wait to start another day where you might learn a new word or discover a lady bug--as you did in the garden two days ago. And don't you ever think for one minute that you don't have your father wrapped around your finger. The two of you are nearly inseparable these days. You were together on the couch last night, watching basketball, and I couldn't help but stare at the perfect picture of my two greatest blessings sitting side by side. Raising you is, by far, the greatest job I have ever had. Challenging and exhausting, yes, but I wouldn't trade a moment of it for all the money, all the vacationing, all the stuff, all the fame in the world.

Monday, May 19, 2008

It's Not Dead Yet

The garden has not yet died. One of the strawberry plants has a little brown on one of the leaves but Troy assures me it was there when we bought it. Hopefully I will not wake to find it dead tomorrow.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Consider A Field

I do not have a green thumb. If the Mother's Day flowers I got at church are any indicator, I'm going to kill the garden I just planted. Those flowers, despite watering them every day since last Sunday, are laying prostrate against the ground. Poor, poor, pitiful flowers.

When we found out that we are hopefully going to sign another lease here (the only drawback to living where we do is the commute to church) we--and by we I mean, of course, I--decided to plant a garden. The extent of my gardening was watching my mom's grow when I was a kid. Occasionally she would send me up on the hill with a bowl to fetch some tomatoes. And that's about it. But with the rising cost of groceries and the rising appetite of my toddler, I decided that we should plant a garden and live off of zucchini. I'm assuming that's even possible. There is, after all, no sugar to speak of in squash. And you all know how I like my sugar. Troy and I spent the majority of yesterday and today weeding, tilling and then planting tomatoes, zucchini, strawberries, corn and butternut squash in the main garden. I have virtually no idea what to do with a butternut squash but I like lots of other members of the gourd family and Troy really wanted to try it. We'll probably hate it and it will be the only thing that doesn't shrivel right on up and die. We also planted watermelon seeds in another section of our yard. The package said to plant them six feet apart and, since we didn't have six feet to spare in the main garden, Mr. Watermelon had to be planted all alone. Mr. Watermelon also does not have a fence around him to keep the dog out. I fear for his little life.

If you know me at all, you know I pretty much loathe yard work. I have a feeling that keeping the weeds out and the plants in is going to constitute a great deal of manual labor. Also, being that I am a daughter of Eve, I received my punishment with that whole pain during childbirth and my husband will rule over me thing. (Genesis 3:16) It is my husband, the son of Adam, who received the whole cursed is the ground, through painful toil you will eat of it bit. (Genesis 3:17) But somehow I have the feeling that this garden will prosper or fail based on my doing. I'm betting on the second one.

And really, to steal a line from Kerri Pomarolli, "I read Proverbs 31 and it did not speak to me at all. What would I be doing in a field? I don't plough." This is the problem. I mean, that Proverbs 31 woman is like Wonder Woman or, at the very least, She-Ra. Not only does she consider a field and buy it. She plants a vineyard. She has strong arms. Her trading is profitable. She selects wool and flax. She rises when it is still dark. She extends her hand to the needy. She wears good clothes and, apparently, even makes her own comforter. Her children called her blessed and her husband praises her. Her lamp does not go out at night--neither would mine if I did all that. I'm still standing there staring at the field, wondering if maybe, without any effort on my part, it will just sort of take care of itself.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Trying to Hear the Still Small Voice

Not long ago I was in my husband's office. On the wall next to his desk was a post-it that read:


I said to my husband, "You have Jesus's phone number?"
He laughed, "That's the number for Pastor Jesus." (read hay-sue-s)
"Oh, cause that would had made my life a lot easier," I replied.

And then, just this afternoon, I was wishing that God used email.

*The number has been changed to protect Jesus


Sunshine + Lack of wind = One happy Lori.

There is a new Chick-Fil-A opening right by my house and today they were giving away free chicken sandwiches and coupons for free chicken sandwiches! So when I walked up the very nice lady was all, "Hey! Does your little guy want one too?" My response, "He sure does! Thanks." I had no idea if Garrett would eat it but if not, that meant more for me and I was okay with that. Turns out he did like it--just not quite as much as he liked the Jamba Juice we shared.

I'd never had Chick-fil-A until I moved here. Actually, I never had it until my parents came to visit at the end of March. It's good. Once upon a time I thought it was pronounced chickfilla. I wasn't too bright, apparently, and didn't realize that the capital "A" meant it was supposed to be pronounced hard. I explained this to Troy one day back at the end of 2007 and kind of laughed and called myself a dork. Troy then admitted to me that he thought the very same thing. Birds of a feather flock together I guess. But given the fact that both of us are college graduates and my husband has a master's degree in something I had to work to learn how to pronounce, I'm thinking this can't be a problem limited only to us.

