Thursday, July 17, 2008

Remembering Gama

My grandmother went to be with our Lord yesterday afternoon.  Her health has been gradually declining over the last year and has made her more susceptible to falls.  She had several during that time.  However, last Thursday she suffered a heart attack that left her heart at 20% capacity and her other major organs failing.  I was able to see her almost every day that she was in the hospital for a couple of hours and I am very thankful that I had plenty of time to say good-bye.  My parents were both by her side when she passed.  She lived a long life and was ready to meet her Savior.  Her funeral is planned for Saturday.
Gama has been my only living grandparent since I was 7 and really the only one I ever knew very well.  She lived in the same town as we did for most of my life, and for a good part of that, she was just down the street.  She played an integral role in my life and I would not be the same if she hadn't.  I remember spending my first nights away from home at her house.  She would always take me to Picadilly (a local Lubys- type) to get my favorite plate with Salisbury steak, broccoli with cheese sauce, and mashed potatoes with gravy.  
She made lots of clothes for us until I got "too old" for that.  
It really irritated her that I didn't think they were cool anymore.  =)  We spent lots of time up at the cleaners that she owned.  She worked hard all her life.  I try to imagine what it must have been like to be a single mom during that time and how much determination and perseverance it must of taken to overcome the obstacles for a woman to own a successful business by herself.  I don't think that she ever did it because she liked the idea of being successful or making money; she always said that she wanted to give my dad (and us) the best life that she could...and she did.  She bought me a car my Senior year of high school so that I could come back and forth from college the following year.
She always told me that a woman should have an education and skill to be able to support herself if she needed to.  Those weren't empty words because when it came time for high school graduation, she paid for me to go to college.  

Gama lived her whole life in the Monroe, LA area, but moved here several years ago to be close to all of us.  Three years ago, Charlton graduated from law school in Philly and we moved back to Houston because we wanted to build a home close to our families.   I spent two days a week with her our first year back and am so glad that I did.  It gave me a different perspective on what aging was like for her (she didn't like it), and how self-less her love was for her main concern to be a better life for us with the things that she suffered in her own life.  She wasn't very tactful or gentle about giving her opinions but I know her purpose was usually to help. 

In November, my parents moved down the street from us and she moved across town with them to a new assisted living facility close by.  
At that point she needed to be cared for by trained medical staff, but she was the one pushing for the move because she said she wasn't getting to see Steven enough.  We've tried to visit her once a week since she moved in.  No matter how she felt, she always lit up when she saw Steven.  In the last few months, he was getting really good at talking to her and showing her things and she loved that he was trying to interact with her.  I'm so glad that we have pictures of them together.  I hope that we will always be blessed by living so close to family and being involved in their lives like mine was by Gama.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

We All Scream for Ice Cream!

Nothing brings out impeccable manners like ice cream.  Steven practically shouts "more ice cream please" as soon as he knows it's around, and then says "more please" for another bite as soon as it's in his mouth.   It's a vice for me as well.  I wonder if you can pass that kind of thing on because I did eat a lot of ice cream when I was pregnant.

Note to Self:

Push things further from the edge of the kitchen counter.

Friday, July 11, 2008

O Dreaded Day!

Well, it happened...two days ago the unthinkable happened...maybe not unthinkable since it was fairly inevitable...but the thing that certainly I, and probably most mothers dread happened.  Steven realized that he could climb out of his crib.  I heard him wake up from his nap and cry for a few minutes.  I was hoping that he would go back to sleep and he did get quiet after a few minutes but then after a little time cry out again.  I was in the process of finishing what I was doing when I heard him right by his bedroom door and then I heard it open.  For a few seconds, I went into panic mode:

NOOOOO!!  Oh, wonderful, Nap time, please don't go away!  You are my only guaranteed time to get stuff done!  I do so love your peace and quiet.  And you are the only time I can have the dishwasher open, mop the floor, be on the computer, read a book.....  I could always count on you when I'm having a rough day to reboot.  And now you're gone!  Please don't go away.

