Tuesday, May 10, 2011

My First Mother's Day!

The pictures tell the story well.

On Saturday, Lucas got to wear his new shark suit and we went to the pool!  Love this swim outfit!

Little swimmers!

Scary shark wanting to learn to swim with a board!  He did great in the water, though I didn't get any pictures of it.  He even went under once or twice :) 

On Sunday, we went to Green Pastures for Mother's Day Brunch with Grandpa Bud and Nana!  Lucas and Grandpa smiling at each other.  Notice the big piece of bread in Luc's mouth.

He loves his Nana!  Pretty picture!

The pianist wanted to play him a little song.  But, Lucas wanted to play her a song!  Notice me holding his hands down, her watching him and him playing the piano anyway... with his foot!  Smart.

Happy Mommy!

And a happy family!

These are sweet of him.

Loves to laugh!

So precious.

I think he's clapping here.  His new favorite thing!

Is he not the most beautiful thing!?

An attempt to get a better family shot than the ones at Easter :)

Not too bad!

I love those boys.

Ahhh... a happy Mother's Day it was.

Friday, May 6, 2011

A Blog About a Dog

This is Jake as a puppy... 4 or 5 months I think.

Jake the dog is a 4 year old Malti-Poo (Maltese/Toy Poodle).  He weighs in at about 10 pounds, has one blind eye, and is just about one of the cutest dogs alive.  This dog has character too.  Loves people and wants to please you... or at least he used to.  Something has changed for me in my relationship with Jake.  This blog will be my verbal process about it.  Please allow me to explain.

How I used to feel about Jake:
We got Jake about 2 months into our marriage.  We were at church  and Joann Davis was praying for me.  I had been having a really hard time stepping into the world of "infertility."  I was sad.  Really sad.  If you don't know Joann, she needs a little blurb here:  Joann is the wife of the man who married Felipe and I.  She is in her 60's and is one of the people on the earth who may just be masquerading as an angel... a really quirky, saucy, make-you-laugh-til-you-cry, love-you-to-pieces kind of angel!  When I first started dating Felipe, she said, "Bring him to me!  I will look at the whites of his eyes!"  She's a woman everyone wants to know, and if you do know her, you feel very special for the privilege!  A true saint for sure!  I love that she loves me!  And that particular day, she was praying for me.  In the middle of her prayer, it hit me and I exclaimed, "I want a dog!"  Joann got so excited and looked at Felipe, "That's a great idea! Can she have a dog?"  She prayed for our dog right then and there... that he would bring joy and that he would be a "Christian dog!"

That's the day we got Jake.  I knew that I wanted a malti-poo and we found him online that day.  Went to pick him up in the Walmart parking lot in Burnet, TX.  He weighed 1.4 pounds and was 7 weeks old.  And we fell in love with him! Blind eye and all.
Look how little!  He was adorable and couldn't get up the one step into the house by himself!  We would put him in my purse or Felipe's pocket and carry him everywhere.  

I was so excited to learn about training him.  And we did really well for that first year or so.  He was pretty good.  He got attacked by a golden retriever when he was a puppy and he changed a little after that.  He became... nervous, a little quirky.  He stopped wanting to socialize with other dogs and became a "people dog".  And he loves people!  Usually all people, big and little.  He has always required some maintenance, as dogs tend to do. We've considered Jake to be one of the "home responsibilities" that fell on my plate.  He has hair instead of fur... so no shedding, but it grows, becoming cute, shaggy, and matted!  So, I've been the one to groom him, give him his heartworm medicine, feed him, cut his nails, etc.  And he has to be walked... something Felipe and I have tried to share.

