Thursday, September 27, 2007

Walk on the Bridge

This evening we went for a walk on the Ravenel Bridge. There are walking paths all the way across so that you can walk from Mount Pleasant into downtown Charleston.
I took my camera with me. David said he was going to walk behind me so no one would know we were together. I guess I must have looked like a tourist. Of course this was the first time that I had been on the bridge. David, Haley and Holden were able to go on the bridge before it even opened thanks to my brother-in-law who is a highway patrolman.
I am glad that I took my camera because I got some great pictures. Here are some of the pictures I took.
This one is of the sun setting over the Charleston Port.
This is a picture of the cables. It is incredible how big they are.
This is the USS Yorktown at Patriot's Point. The aircraft carrier is permanently docked and serves as a museum.
I was taking a picture of the kids at the top of the bridge when a nice lady stopped and asked if we wanted her to take a family picture. I figured why not (by the way, the camera adds 10 pounds).
This is a picture of downtown Charleston as seen from the top of the bridge.
This was a nice way to end the day. I think I might start walking the bridge twice a week. It was actually very therapeutic. Plus, I could use the exercise.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Car pool?

I recently found out that one of Harrison's classmates also lives in our neighborhood. I have been talking to his mother about carpooling so that we don't spend our entire days on the road taxing children here, there and everywhere. So today when I was taking Harrison to school, he started asking questions about the carpooling situation. Here's our conversation:

Harrison: Mom, when am I going to start carpooling with that boy (not sure he knows the boys name is Rob)

Mom: Maybe tomorrow.

Harrison: I don't think I will be able to do that.

Mom: Why?

Harrison: (seriously) Because we need to get a pool pass first.

Mom: (trying not to laugh) You don't need a pool pass to carpool. You just need for mommies to say it's okay.

Harrison: Oh.

A few seconds of silence

Harrison: Well, will I need to bring my life jacket?

Mom: For what?

Harrison: To carpool

I am not sure what he had envisioned in his little mind but I am certain it didn't involve riding together to school. Apparently he had somehow figured he would be going to the pool. Poor kid, what a let down it's going to be.

Monday, September 24, 2007

A bee did it

Harrison, David and I went to lunch today. When we had finished eating, David and I were sitting there talking about our third floor addition. After crawling over us and under the table for awhile, Harrison got bored and asked if he could go outside for a few minutes to touch the small bird bath fountain. Since the door was about three feet away and the fountain was just outside the door, I told him to go ahead. When he got outside, he waved to me and went over to the fountain and stuck his fingers in. A few minutes later he came inside and showed me a hole in his shirt. I asked him how that happened and he said "A bumble bee did it". When I asked him how the bumblebee could make a hole in his shirt, he said "With it's stinger thing of course." So as we left the restaurant, I was on the lookout for those shirt tearing bumblebees. Lucky for us they seemed to have flown away.

Hugs and Kisses for me

I returned home yesterday after being gone for four days. It is nice to get away but it is also nice to return home. Especially when greeted with hugs and kisses. I had barely stopped the car when Harrison came barreling out of the house to hug me. I opened the car door and in he flew, climbing up on my lap. Squeezing me as hard as he could and kissing me over and over. Haley was following close behind but of course Harrison wouldn't let her anywhere near me until he had gotten his share of hugs and kisses. Holden was off riding his bike but as soon as he got home, I could tell he was glad to see me because of the huge smile on his face.

I spent a few days away at a scrapbook retreat. Unfortunately I did not get very much done in the way of scrapbook pages since I went to help a friend with the retreat. I did however meet a lot of nice people, gathered some great page ideas and didn't have to make a bed or cook a meal for the entire time.

Friday afternoon when I was talking to my husband, he asked how he could post an entry to my blog. I was a little hesitant to give it to him, only because I could not imagine what story would be so important that he could not tell me over the phone. Saturday I had a few minutes of free time and I went online just to see what he had written.

I an not sure what I was expecting when I opened the web page, but it wasn't what I found. I was pleasantly surprised that he had written something about me. It's not that I didn't know how much he cared or how he felt about my place in our family because deep down I guess I did. But sometimes it's nice to hear (and in this case I mean read) really how someone feels. From the heart.