Ok, so maybe that's a little dramatic since Steven will most definitely still be taking naps.  However, I was very nervous about the fact that he can escape his place of rest and how exhausting it might be to keep making him go back to bed.  I am happy to report that we have been very impressed with the way Steven has adjusted to his big boy crib.  He loves it!  He was a little confused at first when we came home and Charlton had taken off the front side of his crib.  Although, he decided pretty quickly that he thought it was great that he is no longer confined-- no surprise at his excitement there.  The first time he tried it out was nap time and he did get out twice initially to come find us.  However, after being told that he needed to stay in his crib and we put him back in bed, he has never gotten out again.  Yes, I am as shocked as you are!!  We are not claiming victory yet as it has only been two days, but it's nice to have some wins under our belt to remind us when he doesn't do as well what he is able to do.  FYI, I would recommend making the transition when Dad is home for support.  The two times Steven got up, Charlton was the one who firmly told him to stay in bed.  I have been pressing my face against the carpet fairly regularly the last two days to check if any little feet are running around playing behind closed doors when they should be sleeping.  =)  Thankfully, I haven't seen any.  

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Our Hero

Monday was Charlton’s first day at his new job.  He has been on vacation for the two weeks before that and it was wonderful!  We didn’t go anywhere but did plenty around Houston.  It might sound kind of boring but we really were just in need of some time together at home. 

After three years of working at a law firm, Charlton has made the move in-house at a large energy company.  He enjoyed the work and people at his firm but (thankfully) felt that the hours were too demanding to be able to have a good quality of life for our family.  For that reason he started looking at in-house positions because he felt that the work and environment would still be interesting and challenging but definitely more “family-friendly.”  His new group has been very welcoming and invited us to their Memorial Day BBQ that was days after his acceptance.  It is especially nice that I was included and they are eager to get to know our whole family (no, we were not brave enough to take Steven along but they were disappointed which was kind).  

I am so overwhelmed at God’s goodness in providing Charlton (and us) with this new opportunity and phase of life.  We have been praying for some time that the timing and opportunity would be in His timing and it couldn’t have worked out more perfectly.  Charlton's hours will be shorter and much more consistent, plus he gets every other Friday off!  When we found that out I told him it sounded like a fantasy world that was too good to be true!  I’m so thankful for a husband that puts our family before everything else on this earth—even his career.   For me to say that I am lucky would be a gross understatement—I am blessed beyond measure by such a husband!

Friday, July 04, 2008

Happy 4th of July!

We hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday!  We had a nice morning together walking with the neighborhood parade.  Next year I'll have to get my act together and decorate Steven's wagon for him to ride in.  Then we visited Mammaw and Pappaw before lunch and Steven's nap.  We're taking a break from festivities for the nap- we don't mess with that because we enjoy the quiet!  
[Steven's baseball cap reads: Breakin' Hearts Since 2006]

3 Cousins

Charlton went fishing with Uncle Patrick yesterday, so Steven hung out with us girls.  Cheryl came over with Saige and Meadow to play while the Dads were away.  Steven and Saige are so cute together at this age.  They can play together now and have many things in common...such as their new interest in coloring.  It's so good for Steven to play with her and learn to play differently with her than boys and be more gentle.  Saige gets excited to play with him now too and tries to hold his hand and lead him to their next activity.  He's not always into that but we think it's too cute!

Watch out, kids, there's a new crawler in town!  Meadow will be 8 months next week and is very happy to be on the move.  Cheryl and I get a kick out of comparing her to Steven-- we think she's going to be busy like her older cousin and the fact that she started crawling at the same age Steven did (to the week now that I looked it up) reinforces that theory.  She's growing so fast!