In my mind I will always refer to it as Chickfilla. I can't help it.

Thursday, May 15, 2008


I will remember this stage of Garrett's life as the time when he would put so much food into his mouth he would start to gag. This would be followed by spitting it all out and laughing.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

New York Part 3 of 3

Like a couple of girls who used to live next door to each other in college, we stayed up late chattering and rehashing the extreme shortness of Sonny's cutoff jeans. The next morning we slept late and took our time getting ready. We decided to go to the Moondance Diner for brunch. Kristin wasn't entirely sure how to get there so she looked it up on the Internet and informed me that it was in Wyoming. No, I'm not even kidding. The Moondance Diner, where Jonathan Larson once waited tables, was the last free standing diner in Manhattan. It was moved by big rig to LaBarge, Wyoming so that condominiums could be put in its place. We took a moment to mourn its passing and then headed to the Life Cafe.

We ate out in the garden. After a long leisurely brunch that was actually more like lunner we got back on the subway and went over to Bleecker Street for the cupcakes. I think we waited in line for about 25 minutes to obtain the teeny tiny bits of heaven. As we chatted we heard people walking by saying things like:

Oh my gosh! Look at that line! Who would wait in that for a CUPCAKE?

We would smile knowingly in their direction and, when they were out of earshot, someone in line would say, "Obviously you have never had a Magnolia Cupcake." Or someone else would say, "Good, keep walking. That makes more for me." Even though, everyone knows, the limit is a dozen. We bought six. Kristin ate one. I ate one. I put four of them in my Tupperware and stuck them in my suitcase. Mine, unfortunately, fell on the ground, frosting side down. Goodness knows what kind of hepatitis and other such substances live on the ground in Greenwich Village but you can bet I flicked the dirt particles off and proceeded to consume my delectable morsel. They're $2.25 a cake for crying out loud. And, really, it collected very little dirt. I feel alright about it. I don't have symptoms of anything yet. We sat in a little park and ate our cupcakes and talked. Before I knew it, I had to catch the subway to the airport.

I said goodbye to my friend and boarded the E train bound for Sutphin Blvd. It pretty much took forever to get to the AirTrain and then the stupid machine at the airport told me to go wait in line because it had encountered an error. Then, after waiting in line, the guy behind the counter told me that I would not be able to fly home that day. I was well aware of the fact that I had a ticket so I just looked at him, smiled, and said, "Oh darn, so I have to go spend more time in New York?" He laughed and said something about the fact that I hadn't bought it for even a second. I used to be really gullible. Maybe I still am. Maybe I just wouldn't have minded another day or two in the city. (Although by that point I was about ready to super glue my toddler to my own arm in an attempt to never be separated from him again.)

He printed out my ticket and I followed the signs telling me that a shuttle would take me to my terminal. What? It was all very strange. I boarded a shuttle bus and drove all over the airport for about five minutes. I was finally deposited in this makeshift building that seemed more like an airport terminal set than an actual airport terminal. Between the long subway ride and the stupid machine and the shuttle, I only had about ten minutes before boarding. There were a ton of people trying to fly standby to Salt Lake City so the place was a zoo. When they began boarding, I walked slowly down the tunnel and couldn't help but overhear the conversation going on behind me. This is where the fun really began. I promise you that none of what I am about to say is exaggerated.

Woman: Honey, you have to. You have to do it. Do you understand me?
Daughter (maybe 5): Mommy, I don't want to do it. There are germs!

At this point my interest is peaked because I am always fascinated by little people with an irrational fear of germs. I'm just so curious as to how they came by this obsession. In this case, it was clearly not passed on from the mother.

Woman: There are not germs! On the outside of the plane? You need to do it.
Man: (very hushed): Stop it. You are embarrassing me.
Woman: (very loud) How am I embarrassing you?
Man: (whispers something I cannot understand)
Woman: (very close to crying) You know how I feel about flying.
Man: You need to stop this right now.
Woman: This plane is going to crash!

This is the point where my nerve endings start to tingle and I am suddenly very aware of my senses. I am not really superstitious and I certainly don't think that the woman behind me in line had the ability to predict whether or not my plane will crash but it's just not the thing I wanted to hear right before getting on it.

