Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Celebrating Mama's 80 years

We arrived in Stephenville on Friday night after the drive I described in the last post.  We underestimated the importance of being the first to arrive-- Steven loved having all of Mama and Papa's attention.  He had a blast talking and playing with them; he thought that Papa's duck noises were hysterical which made us all laugh.  Steven definitely is a fun-loving kid and he loves being around all of his family.  

Steven loves his Popo.  He gives him a hug first and then digs through his pockets (just about every time we are with him).  Smart kid, I think-- you butter him up first and then go for the front pocket which always has money in it.  Unfortunately, Steven doesn't understand the value of money yet- that a $20 is better than $1 or that he should try to keep it.  =)  He always puts it back when he done rummaging around.  We got to work on that!  

Playing with Mimi

Monday, August 25, 2008

On the way up

We drove to Stephenville, TX this weekend to celebrate (Charlton's) Mama's 80th birthday.  Steven did great on the trip up and we were excited to discover that a reasonably long-ish road trip is actually pleasant with Steven...not without a little planning ahead though.  We made the 1 1/2 hour trip to good ole College Station and I had already searched for a fun place for Steven to run off any extra energy he might be saving up.  I found The Bounce- a place full of inflatable houses and slides.  We had never been to one of these before and Steven was in awe of the fun going on in that place.  It only took him an hour to wear himself out.  Then, we met Aunt Lindsay and Uncle Kyle on their lunch break for some good Tex Mex before beginning the last leg (3 hours) of our journey "north."  Steven did fall asleep in the car after lunch (which is what we were hoping) but unfortunately only slept 45 min.  Even still, he was very content to look out the window for "big trucks" and have me read him the bag of library books I got last week.  It included several Dr. Seuss and truck & train books.  That's right, I pulled out all the stops!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Early Birthday Present

I think he likes it!

We bought Steven a wooden swing set off Craig's list for his birthday.  Charlton, Popo, and Uncle Patrick moved it and reassembled part of it 2 Saturdays ago.  Then Charlton and Popo spend most of this last Saturday working on it again when rain permitted.  We had the seller use his warranty to order replacement boards for the ones that had rotted through and we are waiting for those to come in- we are just in phase 1 right now.  Phase 2 involves sanding and staining the wood to make it look like new again.  They got enough together this time for Steven to be able to use the swings.  He was napping when Popo left so he did not get to see Steven's reaction to his birthday present so these pictures are for him.

Thank you for all you hard work Popo-- it did not go unnoticed!!  Several times everyday, Steven stands at the back door (because it has rained everyday since) and says "Steven's swing" and "Daddy slide" (we tell him that Daddy and Popo are building him a slide).  He's going to be beside himself with happiness when they get the fort built and the slide on.  

Friday, August 15, 2008

Rained Out

We missed going to the pool on Tuesday so we tried to go today.  It was sunny with one cloud in the sky.  It was really cloudy and dark on Tuesday but then never rained so I thought we'd be safe going today.  Of course, it started pouring after we were in the pool for five minutes.  Oh well, maybe tomorrow.  I even took my camera because I haven't gotten any of Steven at the pool this year.  Thankfully, I took this one before we got in.  Doesn't he look grown-up and cute?!  His beach towel was a souvenir that Mimi and Popo brought him back from their trip to Disney World- too cute!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

8 Years yesterday

Charlton and I have been married eight years.  It seems like a long time especially when we think back to our early years of living in College Station still in college.  We were so young!  I turned 20 years old just over a month before we were married.  Since you are all intelligent people I know that you can figured out then I was 19 while we were engaged; I probably looked younger than that.  It, I assure you, was tons of fun arranging all the events for the wedding because I always got asked how old I was and was told by young and old that I was too young to be getting married.  I never heard as much as I did about getting married so young as I did in Philly- mostly at work.  I had lots of co-workers that just couldn't believe how a person could commit at that young age and know that she would/could spend the rest of her life with someone else.  I would love to have been able to then, and now, talk about how I have wisdom and maturity beyond my years and that my intellect far surpassed my peers.  Obviously, I made a very good decision!  However, every anniversary I am reminded how much grace and blessing that God has poured out in my life specifically when I think of Charlton.  I do not deserve him!  

 I meet him nine years ago.  I think that it was Feburary '99 when he came to the A&M RUF weekly meeting and we met.  We started dating in August, were engaged Feburary '00, and were married August '00.  I was starting my Jr year at A&M, and although I originally had been "very uneasy" to talk about getting married with that much school to finish, I was quickly "convinced" and excited about starting this adventure with Charlton at 20 years old.  

 I hear so many people say now that you should find yourself, finish school, start your career, make some money, live on your own, etc, etc, before getting married.  We did most of that together and it has been a wonderful way to live life.  I have never regretted getting married so young, and on the contrary, look back in amazement wondering how I could make such a wise decision at a young age when everything else told us we should wait until we were older.  God was heaping tremendous blessings on us early on.  Some days I wake up and can't believe my luck that I am married to such an amazing man!  I tell people when they ask why we got married so young that I knew what a great catch Charlton was and that if I didn't snatch him up right away then someone else might try and steal him.  It's a light hearted answer but true.  I wasn't necessarily ready to be married in general, but I knew I was in love and HAD to marry Charlton and so it didn't matter if I was 19 or not, I was ready to commit myself for life!  How do you explain such feeling?!    

Charlton has helped me understand better who I am, my strengths and weaknesses, God's will for my life.  Several months ago I read Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas and in two chapters he wrote about Anne Lindbergh (Charles Lindbergh's wife).  He included a passage from one of her journals in which she wrote about becoming engaged in spite of many people suggesting otherwise.  I thought that it was a beautiful description of how committing to someone for a lifetime is truly freeing and liberating- such a contrast to today's view of marriage that it's hard to explain how love can completely take over your life and make you a different person in a good way.  So many people today are worried about losing their identity by committing their life to someone else.  God's made me a different person and given me a new identity as Charlton's wife-- that is, in fact, the point.

