Thursday, May 31, 2012

Hate Like the Hatfields

There is very little television programming my husband and I agree on.  We don't watch a lot of t.v. to begin with so in the few minutes at night we flip through the channels, we tend NOT to stop on the same channels.  I tend towards Food Network and ABC with a smidge of HGTV and TLC thrown in.  He tends toward History, Military, Weather, and whatever other channel has those shows like Ice Road Truckers or that one where the Louisiana guys catch alligators.  Clearly, not a lot of overlap.

This week was a marked contrast.  We both were very interested in watching the Hatfields and McCoys on the History Channel.  I'm was a History/Poli Sci double major, and when they actually do history on the History Channel, I get interested.  Plus, throw in some big name movie actors and a top notch production and I'm there.  We watched all three nights of the miniseries this week.  I loved it (despite hiding my eyes on a few times for fear they'd show more violence than I could bear).

Last night, near the end, one statement stuck in my head.  The Hatfield patriarch was talking to his son, in whom he was greatly displeased, while he fished.  The son was retelling a favorite memory he had with his dad at that same fishing hole from childhood.  As the son tried to explain why he was so different from the rest of the Hatfield clan, he said something like, "I don't have it in me to hate like the Hatfields."  

I thought that, even in movieland, was a wise observation.  The senior Hatfield didn't flinch, but if I'd heard that from my child I sure would have.  This legendary dispute began as a result of a few missteps, some failure to communicate, and lack of interest in resolving the hurt feelings before things snowballed.  Decades of feuding and death because two men chose the wrong course.  Hatred grew to a boiling point and two states nearly went to war over it.

My family doesn't use the word hate a lot. I grew up with a mom telling me not to say "hate" because it meant "to kill" and was too strong of a word.   But I look around and see the results of hatred all around.  In America, there's an entire class of felony for "hate" crimes.  The news features horrific violence perpetrated on Syrian streets.  Entire African nations and warlords commit atrocities against its people stemming from hatred.  Thousands died and buildings crashed to the ground because terrorists intensely hated America.

Seeing those large scale horrors, whether Syrian or Hatfield-ian, makes us think we are immune from growing hate and acting upon it.  We are not.  Since we don't see such dramatic death and destruction in our lives, surely we must not be carrying hatred around. We might be.

Merriam Webster defines hate as, "intense hostility and aversion usually deriving from fear, anger, or sense of injury."  Fear. Anger. Sense of injury. There's not one person I know who hasn't experienced those sentiments.  On multiple occasions.  But what we do with that fear, anger or sense of injury could radically alter the course of our life.  Let it go or let it fester.  My dear friend has been writing a devotional on fear and, as she's explored scripture on fear, it is shocking to see the havoc and destruction that fear wreaked in the lives of those who allowed it to govern their actions.

I see it every day:

  • In teen family members that are treated despicably by other girls in their class because of their fear, anger or sense of injury.  Once those girls let that boil into an emotion rather akin to hate, you see bullying, gossip, slandering, and exclusion.  Adult women don't all grow out of that either, and I've seen the same actions shred a woman's confidence, security, or talent.  
  • In adults with their colleagues because they are fearful of losing a job or angry about not being recognized or feel injured because someone stole a customer or promotion.  When the "wronged" person adds fuel to that emotional fire, their resulting retribution lays waste to relationships and businesses.  
  • In marriages, when a spouse is belittled or cheated on; in families, when a death or marriage occurs that divides; in friendships, when someone's life turns out better or easier; in prejudices, when we allow stereotypes we wrongly learned to lead to exclusion, distrust, and closed-mindedness. 

What if, when these injuries occurred, we already had our hearts and spirits settled on the fact that we just can't (or won't) hate like the Hatfields?  What if we decided we would never give hatred a fertile ground in which to grow?  What if we left a legacy behind where our children would never know what harboring hatred looked like?  What if we turned it over to God to deal with justly, and far better, than we ever could?

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Memorial Day

Unfortunately, much like Mother's Day, my Memorial Day post comes a day too late.  Hanging out at the house with three two year olds doesn't allow for a lot of computer time.  And since there was a television show after the kids went down that BOTH Bray and I wanted to watch (that happens about once a year, and FYI, it was Hatfields & McCoys, and I'm loving it), time was not on my side.

But it is a post I want to write, so please excuse its lateness.  I don't talk a lot about my dad.  Much of that stems from the fact that he lives in Oklahoma, so we don't see him as much as we'd like.  We see my mom every week, and Bray's parents we see every month, but my dad and his wife we only get to see about three times a year.  He's a funny guy, and a little crazy, and the kids have lately taken to calling him Papa Rick because they heard my stepmom call him Richard on their last visit.  (Well, it's mainly the eldest that does it, the other two stick to Papa, but it's particularly funny because he's never gone by RICK in his whole life!)

He is also a veteran.  He served in 1967 and 1968 in Vietnam.  In high school, I was obsessed with Vietnam.  After my parents' divorce, I became particularly focused on studying it as I tried to understand what might have created the inner turmoil that he was battling.  That, in and of itself, is crazy because a 15 year old girl can't possibly understand Vietnam or what it did to the boys that went.  He wasn't drafted.  He signed up to go after his freshman year in college.  But he came back different, as he explains, on the rare occasions he mentions it.  While he still lived a full life, he pastored churches and began a Christian radio station and led a lot of people to Christ, he battled inner demons.  It led to a series of life ups and downs many of which my brother and I experienced the aftermath.

As I spent the long Memorial Day weekend with my kids, I remembered his sacrifice.  The pieces taken from him so I could take the kids to the zoo and swim in my back yard and read the news and put them down to sleep feeling secure.  It's pretty easy to forget these days.  We don't hear much about soldiers fighting on the news.  I don't know many people currently serving in the military.  So I don't think much about it in my day-to-day life.

But it's really not that far removed from us even if our families aren't fighting and serving today.  My grandfather served.  My dad served.  Bray's father's cousin lost his life as a pilot during Vietnam.  I'm glad we have Veterans Day.  I'm glad we have Memorial Day.  There need to be days that we remember the millions of sacrifices made, not just by those who lost their lives, but by those who came back with altered lives.  I always call my dad on these special days to thank him for his service, but we should all be better about remembering on the days that we don't have a long weekend.  I'm excited to take our annual pilgrimage to Oklahoma this weekend, not only just so I can see him, but so I can teach my kids to thank him too.
Dad and Donna with the boys
Me with Dad and Donna
Little bit with her Papa

Friday, May 25, 2012

Flashback Fridays

I am in the middle of writing three books.  One for the ABA on leadership for women.  Two for me.  A funny parenting book and a book about how our worth, regardless of the good or bad feedback we get from the world, only comes from Christ. 

