Friday, May 30, 2008

Late night... and Top Gun.

So, I just HAD to post this. You know, to keep me honest. I was sitting here on the couch in Marcus' most comfy pjs- yes, I wear them. AND I am editing pics from the blueberry farm tonight.... *splendid*

Anywho, Marcus left me... so it's just me and top gun. Gosh. I'm blushing. The whole movie makes me feel young. It's flirty, fun, and not worth too much. But for tonight, it's thrilling and it's makin' me blush.

Okay... just wanted you to know. Stay tuned. Tomorrow I will post more.

Peace, xo.

Summer... has a way of makin' you nostalgic.

Sorry I've been MIA. I guess since Memorial Day took a day off our week, it seems like this week has been *ultra*quick.

Yesterday came James' big arrival of his summer wardrobe! *crazy eyed clapping* It's like Christmas again... James loves pulling out and unwrapping his new threads. He's the best gift receiver. He cheers and jumps and squeals and does all the other gratifying things you want when you give a kid something. Even though James is a little boy, he's still my doll bebe. I love dressing him up in his new digs. It's a joy... and a blessing, too. So I'm warnin' you- be on alert for ultra summer cuteness comin your way in pictures. James Neal is quite the STUDmuffin.

So, the cash part. Holy cow. Okay- the short version is this: I'm trying to reduce our storage items from this house to either something we NEED, LOVE, or is a seasonal item that is NEEDED/LOVED. I made a proclamation in our household. A decree if you will.... "WE WILL NOT TRANSFER USELESS STUFF FROM THIS HOUSE TO THE NEW HOUSE. IF WE DON'T NEED IT/LOVE IT/USE IT THE ITEM IN QUESTION WILL BE DONATED." Yes, I am the Queen and also my own Royal Messenger. So I had to test myself. One of the largest stored amount I have is James' old bebe cloths. I haven't sold or given much of it away. Cleaning out his closet is one of the hardest things for me. Not because I get attached to the CLOTHES themselves--- but to the memories that were made when he wore them. It's hard to face the passing of time so blatantly as to put away outgrown items. It's like the empty hangers mock me: "he won't be your bebe for long!" So, I bag them and allow myself ONE FULL DAY to be sad about the stage he just outgrew... and usually, I see how exciting the new stage has become. So it all gets better. BUT I do have about 20 huge trash bags FULL of his old clothes. Practicing what I've been preaching, I tested myself. OPEN ONE BAG--- and hold the items that are so precious you can't part with- then see if there are things you have no real attachment to. So, I did. I did find a few things that I knew I wanted to keep forever... three bags to be exact. BUT I was able to clean out the remaining 15 or so...

Now here is where it gets fun. A friend hooked me up with a great yard sale site here in Kingwood *because we aren't allowed to hold garage sales in our village*- and a few of her favorite peeps. And it looks like I may actually be able to turn these delightful outfits into some cold hard cash! Holy cow! I do have really good, clean, name brand items... and these women are eatin' it up. I feel so accomplished and useful! It's great because I can devote this extra cheese to offset the expense of James' new big boy bedding and playroom plans in the new house. *giggle* So, extra stuff is vanishing AND I can contribute financially. I feel productive and accomplished.

Blueberries? We will be having a picnic supper this afternoon at the blueberry farm down the road. I want to pick pounds and pounds of the luscious treats and hopefully get a few special shots in the meantime. Picking fruits and veggies remind me of home... my mother and grandparents.

Here is an old slideshow of our summer last year... it pretty much sums up what I love about this season. I can't wait to make new memories this year! CLICK HERE IN ORDER TO SEE A FASTER, BETTER FORMAT VIEW.

That's it for me. I'll be making a pic. post soon.
Thanks for reading, caring, loving.

Enjoy your weekend!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

*A Post Worthy of Twenty-Seven Years*

Well dears, it's official! I'm twenty-seven years old... 27... twenty plus seven... nine times three...

I had a fantastic weekend both with Marcus and James in turn. Friday night Marcus took me to dinner at our favorite splurge, The Melting Pot. We had a delicious Caribbean four course dinner that started with emmental and gruyere cheeses. Our coq au vin entree of lobster, shrimp, filet, and butternut squash ravioli. Our dessert was a decadent flaming bananas fosters drizzled over cheesecake, pound cake, brownie, and fresh fruits and berries. *sigh* It's fun and romantic and delicious!!! If you've never had the gumption to try fondue, you HAVE to give it a go. You won't be disappointed.
A few pics:

We slept in Saturday... had a sushi lunch at a new place in Kingwood. OH MY GOSH! Sushi Hana was delicious. Our host even gave me a pair of beautiful lacquered chopsticks for my birthday. We will definitely be going back... every other day, is our plan.

