Friday, June 29, 2007

Week in Review

Reentry into normal, post-vacation life has been a bit hectic.

After traveling for 2 solid days and letting a few things slide for the sake of driving in peace, I have to be Sgt. Mom and break some bad habits. I've taken away R's blanket during the day in hopes of limiting the thumb sucking and getting her to exercise some self-control without a crutch. She asks about watching videos in the van when running errands. She's been sans clothes a bit more than usual which may be a side effect from being around her twin cousins.

Dave says he needs 18 days to catch up for the 9 days we were gone. He goes through a hundred e-mails at night from the recliner so at least we're in the same room together. The next Thrive facility opens in 2 weeks so he's been driving to Dr. Phillips every day to supervise the final stages of the build out. The machines are being delivered today! Very exciting and also a bit nerve-racking as Thrive (and therefore, Dave) is going to be independent very soon. They're working on getting the investment funding they need to move forward. I've proofed the business plan a few times in my role as unofficial grammar consultant, just doing my part.

Watching Last Comic Standing (a summer favorite for the past few years) is not nearly as funny as watching Dave watch LCS. At least once per episode, he completely looses it. His face turns red, he starts crying, his laugh turns into this nasally wheezing that sounds like he'll burst a blood vessel. He has no control and the least little thing after that will set him off again like his laugh defenses have been compromised. The guy who set him off this week didn't even make it to L.A. for the next round.

R is saying "This is my favorite" to everything. Usually a song--"How Great is Our God," "Awesome God," and "Margaritaville" which she announced very loudly in a restaurant. (That's for you, P.J.).

Ben had his 6-month checkup this week. The dr.'s comment on looking at his growth chart: "He's coming back onto the line." Meaning his weight's not as far off the chart as it once was. Well, that makes me feel better. Plus, now I'm using a heavy-duty Vaseline type ointment on his skin at night so he's really a little greased pig now.

Looking foward to a fun weekend--a wedding of an old friend and R attending her first major birthday party. Should be a hoot!

Monday, June 25, 2007

Sweet Summertime

Two sweet reasons to love summer:
I made peach crisp over the weekend while Mom and Dad were here for dinner. Is there anything better? (Well, besides peach pie but in a time crunch...). Sweet, tart, warm, gooey, syrup-y, with melting Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla. Oh, I'm going back to Publix for more peaches! I lost track of how many I made (and ate) last summer while pregnant.

Summer is a legitimate time to make Key Lime Pie. I'm a meringue only girl, no whipped cream topping. Mom had Key Lime Pie ice cream at Bruester's and mentioned Publix had a version out for a limited time. Must say I'm disappointed, but I guess I'll manage to eat it.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Seeing Today through Tomorrow's Eyes

Summertime in the (little "c") church calendar can kinda be a let down. Many programs and studies pause for the summer months, people are on vacation and the place looks empty, you may even get a Russian roulette game in the pulpit for a few weeks.

This summer I'm glad to say that O-wood has tried to keep the summer a time of learning and being together with one service and a combined SS hour with hot-button topics (it was porn this morning--gotta have your Starbucks!). And the positive side of having different preachers who don't normally get to preach is that they are really excited about it. Usually they've been mulling on a topic for a while, getting it ready to present, pumped up about preachin'.

This was one such Sunday. Chuck preached this morning on heaven, on seeing today through tomorrow's eyes. We're standing on the edge of the new kingdom--like the Israelites at the Red Sea or Promised Land--and we're trapped in our slave-ish thinking, neglecting to realize God's presence right amongst us, despairing, complaining, having unbelief in our hearts. Hindsight is great but God's Word is better. He actually gives us the picture of the future to help get us through today (Rev. 21 & 22 was the text). And even more amazing--WE are the edge of the kingdom, advancing Christ's kingdom wherever we're at.

The last stanza of a Charles Wesley hymn we sung this morning also really resonated with me as we've been studying Lost Women of the Bible. What a different kind of "lost" we'll be in:

Finish, then, Thy new creation;
Pure and spotless let us be.
Let us see Thy great salvation
Perfectly restored in Thee;
Changed from glory into glory,
Till in heaven we take our place,
Till we cast our crowns before Thee,
Lost in wonder, love, and praise.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

It's only a little sad, really

I did manage to finish one book over our trip. Probably only because I was more than halfway through when we left.

I had a professor once say, in response to a complaint about the depressing books we were reading, "This is literature, not fiction."

And this was so well written and actually true, too. Joan Didion has been a favorite essayist of mine for a while. I haven't read her fiction but I love the way she writes. It's almost stream-of-consciousness but not "Joycean." Blunt, witty, sarcastic at times.

