Thursday, April 25, 2013

Donut Stop Believin'

How is it even time for this???????  HOW IS MY SWEET BABY BOY ABOUT TO TURN ONE???

I just don't really know what to say about it, except that I am terribly terribly excited (and also tremendously sad.  Let's be real.)

Our plan for his birthday this year is to gather with his biggest supporters, eat obscene amounts of donuts, and celebrate a life that might not have been.

We might sing a little Journey, as the title of this post suggests.

There will ALSO be, for the intrepid souls brave enough, a one mile Donut Dash-- 5 laps, 4 donut pit stops along the way, and a pretty sweet donut medal for those who cross the finish line.  So much silliness and so much fun!

I was going to send out an Evite, but it occurred to me that there are many people who have been our biggest supporters for whom I do not have an email address.  If you are able to join us that day, send me an email or a Facebook message and I will give you the details.

Less than a month! Inconceivable!

And yet, two very important things coming up before that:

1) THE GARAGE SALE FROM HADES.  It has consumed my life for the last month.  Something bit me and I decided I needed to get rid of 4000 pounds of junk from our house.  And my dad's house.  And my sister's house.

It all goes down this weekend.  I am not sure we will survive. But if we do, we are taking our hard-earned dollars and spending them all in...

2) DISNEY WORLD!!!!!!!!  One week.  Cannot wait.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Run for Boston

There just aren't words to describe my feelings about the marathon bombing yesterday. Shock.  Rage.  Grief.  Etc. The stories that are emerging are devastating. The feeling of helplessness is heavy on everyone.  Frustration is growing as we are trying so hard to find a name and a face to hold accountable, because a known enemy is much less scary.

But mixed with that are the stories of light and hope-- the first responders, the good Samaritans, the blood donations, the outpouring of love and support from across the country.

I saw several things floating around Facebook to show support for the runners-- wear a race shirt, or wear blue and yellow as those are the Boston Marathon colors.  Go for a run, and use that time to reflect on those who are now unable to run. 

Hubs is in training ALL WEEK.  His days are long and tiring.  It's basically me and the boys this week, which is more than fine, but means that my opportunities for running are somewhat hampered.  But I wanted to get out there today.  I felt like I HAD to.

Why?  Why not do something "productive" like donate blood or send money?  Who is it going to help to put on a shirt and go jog in a circle?  All valid questions.

And to that, I say this: Allowing fear to keep you from doing something you love is letting the bad guys win.

I'm training for my first marathon, and I am prepared for it to be the hardest thing (physically at least) I have ever done.  I know the feeling of accomplishment I have gotten from finishing shorter races, and I am so looking forward to the exhilaration of crossing a marathon finish line.   And I just simply cannot fathom having that moment turn into the horror from yesterday.  But I'm not going to let fear deter me.  I'm not going to roll into Orlando in January waiting for the worst to happen.  I'm going to keep running, and I joined thousands of others today who KEPT RUNNING.

Running to make a statement, not to anybody in particular but more to themselves, that whatever motives were in place for the attack won't break our spirits.
Running to remind ourselves to count our blessings.
Using the run time to pray for the victims, the families, and the entire city.  The country.

This whole messed up world.

And that's just what I did.  I loaded up all 70 pounds of two boys (dressed in yellow and blue) into my double jogger, put on my most recent race shirt, and ran 2.62 miles.  I ran and I prayed.

Many people ran in silence today, but I went with David Crowder in my ear.  A fellow CDH mama, Rhonda, sent me a CD of music she and her husband compiled while Esther fought a good fight.  They lost Esther 2 weeks before Parker was born, and I can't tell you what a lifeline that CD was for me. It still is.  On it is a song called "Oh Great God, Give Us Rest."  It was perfect for today.

Oh great God give us rest
We're all worn thin from all of this
At the end of our hope with nothing left
Oh great God give us rest

Oh great God do your best
Have you seen this place it's all a mess
And I've done my part too well I guess
Oh great God do your best

Could you take a song and make it thine
From a crooked heart twisted up like mine
Would you open up Heaven's glory light
Shine on in and give these dead bones life
Oh shine on in and give these dead bones life

Let it shine, let it shine
On and on, on and on, come to life

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Life Behind the Thin Blue Line

I'm going to clue you in on something that I rarely, if ever, talk about.  To anyone. 'Cause it's easier that way.

There's a real big elephant that walks around our house every day, and that elephant's name is Fear.  His presence is often palpable. He lurks in the corners most of the daylight hours, preferring night time visits.  He flashes across the TV screen far too frequently and once he straight up rang my doorbell.  Just 2 hours ago he sashayed straight into the kitchen and sat on our chests.

My husband is a police officer.  And tonight, an officer from his department was shot in the stomach 2 hours after Mike left work.  Enter the elephant.

