Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Guarding the Young

I just have to share this quick tidbit about our morning together. Jackson and I went for a long walk (to visit Duncan's tree at the Park of Roses) this morning (which is rare, we usually stay in between wake-up and morning nap) in the brisk air. I'd say it was probably around 8:45 am or so when we happened upon a big, fat, mamma racoon along the Olentangy bike path. She looked like she a) was on the rag and had a VERY bad case of PMS, b) was up WAY past her typical sleep-the-day-away bed time, being nocturnal and all, and as a result was miffed or c) had babies nearby and was glaring at me to send the sugnal, "come one step closer to my youngens and you're DEAD."

So what effect did that protective (and quite mean) "beware" racoon expression have on my mother/animal insticts? I gave her one right back - the "If you even think about putting my little guy in his precious lime-colored umbrella stroller in danger - I don't care if you're protecting your youngens or just having a bad day - you're in for one tough match, lady" look.

Thankfully, neither mother pounced. But we were both on pens and needles, prepared to.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Monday, April 28, 2008

Random

A couple random shots I have not yet shared...
I think I've forgotten to mention that one day a couple weeks ago Jackson was so tired (afternoon nap withdrawal) that he fells asleep in his high chair. FELL asleep! Green beans yet to eat, he passed out. We just HAD to capture that moment!
While Aunt Jo was here, we had an outdoor cook out.
Mama and Jackson are LOVING this Spring weather
Outside with his NEW canvas chair. The Hills' gave this to J-man for his early 1 year bday gift. He thinks it's cool.

Slower by the Year

Let me begin by saying that I really am going to give myself a break. I mean, at least I am still out there giving it my best shot. And that's what counts.


But I swear, I am getting slower by the year!!


I am a runner. Have been since the 6th grade, when Uncle Darrell first started jogging with me in road races now and then. That provoked my involvement in middle school cross country, then track. Before you know it, running is MY SPORT. High school, D3 college team, then half marathons and marathons (ok, ONE marathon).


The Kentucky Derby Mini Marathon (and full marathon) was on Saturday. I have been training with Theresa, who ran it (sort of) with me (she sailed through a full minute faster!). KK and her sister, Marcia, whose goals it is to run a marathon in every state, also made the journey to Louisville this past weekend - except they did the full 26.2!!! I finished that half in 1:54. I was happy to break 2 hrs. But when I went on the results page online to review my previous time (in 2005 - PRE-babies I might add), I was reminded of just how fast I USED to be. That time was 1:42. I checked my pace for both races. I was 1 FULL MINUTE slower per mile on average this year compared to 2005.


Ahh.... that body, level of conditioning, and desire to compete aggressively ARE ALL GONE.


But overall I'm pretty content. I still love running. And it does for me what it always has done for me - offers a therapeutic few minutes each day (ok, 3 times a week) to be alone and yet not alone with all of what the outdoors (or, in the case of the winter-time - of which there will be a longer stretch in ROCHESTER - the gym treadmill surroundings) provide.


The Arthur family all made the trip. We had a pasta party at Aunt Lisa, Uncle Brad, Jess and Drew's house Friday night. Then lots of family visiting on Saturday. And I had the opportunity to visit with Justin, my brother, in Sunday morning. Visiting hours are 8-9am on Sundays. That was a very important time to get a pulse on how he's doing. And, to be brief (a rarity), he's OK.


Thanks to Aunt Lisa and Dad for some FANTASTIC hospitality over the weekend!!! I committed a mother's sin by forgetting my camera over the weekend. I was donated some pictures from the McClain camera. Thank goodness!

Did I mention Aunt Lisa and the kids watch Jackson overnight Fri thru Sat, after I had finished running? What saints they are! They remind me that it's a pleasure for them... and it's a relief to know he's in good hands. So a win-win! Here Jackson is during a journey to a nearby park where they live. He was LOVING the swing. Come to think of it, his FIRST swing experience!

