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Dear Benjamin,

Last week you turned the big TWO!!  I was reading the letter I wrote you at 21 months and it’s amazing how much you have changed.  Even over just a few months you change and grow. 

You still talk and talk and talk.  You love to run through the house, play with swords, and tickle Mommy and Daddy.  The dogs drive you crazy (especially Frankie), and when you and Frankie are energetic and chasing each other you both drive US crazy.  We’ve been swimming half a dozen times this summer and if I put you in your swim donut you can swim around the pool yelling “Kick! Kick! Kick!” as your legs frantically propel you forward.  It’s a joy to watch.

We had your birthday party the day after your actual birthday.  Lots of friends and family came over.  I made you chocolate and vanilla cupcakes with chocolate and vanilla ice cream.  You started crying when I lit the candle on your cupcake and everyone started singing.  I’m not sure why – maybe the attention? Maybe the singing? However, as soon as we were done and you got to eat the cupcake, you were much better!

You got some neat toys for your birthday and love to play with them.  Lots of animals and blocks and cars and trucks.  Puzzles and dinosaurs and oh, my, the vehicles.  Our house has become a speedway and you are the driver of racing machines darting in, out, and over the couch.

We took a trip to California almost two months ago.  We were worried about how you would do in the plane, but we shouldn’t have worried.  You love any kind of vehicle, planes included.  Daddy sat next to you on the plane and talked about how you were going to go really, really fast, and go up, up, up!  You loved it.  We rode in the car for ages and ages, and you rarely fussed about it.  We drove through random subdivisions in Elk Grove, and you asked if we were going to Mae Mae’s house! It was the cutest thing, and you made Mae Mae’s mom giggle about it when I told her.  We went to a wedding for my best friend Amy.  You love Amy, and you loved dancing at Amy and Keith’s wedding.   We went to Monterey Bay Aquarium, and you had such a blast hanging out with your 3 cousins.  We went camping (which you LOVED) at my old camping site in California.  It was heart-wrenchingly beautiful to see you scale the same rocks I had scaled as a child.  To see you in the “rock club” and down at the water’s edge was an incredible experience for me.  Even though the water was freezing cold you stood in it until your feet turned to chubby little icicles, and you loved it.  Watching you eat s’mores with your cousins is a memory I will treasure forever.

A few weeks ago we travelled to Senatobia, Mississippi to visit Papa’s parents.  Mimi and PaPaw loved you, and we loved visiting them, and you had a good time running around their house and showing off.  A mere week after that we went down to Houston for your cousin Austin’s graduation.  Each road trip you demonstrated your willingness to sit still when needed, your love of movement, and your love of music.  I love how you love music.

Son, I’ll be honest, because it’s my letter and I’m allowed to be: I don’t know what the future holds for you.  What I do know is that you capture the attention of people – your joy, your mannerisms, and your movement.  Watching you is like watching life take place – it’s like observing the best the world has to offer.  Maybe you’re just like every other two-year old on the planet, I’m not sure.  I hope that I can teach you to harness that attention-grabbing skill and use it to better the world around you.  I know that living with you teaches me every day the meaning of slow down. Observe. Breathe. Love. Be patient.

Your Daddy and I talk about you, often, after you’ve finally given up and gone to sleep.  We lay in bed, snuggled, and talk about whether or not we’re doing a good job (most days we think we’re doing OK).  Recently we were talking about your exposure to television and video games.  We don’t want to shelter you from the world and its issues, but we don’t want to desensitize you either.  It’s tough to say “No, we won’t play this video game while Benjamin is awake, because it depicts violence too accurately,” but that’s exactly where we are at. 

This world is dangerous and violent and broken, son, and you’ll have your whole life to learn that.  I hope that we can teach you about the beauty of the world first, and it’s dark side later. 

Eventually, Lucky will die, and you will learn grief.  Eventually, you will ask where Mommy’s parents are, and you will see me cry.  Eventually, you will ask why Jesus hangs on the cross, broken and beaten, and you will learn about sacrifice. 

Our hope, though all of that, is to teach you about love.  Love that shines through grief and brokenness, love that taught Mommy how to heal, love that makes Daddy get up even on the days when his depression beats his heart and soul, love that put Christ on the cross and love that triumphs all of the dark things in this world.

However, before you have to learn all of those things, I want you to know joy.  I want to continue to see my baby boy, beautiful and full of grace and energy, running around squealing with laughter.  I want to continue to love you so much it hurts.  I want to see animals for the first time all over again, though your eyes.  I want to continue to chase the dogs in the backyard until we collapse into fits of giggles.  I want to dance with you in the living room until I’m sweaty and exhausted.  I want these good and wonderful things for you so that when darkness seems to sneak in, you can remember the things from the light.

I hope you understand, one day, how hard it is trying to figure all this stuff out.  I hope you have enough grace to forgive us when we mess up.  I hope I have enough grace to forgive myself!  But either way, we’ll muddle through this crazy adventure together.  Being a Mommy is quite an amazing experience in general, but being Mommy to you – well – I think that’s my favorite job yet.

I love you son, happy 2nd birthday.

