Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Fiddlin' Rooster Farm

Last Saturday, Miles and I visited the Fiddlin' Rooster Farm with a big group from our church family. It was about 20 miles away and well worth the trip! There were lots of animals, activities, and sights to see.

One of the first things we did was check out the adorable little baby goats. I think this was the favorite of most of the kids there. They made more than one trip back to the goats.

The pig races were pretty entertaining. Before each race, different colored bandannas were handed out to the kids, and the bandanna that matched the one 'your' pig was wearing was the one you were supposed to cheer to win. The pig wearing the blue liked to stop and munch on the grass a little too often.

I don't remember the chickens and rooster making Miles nervous, but he sure looks it here.

Ah, the corn...just climb into a huge sand -- I mean, cornbox and have a blast! Miles was more cautious than the kids in the background. He preferred sitting on the sidelines and watching. Plus, every step you took in there filled up your shoes with corn. He didn't like that so much. Oh, and the kids in the back are burying one of the dads. They had way too much fun with that.

Although I cropped and straightened it, Miles did take this photo all by himself. I was nervous being on the other side of a wall while he held my camera in his hands...but he did really well. That smile on my face comes from seeing a three-year-old hold up a Nikon camera, look through the lens and click the button. It was hilarious.

The 'duck races' were a long line of water pumps where the kids would push rubber ducks down a trough using old-fashioned elbow grease. I was really impressed with how Miles stuck to it and really worked to get the duck all the way down the line. He was serious about this one.

The cow train. Miles kept calling it the 'cain trow.' He got it right half the time, though. A big thanks to our friend Daniel for taking all photos of Miles and I together. I think the reason I'm laughing so much in this picture is because we haven't been over the super-bumpy part that still has my back hurting. Looking at Miles' face, though, it was all worth it.

On our way to the corn maze.

Looks like Miles is in a corn ad or something. Actually, we were just in the middle of the corn maze and when he picked up a piece of corn and I quickly took the photo. I love this one.

Miles and his buddy Isaac (whose dad took the photos of me and Miles) taking one last look at the baby goats. They were friendly little animals, so sweet with the boys.

Big swing-and-tunnel thing. You could either crawl through it while it was swinging or sit on top. Miles was not about to crawl inside that thing, but we had a great time sitting on top and swinging for a while. Much, much better than the cow train. Very easy on the back.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Day By Day

I feel the need to thank so many who have reached out to us, who have prayed for us, who have shown us comfort and understanding. I will tell you now that I am one of those people who, when faced with heartache and disappointment, tends to sort of hide herself away from the world. It's a coping thing, a way to protect myself. There are ways in which this can be good and bad, just like most ways we all grieve. But we all do it differently. And I promise, I am extremely self-aware -- I know when my 'hiding' is an actual needed thing and when it's becoming a more negative thing. I also have a husband who coaxes me out of that hiding when he feels he should.

It hasn't been a week yet since we learned that the in vitro didn't work, so you can imagine that this is all still very raw. I feel like each day since has brought some different struggle, but mostly reality has been setting in and the numbness is all gone. We pray, we remind ourselves that we are not alone in this heartache, and we remember friends and family who have suffered greater things in their lives. But also, we laugh. Casey and I have managed to laugh through every new craziness that has come our way. Sometimes, really, that's all we can do. I don't think it's so much a making-lemonade-from-lemons's our way of staying connected to one another, keeping that thing about us that makes us special. Our relationship began and grew because our senses of humor were so much alike, and so we laugh through both the good and the bad.

Like any other difficulty that comes along in our lives that we must face, I am looking to grow from this. I want to grow closer to God, because if I don't seek that growth Satan will seek to tear me from Him. I want to grow closer to Casey for the same reason just mentioned. These times are made more difficult by Satan wielding whatever power he thinks he has, trying to bring me down in any way possible. But...

