January 29, 2013

Riding in Cars with Boys

My new job puts O and I driving around a lot together in the mornings, which leads to lots of fun and interesting conversations.  Mostly it's about the water.  Both of my routes take us over lakes and he loves looking out at the boats and the water.  But today's conversation was a little different - and it was my favorite. I promise I didn't make any of this up!  

O: Momma? 
Me: Yea?
O: a-pan.
Me: What?
Me: (thinking really hard at what he could possibly mean as we are whizzing down the highway...)
Me: Oh! Airplane!  Did you see an airplane?  
O: No.
Me: (defeated) Oh.
O: Airpane.  Ride?
Me: Oh! You want to ride an airplane?
O: Yea!!
Me: Oh okay.  Yeah, we'll ride on an airplane in a few more weeks. 
O: Papa ride?
Me: Yup, papa will ride the airplane.
O: Momma ride?
Me: Yea, momma will ride.
O: Owenbear ride?
Me: Yep, Owenbear will ride the airplane.  We're gonna ride it to Africa.  Wanna go to Africa again?
O: YEAAA!!!!    Momma?
Me: Yeah?
O: Apane? Ride?
Me: Yep.  We're gonna ride on an airplane.
O: Ah-kah?
Me: Africa?
O: Yea!
Me: Yes! We're going to ride on the airplane to Africa.  Good job buddy!
O: Yea!  Papa ride.  Momma ride.  Owenbear ride?
Me: Yep, papa, momma and Owenbear will all ride the airplane. 
O: in Ah-kah?
Me: Yes, in Africa.
(pause as he looks out the window)
O: Wa-wa? 
Me: Water? 
O: Yea.  Dive. Wa-wa?
Me: Oh, you want to drive over the water?  Yea, we'll drive over some water in a little bit.
(O inserts his paci, snuggles his teddy and looks contently out the window, no doubt waiting for the water)

It's moments like these that make me oh-so-thankful that I serve a God that cares about even the little things - like getting me a job that I could bring Owen with me to so we could have these little conversations. It might just be a small thing - but the small things add up in the heart of a momma. :)

January 28, 2013

A Short Story

One day O & Papa were playing upstairs in his room after nap.  Momma came downstairs to take care of some things and before long Papa was trotting down the stairs, alone.  Upon seeing Momma was on her phone, he turned around and went back up.  Then came back down.  And went to get his phone.
"What are you doing?" Momma asked.
"I need to take Owen's picture.  He's up there sitting in the chair with all his animals and he wants me to take a picture."
"Oh, well use the real camera!"
So Momma & Papa both went back upstairs, hoping that O was still sitting (cute as could be) in the rocking chair surrounded by his animals.
Indeed he was.  So Momma proceeded to click away as he sat there patiently, saying cheese here and there. As she did so, Papa chimed in: "So he asked me to sit in the chair so I got up and he sat in it.  Then he wanted Bear-Bear.  So I gave it to him.  Then he wanted Teddy.  And kitty.  And turtle.  And he kept saying more and naming his animals one by one until they were all sitting there with him.  And then he told me to take his picture."
"Wow, that's stinkin' adorable," Momma replied in a whisper to Papa.
And it was.

