Tuesday, May 27, 2008


I felt it important to report, after having been emailed or called by three different friends requesting it, that John Arthur (Scott's cousin who just got married - see previous entry) DID indeed recover his wedding band.

One of the faithful guests committed herself to straining sand with a collander on the beach (while the undevoted guests such as Scott and myself persued the more self-interested activity of consuming appetizers and cocktails) after the wedding ceremony concluded. Sure enough, after about 10 minutes she came through with the missing ring! And it formally replaced the "lender" of Matt's.

Funny funny. All was well in the end!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

HHI brought lots to the surface

We had been planning a week-long trip to Hilton Head ever since we received the save-the-date card for Scott's cousin, John's, destination wedding there. It, coupled with Scott's 31st Birthday, made for a great excuse to plan our summer vaca mid-May.

And then we had to throw flying to Rochester and back into the mix. So, we got back from Rochester late on a Monday night (11th). And 18 hours later, we were in the car headed south towards HHI. 7 of those 18 hours, mind you, included Sophia duty. So, as you can image, I was running around even MORE like a chicken with my head cut off than usual that Tuesday. But we made it, safe and sound, to our dear friends' condo on the island.

The Wagners became friends with us when we had the privileged of spending time with their daughter at Forest Hill Church in our youth ministry days. We've kept in close touch, even as they've moved to Atlanta. Their condo is AWESOME there in HH and we were fortunate enough to spend time there nearly two years ago, when Mom was gearing up for her biochemo treatments. Mom, Dad, Justin, Scott and I all vacationed together. It was the last trip I went on with Mom feeling herself.

As you can imagine, being in that space brought a lot of memories back. I think back to that time, and - had you told me then that I would have given birth to twins, lost one of them, and lost Mom by summer of 2008 - I would have assumed you had confused me with someone else. Geez, even just reading that last sentence out loud is strange. It's hard to explain how I was present in every single moment of that pain and sorrow and grief (and still am) - and yet it does not seem like MY life contained all that.

It was an interesting set of memories which came back to me. But the trip was certainly different enough to not feel too melancholy, NAMELY having a bouncing bundle of nearly-1-year-old joy cruising around the condo, putting beach sand in his mouth, and curling down his bottom lip in the lamest pouting session whenever the ocean water approached his toes (such a sissy!). Jackson was a hoot to vacation with, that's for sure. He was especially a champ when it came to sleeping in a different setting (our previous trip to NC did NOT provide the same results) and dealing with strangers (lots of new family faces from Scott's side revolving around wedding events, not to mention three random strangers we assigned to his care while we were busy going to receptions and boat cruises and dinners out - they were highly recommended sitters so we felt safe). Cousin Steve flew in from Chicago and stayed with us the majority of the time we were there, so he and Jackson developed quite the comradery.

Before I go into the wedding low-down. Let me just say how much I LOVE... LOVE... LOVE... nice people. Now I know there's nothing particularly bold or complicated about that statement. I mean, who really doesn't like nice people. But I believe I have a particularly strong preference for them.

That fact is exactly why this past Saturday's wedding left such an impression on me; almost everyone there was genuinely nice. John Arthur is Scott's dad's brother's son. He is an identical twin. His brother's name is Matt Arthur, and the two are closer than I have ever seen two people be. Best friends. John married a woman I believe I could be BFF with if she only lived closer to either Ohio OR Minnesota than Seattle -which is where both she and John live now. Megan is her name.

So the wedding begins... on the beach... on the most beautiful evening you can imagine. And after Megan comes down the sandy isle, there's a bit of shuffling underneath the beautiful arch adorned with pink roses. No one is saying anything, but it seems like there's a bit of stalling before the service begins. Come to find out, John's wedding band accidentally got dropped in the sand. Some folks drop to their knees. But no band. The officiant suggested they move forward with the ceremony, then come back to sift the area. And that's when Matt, John's twin, whose wedding Scott and I attended three years ago (his wife, Annie, I could be BFF with too) stepped forward and started tugging at his own left ring finger. Sure enough, Matt's wedding ring was wrenched off his hand and lent to John for the service.