Then we spent the afternoon at the new Discovery Green Park in downtown Houston. "See. Touch. Hear. Taste. Explore." -that's their mantra. And with a slogan like that, I can dig it. It was a fantastic! The weather was perfect, warm and breezy... the view spectacular. You know, a over sized two year old... in a pretty cute swimsuit... with bulging diaper... dripping wet... running in and out- in and out of the water. That's just what we saw--- can you imagine what we heard? Squeals... giggles... and a lot of "Daddy lookame!" "Momma lookame!"

So, scared of twenty seven? No way. At first I was... sort of. But you know what? There is so much more to me... more to life... more to my people than hoping I won't grow old. Something occurred to me this weekend. I've always sort have been in a race with myself. The image in my head of who I should be is very high, and now I realize untouchable. But when I look at Marcus and James Neal... and I see what is reflected their eyes when they look at me. They love what they see. They adore it. And even though I doubt myself all the time, they don't. So you know what? Twenty seven may be MY YEAR. The year that I do my damndest to leave the baggage behind... look myself in the eye and value what I see. This will be the end of "Lindsey by Comparison." Comparison to my siblings, my birth order, to the perfect woman,or anyone else. I've done a lot in my 27 years. My son has seen determination and faithfulness and accomplishment... but he hasn't seen self appreciation, self value. And, if there is one thing I can do- I can teach. If there is one thing that is sure- I want James to understand that he was 'fearfully and wonderfully made.' So, I plan on giving him the best of me by being better to myself.

*So if you read this... and something I've said speaks to you... maybe it's because we both need to do better with appreciating who we are, as is... perfectly imperfect. I am going to try harder. I'll need encouragement. Let me encourage you, too. We are gifted and beautiful women... I'm going to embrace that this year and maybe gift it to my daughter one day.

Thanks for all the birthday wishes, calls, and emails!
Those small things mean so much.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

The NOT so incredible stuff.

Wells, it's not always sunshine and butterflies in our little cottage here in the forest. No. Some days it's more like a zoo... on a hot day... with 150% humidity... and little gnats buzzing in your ears. Today, was that day. I don't know... I really wanted today to be James' special day with me. The last two days I've been preoccupied with cleaning/house selling stuff to really devote my time teaching and engaging James. To top it all off, yesterday night was Marcus' weekly softball night. That basically means I am a single mother for nearly 48+ hours. So perhaps all of those things combined made for a tedious day to say the least.

I was hoping to let James paint on his easel outside and set up his bebe pool for some summer swimmin'. Yeah, didn't happen. BUT let me tell you what did happen...

*think previously mentioned zoo reference*
We started the morning off with James 'cooking' with his milk from his sippy in his room at his play kitchen. He successfully dosed his kitchen, 98% of the felt food I had made for him, and the floor with milk. Where was I? Taking about 7 minutes to make my coffee. *That's a critical time period for me. If I can drink my coffee before any major drama happens in my day- then I am gravy. BUT if something happens before I get my 'fix,' I feel like I mine as well jump off a cliff.

Round two. James pooped a bit in his diaper, and played in it. *clean up, frustration, clean up.

Round three. James went down for his nap. Five minutes later started screaming, "I poo poo potty, Momma!" So I run at break.neck speed in there to *whisk* him into the bathroom--- notice the word choice 'wisk.' You'd have to be a flippin heavy weight champion to actually use that word correctly here. Lifting my 48 lb. kid is getting harder and harder every day. Trying to heave him up and clear his crib rails makes me want to hire a live-in chiropractor. I feel like a little terrier momma dog- that has a lab mix puppy child. I'm just not proportional to my offspring. Heck, my bebe! *Back to what I was saying, we get to the potty and he started charming me again. I've noticed lately James will use the 'I go poo poo potty' trick to gain more time outside of napping. He perches on top of the potty and entertains, sings, talks about family, politics, and religion. I get tired of waiting for the poop to come, the tile floor gets colder, then the guilt sets in after telling him to hurry up and potty or get down. *redress him for the second time for nap...

