Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Warrant . . .

I'm 26 years old, apparently. See, I told some kids this summer at camp that I was 25, and then did the math and realized that, in actuality, I am 26. I swear time just keeps going by way too quickly these days! Anyways, that means I have had my drivers license for ten years. Know how many times I've been pulled over in that time? Once. And I didn't get a ticket, just a warning. Have I mentioned that I'm a rule follower?

Anyways, somehow in the chaos of moving and having Caden, we failed to get our tags renewed on time. Shocking, I know. Unfortunately, our neighborhood has a higher-than-average number of police officers. Which resulted in getting pulled over for my expired tags when I was stuck behind a school bus last month. The officer said that I just had to get it taken care of before October 3rd, a month from when I got pulled over.

It turns out that all our "check engine" and other such lights were on, meaning we couldn't pass emissions. So we got them all turned off on October 1st. And you have to drive a certain number of miles after having the computer reset, apparently, so we failed our emissions. Which means that I didn't get it done in time. And then October 4th, I got pulled over again. And this time the officer explained that I had to show up in court in order to prove that I had taken care of  getting my tags renewed. Oops. So it turns out that I missed showing up for my court date previously (I blame my lack of traffic ticket experience). Which means that I had my license suspended and a warrant out for my arrest. Oops. And before I could go to court to get that taken care of, I had to get my tag renewed. And all our lights had turned back on, so we had to get a new gas cap and reset the computer again. Which means we had to drive around again before getting emissions done.

ALL this rambling (seriously, I can't stop the rambling - my apologies) is to say that we FINALLY got my tags renewed. And I went to court at 7am on Thursday morning to get things straightened out.

Three hours later, after waiting in many lines and being shuffled all over the court house, I emerged less $200 and with a letter informing any police officers who might pull me over that the warrant for my arrest had, in fact, been cancelled.

Unfortunately, I still have to show back up in court for that second court date to prove that I have, in fact, had my tags renewed. Which seems like a massive waste of time, but who am I to judge the systems which the court has in place?

On a side note, some of the Occupy Atlanta protestors had been arrested and were waiting in the halls of the courthouse. The man in front of me in one of the many lines I stood in that day informed me: "I don't know nothing 'bout no protest, but man do them folks smell REAL bad." So there you have it.

And thus concludes the most boring and pointless blog post I have ever written. I apologize for the new low, but I mentioned the warrant and y'all were asking me about it . . .

The good news is that my street cred in my neighborhood has been raised significantly by my mention of the pending warrant for my arrest. Until, of course, I mention that it's for my expired license plate tag.

*Completely unrelated side note: I love this.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Hair Model?

I've mentioned a few times on here that we have two roommates currently living with our family. Although we prefer to stay away from "roommate" to describe them, because they are so much more than that. Our goal is to live intentionally in community with these two sweet friends who desire to help serve our neighborhood alongside us. One of these "roomies" happens to be a hairdresser. And a few weeks ago, she asked if I would consider being a hair model for her, she wanted to try out something she had learned at a hair show. Since I'm always rarely adventurous, and because I tend to change my hair often never, I decided it was time for me to make a change. Let me tell y'all, it has LITERALLY been ten years or longer since I changed my hair style.

Exhibit A: High school hair

Exhibit B: College hair
Exhibit C: Newlywed Hair
Exhibit D: New (and very tired) Mom Hair

*and this one doesnt even really show my hair, but look at Jayci - she looks just like Caden, but with more hair!
Exhibit E: This past weekend hair

And the new hairstyle, compliments of Danielle (from today):
Apparently it's called "melting", and my hair has a lovely ombre effect with three different shades. I really love it, although I dont quite feel hip enough to pull it off. I'm going to need some new clothes probably. And maybe some tattoos and piercings. Right? Oh I kid. But seriously, big thanks to Danielle for the new look. She and I are certain that after posting it on here, this hairstyle will quickly become an international sensation . . . because hello? I look so good. Just kidding. And I'm pretty sure the kiddos are going to make fun of me, but I can totally handle the heat. After all, I spent all morning in court trying to get rid of the warrant out for my arrest. But that's another story for another day . . .

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Fall Festival 2011

Every year, we gather our kiddos and get ourselves down to camp for their annual fall festival. In fact, fall festival 2009 was Jayci's very first outing (she was one month old). If I recall correctly, she WAILED the entire way home in the car. Yes, yes she did. So this year, we took Caden and Jayci, plus Zack and Sabo and about 12 more kiddos from our neighborhood, many of whom hadn't ever been to camp before. It was a perfect day with beautiful weather, and it was fun to see old friends and spend time with some of our new little friends too!