Man: (With that hushed tone that says, "Oh my gosh if we weren't in a public place there would be a very very big fight right about now.") Shut up!
Woman: (crying or very close to crying): Make her do it. Please make her do it.
Man: I'm not going to make her kiss the plane.
Woman: (bends down to her daughter--yes, at this point I am pretty much staring at them): Please kiss the plane. Please, do it for mommy. This plane is GOING to crash. If you kiss the plane there is a chance that it MIGHT not.

At this point I am already on the plane and they are behind me, still in the tunnel. I glance over my shoulder and see this full grown adult woman fling herself against the outside of the plane. She rammed her lips onto it as though they'd just been pronounced man and wife and kind of caressed the side of it with her hand. Then she hisses to her daughter...

Woman: DO IT! (The little girl gets wide eyes and I couldn't see what happened next because I needed to move forward. But I did hear the mother exclaim) THANK YOU! (so I'm guessing she did it.)

I called my husband and my mom. I told them both to just please pray that my plane wouldn't go down. Then I rehashed the situation over and over again in my mind. I should have turned around and told her to shut up because she was going to start scaring other passengers. Namely, me. I could have pulled a Pheobe Buffay on her by kneeling down, looking the little girl in the eyes and saying, "It's true, sweetheart, this plane is missing one of its left phalanges." I decided that, though I lack any semblance of confrontation skills, if I saw her when we got off the plane I was going to say something along the lines of, "Must have been the kiss. But, in the future, I suggest not scaring the crap out of your daughter. Mother of the year you are not." I didn't see her. I think that is probably a good thing.

The end.

Oh no wait. Post script. Um. The cupcakes made it. The frosting melted in my suitcase but they still looked and, most importantly, tasted like Magnolia Cupcakes.

Monday, May 12, 2008

New York Part 2 of 3

So on Friday morning I had a hot date with a little someone I like to call Sleeping In. I got up at 10:15. I cannot remember the last time I slept that late without having been up with the stomach flu or a raging case of post nasal drip the night before. It was fantastic. Kristin lives about two seconds from the George Washington Bridge which, aside from taking one into New Jersey, apparently provides gorgeous views of the Manhattan skyline. It sounded like the perfect late morning walk. I put on a short sleeve shirt, black slip on shoes and my dress pants with the intention of catching the subway on my way back and heading downtown for the rest of the day. I walked outside and immediately turned around and walked back in. It was raining and it was cold. I opted to trade out my short sleeve shirt for a sweater. I had an umbrella and it was merely drizzling so I decided that a brisk walk was still in order. I walked the seven city blocks from the apartment to the entrance to the pedestrian sidewalk. Once up on top of the bridge I realized that my idea might not have been the most clever. It was quite chilly and the wind was insane. I had to lean sideways to avoid being blown into the guardrail. As far as providing me with breathtaking views of New York City, well, let's just say that it was so foggy I could barely see the other side of the bridge so taking the time to stop and smell the skyscrapers was out of the question. Being that I was alone up there I started talking out loud to myself.

Maybe you should turn around. It's pretty windy up here. Heck no. You're just moments away from adding another state to the list. What the, holy crud...

My umbrella bent and blew and popped out and then back in and then nearly blew out of my hands while one of the spokes jabbed me in the face. Still, I pressed on. I was about halfway across when I realized that this was a horribly stupid decision. Had it been a nice day it would have been a wonderful stroll but standing halfway between New York and New Jersey with ridiculous winds blowing me toward the guardrail, I decided that the trek was anything but wonderful. I looked behind me. I could turn around and be back in just a few minutes. I looked in front of me. I could keep going and be in New Jersey in just a few minutes. Once there I could find a coffee shop, get dry, and catch a bus or call a cab to take me back. Nevermind that I had done zero research on what I would find within walking distance at the other end of the bridge. I pressed on. I could feel the back of my pants getting soaked and my purse, which did not have the benefit of the umbrella, was dripping. I made it across, touched the side of a very beautiful, very green, very wet, New Jersey cliff, looked up and saw a park area that would have been a great place to sit and stare at New York had the sun been out, and continued on in search of my coffee shop. Suddenly and quite without warning, the pedestrian path ended in a series of construction tape and manholes. I stood in the rain, my umbrella blowing in all sorts of unfortunate directions, and stared at the complete lack of a pathway. I had literally been deposited straight onto the New Jersey turnpike.

This is not good. Told you. Well, you'd better turn around and go back. But I am soaked and freezing. And apparently also borderline schizophrenic.