Mike decided to take this path in life while we were in college, and most of us found it somewhat strange as he looked like this at the time:

*now take a minute and enjoy that, and then mentally add on a pair of GIGANTIC HUGE SKATEBOARDER PANTS AND AIRWALKS.  Y'all.  There aren't words.*

But he meant it.  His grandfather, his hero, was NYPD.  Throughout his college years, he interned with the Athens PD and went straight into the academy after graduation.  By that point, we were "maybe dating" after 4 years of friendship and I had to start thinking about if the life of a police wife was for me.

Thankfully, I have an excellent role model.  My sister is also a police wife and mother of 2.  She has a 7 year head start on me, and I have watched and learned from the struggles their family has faced.  She told me often, "You aren't just marrying the man, you are marrying the job."  And it is so very true.  To separate the two is impossible.

Life as a police wife means, among other things:
-Having Christmas morning at 11:00 at night so he can see the kids' faces
-Sitting in restaurants alone, waiting for him to be cleared for a 20 minute meal break
-Sitting in restaurants alone with 2 entrees because his 20 minute meal break was cut short by a call
-Being schooled to sit in said restaurants so that he always is facing the door, even when he's off duty
-Family Fun Day being interrupted as he runs head on into traffic to help victims in a car accident that happened on our way to the park
-Trying to support his 230 lbs while he clings to me, weeping, after seeing the worst sides of mankind
-Having to switch gyms because too many people he's arrested attend ours and he feels that his wife and children are endangered
-Having plans in place for what to do in such endangered situations
-Knowing deep within my soul that if something were to go down, in a movie theater for instance, that my husband would kiss my cheek, tell me to stay down, and run straight at it

 I don't know who created this, but it couldn't be any more accurate!

I spent a lot of our newlywed time staring at the phone while he was on shift, waiting for it to ring with bad news.  I lived in fear of the doorbell, knowing that the day I open it to uniformed officers is they day I am widowed.  But I couldn't stay there.  Just couldn't.  It's exhausting and it's non-productive.  So I have adopted the "pray and press on" mindset... Pray as hard as you can every single day, and then press on knowing that it's out of your hands.  Keep the elephant away at all costs. Or at least try.

But as I said, he sneaks in when you aren't expecting it.  One day, home alone, I heard the doorbell and peeked through the curtains to see who it was.  All I saw was the sleeve of a uniform with an Alpharetta patch on it.  In an instant, I was on the verge of blacking out and barely able to open the door.  It took me 2.7 seconds to process that it was a fellow officer who lives nearby, coming by to drop off something he had borrowed.  But that 2.7 seconds was a reminder that the fear never leaves.  As busy as we stay and as blissfully ignorant as we pretend to be, it lurks. 

Tonight I watched Mike, as the confusion and misinformation about this evening's shooting swirled, knowing that he is every bit as aware as I am that it could have been him.  It would be an outright lie to say that he's not afraid of never coming home. However, he doesn't let the fear follow him to work. To do so would be counterproductive and unsafe.  He gets dressed every morning, putting on his Sheepdog patch and his cross shield necklace, kisses me and the boys while we sleep, and drives away.  The fear stays at home.  The fear stays with me.

Like so many other things in our lives, I can be crippled by it or I can conquer it.  In this case, though, we're stuck in the middle. I know that the worry is never going to go away.  Not ever.  And that it will continue to sneak up on us, leaving us breathless and on our knees. Conquest is just not an option.  I refuse to be crippled by it, so I suppose we are left with coping.

Praying and pressing on.

So tonight, please join me in praying for Mike's brother in blue, who from initial reports is expected to survive.  Join me in thanking God for those who willingly stand between you and the darkness.  Pray for their safety.  Pray for their families.  And yes, pray especially for those who have gone so far off track that their only recourse is violence.

"The sheep pretend the wolf will never come, but the sheepdog lives for that day!"

Thursday, April 4, 2013


1) We spent our anniversary dinner watching basketball at Taco Mac and were asleep by 9:30.

My dear cousin Margaret made a multi-purpose cookie cake (not only was it Easter, CDH day, our anniversary, but also my cousin Mitchell's birthday), so we took cheesy cake re-enactment pictures...

"Take a picture before we leave for dinner!" I said to my brother-in-law.
Not what I had in mind.  But this is confessions, and this is our marriage in a nutshell. ;-)

Much better.  All I see in this picture is my glaring ugly kneecaps.

2)  Before Sunday, my kneecaps have not been in open air in probably 4 years.  

If you have seen my kneecaps in person, take that as a testament to our friendship.  There are many reasons for this, not the least of which are my ghastly pale skin, general post babies fatness, and my pregnancy leftover varicose veins that are so bad that they will soon be requiring surgery. I wear nothing shorter than capri pants, even in the dead of summer, and the cover-up sarong stays on until the SECOND I get into a pool.

Sister and I were out shopping Saturday and both decided enough was enough.  The time for hiding behind maxi skirts was over.  Too many adorable dresses to pass up.  So, through mutual pep-talking, we each bought dresses that were WAY far out of our individual comfort zones.  And my kneecaps were afraid.

3)  My kneecaps almost didn't make it to church Sunday morning.