January 24, 2013

A Confession

Dear O,

You're almost 21 months old.  That's getting awfully close to two.  I'm not sure how I feel about that.  Excited and happy to see the boy you're growing into, but sad to see some of your 'isms' and mispronunciations fall away.  I confess, I haven't taken very many pictures of you this month.  I've been soaking up every moment with you and I've just forgotten to get out the camera.  I wanted to tell you though, how much I absolutely love spending every moment with you.  The other day when you lifted up your shirt, showed me your belly and said "eat!" was so cute!  I love it when you get all playful and want to be chased and tickled and let me 'eat' your belly and cheeks.  The smile you get and the cute look in your eye when you are acting 'sissy' (silly) or when you see something silly is A. Dorable.
I also love the way you learn, the way you remember things, pick up on things.  Like when we tell you some one is going to come over and see you, it always prompts you to say "knock knock?" And when I tell you that yes, they will knock on the door, you run to the door and knock on it, then expect them to be there.  It doesn't quite work that way, but it's cute that you do it anyway. :)
You've also picked up on how we always ask "Are ya ready?" when it's time to go somewhere.  And it's really cute how now, you always ask us first, "a ya ready?" and get all excited and run to the door.  And most of the time you say 'bye-bye' to things along the way - like your kitchen, your guitar, your car.
I like the way you know how things are 'supposed' to go, or when things are supposed to happen too.  You like to remind me to give you your vitamins at night, you put away your toys before going somewhere and you always have to be covered and have your teddy and puppy at night.  In the morning when I bring you into our bed for snuggles it's so unbelievably sweet that you always ask me to put my arm around you, then you pull the covers up over us and give me your puppy so I can snuggle him.  
Your favorites right now are snowmen, bulldozers, dinosaurs and airplanes.  Your gramma got you some snowman PJ's that you absolutely love.  You cry every time we have to get you dressed, that's how much you like them.  And your aunt got you a shirt with a bulldozer on it, and you ask to wear it several times a week.  And whenever you see one while we're out driving the way you so excitedly shout "bo-bo!" is so cute.  I don't know how you do it but you seem to have a radar for airplanes.  You hear/see them before we do sometimes and always point them out!  When we talk to you about how we're going to ride on an airplane to go back to Africa and you get excited and tell us to put our shoes on, it's cute.  But it breaks my heart a little when I tell you we aren't leaving yet and you get upset and cry a little.  But don't worry little man, there will be many airplane rides in your future, I promise!
My favorite thing right now is watching you worship.  Every morning you ask me to put on music and you make rounds between dancing around with teddy and clapping along with the music, to your drums, and then your guitar.  And when you lift your hand up and say "praise Jesus" my heart overflows, little bear.  I love the heart you have for worship and the understanding you have about praising our Creator.  I tear up every time you do it because it's just so sweet.  The way you go running into the sanctuary at church after we get you out of kids' church to worship with the next service is super adorable.  It's amazing to me- watching you take it all in, looking at all the instruments and lights. And I wish it could go on forever because I know you would stay there that long because of how much you just love worship.
So, I confess, I haven't captured many images of you through my lens this month, but my heart is overflowing with all the amazing things you've learned and expressed the past twenty-something days.  I love you little bear, and I love watching you grow, learn and change every day!

January 22, 2013

When Will He Learn?!
Alternately Titled: Thank You

Seriously.  This is getting old.

So the other day (Jan.12th) to be exact, hubby got home from work (somewhat) early, so we decided to sit down and buy our tickets real quick before we headed out for some family time at the park.

I logged onto the site (as I'd done dozens of times before) repeated the search for the days I wanted, found great tickets for a great price and was ready to buy!  The plan all along was to use a zero-interest credit card to buy the tickets, since we haven't yet raised enough to cover the cost, and then pay them off once the funds came in.  So I selected that as my buying option and pressed "Confirm Purchase".  And it kicked me back to the page before.  With no 'missing information' message, no reason whatsoever appeared on the page.  So I figured it was a fluke on the website and tried again.  This time it said my credit was denied.

Um.  No.  Impossible.  What the heck?  So I called the airline to figure out what was wrong with their website.  I was told by an automated (annoying) voice that the wait time was 35-40 minutes.  Are you FLIPPING kidding me?!!?  How is that even 1) legal, 2) good for business?  Seriously!  So we gave up because by this point I was over-the-edge-anxious-and-frustrated.  Hubby reminded me it was just Satan putting up another roadblock, and to not get discouraged.  Plus our very patient son was so excited to go to the park and was just sitting there with his coat on, ready to go.  So we gave up.  We figured we would try again later.

We went to the park, had some great family time, came home to eat, put little man to bed and I booted up the computer again.

I tried again, and again to buy the tickets, and it kept saying my credit was declined.  Finally I called the credit company.  Their response "Oh, it's saying you're declined because you made the purchase already at 4pm, because you kept trying it thought you were trying to overdraw your credit and it was denying it."

So, you see here, Satan, I'm wondering: when will you learn?  
You were trying so hard to make this not work.  To put stress on our finances.  To put stress on us.  To ruin our fun family afternoon.  When all along OUR GOD was in control.  He'd made the purchase for us.  And you lose.  AGAIN.  

So I did what I had to do to finally secure the tickets - it took calling the airline again and confirming some stuff and blah-blah-blah, but when the night was over we finally had our tickets, confirmation numbers and all.

Several days later (for no reason other than I kept forgetting to do it) I called to get O added to our reservation.  Lap rider-infants can't be booked online - they're free for domestic flights, but charged a tax for international flights.  This can be anywhere from 20-80% of the adult's ticket price.  Anyway, I called to get him his ticket and turns out his was less than 10% of our tickets!  Now that is what I call God's Favor all over this.

Oh.  And speaking of God's favor (as if that ^ wasn't enough!), the next thing I did was start looking for flights for our house sitter.  We've got some out of town family that has offered to come live at our place while we're gone to take care of it and have their own little mini-vacation, so as I was researching flight she calls and tells me one of her (distant) relatives has offered to give her enough sky miles to get here here and back for FREE.  The timing for the free tickets was no mistake either - it came when several bills had just arrived in the mail for those once-a-year type fees (taxes, can insurance, etc) and money was going to be tight to get tickets to NC.

