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Where Have You Been?

December 12, 2013

Gosh, Haley…why haven’t you written in almost a year? Well…here’s a semi-typical day (save for the tonsillectomy – but really – just replace it with something else):
Got Nola to the hospital at 6:30 this morning after sleeping fitfully all night because my daughter was going to have surgery the next day. While I was waiting for her to go back to surgery for her tonsillectomy, I got an e-mail from Caleb’s teacher saying that he had snapped his glasses in half, which lead to tears (rightfully so). After 6 1/2 hours at the hospital, we came home & got Nola settled on the couch. I picked Caleb up from school, went by the optical shop where I was pleasantly surprised to find out that we got a one-time replacement pair (Hallelujah!). Jetted across the parking lot to ring the Salvation Army bell for an hour & came home. Nola wanted so badly to eat dinner, but got very upset when it hurt her throat. Caleb cried while trying to do homework and declared it the WORST. DAY. EVER. Come to find out, he not only broke his glasses, but has to stay in at recess tomorrow because he didn’t finish his writing assignment. Rudy calmed him down and got him going on his homework. After repeated prodding, it was decided that the homework would be finished tomorrow morning before school. Caleb was told to go take a shower, which meant that it was again the WORST. DAY. EVER. and tears fell again. It’s 7:45 and I’m working hard to keep my eyes open. So, while I miss writing a whole bunch, it’s just not at the top of my priority list right now.

Princesses and Love

April 30, 2013

Dear Nola,

Lala and I took you to see Disney on Ice “Dare to Dream” on Sunday.  You really liked it.  You were amazed by the costumes, lights, ice skating (though I’m not really sure you understand what ice skating is), music and of course, the towers of cotton candy (for only $12 a bag!).  You and the other little girls in your princess dresses were absolutely precious.  You were sparkly and bouncy and all of the wonderful things that a little girl likes to be.

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First was the story of Princess Tiana - my favorite of the show.  Tiana is a gutsy girl who has a dream of owning her own New Orleans restaurant.  She works hard to make her dream come true and just happens to find love in the form of a prince who was turned into a frog by a voodoo shadow man.  The music is a wonderful jazz and zydeco mix and the story of accepting who you are and loving who you are is great.  I especially like the song, “Dig a Little Deeper”, with the lyric, “Dig down deep inside yourself, You’ll find out what you need.”

After Tiana became a princess and rode off into the sunset with Prince Naveen, it was time for Cinderella - the quintessential Disney princess.  She’s the one with the evil stepmother and stepsisters.  She’s the one whose dress was made by mice.  She’s the one who got a horse-drawn carriage bibbity-bobbity-booed from a pumpkin.  When she finally got to the royal ball, Prince Charming fell madly in love with her.  They waltzed around singing, “So, This is Love” until the clock struck midnight and she ran away.  Well, the dingbat lost her shoe (which somehow didn’t disappear at midnight like everything else did).  The prince came looking for her and lo-and-behold, she had the other shoe stashed away.  Cue music and big wedding, then happily ever after.  The Disney website describes her as “kind to all… She has faith that if you keep on believing, your wish will come true. With help from her fairy godmother, she gets a chance to live her dreams.”  I am so glad that Cinderella is kind to all.  That’s a great thing to be and something that I hope you will strive for.  What I need for you to know, though, is that there are no fairy godmothers to make your dreams come true and just believing in your wish won’t make it real.  If you want your dreams to come true, you have to make them come true.  I don’t think I’m bursting your bubble by telling you this.  You live in our house, so independence shouldn’t come as a shock to you.

After Cinderella, we got to the story of Rapunzel.  I kind of like Rapunzel.  She’s spunky with her lizard friend and her frying pan. Plus, she’s the only one I know of who actually is royalty by birthright and not because some prince came along and picked her to be his princess.  If it weren’t for the whole “rescued from a tower by a strange man” scenario, I’d be all about Rapunzel.  I just wish she would’ve escaped from the tower on her own and then found her man, but that’s just not the way the story goes.  I’m really glad that Disney is making their “princesses” more modern and more like real girls (except for the crazy long hair, the giant eyes and the unrealistic figure).