Love,
Mama

My birth story ended up being pretty long. Longer and more detailed than some of my readers probably want, so it’s been added to my blog site but on a separate page from the normal stuff. It’s my birth story: it talks about contractions, what pushing feels like, and how I felt about delivering the placenta. I wanted to write down what happened so I would remember, and I had enough people ask me about the experience that I decided to share. There are pictures, but no worries, they’ve all been cropped and there are no private parts or anything gross showing. Again, I thought that may be the type of thing some of my readers wouldn’t want to see. But if it makes you feel any better, let me put it to you this way: my husband is generally a pretty private person, and he personally approved the pictures for release to the internets.

Anyways. I would have gotten everything posted sooner but we decided to drive to Houston to surprise my Aunt Tina for the 4th of July – she just had foot surgery and hadn’t gotten to meet Benjamin yet. We had a blast hanging out with her and her family and they all adored Benjamin. Also got to visit with Aunt Lynn. Hopefully next trip we can meet more people! All the excitement threw Benjamin’s schedule off and we’re still kind of coping with that (hence this being posted at 2:25am).

So, without further delay, I present to you: My Birth Story.

Enjoy.

Soon is a manner of speaking, I suppose.  Technically I can/should have the baby sometime in the next 6-10 weeks.  Some days (like yesterday) I hope it’s closer to the 6 week mark.  And then some days (like today) I don’t mind waiting those full 8 weeks.  I guess it just depends on how tired I am of lugging around 4 pounds of Benjamin!

Today I went to the midwife and had a great appointment. I really love the people at AABC, they have been amazing and very down to earth.  I like to think that I’m inclined towards a more “natural” lifestyle without being fanatical, so it’s encouraging that they respect my lack of fanaticism.  She didn’t bat an eye when I told her we could wait on a firm decision about the Vitamin K shot until birth.  State law says he gets it unless we decline, and there’s plenty of opinions on both sides of the board.  Do I think it’s going to ruin him one way or the other? Nope.  So we’ll see.  If he looks like he might benefit from it, sure, toss it in.  If not, then lets not mess with natural, yes? I can always take the supplement myself, or give him oral supplements of Vitamin K.

The midwife did recommend I start taking some echinacea since I’ve been sick the past few days.  I don’t know what’s up, but I think it’s a mild sinus infection.  Lots of nose blowing and occasional sneezing.  Fun stuff.

On other fronts, remember how I mentioned needing to get my mustang towed to my car guy? Done! Very excited to start that process! I’ll be making frequent stops at his place to take pictures and get an update on what’s going on, but it will be very nice to not worry about it and leave the restoration to the professionals.  I could go through the hassle of learning it all myself, but honestly? It will never get done.  Much rather let him do it and get it done right.  It’s worth the extra cost to get it done stress free!

I keep wanting to post pictures to the internet, but I keep having reasons to wait.  So I think I’ll wait to post pictures of the nursery until it’s all ready (which will hopefully be the first few weeks of May).  In the meantime, here’s an only slightly ridiculous picture of me at my Houston baby shower last week.  Enjoy!


*note: actual date of picture was not, in fact, 1/15/2008

I was going to start this off by saying “This has been a crazy week” but then I realized that it’s only Tuesday. So as much as I would like to say it’s been a crazy week, it’s really just been a crazy few days. Fun, though.

Friday morning I set out to Tomball, TX to be at the hospital for my nephew’s birth. It was a beautiful sight to see my baby brother come through the doors of the delivery area and say “Y’all come say hello to my son!” I can’t even TYPE it without starting to cry. Keegan Charles Threet is a BEAUTIFUL baby boy who entered this world at 7 lbs 14 ½ oz., and 21 ½ inches. 10 fingers, 10 toes, and his daddy’s chin (mine too, coincidentally, but that doesn’t really count).

Keegan Charles Threet

I made Jake a prayer bracelet and gave it to him the day Keegan was born. It was really awesome to see him using it, saying prayers, generally using it as a reminder that God was with him. I snapped a picture of them so you guys could see:

Prayer beads

Saturday and Sunday I got to spend time with some of Justin’s family from Tennessee. Saturday and Sunday were spent revolving around his Mom, his Grandma, and his brother Brian. It was wonderful! I made some more of my Anadama bread which tried to fail on me but survived to be eaten another day. Grandma LIKED it too, so bonus points. Always good to score points with the in-laws.

Sunday church was good, I *love* it when my family comes to church with me. We always have such a good time. It was really different from what Grandma would expect, so I hope she wasn’t too traumatized by Tony’s humor!! She did say she enjoyed it. Justin and I both felt like God was using Tony to remind us to turn to HIM when our body hurts instead of instantly going to google (“Why does this joint hurt, google?”) or planning doctor trips. How about we just ask God for healing? I mean, he might say yes, and then wouldn’t that be cool? Not to say modern medicine doesn’t have its place, just to say that sometimes it isn’t needed.

At any rate, I had a great time this weekend.

Tomorrow we are going back to Magnolia to see Jake and Emilie and Keegan!! I am so excited!! Hopefully I will get to take some more pictures. Unfortunately, at this age they don’t do much other than sleep/cry/eat/poop but hey, it’s still adorable for now 🙂