It starts like this: In December of 2003, Joan Didion and her husband of almost 40 years, John Dunne, have just returned from visiting their grown daughter at a NYC hospital. She's in intensive care for septic shock and the parents and doctors are not sure which way her illness will go. That night, as Didion is making dinner in the kitchen, John has a massive heart attack and dies. The memoir recounts Didion's next full year of grief, recovery, and survival and takes the reader through her reflection on her sometimes unconventional, but loving, marriage.

She recounts her grief as only a writer could--through words. "As a writer, even as a child, long before what I wrote began to be published, I developed a sense that meaning itself was resident in the rhythms of words and sentences and paragraphs..." At the same time, she acknowledges the inefficacy of words for expressing meaning at this point in her life. Additionally, she goes about the writing of the book, despite its intensely personal content, as a professional writer with research and analysis. Which makes for an interesting read--scientific and introspective. What's most impressive though is her level of honesty she allows the reader to experience. She really lets you into her world--crazy magical thinking and all. The book has now become a one-woman show, starring Vanessa Redgrave, currently on Broadway.

I did get weepy in parts. It might have been more from lack of sleep. But it's good, Katie, really!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

A Texas-Sized Vacation

Make a PhotoShow Full Size

Back from the dead

Well, Texas in June at least.

We finished our 9 day trip to Texas and we're finally home. I say "trip," not vacation, because we didn't relax and I am not rejuvenated. It was a trip. Worthwhile, sure, we saw family we haven't seen in 6 or 7 years, and got caught up with everyone. Had plenty of Fleming family bonding time in our now more-than-gently used minivan.

I had such high hopes of blogging throughout the trip, recording our adventures but I barely saw a computer the whole time.

So here's the Reader's Digest highlights version:

Nine days, four days of total driving there and back. Houston and San Antonio. Benjamin teething. R's four boy cousins (ages 10, 7, and 3--the twins) who stay up until 10 PM every night. No TV in Houston--only kiddie videos, on repeat, all day. Fabulous Mexican food and a good BBQ restaurant in SA. 102 degrees the day we go to the S.A. zoo (think about rhino poop in 102 degrees...with a 2 year old...who does not like smells or sweat). Twenty minutes for the Alamo--more than enough. Sharing a room, and sometimes the bed, with one or both the munchkins. Having to whisper at night to have a conversation with Dave or spell almost everything with the girl in the car. Rebekah catching on to spelling. Blue Bell ice cream everywhere--yum! Got great dirt on Dave's parents from Great Aunt Ruth (who's in her 80's). (Best line from her: "Next move I make is going to be up." And, "You can be a Baptist and still be lost.") Rebekah making up songs for the minivan. Dave leaving the keys in the minivan...ignition...running...for 3 hours. No "mommy juice" for a week. No good coffee for a week. Shipley donuts at church--yum again. Don't want to see the scale.
My eyes feel like sandpaper. My bed--my very own bed--is calling me. Goodnight!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

More Family Resemblance

Rebekah ~ 5 months
Benjamin ~ 6 months

Family Resemblance

My boys at ~6 months

Monday, June 11, 2007

The Book Thief

I finished The Book Thief last night, the latest book club selection (in part because I was already reading it.) Dave kept looking at me funny over the top of his laptop as I sniffled through the final part. (This is fiction, right? he kept asking.) I knew (mostly) what was coming because Death is the narrator and his foreshadowing isn't very subtle but still...just a sweet, sad, simple story.

It's technically juvenile fiction and while it doesn't quite reach Harry Potter-crossover heights, I thoroughly enjoyed it. I appreciate books that have unconventional ways of telling the story, post-modern narrative structures, or that play with the words on the page. This had that, along with plucky heroes and heroines, love, devotion, rebellion in Nazi Germany, and beautiful descriptions of ugly life.

Plus, Death as the narrator! He finds humor in the ways some people get theirs in the end. And he's not an unlikeable character. You actually feel for this overworked soul-gatherer as he describes the sky "the color of Jews" in 1942.

Now, however, I'm without a new book because our library books were due today and I couldn't renew my next read because there's a hold on it. So I'm going to re-read a favorite or try to make it to the bookstore before we leave and pick up A Thousand Splendid Suns. Except I've already spent the book budget this month on Rebekah. I'll be reading Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus for the next 9 days.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

In fairness...

gotta put some cute pics of the boy...
Cookies and milk, anyone?
Where's Benjamin?


Let me count the ways

After doggin' on the girl all week, I guess I should relate what silly, cute, and smart things she did as well.

Her first metaphor: "Mom, I'm growing like a green bean."

Giving Benjamin a nickname: "Jr. Drooler! You're Jr. Drooler, Ben!"