Dolly, the McClain's dog was VERY patient!!!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Two Sacred Spots

There are two places I like to go to spend time with Duncan. One is just a walk away at the Park of Roses, where my girlfriends planted a special dogwood for him. The other is at Union Cemetery, where he is buried and where we recently got his grave marker placed. Aunt Jo, while here, wanted to visit both spots. And so did Jackson! Jackson next to his brother's tree. It is currently budding like CRAZY!
Look at that mini-man! I just cannot get enough of that smile!
Jackson at Union Cemetery
We went with a very simple and classy look... but appropriately we described him as
"Our Little Warrior"
Aunt Jo, Jackson, and Duncan

Aunt Jo to the rescue

My Aunt Jo, from Sarasota Florida, has a knack for knowing good timing. Or at least God does. She has visited three times in the past 9 months - once when the boys were first born (Alleluiah! Our savior for meals, feedings, and overall HELP!), once when Duncan had just passed away (Alleluiah! Scott and I needed respite and she offered it), and just this week (Alleluiah! House work, house work, outdoor work, housework!). We didn't know, when she made the flight arrangements, that the house would be on the market at the time. But boy did it work out awesomely. All those little projects (declulttering closets, removing personal stuff, cleaning, paint touch ups, spring landscaping, and MUCH more) necessary to help sell a house were weighing on my petite little frame. So she eased the burden in so many ways. And Aunt Jo had some great connecting time with little J-man too. They love each other.

But what a wild week. We have had a couple couples express interest in the house - setting up private viewings. And our open house was Sunday, which attracted nice crowds. But noone's yet gone to the infamous NEXT STEP: An offer, please? We're obviously VERY early in the game. We believe our location is what will save us, in the current market. Tell your friends. Tell you family. Tell random cute young couples eager to have a charming Clintonville abode or random empty nesters who are looking to downsize... 252 Winthrop is WHERE IT'S AT.

For pics and a quick explanation of offerings, pass along thise website:
http://www.252winthroprd.blogspot.com/

Ready for a World's Worst Mother Moment? This morning I watched my child bounce. I repeat, I observed (and was ultimately the CAUSE of) Jackson bouncing today. I don't mean I got to see him bounce a ball (which would be much more fun). I mean HE physically bounced. The little guy was stationed on his back on the changing table and I took my eye off of him for a couple measely seconds... long enough for him to tumble over the edge. When I turned back towards him, it was too late. I WATCHED my kid decend towards the ground and then ultimately hit the (carpeted - THANK GOD) floor. He landed on his back. And he actually bounced a bit. I'd like to think that I'm a relatively calm mom. Bumps, bruises, and even loud crying don't bother me much. As I so often quote my mother, I figure "he'll live." But when I saw that little body bounce like that, I was absolutely uncontrollably hysterical. I snatched him and called, in a blood curdling I've-gone-mad-please-tell-me-my-kid's-O-K scream, for my Aunt Jo. She was a floor away and came running for us.

I guess I shoulda let you know at the beginning of this story that Jackson is fine. He screamed for a couple minutes, and then returned to his normal smile-ear-to-ear behavior. I was sobbing at the time, repeating to Aunt Jo, "Do you think he's OK? Do you think anything's wrong?" To make me feel better, she explained that Stacia (her daughter and my cousin) rolled off of a bed onto a hard wood floor when she was itty bitty. Stacia is a junior in high school taking AP courses and starting on her varsity b-ball team. So I figure Jackson's got a good chance of equally above average academic and athletic performance in the future.

But, I mean to tell you, today marks fright I have seldom felt before.

While Aunt Jo was here, I also realized that this part of April marks ONE SOLID YEAR of not working, officially. My nanny job with Sophia is too fun to call "official" work, so it doesn't count. But I can hardly believe it. One year. A whole stinkin YEAR of being off the pay roll. What does this mean for me? How do I feel about it? How did I respond to that realization? Where am I headed from here in the way of work? What kind of money-making, if any, do I plan to do in Minnesota? When I reflect enough to find the answers to these questions, I'll let you know. Geez, there's so much to reflect about. There needs to be a whole extra day in the week, carved out specifically for reflection. God made light and dark on the first day, trees and flowers on the second.... rest on the seventh... and REFLECTION on the eighth!!! Rest and reflection are NOT the same thing. So I think we need a whole extra day for it.