I peered in every direction, looking for somewhere I could get out of the rain. Here is where researching what was on the other end of the bridge would have come in handy. Here is also where it would have been good to have turned around halfway across the bridge. I temporarily considered hitchhiking. I decided I'd have a very angry husband, a livid father, and a friend back in the city who would probably call off the friendship if I tried to pull such a shenanigan. I turned and faced the bridge. Wind hit my face so hard I almost flew backward. I realized that, on the way over, the wind had been at my back, pushing me forward. Now it was playing defense. I didn't stand much of a chance. My umbrella caved in. I closed it. What was the point? I stepped onto the bridge and got shoved into the guardrail that only went about as high as my hip. Death by being thrown off the George Washington Bridge into the Hudson River did not sound like the way to go. Sitting down in the rain and wind and catching my death of pneumonia didn't sound too good either. The GWB is about 9/10 of a mile long. I prayed that God would help me cover the distance faster than I could on my own. I considered running but what with the black slip on shoes I didn't think it was a particularly good idea. By the time I reached the center of the bridge, my pants were so wet they were falling off from the weight. Believe me when I say that they could not have been wetter had I decided to take a swim in the Hudson. They could have been as wet, but not wetter. They were at maximum capacity. My shoes were like two tiny swamps and my heels were aching with the assurance that the blisters I had conjured up the day before had ruptured. My sweater was soaked straight through. My hair was clinging to my face and neck. I was shaking violently. About three quarters of the way a car pulled over and honked. I didn't look toward it because I know, if I had, I would have seen the dry people inside and climbed in. Again with the angry friends and family members. I figured it was better to be wet and in the rain than wet and in a car and possibly raped and murdered. It was probably a really nice person who wanted to help the poor drowned rat. It's just that it might have been a kidnapper.

On the way to New Jersey I passed two men on bicycles. On the way to New York I passed no one. Not a soul. Unless you count the two guards at either end of the bridge who sat inside their little shelter looking at me like I'd fully cracked up. By the time I got back to Kristin's apartment I looked like I was convulsing I was shaking so violently. My hands were so numb it took me forever to properly work the key. I realized that, amidst all the rain covering my face, it was also covered in snot. I peeled my clothing off and discovered that my under garments were also water logged. It took a good ten minutes of standing in the shower to regain feeling in my fingers. I used the blow dryer on my shoes and my bra. I put new clothes on. I could have turned around on several occasions. I could have taken a bus or a ferry to begin with. I could have made sure there was something on the other side. I could have called someone and had them call me a cab. Instead I walked nearly two miles in a torrential downpour, blowing precariously close to the edge of what would have been almost certain death, just to say I stepped foot in New Jersey.

After that little fiasco I went downtown. I bought bandaids for my poor little heels. It was still pouring down rain and I went into FAO Schwartz. Having walked a few blocks from the subway station I was soaking once again. I spent an hour in the toy store waiting for the rain to let up. I was about ready to get on a plane and fly back to Salt Lake City. It was then that I determined that I quite love New York City when the weather is nice. New York City in the rain, however, is a horrid experience. FAO Schwartz when you have very nearly frozen to death and are missing your toddler is also not the best of stores. The rain did relax a little though and I was able to walk the few blocks to Rockefeller Center. I spent another hour browsing the stores there before meeting Kristin at the Helen Hayes Theatre to get our Xanadu tickets. Then we stuffed ourselves silly at John's Pizzeria before our show started. Xanadu, it was decided, was like an acid trip without actually dropping acid. I have never participated in any kind of drug experience so I have no idea what a drug trip is actually like--nor do I want to. But this show was so bizarre, so oddly hilarious, so fantastically 80's that I kind of felt as though I had taken some kind of mind altering substance. The understudy, Patti Murin, played the lead female and she was obviously so happy to be appearing as Clio/Kira that it just made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside, even if the girl behind me did throw her light stick at the back of my head at the end. Patti Murin lists, on her official resume, the ability to burp on cue as a talent. I, too, can burp on cue but never thought of it as something I should list on my theatrical resume. That alone is enough to make me love her wildly.

We had hot chocolates at Europan after the show and headed back to the apartment after midnight. It was only drizzling and the frozen, drenched escapades from earlier were just a memory of a time I decided to be an idiot...

