Thursday, August 26, 2010

Happy Birthday Peggy!

I feel it is only appropriate to end my night thinking about how blessed I am to have such an amazing family. With 7 brothers and sisters, my life is full of wonderful memories and stories that seriously can't be made up even if we tried.

Theresa (my twin) and I were number 7 and 8 in the line up. My mom and dad were shocked with the pregnancy. Why do you ask, well she was 43. The other shock? The doctor told her she was having a 10 pound baby boy. Instead? a tiny 4lb 14ounce girl (me) and then 8 minutes later? a 5lb 6ounce little girl (Theresa). My three brothers and three sisters were about to get the surprise of their lives! I'll always say that God blessed me with my twin so would not have to be an "only child" (Our other siblings were older---ranging from 22 to 10 years older than me and Theresa) But not only did God bless me with my twin, but with Peggy, the oldest/wisest/most amazing big sister anyone could ever have. Today on her birthday, I reflect on who she is, and why she is so very important to not only me but to my family.

It takes a special person to be the oldest, especially of 8. No one in my family is more perfect for taking the "oldest" sibling role than Peggy. God, I think, created Peggy, specifically for that responsibility. So what makes her the perfect big sister? It just so happens that I am in a list making kind of mood, so that is how I'll be organizing my thoughts.

1. She is a protector. Not in a "i'll beat you up" sort of way (unless there is another side to her I don't know about!) but a mother hen type of way.

2. Empathy. She is the most understanding individual I know. She may not always agree with you or doesn't exactly know what a person is feeling, and she never tries to fake that she does. That's what I love about her. Even though she may not fully understand what I might be facing, she is fully capable of giving me empathy and support.

3. Sleep overs. The memories I have (and I guess I'll speak for Theresa too) sleeping over at Peggy's houses (first in Latonia, then Falmouth and finally Covington) are unforgettable. These are the days that I felt the most love. The simple gesture of her giving up her weekend to host her baby sisters is the most kind thing she could have done for us. Peggy, you have no idea how much happiness those sleepovers gave me.

4. Vacations. Canada to florida, Vermont, Connecticut, New Hampshire, New York...the list goes on and on. Sure she had a camera shoved in our faces at every second (funny how the tables have turned) but she did that so we could remember our vacations through pictures. Thank you Peggy for allowing me and Theresa to always tag-along on your adventures with your family!

5. Selflessness. This is the most important roll of a big sister and Peggy's pciture, I think should be next to the definition in Merriam-Webster. She has always and will always put others before herself---period. I could call her up this very moment and tell her that the only way I could go to sleep is if she didn't and she would totally stay awake just to give me the opportunity to sleep.

6. Devotion to family. Everything my sister does encircles her family. Every movement, action, thought is all decided upon this one question, "How will this affect my family?" She is the one always coming up with great opportunities for our family to get together, to be together.

7. Compassion.

8. Hard working. My sister works her butt off. she always has and always will. As a little sib, being able to look up to a person with such a strong work ethic, without a doubt helped shape me into the person I am today.

9. Quirky. Ever oldest sibling needs to be quirkey. My sister has the "sexy walk" the "Peggy laugh" and many other quirks to her that just make her, her. I love that fact that she can take any situation and make it a memorable one. Like the time we were scrounging for pennies JUST to buy a roast beef sandwich while Dale was buying a car at the dealership--hysterical.

10. Ability to bond with each younger sibling. We smith kids are all crazy and we all love each other very much (that goes without saying). I think that is the case because we had such a beautiful foundation to build that on. Peggy has developed a special relationship with each sibling and appreciates each one of us for our differences--that means there is never a dull conversation with her and each time you see her, and interact with her is always genuine.

There are so many more things I could say about my amazing sister, but my tears are getting in the way of being able to see what I am typing. I'll end by saying this:

Peggy, I hope you had a wonderful birthday. My day was perfect just knowing that on this day you were brought into this world. We are so blessed--God designed you just for us, to be the anchor of our family. The phone calls, the "it'll be fun" outings, among many other precious memories I hold dear to my heart are all reminders of how amazing you are. I wish you nothing but a year full of love, happiness and most importantly family. I love you so much!

The Brown Bag Lunch Project

In our quest to have another baby, Doug and I realized that if we thought we were broke now, adding another kid into the mix certainly will cause even less money to remain in our wallets.

