Saturday, January 30, 2010

Pictures, of course. Lots.

So we did make it to the lake Thursday.
Just in time to meet the loveliest girl with Bella the lab.
She was kind and let James talk her sweet little ears off.
Marcus drove from work to meet us.
I love the way he smiles when he sees us... shirt untucked. Always.
He scoops his boys up, kisses them and calls them each, 'BooBoo.'
I took a few pictures of them in the course of about 13 minutes.
From start to finish.
No pressure, just fun.
Then Marcus grabbed the camera to take a few of me with my best.boys.
I love how he does that.
He takes his time.
I love his pictures...
Pictures of me with the boys... bonus. :)

Thursday, January 28, 2010

LIVING IT: Uganda and Teeth and Ducks...

Hi friends!

So I just wanted to throw a little midday post up. PLUS, I caved and brewed my 3 o'clock cup a little early. *Goodness* How excited my little heart gets when it's coffee time. Hot, with just a touch of creamer. No sugar. That would ruin it! Nice and strong... juuuust right for this momma! :)

I wanted to update yall on my friend Meghan and Moses' story. I've got lots of emails expressing support. You can find her blog here... *I would have linked it in the first post- but I wanted Meg to read my words first. She has a few current post that are private bc it speaks of specific information about the adoption that can't be 'public' right now but there is plenty there to read and to GET inspired by. And INSPIRED you will be! Because nothing makes you think like Love can... Nothing makes you reflect like a New Perspective can. Stop by and let Meghan and her boy fill you up with lovely feelings. I'm so glad I can use her adoption experience to guide us on our own! We can't wait to start this process!

She is safe and sound in Uganda. She had a beautiful reunion with her boy and he was so happy to see her again. She spoke of how he waited the whole day for her to come for him--- she got in a little later than expected and had to wait until morning to see him. Can't you just picture that? **

Hello Uganda! My 'visitor' map has you highlighted in GREEN showing that from somewhere within those borders you are linking in to see us here where we Play With Pencils. *waving.smiling.waving* My mind's eye has you in a beautiful place surrounded by beautiful people! I wish I could snap my fingers and be there in the midst of it all! I WISH I could see those bebies... *sigh*

But right now I'm steaming brussel sprouts on the stove and Jax has just commando.crawled to the wire door stop thingy on the floor and is flicking it back and forth with his fat little hands. Definitely not exotic. :) But I'm just livin' it! And happy to do it.

Speaking of fat.bebe.Jax. We have TEETH. Yes... the plural version of tooth! The bottom one got a neighbor just this morning. His little tongue won't leave them alone. He keeps sticking his tongue in and out to feel his big accomplishment. So.Super.Cute. See?

So yeah, progress- on ALL fronts. :)

Rumor has it a cold front is rollin' in. That means a few things- the first being, we better go feed the ducks! Yep. James has been asking for days now... and before the weather drives us back inside to hibernate, we better get out while we can. So off to LSU with us! *Maybe I can get some shots of my boys at sunset. Oh! Be still my heart... It's neat to think that the same sun that shined on Meg and her boy this morning hugging and kissing will be the same sun that sets over the LSU lakes tonight as James stuffs the local ducks with our old pantry.fare... me and theDuckling snuggled up on the blanket... and theHotness making sure the big.bossy.geese don't ruin the fun. :) Can't you just see it?

So that's it for this little update.

Thanks for this community. Thanks for your readership, your comments, your time, and warm participation. My readers and friends serve as SUCH inspiration to this little.momma! :)

Off to puree brussel sprouts and pack duck.dinners!
Goodnight to you, Uganda! You've got my fervent prayers...

Peace, love, and pearly.whites.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

What LOVE can do...

Right now, I sit here at the computer. TheHotness is deep into telling James a night.night story. They are at the part where Marcus sets up the story and James takes over. Things get very colorful from here on out to the end. "Carried the WHOOOOLE pot. Uh huh. Den.... Well. One day..." *just a little real.time excerpt! :)

I'm rewashing a load of towels that got lost in translation between yesterday's events and todays rat.killin... it happens sometimes. I appreciate what a splash of bleach can do with musty wet towels. A quick fix for my forgetfulness.