The very next part of the service involved a very sweet passage about the reality of love... it was about then that I just lost it. I didn't put up much of a fight to hold back the tears- heck, it was a very natural setting, so I let my salty tears blend with the salty surroundings. I gave up trying to decide what was the root of my emotions - The sweet words about love reminding me how grateful I am for my husband? The beauty of the crashing waves, golden sun, and squawking seagulls putting me in touch with that which is bigger than myself? Or was it what I feared could be the cause of my gushing - that watching identical twin brothers so tenderly behave towards one another made me think of what could have been for my boys. The moment of my tearfulness passed. And the service concluded. Megan and John became a couple! It was such a fantastic thing.

Then we paraded over to the tent, where the reception was held - walking distance from the beach. When it became time for the best man's toast, I wasn't prepared for a whole other wave. Matt spoke of the respect he has for his twin, about their connection, about their support of one another... Had I been perceptive enough to think of anything than the moment I personally was in, I would have noticed that there probably wasn't a dry eye in the place - regardless of twin history. It was just sweet to watch two grown men love each other so dearly.

And so I couldn't hold it together then either.

I KNEW I was going to a wedding where twins would be in the spotlight... but I surely wasn't prepared for the moments I described above. I mean, I've been around a lot of twin situations since Duncan died. I am very comfortable talking about other women's twin children. And even holding twin babies. It was the fact that these twins were grown men that got me. And the fact that Jackson (and Duncan) has a built-in best friend missing who will not be toasting him at his wedding - that thought rang through my insides for that short portion of the night.

And then - JUST LIKE THAT - I was done. The sadness passed. And I moved on to fried green tomatoes that were to DIE for and boiled shrimp mixed with delicious creole seasoned sausage. That's my life. Rare moments of heartache pop up unexpectedly amidst a myriad of life's joyful blessings. I would rather the rare aching moments to surface among a vast sea of pleasant ones, than it to be the other way around.

The only other big highlight to share is that upon entering Columbus (at 1:30am today), both Scott and I felt this enormous sense of relief - We're HOME. Driving through the dark, but familiar streets of Clintonville, I felt an overwhelming sense of comfort (of course, that could have been exclusively due to craving the comfort of my bed after a 12 hours road trip!). And it felt good. Until. I realized. It's not going to be home anymore. But I was too tired to deal with that whole can of worms. So I went to bed. One of these days I'm going to deal with moving. But for now I'm holding out.

Enjoy fun pics of J-man...

Scott and I the evening of the "rehearsal dinner" boat cruise

Steve, the cousin who stayed with us, from Chicago

(Steve nicknames Jackson "Jacksonian")

Aunt Nan and Cousin Matt hanging with J-man

Scott and John - a couple days before the wedding
Matt and Annie

Monday, May 12, 2008


I'm wired.

I **THINK** Scott and I just accomplished the most difficult transactions associated with moving (besides the emotional side-effects, which will eventually need tending to... but for the moment I'm not quite there yet).

#1: We THINK we sold our home, for the price we wanted to the buyer we wanted
#2: We THINK we bought another, for the price we wanted, posessing the features we wanted

Does it get much better than that?

This Sat- tonight we spent in Rochester, Minnesota - our future home. We spent two solid days looking at homes, then a half-day writing up paperwork for the offer and counters. Then we splurged, by celebrating at the Mall of America today (in Minneapolis). In the midst of hunting for and finding our dream home there in Rochester, we were in correspondence with the buyer of our home here in Clintonville... we did some re-negotiating after the home inspection. And decided on a purchase price, signed the paperwork, faxed it to all parties - closing that deal too!

Closing date for our home here in Clintonville: June 25
Closing date for our home there in Rochester: June 26

Back to my question, does it get much better than that?

Now, I want to temper my hyper-ness with the reality that our desired home in Rochester has yet to go through an inspection. But it seems in great shape - owners took great pride in their house, as is obvious - so we do not predict any probs.