"...I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." ~Romans 8:38-39

Monday, October 19, 2009

Even Though

I read some verses in Habakkuk yesterday morning that I wanted to share. Especially in times like these, I want to absorb God's promises into my skin and let them flow all through me.
Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vine; even though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren; even though the flocks die in the fields, and the cattle barns are empty, yet I will rejoice in the Lord! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation. The Sovereign Lord is my strength! He will make me as surefooted as a deer and bring me safely over the mountains. ~Habakkuk 3:17-19

Friday, October 16, 2009

The News

Yesterday afternoon, Casey and I got the phone call that could have changed our family in a big way. Instead we were left grieving, knowing that the two embryos that were transferred less than two weeks ago had not implanted as we'd hoped. The test was negative.

I won't lie, this is an extremely tough time for both of us. There is so much invested in IVF besides much time, physical and emotional energy. It has taken so much out of us, and to be told at the end that there will be nothing to show for your efforts is seriously gut-wrenching.

I wanted to thank everyone who supported us, prayed for us, encouraged meant so much more than you know. As of now, we don't know where exactly we'll go from here. But because of the emotional toll this has taken, I might choose to share much less or nothing at all until we have some positive news at last.

What I know for sure is this: even though we don't understand why some things happen the way they do, we are convinced of Romans 8:28 which says, "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him..."

Where is the good in this pain? It's very hard to see right now, but I am asking God to show us and to work in it for good, for his glory.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Halfway to Four

Dear Miles,

Two days ago you reached your half-birthday. That's probably not a big deal in your world, especially because it doesn't include a party, cake and candles, or gifts. Sorry about that. The cool thing is, your half-birthday is one day after Mama's birthday and two days after Daddy's birthday! And then our half-birthdays (although we really don't celebrate those) are the two days before your birthday. Mama likes stuff like that.

It's so hard to believe that you are now closer to being four years old than three. Seriously, kid, would you slow down the growing? You are so big and getting taller all the time. I will have to cry just a little the day I realize you're taller than me.

You're so much fun...from your smiling face to your sense of humor, it just doesn't get old for me. I think I will always be amazed at what you can come up with on your own, the thoughts that go through your mind, the reasoning you share with me about the world around you.

It was so exciting when you figured out your tricycle earlier this year! I love taking you to the park and watching you go on those trails and across the bridges.

But your favorite part about the park? Finding rocks and throwing them in the pond. I have to admit, I never would have thought it could be such a nice way to pass the time.

I know I take a lot of pictures of you, but I'm glad you accommodate me with a smile most of the time. Thank you for that.

Miles, I hope you always reach for everything with as much excitement and passion as you do right now. I love how you teach me to do that as well.

Love, Mama

Monday, October 12, 2009

Thanks a Latte!

I realize I haven't been posting all that much lately. I would love to post every day, but right now it's just not going to happen. I'm on meds that do all sorts of crazy things to me, physically and emotionally. But even with all of that going on, I'm having a wonderful birthday! It started off with Casey and Miles going to the coffee place to pick up a birthday latte for me...and that's a big deal for Casey, who usually would not drive just to the coffee place. It's better if he can combine it with another errand.

That's how I knew it was extra special.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Dressed-Up Debauchery

We live in a college town in the so-called Bible Belt. I've even heard someone say that we live in the 'buckle of the Bible Belt.' The university here is ranked -- by the Princeton Review -- as the number three party school in the nation. Hooray for us, right?

The university is entrenched in tradition. And I mean, stuff going back over one hundred years. I don't know how far this one tradition goes back, but on game days (and of course I mean football) a huge middle area of campus called The Grove is covered by tents. Until you see it, you can't really imagine how filled one area can be by these tents. It is a sight to behold.

I won't go into all the tent setting-up, although that is a very huge deal...there are families who have set up their tent in the same exact spot of The Grove for decades. You see every age here, from newborns to eighty-year-olds, enjoying the tailgating scene (okay, not so much the newborns, they're basically unaware). The tents mostly all look the same on the outside, although some might be a particularly different color than the standard white, or have the team logo on the sides. What you see under the tent can be very different though.

Our campus ministry's tent -- we met for breakfast there this morning -- is modest and had a modest spread of breakfast food. But it's hard to ignore all the tents surrounding you...I've heard of but not yet seen chandeliers hanging from tent ceilings while waiters are serving catered food. This morning there were piles and piles of different kinds of foods all around us on all different kinds of fancy dishes. One tent near us had a hired three-piece band playing! Now that was fun.

