Monday, October 21, 2013

Something Real

So nighttime is my favorite time of the day. We spend about an hour getting baths and getting into jammies and reading and being read to. It's a full participation portion of our day. This was not always the case. More often than not I was upstairs in a dark room suffering from yet another migraine. Then in May, I went on this migraine diet - I can't even remember the name of the book it was in. A friend told me about it. I had to give up my rescue meds and a whole slew of foods and drinks. No more peanut butter or nuts of any kind, citrus, onions, avocado, wine, bourbon, caffeine, chocolate, aged cheese, dried fruits, fresh bread.. to name a few. 

I was faithful to the diet and for the last two months have started to add items back to see if they have any affect on me. So far I can have most of what I was already eating - just in moderation. If I overdo it I could run into trouble. Managing my sleep patterns and my exercise with my food intake has done wonders in this area. It's kind of like a miracle since I have been dealing with 15-20+ migraines a month since I was 18. So that's a good thing. 

Here's something that is threatening to give me a headache that I just can't stop thinking about. Money. More specifically, people asking for it. Even more specifically, Christians asking for it. It's late and this is probably a bad move on my part to write about this now but it is just making me bonkers. Our church is raising money for a new building. I have had my issues with how I felt about this and after much prayer really searching the word - I can honestly say I am on board and actually excited about it. Here's the thing though.. we don't have anything to give. The list of things that they gave us that you could potentially cut back on that would give you extra cash to give to this  - don't do or have a single one of them. I wish I could cut back on my Starbucks consumption (see diet above). I am not judging their motives I am just weary. We give to our local church and what we give is a huge sacrifice for us, a single income teaching family of 5. I would love to give more.. but I don't have it to give. Our church is gracious to families like ours - they understand we may not be able - they ask for us to support them in prayer. I can do that. Still not being able to actually give something tangible stings. Because its the tangible thing - money - that will make or break the deal. This whole weariness started with our church but it has moved to other areas. 

I have noticed various Christian folks in leadership roles that I follow on FB starting to ask for money for various events and life changing conferences and gatherings they are putting together. They want to offer it for free but in order to do that the folks that can afford to pay need to consider paying for those who can't. It just makes me tired. Why are so many Christians doing so many things that cost so much money? There seems to be this overwhelming theme of "God is bigger". God is bigger than money, bigger than this need we have - we know He can do this. I agree wholeheartedly. He is bigger. He is God. The buck stops there. I don't know what my problem is really.. I am just weary of being asked to sacrifice for things that don't directly benefit those He asked us to care for. I just can't seem to get away from that. It seems that all this collecting of money for big projects and conferences is taking care of the church itself - not those outside it. I realize that if you get a group of people fired up about caring for people then the idea is that they will then go and do just that - care for people. Is it working? I hope so. I really really do. I know each of these things I am frustrated with is led by folks who seek the Lord with their whole heart. And you can't go wrong when you are leading that way. It's just my heart and my pocket book are tapped out. I am no longer giving with a gracious and thankful heart - I feel frustrated at being asked.. again.. and by so many voices. 

State Fair

Nana and Papa came with us to the State Fair this year. They got to come see the Rabbit Barn and taste the worlds best country ham biscuit. 

We saw the requisite animals and large pumpkins. Checked to see if any of Stephen's students won this year (nope), and did a lot of walking. There is lots to do and see but our plan is usually to hit the same buildings we always and eat the same great food we look forward to. There is the roasted corn on the cob, the falafal from Neomonde, the mini donuts, ribbon fries,  the giant kosher dill pickle, frozen apple cider and of course, cotton candy. We don't go in for the Krispy Kreme bacon cheese burger or the fried butter. Have to draw the line somewhere... 'merica. 

Frankie whizzed right through her nap time with a smile on her face. Here she is being a ham and propping her feet up on Daddy's leg. 

As we were leaving I asked Ada if she had fun. As is her usual style upon departure from some much looked forward to event - she said no, she did not have fun. When I asked her why, she said because we didn't DO anything. We just looked at things and ate. 

For the record we intended to take them on the ferris wheel for the first time but they both decided they didn't want to do it. Ada said she would have liked to play some games. So next time we will add games into the program. Alas there will always be much eating and looking at things at the fair since that is pretty much what it's all about. Next year maybe we will venture into the Midway and try games and check out the "rides". Maybe then we will get some pictures of us doing something other than eating. 