Jackson had no input on the house in which he will likely spend his early years. But we made a decision on his behalf, as he was busy being loved on by 6 different people in Columbus over the weekend. The guy was given good care by Emily, Liz, Nancy, Katie, Ricci and Diane - how lucky we are to have people in our lives so willing to step in and love Jackson. THANKS!

We feel very fortunate. It all is falling into place nicely. Maybe this transition won't be so tough. But then again, as aforementioned, I haven't quite addresses the emotional aspect of the transition.

But there'll be time for that too.

For now, I'm wired. And stoked. And pumped. And psyched. And picturing what new furniture we need. And where to put it all. And what paint colors might look good where. And what flower beds I'm going to tend to first. And. And. And...

Friday, May 2, 2008

A beautiful day with friends

Yesterday Sophia's grandma was in town, so I was off duty! It feels so weird whenever I don't have Sophia to look after on my typical Tues/Thurs routine.... like "what am i gonna do now!?"

A quick bit on that topic, while I'm thinking of it: Staying home with Jackson this past year has been interesting in that way. In one minute I feel like I have NO IDEA how to fill the time. There seems so much of it. And no urgency. So I find myself piddling it away. And then in the next minute (even more so now that there's a bit of chaos in selling our home, etc), it feels like there's far more to do than there is time to do it. And I'm like a productivity-machine. Time is just a funny little thing. We all have the exact same amount of it. And we all look at it in such different ways, choosing different priorities with which to fill it. Am I the only one who thinks "time" is a tricky little thing?

OK, so I'm back to yesterday.

We got the opportunity to spend some time with Em and Becky at the Replogle home. Jackson is instantly entertained when around other little dudes and dudettes. He LOVED watching Hannah, Kaiya, Cassie, and Charlie (although he wasn't moving much, poor little guy had a fever)... he didn't pay a great deal of attention to Austin. Probably because his Mommy was infatuated enough for the lot with that babe! Ahhhh, babies just get me all warm and fuzzy inside. I LOVED holding that little 8 lb bundle of joy. I told Em and Becky, it's kinda hard to even imagine that Jackson and Duncan were EVER that small. We all agreed that's a common Mamma phenomenon.

Then, I visited with Becky (Smith, that is), since I was so close to Otterbein. Jackson showed off his crawling (correction: dragging) skills on the OC Alumni Office floor. And his "thug" sag look (I think I got a little ambitious in thinking these 12 month shorts would fit him).

Then later in the evening Theresa and her crew visited for dinner, a walk, and play time in the back yard. Almost 3 year old Ellie is pictured below eating a chocolate covered strawberry... she's ALL OVER IT!

It was a beautiful day - both weather wise and friend wise!

Grandma Lynette got this great mini card table for all the grandkids whenever they visit. Jackson, as you can tell, is ecstatic.

Not all cheese is created equal

I like to switch up Jackson's breakfast meal frequently... sometimes cheerios, sometimes buttered toast, sometimes baby cereal, sometimes apple sauce and yogurt... I've even introduced cheese toast.

Now, you should know that not all cheese toasts are created equal.

Until this morning, I had been using straight-up cheddar block cheese, which when sliced and melted in the broiler provides a nice coat of grease on top. I'd break the cheese toast into pieces and that grease coat would help the little nuggets of yumminess glide RIGHT down Jackson's throat.

TODAY was halarious, though. I splurged at Kroger this week and purchased the cheddar single squares... this morning, it made for a convenient and fast b-fast prep. Except, we all know that when that stuff melts it becomes very, very, very sticky. It took about an hour for Jackson to get that breakfast down. Because every bite got stuck to the roof of his mouth. So he'd make this surprised face every time. Then scrunch his little nose up in a semi-frustrated, semi-tickled way. Then began his strategies to dislodge what he wanted so badly to taste and consequently swallow: coughing, shaking his head, etc. He was diligent, I gotta give it to him. We finally settled on large gulps of milk after each cheese toast bite - in combination with Jackson's newly acquired fancy tongue work - to get it down.

I may regret this teachable moment in years to come. Sounds an aweful like a lesson in the art of french kissing (you shoulda seen to mastery of control he had over his tongue!).