Speaking of reflecting, I have been heavily impacted by the news that two students from Liberty High School died earlier in the week. Three 17 year olds were driving home late Sunday night on 315 and lost control of the car, hitting one tree, then another. Two of them were twin girls, and one boy. None of them were ever in a class of mine, but they look familiar. Probably, I brushed shoulders with them in the hallways during my couple years teaching there. One of the twins and the boy died sometime early Monday morning. It has sent me into a wave of emotion... primarily about how tragic this is. And the sadness for me has been magnified thinking about the remaining twin, who was released from the hospital and made it out alive, and how she will carry her sister's death her entire life. It's just sad. Keep those families and the entire community of students in your prayers.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Time to Share Our NEWS!

We're moving.

And not just to a different part of town.

We're moving to... Minnesota.

This is not a joke. Minnesota will be our home in a few months. In order to get a grip on what part of the country soon to be my residence, I had to google "Minnesota." I'm serious. I am embaressed to say that I didn't know where Minnesota was. (In my defense, I somehow skipped the middle school geography class everyone and their uncle's brother takes - not sure how that happened, but nonetheless I am still horrible at knowing my country. Maybe when Jackson gets gifted those Leapfrog games designed to educate young minds about our world, I can - for the first time in my 28 years of life - become an informed citizen). To be brief, my research revealed that it is "UP." And it is "UP" enough to receive snow in mid April.

Let me start from the beginning (as Julie Andrews always sings, "It's a very good place to start"). Scott has been in investigation mode for a few months now. The capital campaign with which he has been charged at The Wellington School is coming to a close in the next few months. This timing, coupled with his desire to branch out in the fundraising world, made for a great season to make a transition. But it's hard work, this transition-making. I say this as an onlooker. I didn't have any hard work, except for offering moral support as Scott diligently prepared cover letters, tailored resumes, interviewed by phone, traveled all over for face-to-face interviews. Geez. He did a TON of extensive work to get the job he got.

WHICH IS... A position working with the world famous medical center, The Mayo Clinic. He will be a development officer, working to match up donors with their passions within the hospital. The "mother" hospital is based in Rochester, Minnesota (our future home - WEIRD to say!) and there are two other satellite sites: Jacksonville FL and Phoenix AZ.

And I yearn to explain maybe a little more about this job search. That kind of explaining requires me to start a little before "the beginning" of Scott's quest. It means I need to go back to Duncan. Sweet Duncan.

Scott had always believed that the most important value for individuals to "make it" in this world was education. The whole bit: knowledge = power, or at least a shot at success. After having worked with youth in a variety of ways in his 20s (ha, I can say that because the 20s for Scott are OVER!)(He worked in youth ministry, then for a nonprofit teaching inner city youth financial literacy and now finally at an independent school), Scott decided his growing experience in fundraising could be best put to use in a university or college. He wanted to raise money to allow young people to educate themselves. Quite a commendable goal, I think. He had been doing a little dabbling with job postings at Ohio Wesleyan, Emory in Atlanta, and even Otterbein.

Then came Duncan. After we lost our little guy, Scott sat long and hard with his career ambitions. He felt as though he was changed by Duncan. And one of these changes was a shift of philosophies about what contribution matters most. Whereas he still believes that education is the key to success. He now believes that kids gotta be healthy before they can be educated before they can succeed. Plus, Nationwide Children's Hospital will forever be sacred ground for us, and we know how much a hospital like that can change lives. So that led him on this really intense search within the pediatric hospital world. He applied and was considered by Chicago's, Cleveland's, Ann Arbor's, and Atlanta's Children's Hospitals. And one day, out of the blue, he learned about this great place called Mayo. He didn't know much about their pediatrics unit (and as it has turned out, that's because it hasn't been grown or developed as intentionally as their general medicine and research) when he first applied, but it didn't take much of the "Mayo vibe" to make its overall commitment to values, integrity and success quite attractive. We traveled there the first week in April for a couple nights. This was his first "live" interview (a 9 hour one!) and my/his first visit to Minnesota EVER. There is something pretty special about that little city. The bug bit me too. And by the end of our stay, we were wooed by what Rochester and The Mayo Clinic had to potentially offer our family.

