Monday, April 27, 2009

Mommy and Hunter day at Disney (April 3, 2009)

A few weeks back, Hunter and I spent the weekend together while Donny and Millie went to Tennessee. We took one day and went to Disney (of course). It was really fun, because we had no strollers, no naptime, and we were able to hop from Epcot over to Animal Kingdom with ease.

It rained for a lot of the morning, and I took no rain gear, so we were soaked most of the morning. It was fun, know, just running from place to place in the rain. Just about the time we dried out from the morning, we got soaked again on the Kali River Rapids at Animal Kingdom. Hunter was really puzzled by his pruny feet once we got home and we realized that our feet were still wet.

What a fun day it was to spend with Hunter. I treasure those times of undistracted, quality time with one of my kids (or with anyone dear to me) when all I care about is having fun, connecting, and making memories with him/her.
Putting Donny and Millie on the plane...and then heading to Disney!!!

Test of Hunter's favorites!

Love getting pics with the characters...Flick was standing at the entrance of AK.

Started the day at Epcot and finished at Animal Kingdom
(and dinner at Chick Fil A). What a day!!!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Millie's 2nd Birthday

Today was Millie’s 2nd Birthday. I really can’t believe my little girl is 2. We took her to Disney (of course) to get her picture with Cinderella and the other princesses. We did that last year on her birthday, so it was really fun to see the difference. Last year I had to walk her up to Cinderella. This year she just took off and said “Hi, Cinderella.” She climbed up by herself on the little bench where she sat and said “Ta Da!” Really, Millie walked around in her new Cinderella dress (Thanks, Mimi and Ddad!) like she owned the place. It was hilarious. She really thought she was a princess and was right at home.

When she went to see Sleeping Beauty, she asked: “Where Cinderella?” Take that Aurora. We really don’t like you anyway. Belle (from Beauty and the Beast) was between Cinderella and Aurora. She caught some one-on-one time with Hunter while Millie was saying good-bye to Cinderella. Hunter said: “They kept calling me ‘Prince.’” I think he liked the attention too.

Among the presents today came a potty seat with some Dora and Princess underwear. She really wanted me to put the underwear on her tonight as I was changing her diaper for bed. I think we’ll be pulling out the potty chair really soon. For now, she just sits on it as her throne (and sits her new Cinderella doll on it too). Hopefully the new Sesame Street books she got will serve as good bathroom reading material and her potty seat will serve a greater purpose than being the throne upon which she sits in her new Cinderella dress.

We ate birthday lunch as a family and had our second year of birthday donuts instead of birthday cake. Millie was pretty ravenous with that donut. When it was done, she asked: “Where my donut? In my mouth.” Then she started asking for cake…a smart one, she is.

Millie, you are my darling. I am so thankful to have a little girl I can put in a “Birthday Girl” t-shirt and bow and show-off all day. I am so proud of you and proud to be your mommy. I told your Daddy today how remarkable I think you are…particularly with your verbal skills. You impressed the pin lady today at the park when you told her very clearly all the characters on her lanyard. You are fun, adventurous, and silly. I love that you request different songs every night before you go to bed. I never know what you will want. Tonight it was Nemo. Tomorrow it might be Noah or Bolt or Shmah (Daddy’s Hebrew song). I feel like everyday is an adventure with you. Sometimes those adventures can make your mommy tired…but I relish the adventure.

Two years old…I remember holding you in the hospital in the middle of the night just you and me while Daddy slept and no visitors were around. My 10lb. love…you captured my heart from the beginning. You are my treasure. I look forward to the years ahead…praying for many…looking forward to seeing God work out your life before my eyes…and thankful I get to be the mommy who helps along the way. Good-night, my sweetheart. We’ll wake up tomorrow and start a fresh, new day. It’s a day, however, that will probably seem a little different to me…no longer a baby and on your way to becoming a lovely little girl.

I love you dearly,

Birthday icing with sprinkles...yum!

Loving her new potty...hopefully she'll be putting it to use soon.

Every princess' day needs a little pirate action!