Tuesday, October 15, 2013


(Being home sick means baking a cake, which also means strawberry milkshakes and warm slices of lemon pound cake for lunch.)

 We have our first ever case of strep throat. For some twisted reason this feels like a victory to me. I remember enduring throat culture after wretched, shaky throat culture when I was a kid, each and every time I had the slightest sore throat (and sometimes even when I didn't) only to hear, "Well, it's not strep." when Dr. McFalls returned to the exam room. I can remember wanting to glare daggers at him and his Mr. Rogers lookalike self, but being too polite to actually do so. I saved my tears for the car ride home, "I TOLD you I didn't even have a sore throat!! (sob)". However I may be feeling about finally having an official diagnosis, Ada - the actual patient in this scenario - is less than thrilled. This was only her second throat culture so in my book she got pretty lucky to actually catch something that the doctors can fix, instead of your run of the mill, wait and see, cold. Of course I don't want my sweet child to have strep throat - its horribly painful. I don't know why I feel this competitive about the throat culture thing. I hated them with a fiery hate. Most of all I hated that they were always negative and therefore an unnecessary torture device of my youth. It seems almost worth it to get a positive culture. Bravo Ada on braving the gaggy swab thing and coming home with a ten day supply of amoxicillin.

Sunday, October 13, 2013


Stephen surprised me with a trip back to New York for my 35th birthday this year. Mary drove up to watch the littles and we flew up Friday and didn't come home until Monday night. We saw old friends, and old familiar places. We stepped right into the rhythm that we stepped out of when we moved to Raleigh. It was like we never left.  Of course we did have that moment getting on the Air Train when you can't remember if you want Howard Beach or the Jamaica station.. and you walk around the terminal in a circle a couple of times trying not let anyone see you are confused. And someone does and they laugh and you laugh and remember where you are supposed to go and feel a little silly for having even considered Jamaica. 

Of course lots has changed in 5 years. I hadn't seen the High Line yet. 

We did Chelsea the first morning there and then met Thomas and Bethany and went to see what was new in Brooklyn by the bridge. The one thing we had been sure of was that we would have no set agenda, no schedule. Dinner with MKD and L, brunch with A and C but other than that just a list of restaurants we wanted to eat at. The other thing we were sure of was that we wanted to visit our old block on 32nd Street. But as we said goodbye to Thomas and Bethany in Brooklyn Heights and headed back to the train, I knew I couldn't do it. I couldn't walk up those steps from the train and see the neighborhood changed. I couldn't walk towards 193A and not see Lonna's bright blue flower boxes out front filled with blossoms. I couldn't stand across the street and see someone else's curtains in our old windows. Couldn't not see Oliver and his little white stripe waiting in the widow for us to come upstairs.  My heart broke at the thought of it. Stephen didn't completely understand but he was gracious and we headed back to Manhattan for dinner with our friends. I had forgotten how hard it had been to leave until I had the chance to go back. How I had cried as I took my last walk to the train that last morning. How I had hugged my pregnant belly and told myself how it would be worth it in the end. The sacrifice of my life here, for theirs to come. 

We spent a quiet Sunday in our favorite museum. Then we went to Central Park, ate lunch from Hampton Chutney and laid in the grass and read until we were chilly and ready for dinner. We ordered take out Indian and ate in Emily's apartment. We did all the things we used to do on our days off. It truly felt like a vacation - and for me vacations rarely do. Happy 35th year to me. 


The girls started ballet last month, courtesy of Aunt B and several other family members birthday generosity. Since it was their first class we just went with a basic age appropriate class the City of Raleigh Parks and Recreation put on at the Rec Center two minutes from our house. They had all the gear and were super psyched to learn how to be real ballerinas. 

Ada told me before we left for class: "I think when the teacher sees me do this (does a twisty twirly move) she will say 'Wow! You already know everything!!'" 

Both girls wondered which boys would carry them over their head and help them do pirouettes.

Sweet Ada was so serious about becoming a real ballerina at long last. I have to say that she was a bit disappointed when the class included some gymnastics as well and told us that though it was fun, it wasn't really a ballet class. I am determined to find her something a little more serious this next go round. 