Jax is about 30 minutes in to his night.night. He went down easy tonight. I love it when that happens.

I finished up a big family shoot and have delivered my work to them. SUCH a good feeling. I hope I get great feedback. I'm so passionate with what I see when I'm behind the lens. I hope it shows. Since I won't be working late into the night on edits tonight, I really hope to grab a glass of wine and hit the couch with theHotness. I want to watch a House hunters episode... International House Hunters... maybe a Parisian one.

So that's what is going on here in our.Little.Nest. Everything just fine. Safe and sound.

But right now- right this very moment- my friend Meghan is flying to Uganda.

I bet she is trying to sleep on the plane. But I have a good feeling that her nerves may just have the best of her. I bet she's up. :)

As I tend my boys and fan the daily fires here at home, she has gathered up a few things, kissed her husband and daughter goodbye. We aren't sure when she will be coming back. We know she will return... and hopefully soon... but we aren't sure if it will be a week... or weeks. BUT when she does return, she will be bringing the very best surprise home. You see, this girl... my friend... someone my age... who lives here locally decided to Love. A simple decision that has led to a very complex journey. Their family decided to change the life of a little boy. A four year old little boy names Moses. A beautiful thing with big eyes and an smile.

After a long long journey, Meghan is working her way to Moses. Flights. Overhead compartments. Airports. Baggage claim. Buses. Streets. And a myriad of kind people who are each playing their small role to unite a Mother with her Son.

A vibrantSpirit being forever united with another vibrantSoul. Connected through space and time. A decision that will change the world.

Love can do that.

LOVE can do THAT.

I hope people smile when they see her face. Because deep in her heart I'm sure she is nervous... maybe even a little scared. But they will see Hope in her eyes. She may be small... unassuming. But she's harboring a Mighty Force inside of her. Strength. Courage. Resolve.

I hope she falls in love with Uganda. The sights. The sounds. The joy. To be honest, I hope she never fully recovers from this experience. Even though she will be returning home with Moses, I hope she leaves a bit of herself there.

A mother boarded that plane and a mother will be returning home. This time, with her an orphan no more.

"To the world you may be one person, but to one person you may be the world."

So right now, even though things are calm here on my home.front... somewhere else in this world Great Things are happening. Unlikely things are happening. Love is happening.

Godspeed, Meghan. Many prayers are lifting you high. Soak it all in. Every moment. I know you will miss home- but try to rest in the comfort of what it will feel like to bring your bebe home... how fulfilling it will be to help him brush his teeth at night... to help make the fruit salad for lunch. How incredible it will be when you and bebeGirl and Moses are breaking all the rules and are jumping on the beds during the middle of the day- just because it's fun and nothing feels better than bebies laughing. You will be home soon. But for now, have fun falling in Love. God is good, friend. You aren't alone.

Peace, LOVE, and love.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Who Dat!?

Seaux our New Orleans Saints are officially Super Bowl Bound!!!

*must start planning party menu now*

We had our Favorites over for a football watching party. Love kicking it back with good food and fun folks. Makes the and cleanup totally worth it. Love those peoples! The game was riveting... even though I didn't really 'tune in' until the middle of the 3rd quarter.

I'm so happy for NOLA and the whole Who Dat nation. Now, it's time for that second piece of KingCake.

peace, love, and drew.brees.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Equal Time

As of tomorrow, January 23rd, I will have eclipsed the 9 month mark. Not of pregnancy, but 9 months of raising my youngest and newest Nine full months.

It's a neat milestone to reach. One being because it took me right about nine months go grow an entire human being... one with all working parts... one with big moon eyes... an exceptional creature.

I can remember the beginning of his conception... we had barely moved in to our new home here in LA. I was still living off the adrenaline of the move and the new possibilities. The homesickness for Texas hadn't sunk in yet. We new we wanted to try to get pregnant right away. Or 'as soon as I find our towels' I would say. I wanted this bebe so badly. I had finished my degree. No one was telling me what I should or shouldn't accomplish. I was my own boss. And I knew that I wanted another child. It was time.

