Thankful Thursday

Shhhh….do you hear that? It’s the sound of me relaxing. Completely, utterly, totally relaxing. By myself. Because, you see, my husband got me one of the best Christmas presents EVER…a trip (by myself) to go see one of my favorite people in the world (and her family….by myself) for about 3 ½ days. Did I mention I get to go BY MYSELF?? Please, don’t get me wrong—I love my family. I adore my husband; love being with him and the life we have. I love being the mama to my two sweet littles. Every mama knows, though, that sometimes---you just need a break. And my fantastic husband gave me just that. The gift of a break. Of time…. to relax, to enjoy being with a great friend, to talk and laugh and see what their life is like now that we live several thousand miles apart, instead of several hundred feet apart.
I gave Adam a trip like this to go see his good buddy for his birthday-and I was completely surprised Christmas morning to see he’d done the same for me! I don’t think words can express just how excited I am…although it’s all very surreal. I can’t even picture what it will be like to fly by myself (which I haven’t done since I was planning my wedding), to be without my kids for more than 12 hours…(that happened last summer, photographing weddings). I haven’t been gone from B overnight yet. I haven’t been away from my husband AND my son since a good friend’s wedding when I was 6 months pregnant with the little girlie. I have absolutely no idea what I’ll do with myself at the airport without little ones to keep track of or take to the bathroom…but I’m pretty sure it’ll involve a cup of coffee and a magazine. Doesn’t that sound wonderful?? Not to mention that on the other end will be a fantastic women I am blessed to call a true friend and her equally fantastic family. I have no doubt that at the end of my trip, I’ll be more than ready to see my little family again. But for now, I’m just planning on enjoying my gift of time. I am so thankful today for this opportunity…so thankful for one of the best Christmas presents ever. And, of course, I’ll be taking my camera.


not gonna lie...

It freaks me out a little when I open MSN and see "Egy*t inspired protests sweep the Middle East". My dad is in Saud* Arab*a again as we speak. Supposed to be there until the 17th of March. I have full confidence that God is in control of the situation; that He holds my dad in the palm of his hand; and that it is no surprise or accident that my dad is over there right now, in the middle of all of this. But if you think of him (or us), would you please pray? For wisdom and discernment on my dad's part, to know when to go out and when to lay low; for wisdom in the American-run corporations he's consulting with; for peace for my mom as I'm sure she can't help but feel a bit worried and helpless right now. At the moment they're still able to be in contact via Skype on his IPA* but who knows how long that will last if things get crazy. Thanks everyone...and Grandaddy, if you read this-we love you and miss you!