I think we are all guilty of getting busy with our lives and forgetting the important things. Like reminding your loved ones how much love them. Or telling your husband/wife why they are important. Or calling your best friend just because. Or taking your kids to the park even though you have piles of laundry in your floor. Or making brownies for a new neighbor.

What a difference it would make in the world if we would all slow down a little more and enjoy the simple things in life. Like hugging your kids and holding hands with your spouse. Or just telling them how you really feel every once in awhile.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Nights Without Momma

In Becky's absence, her husband, David is filling in...................

Have you ever heard the statement "an engine is only as good as it's parts" or "A coach is only as good as his team players". That is so true for the family like I have. My kids Haley, Holden and Harrison do not rest easy when mom is away. The house seems more in turmoil, the food taste old and the kids are asking the same question every night (especially Harrison) "When is Momma coming home"? I really had a taste of this on Wednesday night when I put my son Harrison to bed. Harrison was as always two fingers in mouth clutching his buddy to the degree that the whites were showing in his knuckles. I gave him a big hug and kiss and told him repeatedly how much Daddy loves him. I retired to the downstairs only to hear a faint cry coming from the upstairs. I immediately had thoughts of either buddy has gone MIA or brother or sister has hurt his feelings. I went upstairs and opened the door and slowly moved to his bedside, Harrison immediately rose and hugged me tight around my neck crying and asking how much he missed his momma and when was she coming home. God puts us in a place in this world to serve him to our best abilities and to bring others to him as well. I feel my wife was put on this earth to be my partner and "the" mother to my children. Days go by and go by when it is hard to step back and look at all the blessings we are given and I struggle with that every day. My wife being adopted has spent the majority of her life with a small part of her past missing. By what my wife has experienced over the years taking care of me and raising these kids we have I feel she has a deeper appreciation of what it takes to be a mom and a wife. The beauty about the whole thing is as we grow older (and hopefully wiser) together the love for our kids and each other grows stronger. Contrary to current lifestyles and divorce people in today's world do not take time to look deep inside and really ask themselves what they are seeking. If you would spend time with the "good book" you would know that what you are seeking you will never find with a new spouse, a bigger house, or a fancier car. God put that need in your heart and soul to seek him. What we do on a daily basis is to materialize that need to earthly possessions and we will never be satisfied until we turn to him and look deep inside. As I grow as a man, a husband, a father I struggle with this as well. I do however have a deep appreciation for what my wife is to me and who she has become. She is part of me and she is what keeps my ship floating and steaming ahead. To all who read this, take one thing away from it. I know everyone does not know my wife as I do but look at your family, your wife or husband, parents and grandparents and reflect on what they mean to you and how long it has been since you have told them how you feel. Life is but a fleeting moment, I know that is a popular cliche but it holds more truth than you know. Someone told me something one time that really has stuck in my fading memory. When you are on your dying bed what do you think about; how big your house is, the size of your bank account, how many cars or boats you have. The thing you think about is who is at your bedside and have you told your loved ones how much they mean to you. The most important thing you should also feel comfort in is your relationship with the almighty. Do not wait, do not say I will do it tomorrow! Tell the people that mean the most to you how you feel including God. I love my wife and I appreciate everything she does and I am writing this to let her know that. I am looking forward to Sunday when she returns and I know she will be tired but she will be glad to be back where she belongs, "with her family"

Sunday, September 16, 2007

My buddy

When I was pregnant with Harrison, I worked in the Child Watch Center at the YMCA a few mornings a week. It was a good way for me to get out, for Holden to play with kids and to earn some extra cash. On my last day at work there, my co-workers threw me a surprise baby shower. I honestly don't remember much about the gifts I got except for one. One of the women there made a small "lovie" blanket for Harrison. It was made of two layers of soft cotton material with a solid blue back and teddy bears on the front and trimmed in satin. I had no idea at that time how much that gift would mean to my little guy.

Harrison never did take a pacifier like my other children. He just wouldn't have it no matter how hard we tried. He finally found his fingers and was able to comfort himself. As he grew older, I began placing the blanket in the crib with him and it became what he grabbed for when he went to sleep. As he began to talk, he started calling it his buddy. No one is sure why.

