Friday, February 27, 2009

More swimming

(If you missed it, Cate's taking swim lessons this week.)

As you see (above), they're all eager to get in. Cate enjoys everything but floating on her back. (Unfortunately, my pictures of her crying about it didn't turn out very well.) So you just get this, my happy swimmer ...

This is the replay of the first kiss Luke + Cate shared in the pool last night. Jaclyn asked Luke to give Cate another kiss, and he did. Here you see him going in for it!

They all really like singing. Last night's selections were "If You're Happy and You Know It ..." and "Wheels on the Bus

Entertainment at its finest ...

As if being in a crowded race at the top of the Ohio Valley Conference isn't enough, we also had sumo wrestling and Dunker at the MSU vs. Morehead game last night ...

Yes, that's Greg. He's the one in the red belt. In the blue is our friend Daniel. A few games ago, they were talking about how fun it would be to sumo against each other. Well, conveniently, we have two friend who work in the athletic department (one is trainer for the women's basketball team and one is a strength coach) ... and they hooked them up last night!

But, really, the pictures don't do it justice ...

In case you still need more entertainment, here is Cate and Dunker, the mascot ...

It's take Cate all season to give him a five. At the beginning of the season, she's just watch him walk around the arena, saying "horse" whenever she saw him. A few games ago, she gave him a five, but her arm was trembling the whole time. Last night, she was ready for him when he came to see her. Oh, and she knows him by name now.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Coca-Cola Girl

Is she Coke's next spokeswoman?

(Jodi, notice that she has two of the little Winnie the Pooh books next to her!) She said "Sit down" then reached for the 100-calorie Coke that was in the bottom shelf of the door. Then she said tipped it up to her mouth and said, "Drink Coke."

And, for the Southern record, if I'm drinking a Diet Dr Pepper, she'll say "Coke" too. And, no, she hasn't even had a Coke (or Diet Dr Pepper for that matter ...) before. Sprite a couple of times, but that's it.

Thursday's Thought

Each one is not like the others.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

"Wash hair"

With a shampoo bottle in hand, Cate looked at me and said, "Wash hair." Apparently the Gloworm needed a shampoo this morning, nevermind the fact she doesn't have hair.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

winter swimming

I learned yesterday that I cried through my first swim lesson. Apparently, Mom took me to a class called "Diaper Dip," which prompted her to worry if I'd ever like the water. (She said I was younger than Cate, so I must have been a year or so old to have done something like that during the summer.) I'm not sure when I decided the water was fun, but I never remember being scared, so I guess it was pretty early on. I do have memories of swim lessons when we were older, and I swam for Tom Sawyer State Park for four summers + Oldham County High School for the two years (my sophomore and senior years) it had a team.

Well, it's winter now, but Cate had her first swim lesson last night. (Although, faithful blog readers know I wasn't shy about introducing her to water last summer!) There are four kids in the class, and two of the others have to be her friends Luke + Pierson, who are both a year older. The other girl is just a few weeks younger than Cate.

I'm glad she was excited about the water, and didn't really even want to get out when it was finished. She blew bubbles (although might have ended up drinking more water than actually creating bubbles ...), kicked + leaned back on Daddy (see above ...).

Here are some more moments ...

I think this is when the group was singing, "If you're happy and you know, blow some bubbles ... If you're happy and you know, splash the water ..."

Then Cate demonstrated her kicking ...

... although she more interested in the ball.

She goes back every evening this week, so I'm sure I'll have more stories + pictures.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Thursday's Thought

You know she likes her nighttime routine when she wants to share it with her baby. Watiting for Daddy to rock her, Cate rocked her baby.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Laundry Time!

Cate told us last night "night, night" as she climbed into the laundry basket. She even wanted her Daddy get her blanket for her once she got in. Who knew chores could be so much fun!

Then she noticed my underwear ...

... I have no idea why she's sticking her tongue out or why she fled to the kitchen. Regardless, Greg + I were cracking up, and he even realized it was picture worthy!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Rags to Britches

My friend Shelley has made some adorable dolls for her kids + as Christmas gifts. Cate loves her "baby." Now she's selling them. You should check them out.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

This Season

I've actually never wished for this season of life to be over.

I have wished ...
... for Cate not to cry during announcements at church.
... for Cate not to always want her friends' toys, especially when she has plenty of her own.
... for Cate to realize just because other toddlers are doing something doesn't mean she get to too.

But I realize she's 21 months old and her friends aren't that much older. Lessons in sharing + obeying are lessons that take a lifetime to learn. Just ask God. I've had more than my share of moments believing I'm in control and that I know what is best.