As a result, I'm in writing overload.  So for the summer I'm introducing "Flashback Fridays."  A look at some of my older blog posts, some of which were written before I even told anyone I had a blog.  I began writing in October 2010, when the kids were one, and wrote about faith, family and some really random stuff.  Today's is one of my most random, but also one of my favorites, because this really is how I think.  It's from December 2010.  It was titled, Banshees (and thank you Grey's Anatomy).  Here you go, enjoy & happy Memorial Day weekend!

So I was going to attempt to describe what occurred over the course of Christmas weekend with my 14 month old triplets entering their first running around simultaneously phase which happened to coincide with our stay at the VERY non-baby proofed family farm house in Louisiana. I felt the best way to describe the experience was to say they were running around all weekend like banshees. I don't know if your family uses this expression but I grew up with it - for example, my mom would say that my brother ran around the house "like a banshee."

But before I posted my hilarious story for the blogosphere I thought it might be prudent to actually look up the word banshee & figure out what the heck a banshee is and why my mom used it. Well, it turns out it's this pretty terrible Irish mythological creature who was an omen of death and wailed. Somehow this word made it into the English lexicon as urban slang for nutty behaviour. Seriously? This is all I could think - seriously? How the heck did my little momma, wife and daughter of a minister, end up using this pretty creepy term to describe hyperactive children's behaviour? I certainly have no interest in using it in my jargon anymore.

This, in my streams of consciousness mentality (which I will not subject you to often because it truly is a train wreck of an experience), led me to think - why was my first thought, "Seriously?" In fact, my first thought was "seriously?" at least a dozen times this weekend. Freely given parenting advice from the in-laws - "seriously, have you had 14 mo old triplets?" My husband deciding after the first day at the farm we'd leave earlier than we'd originally planned - "seriously, what do you think I've been telling you about taking toddling triplets to a very uncontained space?" My youngest laughing so hard during his Christmas Eve bath that he literally laughed the poop right out of himself - "seriously, you are freakin' hysterical!" Quickly followed up with, "seriously, on top of everything now I have to disinfect all our bath toys and bathtub?"

This led me to my above-titled gratitude for Grey's Anatomy. If you are not a fan of the show, then you probably don't utter "seriously" in every other thought you have during the day. Even my mom (also a fan) says it all the time. What did we do before Grey's Anatomy? What word could possibly appropriately capture that emotion if Meredith Grey had not popularized the term, "seriously?" I mean, seriously, what word did I use - I guess I used "really." "Really - have you had 14 mo old triplets?" Do you see what I mean.  This does not have the same ring AT ALL! What else could we use? My mind is a blank. This term is absolutely PERFECT for almost every single emotion that you need to begin with an emphatic punctuation.

So drop the use of the term banshee and start using seriously if you don't already use it regularly. Except, now what will we replace the term banshee with? "Running around like a _________....." "Screaming like a ____________....." Maybe I'll write the creators of Grey's and see if they can come up with a term for that too.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Wordless Wednesdays (late)

I had a brain freeze and thought yesterday was Tuesday.  So today (Thursday) is this week's Wordless Wednesday, enjoy!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Entering Into Worship

One of my closest friends has been trying to find a church to attend with her family.  She had a pretty intense experience at the church she visited on Sunday.  Intense in the best sense - a close encounter with God through prayer and worship. 

She was sharing some of her praise experience with me and it made me realize it's been a while since I had a similar close encounter.  Partly because I'm distracted.  Partly because I'm not making it to church as regularly since our pastor left.  Partly because I've not been seeking one out. 

It made me crave a time of praise and worship where I really connect with my God and Saviour.  As you probably know, and as I've written since the beginning, music moves me in a way nothing else does.  Whether it's wanting to make out with my husband, craving a big dance off with my kids, or having to fall on my knees before my Heavenly Father, music moves me

I created a play list for myself for the next few days to remind myself of what a worship encounter looks like.  I share the songs with you in case you too are in need of some intimate time with your Saviour.  This in no way takes the place of prayer or connecting through scripture, but it moves me into a mindset where I'm more prepared to enter into His presence through prayer and studying His Word. 

Even if you're on the fence about whether God has a place in your life, I encourage you to check out some of these artists - it may help you as you travel down the path seeking who He is.

How He Loves Us, David Crowder Band (also Kim Walker or Kari Jobe)
Revelation Song (and When the Stars Burn Down), Philips Craig and Dean
Show Me Your Glory, Third Day
Our God, Chris Tomlin
At Your Feet, Casting Crowns
I'm Waiting, John Waller
His Hands, JJ Heller
Have Mercy (and You Are Holy), Michael W. Smith
Everything Glorious, David Crowder Band
God of This City, Bluetree
The More I Seek You, Kari Jobe

If you have a few minutes and want to take time out to worship, I share this video of How He Loves Us, with Kim Walker singing (make sure you stick around through the 3 minute mark and let those words wash over you):

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Last Day of School

Oh.  It's already here.  The last day of their first year at school.  I know it's technically MDUMC Weekday School's MDO program, since they were only 23 months when they started, but it's still school.  Our first last day of school.  And I'm a little nostalgic.  I can't help but reflect on how far we've come in a year. 

They had a handful of words last August.  Now they're speaking in sentences. 

They ate in high chairs last August and drank sippy cups.  Now they sit in big chairs and can drink from big kid cups. 

They were in cribs, safely, last August.  Now, well, they're in and out of cribs and/or big kid beds. 

They were one.  Now they're two.  They wore 2T clothes, now they're in 3T clothes.  They were learning colors and letters and numbers.  Now they know them.  They were each other's sole friends, now they also have school friends and playdate friends. 

Look at these beauties.  This was their first first day last August:

This is their first last day this May (top photo is today, the others are yesterday's attempt at recreating our August shot):

Thank you God.  There are days when I am overwhelmed at the miracles you have entrusted to us.  Today is one of those days.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Baby Ducks - Human and Feathered

I had an awesome weekend.  Gorgeous weather.  Pool finally warmed up enough to jump in.  Hanging out with the "whole family" as little bit would say.  She kept looking around, during everything we did, and, smiling, proclaimed "whole family!" 

In addition to the fajita dinner with friends on the back porch, birthday party and church going, and errand running, there were two particularly memorable moments.  First, seeing my little ones take like ducks to the water.  Second, actually taking our duck (Doo-Dah) to the water where his permanent home will be.