Only we didn't have an offer.

Not until this past Thursday, coinciding with one from Rainbow Babies in Cleveland. We have chosen The Mayo Clinic. And it feels good.

The only way that it does not feel good is that - although considered momentarily - it doesn't look too realistic to pack up each special person to me from Columbus and haul their tails to Rochester too. Ugh. That's the toughy.

But, otherwise, we are ecstatic. It just feels right.

Jackson's New Cousins



Scott's stepsister, Susan, just gave birth to twin babies Saturday early morning. She gave birth at 34 weeks and a few days - just like I did. So visiting her and the babies yesterday at OSU Hospital's NICU was a strange feeling. Their names are Izzy and Ben. And they are darling. Both are, of course, below desired weights so they will be hanging in the NICU for at least a couple weeks. But they are healthy and doing quite well.


While all the adults went to ooh and aah over the babes in the NICU, Jackson and his big cousin Eli (Susan and Erik's older son) hung out in the room (yes, they WERE supervised). Jackson has major mommy-withdrawal when I take off... that is, UNLESS another child is there to distract him. So he and Eli had a ball together.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Go Cards




I'm a Louisville Cardinal fan. A pathetic one (in that I have been lamely UNinformed about their sports seasons for the past couple years... ) at the moment. But, nonetheless, I lazily pull for them whenever I know I should be. The love affair I have with their basketball team goes back to when Dad used to take me (or Justin, depending upon whose turn it was) to the U of L basketball games at Freedom Hall in Louisville when we were growing up. To a kid, that was like a DREAM. Hotdogs, an ocassional pretzel, and out past my bedtime - SCORE!


Aunt Lisa, Uncle Brad, Jessica and Andrew gifted Jackson a set of U of L onesies for Easter. Don't be fooled by the blue color, you wildcat fans - these pics are of a Cardinal, through and through. The writing says, "Big Man on Campus."

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Grandpa's Birthday, Carrot Man, Becky's Pool, and Picnic in the Park















Grandpa Ricci's birthday is April Fool's Day and, since we were out of town and things were nuts on his end, we just got together to celebrate Friday. I'd say, based on the smile on J-man's face in both the above pics, Grandma and Grandpa Arthur are two of his favorites!






And on to the topic of my carrot-loving son. You'd think they're lolly pops, the way he stuffs them in his mouth one right after the other. I'm afraid he's gonna turn orange (apparently that's a real possibility)! I just thought these couple photos of meal time were fun.



















Becky and Dick Smith own a house in Sunbury with a BEAUTIFUL lot. Dick decided several years back to build on a maginificent indoor pool room looking out to nothing but nature off the back of their home. Jackson, Scott, and I gladly accepted an invitation to join the Smiths Saturday for a little swim/snack time at their home. Jackson pulled a "I'm a baby and need to be introduced to splashes and loud reverberating sounds gradually... get a hint, Mom, I can't be adventurous ALL the time" stunt again. I'm learning more and more about his personality. He's more of a test-the-waters (literally, in this case) baby than a "full-throttle-I'll-take-anything-you-give-me kind of kid. Which is hard for a "full-throttle-I'll-take-anything-you-give-me kind of woman/Mom to be patient with. Maybe he gets this tenderness (aka scare-cat-edness, as I call it) from his Daddy. Oh yeah. That's probably an accurate comparison. Scott was the one who sat out rollercoasters during his earlier theme park days, and called his Mom to pick him up from summer camp. Oh geez. Is this in my future???
Scott in the pool, Becky chatting on the lounge chair, Jackson playing SAFELY and DRYLY on the carpet, and Dick working on a Sudoku. A PERFECT Sat!FGM Becky and J-man hanging



Lastly, take a look at the fun Sophia, Jackson and I had in the park today! I feel sorry for anyone who doesn't spend at least a LITTLE time out of doors today. It is brilliantly beautiful out there. Sophia showed up this morning in a pink, frilly tutu. Those pudgy legs extanding from that skirt just had me in stitches all day today!!!