And the dressing up...oh my. Now, whoever feels the need to do this, that is totally fine if they want to put themselves through it. I am basically a jeans-and-t-shirt girl. But the college girls here will dress to the nines -- we're talking strapless, flowing, beautiful dresses and heels (heels to a football game?). And yes, they even did it this morning in 50-degree weather. With no jackets. YIKES.

Here's where the 'debauchery' part of my post comes in. And maybe I'm going a little far using that word, but it worked so well with the 'dressed-up' part I couldn't resist. Also, before I get some comment about my judgmental ways, let me say that if you are of drinking age and choose to go out and get drunk -- totally your choice. I'm just sharing my observations here, okay? Okay.

So in the middle of all this craziness and noise and tailgating, it's hard to ignore -- especially if no one in your tent is partaking -- the sheer amount of alcohol that is flowing so freely all around. And we're not talking about nighttime, or even afternoon. We're talking morning. Breakfast. Crowds and crowds of people getting comfortable and settled to drink all day long. Because, hey, that's what you do on game day, right? But to me, it's all just a shiny coating on an excuse to get hammered for a day with everyone else. And if you think I am exaggerating, you really do have to see it for yourself.

One of our students went back to his dorm room to change into warmer clothes and found his roommate lying on the floor with another guy, the two of them passing a bottle of vodka back and forth. Fun times. Casey and I took Miles to the bathroom and all I can say is that the women's bathroom reeked of perfume and alcohol. I can guarantee you I saw many, many people who were nearing drunkenness before we left (because, really, would that guy normally dance like that to 'Super Freak' in public?), which was before noon.

Though I sound very negative about this, I know that it's going to happen whether I like any of it or not. I'm not out to change it, nor could I. All I'm doing is sharing my observation of the morning. I can see that many people are there to enjoy being with family and friends, eat good food, watch a football game. But I also see that some of the most dressed-up folks out there are there for one reason and one reason only, and it just doesn't seem like it can compare to the fun that others are having.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

In Case You Were Wondering

For those who've been following my blog in hopes of seeing updates on our IVF situation, I really don't have anything for you at this moment. I have certainly been working on 'the big post,' the one that takes you through all we've done and been through in this. Some of it's funny, some is not...and some is pretty interesting.

I will say about IVF that, though I am grateful we have this opportunity, it is a really difficult process on not only me, but Casey as well. I've done a lot of traveling back and forth myself, most of the time in the same day (it's three hours one way), and many times leaving before sunrise. The emotional part is even more difficult. There are ups and downs, there is excitement and disappointment -- and on top of that my hormones are a little wacky. Let's just say it's a really good thing we knew we were in this 100%, because otherwise one or both of us might have given up after the first week!

If I am pregnant at the end of this process, that will be such a joyful thing, and I will try to share the news as soon as I think it's best and of course I'll post 'the big post.' If I'm not, I don't know yet what I'll do. I might take a break from blogging for a while or I might post something that very day and then take a break from blogging. I'm really trying to keep my thoughts from it ending up that way, though. I know the world won't end, but Casey and I will definitely need to go through some grieving, both on our own and with one another.

Right now, if there's anything I could ask of anyone who's reading, it would be for prayers in this process. Of course we're asking God to give us the outcome we'd like, but we're also asking that his comfort and peace be with us if that doesn't happen.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Portrait of a Rascal

Our house has a fairly nice, woodsy backyard that we enjoy, especially because of the wildlife that frequently passes through. I can't tell you how many deer we've seen. Lunchtime today included a close view (thanks to the sun room) of a mama deer and her fawn!

We've seen a red fox, snakes, turtles (most of whom live in our pond), squirrels and lots of frogs. Nighttime brings some more sneaky creatures, namely raccoons, who try their best at getting to our bird feeder and chowing down on what's fallen below it. Junebug, our cat, never seems to care about the raccoons stopping by, even when there have been as many as three at a time. Casey, however, is not as welcoming and will chase them off.