If you missed it, we inherited a baby duck for Easter from my sister-in-law in Austin.  Despite my misgivings, the kids really adored this duck.  And they named him Doo-Dah.  Doo-Dah Duck quickly grew though from a darling little duck into a full grown adult duck complete with less than ideal hygiene living in his little backyard home we had made for him.  We never intended to keep Doo-Dah for his entire life, but rather release him into a happy comfortable environment with other ducks that regularly eat bread given out by nice neighbors.  We settled on the BP duck pond.  However, when the time drew near, I struggled with releasing the little fellow.  It was going to be a tough adjustment.  All five of us traipsed out to the pond Saturday, bringing a big bag of bread to help Doo-Dah make friends, and threw him in the pond.  He was having none of it.  He climbed back out and stuck close to us.  We tried this a couple times.  The turtles and catfish got most of the bread.  While I rushed the kids back to the car parked next to the pond, Bray gave Doo-Dah one last push into the pond.  He hopped out and hurriedly waddled back to our car.  We waved good-bye with him standing there between the pond and the car, I'm sure wondering why on earth we were driving away.  I have to tell you, despite the inconvenience of that duck, I was pretty darn sad.  I'm still a little sad.  I'm hoping he loves his new home and is safe.  The baby this morning looked at me and said, "I miss Doo-Dah."  Me too little guy, me too.  (Here's Doo-Dah taking his last cruise in our swimming pool last week:)

The happiest time of the weekend was swimming with the kiddos in our pool.  They've always enjoyed swimming, but because there's only two of us to three of them, the past two summers they spent most of their pool time in a float ring.  They hate being constrained.  While I wasn't nuts about using arm floats (I've heard it gives them a false sense of being able to float in the water), I am SOLD on them now.  We start swimming lessons in a couple of weeks and giving the kids freedom to kick and paddle and float in the water beforehand will help immensely.  Bray and I had a blast finally "swimming" with them.  The little lady was the most fearless of the three (no surprise there).  She jumped with wild abandon into our arms and then begged, "again, again."  When she wasn't jumping, she said, "me do it by myself mommy."  I was not allowed to touch her while she "swam."  I just stood incredibly close!  The baby also loved the water and happily let daddy dunk him as he learned to go underwater.  The eldest, true to form, was the most cautious.  Saturday he would not leave our side and kept his legs firmly wrapped around my torso.  By Sunday, he had warmed up to the idea of swimming and jumped in and floated by himself by the end of the hour alongside brother and sister.  What a relaxing way to spend the afternoon!  We even ate dinners Friday and Saturday night outside.  Amazingly, the kitchen stays clean when the mess stays outside (on a patio which can easily be hosed off). 

Little bit launching into Bray's arms

Mr. Cautious showing off his new skills

Splashing with daddy

Swimming to the steps
If this is foreshadowing for the summer months ahead, then I have a lot to look forward to with our ever growing trio. 

Friday, May 18, 2012

The Sticker in My Panties and Other Nonsense

I went to the bathroom this morning and there was a green heart sticker in my panties.  I know this sticker.  I bought this sticker because we buy a lot of Target dollar stickers to use as rewards around my house (pee = sticker, win Simon Says = sticker, big helper = sticker, No. 2 = TWO stickers).  But I do not know how this sticker ended up in my underwear.  There are stickers everywhere in my house because once it's on the kids hands five minutes later it is off the kids hands.  Regardless, this is the first time one has made it into my lingerie.  It was a little disconcerting.

The other night all three children had to do some serious pottying post-dinner.  The little lady is so regular you can set a clock by her.  It is why she's the most advanced with her potty-training.  The boys, well, not so much.  So.........I was handling dinner with the kids solo and just as we were finishing up she announced she needed to poopy in the big potty.  Off we ran.  The boys followed.  I guess watching her got the eldest in the mood.  He says, "ME GO!"  So I am trying to hurry her along to get him up on the potty when the baby announced he too had to go.  This is a rarity, and since he needs the most work with potty-training, I was delighted and ran him to my bathroom.  Hilarity, for the outside observer, ensued. I'm running back and forth between all the children on the two potties, the bathrooms are on opposite ends, to ensure that (a) everyone gets to use the potty, (b) the stuff that needs to be IN the potty does not get ON the potty or the floor or their clothes, and (c) no one is injured in the process.  When Bray arrived home later that night I announced: Good news, bad news.  The good news is that all three kids went big potty tonight.  His response is, "what could be the bad news?"  My answer:  We need a new house.  One with three potties.  Especially since I think one is down now because the baby put a half a roll of toilet paper down it.......

The little lady has taken to saying, "no like Marie" or "no like daddy" or "no like Mimi."  She says this in between professing her love for the same individuals upon their arrival and departure.  She thinks it's funny.  We're trying to teach her this is unkind.  I explain we only say nice things about people and it's not kind to say you don't like someone.  She laughs at me like I just don't get her sense of humor. 

She's also pretty cool.  Definitely cooler than I was as a kid.  I'm having to change how I dress her because she's cooler than bows and polka dots.  I'll buy her an adorable toddler outfit and think, hmmm, she's too cool for this, she's gonna need something edgier.  I kid you not, this is what I'm thinking.  She's pretty opinionated about what she wears too.  And what I wear.  She pointed to my pants this morning, which are actually pretty fashionable, and says, "I like that."  Child is going to have some serious style. 

I got in late last night. I went into the kids room to cover them up and kiss them. They were sound asleep. When I got to the baby, he rolled over and said, "mommy, thank you" when I put the cover over him. Ahhh. I stood there for a minute just soaking him up, which he realized pretty quickly, and took advantage of the situation. He said, "lay down on the floor mommy." I told him, no buddy, so he stood up and "let me" carry him in to our room to cuddle up with me. I would not normally make an exception because this sets a terrible pattern with him, but he was just irresistible and I'd not seen him all day long.

The eldest is a hypochondriac.  He says, "me sick" a lot.  To his credit, he's actually been pretty sick lately.  Yucky cough.  He daily requests, "me go to doctor."  After we went to the doctor on Monday morning, he said "I better" on the way out.  To which I replied, well we haven't even gotten your medicine yet, but I'm glad that you're feeling better.  His response was, "me still sick.  go back to doctor."  We were literally still in the parking garage at the doctor's office........good heavens. 

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Brave Prayers

I used to be a brave "pray-er."  I remember marching, like Joshua, around my high school the summer before my senior year as I prayed for God's power to invade the whole campus.  I was fearless in my faith. 

