Tuesday, May 24, 2011


".... to get the full value of joy, you must have somebody to divide it with."

- Mark Twain

As our third anniversary approached last year, Mike asked me what I wanted. I told him I was ready for a baby, and man, did he deliver. We found out that I was pregnant nine days before our anniversary. This year I asked for something much less labor - intensive: flowers and a card would suffice, thank you very much. We also went out for an incredible dinner at the Fairview Inn, where our wedding reception was held.

A good friend once told me that the third year was the most difficult. I keep waiting for us to have a rough patch, and sure, we have some doozies of arguments, but those are not the norm. Anyway, what's life with a redhead without a good fight once in awhile?

I'm beyond blessed to be doing my dream job.

All my life, through all my education and professional work, I've known deep down that I wanted more than anything to be a wife and stay at home mom. I'll admit that it's been challenging. Several times I've called Mike saying something along the lines of, "I didn't sign up for this! I want to go back to work! PLEASE let me switch places with you and go work at a nuclear power plant tomorrow! I'm going to jump in my car and drive to Utah!" with the baby wailing in the background. But he always manages to talk me down. And then he does something wonderful like complimenting how nice the floors look or leaving me a love note under the coffee pot. He appreciates what I do and reminds me that I really am contributing to this household, especially when I start to fret that I'm not making any money.

Every day I thank God for the man who has made my dreams come true.

And in case you were wondering what we were up to for the other three years.....

Friday, May 13, 2011

What a Difference a Year Makes

A year ago Sunday was Mother’s Day. I was terribly sad that day because I didn’t know if I would ever be a mother. I was impatient with my body and God’s timing, and every month’s disappointment brought me to a new level of sadness. I was beginning to lose hope. We had brunch at the Fairview Inn with my mom and a good friend of mine with her husband and son, and it was so hard not to burst into tears at the table. Even though I had just been on the most incredible girls' trip to the beach, which proved that a childless life wasn't such a bad thing.

A year ago Monday I went to bed with a wastebasket next to the bed. Mike was on the midnight shift, so I was sleeping alone. I thought the overindulgence at the buffet had caught up with me.

A year ago Tuesday I woke up on the wrong side of the bed. The nausea was gone (never to return), but I was so grouchy and had the impulse to kick the cat. Mike had come home and was eating his supper after a long night at work, and it was the cat-kicking impulse that led me to take a pregnancy test.

When I wound my way back to the test, I found two faint pink lines. I’d never seen that before.

I stumbled into the kitchen, looking for Mike. He was in the garage, and I leaned against the refrigerator, looking down the hall, shaking, with tears falling from my face. I showed him the test and went to hand it to him, but he recoiled because, well, everybody knows how you take a pregnancy test. He was pleased but cautiously optimistic and wanted for me to wait a few days and take one again. I put him to bed for the day, but I couldn’t stand it. I called the doctor’s office, and they wanted me to come in for bloodwork as soon as possible.

Later that day, I was sitting at my desk at Fondren, and my cell phone rang. It was Carolyn. They wanted an Hcg level of 25 . My level was 62. I was “definitely pregnant.” My heart sang.

I went to find Katy and get a big hug from our baby’s Godmother. Then I went to Albriton’s and bought a sterling rattle made up of three rings intertwined. When Mike woke up that afternoon, I gave him the rattle, but he didn’t know what it was. I almost had to draw the man a picture. He was so happy, hugged me tight, and asked me about every single detail of my doctor’s appointment earlier that day.

A year ago yesterday I went back for more bloodwork. The doctor wanted my level to double, but it almost TRIPLED to 183. My new favorite number.

A year ago Sunday I never dreamed I’d have such a sweet challenge wrapped up in this precious package of a baby girl. Thank you God. I wonder what You'll do in our lives a year from now.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Mother's Day Baptism

Thursday, May 19th will mark four years since the beautiful spring day when I married Mike at Fondren Presbyterian Church. So how perfect was it that we were able to baptize our first baby this past Sunday, my first Mother's Day, at the same place?

Avery's Godparents Katy and Cliff were able to make it.

Katy will be Avery's Bubba, and we are so blessed to have her. I know that Bubba will be Avery's best friend and confidante, the person with whom she can talk about anything, and quite possibly (probably) the person Avery calls for bail money. And I know Katy's the perfect girl for the job.

Just like I did on my wedding day, we had to change Avery's clothes once we arrived at the church. And we proudly walked the aisle for a life-changing event. Mike and I clutched hands - he held mine so hard and rubbed my knuckles, just like our wedding. And Katy and I caught each other's eye and giggled silently at our own private joke just like the day she stood next to me as Matron of Honor.

The service was about the Road to Emmaus, which is particularly special to us. Avery was quiet while Reverend Mat Taylor prayed over her, but she lost it during the three splashes as he said, "the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit." All bets were off when he anointed her forehead with oil.

She was obviously hacked off that he messed up her hairdo.

Once we were back in our pew, she started fussing again. I put my head close to hers to shhhh in her ear, which usually calms her down. She rubbed her forehead against mine, which rubbed some of her oil onto me. I suppose she was anointing me too as her mom.

Avery put up with our foolishness for as long as she could, and then she let us know under no uncertain terms that she was DONE. A few friends told me that it's good luck for a baby to cry during her baptism. In that case, Avery's one awfully lucky little kid.

