Saturday, July 23, 2011

Can We Stop Right Now...

I love remembering sweet times with the boys. One of my very favorite memories took place on a bike ride through Bear Creek Park.

The boys were probably 4 and 2, and Jeff and I had recently purchased one of those little bike trailers that small children can sit in and be pulled behind a bicycle. It was a nice Spring day, so I decided to load up my bike and the trailer in the back of the minivan and head to the park with the boys (Jeff was working).

At the park, I hooked up the trailer on the bike, strapped the boys in, and began our "nature bike ride". We saw all kinds of bugs, birds, animals, and trees on the ride. We talked as we rode about all the beautiful things that God had put in our world.

Halfway through the ride, Will's little heart was so full of joy at all of God's beauty, that he said, "We need to thank God for all of these beautiful things." I told him, that yes, we would be sure to remember that when we said our prayers that night. But, that wasn't enough for Will. That sweet little 4 year old boy asked me, "Mommy, can we stop right now and thank Jesus?" What do you say to that? Of course, I stopped the bike, got off, and knelt down right there on the bike path in Bear Creek Park (with runners and bikers passing us) and thanked Jesus with my two precious babies for all of His beauty.

Such a sweet memory and a great reminder to stop and thank our savior for the beauty that He has given us in our lives. :-)

Thursday, July 21, 2011

My Favorite Tv Shows...

I LOVE TV. I hope that's not bad. I guess I should love working out or eating veggies, or something more conducive to a healthy lifestyle, but I love TV! During the school year, I don't watch a lot of TV. But, in the summer, I LOVE it! One of my favorite things about summer is sitting up late at night watching stuff on TV.

Here are some of my favorites:

* Cosby Show
* Full House
* Roseann

I love these 3 because I love shows about families. During the time that my parents were separated and divorced, I watched The Cosby Show a lot. For some reason, it was comforting to me. I craved that show at the time. I loved the family dynamics and the safety and security that existed in that make believe family. Cliff and Claire have such a sweet marriage, and always knew the perfect way to handle their children! I love this show!

Full House is such a sweet family show full of great life's lessons. My boys (especially Will) like this show a lot, and we have every season on DVD. We have watched many of these together.

Roseann is hilarious, and I love the honesty of that show. It's not sugar-coated or idealized. Some of the episodes are even downright sad. I just wish it came on TV more often. I may have to see about getting it on DVD.

* Lost

Oh my goodness! I can't say enough about Lost! I LOVE this show! I have all 6 seasons on DVD. It is an incredible show. If you have never seen it, I highly recommend it! I watched the entire series for the first time last summer, and I can't say I have ever seen anything like it. Each episode is like watching a mini-movie. It doesn't have a "TV" feel to it. It is so complex and ingenious, and the character deveopment is amazing-especially with the large number of characters the show has. It is not a show where you can predict what will happen. You have to be willing to part with reality a little when watching this show. It doesn't play by the rules of real life, but that's part of what makes it so magical.

*Sex and the City

Ok, I am coming out of the closet and admitting publically that I like this show. BUT, I feel that I must clarify that I love this show because of the friend dynamic between the four women on the show. Their friendships are sweet, touching, and honest. They would do anything for each other, are always there for one another, and are honest with each other. They are the type of friends that you could ask, "Do these pants make me look fat?" and they would tell you honestly, "Yes!" They can trust each other, and are like family to one another. I love this!! I could honestly care less about the "sex" part of the show. I will admit, however, that I am a sucker for the ongoing "Carrie and Big" love story. I also love Miranda and Steve together. Samantha's antics got old in about the first 5 minutes of the first show I watched, but she's a great friend to the other ladies, so we'll keep her around. :-) So, judge me if you must, but I love this show and the friendships portrayed. :-)

Other shows I really like or have enjoyed over the years:

* 19 Kids and Counting
* Toddlers and Tiaras (who doesn't love a train wreck!)
* Cheers
* Friends
* Little House on the Prairie
* Grey's Anatomy (I don't really watch it anymore, because it has kinda gone over the top, but the first couple seasons were great)
* Glee (ditto for what I said about Grey's)

 I'm sure there are others that I have left off, but that's all I can think of for now. What about you? What are your favs?