Giant Cactus and Road Graders

pretty sure that sums up Pax's 2 favorite things from our recent trip to Tucs*n. That is where we went, just in case you didn't get that from the pictures of the huge, many-armed cactus. Although my son (unlike his mama at his age) has a healthy fear of sitting on the spikey things...but that's another story. And fair warning- this will be a long, possibly uninteresting post to anyone but family; but since this blog is also a sort of journal for our family-I'm gonna put in all the details!
We headed down south at the end of January to visit family; both of my dad's sisters live there as do 2 of my mom's brothers. It's where my siblings and I were born-we moved to Colora*o when I was about 8 months old (there, the truth's out...I'm a transplant!). I can hardly recall a spring break growing up that wasn't spent in Tucson; some times Christmas, too. But my kids haven't been there so much-the little guy, just once when he was about 5 months old. And this was, of course, B's first trip. It was a fun, fast 5 days; spent eating, catching up with aunts and uncles, and basking in the warm(er) Arizona sunshine. I'm never a huge fan of traveling without Adam; but with my mom along things went smoothly and, although I felt like I could sleep for a week when I got back, it was worth it! keeping connections with family is always worth it. And now, since it's taken me 3 weeks to get this post done and I have 3 more rolling around in my brain...a few pictures. My camera's battery misteriously was drained by the flight down, so I shared my mom's point-and-shoot...seriously, you should be thankful :)
The kids with my Uncle Gene, my mom's closest-in-age brother...he's only 12 years older than she is :) From the fort, Pax could see a giant, many-armed cactua (read:very old) that he pointed out to everyone who came out..."Look! It's a GIANT CACTUS!!!" It wasn't this one...but aren't saguaros COOL??The first 2 days were spent with my Uncle Gene & Aunt Marilyn. My Aunt Jean and Uncle John (my dad's oldest sister) joined us for dinner the first night; the next day we went to the Desert Museum, which is pretty awesome--what I saw of it as Pax raced through the 2 miles of outdoor desert trails and I raced after him. His favorite parts? The snakes (which B wouldn't even look at); the scorpions which turned green under a black light (which, I'll admit, were pretty cool) and a video of a volcano exploding, which we saw after walking through a cave. We saw some javalina (wild boars) and coyotes in their habitats, too. Have to say the coyotes looked much prettier than their wild counterparts. My kids, however, were much more interested in these:Yup, nothing beats a statue of the real thing and some dirt to play in. After some fantastic Mexican food that night with most of the Arizona connection (aunts, uncles, and a few cousins...I know someone got a picture of all of us; but it wasn't me, as I was trying to keep someone from getting refried beans and root beer all over the world), we went to spent the last few days at my Aunt Janet and Uncle Jimmy's house a bit south and east of Tucson. Pretty much they just live in the desert-but it's different out there, with lots of fun brush and sand and dirt and cactus...a little boy's dream :)Blythe and her Great-Aunt Janet...she's the one who taught me to crochet all those years ago!

A little early-morning digging in the wash.My uncle made a "tractor" out of a lawnmower engine and hooks up a wagon to the back to give rides on....Pax was a bit afraid of it at first, and just wanted to chase it. I suggested his little sis ride with him, and he jumped in and held her...they laughed the whole time! Gotta be brave for the little sister!

He's showing you his dumptruck...he's pretty sure everyone wants to see it as much as he does.We brought B's pack n' play to sleep in, but this is the little nest I made on the floor for my small son out of blankets, 2 sleeping bags, and some pillows. Looked pretty comfy! Our last full day there, we went back into Tucson and visited their Children's Museum, which was of course fantastic.In the little-kid "rainforest" play area...giant blocks!my little firefightersBaby godzilla!Inside of a submarine control panel...Pax LOVED this one! One of the best parts of the trip was when Pax came in from playing outside in the sand barefoot and told me, "It's ok, Mama, I'll just keep my toes on,". As if we would take them off like a pair of socks. All in all, a great trip-thanks for making it possible, Grammy!


Wordless Wednesday

a hint of where the kiddos and I (and my mom) were a couple of weeks ago....'cause where else in the U.S. can you find cactus like these
and have your snow (ok, at least COLD)-bound babies think that 60-degree weather calls for swim suits and little else?

and yes, I'm quite aware that my Wordless Wednesdays are mostly anything but wordless. I'm working on it.


Look what I found...

I'm working on a post about where the kids and I 2 weeks ago -but I got distracted by getting old pictures off my mom's camera card, and found these, and then started editing them a little, and, well, I just adore this picture of Pax meeting his baby sister...I so vividly remember our friends' oldest daughter Lily doing this exact same thing (in, I'm pretty sure, the exact same chair) after their 2nd daughter was born!

...and I really like that my dad is totally asleep in this picture but tiny B is wiiiiide awake, studying him :)
This one's from my dad's birthday last week-it's not old, I just like it!
You've come a long way, baby!
And I do apologize for the mainly-pictures-posts. Hopefully I'll find a half hour to sit down and write something of substance tonight! For now-more pictures of my adorable children, in case you've forgotten what they look like in the past 12 hours.


This n' That

This is Dolly.

This is a dinosaur.



.....amazing hair.

Any questions?