Time and time again we've heard, "you'll never be financially stable to have kids...if you wait, you'll never have any more." I agree to an extent. I agree that having children just isn't kind on the wallet. However, one shouldn't just use that as an excuse. Doug and I are very much ready to have another baby, but he tends to over analyze our money, and our ability to provide for our family. It makes a perfect balance because I do at times use that excuse of, "we'll find a way."

One evening as I used that cliche phrase, Doug retorted, "and what ways are those?" Well I wasn't prepared to answer that. I soon began to realize that he was absolutely correct. Two tuitions for 1 year and then Deacon will be ready for school, so that doesn't seem so scary. But then there is the age old question: public school or private school? I was a private school kid who banked on religion class everyday. Doug was a public school kid who attended CCD instead of a catholic school religion class. Even though Kindergarten seems so far off in the distance, it really is only 2 years away....yikes.

other cost spikes that I fail to see are clothing/groceries/toys/etc. These are all things that Doug is rightfully concerned about and as I really sat and thought about it, I began to realize the potential of me working JUST to send our kids to school or buy what we need as a family.

The anxiety mounted, yet two good things came out from that discussion 1. We are still wanting to get pregnant by the end of this year and 2. It opened my eyes to see what I can do NOW to prepare for this hypothetical baby that God has not yet blessed us with.

This leads me into the Brown Bag Lunch Product. There isn't really a huge equation or statistics or proof that this will save money, but I am thinking that it will! I bought lunch almost EVERY DAY for work. Sometimes lunches were $5.00 while some were as high as $15.00. So in a given week I'd spend between $25.00 and $75.00 on lunch. WHOA! which then adds up between $100.00 and $300.00 a month. I'd bet that in a typical month I'd spend $150.00 in food, not even groceries. Here is the other kicker, we'd budget for groceries, but many of it would go to waste because I didn't pack. This I see as a waste. Also, all that junk food certainly wasn't doing me any favors by way of my waistline.

Last Monday, I decide enough was enough. I packed my lunch. Then the entire week I followed the same thing. mid-way through the week I realized why I bought my lunch so often...convenience. It is such a chore to pack a lunch...a healthy one at that. BUT I persevered and got through the entire week with out buying a single lunch.

I did decide that Friday would be my out to lunch day. Let's face it, besides the convenience factor, going out to eat is fun. You get to be out of the office, around your friends--it's more about the food at that point, its about the quality time friends get to spend with one another. So Friday is my day. Most of my colleagues even know that Friday will be the standing lunch day and to not even bother asking me any other day of the week. Last week was such a success that I began this week packing my lunch and so far so great! I've even been cooking more dinners knowing that leftovers can be transformed into lunches for me during the week. So yes, I am actually spending more money at the grocery but am getting a greater ROI because I am not only fueling my body with better foods, but also I get more bang for my buck.

Doug and I are in the midst of deciding what else we can do to still enjoy a comfortable life, yet in a way that helps us save money our our next baby, whenever that happens. Cable/phone/internet--what can we do to save money? I haven't figured it out all the way yet, but when I do, believe me, I will definitely share the secrets!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

The day before a Manic Monday

I am holding onto this day so tight and refuse to let it go until midnight creeps upon our alarm clocks. Even when I wake up tomorrow to start the week, I may still pretend that it is Sunday.

Monday has always had a bad rap. Poor weekday. But honestly, when Sundays are so good, the last thing that you want is a Monday to roll around. Mondays = deadlines, meetings, reminders of projects that just seem impossible. Sunday was a day to actually forget about work for once and so it just seems a little unfair (and slightly ironic) that Sunday was a true day of relaxation just one day prior to the start of the work week. Now, I'll manage. I'll wake up, shower, get dressed, throw on my face and lift my heavy, tired legs into my car and make myself drive into work. I'll survive. Once I get there it won't be so bad, but the thought of it just seems so depressing.

So what makes today so special? Nothing really. Today wasn't particularly spectacular, but it sure was one of those days that just will stick with me for a long time.

It started off with Deacon calling into our room "Moooooooooommy, Daaaaaaaaaaaaaddy The sun woke my eyes up". Hearing his sweet little voice almost makes the early morning routine tolerable.

The best part about Sunday's is that Deacon will crawl into our bed and snuggle up while he watches his morning shows. Then he'll get so uncomfortably close and say, "I think you want to read books with me mommy." The kid is so persuasive.

