Saturday, November 28, 2009

Yum yum, eat 'em up

Thanksgiving 2009 has been a fabulous holiday. Not only were we able to see both of our families and have some wonderful quality time with the grandparents, but we've all eaten like kings. My brother roasted the juiciest most delicious turkey I think I've ever tasted and Jackson devoured it like his father's true son.

I think the thing I'm most thankful for this year (and every day) is my family. I simply could not be more blessed. My mother is such a peaceful, patient, creative, and open woman. She has a unique way of making playtime both entertaining and educational. I thought learning the state capitals growing up was what all kids did for fun. She routinely turned our power off to the house so we could cook s'mores over candles and play Yahtzee as a family by lantern light. She never missed a volleyball game or a school play or even a poster presentation and she would always sit patiently with a book whenever I was running late without so much as a cross word. She is The Most Positive Person I have ever known and is always happy to see me. And never have I been more impressed and proud and happy to have her in my life than when I watch her with my son.

She makes his eyes light up with all the adventures she is promising him.

I love her.

No one ever gets so blessed twice. But somehow, I slipped by fate and pulled out the golden ticket because my parents-in-law are just as amazing and adorable. My mother-in-law, aka Nana, is the one person in the world I would want in a crisis. She makes an octopus look handicapped with how easily she can multi-task. She is so kind and considerate and thoughtful. She is the epitome of generosity. I'll never forget watching her speak at her father's funeral when no one else could keep it together. She was poised, graceful, and full of peace. She has the strongest faith of anyone I've ever known. She has so much to offer my children.

I love her.

And then there's my father-in-law, aka Grandpa Bud. You have never heard a laugh so real and joyous and infectious until you have heard Bud guffaw. He thoroughly enjoys himself at all times and has shown me the importance of using the good china every day. Live life to the fullest is his motto. He is genuine and thoughtful and warm and a trueblooded Tarheel. He loves an adventure but is so pleasantly practical that he is easy to be around. Jackson has a special look for Bud that I have yet to figure out fully but most definitely has a mischievous gleam to it.

I love him, too.

And then there's my lovely husband...

Well, that's a blog entry for another time.

I am thankful for my family and my friends. My son and my husband. My health and my talents. My past and my future. Those still here with me and those that have already gone topside. And I'm hoping you have just as many blessings in your life this Thanksgiving as I.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Into the mouths of babes

Jackson loves our dog, Dean. In fact, we're 75% sure Jackson's first word is Dean Dog, well more like "Dee Da." He is always looking for him, particularly at meal times.
And Dean reciprocates the affection by licking him at every single chance he can get.

He likes him so much that I think he is starting to imitate him. I know I know, this is the oral fixation age. But still, the kid constantly has something in his mouth and it's not just for the enjoyment of chewing. He chomps down on things and carries them around the house that way.
I have stopped putting socks on him before we actually arrive at daycare because his left one always ends up in his mouth by the time we get there.

His absolute favorite thing to carry around in his mouth, though, is his lavender screeching monkey. We have tried to get it away from him long enough to wash it, but we're both scared that washing it will take away the stench that Jackson loves so much.
Thing is, Monkey has been discontinued so we have to wash him one of these days before we're arrested for child endangerment...

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Front Toward Enemy - The Grand Finale

I thought I was clever when I picked out my own shirt this morning. Daddy laid me on a pile of clean laundry and I came up with this one in my hands, the one that Uncle Matt got me. Pretty cool, huh? You don't often see a 10-month-old (well, almost) with a M18A1 Claymore Anti-personnel Mine on his shirt.

What Mommy didn't know was just how clever I really was. No sooner than our happy tribe had arrived at the furniture salvage store, my gut totally rejected the Chicken and Noodle I had for lunch, plus the avocado and goldfish and yogurt I had for a snack. It was totally gnarly - yellow projectile vomit was flying everywhere, on the car and mom's foot and all over the parking lot. I thought it was at least pretty polite that I waited until we were out of the car, y'know?

Dean was with us, but Daddy wouldn't let him help clean it up. He said something about "embarrasing" but I don't know what that means. Anyway. There's plenty more where that came from.