Round four. Goes to sleep... quietly. A little sound here. A sigh there. Followed by more silence. I think I'm golden and even contemplate a nap for me when I hear applause coming from the bedroom. THE MONKEY STRIKES AGAIN! Except this time, there was the full firework show. It's like he's fascinated with manufacturing his own artistic medium at will! Seriously. He must think, 'Hmmm, I'm a little bored. Hey, I know. Lets get creative... wait, I'm confined to my crib. Oh! Right. No prob. Bob, let me just pop a squat. Then my artist pallet will know no bounds!' *Sorry, perhaps the word choice was too vivid. But, we are talking toddlers and poop here. Anything less would have been almost patronizing.

Grrr. So, after three attempts with parenting through this poop situation, I realize that I probably didn't do a single thing right. I mean, if I was RIGHT there wouldn't have been a second and third fiasco. AND, I should add, that yesterday he transferred his poop to his train table and lead Thomas and his friends through a *muddy situation.* How's that for Troublesome trucks!?!?! *sigh*

Thankfully, he fell right asleep after the last escapade. Marcus called and heard the strain in my voice. I caved: "I'm cleaning up after you and James tirelessly... every idle second I'm wiping and dusting and putting things away... THREE poop fiascoes!? How am I suppose to sell a house that has a laundry pile the size of Mt. Helena with an odor rising from it that I swear is green. Visually green. Like I can see the wafts of stink rising in a green wave!" Poor Marcus. He must have felt sorry for me, bc he left work an hour and a half early to surprise me with some 'relief.'

The sun peaked through the clouds when Marcus *whisked* him away for a little Daddy time: McDonalds, barbershop, train store, park- them home again to a somewhat restored and smiling momma. *Yes, whisk is properly used when refering to Marcus and his feats of strength. And to add insult to injury, I needed a bit of a break from James--- but I hate being away from him. I hate missing out on our camaraderie... and inside jokes... and the doe eyes that we have for each other. Tomorrow night he stays with his MawMaw and Pops while Marcus treats me to my birthday weekend: Melting Pot, shopping, maybe a photo shoot downtown and the new green park and the Obama Campaign Headquarters... oh, and sleeping in. I know I shouldn't mind James spending time away from us. He is two and, nearly, a half! But I'm just a little out of sync when I'm not with him. 'Good' is the best we can have when our boy isn't with us. Our time away never really can grow to 'great' if he's not there step for step with us. I guess two years ago, we surrendered our extra measure of happiness to that wild child. Oh well, I suppose it is rightfully his. He's the third portion that completes us... so no weekend honeymoon or date night can ever truly be complete. *It's sweet that we are meshed so well together- but it's sort of frustrating, too.

So yeah, when you hear me say over and over again how motherhood is 'agonizingly fantastic.' Today proves that theory.

Happy Friday. Next week I'll be a 27 year old!!! Gosh, that stings a little. Maybe I'll post more about that later. I can still avoid fact for another day.

Peace, xo.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The incredible stuff...

*photo taken from google search- not my image.

You know, I’m a ‘perspective gal.’ In fact, it’s one of my favorite words. And you all know how much I love words. Letters, text, symbols, meaning, concepts about print… if I could pick my favorite aspect about our culture…. *Scratch that. Let me explain it this way: If I was an alien observing our world, what would be the most incredible feature I would observe? Answer: Words, meaning, literature. I’m absolutely enthralled with the learning, teaching, speaking, and communicating that is done through language and it’s written form. Bored yet? Well. I do. Like words. A lot. *Music runs a close second… but again, it’s all based on words, symbols… Cool.

Stupendous. *nice
Do you spell Lindsey with an E or A? *huge deal
Two, to, and too… *when a 28 month old kid can use it in a sentence perfectly.
Jericho. *when you are corrected from saying it- because a person doesn’t like the word.
Parched. *for the same reason above.
Love. *it’s a noun AND a verb.
Finagle. *looks so wrong but is so right... and cool, too.
{You get the idea}

So here is where a nut like me can be pushed over the edge. They have a kid. And that kid seems to dig words, too. James is that kid. From an early, early age he’s had a fascination with words, letters, numbers, and books. From pregnancy on, I would read aloud to him. Everyday, several times a day, with out fail. Not because I’m a super aware mom- but because it’s a similar interest of mine. AND I’m Reading Language Arts Early Education – 8th grade teacher. *Back to the point of the story, I can remember at 8 months old, James’ Mother’s Day Out teacher pulled me aside one day and said- ‘You know, James has a really long attention span when it comes to books and reading.’ I knew that but didn’t pay much mind to it. He’s had the same attention span since early on. He will sit and ‘read’ a book for 45-50 minutes at a time. By 18 months James could recognize and identify his name in print. James mastered his ABC’s about 19 months *and I'm not talking just singing the song- and by 21 months he would ‘read’ words by calling out the letters by name in a sequence. By 24 months he could spell his first and last name for memory. He just has a knack for words. I could go on and on about his age and stage of mastering certain skills--- but it will belabor the point of this post.

