Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Graduation Day

On Saturday, May 23rd, my (not-so-little) little brother graduated from high school. The same high school from which I graduated 10 years ago. But being back there for his big day, I realized that almost nothing was the same. The short list of things that remained after 10 years was limited to the color/style of the caps and gowns, the school's superintendent, the founding pastor and his wife, and the covers for the diplomas. Everything else, everyone else was different.

Despite the differences, I still found myself reminiscing about my high school days. I remembered activities such as Spirit Days, pep rallies, basketball games (to which I always had a front row seat), prom (or more appropriately Jr./Sr. Banquet since we didn't dance), homecoming, chapel, and the Senior mission trip. I tried to recall who was on the student council, in the national honor society, on my cheer squad. And I found myself remembering how complicated and challenging high school seemed 10 years ago. Relationships, tests, papers, homework, extracurricular activities, peer pressure, breakups, it was all so overwhelming. But it's fascinating how as soon as you toss your cap in the air at graduation, things suddenly begin to change. You begin to change.

High school is its own world. And graduation is when everyone moves to new planets all at once. Suddenly those people who were with you every day, who you allowed to define your world, your person, are gone. Your new world is larger, full of new people. And it doesn't take long for you to see the bigger picture and wonder why you were so intimidated in high school. College work makes you laugh at yourself for thinking 3 page book reports in high school were hard. While working your first "real" 9-5 job, you find the confidence you never seemed to have in high school that would've allowed you to talk to people outside of your "social circle".

As I sat and watched Ethan and his peers walk across the stage one by one to receive their (fake) diplomas, I wished for a few moments that I could go back and relive high school with the knowledge and confidence I have now. I thought about the things I'd do differently and the things I would've kept exactly the same. Cheerleading, for instance. I wouldn't change a thing. I loved it. I learned more than just jumps and motions and dances and stunts. I learned discipline and dedication and camaraderie and sportsmanship. Things I still carry with me and will attempt to instill in my children.

The ceremony winded down and I watched as the graduates hugged each other and took pictures together. I remembered doing the same thing 10 years earlier. But then a feeling of sadness overcame me as I realized that I now no longer have a relationship with the people in those photographs that sit in a box in my basement. I said a prayer for the graduates on Saturday that they wouldn't find themselves in that place in 10 years.

As I write this, I can't believe that my brother is a high school graduate. Even more unbelievable is that it has been 10 years since I graduated. Ten years doesn't seem like that much time until you step back and realize how much has changed in that time. Then once you take all that into account, it seems like it could've been 20 years.

And in 10 more years, it will have been.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Tulsa: Getting Here

On Friday I boldly began my journey to Tulsa by myself with Kyra and Kylie. We had only minor drama getting through security which passed once Kyra got her Bear back after he rode the conveyor belt through the x-ray machine. I arrived at our gate with enough time to feed Kyra some pretzels and Kylie a bottle and then we boarded our flight to St. Louis.

As soon as I could, I put a movie on and the girls were both behaving good. I was beginning to relax a little as I fed Kylie some squash while she was seated on my lap. I was feeling confident about our flight, so I went ahead and had the flight attendant pour me a coke. Kyra immediately began harassing me for a drink of the coke and in my attempt to keep her away, I failed to notice that Kylie had moved within reaching distance. In 1.69 seconds the coke was all over my lap and the ice had conveniently fallen into my open backpack on the floor below. Then, in my effort to get the ice out of the backpack before it could melt, I again failed to note Kylie's reach. Before I could even get one ice cube out, the container of baby food was on my lap.

The flight attendant had been seated right across the aisle from me the entire time and never even flinched. I leaned across the aisle and, using all my restraint to keep from sounding too annoyed that he hadn't offered any help, I asked for some towels. Without uttering a word or even getting up from his seat, he reached behind me and pulled a wad of paper towels from a cabinet. He handed them to me with a sigh and then turned his body away from me and stared out the window. I got up, set Kylie in my seat, and cleaned the coke and squash off myself, the backpack, the seat, and the floor as best as I could with dry paper towels. When I finished the flight attendant left his seat and proceeded to collect garbage from the passengers, coming to me last as I patiently sat with a wad of gross paper towels in my hand. I figured the worst was over since all I needed to do now was just sit with Kylie on my lap and keep the girls entertained for the rest of the flight. But about 30 minutes before landing I realized Kylie had emptied her bladder and my skirt had somehow managed to soak up what her diaper didn't.