Then I grew up a little.  I saw some hard things.  (Now keep in mind, I'd already seen my parents go through a pretty brutal divorce when I was just 12, so hardship doesn't HAVE to equate to moderating your prayer requests.)  I had asked for things in prayer that didn't happen and I didn't understand why.  My prayers started looking wimpier after "stuff" happened.  My weaker prayers resulted in a weaker ability to withstand the attacks of the devil.  I struggled with bulimia in college.  I battled alcohol in law school.  I gave away pieces of myself.  I spent too much money.  I tried crawling back to the source of my faith but had so many questions.  Why had my heart been broken?  Why had my grandfather, a servant of Christ and pastor of 50 years, died of brain cancer?  Why did my dad have an illness that impacted everyone?  Why had my grandmother, the most Godly person I've ever encountered in my entire life, waste away with Alzheimer's?  Why were friends left at the aisle, diagnosed with disease, killed in accidents, laid off of jobs? 

Despite the ups and downs of my faith, I came back strongly to the center of my relationship with Christ a few years after beginning my legal career.  I realized there were questions that wouldn't have answers, but I trusted that God was in the middle of my life and this world and I had to get back to bold prayers.  I prayed those strong prayers in fervent language for years.  Some had answers that I wouldn't have chosen, but I trusted He was in control.  Then I went through years in the dark valley of infertility.  By the end, I literally could no longer even ask God to bless us with children.  I was too scared.  I had seen too many negative pregnancy tests.  I wanted this one thing more than anything I had ever desired in my whole life and Bray did too.  We wanted to be parents.  Didn't God know?  Prayers were not answered. I was heartbroken.  The month before I found out I was pregnant I had a huge group of bible study women laying hands on me and praying brave prayers.  Prayers I was no longer capable of praying. 

A few years later, I was asked to return the favor.  My dear sweet friend Amy's beautiful daughter had Stage 4 cancer.  After a year, Sofia had gone through her last treatment.  The night before they were set to get the results of the scans, I went to Amy's house and prayed (and BELIEVED) brave prayers.  I prayed there would not be one little iota that reflected there was ever an ounce of cancer in this sweet child.  She writes about it here, in one of her daily devotionals about what the Bible says on fear (which I recommend).  You can see, God answered differently.  He answered our prayers, but not like we had asked. 

It is scary to pray big brave prayers.  Prayers for healing.  Prayers for restoration.  Prayers for salvation.  Prayers for rehabilitation.  Prayers for provision.  They get ever more scary to pray as we grow up and feel God isn't listening to us.  That God no longer is in the business of answering prayers. 

Dear one, He is listening to you.  He answers prayers.  He answers big prayers and little prayers.  He answers them differently than we could design at times, but He is always at work on your prayer.  If you are in a valley where you can't pray, then ask a friend.  I've had to do it.  My sweet friend Amy had to do it.  Find someone in your life willing to pray a brave prayer over you in the hard times.  And if you no longer know what to ask for, the Bible has provision for that too - ask Jesus to intercede for you when you no longer have the words.  I'd be more than willing to pray for you too.  Don't let fear stop you from asking.

Romans 8 - Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.  Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.  And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

Hebrews 4 - Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Multiples Moms Mother's Day: Adjusting Perfect

You might notice this is written the day AFTER Mother's Day.  The plan was to get it written ON Mother's Day but, well, life got in the way.  That's just Exhibit A in how the definition of perfection gets adjusted when you have triplets.  That are two. 

I had a wonderful Mother's Day, but it wasn't the one I planned.  If you've missed it, I'm a planner.  I'm pretty sure that's why God sent me triplets.  To help me let go a little bit.  I realize that He's in control, but sometimes that is hard for me to swallow.  So I have three two year olds that remind me that I am not even remotely in control of anything in my life right now. 

My kids are at the germ-breeding-factories stage.  This results, often, in one or all of them becoming sick when I have something "planned."  Holidays, parties, play dates, or say Mother's Day...........sick hits.  (Christmas was just one of the many examples.)

They have all had coughs, which I chalk up to living in Houston in the spring, but after a couple weeks the baby developed a fever on Friday.  The eldest followed with a fever on Saturday that he is still battling (so I took the morning off for a doctor's visit).  As a result of the fever, or a very vivid nightmare, we were up all Saturday night with the sweet boy because he was convinced a cat was biting him.  He was terrified.  Never had I seen him so worked up.  Even after taking medicine and drinking Pedialite and turning on the light to make sure he was awake, we could not shake him of his terrors. 

So Sunday morning, aside from getting a late start, the family outing to church was cancelled because we couldn't take kids with fevers to Sunday School.  I was disappointed because our new interim pastor started, but I was also too exhausted to get it together to get dressed in time when Bray offered to stay home with the kids so I could go.  It all worked out though.  Bray made a big pot of coffee which we drank leisurely while letting the kids hang out in the play room.  Since no one had a fever by lunch time, we went ahead and kept our reservations for Mother's Day lunch with my mom.  It turned out to be an absolutely delicious brunch, and the kids were perfectly behaved and the conversation was fun.  We all five enjoyed a long nap in Sunday afternoon, a huge gift since naps have been hit or miss lately.  Bray largely entertained the kids after nap time so I could reorganize their playroom.  That sounds mundane, but I felt like a NEW woman afterwards because their playroom was caving in on me.  And despite my no gift rule, my darling husband gave me a gift certificate to my favorite spa in addition to my Mother's Day card. 

It was in fact a mother's day.  Plans askew.  Messes laying about.  Exhaustion setting in.  Yet, it was countered by the new plans being such fun, the messes getting cleaned, and restful times dropped in for good measure.  Yesterday was still perfect.  It's just adjusting what "perfect" looks like.  I am thankful for this time in my life when I spend Mother's Day both with my mother and with my children.  I know these times are growing shorter, for those of us that spent more than the first third of our lives single, and so I loved being able to be with my mom and to be a mom.  I have no shortage of gratitude, or appreciation, for the gift that is. 

The best of the lot - sorry little bit

What most of the photo capturing looked like
Me and the sweet sick eldest

My mom and their Mimi - together with presents

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Triplet Tot Two-Step

I don't know how you working mommas handle this:  the homecoming.  Every day, it starts out as such a delight.  I've missed my kids all day at work, and I rush home to see them run pell-mell into my arms.  Hugs and kisses and dancing all around.  It's a regular jubilee.  Every single day this occurs when I get home.  What could possibly be the problem? 