Since before you were born, I’ve had a love-hate relationship with princesses.  I debated about taking you to this particular show, but decided to take you because I knew you would love it and I wanted to share that experience with you.  Now that it’s over, I have to share a few thoughts…

I see so many little girls in their “I’m the princess, that’s why” t-shirts and they have the entitled attitude to go right along with it.  I really hope that you won’t be one of those little girls.  I hope that you’ll be the girl who thinks princesses are beautiful, but knows that real girls ride bikes and sometimes horses, not horse-drawn carriages.  I hope that you’ll be the girl who loves twirly dresses, but feels just as beautiful in jeans and a t-shirt.  I hope that you’ll be the girl who knows that fancy parties and tiaras are fun, but so are football games and ballcaps.  I hope you’ll be the girl who enjoys nice things but knows that they aren’t gifts from Fairy Godmothers, but come as a result of education, hard work and smart decisions.  I hope that you’ll be the girl who dreams big but knows that wishing on a star doesn’t make your dreams come true.    Most of all, I hope that you’ll be the girl who finds her Prince Charming but knows that the only men you can ever count on to save you are Jesus and your Daddy.

I am not writing this to you to steal the joy of playing pretend.  I would never take away the magic and fun of the stories, the tea parties, the dancing, or the fairytales.  Cinderella and Prince Charming sang, “So, This is Love…”  I want you to know what love really is:

Love is not a prince on a white horse.  Love is a guy who takes you to the doctor when you’re too sick to drive and then makes sure you have orange juice and tylenol until the flu is over.

Love is not a lavish wedding with doves and ballgowns.  Love is being surrounded by your family and friends as you make promises to another person to love and cherish and protect each other forever – and then keeping those promises.

Love is not a boy who likes you because you’re “hot”.  Love is a man who likes you even when you’re not.

Love is not a physical relationship.  Love is an emotional, mental, spiritual, and physical relationship that is built on trust, fidelity, equality, and faith.

Love is not about a tiny waist or a tiara.  Love is about knowing who you are on the inside, where you come from and what you believe in.  You have to love yourself before you understand what love is.

Love does not happen in an instant.  Love happens when you realize that you can’t imagine your life without him.  Love happens when you hold your baby for the first time and know that he or she is the greatest gift God will ever give to you.  Love happens when you see the man you’ve devoted yourself to holding that baby with tears in his eyes.  Love happens when you’re watching that baby take her first steps, when you let go of his hand on the first day of school, when you fall to your knees praying that the fever will break, and when you hear him say a prayer to God that is so simple and heartfelt it can only come from the soul.

 

Love is what I have for you, sweet girl.  You are a beautiful princess in purple, a child of God, a strong-willed girl full of sugar and an extra dash of spice, a blessing, and a joy.  Love is what I hope for you, what I wish for you, and what I pray for you.

My heart is yours,

Mama

New Year’s Eve

March 19, 2013

We had the best kind of New Year’s Eve.  We spent it at home with the kids.  My cousin’s son, Maddox spent the night with us and “the boys” had the best time ever.  They even made it to midnight for an apple juice toast before they crashed and burned in the bunk beds!

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“no girls allowed except mom”

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On to Tulsa

March 19, 2013

After Snowpocalypse 2012 hit on Christmas Day, we spent a couple of days at my parents’ house before we packed up and went to Tulsa to spend some time with Rudy’s family.  This year was extra special, because it was the first time – EVER – that we spent multiple days and nights in the same place as Rudy’s brother & his family.  (They work in fields where they prefer to remain anonymous online, so I won’t be using their real names.  :)  They live in the northeast and have 2 kids who are similar in age to ours, so it was a great joy for the kids to get to play together for more than just a couple of hours.