Stay tuned for part three~

New York Part 1 of 3

My flight left at 11:15. The plan was to sleep the entire way so that I wouldn't be a zombie. While I did manage to catch quite a few z's, I might not have been able to sleep the entire way. There might have been pillow encroachment. "What is pillow encroachment?" you ask. Pillow encroachment is when the girl in the seat next to me brings a full size pillow, lowers her tray, plops the pillow down on it and goes to sleep. Pretty much the only way I can sleep on a plane is if I lower the tray and lean onto it, so my tray was already down. Her pillow took up all of her own tray and half of mine. My head was turned toward the side of the plane and I was trying to sleep, so it wasn't until her elbow rammed the back of my head that I realized what was going on. I feel like I am a fairly rational and friendly person but when I sat up to figure out why I'd been elbowed in the head, I did not take kindly to the extra six inches this girl was taking. But she was asleep. It's really not in my nature to wake someone up to have a confrontation with them. It's a lot more in my nature to sit in my seat stewing over the fact that I "rented" just as much airplane space as Madame Pillowhead and yet, suddenly had considerably less. I sometimes wonder if I am ever so oblivious to my surroundings.

I landed in New York at 5:15 am and, thanks to taking only a carry on, boarded the Air Train after making a pit stop to gargle away my stale slept-on-an-airplane breath. I bought a Metro Card and hopped on the Long Island Railroad because obviously, the city of New York would be so kind as to include buses, subways, and the LIRR on one card. Sitting across from me were men in hardhats. I glanced around at all the people with their tired glazed faces and their worn hands holding cups of coffee, heading out before six for another grueling day doing something that required a hardhat and the weight of humanity temporarily rendered me exhausted. I was heading into a city with Broadway and Rockefeller Center and Wall Street, but I was seated across from guys who bounce past graffiti on their way to another long day in the elements or buried in some subway tunnel. Then a guy came by and asked me if he'd punched my ticket. Alarm crept up my spine and settled in my cheeks. I was pretty sure I didn't have a ticket. I dug out my Metro Card anyway and handed it to him. There were definite smirks on the faces of the working men. Mr. Ticketman explained that what I handed him was a subway ticket (to hide humiliation I tried to play dumb) to ride the LIRR would cost me an additional $12.00--because really, New York is nothing if not expensive. The fact that I actually had the right amount of cash to hand him was nothing short of a miracle. There I was with my luggage and my oversized purse looking every bit the tourist and I could see in the face of a man across from me that he thought I was overprivileged. I'm fairly certain he thought I'd ever wanted for anything in my entire life. But just as his assumed presumption of me was incorrect, he might wear a hardhat because he finds them fashionable. Perhaps his worn hands were simply a result of a lack of lotion. Maybe, even, he was on his way to the manicurist. At 5:45 am. I got off the LIRR and boarded an A train bound toward my friend's apartment feeling tired and slightly disappointed in the way the chips sometimes fall.

But when I got off the A and climbed the steps out into the city I remembered the airy weightlessness that I felt the first time I experienced New York. It's effervescent and disjointed in an oddly comforting way, not unlike how it feels to begin falling into your dreams while still somewhat conscious. It was drizzling and the leaves shivered on their branches like thousands of nerve endings, buzzing with overstimulation. Cars honked and people dashed from buildings and the world felt alive. I used to love a show at Sea World called City Streets. It was sadly replaced in 1992 by Wings of the World bird show and now, it's stadium is home to Pets Rule! (Just to be clear, the show actually has an exclamation at the end of it, I am not trying to end that sentence with exuberance.) City Streets was supposed to be a snapshot of life in a big city. The backdrop was a facade of apartment buildings, laundromats, sub shops and grocery stores. The performers danced and roller skated and jumped rope and, at nine or ten I found it all wildly exciting. I wanted to move to a busy street in New York or Chicago and learn how to do flips in roller skates on a half pipe. For the early nineties, City Streets must have done a great job masking the dealers as break dancers and the smack as lollipops because I didn't worry at all that if I moved to downtown Chicago I might have offers to turn myself into a coke addict. All of that to say, when I stepped out into the fresh air in Washington Heights, I felt like I was stepping onto the set of City Streets and there was a slight tap in my otherwise two left feet.

Then I found my friend's apartment and, while she went to work for four hours, I slept. Around noon I heaved myself out of a hazy stupor and made my way downtown. Kristin and I met when she got off work and had a late lunch at Vnyl and then headed to the theatre district. We were able to get half price tickets to a certain show by Jonathan Larson because we might have felt that seeing it on Broadway before it closed was a good idea.

On Friday my plan was to go to New Jersey so that I could add another state to my list and then hang out wherever my little heart desired while I waited for Kristin to get off work. It was supposed to be a fairly uneventful day but it became a very, very eventful day. I called my husband in the middle of it and told him that I had just made the dumbest decision of my life. When he asked me if it was dumber than dating a certain Egyptian I said yes. You see, the decision to spend two and a half years with that one person was kind of like Eve eating the fruit. Stupid, oh yes. But she was deceived. Shame on me for allowing the deception. But, this was more of an astronomically ridiculous decision. With that one person I kind of blame him for most of it. This, though, was entirely my doing...