What I'm Reading Wednesday ...(a day late!)

Sorry, I'm late again! We went to Six Flags yesterday, so I didn't get a chance to add to my blog. As I said last week, I have been reading the Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins:

I finished the last book on Monday. AMAZING series! I loved these books. Not because they were uplifting, because they are pretty dark, but because I couldn't put them down! I would be so tired at night reading, and would be thinking in my head, "Ok, after this chapter, I will go to sleep." Then, I get to the end of the chapter and would think, "Ok, just one more!" I LOVE when books are like that! Suzanne Collins is an amazing writer, and has the knack of knowing just how to end a chapter (or a book for that matter) in a way that makes it almost impossible to wait to keep reading.

I felt similar to how I did when I finished reading the Twilight series when I finished these books. I was sad that it was over and that there were no more books to read in the series. However, I was a little relieved to "have my life back" because now that I have read all the books, I can do other things: like watch TV, do activities, talk to others, etc! Ha! I was literally a slave to these books while I was reading them! Great books!

A Hunger Games movie is coming out in March of 2012. It should be good. However, like I said, the books are pretty dark, and I'm not so sure I want to see a Hollywood version of some of the things that happen in the book. I know I will watch it, though. Just like the Twilight movies, it is kind of fun to "meet" the characters and see if they match up with the way you have imagined them in your mind as you read the books. But, I'm sure, as always, the books will be far superior to the movies.

So, I'm out of things to read for the moment. I am taking a little breather and getting to know my family again (ha!). Any suggestions are welcome! Read anything good lately?

Monday, July 18, 2011

Cars...a Blast from the Past

Last night Colin wanted me to sit with him in the recliner chair in the living room to watch him play "Cars" on the Wii. As I sat there with him and watched, I thought about the time long ago when we saw the first Cars movie in the theater.

It's very important to my parents for our family to do things together. As a result, they occasionally plan a huge family vacation where we all get together and do something really fun. When I say "all", I mean my sister, brother, and me and our families (spouses, children) and my parents. We have had many fun vacations together, going to places like: Hyatt Hill Country Resort in San Antonio, Islamorada, Florida; Point Clear, Alabama; and most recently, a cruise to 3 Caribbean islands.

During the trip to Islamorada, my boys were 2 and 4. Cars had just premiered in theaters, so my parents took us all to see it. Our entire family sat in the theater, and we watched this movie that ended up being one of my boys' favorites of all time.

Last night, sitting with Colin as he played his Cars Wii game, I remembered how we used to ask him, "What did Lightning McQueen do to try to win the race?" He would smile and stick his little tongue out and laugh. It was so cute. I asked him this same question last night to see if he would still do it, but instead, he just answered me in words, "He stuck his tongue out." "Show me," I said. He wouldn't. :-)

I also remember that for some reason, Colin was really afraid of the tractors when Mater would "tip" them. Colin didn't like the noise the tractors would make when they would tip over. I remember having to console him during those parts of the movie. As I watched a tractor tip over on his game last night, I thought of that with a bittersweet smile.

Another extremely memorable thing about that trip to Islamorada is that it was that vacation that my dad "re-proposed" to my mom. For a short period from about 2002-2005, my parents were separated and then divorced. But, sometime in late 2005, they started "hanging out" again, and that summer of 2006, my mother joined us on the big family vacation in Islamorada. On the last evening of the vacation, my dad gathered us all in the room he and my mom were sharing, and then gave my mom a card. In the card, he asked my mother to re-marry him. She said "yes", and you can imagine the tears that were flowing in that room from everyone! I will never forget that vacation! :-)

That was a good summer for me. My parents were reuniting, the incredibly challenging school year I had just endured was finally over, and I was looking forward to staying home with my babies the following school year. It was truly a time of redemption after a period of hard times. For that, I will always be thankful!

Friday, July 15, 2011

"What I'm Reading" Wednesday (A little late!)

Ok, so I am a little late for my Wednesday edition of "What I'm Reading". Know why? Because I have been so busy READING! Oh my goodness! I love to read, and I have been reading some good stuff lately!