How I currently feel about Jake:
So, a year ago, a new little person entered our lives.  And we fell in love more deeply than we ever could have imagined.  And my "home responsibilities"... they increased substantially.  And Poor Jake... the only honest way to put it is that he has been neglected.  We play with him less, he gets far fewer walks, I think I've even forgotten to feed him a couple of times.  In no way is he starving... he reminds us for sure! He's pooped in the house a couple of times since the baby came... probably b/c he really needed to go out!  And discipline... well, it's hard to find the energy to be consistent with him, so his behaviors have regressed.  I can tell he's frustrated.  He is wondering what happened to our little family utopia where he was the center of our loving affection!  My whole day-to-day view of him has changed.  Instead of being cute and shaggy, I see a 2 hour hair cutting project that will have to be done during nap time!  Uggh!  It takes away a most precious nap time!  And he smells b/c he usually needs a bath.  I see him as one big barking, jumping-on-all-our-visitors, needing-to-be-walked responsibility!  And a fury friend for Lucas!  Lucas LOVES Jake!  But now that Lucas is mobile, he can go get Jake.  Jake, the dog, isn't sure about this little creature who pulls his hair and pats him over and over, a little too hard I might add.  They usually play pretty well together, but the more mobile Lucas gets, the more agitated Jake gets.  I'm trying to teach Lucas "gentle touches."  But it's a slow process.  Jake has yelped and even growled at Lucas a couple of times when he's being grabbed in a way he doesn't appreciate.  And, I saw Jake run away the other day and hide under the bed!  Lucas followed him and tried to look under the bed, but he couldn't figure out how to get under there.  He looked at me and cried!
I imagine when Lucas is a little older and learns "gentle touches" that they will be good friends. But there may be another little one here who hasn't learned it yet.  And then another!  Who will walk him then?  I say that like he really gets walked now.  His walks consist of a 5-10 minute outing with repeated commands of "go potty, Jake."

I got up really early this morning and spent time writing this blog post.  When Felipe got up, I read it to him and we had a little talk about Jake.  We've previously discussed giving him to a loving home :( A tear wells up in my eye just thinking about it.  My mom has said that she would be thrilled to take him. But this morning, we decided to renew our commitment as pet owners... we really do love him.  And we are not ready to part with our little fury friend.  Felipe committed to help me groom Jake on the weekends, so it takes half the time.  And I'm committing to walk him a lot more often.  I started this morning and it was lovely (not yet 90 degrees at 8am).  Me, Lucas and Jake went around our little lake!  And Jake was soooo happy :)

Lucas and Jake playing in the crib!  Jake wasn't sure, but Lucas thought it was a hoot :)

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Lucas' Baby Dedication... Rescheduled!

Our little 11-month old!  He hasn't learned to keep his one shelf in the kitchen clean yet! :)

The Re-Announcement: 
I want to announce that we will publicly be dedicating Lucas to the Lord on Sunday, June 5th, at Hope Chapel at 5:30pm. (Hope Chapel's evening service). It was originally scheduled for February, but, we had to postpone due to the fact that he got too sick back in February.

This will be a time where we his parents, family and community publicly declare our commitment to submit Lucas to God's will and to raise him according to God's word.

This is a very special time for us and we'd love to share it with all who have prayed for and supported us through our journey of becoming parents. Lucas is our little miracle and this day will be such a celebration of all that God has done. Please come join us June 5th at 5:30pm!

Thanks for lovin' on us everyone!

Look at that!  He's less than a week old here.  I can't believe how much he's grown!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Did You See the Easter Bunny? Part II

Our not so great attempt at an Easter family picture!  Seriously, this was the best of the lot!

Continuing my thoughts on the Easter Bunny and feeling "awkward" about the holidays...
here's where I'm coming from:

Even as a child, I think I was a pretty serious person and wanted to know the truth about things.  My mom says I never wanted to be treated like a kid. I didn't want the "kid's menu" and I didn't want to leave the room when serious stuff was talked about. One of the worst things for me even still do this day is to tell me what you think I want to hear rather than tell me the truth.  Annoys me to no end!  As a kid, I didn't find tons of joy in fantasy. A weakness and a strength I think. So, I didn't really care to believe in Santa, the Bunny and the Fairy like some kids. And I don't feel any loss in that. Though, I do wish I had been more "child-like."  I will add that I loved big celebrations with lots of family, lots of food and lots of fun!  I long to create that for my own children.

I know... I'm an intense person.  I married a guy who can match me and even surpass me at times on the intensity scale.  So, together, we need help from our friends to just chill out.   At our wedding, the best man and my brother prayed for us that we would "laugh a lot and not take ourselves too seriously!"  They know us well!  And we really have tried to lighten up over the years... we're working on it.  Feel free to invite us to do something fun and silly anytime... and even make us go :)  We appreciate it!