When Harrison began walking he would drag buddy with him wherever he went. To this day there aren't very many places that Buddy doesn't go. Over the years, Buddy has been loved so much that we have had to mend holes and then when the holes began to be too big to repair we had to sew a new backing on him.

Lately, buddy has been looking a little ragged. I would snip a thread here and there but by the next day there would be more threads. Pretty soon I noticed that the whole top of the teddy bear material on the front of buddy was missing and the bottom part was hanging on by just a few threads.

Now a lot of moms (and dads) would have tried to put buddy to rest. And as a matter of fact, that has been suggested in our house by Dad. But, I can totally relate to Harrison since I myself had a pillow until I was, well lets just say much to old to have one.

So one afternoon last week, I pulled out the sewing machine to make the needed repairs. Harrison didn't want to give Buddy up for even a few minutes but I convinced him that it would be a quick fix and then he could have him back. So Harrison pulled up a chair next to me and told me that he just wanted to rub Buddy while I was sewing. Which would have been okay had he not been pulling and rubbing. So I explained that it would go much faster if he would just watch. As he sat there watching, he was telling Buddy that it was okay, it would be over in just a few minutes. He looked up at me just as serious as he could be and said that Buddy didn't like needles and he was helping him not to be scared.

It will be a sad day for me when Buddy is no longer needed. To me, it will mean that Harrison is growing up. He will no longer sit curled up in the chair with Buddy tucked under his chin. There will be no more "I love Buddy SOOOOO much." And there will be no more bedtime searches for a lost Buddy. When that day comes, I will tuck Buddy away in a special place so that one day when I am old and Harrison has grown up and moved away, I will be able to pull him out and remember those special childhood days.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Happy Birthday Holden

Yesterday Holden turned 8. It is hard to believe that he is growing up so fast. I remember his birth like it was yesterday. I will actually probably remember his birth until my dying day. It was a very hard labor. Nine and a half hours of agony. And then afterwards, having my left arm briefly paralyzed and enduring an epidural headache. But, when I saw his sweet face, I almost forgot about what I had just been through. And life was good those first few days. He was a sweet little guy. Then we took him home. And the crying began. And it did not end for almost 5 months. The pediatrician kept telling me that it would end. But during that time I was beginning to question whether it ever would. But, it did pass and he has grown up to be the sweetest, most tender-hearted child. He will warm you with his dimpled grin. And his belly laugh is like the sound of music to our ears. He will surprise you in your weakest moment by making you feel so very loved. He is indeed a special guy.

Holden decided that he wanted to get an Ipod for his birthday so he did not have a big party. I waited until the beginning of the week to go and get his Ipod not realizing that Apple had just released a new version and most stores did not yet have them. So on Monday night, I did the next best thing and ordered it from Apple paying the extra shipping to have it in 2-3 business days. I checked the shipping information on Thursday and found that it was going to be delivered on Monday - too late for his birthday party. So I explained it to him and he was okay with it. But then surprisingly my doorbell rang at 9:30 Friday morning and the Fed Ex man dropped off the Ipod. It was a good thing he was already back to the van by the time I got there or otherwise I might have hugged him. So when Holden opened his presents last night, he was absolutely ecstatic that he had his Ipod.

His grandparents came up for dinner. Holden chose his favorite thing to eat, Chicken Alfredo. We opened presents and in addition ot his Ipod, Holden got a docking station (from grandma and grandpa) and some money from his great grandmother. Plus his brother bought him a new Webkinz (that looks just like his real dog, Sullivan) and his sister got him the butterfly habitat he had been wanting. Afterwards, we had cake (made by grandma of course) and ice cream. Only Holden was too full from dinner to eat any. When we lit the candles, Holden closed his eyes as if making a wish. But afterwards, when his dad asked him what he wished for, he said "Nothing, I have everything I want." It makes me feel good to hear that.