I've never wished for this season to be over. Actually, I'm not sure what I'm going to do when it is.

I'm thankful I have wise friends who have been here and remember that encouragement is welcome. I appreciate my friends who are here with me, even if we don't handle parenting situations the same. And I'm thankful my husband + I have a plan. A plan for when she throws a fit because she can't talk on Norah's pink, industrial, plastic cell phone. A plan that trains her for this season and hopefully the ones to come. Granted, our plan doesn't work perfectly every time, but it was created in love.

An example from this morning: Cate was starting to throw a fit during church today. I asked her to stop + reminded her that a spanking would otherwise follow. I ended up taking her out of the sanctuary with the spanker in hand. She said, "I stop" as we were walking out, then she said, "No fits." See, she knows. But I reminded here again that when she throws a fit -- feet-stomping, voice-raising fit -- she gets a spanking. And she got a spanking. "No fits" she said again. And we moved on ...

When I walked back into the service, a friend from two rows behind me asked if I needed anything. The offer was sincere + appreciated. I think my face said frustrated. And maybe I was for a moment, but these moments pass so quickly. And the moments of Cate's sweet gibberish that is becoming more coherent each day, her hugs + kisses, the way she reaches for my hand when we're walking in a parking lot, all the times she watches me so closely so she can mimic whatever I'm doing, her hilarious dance moves ... all of those moments completely outweigh the moments of walking out of church to a quiet place to discipline her.

For a moment, as I walked back in, I wondered what people thought of me carrying a Lowe's paint stir stick as I carried my daughter on my hip. But then I remembered that we have a plan. Every parent has a plan of some sort, and believes their way is best. So instead of wondering what they were thinking, I praised God for discipline + training. And I thanked God for adopting me, fathering me and loving me, despite my own stubbornness + independence.

Yes, this season will pass, but I want to continue loving it while I'm in it.


Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day!

Since Greg + I have a history with this Hallmark holiday, we like it more than we probably would otherwise.

Cate loves the balloon we bought her this morning, although in this picture she looks rather serious as she investigates. Having a daughter makes Valentine's Day even sweeter. As you can see, she was the focus of one of my gifts to Greg ...

He surprised me with these flowers yesterday when he came home from work before we went out to a Valentine's dinner some college students at our church organized to raise money for their mission trip this summer. He also gave me a gift certificate for a massage!

11 years ago ...

We must have liked each other: I brought him
to La Grange; he stole my OCHS shirt.

Picking up where I left off ...

I actually ran into Greg on campus the Friday before our first date. I walked with him up to the audio/video studio in the Fine Arts building + ended up having lunch with him in the campus cafeteria.

Then the next afternoon -- Feb. 14, 1998 -- he pulled his 1978 International Scout (like this one, but without the stripes ...) in front of my door. I met him out there for our date. We went to Baskin-Robbins, where he ordered a sundae because it was the special. I have no idea what I ordered. But we took our desserts to the park. You never know with Kentucky weather, so it must not have been too cold out.

We parted ways afterward, but our day ended up not being over. He called from the student center, which was across the street from my dorm, because he needed to borrow a CD player. Turns out I had one, and was willing to bring it over. His family -- his entire family, which if you know anything about Taylors, involves many, many people! -- rented one of the ballrooms there for his grandparents' 50th wedding anniversary.

Conveniently, Greg had to return the CD player after the party. We ended up talking ... all night. It's the only time in my whole life I've stayed up all night. I think I got a couple hours sleep early that morning, which was good because my mom drove down from Louisville that Sunday to spend a few hours with me.

I told her I met a boy that I really liked. She sort of shrugged her shoulders like she thought I was just making friends. Well, I was, but turns out this friend really stuck around.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Thursday's Thought

Happy Valentine's Week. Thankfully, these candy hearts are only available one season a year. Unfortunately, that season begins -- at least in the grocery stores -- right after Christmas. I've exhibited some self-control, as this is only the second bag I've bought.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Out of the Wilderness

(This post was inspired as I did a lesson in "Walking by Faith: Lessons Learned in the Dark" by Jennifer Rothschild. I'm doing this Bible study with some women at church. And while faith is a broad subject, hearing lessons from a blind woman has offered many practical analogies that have spoken to me.)

"Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years, to humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. ... For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land ... and land where bread will not be scarce and you will lack nothing. ..."
--Moses to the Israelites in Deuteronomy 8:2, 7

It took the Israelites 40 years (and two attempts) to make it to their Promised Land. The faced obstacles + complained along the way. Yet they learned God is faithful -- to his people + his promises. Through the wilderness, they were refined. Then when their journey ended, God was still with them. Always.