Well, here's the problem. Usually, I get home right around the time my nanny leaves.  This is not something I can change because she gets off at 5:30 and it's all I can do to hit the road just before 5 from my office to make it home in time.  Sometimes, it's just not possible, and Bray takes hand off duty.   Shortly thereafter, say right around 6, the kids eat dinner.  I'm in work clothes and have to change.  So I spend a couple minutes doing kissing and hugging and another minute checking in with our nanny to see if anything unusual happened that day.  Then I really do need to change.  The kids insist that they follow me into the bedroom, which is fine (I've lost my once firm sense of modesty), but they shred everything in the bedroom.  They find my earrings, contacts, remote, flashlight, you name it, and it gets lost or broken.  Then I get frustrated and they melt  down. 

Fifteen minutes to get from absolute bliss to a dramatic unraveling.  Of course, you still have to manage to get dinner cooked and kids eating mere minutes later.  So you have three two-year olds melting down near a hot stove or oven (or sadly, sometimes just exposed to microwave radiation).  Everything is rushed.  They go into eating dinner having just been upset - I'm betting that doesn't help digestion.  Post dinner is manageable again because we get to play, outside if the weather is nice, and read and take baths and tell stories.  But that first transition hour is brutal. 

I would love to make it easier.  So I'm collecting tips - for working moms with multiple kids everywhere.  Assume that my arrival time and the nanny's departure time is relatively inflexible.  What can be done to make this time a more peaceful and happy time for kids and parents?  I'll update the post with the great ideas I receive and hopefully we can all make dinner time less of a pressure cooker.

UPDATE 5-14: I got so many fabulous ideas from moms groups and comments and Facebook, when I copied them all into a Word doc, they took FOUR pages, so I’ve summarized the highlights in categories. And this is what I’ve taken away for a trial this week: I will have my clothes to change into in the laundry room (off the playroom) so I don’t have to change in my bedroom, I will work on pulling together a crockpot meal on Sundays (it’s a start) and just have my nanny turn it on Mondays (that will cover Mon – Tues dinners), and I will take a deep breath and be happy I have three two year olds that can run and give me hugs and kisses (oh, and I’m buying an Ottoman for the end of our bed!):

1. Regarding changing clothes:
• Can you get your clothes to change into and bring them into a more kid-friendly zone? We usually leave our bedroom off limits for the kids and the cat, since it’s not safe for little people.
• Change clothes right before you leave from work.

• This might sound nutty but is there any way you can have the clothes you’re changing into right off the kitchen, so that you don't have to change in the bedroom?

• I have this issue in reverse in the morning. I am not completely dressed and ready by the time the boys need to get up, so I make them breakfast, get them up and strap them into their booster chairs, and then go back and finish getting ready (with frequent check-ins). We have progressed to the point that they can eat unsupervised for short intervals. I’d do this at night, although I'd probably ditch the heels first.

2. Regarding dinner:
• I am in the exact situation except I only have 20 months old twins. I am the queen of the crockpot and I sometimes make tomorrow's dinner the night before and reheat it. Sometimes when I get home, I take about 10 minutes to spend with my twins and it helps appease them so I can then change and get dinner on the table. If I'm just reheating dinner, I'll put them in their chairs and give them something light to snack on like a cracker or fruit while I fix their plates. I've also found that music calms them down. I've noticed if I put on a children's CD, they'll start dancing and it buys me just enough time to get dinner on the table.

• Dinners are hard for me. If I do manage to cook something I think is healthy, we're in a constant fight about keep away from the stove, don't play with the trash can, stop running in the house, etc. I try to do as much microwaving (steamed vegetables) and simplicity (Greek yogurt and berries, cheese and tomatoes, pasta and tomato sauce, scrambled eggs) as possible. It's a constant struggle.

• Have the nanny prepare a simple appetizer for the children that they can eat while you are fixing dinner. Plan out simple meals or let the kids eat when you get home and you eat when they go to bed.

• I usually let my twins play games on my iPhone and iPad while I am changing clothes and starting dinner. Also, if you are not against a little t.v. in the evening, this could buy you a little time. I don't let mine kids watch t.v. any other time of the day so, they are glued to it while I fix dinner. (GV: Several comments along these same lines – video/t.v. buys a little time – I’m not totally opposed though try not to use t.v. much.)

• My husband usually fixes dinners for them the same way others have suggested--he reheats leftovers or does something quick like frozen foods or makes a quesadilla. Yes, I don't feel good about the quality of food that we are feeding them, but I've had to accept this for now. Then my husband and I eat by ourselves after the boys go to bed. I can’t wait til they can play by themselves while my husband cooks dinner for the whole family, but we're not there yet.

• What about cooking several dinners during the weekend and freezing them before you come home your nanny can put a dinner in the oven to heat up, then all that would be left is just a salad or vegetables to complete your meal?

• What about changing their meals around so they eat a big lunch with the nanny, and then sandwiches or something similar at dinner. I rarely cook their dinners from scratch on the day. I have lots of items frozen in small portions just enough for them so everything gets cooked in the microwave, and I do veggies fresh. If the worst comes to it, then they eat their dinner in separate bits while the next bit is cooking and cooling. Also if you eat and cook yours separately, then make enough for them and they can have it the next day.

• When my kids were young, I'd prepare the next night's meal after they went to bed. That way, walking in the door at least I had a head start on the feeding situation.

3. Regarding our bedroom chaos:
• When my son was two, we had a Thomas lego set that we kept in our bedroom that he was only allowed to play with in our room. We had a tradition of going up to my room whenever I got home from work so I could change. It cut down greatly on him getting into other things, and we would always tell him when he was done to clean it up so he could play with it next time. Now we actually have an ottoman at the end of our bed that opens up, and he has a bunch of toys inside. He calls it his treasure chest and makes a big deal out of opening it. I think the fact that he doesn't open it every day makes it a treat for him, even though its contents are pretty much his regular toys. But we still have the train set he asks for on occasion.

• As for the mayhem, it happens with my husband every day! I hope this isn’t too blunt, but they are just being toddlers messing in your room, so I think you need to find a way to either distract them or keep all the things you don't want them touching out of their way. And be firm with them, they are mommy’s special things, please don't touch. We've been doing this with ours for a while. Also my husband gets them to help him get changed, fetch the hanger,, put his socks in the clothes basket, etc.. If there isn’t any way you can keep your things out of reach, changed before you leave work.

• I have given my two and a half yr old daughter a little jewelry box of her own with a couple of my old costume jewels in it. She also puts her jewelry on when I do (pretend), and I put all my other things on a high shelf for now.