Rock on, little readers. And remember this excerpt from life's little instruction book: Front Toward Enemy!

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Saturday, November 14, 2009

Welcoming Sidney

We are so proud to announce the newest member of our family, our beautiful and healthy niece:

Miss Sidney Janet Nicholas.

Mom, dad, and baby are all doing splendidly well and enjoying their new little family. On an interesting history side note (and I'm sure this had nothing to do with how she was named) some references suggest the name Sidney is derived from Saint Denis, the patron saint of France. He is one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers, which are a group of saints venerated together in the Catholic church because their intercession was thought to be particularly effective against various diseases. Saint Denis is invoked against diabolical possession and headaches. So, perhaps Sidney will follow in her mother's footsteps as a healer? Either way, I know who I'm calling the next time I run across a diabolical possession....

Welcome to the world, Sidney.
We love you!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

November 10th, 1775

Happy Birthday, Marines!

(and kudos to Maj Smith for making a guest appearance at 0:25!)

Monday, November 9, 2009

Vive la Revolucion

Twenty years ago today fell the Berlin Wall:

In 1988, according to the global liberty watchdog Freedom House, just 36 percent of the world’s 167 independent countries were “free,” 23 percent were “partly free,” and 41 percent were “not free.” By 2008, not only were there 26 additional countries (including such new “free” entities as Croatia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Serbia, Slovakia, and Slovenia), but the ratios had reversed: 46 percent were “free,” 32 percent were “partly free,” and just 22 percent were “not free.” There were only 69 electoral democracies in 1989; by 2008 their ranks had swelled to 119.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

A Good Day with Grandpa

Man, it was nice outside today. We got to hang out for a while with Bud and I think Jack had a good time. I know his grandaddy enjoyed it!

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Sunday, November 1, 2009


I met them in 1997. Some of us weren't even 18 yet. We were tall, excited, diverse freshmen propelled by our height to try something new. We had no clue what going out to that faithful lake on the outskirts of Carrboro would mean for our lives, both in the few short years at UNC and for the lifetime that lay on the other side of graduation.

I'm not sure exactly when in that first year these girls became an indelible part of my firmament. Perhaps it was in Pam's van at 4:45am or at the bridge with Ports to row and Starboards to back or maybe in the kitchen at Vance Street. At any rate, it happened and we've somehow managed to see each other almost semi-annually since graduation, despite being on opposite coasts with insanely busy work schedules. Through showers and weddings and graduations and now babies, we just pick right up where we left off and the hours fly by unnoticed.

This weekend was just such an occasion. The stars aligned and we were all able to meet at Lake Lure for a very brief but amazingly soul-soothing and much-needed weekend.

We've grown a bit since we met 12 years ago. There were nine of us this weekend...well ten if you count the newest and still-forming addition to our happy menagerie. Between us we have a photographer, an SF medic, a paleontologist, two engineers, a pediatrician, a family practitioner, an (almost) attorney, two insanely energetic but amazingly well behaved canines, two very quirky felines, and a snaggle-toothed 9-month old fondly referred to as 'Green 11.'

The topic of blessings came up this weekend, as it so often does when we four get together. We do a very good job of appreciating the momentous gifts we've been given and enjoying the love and laughter and happiness we all share. But, sometimes, one does have to wonder why some seem to have it so exceptionally good. Have we been given all of this to serve a higher purpose or is this a reward from past lives well lived? Have we unknowingly cultivated the foundation and are now reaping the harvest or were we just lucky enough to be born at the right place in the right time? Does one get a blessings limit, so to speak, or does one beget another like a glorious snowball?

My mother used to say "Things turn out best for people who make the best of the way things turn out." And while I think this is a brilliant observation, it does seem like the four of us have been bestowed an incredibly well-stacked hand. The purpose of this I have yet to identify, but I figure as long as I enjoy the heck out of my life now, it will all become clear at some point.

In the mean time, blessed I am and grateful I will always be.
Thank you Heather, Steph, and Rae (and Andras, Dan, and Matt).
Time with you always recharges me.