Not the most lady-like position for Sophia... good thing for that divide in the stroller!!!

The image I see from my pushing position. Sophia is notorious for pulling off her socks.

Bibs on, ready to eat! This miracle lasted for about 1 minute, before they proceeded to pull each others' bibs off. Lunch was VERY interesting, let's put it that way!

Major concentration over that stick. Jackson's first encounter with nature since last summer, when he really didn't give two flips. My attempt at a multi-tasking self portrait. Sophia prefers to DRINK her lunch, so I had a bottle going while feeding Jackson and myself. I broke from the me-Jackson feeding to take this shot. We had a blast!!!

Friday, April 4, 2008

Directions for "catching up," if you so choose

Hi. You'll get a clue as to why I've not been blogging when you read all the busy-ness of the past couple weeks. I've written in 5 installments. But in order for ANYthing to make ANY sense, you ought to start with Catch up #1 and progress to the top.

Just a piece of advice.

I'm back now.

Catch up #5






We were sent a card a few weeks ago which read, "Don't be early, don't be late, Please come meet us for a date!" (details included about date/time to arrive at Whetstone Park). "Celebrating memories, surrounded by friends, We will be together till the end! Make sure you are hungry, you will be fed, Back to Otterbein we will then head. We can't wait to see you three... Love, The Girls"

My sorority sisters were at it again, I had a feeling. So after returning from North Carolina on Sat night, we were prepared last Sunday afternoon for whatever they had in store for us. We just showed up where we were invited to... and an escort (Tina Mohn) led us through a section of the Park of Roses to where a pack of wonderful women and their families were huddled together. Scott, Jackson and I still didn't know exactly what to expect, but as I began greeting these ladies, I started getting some signals... for starters, I observed what appeared to be a newly planted tree nearby... for finishers - upon looking closer - I saw an engraved stone which read, "Duncan's Tree." A tree for Duncan. That's when I started to tear up. Thank goodness dear Dick (as in Mrs. Becky) Smith was there to hold Jackson, because Scott and I were needing to be close as we prepared for a beautifully pieced together "ceremony." A few gals each read about the meaning, background, sacredness, and natural significance of both trees and stone - that both represent Duncan here at the Park of Roses and each will be there for as long as we all will live. So we're all dripping wet standing there, not from the light drizzle, but from the tears and sniffles. And then, one of my neighborhood and old community service friends from OC, Kat, had arranged for a friend to play the song "Somewhere over the rainbow" on his guitar to conclude the moment. Whew. There's nothing like music to take you to the next emotional level.

I cried all the way through my opportunity to thank everyone on behalf of our entire family, Duncan too. I keep returning to the theme of not being able to return the kindness and love that has been gifted our family. But, then - I believe - that's what makes it so Godly. It is completely selfless and done with no strings attached. I guess that's what unconditional is all about.

Back to Otterbein's campus, we all headed, for a delightful time of fellowship and joyful playing (lots of the girls have babies and toddlers... the room just resonated of new life and energy!).

Thank you, girls, for making that Sunday unforgettable. I am so incredibly lucky to have had you in my OC days and to continue having you in my life! My friend, Tiff, was also present (Sophia's mom). When we talked on the phone the other day, she commented how tickled she was to be invited and how awesome it was to see the neat women in my life. I agree!!! I am lucky.

Catch up #4 (out of order)

So I totally flubbed up. Rewind in your brain to Good Friday. Would you believe that, after having just one week prior been treated to a yummy facial and makeup session at Origin and Aveda (remember that?), my dear friends Nancy and Becky joined me in another FULL facial? It was a total surprise. Total. The two of them were SUPPOSED to visit on Good Friday, join me in worshipping at Worthington Pres' Good Friday service (very meaningful, by the way) and then be on their merry way.

Tricks up their sleeve are their specialty! We concluded what I thought would be our time together by visiting sweet Duncan at his resting place, Union Cemetery. Out of nowhere, Becky produced this beautiful flower bouquet shaped like a darling bunny! Nancy, Becky, and I stood above Duncan's grave holding each other and crying on Good Friday afternoon. With a bouncy, jovial "flower bunny" looking bright eyed up at us. We had to laugh from time to time at its sweet face.