4. Other keeping them occupied ideas:

• During the day, I ask the caretakers to make it a priority to make sure the kids get running in - in the back yard, at the park, at Wonderwild, Chik Fil A (yes, they sometimes take a peanut butter sandwich and just buy a fruit cup, so they can use the play area), on a walk in the neighborhood. My guys also love playing with water - water table (especially with dish soap - bubbles!), running from the sprinkler. My boys won't nap without a lot of exercise, and their melt downs are much worse without the naps.

• Can you recruit anyone to come play with you every once in awhile? I've shamelessly called up old friends and begged them to come over and play with us.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

A Working Momma's Wardrobe

I love What Not to Wear.  If they did a Houston version, and I didn't have a full time job, and I had any time or a degree in fashion, I would totally host it.  I don't think I could be harsh, but I could be helpful.  A dear friend of mine suggested for a few years that I help her shop for an updated "look."  She is beautiful so her wardrobe just needs a little refreshing to match.  We're finally beginning the effort now that she's done having kids and has moved and is ready to start fresh.  First, we're putting her current wardrobe into four categories: Goodwill donation items, Dress for Success donation items, Send to a Tailor for updating items, and Must Keep items.  Then we're going shopping.  I made a list of wardrobe must-haves for any working mom.  I mentioned it to a few of my colleagues and they said, please send that list, we need something like that

So I decided that today's post would be the list.  Ideally, as a wardrobe grows, it will contain multiple items in each of these categories plus "extras."  However, we're all on a budget these days, so start small.  Inventory your closet for the items you already have (that are in good condition and fit).  Then make a shopping list, and don't limit yourself by only looking at pricey stores.  Shop sales and clip coupons, shop second hand, or shop budget (say Old Navy for jeans, Marshall's for a sundress, and Target for sandals).  Note though, DO invest in some higher end items as well - you can tell when something is well made and, if it will be worn a lot, it's worth the added investment (for example, get a beautiful pair of black pants or a power suit).  Finally, this list is developed for: women working in a business casual environment who must be more formal for meetings or interviews, women who need to be modern but casual for kid activities on the weekend, and finally women who want a fabulous party or date night option. 

Leave a comment with any of your must have items I neglected.  Without further ado....

The Working Momma's Go-To Wardrobe List

1. Flat front, well-fitted, black pants (and ideally other neutrals as you go).

2. An unique blazer and a black blazer (perfect for work or the weekend over jeans).

3. A power suit.

4. A beautiful blouse - preferably one great white button down shirt as well as a pretty feminine blouse.

5. A neutral pencil skirt.

6. A fitted sleeveless dress for work and a beautiful party dress/cocktail dress for night.

7. A colorful cardigan.

8. A bold shell.

9. Classic black heels (the heel is not stiletto but is not chunky).

10. A few interesting accessories (fun necklaces, printed scarves, colorful handbags, to change the look of an outfit).

11. A modern pair of jeans in a dark rinse with a straight leg.

12. A cotton sundress.

13. An embellished tee and solid colored tee.

14. Lingerie that fits your figure now - seamless panties, a pair of Spanx, a great bra.

15. Pretty sandals.

16. A sexy silky/satin blouse (can pair with pants, skirt or jeans for a night out).

17. A pair of walking shorts (NOT capris!).

18. Fun ballet flats.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Mommy and Me

So this weekend, most of it, was a girls weekend.  Just me and the little lady while Bray took the boys for some tractor-plowing, cow-feeding, four-wheeler-riding on the farm. 

So. Much. Fun.  We had an absolute blast.  But I may be more exhausted after this weekend than a weekend when I have all three solo.  We did a ton.  You can't run non stop with three two-year-olds because it's too hard to get them in and out everywhere.  With one though, you can run a marathon.  Leap tall buildings in a single bound.  Climb Mount Everest.  (Although I ran into friends at the grocery store Saturday who have one son our kids' age and they were saying how "constrained" their activities are because they have a two year old - I guess it's all a matter of perspective!) 

Friday night we kicked things off with dinner with my mom at Memorial City and followed it with shopping and carousel riding.  Little bit had a blast and loved the two adult to one child ratio and accompanying undivided attention. 

Saturday ended up being jam packed.  We started off the morning having breakfast (and a little more shopping) with my best friend, little bit's Aunt Mary.  Did you realize you can actually engage in an adult conversation when there's only one child at the table?  Wow.  I mean it's not a prolonged conversation, but it certainly was a conversation.  How refreshing.  After our morning with Mary, we snuck in a bit of a nap at home, and then changed clothes (as a result of breakfast syrup) to go party with the Fresh Beat Band.  I'd never heard of these people, but it's some band on Nick Jr. my friend mentioned was coming in town.  I purchased some last minute tickets on Friday and the little lady went nuts over this band.  She manically danced the entire concert away.  I had a blast just watching her GET DOWN!  It cost a fortune but it was worth it:  price of two tickets to Fresh Beat Band - $ XX (refuse to publicly disclose); price of flashing light to dance with at dark concert - $10; price of a bottle of water - $5; price of parking - $7; mommy-daughter's first concert together - PRICELESS!

We followed the concert with cupcakes at Ooh Laa Laa bakery and a quick trip to the grocery store (where we encountered the aforementioned frazzled parents of one).  And then one more quick pit-stop at home before heading out for a Cinco de Mayo dinner with some of my favorite people who are neighbors of ours and have a son the same age as the kids.  The restaurant had a playground AND a bouncy house so little bit jumped for nearly two hours.  She was so pooped at the end of the day we couldn't even squeeze in a bath before she collapsed into happy dreamland in my bed. 

Sunday before the boys returned we did some errand running and low key activities but it was a fun easy day.  I adored my time with her and she with me.  Whenever something wasn't going on, she wandered around the house singing, it her lovely lilting voice, "I love you too, I love you too."  Sigh.  Tingles.  Bliss. 

I love you too baby girl.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Six Years

On May 6, 2006, Bray and I took a huge leap off a huge cliff and said, "I do."  We were in our 30s and had dated other people but, after two and a half years, decided the other one was, "The One."  I am, overused as it is, more in love with him and more sure of my decision today than I was on that Saturday morning six years ago. 

Here's my recap of each year thus far (I've written in detail about our journey to a family previously, you can see those stories on the link that says "Our Story"): 

The First Year - The year of adventure.  That first year was so much fun.  There really weren't problems, we'd worked a lot of those out before we got married, so this year was a blast.  We traveled a lot because a position I had and I still smile thinking about those months.  We managed to hit Boston, Bar Harbour (Maine), Oahu and Kauai, Baltimore and D.C., Sedona and the Grand Canyon, Miami, and Montreal.  Wow!