So after our somewhat normal routine, we pulled ourselves out of bed and got ready for Mass. Deacon always says, "is it time to go to Jesus' house?" SO cute. So away we went to Mass and even though Deacon had a hard time sitting still, there wasn't a significant outburst that required us to visit the baby room.

Insert tangent: Every Sunday, right before Mass, the Lectern states: "it is sometimes difficult for small children to remain seated and quiet throughout the Mass, for your convenience, there is a cry room, blah blah blah blah. I totally agree with the concept. But there has become a sort of expectation that if you have a small child that you MUST be in that cry room. This is where I disagree. First it looks like a zoo. Meaning, you are in a tiny room with windows that peer out into the congregation. So the "normal" church goers can just take a peek at the animals behind the glass. Frustrating. Here's the other beef I have with the cry room: for one reason over the other, kids just know it ain't the "real deal" and there fore they get more antsy in that room than they do at church. Also, parents seem to think that because they are in said cry room that their children can run around like cheetahs at the cat exhibit. So, what does that teach the children. Absolutely nothing. When will they ever sit still if they never have the opportunity to learn? end tangent.

SO Doug and I are the rebels of the church and we don't really care. Okay, we care, but we refuse to let Deacon think that church time is play time. SO we decided that since Deacon is three, he can totally hang with the normal church goers and begin to learn the concept behind our Mass, our faith, etc. The cry room has been renamed in our family to the "Baby" room and it is for babies, and if he acts like a baby then he has to go to that room. Maybe that's a little harsh, but it works. Sure the kid is three. He will say funny things during Mass and move around more than the average adult, but if he isn't screaming, crying or kicking, then we will sit as a family with the rest of our church family. It just makes more sense to us. Deacon is learning the expectations set forth for Mass, plus Doug and I actually get to listen to the Mass. It paid off today because the homily was, I think, written specifically for Doug and me. It was words that resonated deep within us and served as a wake up call. The priest brought us back to elementary school with the simple end line he used:

Who is God, God is love. If we have the ability to love, then we have the ability to have God in our hearts. simple, yet so often overlooked.

After my faith recharge, we set out to get some doughnuts. Deacon got chocolate with sprinkles, here is the aftermath:





Deacon ate only the icing, but really, that's that best part so you can't really blame him!

The funny thing is that I have been on a diet (meh) this past week, but for some reason I seem to believe that calories don't count on the weekends. This means that all my hard work during the week went down the tubes this weekend. This is something I definitely need to work on! Tomorrow will start a new week (yes, yes, I already stated that, so no you'll not have to read my soapbox again) and I'll pack each day, workout and lunch and try again. The main reason I am dieting is not to loose weight (although 10 pounds would be AWESOME) but just to eat better foods. I don't need all that fast food crap. I need real food, with real texture and taste. I couldn't tell you the last time I crunched down on celery--it.was.amazing. I am also calling it a diet because I am putting my spending on just that, a diet. I need to spend my money more wisely--and eating out everyday at work is not wise. This week I saved $60.00 on lunch by packing. multiply that by 4, then 12. You get the idea.

So after our doughnut/eggs/sausage fest came to a close we just played trains, puzzles and let the day ease on through our household. There was laundry to be done, dishes to be washed, grass to be mowed and floors to be mopped, but for once we didn't do ANY OF IT. Doug and I were so content just being parents today that we didn't even bother multitasking and it was AMAZING!

After our morning of play, we laid Deacon down for a nap (oh yay, you better believe the couch had my name written all over it!) and prepped ourselves for the zoo. It's been too hot to do much of anything in the Greater Cincinnati area this summer so our zoo passes were put to a hault by mid-June. Thankfully the weather today was tolerable because Deacon had a huge desire to see the "amiminals". Just as we were slinking into the park the other guests were leaving, so it was absolutely perfect. no lines. no crowds. just trickles of patrons here and there. We were able to go see all the exhibits that we wanted to and we didn't feel the need to rush. Deacon's favorite animal currently is the Lions, so that was a must see. We also went to see the Manatees, but they weren't out. I was bummed--they are by far, my favorite animal.

As the the clock struck 6, we headed for home, had dinner and then indulged in Hawaiian Ice. That's right, shaved ice covered in sugar. delicious. You can't go through a summer without visiting this shanty of a stand. Its a right of passage. I think Deacon was addicted to them since he was in the womb. I craved them uncontrollably and when I was on bed rest I had plenty of people stop by with the icy treat for me. Deacon ALWAYS gets orange, just like his daddy. The two of them were being absolutely adorable...luckily I brought my camera to share some of the cuteness:

capturing our shadows

getting some drawing in before dessert





My leading men...