First of all, I have to admit that I have abandoned Fergi. I just can't read anymore of her book. It was boring to me, and I just felt so bad for her for her life. What a mess she has to straighten out. I hope she finds herself and can be happy once and for all. Someone tell me when she does. I'll take your word for it. :-)

Ok, on to what I have not been able to put down. I have read 2 books in the last 4 days. First, I finally decided that it was time to start reading the Hunger Games trilogy. I am probably the last librarian in Keller ISD to read them, but I have this thing during the school year-I feel like if I am spending time reading books, they need to be the books that my students are reading or books that might be appropriate for my students. So...I have put off reading The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. These books are definitely NOT for elementary school age children.
I really don't know how to tell you what this book is about without you thinking, "Oh my goodness! You're sick! How can you read that?" But, I'm here to tell ya, even though the plot of this book is a little sick and twisted, I could NOT put it down! Here's what it is basically about:

Katniss is a 16 year old girl who lives in "District 12". This is a place that is left over after the great rebellion of the United States sometime off in the future. Every year, a boy and a girl from each "district" are chosen to participate in the Hunger Games. The Hunger Games are like Survivor gone bad. The "games" are televised, and all 24 "tributes" (boys and girls chosen from each district) must fight to the death. Only one person may remain alive, and that person will be the winner of the games. The book begins about the time that Katniss finds herself as one of the 2 tributes that will represent District 12 in the upcoming Hunger Games.

I don't want to give anything away if you haven't read the book, but I can almost guarantee it will suck you in and you won't be able to stop reading until you are finished. Then, you will want to read the second book: Catching Fire.

This is what I am going to start reading as soon as I finish this blog! :-)

Ok, the second book I have read in the last couple of days is: 

This is a memoir written by Jaycee Dugard-the girl that was abducted in 1991 and then finally rescued in 2008. She was kidnapped by a couple- Phillip and Nancy Garrido- on her way to school one day in South Lake Tahoe, CA. She was only 11 when they took her. Jaycee lived with the Garrido's for 18 years and endured horrendous abuse and treatment. She even had 2 children with Phillip. This book is a very sad, touching, and brave account of what all Jaycee went through and survived. 

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

My Little Protector

Did you know that the name Will means "Protector"? I didn't until just a couple years ago. Jeff and I decided to name our first boy, "Will" because we liked it, and because "William" is a big family name in both of our families. Here are all the Williams in the Carter and Moore families:

* Jeff's middle name is William
* My dad's first name is William
* Jeff's grandfather's name was William
* My grandfather's (dad's dad) name was William

So, William is a special name in our families. I had no idea when we named our firstborn that he would live up to his name's meaning so perfectly. He has from a very early age been my little protector.

Will is a smart boy, and a deep thinker, and there is no doubt that he and I have a special bond. It is very clear to me that it matters a lot to him what I think about him and whether I am happy with him. He does NOT like me to be upset with him. In fact, he does not like me to be upset-period. He also doesn't like anyone to mess with his "mommy"!

Today Will and Colin had to come with me to a simple dr. appointment for a check up. This was not my ob/gyn, so I didn't mind if the boys came back into the examining room with me. Colin had brought his DS to play, but Will couldn't find his before we left, so he just sat there and watched as the nurse took my blood pressure and other vitals. As I sat there and watched those beautiful brown eyes watch me, all I could think about was the time Will had to come with me to an ob /gyn appointment when he was about 15 months old...

Back then, I always tried to schedule my appointments for a time when Jeff could stay home with Will, but for some reason, it hadn't worked out for that particular appointment. I brought Will's stroller for him to sit in, some toys to occupy him, and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for him to eat since the appointment would overlap his lunchtime. All was going well until I sat down in the little chair for the nurse to check my blood pressure. As soon as she got the cuff on my arm, Will's little face crumpled up, and he began to cry. "Mommy!" he was saying. I just smiled and consoled him and told him I was ok. He finally calmed down when the nurse left me alone and had me go into the examining room. In there, I changed into the little gown that is always provided, and then got Will all happily settled in his stroller- with his peanut butter sandwich all torn into little bites on the tray of the stroller for him to eat. He was happy again. We talked as he ate his lunch while we waited for the doctor to come in .

