dancing in the rain with no shoes.

Today the good LORD reminded me why I am a mama. In the middle of a rainstorm.

All it took was the toddler asking “can we go dance in the rain without shoes, mama?” and so we did. Without hesitation. But with grateful hearts. For at least 30 minutes. (& our wedding song may have played during our time on that wet dance floor.)

And it was the closest we’ve ever been to JESUS as a family (yes, even though we rested in HIS arms during our 70 days in the NICU over 800 miles from our home). HE was there while we danced & i was reminded of HIS grace & patience. Even the toddler recognized it when he loudly shouted as we danced in the pouring rain “thank you GOD for da rain”.


How Husbands Can be Health Advocates

It’s humbling that our story continues to be shared. I hope it’s shared for years & years to come. I don’t think we traveled the thorny path we did to just keep quiet about it. It’s not about me, or Andy, or even Nicholas at the end of the day. It’s about grace & power & what happens when love is abundant, even in dark & scary places.

Hugs to Ginny Bowen Olson for helping others see how important our PEOPLE are during pregnancy. She credits my husband for my saving my life in her latest post. And she is right. He did. He is nothing short of my hero.

you are our child (& it’s hysterical!)

There is no doubt…Nicholas is our child. As he grows so does his personality. He has a knack for well timed quips & a dry sense of humor that most sitcoms yearn for. I see more of Andy & myself in him every single day. 
Most mornings when he wakes up from sleeping, he spends a few minutes staring at the ceiling (I know because I am MOM – and because I have the video monitor on all.the.time). Then, he’ll get up, open his door, & come down the hallway to wherever it is we are. He’ll run right in the room & say confidently “I’M BAAAAAACK! (You) missed me.” (We did.)
For Easter he got a bouncy ball with a fish inside. When the ball bounces it also strobe lights. He quickly named it Dory (after the Nemo/Dory movie series). He will eat dinner with Dory right by his side. One night he was bouncing Dory and she got stuck in a corner. After I “fished” her out he held the ball and said “I am so so so sorry, Dory. Not nice. Sorry.” (I see all those conversations about being nice are paying off).
At dinner the other night he was unhappy with the vegetables on his plate. Instead of arguing with me about eating it he simply looked at them and firmly said “You! Go over there!” and pointed to the door. (He did end up eating them).
One morning as we were getting ready for the day Nicholas informed he “not go school today”. I asked what was he getting dressed for then. Without missing a beat he replied “to ride the bus to Papi’s house.” Bless.
And, just last night he was watching a cartoon before bed. The main characted had lost his 1st tooth & was awaiting the Tooth Fairy. Nicholas screamed “Mama! I can’t find my tooth!” He then proceeded to look under the bed, sofa, even pulled up the throw rug in his room to look for his “missing tooth”. This went on for a good hour. He was upset that he “lost” his tooth & wanted to know when the Tooth Fairy came to our town because he wanted to be ready. (I think we still need to explain the different meanings of “lost” to him in this scenario).
(Like I said, he is like his mama & daddy, right?!)

let there be glory (Happy Easter!)

Easter felt different this year. Maybe it was that we just experienced a death in the family & were worn slap out (physically & emotionally) from all of the travel. Maybe it was that I had just returned from a business trip to the west coast. Who knows.

It was our 1st year at home for Easter with Nicholas. No travel. No planes, trains, or automobiles (other than those toys sized ones that seem to multiply every hour on our floor). We dyed Easter eggs (Nicholas was surprisingly into it). We decorated a tree in the front yard. We read stories. There were parades & parties at school.

On Easter night Nicholas woke up at 3 AM, walked out of his room, and asked if we could go see what the Easter Bunny brought. I asked how he knew the Easter Bunny had already come to which he confidently replied “Because the Easter Bunny got it done before bedtime” (Yes he did buddy). After a little coaxing he went back to bed – only to wake promptly at 6 AM.

The Easter Bunny did in fact come. He brought a motorized John Deere tractor with books & toys (any guesses on who ran the Easter Bunny show this year? – Hint: he’s from up north). The Easter Bunny left a bit of a mess when he came to the house – footprints everywhere.

After doing “Easter Bunny” & eating hot cross buns for breakfast we headed off to church. We greeted folks as they came in (for the record my husband is never more handsome than when I watch him welcome strangers into our church). During service we talked about Abraham & Sarah & their faith (may we all have faith like them). We talked about sacrifice & how we don’t need to make a sacrifice now that one has been made for us. There were more souls than there were seats & that is a problem I’m happy we have.