They put so much joy in my heart





As the sun set, so did the festivities in our home. We washed away the day with soap and water, got bundled up in our PJs and ended the day just as we began it, in our bed all snuggled up reading books before bed. It has truly been a wonderful day.

Good night!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Found Treasure

I mentioned a week or so ago about the sheer happiness I get when I find money in my pocket. Today, I didn't find money. Rather, I found something much more valuable. I was photographing one of the members of executive team for our company website and as I was downloading the pictures, I stumbled across some pictures of my little guy that I had completely forgotten that I had taken them! He is getting really good saying "cheese" everytime I get the camera out! I'd thought I'd share some utter cuteness with you:

no day is complete without a signature monster roar from Deacon:

When I see this picture I can't help but tear up. When did he get so big?
sadly enough, most of the time I have been so busy with "life" that it is just passing me by without any warning. It isn't until I "capture" the wild life that I actually "see" what is whirling around me. This picture is just that. I look at that precious face and feel so blessed Deacon picked me to be his mother--that for the past 3 years I have been responsible for this life, this one wild, beautiful life. It also is sobering too, because for a quick minute I felt like I didn't recognize him--that's how big and grown up he looks to me. I paused and thought, surely this isn't my son, what happened to the infant? My kid is a pre-schooler, what?! One look at this picture serves a perfect reminder that I need to stop what I am doing every once in a while and pay attention. Cleaning can wait, work can wait, little trivial things that I make a high priority can wait. Tonight I think I'll spend the evening building trains and piecing puzzles together with my little man.

OH and get a load of these precious little eyes:
are you kidding me?! Most girls I know ENVY for those long lashes. Myself included.

the final picture I would like to show you is my puppy:
Her name is Remi, and she thinks she is a cat. I have a love-hate relationship with that dog. she is the reason we can't keep nice furniture in the house. She is the reason I feel the need to clean EVERY DAY. She is the reason why I don't get a good night sleep (oh yes, she sleeps in my bed--dog owners---DO NOT allow that to happen in your home!) As much as I say "I can't stand that dog" I do love her so very much. Sure she chews on anything and everything and yes she still stinks after I give her a bath, but I can't help but love her. she really is a good girl, I just won't admit it to my husband!

This weekend is going to be filled with nothing spectacular--just the way I like it! I will be attending my sister's-in-law open house at her spankin' new photography studio on Saturday from 10-2pm and then Deacon and I might just find our way to the zoo. Sunday will be set aside for church and possibly a bike ride, or a nap, or a picnic lunch with the family...we shall see but it will be nice to live a weekend not following an itinerary. Maybe I'll find even more "treasure" hidden in the corners of my life--just what I need after a long week!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

That's Me!!!

My apologies for not writing in over a week...highly uncharacteristic of me. However, there have been attempts. Every night I'd begin to blog and as quick as I'd type, my finger would hit delete. I just don't think there has been anything note worthy that has happened the last few weeks. Honestly, my life isn't noteworthy--maybe that is why I find it to be so charming.

But enough is enough. Tonight, I promise to not delete a single thought. So I present to you a hodge podge or thoughts--just like the yummy leftovers mom would try and spruce up--a last ditch effort. This is my final attempt at capturing what I've been feeling the last few weeks (ok, ok, days--my memory is so sketchy that I'll only recall very little bits).

I'll start with the most recent and work my way back as far as I can remember (sorry, it's the way my brain get ready for time warp!)

Tonight was a very special night for me. It started off as it typically does--Deacon got changed into his cute little shamrock boxers and "respect mother earth" tee-shirt for me. He is already loving the mismatched pajama look, rather than the set...yay for me because that means I save money! Ok so after PJ time, we watch a little TV, then books, then prayer books, then prayers, then bed. It's a long routine, but any parent (scratch that, most parents) will tell you that bedtime is sacred. Doug and I lucked out with a kid who is a great sleeper. He also knows how to fall asleep on his own--so for us, it's a pleasure to put him to bed (most nights). So we were in step 5 of the 6 step process. We were saying prayers while rocking back in forth in our comfy rocking chair, or "tumfee" rocking chair as Deacon pronounces so confidently. Anyway his sweet little body laid against mine with his head placed perfectly in my shoulder/neck area (I think God specially designed that nook for parents!) and just as we were saying "Thank you for taking care of us today , please take care of us tonight, goodnight my sweet Jesus." Deacon looks up, points to a picture of Jesus in his room (holding a child) and says, "MOMMY! THAT'S ME! That's Jesus hugging me." I looked closer and realized, that holy cow, the child in the drawing does resemble Deacon quite a bit, so I agreed and said, "you're right Deacon, he is hugging you." Then he preceded to saying the following, "He loves me A LOT...he is nice to me, he is not a monster!"