These purses are actually holding their ballet slippers. 

As usual, Frankie is just happy to be here :)


First day of kindergarten. Nope. I am not ready to talk about it yet ;)

The Rainbow - Princess-Baking-Adventure-Treasure-Ice-Cream-Birthday Party

Pink and Yellow turned 5 this year. We had a Rainbow - Princess-Baking-Adventure-Treasure-Ice-Cream-Birthday Party. 

Daddy helped everyone bake brownies. 

We had a scavenger hunt with picture cards drawn by Uncle David. 


The treasure was in the mail box. 

The finest fake earrings the Dollar Tree has to offer. 

Bat Man was in attendance and wasn't thrilled with the YouTube ballet. 

Celebs were also present. 

Then on our actual birthday we opened presents with Grammy who was visiting for the weekend and had our traditional birthday cake for breakfast. 

Then the following weekend we got to celebrate again with Nana and Papa and Uncle Page and Aunt Jenny and Gram and Uncle Michael and Aunt B. We went to the Sci-Quarium and saw all things oceanic from penguins to sharks. There was much celebrating this year. 

How is it even possible that they are five already? Living in denial. 

Happy birthday to my beautiful, smart, talented, loving, giggly, snuggly little girls. 

Disney World Trip

Our first trip to Disney was pretty Magical. We spent the night before in the Saratoga Springs resort (courtesy of Aunt Laurie's connections and Papa Larry's generous heart). That morning pink was up with the sun ready to put on her brand new Princess Aurora dress. Yellow didn't wake up until much later. We had spent the previous day playing in the pool at the resort so we had a nice layer of sunburn already started. 

When you wear your princess dress at Disney, the park staff all stop and bow or greet you "Good morning Princess Aurora!! Good morning Princess Belle!!". Our shy girlies were a little put off by this but pretty soon they got used to it. My favorite moment of the entire day happened when we stopped to get a drink about mid-morning. I had been encouraging the girls to smile and wave at those folks who greeted them. I turned around to find Margot, seated a little ways off from the rest of us, facing the stream passersby with a toothy grin on her face, waving and nodding to everyone. I have no photo or video clip on my phone but that little moment is one that I will remember. 

We met the fairies in Pixie Hollow. Vidia is not our favorite fairy, she tried to win us over. 

Tinker Belle!!

It was so hot. There was much ice cream consumption that day. 

And pickles.. who doesn't love a huge ice cold dill pickle. 

Margot enjoying the blast of cold air from the Hall of the Presidents. 

Obligatory family shot. 

My twinsies in their pink and yellow. 

You might have noticed that Frankie is missing from these pictures. Sweet Laurie and her boys and Elsie were watching Frankie so that Mary and Larry could join us at the park. We will take her when she turns 4 as well.

More ice cream. 

Grammy and Grampapa - Disney Trip Sponsors :)


It was a long day. 

Tears are short lived at Disney. They are also short lived in the arms of your Grammy. 

Headed home. Best day. 

This is a tired girl. A tired girl who may have loved the bus ride to and from the park as much as she loved the park itself. 

I have never been to Disney in my life. When we arrived, once we got through the craziness of getting our tickets checked and actually walked into that downtown area.... ya'll.. we started walking down the middle of the street with the rest of the crowd and there was music playing and fireworks going off and Mickey and Minnie were dancing down the steps of Cinderella's Castle. It was just as it should be. Magical. We rode It's A Small World, Peter Pan, Winnie the Pooh and climbed the Swiss Family Robinson tree house. We saw the Dumbo ride and decided to skip it because Margot's best friend Liam said it was scary. We played in the splash zone. We saw the Tea Cups. We didn't ride the Tea Cups. Mommy and Daddy got to ride Space Mountain (which was AMAZING by the way) while everyone else rode the People Mover. We just had a fantastic day. Once we headed back to the resort at twilight, almost 9pm, we realized the pool would still be open until around 11. So we said goodbye to Grammy and Grampapa and headed to the room to get into our bathing suits. They were playing a pool side movie when we got there - Peter Pan.. our favorite. So the girls and Stephen swam and went down the water slide and watched Peter Pan under the stars while I read Game of Thrones and tried to stop giggling about what an amazing time we were having. We all got to bed just before midnight. I can't wait to do it all over again one day.