Friday, June 19, 2009

The other day...

I walked into the living room to see this.

Don't know when Will got the crazy notion that playing horsey with Eva would be a good idea, but she didn't seem to mind. Will has actually been paying much more attention to his little sister lately and will get real close to her and say "hey, sister" or "hi, Eva." Sometimes he'll spontaneously give her hugs and that is too cute, I tell ya. I realize that someday they may start squabbling, but I think at this rate they are on track to being pretty good friends. Or atleast good playmates.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Loud and Clear

There are times I feel like God is trying to tell me something. Sometimes it's just something little. Sometimes it's huge. I'm not always really certain what it is he's trying to say or what I should do, but there are times I feel like I should atleast stop and listen. The other day I was in the grocery store and I smelled my sister's perfume. At that exact moment I heard Sting over the store's stereo system, my sister's favorite pop musician. What was God trying to say??? Probably nothing. But I decided on a prayer for Earon.

The two themes that I've noticed lately are death and living amidst chaos.

On Friday the mother of my best friend growing up died of colon cancer, a battle she had been fighting for the past 3 or 4 years. She was only 55. She was a very important person to me growing up, a motherfigure and an example of love to all those around her. A year ago yesterday Rodney's good friend from high school, Phil passed away. Why does death have to be a part of life? What can death teach us? What is God trying to tell me about death?

Two nights ago we had a totally unexpected visit from good friends who were just driving through St. Louis on their way home from vacation. Let me tell you, my house was ABSOLUTELY TRASHED. I was so embarrassed. Had they come just two hours later, after dinner and the kids' bedtime, I would have had mostly everything picked up and the house in relative order. But there was something very intimate about having these dear friends stop by in the middle of my chaos. God was trying to tell me this: don't be so concerned with appearances. Relax. Care about people, connections, relationships. Forget about trying to control your environment. Oh, and their house is probably just as messy (they have three kids).

So how do these two things connect, if at all? Maybe in that life is too short to sweat the small stuff. Or even the big stuff. [We have HUGE projects in our home this summer that Rodney is tackling mostly himself. The rest we have to pay for with money we don't have....Don't sweat it, life's too short. We have a big mold problem in the house and we just found out we have lead...Don't sweat. Trust.] Trust.

So for now, I'm trusting that everything will turn out fine and I'm trying to enjoy the little things in life because who knows what may happen to me or my loved ones. I'm trying to smile more, enjoy my kids more, say "yes" more (isn't there a Jim Carrey movie out about this???).

If you haven't seen the movie from the link I posted above, make sure you watch the clip. It makes me cry everytime. I often need this reminder of God's gracious love, waiting for me to return to his open arms, sins and all. Even when I might not be listening...

Saturday, June 13, 2009

8 Years

Next week is our 8th anniversary and in all honesty I've been too consumed with Birthdays and Baptisms to spend much thought on how we might celebrate. Well, last week Rodney declares to me, "Gina, don't make any plans for next weekend. We got a babysitter and we're going out to celebrate our anniversary. Oh, and think about what you wanna do 'cause she's staying overnight."

What more could a girl possibly think of to want? Good work, Rodney. Now to decide where to go and what to do. Due to lack of funds we had to dismiss the first few ideas that popped into my head (stay at a B&B or a hotel downtown, maybe see a show). Then I remembered. I used to camp. I used to bike. Rodney and I used to do this a lot together. Then I got pregnant and someone stole my bike. But, we could borrow someone's bike for the day and we could find a great place to camp that wasn't too far (oh, and I'm thankfully not pregnant right now). I didn't have to convince my outdoors loving husband that this was a good plan. The very instant the words "camping" and "biking" made their way out of my mouth he had the perfect place in mind. Pere Marquette State Park along the confluence of the Illinois and Mississippi Rivers. The plan was to make it there by dinner and return before Will and Eva woke up from afternoon naps the next day. Done and done.

Victoria and Dan arrived at our house at 4pm. Victoria is a colleague of Rodney's and Dan is her boyfriend. They babysat the kids a few times on Thursdays during my voice lessons when Rodney had tutoring in the spring. They were so awesome to give up close to 24 hours of their summer freedom to enter the world of schedules, bottles, naps, and Play Doh. I didn't think I was very nervous about leaving the babes overnight until I started explaining our routine. I honestly couldn't shut up. I kept finding the most random things to tell them about that I had to remind myself that they too are adults and can figure out lots of stuff. Then we got in the car. Crap. I forgot to tell them about Che's eating schedule. And how to turn the monitor on. And that the fan in the dining room makes noises so don't use it. I have two words for you. Control freak.

But, we did it. We made it to the site, set up camp and had a great hotdog-and-s'mores dinner. At one point Rodney turned to me and said "Look at us. What have we got to do? No kids to worry about and no responsibilities. This is amazing." He was right. I couldn't believe that we had 6 whole years of this before the awesome job of child-rearing took over our lives.

I did have one thing to do, however. Pump. After our lovely camp meal, I started getting sleepy and knew this must be done before settling in for the night. I'll share the start of the ensuing conversation:

Me: "O.K. I'm gonna go pump before bed."
Rodney: "Alright. I'm just gonna sit and watch the fire for a little bit."
Me from the tent: "Crap. I forgot the pump attachment."

There was no way I could make it until two o'clock the next day without pumping. Can we just say uncomfortable? So, we started deliberating. Do we go home? Can you (sorry about the TMI) hand express? No. O.K. Rodney remembers seeing a Wal Mart on our way to the campground. We'll just go buy a hand pump and make do. Not something I was that pumped about (I do like a good pun, people) but we're having a good time, so I'll suck it up. I will say that I don't really understand why anyone would every buy a hand pump, but in this instance I was happy not to have to buy a whole new electric pump for just a night and a morning.

I made the best of this situation (not without some grumbling, I'm not gonna lie) and the rest of our trip was amazing. The bike ride was so much fun and we spent some inspiring moments beside the river discussing dreams for the next 8 years. After a tasty lunch of "hot fish" (there were several establishments in the "touristy" burg of Grafton advertising this delicacy) we made it home in the middle of naptime to a house intact and two very tired 20-somethings (Eva apparently was up from 4-5 am). I am ever thankful for Victoria and Dan's bravery and can think of no better way to celebrate marriage than in the stillness and beauty of bluffs and riverfronts.

Happy 8th year, baby.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


We were lucky enough to end the month of May with two very important events: Will's 2 year birthday party and Eva's Baptism. I worried that planning both for the same weekend would make me a crazy person, but much to my surprise I was able to maintain an appropriate level of sanity. And I had a really good time too. Thanks to Mike Dando for taking such great pictures of the weekend.

Backyard Birthday Bar-B-Q (or Bubble-Q if your into puns)

We had a wonderful time chasing bubbles, eating hamburgers and hotdogs, and trying to beat the heat. So many great friends and family were able to make it and Will seemed to really enjoy all the attention. I cannot believe that it has already been two years since this little guy entered our world.

Marked As Christ's Own

Shortly after Eva was born I was approached by a woman in my church who wanted to make her a christening gown. Her daughter had gone into pre-term labor about the same time I did only her granddaughter did not make it. She makes a hobby out of designing antique christening gowns and Eva's was the 4th one she had made. This gown is amazing. With imported fabrics from Europe and made with such love, there is little else we own that is worth more. On the back hem is embroidered: Sealed By the Holy Spirit in Baptism and Marked as Christ's Own Forever. Eva Sophia Malone, May 31 2009. It is a family heirloom that can be worn by all the female members for generations. As you can see from the photos below, there is quite a bit of room to embroider subsequent babies names and their bapstism dates.