Thanks for laugh Deacon...not a monster--my silly little 3-year-old. But along with the humor my son unknowingly has, he also carries such wisdom. I think sometimes we all need a picture vividly painted for us with Jesus embracing us--the real us. Too often we forget that he is there, why he is there and that we need to take up our cross and follow him. My son reminded me of Jesus' presence tonight. He never strays and is always there, holding us tight.

If one moment of tears weren't enough, Deacon did a double whammy on me tonight. We were saying out "Goodnights" and he asked if I could sing him his song (there are two songs I sing, Let it Show by Jen Chapin and Godspeed by the Dixie Chicks) so because he asked so sweetly I sang both! Deacon knows the songs better than me, so he has begun singing along with me. I don't know what it was tonight, but watching his sweet little eyes lock into mine as we were singing our flawed, yet oh so perfect duet, I cried. I teared up so much when Deacon sang a line all by himself because my tears were impacting my ability to sing. He sang, "God bless mommy and matchbox cars, God bless dad and thanks for the stars, God hears amen where ever we are, and I love you..." WATER WORKS! in his solo and my moment of sheer joy and reconfirming moment that I said a prayer that I hope Deacon knows HOW much I love him.

He has no idea. I had NO idea how much my parents loved me until I had a child of my own--I am having a hard time articulating the amount of love I have for my son--mind boggling actually. This is probably why I get so giddy when my friends/family members are about to have their first child--because they honestly have NO IDEA what they are in for. It is also why my heart breaks when my friends/family are faced with infertility. It is in those moments that I pray that they may be able to feel and understand that love in their life. This is why I cry at since my own wedding---because you just know the journey that is about to be taken--and that too, is a love that is indescribable!

Which leads me perfectly into my next subject. My friend/co-worker is weeks away from having her first child. The name and the sex will be a complete surprise until the little one makes its entrance into the world. I had the privilege to photograph Witni and her husband and I can't help but share some of their hottness with you:


Doesn't she just ooze love?! She is going to be an amazing mother!

wanting a closeup of her adorable pregnant belly--check it out!

Here is one of my favorites of the two of them

I love Eric's expression in this he is just in total awe of his wife



Witni's side of the family are big racing enthusiasts, and I don't mean race cars! She is a true Kentucky girl and had to wear her Derby hat--

I could not be happier and can't wait for them to meet their miracle in the next few weeks. These are two of the most wonderful people I have ever met and to know that they are going to finally be parents makes my heart so happy. Witni knows that I've been longing to be pregnant again so she has so selflessly let me almost live vicariously through her. We'll be sitting in our small team meeting and then all of a sudden she'll say "ANNE" and I know that the little one is kicking and twirling and I immediately place my hands on her belly. Feeling a baby move and kick is one of the most peaceful moments in life--almost like God saying, "see, I do exist."

I could go on and speak more about random happenings but I think I'll just let you stew about that quotations just as I have begun to do the same. "I do exist". How does God exist in my life and how so I show off that existence? How have I failed to show God's love to others and what can I do to make sure that my actions are reflections of love unto others? I ask that God pour into me his plan, and reveal it through instruments of grace.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

a quick post

just a quick post to say that I am working on a much longer post...stay tuned and so sorry for the delay!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

4 years

4--one less than half way to ten. There were several occasions today that I'd announce my anniversary, people would ask me how many years and I'd proudly say 4. Their response? "OHHHH, so new! You have NO idea what marriage is even like yet, you'll know in another 20 years."

shame on them.

Well, not shame on them, but quite sad that they make it seem as if the longer you are married, the more unhappy you will become. If I didn't know any better the remarks I have heard the last few days would make me believe that marriage is a big hoax. Luckily for Doug and I, we have had many many examples of good marriages, true love and how to make that love last. Also might I add that 4 years is still has that "new car smell" but certainly should not discount the experiences that have been gained over the four wonderful years.