On Saturday afternoon Casey was out of town. I didn't think he'd quite believe it unless I took a picture of it, but one of those rascally raccoons was brazen enough to visit our bird feeder in the middle of the day! Not only that, but when we were looking at it and even tapping on the sun room window it would look up and then just keep on with its business. The nerve!

Still, it makes a cute picture, don't you think?

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Strawberry Kisses

I'm not sure how long it's been going on, but I use a lot of chapstick. Either my lips dry out too fast or I make them dry by licking them too much, especially when I'm talking. Whatever the case, it has me convinced that I need chapstick. If I find myself without it, a small amount of panic may set in, and of course my lips immediately feel like they will crack under the pressure. Get it? Crack under pressure? Okay, moving on...

Miles has dry lips almost all the time, and it's that vicious circle of him messing with them so that they become worse, but the worse they get the more he messes with them. I think I did that as a kid as well. When he was smaller, Miles always wanted to put on my chapstick when he saw me using it. Sometimes I would let him, sometimes I wouldn't. But that was back when he didn't need it. Now that he does, he doesn't want it.

The other day I was in Wal-Mart and saw that Carmex had made a strawberry-flavored version of their tube chapstick. By the way, I'm not a big fan of the Carmex that you have to dip your finger into -- who wants to have to deal with that when you can just apply it like a lipstick? Anyway, back to the story. Since the strawberry Carmex was so cheap, about a dollar, I was excited to find something that Miles would possibly not be opposed to.

I think he's still about 50/50 on the idea, but he is definitely more willing to try this than the regular stuff. And yeah, the regular Carmex is not so great, but as an adult you realize you have to take your medicine in order to get better. Three-year-olds don't reason that way.

I have to preface this last part with telling you that lately, I'm not always guaranteed a willing kiss from my boy. He goes through little phases of being so independent he refuses or even wipes off my kisses, and then at other times he's grabbing my face and planting a kiss on each cheek.

So I had put the new chapstick on Miles' lips before bedtime the other night, and I was giving him hugs and telling him goodnight when he reached out to me and said, "Strawberry kisses. Strawberry kisses for you."

I don't even know what I was thinking when I hesitated to spend that dollar, because the return on it will last my heart a lifetime.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Fun Friday Question!

Confession time: I watch a lot of TV. I've always watched a lot of TV. I remember my parents watching M*A*S*H and The Andy Griffith Show and Barney Miller and The Bob Newhart Show and I would sit and watch with them, but I didn't get every joke since I was still pretty young. Still, I loved it. And on Thursday nights in the mid-80's, our whole family would eat dinner and then watch The Cosby Show and Family Ties together.

My very favorite show when I was about ten years old was Growing Pains. I was so completely in love with Kirk Cameron. I had posters of him in my locker at school (yes, I had a locker when I was ten years old). We share a birthday, with him being five years older. There was a boy in my class who smiled just like him, so of course that was my big crush. I was sure that I was meant to be with Kirk Cameron, but I could not figure out how I was going to get to Hollywood and meet him.

I know that there are aspects of television that are negative, and that I could definitely do without it. But I have so many great memories, like I mentioned, of watching shows with my parents and family. There are still episodes that we laugh about, and now Casey and I have our favorite episodes of Frasier, Seinfeld and The Office.

A few years ago after one of our students got us watching The Office, we started inviting whoever was interested to come over on Thursday nights to watch that and Lost. Yes, we are also big Lost fans. I remember taping the pilot and Casey saying, "I don't want to start watching another show!" and I said, "Let's just watch the first one and see if we like it." And of course we did.

But for more than two years now, our school-year Thursday nights entail me making semi-sweet Hershey's chocolate chip cookies for the students who come over, and everyone has milk to go with them. It was just something I did once and kept on with it, and now it's tradition. The group changes here and there, but we have fun every single time. Last week they were playing tennis against Miles on the Wii, and I think he was frustrating a couple of the guys by beating them!

There is so much laughter. But most of it comes after the TV is turned off.

Here's the Fun Friday Question: Do you have any fun 'TV memories'?
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