We ended the day a little crazily rushing home because we got a call from the alarm company that our house had been broken into. The kids from the neighborhood were all really upset to hear that, which encouraged us that they feel invested enough in our family and our lives/home that they would care about something like that. Thankfully, it was just Adam's dad accidentally setting off the alarm, no harm done. I also feel as though anyone who DID break in would be sorely disappointed by our large tube TV that emits a high-pitched noise about 48% of the time when it's turned on. And my laptop which dies immediately when unplugged, which happens often because the cord is loose and falls out regularly. 

 Zack requested that I take this picture of him holding Caden. And then he looked at it on my camera and asked if I could print it out for him so he could hang it in his room. Is that not the sweetest thing ever? Melt my heart.

On Sunday, we celebrated Adam's sister's birthday, and thoroughly enjoyed some buffalo macaroni and cheese. Adam's mom is having pretty major back surgery this week, so she requested we also take some family pictures. Please take note of Adam's face. It was an epic battle to get him to stop making ridiculous faces in every picture. Also, be sure to keep Sheryl in your prayers for her surgery on Wednesday.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Let Him be Little (forever please)

It has been sweet forever since I took part in one of I Heart Faces weekly photography challenges. Things have been, needless to say, a little crazy around here . . .But I saw that this week's theme was little ones - and since I have two little ones of my own, I figured I could scrounge up a picture to enter without too much effort.

While I was pregnant with Caden, I couldn't wait to take his pictures. See, it wasn't until after Jayci was born that I started really learning my camera and realized how much I loved photography. This means, however, that most of the pictures I took of Jayci before she was about one year old were, in a word, terrible. Ok they weren't TERRIBLE, but they are nowhere near the pictures I know I could take now. For this reason, I could hardly wait to capture my sweet newborn's first days at home. I just knew I'd be able to catch get him the perfect pose; because, after all, I'd have those first two whole weeks at home when they're all newborn sleepy, squishy, bendy perfection.

God's plans for our little Caden were different, obviously. I didn't take home a newborn, because by the time Caden was discharged from the hospital, he was almost a month old. Now, obviously, the overwhelming emotion I experienced at his coming home was joy and relief and gratitude. But I've realized that it's ok to grieve the fact that I missed those first few weeks of cuddling and holding (and taking pictures of) my little newborn. I have had to learn that I need to allow myself to fully experience both the good and the bad emotions on this journey. This means I can rejoice without fearing what's ahead, and I need to be able to mourn some things without feeling guilty.

Plus, once he was home, we still weren't allowed to put him on his tummy or pick him up under his arms, so I was super cautious to move him around too much etc (he did, after all, have a sternum that had been cut through and needed healing). That said, I don't have any of the newborn pictures of Caden that I envisioned while he was still snuggled in my belly. What I do have, however, are pictures of my little fighter that I love a whole lot.
I chose this picture because Caden is my little super-hero, he's overcome so much and touched so many lives already, and he's not even three months old! Also, I realized I never shared this one, and even though it's not perfect or what I had in mind for our newborn shoot, I still love it. A lot.

(ps-if you're coming over from I Heart Faces and don't know Caden's story, feel free to visit his Facebook page or look back at these posts to get up to speed).
*Don't forget to visit I Heart Faces for more little one pictures (including lots of beautiful squishy newborn pictures I'm sure -- I cant wait to go see them all!)

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Warning: Way too many pictures

I can't seem to stop taking pictures of my sweet kiddos. So I'll just go ahead and apologize now for the picture overload . . . 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Weekend Recap

I realize one would normally try to post a weekend recap on Monday, but just go ahead as anyone we know how often Adam and I are on time for anything. Let's just say it's a rare occurrence.

Both my grandfather and Adams grandparents were visiting from out of town this weekend, and none of them had met Caden yet. So our weekend consisted of much family time and plenty of gushing over how adorable and perfect our little man is. Not that we can blame them, cause we totally agree.

Thursday we celebrated Canadian Thanksgiving with my family, which is also known as a good excuse to eat an excessively large turkey dinner. Complete with maple pumpkin pie with cinnamon whipped cream, made by my pastry chef sister. Yes please.

Friday we headed up to Marietta to see Adam's grandparents. His grandmother made Jayci this beautiful quilt - I love it!
Saturday we trekked to the farm for my friend Megan's little girl's fourth birthday party. She is so creative and I knew it would be adorable but it really was just perfect. Jayci rode a horse, petted donkeys, and even milked a goat! The goat also ate her hat. Which is seriously unfortunate.
Sunday we picked up Zack and went to church and then headed back to Marietta for some more time with Adam's grandparents before they left. And y'all, I could have died at how sweet Zack was with Caden. And Jayci even told her sunday school teacher that she had three brothers and two were older than her. So we're guessing she meant Zack and Sabo, which just melts my heart.