I'll never forget our wedding day. I'll forever remember both of reactions the moment we saw each other in the park.

I'll never forget Doug whispering in my ear, "I am so lucky, I am so lucky, I am so in love."

I'll never forget the guests who attended and celebrated with us our beautiful Sacrament and commitment we made to one another.

I'll never forget the moment I walked down the aisle, with both my mother and my father, and joined hands with Doug in a journey that I could not even have imagined.

The music, the readings, the homily, the vows--all things that vividly play back in my mind. Doug and I took great care in choosing the right music and readings and being as involved as we could be with the details of the ceremony. We wanted readings that weren't "typical" yet still spoke of the commitment we were making to each other.

I walked down the aisle to "Canticle of the Sun"

Our First Reading was Jeremiah 31: 31-34--

“Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, 32 not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the Lord. 33 But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34 And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”

The second reading was Romans 8:31-35, 37-39

31 What then are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us? 32 He who did not withhold his own Son, but gave him up for all of us, will he not with him also give us everything else? 33 Who will bring any charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is to condemn? It is Christ Jesus, who died, yes, who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us. 35 Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

The Gospel was Matthew 5: 13-16

13"You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men.

14"You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. 15Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.

The homily still plays back in my mind. Father Wigger combined each of our readings and packaged it up into a perfect reminder of why Doug and I were getting married. First he presented Doug and I with a candle that had three flames. He explained that each flame holds significant, equal importance to the candle. If one flame burns out, the light becomes dim and it does not shine as bright as it could. He compared that to marriage. He said it takes three flames to keep a marriage strong: Me, Doug and God. Each of us hold significant importance to the success of our marriage. He also said that it is my sole job to get Doug to heaven, as it is Doug's job to get me to Heaven--how beautiful.

fast forward 4 years. The road hasn't been perfect. But there was never a promise that it would be. What I can say is that we are stronger and more in love than ever. There is no other person that I would rather share my life with than Doug--he is it for me. period.

There is an elderly couple that lives down the street from us. It is not uncommon to see them walking down the street just holding hands--it is pretty adorable. Today, driving home I saw the two of them, sitting side by side in lawn chairs in the driveway sipping iced tea. Hands held and the wife had her head placed perfectly on her husbands shoulders. I cried. I want that. 40 years from now, I hope that Doug and I will still be crazy in love with each other and that once our children our grown, our jobs our done and the only thing left is our marriage--I hope that we will be as blissfully happy as that couple I saw today.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

pockets: a post full of lint, tangents and gummy snacks

I think the contents of your pockets evolve as we age. As a toddler I can guess what I stuffed in my pockets: candy, grass, pebbles or other secret trinkets I wanted to safely guard--I basically had a tiny treasure chest at my disposal.

I grew up slightly and began to stuff my pockets with lip gloss, change for the ice cream cart at school and pogs for recess (yes, pogs...who remembers those?!) I'd also find in my pockets little "I love yous that my mom would tuck in my lunch box and baseball ticket stubs from my date with my dad. In my pockets you'd see notes that had been passed back and forth with my friends.

As a teenager I would slink my hands into my pockets to find violations, uniform warnings and homework reminders for the next day. My pockets in my teen years weren't all bad--I would have quotations, sayings or thoughts that I had to write down on paper. It was during this time that I discovered my passion for poetry and that I could, actually, believe-it-or-not, string words together to flow into a poem that sounded pretty good. I don't know if I ever really wanted to write poetry, I always loved my father's poems, and how his words dripped onto paper with emotion and provoked thought. We'd be sitting in a restaurant and all of a sudden, my father would begin to find a pen, or ask the waitress for one, grab a napkin and begin to pen his thoughts. he'd gently tuck it away in his suit jacket or pants pocket and I'd eagerly wait for the next poem. He'd call me in, print off his newest masterpiece and while the paper, still warm from the printer, I'd gaze at the words, the meaning and just take it in and be in complete awe of my dad. I also loved knowing, that the secret words he put on napkins, receipts or pamphlets in front of me, might have ended up in that very poem. That's why I began to write, that's why I love poetry; my dad's ability to let life percolate in his mind and pour those ideas into a coffee cup of words blew me away and I wanted to know how the world worked in that way. So I let my mind wander--I'd let it float away, I'd turn on my poetry ears and listen for the world to speak to me, for God to speak to me and I'd write. I'd share my poems with my dad, and the greatest part was that he was just as eager as I was to read my poems as I was his. I hope and prayer that he knows my love of writing is solely from him. The sad part is that my pockets are empty--no words, no thoughts--my grown up life stepped in and has strung an iron curtain over my pockets--I can't stuff them with rambling ideas. As soon as I begin to write, my adult brain says, "that sounds silly, stupid, childish--you can't write anymore." I need to somehow get past that and just write--maybe a lunch date with my father would do me well.