Watching NASCAR, voluntarily, singing: "You can do it, Junior. You can win the race because you are an amazing race car." (To the tune of her favorite Little Einstein song from the episode where the team goes to Monaco for the Grand Prix. We've had it stuck in our heads all weekend.)

Also, watching NASCAR, voluntarily, us eavesdropping: "There's Jeff Gordon. I don't like him."

We are coloring pictures and I'm writing out the words of what's in the pictures--Elmo, Zoe, cat. I start to write butterfly. She takes her crayon and makes three lines on her paper, saying, "But-ter-fly." Genius.

Wearing her pink elephant backpack this week with a very big girl outfit, sneakers on, hair in barrettes (for once), looking like she's going to school. I actually got a little choked up.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

A day in Winter Haven

I drove to Winter Haven yesterday (sans kids!) to visit my grandparents. Despite I-4 traffic, I enjoyed the drive--control of the CD player means no Laurie Berkner or Veggie Tales, I get to sing as much as I'd like with Sandra McCracken, Jill Phillips, and Switchfoot, and I don't have to put my shoulder out trying to retrieve a toy someone's dropped. I had over an hour completely to myself--unheard of!

My purpose was to check up on my grandparents. Since I live the closest of any of their children or grandchildren, it's easier for me to visit them than any one else. Mom specifically wanted me to check on them before we leave for TX. So my mother-in-law graciously kept the kids for me so I could take a solo trip down there, take my grandmother out to lunch, and be the eyes and ears for the rest of the family.

On Mother's Day, when they joined us for Benjamin's baptism and lunch, we were all shocked at how pale and gaunt Grandpa looked. The radiation and chemotherapy has done a 1-2 punch on him. He already seemed to be aging quicker but in the last six months he's appeared ten years older. Seeing him again yesterday was difficult. I am taken aback each time at the sunken eyes, thinning hair, and slow movements. Now he has oxygen tubes around him to added to the well, sickly look. The image is jolting. I still expect him to look like the grandpa who played tennis several times a week and whose pants were being let out at the waist. I expect to hear him make witty and often caustic comments at the government, Wall Street, and various sports coaches. Yesterday there wasn't even one word about Billy Donovan from the grumpy ol' Gator.

It's hard to know that these are mostly likely his final years. I know God has been working in his heart over the past five years or so as he dealt with bladder cancer (almost 5 years cancer-free from that!) and now all this. This will be the most difficult death I'll have had in my life so far. I just hope it's later rather than sooner.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Misery loves company that's why I'm blogging tonight. I need virtual commiserating! HA!

No, I just had to vent about the girl today. First, she woke up at 5:50 and didn't go back to sleep, or to her own room. Meanwhile, the rooster in the other bedroom managed to sleep til 6:45. If it ain't one, it's the other.

She then proceeded to exhaust me with her disobedience. I took away the crayons before 8 AM, computer game time before lunch, and swim time before nap. I really hoped she would wake up better behaved because I was running out of things to do with her.

What I hate most of all on these days is my own anger. I hate when I lose my cool, I hate when I hurt others, especially my precious girl, in my anger. I hate how I sound. I hate the ineffectiveness of anger. I don't win. She doesn't behave better. I don't feel better.

I'm learning what to let slide and how to pick my battles. I'm trying to have foresight--to see how my reaction in a situation has consequences, good or bad. I'm trying not to use my s**t pass! And I'm praying as much for my own heart as I am hers.

In other news, Benjamin was a doll today and his first tooth has made an appearance.

Love you all!

Friday, June 1, 2007

Birthday Boy and Other People

Dave's birthday was yesterday. #29 for him which means I'm only two years away from 3-0 (cuz it's all about me, right?). In lieu of presents, (because we're planning a NYC trip at the end of the summer), Rebekah made him a birthday crown and he proudly wore it on the way to work and back home again. Poor guy had to take the garbage out on his birthday. I did make a chocolate pie for dessert. Thankfully, meringue covers a really sad looking crust.

Then it's been the day of lots of people. The kids and I spent the day at Dave's parents where his sister and family were. Rebekah had an Oreo, vanilla ice cream, and no nap until we got in the car at 3:30. Ben slept for 3 hours and missed most of the action. Then a friend from college who now lives in Denver stopped by. He was actually my friend first. We met when Dave was living in Titusville and commuting to school. Then when Dave moved back to Orlando and our friends merged, he and Dave became friends too. He's one of the few people we keep up with semi-regularly (like once a year) which is a lot for Dave. The guys went out for wings and pool while I had book club (more people!) and then came back for the leftover desserts. So we had some remembering of people we haven't talked about in a long time and stayed up too late.

And now I really must be going to bed.