Steven loves Meadow but is still working on saying her name.  He usually settles for "Baby," but he doesn't skimp on the hugs and kisses.  Meadow gets lots of love from Steven.  He does pretty well being gentle but every once in a while with get on top of her for a smothering hug- she takes it in stride though.  Yesterday was really the first time I've seen him try to play with her; he is showing her how to stack the cups. Steven and Saige also share a love for Elmo and were happy to share a seat in "Elmo Chair."  We are so blessed to live around so much of our family.  The girls are more like sisters to Steven than cousins, and we're adding another baby to the bunch.  Charlton's sister, Jenn, is due the beginning of February and we are excited to add one more to the family next year.  Although Steven loves the girls, he wants to put in a request that Aunt Jenn have a boy because he's starting to feel a little out numbered!  Hi to Mimi, Popo, Aunt Jenn, and Uncle Evan who are on vacation!

Thursday, July 03, 2008

22 Months

Steven turned 22 months yesterday on my birthday.  I forgot to mention in his last monthly update that he loves cars and trucks now-- actually everything is a truck because he loves saying the word.  He points them out on the road now when we're in the car (for example..."Wow, big truck!").  He has also started pointing out airplanes which is pretty often since we live very close to the airport.  He is just now starting to enjoy more activities which require sitting still and more attention.  He has added Play-Doh to his love of puzzles, books, and Legos.  I mentioned that I bought some a few weeks ago but wasn't sure if we'd actually try it for a while.  Charlton was the one that pulled it out one day and Steven did really well with it (meaning he didn't try to eat it).  He doesn't actually make anything himself yet; he likes for us to make something and then squeeze apart.  He also likes to put it in and take it out of the can-- that provides entertainment for a while.  It's not hours of fun or anything but I'm sure that he'll play with it longer as he gets older.  I like it because I think it fills some of his need for experimentation and curiosity.  

His vocabulary continues to grow as you can probably guess and I am continually surprised (I don't know why) at short sentences and phrases he says.  The other day he asked, "Where's my bag?" and is now bringing things to us and asking, "What's this?"  He can also say (and understand) things like "I love you" and "I'm sorry, Mommy."  That is the best!  In these pictures he's giving me flowers for my birthday after being away for the night at Mimi's.  He is becoming such a big, little boy...two is just around the corner!

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Birthday Monsters

Today is my birthday-- my 28th.  We've actually been celebrating my birthday for about a week- Friday night with Charlton's family and Saturday with mine.  Then Mimi and Popo kept Steven Sunday night so that Charlton and I could have some time together for my birthday.  We went to the Museum of Fine Arts, a movie, and dinner before returning home to a long night of sleep-- I love sleeping in.  =)  
To continue the celebration, I am posting part of my favorite children's board book: Birthday Monsters by Sandra Boynton.  It's just so creative and I've realized since Steven was born that I really like stories with monsters.  Our good friend, Jamie, gave Steven this book for his first birthday.  She said that when she was picking it out, she hesitated for a minute because she thought that some people might not like a story with monsters in it for for their children.  She said she then remembered that we liked Harry Potter so of course we would be cool with monsters.  =)  By the way, there are no monsters in Harry Potter...unless you count trolls...and giant snakes...boggarts...and ok, I guess I just like monsters...

You're not awake.  It's 6 o'clock.
You hear a ring.  You hear a knock knock.
You hear the door come crashing down-
The Birthday Monsters are in town!

Five Birthday Monsters barge right in 
and yell, "It's morning, let's begin!"

They rush you down before you're ready 
and use your breakfast as confetti.

"Oh Look!" They shout, "It's 6:08!  "Your present opening can't wait!"
They've brought the presents they like best.
You get the wrap.  
They keep the rest.

"And now," they say, "It's Hide-and-Seek! 
You go and hide, and we won't peek!"

You find a hiding place that's great.
You wait, and wait, 
And wait, and wait.
You realize 20 minutes later they're raiding the refrigerator.

If you can't learn to enjoy the simple things from your children, then when can you?