Mommy loves her little birthday princess!!!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Death and Taxes

Happy Tax Day. As I type, I am listening to a song by Natalie Grant called "Held." It is a song that I was introduced to last summer when I was tracking with the life, struggle with cancer, and eventual death of sweet Joseph Peabody, the 4-year-old son of a college friend of mine.

Our family has been through the ringer over the past month. We lost Donny's Grandmother Levi on March 16. Last Saturday, April 11, we lost Donny's Grandmother Friederichsen to a very quick battle with cancer. She was diagnosed less than a month ago. We have been faced with death so much in the last month. Donny performed both funerals. I sang in Grandmother Friederichsen's funeral on Monday. We both played integral roles in both funerals and have carried a large part of the spiritual and emotional burden for the family. It has been a hard month.

I believe with all my heart in God's sovereignty. I also believe right now that His sovereignty often hurts. It is still for my good and for his glory...but it often hurts. I just got word today that another friend we knew in college and here in Orlando just lost a baby in her 34th week of pregnancy. I thought mourning the loss of our grandmothers was hard...but to mourn the loss of a child never known...I can't imagine.

I am not sure why I feel compelled to blog about these hard things. I guess the saying goes that the two things we can count on in life are death and taxes. We got our taxes done in January. So here I am trying to work through death.

Here are the lyrics to the chorus of Held:
This is what it means to be held
How it feels, when the sacred is torn from your life
And you survive
This is what it is to be loved and to know
That the promise was when everything fell
We'd be held

Donny's Grandmothers were a treasure to me. I lost my Grandmother in feels like longer, because my Grandmother had had Alzheimers since 2001. Donny's grandmothers brought me in as their own. I called both of them "Grandmother" and meant it with the same love and connection that I did my own Grandmother. As the song says, the sacred does get torn from our lives, and we survive...and I need to know that I am held through it...that the sovereign arms of my heavenly Father, through whom these circumstances first passed, are the same arms that hold me today. We are trying to pick up the pieces from our very hard month. I have loads of laundry, piles of papers, and inherited pots, pans, and other miscellaneous items to wade through...right now, they are reminders of the chaos and brokenness.

I was out on my porch this afternoon, sitting still for as long as I could (which wasn't long), and I asked God: "As I endure these things that you have allowed, would you help me not miss you in them?" All I want to do is put the pieces back together. I need to care more about my broken heart right now than my broken house...I pray I will be faithful to give God a glance here and there as I cope...because only in his arms will I find peace and healing in the hurt.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Maundy Thursday Reflections

In the midst of teaching Hunter and Millie about Easter and preparing their hearts for this week and this Sunday, I realized last night that I needed to prepare my own heart. Of course, this is not the only time of the year I can reflect on Easter and Christ's death and resurrection...but it is a special time of remembrance...and I have been more intent on cultivating the soil of my children's hearts than my own.

I have been following a reading plan to read through the Bible in two years. Right now, I am in Leviticus (which I do not recommend reading each morning over breakfast...yuck). I decided today that Leviticus was just not what I needed to connect my heart with Easter (although I'm sure it could...I just need something a little more obvious today). I sat down to read Matthew's accounts of the Last Supper, Gethsemane, and the betrayal and arrest. After reading, I pulled out Hunter's Jesus Storybook Bible (which we highly recommend) and read the same stories.

Here is how it recounted Jesus' words during the Last Supper:
But this is how God will rescue the whole world. My life will break and God's broken world will mend. My heart will tear apart - and your hearts will heal.

I feel broken...and those words meant a lot to me today. Our family has been dealing with some hard things lately. Last month we said good-bye to Donny's maternal Grandmother who died in mid-March. Sometime soon (probably before the month ends), we will do the same with Donny's paternal Grandmother. We feel that we are swirling in death and sadness. In this, as I feel torn apart in so many ways, I hold to the hope that as Jesus was broken and restored in his resurrection, so we are and will be restored in newness of life through him. I am trusting that my heart will heal...due only to the love, kindness, and sacrifice of my Savior.