So we want to thank YOU.  Those of you that have committed to come with us on this journey and pray for and with us - we've specifically asked for prayers of favor and we see it all over this story.  And you're a part of that.  God is writing this amazing story for our lives and those of you that are supporting us in prayer are an integral part of it!  So thank you, we feel it - prayer is real, it works, and please don't stop!

We've given out some of these prayer cards at our live events, but for those of you that are unable to come here's a copy - you can print it out, or just save it to your desktop and look at it once in a while.  It includes specific ways to pray for us and how you can support us financially, should you feel led to do so. Thanks again for coming along on this journey with us!

January 16, 2013

Houston: We have a problem

It started out as a problem.  But I wasn't radioing Houston about it, I was radioing Heaven about it.

I was just about to click "purchase" on our tickets to Tanzania when I called Bill just to triple-check that it was okay.. and that's when the two-week war began.  Because he said no.  Don't buy the tickets just yet.  My boss is telling me I can't take that much vacation at once.

So I hit that little red "X" in the corner and felt defeated.
For the next two weeks he battled with his job about letting him take all three of his vacation weeks at once.  They were giving him the run-around, quite literally.  Made him call the entire team to make sure it was okay with all nine of them.  Then one said "no".  Said that he 'needed' the week that was smack in the middle of our trip.  And since that guy has seniority over Bill, well, you know.  So he went higher, explaining we had to go on this trip and it had to be now, we couldn't postpone it by weeks (because God told us to go) because our visas expired soon (also true).  So he gave him the run-around for another week saying that he was contacting HR about it.
So we waited.
And I got frustrated.  Frustrated because I felt like we just needed to buy the tickets anyway and that us doing that in faith would mean that God would figure out all the details with his job.  And I was frustrated with my usually-non-confrontational husband for not standing up more than (what I could see) he was.
And he got stressed.  Super stressed.  To the point where he was considering finding another job, or putting in his two weeks and just buying the tickets.
And so I told a friend.  Two actually.  About the whole situation.  All the shenanigans.  And one of them said, "You know, this is just Satan, right?  You knew there was going to be roadblocks with this, just like there was last time.  This is just another roadblock."  **Insert lightbulb here**   So she talked me down a little from my frustration, and I began to see something else.
Satan was winning.  Winning because we were letting him come between our marriage again.  It had been at least a solid week of us being frustrated with each other.  Him at me for pushing the 'buy the tickets anyway' plan and me at him for not letting me buy the tickets yet and relying more on his job than on God's plan.
So finally one night we decided to hash the situation out and take the next step.  The first thing I said was, "We have to remember, we aren't fighting each other in this war, we're fighting your job, and Satan - but we have to be together.  We need to get on the same page.  This is just what Satan wants is for us to be divided, because then he wins.  But if we get on the same page, we are so gonna kick his you-know-what." (only maybe, just maybe I didn't say 'you-know-what')
And he said, "Yup."
So we talked, and we got on the same page.  **and the angles rejoiced** or at least, we did. :)
We emailed his boss's boss that night, letting them know we were going to purchase the tickets the next day and that we'd like to know what HR said about it.  He responded that he'd meet with Bill in person the next day at work.
Bill called around 4pm the next day and said, "Buy the tickets!"  And that was pretty much it.  I didn't hear the rest of the story 'till he got home later that evening.
Apparently his boss hadn't actually contacted the higher-up boss because he didn't know much at all about the trip.  The higher-up boss told him that it wouldn't be easy to make sure everything was covered, but that they would figure something out and to go ahead and buy the tickets.  It was that easy.

~~~  Stay tuned for part 2 --- the day we tried to buy our tickets.  ~~~

January 03, 2013


I feel slightly askew lately.  Crooked.  Off-kilter.  Can't focus on one thing for too long.  Maybe it's this cold I'm trying to kick, maybe it's me having too many pots on the stove - or whatever that saying is -  So this post is to catch you up, cause it's been too long since I've blogged on here.  But it won't be pretty, or well-versed.  Good luck keeping up.

We're going to Africa.  Like in less than three months.  That's the first thing on the list cause it's the first thing on my mind these days.  Researching airline tickets, looking at dates, looking at prices, looking at more dates, relaying back and forth with the family we'll be in contact with while we're there, looking at baggage fees.  Trying not to think about baggage.  Because then I'll freak out.  Because packing for Africa with a toddler is no joke.