This evening, we took the family and Holden's buddy Porter to a fun park. They rode go karts, jumped in the jump castles, climbed the rock wall and played in the arcade. Afterwards we went out for pizza (the picture is of Holden and Porter each listening to the Ipod with one earphone). Then they came home and played dart tag, which Porter gave to Holden for his birthday. It was a very fun but tiring night. Makes me glad that their birthdays only come once a year.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Growing Up

As a child I remember imagining what I would be when I grew up. The possibilities were endless. I loved to pretend that I owned a store and would spend hours writing out receipts for everything imaginable. Or other times, I would be the teacher and my dolls the pupils. They listened much better than my children do. There was the one experience with the next door neighbor boy when I apparently wanted to be a doctor. But perhaps, my biggest fantasy was to be a pioneer woman like Laura Ingalls from Little House on the Prairie. And it would have worked for me except that I found out she actually had to use an outhouse and that pretty much blew it for me. Well that and the fact that people no longer drove horse pulled buggies or used oil lamps for lighting.

It's fun now to listen to my children as they explore future career possibilities. Haley has, from a very early age, said she wanted to be a doctor. She has always been interested in anatomy and wowed even her preschool teachers with her grasp of the anatomical differences between boys and girls (that's a story for another day). At the young age of four, I would walk in to find her staring at some operation being performed on the Discovery Channel. And one of her favorite shows was A Birth Story (only because she had grasped how to change the Channel and would find it on t.v and watch it until she got caught). Her interest in the medical field hasn't changed much in recent years although at one point she tossed around the idea of being a teacher.

Holden has not really shown a specific interest in a future career. At one time or another, he wanted to be a police officer, fireman, forklift driver or garbage man, common things that most all boys think about. Well, except for the garbage man thing but at the age of 2 he had a big thing for garbage trucks. If we were inside, he would run excitedly to the window to wave at the garbage men. If we were outside, he would stand and watch them as they emptied every garbage can in sight. His dad and I think he will be an attorney. He is the great inquisitor. Never a stone unturned. Or a question left unanswered. He has the need to know and won't let it go until he gets what he is looking for.

Harrison has wanted to be all the typical little boy things (firefighter, police officer, monster truck driver, etc.) Last week he told me that when he grew up he was not going to move away from home. He was going to go to college and then come back home to live with me. I asked what he as going to do for a job and he said he was going to be a truck driver (not sure we are going to be needing a college degree for that job). I wanted to know what kind of truck he was going to drive and he said a really big one. Of course the next obvious question was where are you going to park this big truck. After thinking it over for a split second he said "Across the whole front yard". There goes Dad's grass.

Just yesterday, Harrison told me that he had been thinking more about growing up and he had decided that he was in fact not going to be living with me. He was going to move far away to a farm where he was going to be a cowboy and ride horses. I told him that maybe he could find a farm close to me so that I wouldn't be sad. He said that they didn't have farms near me but I could always come and visit him.

There really is no way of telling at such a young age what a child will do or be when they grow up. I didn't turn out to be any of the things I imagined I would be when I was young. Children change as they become adults and so do their desires. It is interesting to watch how their personalities change and how the things that interested them at one point in their lives become of little importance as they grow older. The one thing that never changes as they grow older is the love that the parent feels for that child. And no matter what they become, whether it is a doctor, lawyer or yes, even garbage man, you love them just the same because their first job was being your child.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Butterfly Kisses

I experienced a mystery of life that will never grow old,
It was an exciting encounter that to me did unfold,
In this life, however long or wherever I trod,
I shall never forget how, through a Butterfly kiss, I felt the Touch of God.

-James Bunton

Yesterday the kids and I went to visit my grandmother for her 81st birthday. She lives in the country, far from the hustle and bustle of the city. It is where we can go to encounter nature at it's finest. If we listen, the bullfrogs will serenade us in the evening with their sonorous bellowing. And in the morning, if we sit quietly in the bay window of the kitchen, we can see the brilliant colors of the hummingbirds fluttering by. And sometimes, if we are lucky, we will catch the butterflies on their migration South. Yesterday was one of our lucky days.

I walked out on my grandmother's front porch and was amazed to see at least a dozen beautiful Monarch butterflies fluttering around. There is something magical about the flight of butterflies. Their wings carry them gracefully from one place to the next in what seems to be a well orchestrated dance.