Between the boxes and hurricanes, I became pregnant. Of course I took the earliest test possible. Who waits anymore? I was going to wait until the next day to test... the morning. Because that's what you are suppose to do- wait until morning. But my best friend bullied me into testing right there... on the phone with her. She fussed and fussed until Marcus went out into the storm to grab a box of tests. And then it happened. A little pink line appeared as expected... and then another- the tale tale sign that I was, in fact, pregnant. Right there in our new bathroom... me, theHotness, and Moon via phone were all gathered around when the line appeared. Our excitement wasn't enough proof for Moon- so I had to send over a picture on the spot- so she could see it for herself. We cried.

It was a good day. My body was gifted with the greatest task it's ever known... again. I vowed then and there to enjoy this pregnancy. James was proof that my body could care and grow a healthy child... the miscarriage was far behind me. I could do this. No worries.

I did. Day in and out for nine.ish months. Another whopper.child... enough to scare my high.risk docs in to thinking he could eclipse the 10lb mark. So two weeks early, I was induced... a wonderful delivery... a few twist and turns. One very different than mine with James Neal. My joy quickly turned to fear when we thought he had broken his collarbone... and he was having trouble breathing. But God is good, and my bebe.boy transitioned just as he should over the next few hours. No broken bones... no breathing problems. Such intense gratefulness.

He has changed us, this one. He is our absolute Easy. Funny. Calm. James believes that he is the greatest thing around... and we agree. We feel lucky everyday to wake up and find him tucked in our nest.

Jax threatens every garden around... he is on the verge of eating us out of house and home. Since I make his from fresh produce- I've been known to wipe out a whole display of broccoli. He eats sweet potatoes, squash, carrots, broccoli, peas... and his newest favorite is cauliflower. He think peas are dreadful and won't budge on the subject. He can pick soft steamed goodies up with his little fat fingers and shovels it into his juicy, drooly mouth. He signs for Milk and More... and is learning new ones. No teeth yet, although he's got three on the very verge. He can say, Momma and Dadda... and is crawling around all over the place. He ends up pretty much wherever he wants to go. James is the best part of his day.

For the past two mornings, while Marcus is getting ready for work- he's crawled from the living room to my side of the bed to wake me up. Of course, that was after turning over the laundry basket and chewing on the handle for a spell.

I'm a mom. Two times over. It's the hardest thing ever- but less scary with each day done. I'm figuring out every day how to bring out the best in them and not lose myself in the process. It's a challenge. But the payoff is greater than anything I've experienced so far. One of my biggest fears when I became pregnant with James was the idea of 'losing myself.' My figure. My style. My sense of fun. My hobbies. My sensuality. I was so concerned that I'd lose it all... and be replaced with something Lack.Luster. Just like that- gone. And the crazy thing is- I didn't lose a thing... other than my misguided sense of purpose. I became something more valuable. I feel prettier. More capable. I love deeper. I don't waste my time. I have boundaries. I respect those boundaries! I find joy in the details. I celebrate the small things. For the first time in my life, when I see myself in the mirror, I value what I see...

For the first time in my life, the grass really isn't greener. And thank God for it... because the laundry never really is done. And you are always needed by someone in some way. And there is always the threat of catastrophe around every corner- markers. milk. ingested plastic crochet.stitch.markers. So why does my cup feel so friggin full? Because I'm free. I know my job. My role. I don't measure myself against anyone else. I do the simplest things and get the most intense and complex reward. No time is wasted. I invest the best of myself into the people that mean to most to me. No dead.ends. No frivolous effort. No created drama. Each day matters and I feel a part of something truly Great.

Tell me, what other experience could teach you so much in Nine Months? Or in Four years Nine Months? Incredible this journey...

Besides, there isnt' anything better to wake up to than this face? This life?

Peace, love, and morning.time.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

In other words...

I picked up a little 'women's wit' daily calendar mini... the cutest little that prints quotes and the date on credit.card size paper. Some of the quotes are silly... some are predictable... some make me blush--- but every now and then, some make me think.