THEN... THEN... as if my day hadn't been awesome enough with my fun friends, they added, "Oh, and by the way, you're joining us to NURTUR (awesome salon and spa) for a facial." What? What about Jackson, who Scott had agreed to watch for a bit while we did our cemetery visit and Good Friday worship. Did he know? Yep... Becky had already been all over it.

So off we went, carefree, to enjoy more pampering. I gotta be careful not to get used to this!!! Nancy and Becky, thank you for my afternoon delight that day. I am so blessed

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Catch up #3

Tryon, North Carolina. Heard of it?

Neither had we when our friends Paul and Dave Fenner mentioned they had a cabin there to which we were invited. Free cabin in the NC mountains? We said "yes," without skipping a beat. What we didn't know was how a 10 month old at the peak of his abandonment anxiety stage AND a bad cold could add challenge to our little get-away. When we arrived, late last Tues night, it was dark, Jackson had been jolted into consciousness from his sleepy car seat position, and everything about his temporary "cage" (aka pack n play) felt strange. So, you gotta admit, his freak-out that night was warranted (freak-out = screaming at the top of his lungs until he was lulled/rocked to sleep then when carefully placed in his "cage" returning to a state of hysteria screaming at the top of his lungs again). It got better, but we went through a couple days and night of total clinginess and sleeplessness before the improvements.

But enough about Jackson... let's discuss Tryon, Saluda, and Landrum. These three towns were our tromping grounds for the week. Asheville is just a half hour drive from this area (known for the Biltmore mansion among other things), but we fell so in love with the teensy communities, we couldn't leave. We ate southern fried chicken with the fixins and yummy specialty pizza from the one-of-a-kind restaurants nearby, shopped at their darling little gift shops and art galleries, and ooed and awed over the towns' overall "cuteness.

Can't wait to upload fun pics from our time there, but I had to take a lousy 35 mil. camera and need to work out those kinks. So FuN!

Catch Up #2







OK, so let's begin with Easter. I was SO excited about Easter. There's nothing I like more about having beloved family around me than having beloved family around me in my house. Any guest who has ever visited my house - if forced to be completely honest - would confess that my cooking is less than perfectly timed, my house is less than perfectly clean, and my "plans" are less than perfectly planned. But that's what I love about it all - we just join in one house and let it all hang out!

Aunt Lisa, Uncle Brad, Jessica, Andrew, and Dad (and Esther, Dad's black lab) all came in from Louisville (you shoulda seen the creative sleeping arrangements - Dad & Esther ended up in the basement closet!) for the weekend of Easter. By the time everyone arrived on Sat, it was decided (ok, I decided) that the theme for the weekend would be, "Everyone participates in everything." To drive this point home, we began the day with an Easter Egg dying contest. When Jessica (8th grade) responded with, "Oh my gosh, it's been like forever since I did this!" my excitement about the activity only escalated. Because, really, it had been awhile since ANY of us had done it. Uncle Brad won the contest with a cleverly died egg: one half blue for the KY Wildcats and one half red for (no, NOT the Louisville cards) the Ohio State Bucks. I don't care if he was kissing up to the judge (me) - total points for creativity.


Then we spent the afternoon snacking (on guacamole and peeps, which then evolved into a peep war... looks at photos below. This entertainment is far too sophisticated to go into detail about. Just trust me - it's fun) and preparing two whole chickens for dinner (needed TONS of help from Aunt Lisa on this one as I'd never cooked ANYTHING whole in my life - I have a knack for requiring assistance in the kitchen). Uncle Brad, Aunt Lisa, Scott and I had a delightful conversation about faith and church while Jess (actually, I think she was reading), Andrew and Dad watched NCAA basketball. Jackson? He just got tossed around from person to person!

Picture #1: Peeps prepared for war
Picture #2: Peeps in battle (yes, a microwave and toothpicks are involved)
Then dinner, then family taboo, then an outdoor flashlight easter egg hunt (thanks, beth, for the idea!), then family cranium. Then TO BED!