The doctor and her nurse came in finally and had me lay down on the examining table. The second they started doing my exam, Will began crying again. I started apologizing, "I'm so sorry-he just doesn't like anyone doing anything to me. He thinks you're hurting me." The doctor was really sweet and unstrapped him from his stroller. By now he was really crying. She sat him on my lap (while I was laying on the table for the exam) and there he cried and ate his PB&J while I got my pap smear.

It was so funny, and so very very sweet. That precious little baby did not want anyone to hurt his mommy. He was my little protector. He has done and said several things throughout his 9 years that have further convinced me that "William" is not only a wonderful family name that we love, but also a perfect fit for my "protector" boy!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Change is hard

Why is it that the boys can play happily without needing anything, but the minute I get in the shower I hear, "Knock, knock, knock" on the door? Seriously? Luckily for me, I always lock the door now.

I remember when the boys were babies, I would strap them either in their bouncy chair right outside the shower or in the doorway "jumper" while I was in the shower. That way, they were safe, and I could see them (and they knew I was there). As they got older, I would close the door when in the shower, but didn't lock it if Jeff was not at home. That way, if they needed me, they could get to me. Now that they are 7 and 9, though, I close AND lock the door when I'm in the shower. I figure whatever they could possibly need can wait until I'm out.

Those kinds of changes are not a big deal for me in and of themselves, but I have been struggling lately with what changes like those represent: my boys are growing up! I tease them all the time that they need to stop it and I am going to sit on them to keep them from growing so fast. They just giggle, and I do, too, but inside I am screaming, "Stop! Stay just the way you are right now and don't ever change!"

Ever since my 40th birthday in November, I have been keenly aware of how life changes. I've joked that I'm going through a midlife crisis, but I really think I am maybe. I have thought so much about how things are changing: I'm getting older and so are my kids. I am leaving the childbearing age, and that has been INCREDIBLY hard for me. Not so much physically (yet-though I did mention before some of the fun physical changes I've experienced), but EMOTIONALLY.

It hurts so much to think that I will never carry another baby in my body and feel it kick. I will never hold another newborn that belongs to me and Jeff. I will never rock a baby of mine to sleep or sit before him/her completely mesmerized by each little babble and coo.  I will never have a daughter. Ever.

You might think this is silly, but for some reason for me, it is a big deal. It is a loss. It is hard for me to say goodbye to that stage in my life- I have LOVED it so much. I thank God for the blessing of my two beautiful boys. I am so thankful that even after Jeff and I had some trouble conceiving our first, that I was able to eventually have two very healthy and happy children.

One thing that helps a lot is that I KNOW that it is God's will that we are done having children. Jeff and I have prayed over this at length and received HIS guidance in this matter. I know in my heart that it is God's will for us to be through. My prayer is for God to ease my longing and to help me reach a place of acceptance and contentment.

Speaking of my boys making changes and getting older, Will asked me this past school year if he could start calling me "Mom" instead of "Mommy". "I am the only third grader at school that still calls his mom 'Mommy'," he said to me. Even though it stabbed me a little in the heart, I felt bad for him and didn't want him to be teased so I told him, "Ok." A couple weeks later, I noticed that he had not started calling me "Mom." So I asked him about it. He said, "Maybe I'll start calling you 'Mom' next year in 4th grade." Fine with me! :-)

Will has one more year in elementary school, and then he is off to intermediate school. Colin will be in the 2nd grade this upcoming school year. A friend of mine asked me the other day what I'm going to do when the boys are no longer at the same school that I'm at. I told her I was going to curl up into a ball and cry! :-) Obviously, I will be fine, but its just one more step in "letting go" that I will have to do as a mom. I pray for grace to handle each step.