While we were in Tulsa, we spent lots of time at the house, just letting the kids play.  We also did a little shopping (including a new Macbook Pro for me) and we celebrated both Christmas and BIL’s 40th birthday.  The grown-up guys took a day trip to Kansas for a pheasant hunting excursion and had a blast.

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Locke Family Christmas

March 19, 2013

We were supposed to celebrate the Locke family Christmas on the 27th at Pepapa & Anna Joyce’s house, but the snow changed that plan.  They live at the bottom of a very steep hill and nobody could get there!  We decided to improvise and everyone (except for Pepapa & Anna Joyce who were snowed in) came to the Loopers’ house!  We had a wonderfully relaxed Christmas celebration with appetizers and finger foods.  The kids played and laughed and we all watched them in awe.  I’ll let the pictures tell the story…

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Snow!

March 19, 2013

LaLa & Pops’ house in the snow!

We woke up on December 26th to a winter wonderland!  It snowed 8.5″ overnight.  That is just short of unheard of in Arkansas!  Merry Christmas, kiddos!

White Christmas

March 19, 2013

We were so excited to celebrate Christmas at our own house this year without traveling.  Mom and Mr. L. came over in the morning and Rudy made a wonderful breakfast for us all.  I was quickly corrected when I attempted to put a birthday candle in one of Rudy’s biscuits, though!  (Apparently, candle wax is an unacceptable addition to biscuits and gravy. Some people are so picky!)  Rudy opened his birthday gifts after breakfast…

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Then we left the kids open theirs.  It was so much fun watching them!

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Nola and Caleb made out like bandits – even though we tried to scale back our gift-giving this year.  Lala and Pops went all out as usual.  Nola got dolls, a Barbie case, a barking puppy, a huge sticker book, some books, pajamas, and a couple of movies.  Caleb got a globe, some Beyblades, some PJs, some games for his DS, a couple of movies, and some books.

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Caleb and Pops playing with the tinker set/marble run that Pops and I made for him.

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Nola playing with her new puppy, Frosty. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We got Mom a piece of pottery from an Arkansas company.  She picked it out herself at the Holiday House and it looks so pretty in her house!

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After the excitement of opening presents, the kids crashed and burned for a little bit.  I grabbed the camera to capture this moment because we don’t see it too often!

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We had a wonderfully lazy morning by the Christmas tree and watched as the rain outside started to turn to freezing rain.  The pine trees began to bow and we hoped that we wouldn’t lose power.  Mr. L went home in the jeep and got his truck, just in case the roads got slick.  We watched the rain continue and snow start to mix in as we made a traditional lunch complete with ham, corn casserole, green bean bundles, salad, mashed potatoes and rolls.  We sat down to eat at about 2:15.

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About the time we put our forks down and started to clean up, the power went out.  Hot Springs is notorious for power outages during winter weather and we had a hunch that this would be no different.  We kicked into high gear and packed a couple of days’ worth of clothes and necessities, then headed over to Mom & Mr. L’s house, hoping their power was on.   As I posted on Facebook, “Over the lake and through the woods to Lala’s house we go…because our power is out & they have a gas-powered heater at their house.”

We were so blessed that they didn’t lose power.  Though Entergy estimate that ours would be out for a week, it ended up being out for 4 days.  We stayed at my parents’ house for 2 nights, then went to Tulsa to celebrate Christmas with Rudy’s family there.  When we went home to repack before going to Tulsa, it was 50 degrees in our house.  We were worried about Swimmy (the fish) surviving the cold temperature, but we couldn’t take him with us, so we just hoped for the best.  The garbage disposal was starting to smell pretty bad since we were in the process of cleaning up lunch when we left.  The power came on while we were gone and Mom came over to flip light switches, run the disposal and check on things for us.  They also were so kind to take some of our refrigerated food so it wouldn’t spoil.

It was definitely a Christmas Day we won’t soon forget!