Stay tuned.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Missing You

I'll write about New York but it'll have to wait. Tomorrow perhaps. See, I've never lived away from my mom for a Mother's Day. It makes me feel like a bad daughter, like someone might think I don't love her quite enough to be there to say, "Thanks for raising me. I know I gave you a lot of crap and mouthed off once or twice or infinity times." Maybe not being there means I don't miss all the shopping trips or the conversations over lunch or the constant seat companion at church every Sunday. Someone might think it's pretty lame that I'm not there, especially this Mother's Day, being that it's her first without her own mother. But I talked to her on the phone this morning and she sounded alright. She didn't sound at all the way I expect myself to sound on the first Mother's Day I celebrate once she's gone. I expect to snort liquid boogers all day long and bawl my eyes out once again. I expect people to feel very sorry for my loss. My mom doesn't seem that way at all. She seems like she's a lot better adjusted than I can ever hope to be. I'm sorry that I can't go to dinner with them tonight and that I can't hug her and that when I tell her I love her it's through the phone lines and across 750 miles.

I miss her.

But in the missing I realize how thankful I am that she's available. She's a phone call away. She's a short flight to the southwest. She's present and in my life and I am so blessed through my relationship with her. I love having a son and, in fact, have recently been thinking that I would love to have two sons. I enjoy stomping in puddles and digging in the dirt that much. But, at the same time, I think it might be a great travesty if I never have a daughter, if I am never given the opportunity to be to my little girl what my mother was to me. A confidant. A counselor. A nurse. A shopping buddy. A hairdresser. A cheerleader. A hero. The world.

Thanks a billion, Mom. I'm sorry for the times I slammed my door and then mumbled something about hating you under my breath. I was an idiot. I'd like to think I've grown up a lot in the last ten years. I'd like to think I'm on my way to figuring it all out...on my way to becoming a little more like you.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

New York

I'm leaving my boys to fend for themselves for three days. Does anyone want to place any bets on what I might find when I get home?


My husband is reading this right now and rolling his eyes. He knows he can take care of the offspring, write a sermon, keep the house clean, cook, remember to bathe and brush the teeth of the wee one, etc. I'm not sure what I'm going to do with myself not having any diapers to change for 72 hours. I love you. Thank you for doing it all so that I can take a trip...

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Dare I Utter The Word...Spring?

Oh what a difference five days makes. So remember how I woke up to snow on the first of May? Do you remember my subsequent blog tantrum? I assure you that it was the equivalent of a "lay on the floor kicking and screaming until I get my own way or rupture a blood vessel in my head or fracture my ankles" kind of tantrum. Or maybe I just said something about how mother nature needed to get her act together. Just in case you need a refresher, this was my yard:

Well, I do not generally condone temper tantrums and they rarely bring about the desire of the person throwing them. Except, apparently, in this case. My tantrum brought Spring. So I put aside everything else I needed to get done this morning in favor of this:

Five days ago there was snow on the ground. Today there is a toddler in a wading pool and--since it's kind of hard to tell--there is water in it! Freezing cold water, yes. But that's hardly the point. I promise I wasn't torturing him by throwing him into a wading pool in 50 degree weather. It's 78 and he climbed in of his accord. Being that I was nearly beside myself with glee, I allowed the following:

Yes that is my son eating a popsicle, at noon, before he had lunch. Why? Because it's Spring. I felt that a popsicle to celebrate such a momentous occasion was the very least I could do. And as we sat together in the sun, he in his wading pool and I on the grass, I could almost smell the ocean...

Monday, May 5, 2008

Magnolia Bakery

I went to New York two and a half years ago and one of my friends introduced me to Magnolia Bakery cupcakes. Of course I had heard of Magnolia Bakery but, not ever having been to NYC, I'd never had the priviledge of consuming one. I've been raving about them to Troy since the day I got home, back in November of 2005. So I told him that this time I would take tupperware and maybe stop by on my way to the airport on Saturday afternoon and bring some home. Never having tasted one of these little gems, he doesn't know what he's missing. He looked at me like I am more than just a little odd and said, "oookay."

But then I got to thinking that maybe they wouldn't let me bring them on the plane. I mean, maybe they would think I was planning to drug people with them or something. (I would never, ever use a Magnolia cupcake for evil. They are only intended for good.) So I thought that I should call the airline because I'd be really angry if they make me throw away tiny little bites of heaven.

This is the conversation:

Me: Hi, do you have any regulations on what food can be carried on?