There are certain things that can bring me to my knees emotionally right now such as:
* playdo- Weird, I know, but my boys used to love it, but now they think it is for "babies".
* the song "Feels Like Home to Me" (don't know who it's by)- When I was a stay-at-home-mom, I would often take the boys to Grapevine Mills Mall-just to get out of the house and walk around. This song was always playing in the mall.
* the theme song to the show "Family Ties" - When Will was a baby, I would always watch this show when I nursed him in  the middle of the night.
* pacifiers- I can just see Colin- he always had more than one-just in case. At times he'd have one in his mouth and one in each hand. Then, he'd push the paci over to the side of his mouth like a cigar when he wanted to talk!
* Thomas the Train, Jay Jay the Jet Plane, Bob the Builder, and Elmo- Oh-the memories!!
* Hap Palmer Music Video- Will had a video of Hap's that he loved and would watch over and over when I was on bedrest with Colin. I still have this video. I don't plan to part with it!

I could go on and on. But, that's probably enough already to convince you that I am completely losing my mind! Haha! :-)

No, I am not going gracefully into this season of change, but I know in my head that God will walk me through it and that I will grow as a result. It's my heart that just wants to hang on. The GOOD news of it all is that I wouldn't be feeling this way if my experiences hadn't been so wonderful! I have been blessed with a beautiful life, and am so thankful for every minute- and I don't like to think of any of it changing.

It's like Colin wrote in one of his school assignments this past year:

"I like my life becouse my life is grete." --- Colin Moore, age 7

Precious boy! :-)

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

"What I'm Reading" Wednesday

This week I have started a new book. It is an autobiography by Fergi:

I have only read the first 5 or 6 chapters so far. All I can say at this point is that it is OK. I feel really sorry for her as she seems like a kind person who has suffered greatly for mistakes and bad judgements that she has made. It can't be easy living in the public eye and feeling like a reject from the royal family. She is on a similar journey as I am on, and so I thought it might be good to read her book. Hopefully the more I read, the more the book will inspire. It's a little depressing so far, but I'm not ready to give up yet! :-) I'll keep ya posted!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Happy Fourth of July!

I want to wish everyone a Happy 4th of July! I love this holiday-well, I have a love/hate relationship with it. I love it because it is a ton of fun-I love fireworks and 4th of July get togethers, Patriotism, going to the Southlake Town Center fireworks with my parents, and having fun with all my "boys".

But, I am also always a little sad for 4th of July to get here because it means that summer is dwindling away. Not that I don't love my job, because I do, but I also love the freedom and carefree-ness of summer. I love no schedules and not having to get up at 5:30 every morning. I love not making sack lunches and not worrying about homework. I love the reflection time that summer affords- personal and spiritual. I love getting to read books I've wanted to read. I love the time with my family-the quality time that often alludes us during the busy school year. And it is always hard to let it go every year in mid August.

One thing I'm thinking about this 4th of July is that I am not happy with how I have "done" this summer so far. I don't feel like I have made the most of my days so far. For the first few weeks, I spent a lot of time in thought about the future of my job. Not very relaxing. Now, however, I can relax where that is concerned (thank goodness). I have been staying up waaaay too late every night and sleeping too late in the morning. I want to embrace each day more and make each day more special. My sweet boys are getting older, and soon they won't want to do as much family stuff as they do now. I want to live life to its fullest-and live it abundantly- the way that God intended life to be!

I warned that not all of my blogs would be "happy" and "perfect". Here's an example: for the past few months I have noticed some "changes". I turned 40 in November, so I guess I should have expected things to start changing somewhat. The biggest thing is that I can't seem to go a night without waking up in a sweat. And I mean, REALLY sweaty, friends! I'm sorry if that's TMI. It is not pleasant-trust me if you haven't experienced this yet. My cycle has been a little messed up at times, and I have had some really fun  mood swings. I asked my dr. about all of this last week, and now I am on a low dose of estrogen to help out (hopefully). It just all seems surreal to me, and let me tell you-it's REALLY weird to leave your dr.'s office with a pamphlet about menopause. What???? Crazy!

All of this relates to the 4th of July and the reflection that I have done the last couple of days in that it further points out to me that nothing on this earth is permanent. Time is fleeting, change happens, and we (I) need to make the most of it (life)! This is something I always struggle with- living in the moment. I pray that God will help me relax and live the abundant life He has for me!

And, I have the entire month of July ahead of me to practice! :-)