Friday, January 30, 2009


Some things right now are pretty clear. There is no doubt that Baby #3 has "boy parts" as R would put it. Our family picture is taking shape--girl, boy, boy. Trucks and trains may reign but there will be one princess in the family. That sounds good to me.

Other things right now are not so clear. What job D will have? Where we might be living in a few months? Here or somewhere else? When? How quickly could all this happen? North or West? Southern drawl and NASCAR or big hair and cowboy boots?
We're in limbo mode right now, cautiously taking steps to prepare and getting our heads and hearts wrapped around the prospect of leaving here and going to...whereever, whenever.
Thanks for praying for us.

Monday, January 19, 2009

weekend update

We've been promising R a trip to Chuck E Cheese for almost two years now--on the condition that she stop sucking her thumb. I was planning to start the taping and pinning of appendages after Christmas to get her over her habit. But, lo and behold, all it took was one Chick-Fil-A lunch date with a fellow recovering thumb-sucker and she was cured. She announced that afternoon that she was going to stop sucking her thumb like N. I figured, sure, after Christmas, will start taping your thumb to your hand. But she just stopped. I thought I would catch her during the car trip to SC. Nope. Maybe I would hear the sucking sound during her sleep when we were all in the same room over the holidays. No. She had stopped, cold turkey. Does this give you an indication of what kind of will I daily encounter?

So, Saturday, we delivered on our promise. Both kids were not thrilled with the live Chuck who walked around giving high fives. But despite her face in these pictures, she like the horse ride and a few others (though many were malfunctioning!) and she refused to have her picture taken, smiling, at least.

B added "ch-ee-cheese" to his vocabulary and cried, "Bob, Bob, Bob" as I pulled him out of this ride to let waiting children have their turn. He grins and says "Bob" whenever we mention C.E.C. and pointed it out as we were driving today.
R redeemed her tickets for a tiny heart-shaped container of lip gloss. Later, when we called them for dinner, they came running out of her room looking like leftover extras from Braveheart. Smears of purple sparkly goop covered their faces like war paint. I would have taken a picture but I was too afraid B was about to run it into his eyes, so I washed him up fast.
It was also a weekend of experimenting. We put B in the other twin bed in R's room on Friday night to see how things went. Lots of red bottoms! The next night was better. The next, not so much. Hopefully, they'll get used to it, soon! We could hear R talking and B "shushing" at times and other time B babbling and R telling him to be quiet. I told D that this marks about a year or so of little sleep for us, just get ready.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Prego Ponderings

D asked the other night how many weeks we/I were/was along. (I'm 18 wks as of Monday). "Mmm, that's not even halfway," he observed. Thanks.... Now that there is no hiding the bump whatsoever and the hubbub of the holidays is settling down, more and more people have noticed that, yes, I am indeed pregnant. D & I were at his company's "holiday" party and we got plenty of congratulations. One girl asked me, "Are you so excited?!"

I had to stop and think a minute.

Of course, I'm elated that there is life within me. But....there's not as much to get excited about at this point. Being baby #3, there are very few surprises at this stage. And since I carried my saltines to church this morning and then still had to duck out between services for a food run for my queasy tummy and woozy head, I'm not all that "WHOO-HOO!" (Really, I'm not a "WHOO" girl much anyway for those who watch "HIMYM".) And the other night, as we were leaving a friend's house, R had a colossal, nuclear meltdown that went on until she finally fell asleep. And all I'm thinking, we've already made another.

Generally speaking, I'm not one of those women who love, love, love being pregnant. I'd much rather get this part over with and get to the baby part--even those first few weeks! So I'm confident that my current blase attitude with this baby will disappear the moment I lay eyes on him or her.

R is less convinced that the Bean is a girl but just as convinced that she only wants a sister. She told me the other day that if this is a boy she is NOT going to play with him. In the same breath, she was begging B to come back to their bedrooms to play. I pointed out the contradiction and she explained that she would keep playing with B but no more boys and that she really needed a girl to play with. B has been carrying around a Cabbage Patch doll of R's and giving it a bottle several times. So cute! In other news, he has added "shoe," "truck," "car," and "choo-choo" to his lexicon. No words that are actually helpful in our daily routine but progress nonetheless. We are working on being a bit tougher with him, withholding the item we know he wants until he makes some attempt at saying the word. He's proud of himself when he does it so I'm hoping these are signs of further development to come.

I'm craving strange things--though sometimes, like today, nothing sounds good. Several times in the past few weeks, I've made some form of nachos/taco salads with grilled chicken or ground beef topped with black beans, lettuce, tomatoes (GOT to have tomatoes right now), cilantro, salsa, sour cream. (Please note, this picture was a meal for both of us, not my dinner plate!) I think we're taking the kiddos to the park this afternoon after naps which means we'll also go to Bubbalou's for dinner. I will be getting their smoked chicken which tastes good all the time but is really good right now. Strawberries have started coming in already which means I will be loading up. That's been my favorite fruit of both previous pregnancies and now I have two strawberry-loving kids too. Yum!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Christ the Lord: Ann Rice

The last two novels I read in '08 were the first two books of Ann Rice's Christ the Lord series. I had never read anything by her before since she seemed (to me) consumed with vampires and other Gothic/horror material and that really does not appeal to me. (I remember freaking out at a slumber party over the movie Interview with the Vampire. I don't have the stomach for that.) But WORLD magazine had a fairly favorable review of Road to Cana (book 2) so I thought I would give this a try.