After the service, we had an incredible lunch catered by our friend Martha and enjoyed the same flavor cake - Bailey's Irish Creme from That Special Touch - that we had for our wedding. Later that evening, Mike popped a cork of our wedding champagne - Martini & Rossi Asti - and drank a toast to his baby's mama. The day felt sanctified, just like our wedding day all over again. We are beyond blessed to commit this baby girl to the same God who put us together.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Night Lights

Warm summer sun, shine kindly here. Warm summer wind, blow softly here. Green sod above, lie light, lie light. Good night, dear Heart. Good night, good night.

- Mark Twain

I never really used a night light growing up. Sure, when we were kids spending the night in my mom's old room at Cha-Cha's house, we'd always have the bathroom light on with the door cracked. But those were special times with special girls, and it was usually just so we could stay up 'till the wee hours driving my mom and Aunt Rita crazy with our incessant chatter and laughter. As an adult, I grew to sleep in a room that's pitch dark.

That changed when we moved to this house. The green light from the alarm panel and smoke detector cast a faint glow in our bedroom. When I was suffering from migraines, I'd have Mike tape something over them so I could sleep in peace. But once that problem subsided, the tape came down and the effluence resumed.

When I was pregnant, I reluctantly added a night light to our bathroom for my incessant nightly visits.

Then we had the Peachick. And another glow was added to our bedroom in the form of her AngelCare monitor. I often lie awake for hours, watching the reassuring pendulum showing me that her heart is still beating and that she's still breathing.

Even more nocturnal light was shed throughout our house in the path from our bedroom to hers, as I was terrified somebody would trip on a bouncy seat or squeaky toy. The last thing we need around here is a broken bone. And there's a warm glow in her bedroom at night so we can pick her up and rock her at all hours without fully waking her up when the monster fusses in her sleep. So I've grown into appreciating the guidance provided by these tiny devices picked up at the Kroger.

All this baby care is exhausting and time-consuming. So to ensure that we have at least five minutes together - just Mike and me - every day, we have started reading Night Light by Dobson. Now that he can resume the ritual of lying on my belly just before we go to sleep, I'll put aside whatever inane novel I'm working on and pick up this book to read one of the one-page-long devotionals. Sure, it has some sections that feel silly or cheesy to talk about, but it's shedding new light on our marriage, and I love how we are glowing. We sometimes fall asleep chatting about that devotional's topic.

So now I suppose I've come a full 360 degrees, back to the little girl huddled in my mom's old bed, once again loving the light at night and the people whom it illuminates.

Artwork courtesy of David Castillo.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Curried Fruit

Mike loves curry as a seasoning, so this is one of his favorite dishes. I particularly like how it compliments any white-meat dish. The flavors of the different fruits shine through when you take a piece of pear or peach or pineapple and eat it with chicken or pork. It's divine.

This dish is best with fresh fruits, but with Little Bit it's easier to just pop open a can. I suppose the recipe was modified in the 40s or 50s, when canned fruits were in high style. Then again, when you dump brown sugar and melted butter on anything, it's bound to taste delightful.

1 large can peach halves
1 large can apricots
1 large can pears
3 small or 1 large can pineapple, cut (not crushed)
10-20 cherries to taste
1/3 cup butter
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
4 teaspoons curry

  • Drain fruit well.

  • Mix butter, brown sugar, and curry.

  • Spread fruit in shallow baker - dot wiht sugar mixture.

  • Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour the day before serving to let flavors bloom.

  • Refrigerate overnight, and warm at 350 degrees for 1/2 hour.

Basically, it's a fruit casserole, so changing the fruits included to suit your own taste is bound to only make it better. I'd personally love one with only pears and peaches, etc. Have fun with it.
As usual, I forgot to take a photo of mine, so thank you to Evening Edge for the photo above.

Easter Brunch

Good morning my dear readers. I've been meaning to write this post for over a week now, but I didn't realize how rude it would be to our monster for me to work on the computer when she's awake and ready to play. I never dreamed it would be so much fun to just lie in the floor and talk with a 3 month old. She's currently in the floor on her tummy, chatting with the baby in the mirror, so I have a few minutes to spend with you.

We had a lovely Easter, and we hope you did too. It was very low-key: we had planned to attend the sunrise service at church, but Avery was sleeping in, and we thought God would forgive us for doing the same. So we just stayed in and dressed up and took pictures and had a lovely brunch.

This menu came together rather seamlessly, and it's by far one of my favorites for springtime. We had some of our favorites: grilled pork tenderloin, curried fruit, asparagus grilled in lemon-infused olive oil that my cousin Katy gave us for Christmas, raspberry congealed salad, cheese grits, and deviled eggs. We were stuffed.

And we had coconut cake for dessert. Avery was impressed and can't wait until next year when she can have some too.

She wasn't so sure about photos but stuck it out with us anyway. I love this picture because she's giving us her signature stinkeye while Mike and I are smiling like goofballs. At least you know exactly where you stand with this kiddo. She keeps it real.

Somebody desperately needed a nap after brunch. And of course it had to be underneath her favorite Georgia Tech blanket.
It's a rainy day here in Mississippi, and our only plans are to recover from this migraine and go make groceries. I am so grateful for so many things: for God's gift of His only Son, for His love and forgiveness, for this man to whom I'm so happily married, and for Mike's work so I can fulfill my lifelong dream of raising this baby girl the way I want.

Speaking of, the monster's on the warpath, so I'd better go entertain. Y'all have a happy Tuesday!


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