I think I may share them from time to time... just for funs. :)


"We can tell our values by looking at our checkbook stubs." -Gloria Steinem

Means one thing to me personally...
Magnifies it a thousand times to me as a mother.

Love that.

Happy Wednesday!

Peace, love, and burlap.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Up to the Mountaintop

What a beautiful day to celebrate the life and legacy of the great Dr. Martin Luther King Jr! The sun was shining and a friend invited us to a park playdate. While there, watching the kids play and run, we talked about our upcoming dream of adopting a little girl.bebe... one we believe is in Ethiopia. It was a beautiful day to talk about about how close we are to fulfilling this dream for me and my sweet little family of boys.

Then I started thinking about the significance of the day. Perhaps this dream of ours wouldn't be as possible for me- or as dear to my heart if it hadn't been for this man and his progressive vision of LOVE.

This song written and sung by Patty Griffin, is her tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King... inspired by his Mountaintop Speech. What her perform it live... beautiful indeed!

Here is Dr. King's actual speech below.

I'm so thankful to live in a world shaped by visionaries of his caliber. But most of all, I'm thankful that Dr. King prepared a world in which my sons will understand that "the ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy." and that "Hatred paralyzes life; love releases it. Hatred confuses life; love harmonizes it. Hatred darkens life; love illuminates it." -Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

And, of course, I can't help but daydream about how Dr. King and his message of Love and Hope will impact this sweet daughter of ours... who will be home one day.

Happy Monday, friends.

Peace, love, and vision.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Haiti quake puts parents' adoption dreams in limbo

Oh friends... my heart is so heavy. So so heavy.

In checking my email this afternoon this was the first story on Yahoo that popped up. It's about the orphans in Haiti and their US parents who are trying to get to them... you can imagine how immediately scary it seems for these parents who have no idea IF their children are safe and have food and water. To make matters worse many of these children were scheduled to fly home the week the earthquake hit or sometime soon there after.

...after years of being motherless, fatherless... finally reunited in LOVE...

The adoption process takes so much time... years even- now these parents and their children may have unbelievable Hoops To Jump before they can be safely united.

The sheer idea of it all breaks my heart and has me hitting my knees in prayer for these children... and for the mothers here state.side that can not get to there Beloveds. For those of you who have read my blog for a while, know that NOT being able to get to my children is my NUMBER 1 fear in this life... separation from my Beloved.

Often times I pray for Peace... peace about this or that... but I've never prayed for the kind of Peace necessary to fill that sort of need. Just the sheer vastness of it overwhelms me. Makes me wonder if a single prayer from THIS little mother's heart would urge The Maker of the Universe to deliver such an enormous thing... I'm so small.

BUT it doesn't matter how small I feel. This isn't about me. This is about these children and their parents who face unbelievable challenges before they will be delivered safely into their homes. So, with Hope in my heart, I offer up streams of prayers for these situations... these hundreds of individual situations.

May my voice be heard... may Peace in abundance flow to these children and their families. May safety, provision, and wisdom hasten this seemingly broken process. May this 'obstacle' strengthen the resolve of the American people and families who have a heart for orphans.

*I fear for the 'new' orphans who have been created through this earthquake... for the children who have lost their mother or father... Will they be safe tonight? Who is feeding them? Are they scared? Who is there to hold them and protect them?

I don't pretend that I know what God has planned... but I do know without a shadow of a doubt that His Grace is sufficient. I have no doubt that His Hands are holding these children still in the midst of it all of this chaos...

***READ THIS ARTICLE*** then join me in lifting up this situation in prayer.

Now, if I can just figure out how to DO something about it...


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

On a whim...

I decided to paint my bedroom.


Well, let me back up. From the day we moved into this lovely little nest (18 or so months ago), I decided to paint my bedroom. But on my own list of priorities, everyone else's bedroom came before mine. I'm not complaining. Just clarifying. Heading into 2010 I knew that I wanted to A.)Paint and 'do' the Playroom... something similar to a classroom with lots of stations for creative play. I've picked out the proper bookcases,organizational furniture, etc. and budgeted it all in. and B.) Paint our kitchen, dining, living, Great.Room(s) a warm grey color to bring out the best in my pretty antique cypress cabinetry throughout those spaces...