Her: (pause) Let me look that up for you.

Me: Thanks.

Her: (After forever) Is there something specific you are inquiring about?

Me: Actually yes. This is very random but I would like to bring cupcakes in my carry on. Is that allowed?

Her: Oh my gosh. We actually have a baked goods clause.

Me: Um. That's VERY random.
Her: I know. It says here, "Pies, cakes, cookies and other baked goods are permitted on the flights but the bearer of such items may be subject to further security inspection.

Me: So, it's ok but I might get pulled into some room to explain why I have cupcakes?

Her: Yes. You might get wanded or something. Me: Okay thanks. (I hang up the phone and mutter) As long as I don't get cavity searched. No cupcake is worth that.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

A Dialogue & A Dream

We pull up to place our drive-thru order at Burger King and the following takes place:

May I Take Your Order Lady: We're out of meat right now (Pause) except for chicken.

Me (in the passenger seat): What?

Troy: (Pause) Um. Okay. Thanks anyway. (As he turns to get the car out of the drive-thru he mutters) I didn't know this was Chicken King.

And then we laughed. A lot.


I had a dream last night where these people had figured out a way to harvest embryos out of the sea. Because, you know, that isn't creepy or unethical at all. So, this giant boat with huge paddles in front would kind of stir the salt water and create blocks of ice. For next to nothing, you could obtain these ice blocks, take them home, unfreeze them and voila, embryos. At this point you were supposed to swallow your embryo. When I pointed out that I just felt that maybe it would end up in the wrong place this way, I was told that if I wanted to go about it the way that they might in a clinic, I was more than welcome. Interesting. Suddenly I was dragging my children into this weird and very sterile environment to thank the wife of the man who invented the harvesting boat. I had Garrett who was about four and two tiny daughters, about ten months apart. The baby's name was Megan and the middle child, her name was a series of sounds. In the dream, Troy and I had liked different names so we'd combined them and made this sing songy name. It sounded sort of like an African dialect. So we had Garrett, Megan and Umbliqueblaki (that wasn't it, there is just no way to duplicate the actual name). The girls looked like Garrett with more feminine features and more hair. In the dream I thought it was strange that my daughters, both of which were harvested from the ocean, looked like my biological son. Because that's the only part of the dream that didn't quite add up.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Prayer For A Fellow Blogger

I have been reading a blog called Our Quiverfull for quite some time. They have eight children and little Noah is three weeks younger than Garrett. He has severe health problems and, as Kate (the mother) posted yesterday, it costs 1,000 dollars a day to keep him alive. I am addicted to reading about this little boy and Troy and I pray for him constantly. He reminds us so much of our own little man and reading about him just reminds us how blessed we are to have a healthy son. Yesterday Kate posted that Jeff (her husband) lost his job. Obviously they need his income but, even more pressing, they need health insurance. Jeff and Kate continue to trust in the Lord and continue to have amazing attitudes, despite whatever is thrown at them. I encourage you to read yesterday's post but also to go through their archives and marvel at the ways that they have continued to trust in God through all of their trials. More than anything, I ask you to pray for this family.


Carol and my mom tagged anyone who reads their blogs and while I doubt I can come up with ten random things about myself that you'd actually care about, I figured I could at least try.

1. I'm going to New York next week to visit my friend, Kristin. The last (and only) time I went to New York, I unknowingly took along a teeny tiny little embryo. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that planning a trip to New York is the magic conception factor. (Other than, of course, the obvious.)

2. I can turn my feet backward.

3. Carol said she thinks she would have made a really good doctor. Along those lines, I wish I had been better at science because I think I would have been a really good nurse. I don't freak out at the sight of blood or vomit and I think I'm a decent combination of friendly woman who still takes care of business.

4. I secretly aspire to be a speaker for women's conferences. I guess it's not so secret now. I will have to stop using the words "like" and "um" if this will ever be accomplished. Also, I do not aspire to do this until I am 42. This gives me just over 15 years to get it all figured out. Is that enough time?

5. I have a hideous nail biting habit. If there is any stress in my life at all, my nails get whittled down to next to nothing. It's wildly attractive. Also, I eat the nail that I bite off. Swallow it. I probably have years worth of nails sitting in my stomach, trying to be digested. I feel like I just gave too much information. I might lose friends over that one.

6. I hate clutter. If my house is especially cluttered, I sometimes have a miniature breakdown where I absolutely have to pick it up right then or I feel like I might hyperventilate.

7. I have an obsession with cleaning my ears with Q-Tips. I do it at least once, sometimes twice, a day. It's not an OCD thing, they get really itchy if there is any dampness in them whatsoever. This may have something to do with all the years of chlorinated water being stuck in them.