The best contents in anyone's pocket is money. Not money that we knowingly put there, but money we forgot about. Each season Theresa and I would pack up our clothes and we would switch them out for the upcoming season. There was never a doubt that late in the season, I'd slip on my favorite pair of jeans, put my hands in my pocket and viola, money. Most times it was only a few dollars, but once in a while there would be a 10 or 20 dollar bill---JACKPOT! I really came to appreciate that surprise money when Theresa and I were driving. Money meant that we were able to fill up our gas tank--and a full gas tank is a must when you are a hot-to-trot teen wanting to drive where ever your heart desired. I can't really describe that feeling of finding money when you don't think you have any--maybe some of you can appreciate that, maybe I don't need words to describe it because hopefully you all understand what I am trying to say!

In my pockets through college I could find quick notes for a test I was cramming for, phone numbers of new college friends, indoor soccer game times, and a number from one boy in particular, Doug Wolking. Now, I'll save you the love story but I met Doug just as I graduating from high school and transitioning into my college life at Western Kentucky University. I was smitten, but he didn't feel the same way. Friends, sure, but that was the end of it. He liked another girl, but through a series of events I am sure you truly don't want to invest your time in, Doug and I began to date. July 2nd, 2002 was the day that God laid out the next chapter of my life--I am so glad that chapter involved (and still involves Doug). From July of 2002 to present day my pockets have contents of dates: movie tickets, putt-putt score cards, love notes, etc all things that mean more to me than a surprise $20.00 bill! Doug and I were married on August 4th, 2006. This week will mark our fourth wedding anniversary and it has been the most amazing four years of my life. Four years have been filled with a child, arguments, joy, tears and laughter--all things that don't necessarily fill my pockets but they sure enrich my life, who needs pockets then!?

Present day, my pockets are filled with to-do lists; both for home and work, drawings from my son, grocery receipts, lint, uv lenses for my camera and just this morning I put my hands in my pockets only to find a washed up gummy snack which when washed and dried in your pants pocket, creates a nice, sticky binding agent that is almost impossible to get rid of. I have so many "mom" relics in my pockets i could open up a museum. It was while in church today I found that nice sticky gummy snack in my pocket that i realized you can really find out a lot about a person through the contents of their pockets. My pockets are the hiding spots or cover ups or the, "I don't have time to throw this away because I am playing cars with my son, so I'll stick it in my pocket until later". On the outside of my life it looks like I am so well put together--that I clean all the time, laundry and dishes done (with the tremendous help of Doug), toys always put away and counted for--yes, I am a control freak. So it is quite surprising to see that my pockets are far from my OCD list of "neat and orderly". I've decided that's ok--because I am sure people think that I am stiff or too uptight about things...but I ask you to check my pockets the next time you think that--you'll discover a lot more about me. You'll find a whole life of memories and secrets that I have tucked away from the world. That gummy snack was on the kitchen floor--minutes before company arrived, so I quickly shoved it in my pocket because even though I wanted the place to look nice--I wasn't about to stop play time with my son to walk two-feet to throw that dang piece of candy away! So to me it's not just a gummy snack that will be stuck to my pocket for eternity--it is a memory--I still remember Deacon transforming himself from a three old into a monster, then into a race car that preceded to chase me around the house. The way he shook his body as if he were starting his engine and gliding his shoe as one would rev their engine right before the gun goes off. That day Deacon was lightening McQueen and I was Doc, well then I was The King, or maybe I was that other car--who knows, but what what I do know is that I hope that piece of candy never washes out of my pocket, because it is now my $20.00 bill--it is my sweet memory I'll cherish forever.

So I'll leave you with a simple question--What's in your pocket, right now? What does it say about you? What memories do you have of the contents of your pockets? Enjoy life, love and cherish your memories.