I got myself dressed Sunday morning, and finally felt some modicum of self-confidence due to:
a) having lost 40% of my post-babies pounds
b) Spanx
c) Kate Middleton-ing myself with super sheer hose and nude heels
HOSIERY FANS UNITE!  I love and adore her for reminding today's women that real ladies cover their legs and a multitude of uglies with nylon.  Wonder how she'll do if she has to wrestle the baby bump into prescription support hose. Been there, done that, honey.

I actually blow dried my hair.  I was SET!  And then, as we are walking out the door, a sweet little voice says in a somewhat panicked tone...

"MOM!  You CANNOT go to church without pants!"

*And there goes a little air out of my balloon.*

 "But sweetie, this is a dress and it's okay!"

"NO!  MOM!  Dresses are supposed to be long. I can see your legs!  YOU NEED PANTS!"

*pffffffffffffffffffffffffttttttttttttttttttttttttttt goes Abby's balloon*

At this point, I very strongly considered skipping church and going to the Krispy Kreme drive thru to drown my sorrows.  However, I managed to convince him to rub my legs, and that the fabric he felt counted as pants.   He was skeptical at best.

But I went.  And I am glad I did.  The first step to kneecap acceptance is the hardest.

4) Our house violated my "Easter is not Christmas" rule.  The Easter Bunny brought Jeremiah a bike.

And the Easter Bunny felt shame.  He usually decides that if it didn't come from the dollar spot at Target and/or it doesn't fit in your basket, it's too much.

TO BE FAIR... Santa Claus had originally brought Jeremiah a bike, but Santa screwed up and brought one that was correctly sized for his height, but just too darn big for him to control.  He has been terrified to ride it since day one, and Santa has felt sad.  The Easter Bunny caught wind of this, and decided to rectify the situation and to put Santa's bike away for a year or two.

And life has been grand. It has lights and sirens and is WAY COOLER than the big boy bike. For now.
**Excuse the total parenting fail in forgetting the bike helmet when going to the park.**

He rode that sucker all the way around a 2.2 mile trail with NO PROBLEMS AT ALL!  He was so proud of himself. 
Look at him. 
Brazenly standing there with his kneecaps all kinds of showing, 
hand on his hip and feeling feisty.  
There are lessons to be learned here, I think.
 I could eat those knobby lil' knees up.

5)  It's official. And I am scared to death!

I actually registered early for the marathon today (with a discount!), thanks to DVC member perks.  Our reservations are made... Wilderness Lodge for now, will try to switch it over to an Epcot resort when the seven month window opens.  This is good news.  Now I have a goal.  A concrete, PAID FOR goal.

But it still makes me completely sweaty-armpits terrified.

Training is going well-- I count January as my official start to training, and I have noticed a HUGE improvement in my stamina just 3 months.  Not to mention, despite making zero improvement to my eating habits, 13 lbs have come off since January 19th.

Totally not my motivation for doing this race, but definitely a nice side effect!

278 days to get ready.
Comin' for you, Mouse!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Easter Festivities!!!!

 I love and adore Easter.  I always have.  It has always been such a celebratory time-- as a child, you celebrate that the weather finally starts to warm up, you get fancy new clothes, and obscene amounts of candy appear in your house overnight.
As you get older, you finally start to grasp the magnitude of that day thousands of years ago when the stone rolled away and Jesus emerged victorious.  You start to realize that you are a stubborn wretch who screws up every day, but that because of Jesus and His sacrifice you have a hope and a future. Then you become a parent, get a whole new idea of what the word "love" means, and fully understand what it meant for God to love the world SO MUCH that he gave his son.

And you still celebrate the candy and the clothes. Let's be real.

We had so many fun things to do this week--
it started with a trip to Bass Pro Shops.  Despite my Christmas rage at them, I really just can't say how nice it is that they put on free festivities for all.  They had a fun little Easter egg hunt throughout the store (eggs were hidden in all the departments, tucked into hats and mittens, underneath taxidermied turkeys, etc. etc. etc.), crafts, and free photos with the Easter bunny.

 Redneck fun, friends. 
 The kiddos made these cute little bunnies.

 My two proper Southern gentlemen, seersucker suits, bucks, and bowties, waiting to see the bunny.

Tickles me pink.

We also had Jeremiah's egg hunt at preschool, which was big fun despite being 30 degrees.  At the end of March.  This Georgia gal no likey the cold.
Egg hunt superstar!!

We woke up Sunday morning to a few goodies from the Easter Bunny...
Sweetest bunnies ever.
*Jeremiah's basket had a very important note from the Easter Bunny... more on that in a bit*

We went to church (Mike had to work but took a half day and was home for lunch)
This dress is a WHOLE. OTHER. BLOG. POST.

Jiminy crickets.

We then met up at Sister's house for food and egg hunt with the family, despite 2 minute torrential downours of rain every 15 minutes.

 Love these kiddos.

JeanJean and her great grandkids.
Get ready, Disney World, this crew is headed your way in 4 short weeks!!

Such a fun day.  So many blessings.  I hope yours was, too!