The Second Year - The dark year.  We were really good together but that was when we were in middle of fertility treatments in earnest.  We'd just gotten the bad test results and had gone through three IUIs and one IVF with no success.  I'd gained weight and became pretty strung out from the drugs.  The one constant and reassurance in my life was loving Bray. 

The Third Year - The surprise year.  What a nutty year this was.  Bray and I were really doing well  in our marriage, and we'd realized even more how strong our love was when the doctor found and surgically removed a tumor in my uterus.  An IVF before that surgery, then an IVF after that surgery, and finally an ultrasound on March 31st before our May 6th anniversary that revealed we'd be adding three people to our family in the fall. 

The Fourth Year - The year of I don't know, it's a blur.  Pregnant, huge, bed rest, hospital, three babies, joy, worry, NICU, home eventually on monitors, sleeplessness, bottles, diapers, joy, worry, laundry, home A LOT, off monitors, doctors, healthy, sleeplessness, fuzzy. 

The Fifth Year - The year of growing pains.  This might have been our hardest year of marriage.  We'd been blissfully in love before babies, and then blissfully thrilled to expand our family during the pregnancy, and then blissfully in love with the new babies but completely sleep deprived and everything else deprived.  I think the chaos and change set in this year.  We did a lot of work on us, after we didn't do a lot of work, and I remember celebrating our 5th anniversary in New Orleans feeling like we were back to "us" and still very much in love. 

The Sixth Year - The year of learning.  We can really finally get out and "do" again now that the triplets are two.  Just this weekend Bray was able to take the boys to the farm single handed & I could gallivant all over town with just the little lady.  Having added back in some freedom has resusciated "us" a little too.  I think when you as an individual starting losing yourself, you don't have anything to give to your partner.  Bray can go hunting now and I can go on a girl's trip, and then we're together as a family and stronger as a unit because we're stronger as individuals.  I'm looking forward to this next year and the ones that follow it. 

Friday, May 4, 2012

Just Gindi

I'm participating in a little "getting to know you" exercise hosted by my sweet college sorority sister over at Kelly's Korner, so here goes:

History: My name Gindi came from the mudflap of an 18-wheeler. I was born in Texas but moved when I was 3 weeks old. In addition to living in Texas (I am now a Houstonian), I've lived in California, Arkansas, Kansas, and Tennessee and did study abroad stints in England and Russia. My parents divorced when I was 12 - my dad was a pastor and my mom is a special-ed teacher. I have the cutest baby brother in the world, he's four years younger which makes him 34 but he's still the baby, and he moved to Oklahoma last year to work near my dad. I got a BA in Political Science & History from Ouachita Baptist University and a JD from Vanderbilt. I've loved two boys and one man (the latter I got lucky enough to marry) and have had the best girlfriends anyone could ask for over the course of my life, but sadly I only get to live in the same city as a few.

Current: I've been married to the love of my life for six years (this weekend!) and together for eight and a half. We've got the most brilliant, beautiful, funny, nutty two year old triplets you can imagine - two boys and a girl. It took us a long time to have a family, so we're unspeakably grateful for this gift of three. I'm a lawyer and have been for 14 years, an environmental attorney for 12 of those. I live in West Houston in a nice house that currently looks like a tornado hit it. In addition to my mom and dad and brother, my husband's family is now my own. He's got two sisters and a brother and between the lot of them there are 11 Vincent grand kids which my mother- and father-in-law love. The MIL/FIL live on a farm in Louisiana and, despite me being a total city girl, my kids adore tractors and horses and cows and hay. Go figure!

What Makes Me Tick: I believe in Jesus and love Him every single day even when I don't act like it. I believe everything I have is a generous gift from my Heavenly Father, and I'm so grateful that He forgives me when I mess up. I love to write and speak. I get to do it sometimes for my job and sometimes on the side for faith-based groups. I hate to work out but I do it, early in the morning, so that I can keep up with my three kids who I'm head over heels for - even though they are two and tough as nails right now. I also get to kiss good morning and kiss good night (and any other time I can dream up in between) the handsomest husband in the world.

My Interests: I love the arts. I try to get Symphony season tickets or catch a play or musical if the budget allows. Plus I'll listen to just about any kind of music out there (almost), but I could listen to jazz around the clock. My favorite movie as a kid was Grease and as an adult is The Royal Tenebaums, but keep in mind I almost never get to see movies anymore (despite adoring them). I think the last movie we saw was J. Edgar. I do DVR a handful of shows, some more embarrassing than others. The current roster is Grey's Anatomy, Private Practice, Castle, The Bachelor/ette, Revenge, and Chopped, but the best show of all time was Friends. I love to cook and travel but don't get to do either right now. I fell in love with Venice and St. Petersburg abroad and Cape Cod, Kenai Fjords, Sonoma and the Grand Canyon in the U.S.

My Friends: I have the coolest friends in the world, and they're all totally different which makes my life interesting and fun. I couldn't possibly list them all, but here's the basic camps:
Mary - she stands alone because she's my best friend and we've been through a ton together and there's nothing I couldn't count on her for (or she me) or tell her, she's my touchstone;
Amy - she's my Christian/accountability/prayer/writing heart friend - when I have a need, she's the first one I call for prayer (and she me) and hopefully in 10 years we'll both be writing forwards to each other's third book;
Natalie - she's my precious mom friend, a working mom who lives in my neighborhood with a son the same age as the kids and she just GETS everything;
Kellie/Alice - they're, along with others, my sweet supportive Fort Worth friends. I had the most amazing deep network of friends the four and a half years I practiced in Fort Worth, dozens of go-to girls, and these fabulous women topped the list. Even after all this time away, they are still as close to my heart as they always were.

I blog about my funny kids and faith-based issues along with whatever random stuff hits me too. My (brand new) Twitter handle is JustGindi (hence the title), but I'm not using it much yet. I'm looking forward to learning about you too!

Thursday, May 3, 2012


I was pretty frustrated Tuesday night.  The kids were sick and I'd had about 4 nights with maybe four hours of sleep each night (I'm a girl who needs her sleep).  I was getting sick to boot.  I'd had an emergency project at work come up on top of my busy work schedule this week.  I had an annual report I had to completely have drafted by today for a Foundation that I chair because no one else "got" my vision for how I wanted to revamp the report.  Plus I realized all the notarized applications, with doctors signed statements, were due this week in order for the trio to be admitted to their school program in the fall (and the school wants ALL of the pages  filled out in original regardless of the fact that the information is duplicate). 