After church, we headed to Graylyn Estate for brunch. We ended up dining in a private room & Andy ordered champagne & I didn’t want to leave. Old homes, good food, & champagne (with a child who is quiet) is a little bit of heaven for me. After brunch Nicholas participated in an Easter Egg hunt on the estate grounds. We explained that we needed to share the eggs we found with our friends. After Nicholas found 7 eggs he said “all done.”, helped a new friend find an egg, & then quickly ran down the hill to play with the quack-quacks. I’d like to think his “sharing” was a product of our conversation but the better explanation is that he saw quack quacks ducks. However, I’ll take a win anyway I can get it.

We spent the afternoon at home, napping, reading books, & letting Nicholas play on his new playset in the backyard. It was a peaceful day.

We’re remain steadfast, hopeful when promised, & humble when delivered.

Happy Easter, y’all.

Your aunt Doris died 

There is no “better” title. Death happens. Jesus teaches us it is not the end- darkness is not where we will spend eternity. “Yea, though I walk through the valley”- not into; just through. Rest assured she walked through- straight into glory. 

Who was your Aunt Doris? Formally, she is Mami’s half-sister. (“Mami” is your daddy’s mama). She is also Uncle Nicks wife of 50+ years. And let none of us forget- you are named for your dear Uncle Nick. 

Aunt Doris was more than an aunt to all of us. 

 She was the ONLY aunt present at mama & dada’s wedding. (Yes, you also have “aunts” like Mary Alice who was there but I digress). She was the only blood aunt on both sides there. Yes 90% of this was your mama & dadas doing- we didn’t want everyone there. But we wanted Uncle Nick & Aunt Doris. 

She was my favorite mathematician. (& that says a lot because I HATE math). My favorite day with Aunt Doris was when we were in a family favorite restaurant & she said to the waitress “I see you still have this price typo on your menu. You can’t have something & sell it for $0.099. Tell (owner) to fix it it before I come back. I taught him. He’ll know I’m serious.” The grammarian in me fell in love with the mathematician in her at that moment. 

She was strong willed (does this sound like anyone you know?). She held high standards for those she loved – because she knew we were good enough. She was patient. She was tough- but a gentle kind of tough that pushed you without beating you. She didn’t play in family dynamics often- one time she got involved in a harried situation & in no less than 5 words she put everyone in their place. Everyone. I always loved it when she would do this; even when it was me she was putting in place. 

She loved you. She loved you because you are your daddy’s child. And your daddy & Uncle Nick have a bond that is indescribable and one that even bring tears to my eyes when I see them together. So I can’t imagine what watching this bond for 40 years as she did meant to her. 

Your daddy was a paulbearer. The minister that married your mama & dada buried her. Your Uncle Nick stood proud. The service was beautiful. 

(There were not typos or math errors that day – she would have been so proud.) 

words. so many words. 

“Mimi” Kay & “Aunt” Annie will tell you I was worried for a while about N’s language development. Both are the right ladies for me to ‘worry’ to – they both have solid backgrounds in child development, speech, & education (plus they’re also mamas!).

Well……I am officially not worried anymore. This kid went to bed one night knowing 10 words & woke up the next day with what seems like 1,000 words. He still signs while he speaks but his speech is so much clearer than it was just a few days ago. A few of our favorite things to say:

“Mama what’s that?”. (He already knows what “that” is but he feels the repetitive need to to ask you anyway).

“I hold it.” Doesn’t matter what “it” is – he wants to hold it. Everything from his milk cup to his trains to your coffee cup to the windex to the fire extinguisher. (Some things we say “no” to of course).

“Where’s Ichibod?”. Ichibod is our adopted family crane that resides with my parents in SW Florida. Ichibod has a sordid past (don’t we all?). He started showing up for food every time my dad would come in from fishing & while were in the hospital with Nicholas Andy would go out every day and catch fish off the dock just to feed Ichibod. It was therapeutic for them both I think. Now that Nicholas is old enough to fish himself he enjoys it & likes feeding Ichibod. Even thought we’ve been home from Florida for a few months he wonders where Ichibod is most days.

“Wine”  He’s my child. Let’s leave it at that.

“Hush Gage. Hi Fru-Fru. No Joe.” Yes, this is all one sentence. These may (or may not) be things I say to the dogs at least 15 times a day.

“Hi Bus!”. Andy’s parents have an RV that they motor around in. When it’s here Nicholas loves to wave to it every morning. When it’s not here he waves to the school bus that goes by our house.

“AAAAAAAAAmen.” This one speaks for itself (at least it does for me). Nicholas loves to complete all prayer time at the house. He waits for the “….In Jesus Name…” to say confidently “AAAAAAAmen”.