At the age of 18 I became a follower of Jesus! Well, that sounds cult-ish when you say it that way, doesn't it? But it's accurate. I wanted to follow Him... in every way. I still do.  And because of Him, I am different than I was before. I've also discovered that He made me this way and He likes me for it... my love for Truth and seeing things as they really are and not how I simply wish they were. And, Jesus tells me that knowing the Truth... it will set me free! So, I'm even more tenacious now about seeing things honestly, even when it's hard. There are great things about seeing the world this way and there are hard things about it. For example: When I'm around someone who is deeply hurting but trying to hide it, I can sometimes see it and I can bring them comfort. I can let them know they are not alone.  I like that.  On the flip side, when I go to Disney World, I don't believe that it really is the "Happiest Place on Earth." Though, they do put on a good show, I can see beyond the smiles of Cinderella and Snow White and know that she's really hurting, but getting paid to smile. I wonder... did her boyfriend just break up with her? Did she just lose a pregnancy? What's happened that's made her so sad? Oh wait, "Smile for the picture! Happy faces everyone!" Click!  I have a hard time just lightening up sometimes.  

So, this thing about being so serious... it carries over into every area of my life, especially the important parts like family.  I genuinely want to have lots of fun at the holidays AND be who I am.

This is what makes me feel "awkward" about the holidays. I have a hard time celebrating in a way that is Truthful, Joyful, Lovely and that doesn't rock the boat and make everyone upset. This Easter Bunny/Santa topic can become a heated debate :) I'm sure you've already had some opinion about the things I'm writing.  Don't believe in Santa? That's like sacrilege to some!  And then I've also received lectures about the Pagan traditions of Easter, Christmas, and don't even get 'em started about Halloween!  I get it.  It's controversial.  But, I'm not really the "don't rock the boat" type of person. Probably, much to my family's annoyance ;) 

Felipe and I are wanting to learn new ways to celebrate the holidays that we count most sacred. It's so easy to just go with what we've always known and not be intentional about what we believe.  It feels hard to make changes.  We really want it to be about remembering Jesus and what He did for us... in a bigger way than just having ornaments that say "Jesus is the Reason..." If that's all we do and we still go on following Martha Stewart as a guide to our holidays, well it's a lie right? The ornament and nativity sets makes us feel better about it, but our hearts (and sometimes our bank accounts) reveal what's really happening. 

We went to a Christmas party in December where the host asked everyone to share some of their favorite memories of Christmases in their families. It was mainly a group of Christians who grew up in Christian homes. I got to hear some of the most delightful stories about home-made Advent calendars celebrating the coming of Christ and also 3-hour family breakfasts on Christmas morning. It was a strange group in that the majority of people at the party did not grow up believing in Santa... because their parents told them that he did not exist. They knew about the man, St. Nicholas... but never believed in the fat man who came down  the chimney for cookies. And surprisingly, few talked about the excitement surrounding gifts. They said gifts were present but not the focus. Though one girl did say that everyone got new pajamas on Christmas Eve in her family!  I'm stealing that one! For the most part in their stories the focus was on celebrating Jesus and being together. They said they loved Christmas and never felt left out of anything. Though, in reality, they were "odd-balls" growing up I'm sure. Will Lucas be an odd-ball? I feel the pressure of that for him. But I hope his stories will be like theirs.

In all of this reflecting on our first holiday season with a child, we have confirmed our decision to not teach Lucas about Santa Clause, the Easter Bunny or the Tooth Fairy.  I don't think it's evil or anything and I don't shun others for doing it.  And, we will do our best to make sure that our kids don't "ruin" it for others.  We will teach Lucas about the true story behind the mythical Santa and that we want to be like the real St. Nicholas.  We will talk about the coming of Jesus as a baby, His victory over death... and also His coming again!  We want to be creative and find fun, new ways to celebrate.  We invite others to come along with us!  We want to learn a new way to celebrate!  To hear my son in 30 years tell stories like the ones I heard at that Christmas party... It's worth it!  

And to lighten up this serious blog post, I'll add some pictures! 

Cousin Samuel with the Hyatt Easter Bunny!  I think he was the Real one!

Nana Rita with some of her grand kiddos!

Lucas and Daddy playing in the fountains!

So cute at Christmas!  I know, the Santa hat!  Come on, we're not that uptight! And it's my Granny's hat!  

Lucas with his mom and dad, Great Granny and Papa!

Sweet shot of Luc and my grandmother :)  Love her!  And look how cute they are in their Christmas shirts!