*Don't begrudge me for bragging about my kid. I've earned the right: labor, delivery, nightly feedings every two hours, playing in his poop--- so just go with it.

James did something yesterday that was beyond what I could imagine. I was shocked, thrilled, and astounded at what I found. Okay let me set this up. James saw these forms on our breakfast table. They were real estate feedback half sheets of paper. There were questions followed by lines providing space for you to write your response. Well, James saw the papers and the pen and asked if he could ‘work.’ I was getting supper on, so I said- knock your socks off. He was sitting in a chair without a booster seat- so he was still a bit low on the table- but he loves being a ‘big boy.’ About 7 minutes in to his ‘working.’ He told me to come over and ‘read his work.’ Supper was at a pause, so I walked over to see what he was up to, expecting the typically scribbles and lines that I have always seen him do. I looked down and that’s when I started freaking out. “James! Did you do that!? Holy cow. Marcussss! Get in here! You’ve got to see this.” James was totally stoked by my over.reaction. Now, below is a picture of what I found. *James Neal is 28 months, 3 weeks and 1 day old when he did this. So not even two and a half.

Notice how there are letter like characters between the lines. Notice the spaces between the letters and even spaces between the ‘words.’ Notice how the characters are even letter.looking. Notice how each character looks like a single letter… not a run on of several. *click the pic if you can't see it well enough.*

James isn’t even old enough to have the fine motor skills to hold and control the pen well enough to produce this sort of thing. I’m NOT saying that he is a genius. Not by any means--- but it does prove how smart a kid can be when you expose them to things and show through daily life and interaction the importance of reading, writing, and communicating. James has only picked up on the things Marcus and I hold important in the scheme of our day, down time, and recreation.

Back to perspective. Life is about spin. Options. Choices. All with me at the wheel in control choosing how to see, feel, and react to things. There are as many bad aspects to my day as can be good… in fact, one can’t exist without the other. BUT it’s in the perspective that makes me an empowered and proactive person. I love it when God gives me a little jolt in my day. Like walking over and seeing James as a smart and gifted and dynamic little creature. It didn’t cost me a penny. It didn’t take some huge effort or sacrificed time. It was small, free, and absolutely priceless. Being aware of the daily blessings that flood my life makes me aware of bigger things. I want to be here seeing the bad and embracing the good. Today. Conscious. Living. Learning. Real. Soaked through with perspective.

Peace, xo.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

*Spoiled* ... even though I hate to admit it...

*UPDATE* Sorry- for not spell checking this one first. So you see, spelling isn't my forte.

Seriously. That's one word I really hate to hear, much less say. Maybe because it has an over.all negative co notation... but it is fairly accurate. I am spoiled. By many people, but two people of late. Marcus and Erica. It's true. They treat me like their little doll bebe. They even look at me with googoo eyes. But with them doing the adoring- I love every minute AND I don't take it for granted.

Here they are:

So today was the start of my two.nighter girls night. Yes, two nighter. A couple of my sweet girls couldn't make it out of the house tonight- but can tomorrow night. Since my stud muffin is playing softball until late tomorrow night, it makes sense to celebrate again! *Back to what I was saying... about me being nearly rotten. A parcel was dropped off this afternoon. I was too busy setting the table and getting the yummies displayed to really pay it much mind. An hour or so later, it hit me. What was that package? It did have my name on it. "Maaarrrrcuuuuuuus!?" I asked him about said package. He grinned and did a terrible job playing it off. So, ugh. Is it my birthday present? He acted tough- but as we all know, keeping secrets is one thing Marcus does NOT do well. He gets too excited to wait for things. So as me and my dearest E played and beaded, he brought out the gift. "Go ahead, open it." Is the suspense killing you yet?

It was *!THIS!* bad boy.

That's right... my dream flash!

I'm so excited. I wish I could be content photographing in natural light only- but the truth is it's hard when you have young children... They move fast. AND so many special moments happen indoors- where the lighting is too low for clean shots. With adults you can at least say- hold still. So, I've been jonesin for this bad for a while. It's a powerful little guy and I can't wait to experiment more with it.