Sunday morning we all were amazingly efficient shower-takers and headed off to church for Easter Sunday. Last year I was pregnant and Dad and Mom had come into town for Easter. I remember at the start of last year's service, the choir sang this most incredibly beautiful hymn. I have no idea what it was. With Mom directly to my right, her bald head (radiation) hidden behind a purple knit hat and that melody just inviting us all into a sacred space, I wept. And it wasn't a pretty weeping. It was more like sobbing. It was a "I have a feeling I will not have my mom around much longer, I'm so glad I am spending Easter with her, Will she get to meet my babies, I wish she could be well now" cry. It was uncontollable. And I couldn't cut bait and leave the service - we were seated near the front. I had not prepared with tissues. And my mascara, I felt sure, was staining my face. But the, despite my attempt to get it together, the tears just kept coming. All the way through the song... a hand from behind me came out of nowhere offering several tissues. Thank goodness I could saturate all that moisture with something. I was so emotional, I couldn't even look back to respond. I just received that tissue like I was receiving it from someone I knew well, an undersdtanding between the giver and the receiver. That emotional period passed, like it had been THERE and then it was GONE. The rest of the service I felt zero sadness. After the service, I turned to my wonderful stranger friend and discreetly said, "Thanks, you were a lifesaver." The woman, who had clearly observed Mom's condition and maybe even mine, whispered in my ear, "I've been exactly where you are. Just remember, you're being prayed for." Ahh. That was almost, but not quite, enough to set me off again.

I tell this story of our Easter one year ago to explain that I walked into church this year a bit anxious. I was fearful that perhaps I would hear that same song again (wouldn't be able to pick it out of a song sheet, but would know it if I heard it) and it would be a ROUGH hour to get through. But no such song. I still teared up several times thinking about Mom. It was a special time.
Jackson looking dapper Easter morning

The Fam - Tiff, Sophia's mom, is taking the photo. See Sophia in Jess's arms?


After church, we got going in the kitchen again. Tiffanie and Sophia came one over from the down the street as well as good friend Amy Avery. There were a total of 11 of us dining together. Yummy. It seemed fun was had by all. The McClains and Dad headed back to Louisville after Easter lunch. The Arthurs then toted themselves over to Grandma and Poppie Arthur's home for a yummy dinner and Easter Basket spoiling. Jackson spent more time with cousin Dillon there.




Once home, we had the house to ourselves... until we headed on our next adventure, two days later!!!

Catch up #1

I remember when I was TOTALLY into journaling in the 4th or 5th grade. I had that little cheap plastic covered diary that every other elementary school aged girl did (you know, the one with the chinsy lock and key (presumably promising privacy) that a household gerbel could knaw through?) I was TOTALLY into journalistic writing then: all about recording the events of my oh so important life. "Today I dropped my pencil at the pencil sharpener and Jesse told me to hurry up. I think he's the meanest boy in my class!" "After school I went shopping with Grandmom and Grandad for clothes. Tomorrow I'm wearing my new backpack and jeans." I remember feeling TOTALLY under the gun when I forwent my nightly journaling session for more than a week. Frantic, I would scribble down everything in my memory that I had left out during my neglectful period in abbreviated style "Ice cream Monday. New favorite flavor: cookies and cream. Tuesday Girl Scout meeting. Wednesday Heather said I could come to her party. So on and so forth). And I remember sort of apologizing to it. Like, "Sorry I forgot you for a while, diary. I promise to do better."

Well, I've gotten looser with my journal guilt. (Because, I DO still keep one in writing... actually I keep about 4... some habits die hard).

But now I got this dagged blog! Ha. I'm only teasing, really. Rarely to I feel an obligation to it. Rather, it tends to woo me into its addictive and therapeutic picture-loading and updating. Still, I must admit my disbelief in realizing 2 WEEKS have passed. Like in the elementary diary days, lots of catching up to do. But, knowing that as my age increases, my inability to consolidate increases as well, there will be little abbreviation. With this intro, I will now proceed to add several more entries... and I wrote this just for you, blog: "Dear Blog, I'm sorry I waited until now to catch you up on my going-ons. It seems that a lot of activity has happened recently. I promise I'll do better."