What about the plan of painting our bedroom? I mean after a year of living, unpacking, decorating, redecorating, baby.birthing- everyone had my effort to get things just right. So what could slapping up a couple of gallons in my bedroom hurt?

Absolutely nothing.

So my color is Benjamin Moore's Wedgewood Grey. It's this beautiful blue.ish grey. The original room color was lovely. Like this cafe au lait color... very pretty. And in other parts of my house, I LOVE it. But with my furniture, in my bedroom- it was a bit too darkish.... and did nothing for my honey stained furniture.

So I've detoured my house.plans just a bit... and am excited about this little selfish splurge. My boys get 99% of my time and resources- and coming off of this big Christmas, I can prolly justify a little effort coming my way.

I want a serene retreat for me and theHotness to have... a refuge that restores us after our day. Clean. Uncluttered. Simple. Refreshing.

The basic colors in the room will be layers of creams, whites, honey, etc... with the blue.grey walls. I plan on rotating my accent colors in oranges... or deep yellows... coral reds... whatever suits my mood/season. That way I can enjoy changing up a few touches here and there without needing to completely overhaul the 'look' again.

Here are a few pics of the paint color along with the bedding I've set my sights on.

I can't decide if I'd rather the cream bedding or the white... I believe I may drive to Houston and decide for myself in person. *That's a little luxury I have with all of my trips back and forth to Houston! I'm so excited about the 'plain' bedding. I'm a bedding freak... I have several sets. BUT they've always had some design or other. Very ornate, generally. I'm wanting something much more simple this time around.

Here are a few other pieces that inspire me to complete the look...

These to go on either side of the headboard...

I can't decide between either framing in this gorgeous wallpaper behind my headboard and in the master bath... or hanging a beautiful fabric panel similar to the one above. *Different style/colors. totally.

Here's the general feeling for a few accent pieces that would tie things together...

New towels for the bathroom...

It's fun to have fast little projects! Plus it suits my mood these days. This new.decade thing has me on inspiration.overload... :)

I'll keep you posted on the progresssss. Maybe even a few pics, too.

Yes, I totally have pretty little blue specs on my hands right now as I type this.

peace, love, and citrus.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

...Christmas Outtakes...

My favorite moments:
Staying up late into the night baking goodies... and theHotness staying up with me. He would just sit back and watch me do my thing. Filling in the conversation with this or that... talking about our past. Like when we would scimp on groceries to save up for our big Christmas feast... or when we'd put off buying each other Christmas gifts til after Christmas. And then suddenly realizing that if those were the 'hard' times, then we haven't a thing to complain about. And that immediate warm feeling of gratitude.... God is good. (all.the.time) I love my husband. We've come so far. I'm glad to be doing it along side of that man. I made a really good choice. :)

James buying his own presents for everyone. He was a great shopper and did better budgeting his things than we did! :) He bought me a new 'rove.' (which means robe) bc he loathes my old one. His tiny little heart would stress so when he'd wake up and see me in it. He was so proud to gift me with a new red one. He told me it was from target about 12 times. It's perfect because he's perfect. That's how motherhood works! :) A few things he bought: chocolate chapstick. edible necklace. air.guitar.classics CD. a stuffed orca.whale. a comb and brush set. :)

Watching Jackson blossom with all the Christmas attention... for being so small, his joy is undeniable. I've never seen anything like it. He knew it was a special day... or days. He knows that he is a part of this family. And he feels at home here amoung us. It's amazing how he has changed us so. All of us.

Me sitting on the couch all day Christmas Day... in my new red.rove... with theHotness napping next to us... listening to church services on the tv... kids jumbled on the big carpet under my feet playing with all their Loot. A crochet needle in hand, a book to my left, a ball of yarn to my right... teaching myself how to crochet a hippo.

Here are a few jumbled pics taken over the span of Christmas.time...

Another year down, full to the brim. Another season steeped in goodness and faith. One year done and one year beginning. New and shiny. The promise of More on the horizon.

Thanks to you for watching it all unfold and sending the strategic 'attaboy' from time to time.

Peace, love, and buffalo.plaid.