So that about sums up the weekend. However, there were a few more points of interest from the weekend that I feel the need to share:

1-I finally cleaned out the car. Thanks to my brother-in-law Hash, I realized it was time to stop complaining about it on twitter and facebook and just clean it already. Well, that and Zack didnt have any room to sit in the car because of the various dirty dishes. And I kid you not, I pulled nearly two loads of laundry out of that thing. Which really stinks because it means now I have to do laundry.

2-The house next door to us is being renovated (by the same investor who owned our house). They work on it only sporadically, and the dumpster outside has been full for quite some time now. The past few days, we have been noticing that it's become especially stinky, and surrounded by flies. We've been watching The Wire, so that we have been joking that there are probably dead bodies inside. haha. Except the other day, Adam was teasing some teenage boys walking past about how bad they smelled, and they said "naw, that's the dead dog in there." Turns out that the dumpster next to our house is, in fact, the burial ground for Zeus, the extraordinarily large dead pitbull.We called the city and they were supposed to come pick it up today, but you know how that goes . . . the dumpster (and the dead dog) are still here.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Scars and Stretch Marks

I step out of the shower and gently wipe the steam from the mirror. I notice again the fresh stretch marks across my belly. Somehow, I never noticed them during my pregnancy. They must have been hidden the way my feet were, by the bulk of my swollen belly. I didn't get a single stretch mark with Jayci, despite never using creams or lotions of any kind. So stubbornly, I followed the same non-regimen with Caden. And yet, here the stretch marks are. Browsing through Target the other day, I picked up some expensive cream that promised "VISIBLE-TO-THE-NAKED-EYE RESULTS." But something prickled within me, and I returned it emphatically to the shelf.

Because as much as I grumble about them, I can't help but think that my stretch marks feel like proof. A reminder that life is not how God intended it. Where I give birth to a son with great pain. And feel far greater pain when he was born with a broken heart.

But the jagged pink lines also remind me of goodness. Of how, despite our brokenness, God gives us hope. How out of the pain of childbirth comes new life. How leaves change colors and die, only to bud again in the spring. Seasons of hope follow seasons of pain. Joy comes from mourning.
I run my fingers along Caden's scar. The skin is raised and rippled, yet smooth. It fills his chest, yet somehow feels like an afterthought next to his luminous blue eyes. He grins and coos at me, and I am reminded again that out of brokenness comes beauty. And that the greatest gifts in my life seem to come from what was torn, and what the Lord has bound up.
I read the story of the fall yesterday, of how Adam and Eve left the garden. It's followed so quickly by the story of Abel's murder by his brother. And it only highlights what a broken and terrible world we entered when we left the garden. It's so easy to be overwhelmed by the pain. Because we all have scars, don't we? We all face disappointment and hurt. We are stretched, torn, and wounded again and again by this world.

And yet.
And yet, there is a depth in Caden's beautiful eyes. Like he knows. Somehow he knows that his scar is so much more than a mark of brokenness. It's a symbol of God's goodness. Of how our God loves to restore, to heal. To bind up our wounds and carry our infirmities.

Caden's sternum is bound together by wire. His bone grows back around the wire, fusing together who he was and who he will become. And his rewired heart beats steadily. And my heart, too, is made new.

His scars and my stretch marks remain. And they speak loudly of the God we serve. Of the way he has stretched us. Of how Caden's birth grew my faith along with my belly. Of how our greatest fears were both realized, and redeemed. Yes, they speak loudly of a broken and hurting world. But also of a restoring God who gives us new life. And I love that I serve a God who takes symbols of woundedness, takes that which I consider ugly, and he turns it into something beautiful.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Blurb and the Best Birthday Present Ever

For Jayci's 3rd birthday, I got her a book of my blog. Because what three year old doesn't want a book of their mom's blog for their birthday? Exciting. 

But seriously, I was super-excited to get this book in the mail. It's 12"x12" and 200 pages long. And it contains every post I ever wrote that mentions Jayci, from the moment we discovered we were pregnant until Caden was born. 
You see, I did a terrible (as in I only filled in two pages) job keeping up a baby book for Jayci, but I did a really good job blabbing about her on my blog. So I figure that one day, she will like to read about it. 
I just wanted to share with y'all what a fantastic job Blurb did with the book. If you have a blog, I'd highly recommend them turning it into a book. Because it's gorgeous, and Jayci and I love looking through it and reading it together.

Oh and I realized finally that y'all are totally right. Caden does look just like Jayci. It has been so fun to look back at my blogs and read about how God has been leading us. How we continue to be grown and stretched and changed daily. And how I still love cheese and diet coke.

Also, Blurb has no idea I'm writing this and didn't give me my book for free or anything. I just thought that many of y'all probably have blogs too and this might be something you would love as much as I do. You're welcome.


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