I was really overwhelmed.  My boot camp had started back up for May on Monday-Wednesday-Fridays, and I'd missed Monday because I couldn't leave at 4:45 am when I was tending to the eldest's coughing.  I sent a late night text to my boot camp buddy finally caving.  This is what it said: "sherry - i'm going to take may off from boot camp and just join the gym.  the kids are so sick, i have to write a book, host a 20th anniversary gala, and cover depos.  i feel like crap and need some flexibility.  pls let shelton know i'm in for june." 

The next morning, I felt like a failure.  I still need to lose the 20 pounds that I lazily let creep on this past year.  Even though I've been back at boot camp since January, I've not seen the results I did the year before because I've not been rigorous about my diet.  And here I am bailing on the one thing that's keeping me from another 20 pounds.  I looked at my husband in complete and utter failure and desperation the next morning and said, I don't know what else to do.  He looked back at me with one look that seemed to say, uh yeah, what do you think I'm doing, I'm underwater here too! 

I felt guilty all day.  It was a lovely cocktail.  Exhausted, swamped, frazzled, guilted, and failed. 

Today I came to the, possibly entirely self-preservational, conclusion that it's okay.  Not okay to walk around feeling guilty (there's a whole other post on true guilt versus false guilt that I was reminded of in a recent bible study).  Okay to fail.  And let's not sugar coat it - it is failing.  The goal was work out at least three times a week and lose some weight in order to stay healthy and I just didn't hit the goal this week - and probably won't hit it this month. 

However, when you live in the real world with real world messes, sometimes there is really only one thing that can give.  When that happens, and hopefully it's rarely, that thing just has to give.  Whether you want it to or not.  That one small failure may be the difference between a bunch of bigger failures down the line.  When you or I get determined not to let one thing fall apart, everything eventually falls apart. 

God understands that we sometimes fail.  He encourages us and reminds us that if we trust in Him we'll get back up.  Maybe the reason I failed is because I didn't prioritize in the beginning, and I took on more than I could handle.  I forgot to listen to that still small voice directing my feet which path to take.  My eyes were bigger than my stomach as my momma would say.  But this is the situation today and I have to do the best I can with the time that I have.  Reorder things until I can get back on track.  In the midst of it, I can be encouraged that I may stumble along the way, but because I have a good and faithful Saviour, I will be upheld by His strong hand.  If you find yourself having to grapple with failure today (big or small), then let His strong hands pick you up and tide you over until the deluge passes. 

Psalm 37:24 - If the Lord delights in a man’s way, he makes his steps firm; though he stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand
Proverbs 27:27 - If a man digs a pit, he will fall into it;  
Psalm 145:19 - The Lord upholds all those who fall... 
Romans 3: 23 - for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God... 
Proverbs 24:16 - for though a righteous man falls seven times, he rises again.... 
Jeremiah 8:4 - When men fall down, do they not get up? When a man turns away, does he not return? 
Psalm 43 - God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.
God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day.
(Isn't it so cool that this verse says "her!")

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

He Looks Like An Angel, But.....

I remember when my darling life-saving night nanny, Jenny, used to recap the night for me the following morning during our hand off.  One thing I still remember her saying was that she would stare down at the baby (that being the youngest, obviously they were ALL babies at the time) and think how angelic he looked.  How his white blonde hair gave off a glow as if he was wearing a halo.  And then she said, "he's going to be the one to give you trouble.  And he's going to get away with it."

More prophetic words were never spoken.  To be sure, the "trouble," is harmless.  But it is all Bray and I can do to keep a straight face when this child disobeys because he does it with such a mischievous smile that it's darn near adorable and hysterical all at once. 

Exhibit A, last night, now that he can leap out of his crib in a single bound (yes, we reverted back to caging them after weeks of mayhem in big kid beds), he has also gained the skill to leap over baby gates in a single bound.  So approximately 30 seconds after we leave the room he is in the hallway heading for the den and some television watching.  He says, "I'm sick.  Watch t.v."   As if somehow I'm going to BUY that watching t.v. is going to make him feel better.  This is from a kid that watches t.v. maybe three times a week for less than a half hour in the morning if I'm trying to get ready - but he's an addict.  So we promptly put him back in bed and tell him to stay.  Well we'd just gone through this cycle and I was hard at work on the computer trying to get a project to partner in L.A.  I heard the little lady in the next room saying the baby's name over and over.  I walk into the den and tell Bray that the baby is loose and we probably should go look for him.  Just as he was saying we had nothing to worry about, I look up and the baby is staring back at us, smiling, eyes twinkling, blanket in hand, ready to catch a little WWII action on the military channel with daddy.  He was obviously being determinedly disobedient.  But that twinkle and nonchalance made Bray nearly bite a hole through his lip to keep from falling out of his chair with laughter. 

This is not an isolated incident.  This weekend we were at Lake Conroe for a TYLA Board meeting (they invite former Presidents and Chairs back years later to judge awards) and Friday night the kids were having a blast.  They were up past their bedtime at a crawfish boil at the resort and a d.j. was playing good tunes.  The eldest and little lady were DANCING.  The eldest, and I have to digress because this story is priceless, was quite smitten by: (a) hats, and (b) crawfish.  The d.j. had set up a photo booth with props and my adorable eldest had found himself a red felt fedora.  This is a child, I may have mentioned, that loves himself some accessories.  He was walking around the party like he owned the joint (and he's not always our most social one).  Shortly after finding the hat, he also developed a fondness for one of Bray's crawfish.  Carried that thing everywhere.  And if he had to crawl over steps or a gate, he took his hat off, placed the crawfish in the hat, climbed over the obstacle, took the crawfish back out, and summarily put the fedora back at a jaunty tilt atop his head.  I, sadly, did not have a camera so you have to trust me on the darling-ness of this whole business, but I'm hoping that someone at the meeting at least captured my man in his fedora. 

Back to the baby though, the d.j. played a song where the chorus said, "cold beer on a Friday night."  Well, he started saying, "cold beer!"  If you've forgotten, he's two.  Because we, stupidly, laughed the first time, he kept saying it and added, "I wanna cold beer."  (I'm sorry momma, I know she's dying right now.)  So Monday morning we are getting ready for school and he starts saying, "I wanna cold beer."  I'm pretty sure CPS takes your kids away if they go to Mother's Day Out at a Methodist Church asking for booze.  My wonderful nanny is trying to help me, and she's saying, "no you mean cold milk."  To which he emphatically replies, "No cold milk Marie, cold BEER."  Good night nurse. 

But he said it with a smile and a twinkle.  It makes it incredibly hard to discipline.   Sweet Jenny, I'm afraid you're right.  Houston, we have a problem.