OH HOW I LOVE PHOTOGRAPHY... I mean, I LOVE IT. I have so much to learn- and have a extremes amount of fun piddling. *sigh* Thank you Marcus... I don't think I've ever mentioned a single thing that I've wanted that you haven't surprised me with a wish come true. He's the most generous man I know.

Then there is my number two indulger, Erica. Every time I see her *which is multiple times a week* she has something to gift me with. Seriously. Every time. "Oh, this made me think of you." "This had your name all over it- so I had to get it." "I ordered something for me the other day- and I got you one too." No joke. It's amazing. Well, she's amazing. Anywho, she's a gifted jewelry maker and really creates some splendid things... and I believe I have more of her pieces than even she does. Tonight was time for me to host her over at the house- and what did she do? Bring me a bag of goodies to whip me up a bracelet and pair of earrings. Why? Because she said that the stones were "Lindsey blue." *sigh* She's so much better to me than I deserve. Here is the finished product. They are even prettier in person. I love them... LOVE THEM.

So I suppose this is *birthweek* for me. I'm so grateful to have such special people in my life. It seems this is where God and His blessings are most evident in my life. It's hard to imagine the enormity of His gift of salvation--- and that certainly is more than enough in itself. BUT when I take a step back and look over the past *nearly 27 years* of my life, I'm astounded by the people He has put in my path. These people aren't just good or neat or kind--- they are exceptional in many incredible ways. My parents, sisters and beautiful brother, Marcus, James, my Pinks, my SHSU darlings, my inspirational professors and mentors... It's crazy. I'm honored by the company I keep.

So, we will wait for Girls Night: The Duece. But, tonight ended like this ->

And lets face it... good friends, wines, cheeses, and needle nose pliers all add up to a beautiful evening.

*How will I ever repay Erica for her beautifully generous friendship? By treating her when she comes to LA for visits. New Orleans, plantations, photoshoots, charbroiled oysters, nice sheets, tiger football, good food... I have so many plans!

Happy Wednesday friends!
Peace, xo.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Hello, Monday!

Another nice weekend is under our belt. The time keeps ticking away for us here in the Livable Forest. The count is now: Two weeks until I start summer school and finally get all of my work done to graduate in August. Four weeks until Marcus starts his new job with ExxonMobil in Baton Rouge. Fifty-seven days until we close on our beautiful new house.

We had a frustrating house showing yesterday. We got a call at 2pm requesting a showing from 3-4. Sure, no prob. bob. We tidied the house up, lit the candles, woke the bebe up from his nap- and were out of the house by a quarter to 3pm. Then on our way back home, I got a voice mail canceling the showing from 3-4 and a request to reschedule from 4-5pm. It was 4:45pm when I got the message. Grrr. So our forced time out of the house went from one hour to nearly three... BUT whatever.

When we got home, our best friends came over to play in the backyard with us. We have the best time hanging out and loving on each other. That's really what we do. We just love every minute of being together. Our boys are so so so sweet together... and such a pleasure to play with. Plus, Erica and I could be sisters... and I tell Chris (the hubby) that he is my second favorite husband of all time. He's a great guy all by himself--- plus he's an inspirational dad. *Which makes spending time together such a gift. When you become parents... nothing is more encouraging and restorative than being with other incredible parents who do their very best in raising their children and are connected with their family. One of our most precious blessings living here in Texas has been meeting the Dugans. And on top of that, I have three other families who provide the same sort of example and encouragement for us. I'll miss my gals as much as I miss their children. I hope I can find similarly like.minded parents when we get back to Baton Rouge/Zachary.... I'm on the hunt! So if you are out there--- let me know!

Here are a few specials shots I caught yesterday.

Oh, and my Erica made me this gorgeous necklace... she makes gorgeous jewlery! You can find her lovelies here. Thank you, E. I love my collection of Ericawear.

*oh, before I forget... thanks to my friends, we've discovered the very best bubble blower on the face of the planet- and the best bubble solution every made. So, if you want the scoop, just ask! Your summer can be filled with bubbly fun, too!

Tomorrow night- GIRLS NIGHT AT MY CASA!!! The flower are bought and arranged... the yummies made... now we just need to add my beautiful girlfriends and some refreshing cocktails! *excited*

Happy Monday... and have a lovely evening!
Peace, xo.