Rice had a revival of her faith from atheistic dormancy to the Catholicism of her childhood a few years back and decided she would not write anything else that did not pertain to her new faith. So she set about writing a series of fictional novels of Jesus' life. Her conversion story is told in part in the Author's Note at the end of Out of Egypt and she has a new memoir, Called Out of Darkness, detailing this.

Out of Egypt (book 1) begins with seven-year-old Jesus and his older half-brother James playing with some neighborhood kids, including a bully who tries to pick on Jesus. Somehow...Jesus ends up knocking down the kid and it appears he is dead. Jesus doesn't know what happened but he felt some kind of power or force leave him. Right away, I was a bit perturbed at this and I wasn't sure I could continue. Apparently, James is a child from Joseph's first marriage (wife now deceased) and there are no other children from the union of Joseph and the Virgin Mary. Rice's decidedly Catholic beliefs are all over the novel. Jesus later brings the bully back to life but he's got a bit of a reputation for doing weird things. (Rice notes that she used apocryphal and traditional medieval tales for some of this information.) I did finish the book and there were some bright spots. Rice is very well-researched and she brought to life the atmosphere and political situation of Judea under Roman control. The helplessness of the Jewish people and the oppression of Herod and others sets up the Israelites looking for a Messiah King who will march in to Jerusalem on his horse, lead an army, and overthrow Rome. Because the narration is from a young child's perspective, the writing seemed clunky at times--too seven-year-oldish. And it is impossible to know with certainty what Jesus knew when--when did he realize he was God's Son, fully God and fully human? There is a beautiful passage at the end of the book when Jesus has gone out to an olive grove alone at night, looks into the star-filled night, and prays to his Father that nothing he will ever do will be outside of God's will.

Road to Cana picks up years later as an adult Jesus is about to begin his earthly ministry. Again, I had some problems with Rice's plot, I guess, places where I was a bit uncomfortable with the Jesus she portrayed but again, it is impossible to really know. A grown man who is expected to marry, Jesus mourns that he never will and at times is tempted by a beautiful, godly woman, Avigail, who everyone in town expects him to marry. Rice is on more solid ground in the last portion of the novel when she covers Jesus' baptism, temptation in the desert, calling of the disciples, and the marriage feast at Cana. Here, the writing soars. Jesus' responses to Satan while being tempted were fabulous. There you hear the mission of Christ to save "soul by soul" the world, rejecting power, riches, and self-preservation.

Our women's Bible study this semester will focus on the Beatitudes and look at examples in Christ's life where he demonstrated and fulfilled those words. Coming out of the season of Advent, reading these earthy, human depictions of a very real God come to earth in Rice's novels, reading Reggie's blog posts about Incarnation, has renewed my desire to have relationship with a "Who" and not just study the "whats." We can focus on theology and concepts that end in -tion all the time and lose sight of the divine Person of Jesus who walked this earth, dirtied his feet and hands, and rescued his children.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Christmas Recap

Just a few pictures from our Christmas. We spent a week at my parents' house in South Carolina in chilly and generally gray weather. But it was great to have so much family there for the holiday. My grandmother endured the 8 hour drive with the munchkins in the minivan so she could be with us and my brother and sister-in-law spent the weekend as well. That also meant one Christmas Eve dinner (our traditional lasagna), one Christmas Day dinner (rib roast cooked on the rotisserie of Dad's grill), and one more with the full crew (smoked turkey and trimmings). There were 2 pies baked that week, 4 kinds of cookies, and 1 from-the-freezer pumpkin cheesecake Mom baked beforehand. We played Speed Scrabble (my family could not compete with the Fleming side at all! We stink!), watched movies ranging from silly (Elf!) to intellectual (Expelled), and put together the wackiest puzzle ever. It was called "Proverbidioms" and depicted literal illustrations of common idioms like "so hungry I could eat a horse." The conversation around the puzzle putting-together was PG13 as we searched for weird characters or called out "I think this one goes to the saggy boob chick". Then, once it was together, we took the list of idioms from the back of the box and tried to find them all. (Saggy boob chick was both "flat as a board" and "knockers.")

The big presents were a Disney Princess bike for the princess (she went around the house finding clues that led her to the room where we hid her bike--and she read the clues herself too!) and a train table for the little guy. We only brought the trains and some track pieces to SC so there was another surprise waiting for B the morning after we returned home--a huge table with mountains, bridges, and a train station. Neither one moved more than 6 inches from it the first day. We also received our share of noise makers. R has an "electric guitar" (also pink with Disney Princesses) and B got an electronic drum pad.

The kids were completely into the season this year--from lights to carols to reading the Christmas story just about every night. A week before Christmas we walked along Crane's Roost at night to see the lights and the light and music show at the fountain (pretty impressive for Altamonte Springs) then came home for a fire, roasted marshmallows, and singing. Nice to have a quiet time together in the midst of the hullabaloo.