We made it to St. Louis where I quickly changed diapers and fed the girls another snack. We weren't there more than 20 minutes when I realized our flight to Tulsa had already boarded, so we quickly gathered our stuff and joined the rest of the passengers on board. I fed Kylie her bottle on the plane just before takeoff and with a full stomach, she fell fast asleep as we made our way down the runway. After we had been airborne a few minutes, Kylie began heaving. I sat her up and pulled her pacifier out of her mouth and without ever opening her eyes, she threw up all over the two of us. She then laid back and continued her nap as I began to try to clean her and myself with a burp cloth. I finally just gave up knowing that my parents wouldn't care what we looked or smelled like, they would just be happy to see us. Kylie slept most of the flight and wiith my one free hand, I did my best to keep Kyra entertained with coloring and stickers and looking out the window.

Finally, and 20 minutes ahead of schedule, we landed in Tulsa. We claimed our bags and waited for GP and Grammy to pick us up (they hadn't expected us to be so early). I was covered in coke, squash, pee, and vomit, but we made it. And even if Kylie couldn't keep her bodily functions in check, the girls still both behaved so great all day. All in all, I'd say we actually had a good trip.

Eating snacks as the airport in St. Louis:

Friday, May 15, 2009

10 Months Old

Kylie is 10 months old today. Not much has changed in the last month. She is still smiling and laughing all the time. She still babbles dada and mama and other random sounds. She has started growling from time to time, so I guess thats new. She gets down on her tummy and kicks her legs and pushes herself up on her arms, but still hasn't figured out the whole crawling thing yet. (But that's okay, Kylie, it's complicated, I know.) She still has only her two bottom teeth, but I can feel the top two ready to break through any day now. She still has her beautiful red hair and I'm hoping that won't ever change. She still adores her big sister and her puppy and her mommy and daddy. And one of my favorite things about her is that she still loves posing for the camera (because heaven knows I love taking pictures of her)!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

"Holy Hot Engine Robin!"

So a little over a week ago my neighbor across the street tells me that as she was backing out of her driveway a dead rat suddenly fell out of her engine. Apparently rats like the warmth of a car engine and typically enjoy chewing any miscellaneous wires they find in there as well. I remember feeling totally baffled and grossed out as she told me her story and I hoped that was a once in a lifetime deal.

On Tuesday evening this week I made my ritualistic trip to Wal-Mart for groceries, etc. I came home, unloaded the car, and closed the garage. It just so happened that I had bought a first aid kit to keep in my car for the summer (it seemed like a good idea since Kyra is so adventurous and fearless) and decided to just go ahead and put it in the car rather than leaving it out on my dining room table for who knows how long. As I was putting it in the back seat, I could hear shuffling sounds in the garage and I assumed Chase had followed me. I went back into the house and called for Chase to come in but was startled when he came running from the kitchen instead of the garage. I stuck my head into the garage and listened intently. Definitely scuffling. Definitely coming from inside my car engine. "JIM!!!" I hollered out in a panic. "There's a rat in my car engine!"

Bewildered he came downstairs and I rattled off my neighbor's recent rat encounter. He bravely headed out to the garage to listen for himself. From the other side of the closed garage door I could hear him say "Oh my gosh! It sounds huge!" We talked for 15 seconds about a game plan to get it out and trap/kill it. Jim decides he has to back the car out of the garage and I announce that I'm calling our neighbor as I'm dialing the phone. Her husband answers and I'm like "Hi Matt. It's Kesh from across the street. I think I have a rat in my car engine. Any ideas on how to get it out?" He tells me he'll come over in a minute to help out and I hang up the phone. I then hear Jim say, "I saw it! It stuck it's head out!" Then the creature stuck it's head through the large holes in my grill a second time and Jim announced, "It's a BIRD."

First thought, "Oh thank God it's not a rat." Followed immediately by, "How on earth did I get a BIRD in my CAR ENGINE?!" As Matt approached Jim informed him it was a bird. Still skeptical, I stood in the house with the door cracked a half inch as they attempted to free the bird. It took both of them to figure out how to pop the hood of my car, but as soon as they did. a frightened, over-heated robin shot out of the engine and took a perch on the light in our garage. The guys used a rake to try and guide the bird out of the garage and after a couple failed attempts (mostly because the poor bird seemed delusional) the bird was out of the garage. It landed in our front yard where it stayed for a while, so exhausted from it's near death experience that it didn't even attempt to move when Jim hovered over it to get some pictures. I never saw it fly away, but I'm assuming it recovered because I cautiously scanned the yard yesterday and never found it.