8. Troy and I have been married for almost 5 years. I don't know why this seems like such an accomplishment, but it does. It's not like I got married expecting that it wouldn't last forever, because I definitely meant what I said in my vows, but I know people who didn't make it even a year. Five years seems impressive. So double yay for all of you who are at 25 years or 35 years or 50 years!

9. I am pretty much dying to go to Venice, Italy. I want to go to Italy in general but I would be very sad if that trip did not include Venice.

10. If we can't have another biological child, I want to somehow obtain a great amount of money to adopt a child of African descent (either an African-American child or an Ethiopian baby or something). Then, when I turn 30, I want to obtain an even greater amount of money to adopt a Chinese baby. Then we will have our own little United Nations. Perhaps I would even adopt a child with Native American blood. This way I could sing "Jesus Loves the Little Children" and really mean it. I would choreograph my children to pop up, one by one, youngest to oldest, when I got to the line red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in His sight...This paragraph sounds a little racist. I assure you that I would not refer to my Chinese daughter as my yellow child.

I guess I tag anyone who reads this blog. Just post Ten Random Things about yourself. Feel free to link back to this blog if you want to.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Sick Day

My husband rocks.

Yesterday afternoon I developed a lovely shade of fever that I am still trying to get rid of--in time for our bought and paid for date tonight, no less. The fever broke around 2 am and stayed away until late morning when it felt the need to bathe me in it's achy warmness once again. Of course, around the time it broke my stomach decided to rebel against whatever food was being digested inside it. At sixish, I tossed my cookies.

Needless to say I was not looking forward to raising my son today. But unbeknownst to me, while I slept, my husband got him up, dressed, fed, and ready to face the day. He took him to work for the morning--a definite benefit of being employed at a church where people generally do not scoff at children. He came home about midday and fed the boy lunch. He even dealt with the blood that started pouring out of Garrett's mouth when he unsuccessfully attempted to ride the dog. Of course, I hauled my feverish lazy behind out of bed when the toddler's crying lasted longer than normal. I tried not to breathe on the bleeder for fear that he would catch the fever. Although, truthfully, I'm fairly certain that I have whatever he had earlier in the week, minus the diarrhea. Praise God!

My fever is down in the low 99's now and I haven't tried to upchuck since this morning so I think I will at least try to go to dinner and a comedian. But for today, my husband wins the "Dad of the Day" award for taking on the role of Mr. Mom while his wife fevered and snoozed and wretched. It's days like these when true love shines. I look at myself in the mirror and think that no one, in his right mind, would love someone so putrid, so generally ickified. But Troy just looks at me and says, "You look like death warmed over. It's kind of cute."

Aw. And they lived happily every after.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Happy May & Hawaii

Happy May everyone! This is what I woke up to this morning. It's been snowing off and on all day. Not funny, Mother Nature, not funny at all.

May is supposed to be filled with flowers and sun and pool parties and trips to the beach. I do not know what to do with this white nonsense. It's one thing when it's Christmas Eve and the yard is covered in a blanket of white, that was actually pretty impressive. White stuff falling from the sky in May is not impressive. It's just lame. So in my rebellion against the snow, I am going to write a post on the fourth state I've been to, Hawaii.
My parents are amazing and, last September, they paid for our lodging and the rental car when the five of us went to Oahu and Kauai together. If you want my opinion about Hawaii, well, let's just say I'd still be there if it was an option. One day, not too long ago, I said to Troy, "Hey, do you think that sometime we could live in Hawaii for like a year?" I fully expected his answer to be something along the line of Um. No. or We just moved here let's not talk about random hypotheticals or Do you remember how expensive food was in Hawaii? Instead he said You know, sometime that would be really fun. Especially if we did a pastor exchange or something.
I have no doubt that, if my family lived there, I could easily become an island girl. The sun, the sand, the beauty, the warm nights walking down the beach in a tank top at 10. If I think about it hard enough I can almost feel the breeze on my neck and the sand between my toes. I'd love to explore the other islands, but I know that I could live on Kauai for a year. Sure, I'd get sick of the traffic and the prices but I don't think a day would come where basking in the sunshine sounded like a bad idea.
If I had to come up with some sort of downfall to Hawaii I'd say that, once you go inland a little ways, the mosquitoes start a bitin' and I am nothing if not a loather of blood sucking bugs. Other than that, I can't really think of anything except maybe Island Fever. It might get old living so far away from the main land. But for a year, oh how I long to live there for just a year...