To be deeply in love is of course a great liberating force and the most common experience that frees young people.... The sheer fact of finding myself in love was unbelievable and changed my world, my feelings about life and myself.  I was given confidence, strength, and almost a new character.  The man I was to marry believed in me and what I could do, and consequently I found I could do more than I realize, even in mysterious outer world of flying that fascinated me but seemed so unattainable.  He opened the door to real life and although it frightened me, it also beckoned.  I had to go.


Yesterday marks eight years since I by God's grace made the best decision of my life.  Praise God for His gift of marriage and for our wonderful 8 years together!  


23 Months (11 days ago)

Things have returned to normal here, or what we know as normal.  That's a hard word to use with toddlers because Steven is changing all the time.  When he hit 18 months, we talked about how much he changes every month.  Now he changes by leaps and bounds every week and it's hard to keep up with (and we only have one kid so far!).  

The big boy bed is still going well for which we are extremely grateful.  And since things were relatively calm for a week we decided to stir things up a little and put Steven in a booster seat at the table- he actually asked to sit in a "big chair."  That might not seem like a big deal but everything new that we're doing now is a "big boy" activity.  

Charlton's new work schedule has been so wonderful!  Since he started his in-house job a month ago, he gets home at 5:30 every day during the week (compared to 6:30 or 7 beforehand) which means that we can eat together as a family.  I've always fed Steven his dinner around 5:30, and then we'd eat at 7 or later after Charlton was home and sometimes Steven would even be in bed before Charlton and I would sit down to eat together.  It's also been interesting trying to get Steven to eat whatever we're eating.  I hear most kids like that but Steven doesn't care if we're eating it or not, if he doesn't want it then he won't eat it...period.  It's been a little of a battle (though not as bad as the bed) since our rule is that I only cook one meal so if he doesn't eat it then he's out of luck.  

Our general feeling about milestones now that Steven's older is we'll know it's time for something when he's ready-- enter climbing out of his crib and asking to sit at the table.  But, the most frequently asked question I get these days is if we are potty training.  Let me say a loud, "N-O!"  I don't plan on potty training Steven anytime in the near future unless he tells me one day that he wants to.  We do have an Elmo seat that fits onto the toilet and he likes to sit on it, throw toilet paper into the bowl and flush.  We talk about going in the potty a lot but he hasn't made the connection that you actually do something in it, or maybe he does I don't know.  I've rushed him to the potty a few times when I know that he's about to go but he got upset that I did that.  So now he sits on it when he wants to and we talk about how big boys go on the potty and when he does that he won't have to wear a diaper (he's been trying to take them off a lot).  He's definitely not ready yet and I'm not going to force him...there's no need to rush.  And mom and dad can only take one major change at a time.         

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Inside fun

Most mornings we have regular activities I've scheduled ahead of time but Tuesday mornings I leave open for Steven and I to do whatever we want.  This summer that means that we go to the pool on Tuesdays.  However, today is pretty gloomy and not good pool weather so we decided to go to the Children's museum and invited Mammaw to go with us-- she also accompanies us to the pool sometimes.  =)

But this was her first time to go to this museum and only Steven's second visit  We got there when it opened at 10 and it wasn't crowded at first but by 11 it was packed with groups of YMCA kids. We had a good time but it was getting hard to maneuver around all the kids.  
I wonder if it's always that crowded or if I just have a knack for picking the busiest times.  That's why we haven't gone back for a while because it's hard to stay close to Steven and he is so distracted by all the older kids around that he just ends up running around rather than playing with any of the exhibits.  He did like this thing that tossed balls around when you press a button-- that's right up his alley-- and he played in an old Mustang for quite a while.  

Monday, August 04, 2008

Big Boy Bed

We are doing fine here.  It's taken me a little while to get back into the swing of things and get motivated because I've been a little overwhelmed by all that has been going on.  Our family has been sad but doing well since Gama's passing so thank you for your prayers and thoughts.

Steven has successfully transitioned into his big boy bed though not without a fight! 
He did really well for about five days and then I guess he realized that he could get out of it if he wanted to.  So the next five days were pretty rough especially because they happened to be the same week that Gama was in the hospital and passed away.  It was a lot to process.  We spent a lot of time and energy putting him back into bed over and over and over again which he of course was not happy about.  He would do ok at night since the darkness made his room less distracting, but he didn't nap much that week.  By Friday (day before Gama's funeral) I was at my wit's end and then he suddenly decided to give up the fight-- probably because he was so stinkin' exhausted (as I might add so was I).  Since then, he has not gotten out of his bed once.  He always tells us when we get him up in the morning or from nap that, "Daddy said bed no-no."
Translation: Daddy said not to get out of your bed!  It's pretty funny, and when we tell him (several times a day) he is doing really well with his big boy bed, he smiles and is so proud.  I'm sure that he'll decide one day that he can get up again but hopefully the biggest transition is made.  
He has been very clingy lately and we figure that this major change has affected him greatly, but overall he really likes it and is proud of himself so I think it will stick.  I got a book called "My Big Boy Bed" from the library and he loves to read it.  When he's really excited about it (usually when we show family and friends his "new" bed) he jumps and giggles on it-- so cute! 

Side Note: Tropical Storm (possibly hurricane?) Edouardo is in the gulf and should hit Houston by 10 am tomorrow morning.  It is only predicted at Category 1; it's still a hurricane but shouldn't affect us like Rita did.  We are pretty far inland so we 
are not too concerned but will be confined to the house all day tomorrow until it passes.  Charlton's company has closed its offices.