Apparently rats aren't the only ones who like to get a little cozy in a car engine.

Sunday, May 10, 2009


Mom. It was her first name. And as a kid I thought I knew what it meant. She was the one who fixed dinner and did laundry. She was the one who's permission I sought for outings and slumber parties. She was the one I informed when I had a class field trip and the one I called when I had forgotten something I needed for school.

Then I got a little older. And she became the one who gave me sound advice, whether I thought I needed it or not. She was my shopping partner for homecomings and proms, altering dresses to fit school guidelines just so I could have the exact ones I wanted. She was my personal cheerleader and life coach. She pointed me in all the right directions and trusted me enough to follow the right paths.

And then I got married and moved away. I know it crushed her as we drove away in the U-Haul. But since the day I'd been born she had been making me the most beautiful pair of wings and I couldn't help but show them off and soar. But once I was gone, she was my reason for coming back every now and then. She was my model for a Godly wife. She was 1200 miles away and yet the closest she'd ever been.

And then I became a mom. And that's when I began to learn what it really meant. Being a mom is like being a stagehand for an elaborate play. No one really sees or understands what they do, unless they are one themselves. The sleepless nights, the redundant feedings, the diapers changed, the personal time forsaken, the endless cleaning, the tears shed, the love given. As I raise my own girls, I have begun to see my relationship with her, how it must have been from her perspective. I have never appreciated her more, but as my kids grow, I'm sure that will too. Not only do I now see behind the scenes of all the things she has done for me, but she is my support as I learn to do them for my children. She is my "anything and everything kid-related" hotline.

But my favorite thing is that she is my friend. I talk to her like I talk to my close girlfriends. I tell her the same things and sometimes even more. We're connected at the heart. And to me, that's an even stronger connection than being attached by an umbilical cord.

Mom, thank you for everything. I wish I could wrap my arms around you today, but since I can't, I hope this blog at least hugs your heart. I love you! Happy Mother's Day!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

The Sisterhood of the Blankets

I left Kyra and Kylie in our family room alone for a few moments today and when I returned I caught a glimpse into their secret world of sisterhood. Kyra had put a blanket over their heads and secluded them from the rest of the world. Kyra was chattering to Kylie and Kylie was responding with her own delightful noises and giggles as if she knew this was some sort of early form of sisterly bonding. I grabbed my camera and began shooting pictures as fast as the technology would allow for fear this priceless moment would end before I had properly documented it. Kyra actually invited me into their little world under the blanket and I felt giddy on the inside like I was 6 years old and asked to join a secret "no boys allowed" club.

And Chase helped play into my inner childlike notions. Feeling excluded he began grabbing at the corners of the blanket and tried to pull it off of us with relentless force. We fought him off for a while but then Kyra took matters into her own hands and decided to retaliate. If he wanted a blanket, she was going to give him a blanket. She pulled several different blankets out of our storage ottoman and began to wrap him up as tight as she could. Even Kylie seemed to understand what was going on and I sat mesmerized as she too helped pull blankets over Chase, although somewhere along the lines getting a little buried herself by her big sister.

Here is the story in pictures:

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


Katie tagged me on her blog, so here goes...

8 Things I look forward to:
1. Going to Tulsa in 2 weeks
2. Seeing Emily for the first time in 2 years!
3. Vacation in NC with our Bible Study group (seeing Paul & Jaclyn)
4. Summer outings with my girls
5. Getting my garden done
6. Future date nights with Jim
7. Kylie turning one
8. Completing my family

8 Things I did yesterday:
1. Went to the Bank
2. Went to Target (I heart Target)
3. Went to lunch with Jim, Wit, Ruth, and Jim
4. Read part of a book
5. Made soft tacos with homemade salsa for dinner
6. Chatted on FB with Emily and Lindsay at the same time
7. Fed Kylie 3 bottles
8. Went to bed at 11:00

8 things I wish I could do:
1. Go on a mission trip with Jim
2. Read more books
3. Step out of my comfort zone
4. Make more friends and get to know the ones I already have even better
5. Take an exotic vacation
6. Travel to Europe
7. Go to the LLH Garden Party
8. Volunteer somewhere

8 shows I watch:
1. Chuck
2. American Idol
3. So You Think You Can Dance
4. Fringe
5. Scrubs
6. Survivor
7. Sesame Street
8. Random stuff on Food Network