Christmas was great.  Amazing even.  My mom and gramma both came for Christmas - the first time I'd seen gramma in years, and the first time she got to meet O.

It was sweet watching him meet her at the airport.  He was shy, but it was like he knew - deep down inside that she was 'one of us'.  It also helps that she looks exactly like my mom, but older.  I think that may have confused him a little - that it was 'great' gramma, not gramma that we went and saw in Phoenix.  But then a couple days later the other gramma came.  And when he saw her come down the escalator he did a little happy dance and ran to her and it was the cutest thing ever.  I don't know who was more excited out of the pair of them :)

The next several days were filled with fun, love and lots of snot.  Seriously.  O caught his first-ever flu and was hitting the tail-end of it when the grammas came.  We wiped his nose every 30 seconds it felt like.
That didn't stop us from having fun though!  We went to Village Park and rode the train through the lights, we went to Birkdale and walked around, and we celebrated with the rest of our family at Freedom House, both on Sunday and Monday.  Then we had a PJ day on Christmas enjoying the entertainment that comes when a toddler enjoys Christmas, and munching on some yummy ham sent by Great Grandpa.
Four Generations!

I saw sadness in O for the first time this month - when he had to say goodbye to his grammas.  It was heartbreaking to see him put the pieces together that they were getting on the airplane and not coming back home with us.  He really understood it and he had this pitiful sad look on his face the entire way home.

In other news he's growing by leaps and bounds.  He's talking so much more and has really gotten the hang of stringing 2-3 words together at a time.  He loves to recount his day or his favorite activity.  Over and over.  And over.  And over.  Like on the way home from riding the train at the park this is the conversation that we had:
O: Mama?
Me: Yeah?
O: Train?
Me: Yeah.
O: Ride in it?
Me: Yeah, we rode in the train.
O: Lights?
Me: Yea, we saw the lights.
O: In the train
Me: Yeah, we saw the lights in the train.

Repeat, 536 times.
I kid you not.

Then the other day:
O: Mama?
Me: Yeah?
O: Wassat?
Me: A box.
O: It's empty? (an empty kleenex box sitting on the counter)
Me: Yup.
O: I help?
Me: You wanna help? Help what? Recycle it?
O: (very excited) Yea! I help cy-cy it!!

And yesterday:
O: Mama?
Me: Yea?
O: Eat?
Me: You can't eat that honey, I have to cook it (noting the steak on the stove).
O: Eat? More?
Me: You want more snack?
O: Yeah! More sins.
Me: You need more raisins? Did you eat all the ones I gave you?
O: Yea.
O: (Coming to me with the empty raisin box) Mama? Cy-cy?
Me: You wanna recycle that?
O: Yeah!

:::Sigh:::: that kid.  Love him so.  He's growing up so fast.

Also we got hit by a car on the highway.  That was fun.  Cruising down 85 on the way home from seeing the lights - full car, going 65, and this old man in the lane next to me decides he wants my space instead and rams the side of us, not once, but twice trying to get into my lane.  The kicker?  I wasn't even in his blind spot.  I was slightly in front of him, but mostly RIGHT next to him.  Thank heavens no one was hurt, minus the car.  Driver's door got some paint on it, passenger door dented pretty bad with paint transfer, and rear quarter panel dented and paint transfer.  Going today to get it appraised by his insurance people, then to my dealership to get their appraisal and see about getting it fixed and getting a rental in the meantime.  Sheesh.  And the lawyers!  OH. My. Gosh.  If you are a lawyer - I'm sorry, but you people are NUTS wasting all this money and trees!  I kid you not, we got no less than THREE pounds of crap from lawyers.  Some even sent books - literally books in a big legal envelope!  But not just to me.  And not just to Bill.  But for Owen too.  Everything we got, we got in TRIPLICATE.  My mailbox was so JAMMED full of lawyer crap I literally could not get it out.  I stacked it all on the table and it was almost 8 inches high.  Stupid.  Waste of trees.  Waste of money/stamps.  No one was even hurt in the accident - do they not read the police report before sending these things out!  Sheesh!! Okay, end of rant.

In other news, I managed to be the only one in the house that avoided the flu - thank you Jesus.  However, the last three days I have had the most horrible, nasty, knock-you-down-cold I have ever had.  It's been crazy.  I think moms (especially with kids at home) should be exempt from getting sick.  Seriously.
I'm pretty sure that's what is causing all this absent-mindedness.  Last night hubby asked me to bring him the kleenex box.  So I grabbed my drink and (what I thought was) the kleenex box off the table and handed it to him.  Except what I handed him was the plate I had eaten my banana bread off of (which was now empty).  So instead I said, "oops, that's not the kleenex, here" and handed him my drink, which was in my other hand.  Then said, "wait a minute, oh."  And returned to the table to try again.  It's pretty ridiculous.

On that note, I think I'll sign off.  Who knows what I might write with this crazy cold-infused head.
Until next time, or until I'm a little more 'normal'....  ta-ta.