After a moment's hesitation while I took in the beauty of it all, I called the children to come and watch them. My father told the children to be real still and see if a butterfly would land on their finger. For awhile, Haley and Holden stood there with their fingers poked through the porch railing. Haley, for reasons unknown to us, was the lucky one to have a butterfly land on her finger. You can only imagine the excitement in her eyes as the butterfly gently stroked her finger as if giving her a kiss. It must have liked her because it stayed on her finger for a long time. When it tired of that perch, it would flutter about, rest on a plant and then return to her. She was able to attract several more and one trusted her enough to let her carry them on it on her finger to Holden so he too could experience the gentle kiss of the butterfly.

Watching them made me think of how small things bring such joy to a child. The wonderment of that moment, when they became part of the majestic dance of the butterflies and perhaps briefly felt the touch of God, will remain forever etched in their memories.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Long time gone.......

I know it has been awhile since I last posted but things here seem to be crazier than ever. With three kids at three different schools, I seem to stay on the road most of the day. That doesn't leave much time for doing anything else and by late evening all I want to do is plop in the bed.

Last weekend we went to Tweetsie Railroad for Harrison's 5th birthday. He loves cowboys. In fact, he didn't want to stop wearing his boots when summer came. I told him, in an ever so nice way, that boots were meant for winter and jeans. Not for summer and shorts. Well, he fixed me because he chose to wear jeans for a better part of the summer. I would put out shorts for him to wear and down he would come with boots and jeans. I stopped fighting about it after awhile because it was a battle I just wasn't going to win. But back to our trip to Tweetsie.

My parent's joined us on the trip. We rented a pretty 2 bedroom cabin with a loft. The picture doesn't do it justice. It was beautifully decorated inside and was in a perfect location, about 6 miles to Blowing Rock and a mile from the Blue Ridge Parkway.

On Saturday when we got there, we headed to Linville Caverns. My parent's went to these caverns on their honeymoon, 45 years ago. I have been a few times since but am still awed every time I visit. The kids were amazed at the beautiful rock formations and enjoyed being able to walk in real caves. The picture of this stalactite reminds me of one of the sea creatures in Pirates of the Caribbean. It is actually covered with algae from the light that shines on it.

Saturday evening, we ate at a restaurant called The Canyons, that sat high up on the edge of a mountain and overlooked a beautiful valley. Sunday morning, we had a pancake breakfast (compliments of my mom, cook extraordinaire) and then headed to Tweetsie for the day. They have a steam engine that takes you for a ride around the park. During the ride, you experience Cowboy and Indian fights. During one particularly intense moment when and Indian ran by the train and jumped up at the window were Harrison was sitting, he looked at me and said "I am ready for this ride to be over, it's scaring me." The rest of our day was less intense and we all had fun on the rides and at the petting zoo.

Monday, we did some shopping in downtown Blowing Rock and then headed back home to get ready for school the next day. It ended up being a long day because we had to go back to Charlotte and load up the remainder of our stuff to haul to Charleston. We also had to make a detour to drop David off in Columbia so that he could be at his corporate office on Tuesday morning. By the time we got home, we were totally exhausted.

Tuesday was Harrison's first day of kindergarten. His teacher, Miss Pat, is a sweet English lady who has been teaching kindergarten for many years. She is going to have her hands full because Harrison's class is seven boys and one girl. He was excited to go and meet his new friends. His only complaint was that they didn't get recess. I asked him had they gone outside and he said that they had. I told him then that was recess but he didn't buy it. I guess he has something else in mind.

The rest of the week was a blur between shuttling kids to and fro and running all my errands and washing the loads of clothes that had accumulated since the last laundry session. I did get my new super duper extra large Whirlpool Duet front load washer and dryer this week so that helped with all the loads of laundry. And let me just tell you that I did not realize how bad my other dryer was until I started using the new one.

I am glad it is the weekend so I can get a little rest. We are going to visit my grandmother tomorrow for her birthday (it's today actually). I haven't seen her in awhile so I am really looking forward to spending some time with her. Haley is going to interview her for a class project. I am anxious to hear her answers to Haley's questions. I might even throw a few in myself.

Harrison is now hanging on me wanting me to go and find his Buddy (blanket) so I guess that will wrap this blog up. You can ignore them for only so long.