"The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged." --Moses to Joshua and the Israelites in Deuteronomy 31:8

So our journey wasn't 40 years, but the time we spent trying to conceive was like a wilderness journey for us. The medicine that helped me ovulate worked well enough that my cycles became regular. But it made me emotionally crazy. And we still weren't getting pregnant. I had an exploratory surgery that revealed my tubes were blocked, thanks to my new diagnosis of endometriosis. More of the same medicine, hoping that with one unblocked tube, the process could work. More emotions. Still no pregnancy. Another procedure later revealed both tubes were unblocked. We considered it a hopeful sign. But, still, something wasn't working.

We visisted a reproductive endocrinologist in Nashville. He did more tests, which meant more blood work, and spoke truths about the miracle of conception. That's what I still remember: To conceive a baby is a very perfect process in that everything in the woman has to be right while everything in the man has to be right too. At the same time. Any imperfections in our complicated bodies could disrupt the process. It reminded me that new life is a miracle.

He was encouraging in that he didn't provide us false hope. Not that nobody meant to, but their hopefulness was based on their knowing our desire to have a baby. While I appreciated that kind of support, I really was a place in my journey that I needed the specialist's practical truth, which turned out to be: "I believe your best chance to become pregnant is through in-vitro fertilization."

At that moment, I felt a peace in my heart.

Not peace I wanted to do in-vitro, but because of what Greg + I had decided before the appointment: If the doctor said in-vitro, we were going to pursue adoption. So hearing the doctor say "in-vitro" was like God guiding us down a new path.

There still was uncertainty, but we had peace. We didn't know how/when we'd meet a birth mother. We hardly knew anything about the adoption process. We didn't know how we'd have the money to pay for the process. But we trusted our Guide.

And he led us to our Promised Land. To our daughter.

She cracks me up!

I know Cate's my daughter, but, goodness, she's entertaining!

First, this morning ...

She used my book light to lead herself into this cubby in the kitchen. She managed to get her whole body in there.

Then, we went to Kroger.

I want to say first that we go to Kroger at least once a week, if not twice. Usually we talk about the larger-than-life horse that is painted on the front window as we walk in. (You know, Murray State pride ...) Then we talk about various foods as I put them in the cart. Sometimes she holds items or eats Goldfish.

But today as soon as we walked in, she noticed this cart with car attached to the front. With great enthusiasm, she said, "I drive. I drive." Sure. I'd never thought to put her in it, but that was fine. So, she gets in and off we go ... right into the apple display. Apparently mama's driving wasn't so effective. Once I get back on course, I run her right into the standing dispenser of produce bags and I get it stuck on the cart.

I started thinking that maybe letting Cate "drive" the car wasn't a good idea because it was apparently really complicating my driving! Probably in effort to keep people from watching me run into more things, I figured out that if I pushed down on the handle bar while I pushed the car forward, I could off-set her weight in the front. I noticed the wheels closest to me weren't touching because there wasn't much in the basket yet. So, I solved the problem, kept the wheels on the ground, and proceeded forward in a much safer fashion.

Cate obviously was pleased with the outing because I lost count of how many times she said: "I driving. I driving." Yes, you're driving.

And a trip to the grocery will never be the same again.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

11 years ago ...

In my dorm room. Probably 1999.

I went to Paducah with an acquaintance + ended up meeting my husband. OK, so, Greg and I didn't get married that night, but we started to get to know each other. And from there, we went on a date the next week, broke up a couple of times over the next few years because of my insecurities, had a long-distance relationship across the state during his first year of law school, lived closer together but still not in the same town, got married, lived in an apartment, moved to our current house, experienced a trying time of trying to have a baby, adopted our beautiful daughter, started a real estate company ...

I suppose that covers the past 11 years.

Yes, 11 years. That seems like a long time.

But in other ways it seems like just yesterday when Greg + I struck up conversation at Steak-n-Shake in Paducah surrounded by his friends, my friends + our mutual acquaintance. I say "mutual acquaintance" because Feb. 7, 1998, was the only time either of us hung out with Darryl. Turns out it was a good social outing, considering we really haven't stopped talking since.

After Steak-n-Shake, Greg + I talked the entire ride back from Murray (That's about 45 minutes, for those of you unfamiliar with the drive ...) while we were two of three passengers in the back seat of a small car. I remember being impressed he knew where Oldham County was. (Little did I know that geography would be one of his many trivia specialties!) And I remember not being impressed with his tapered-leg jeans. But I knew that conversation + character were important than his fashion.

After my friend + I got out of Darryl's car in front of my dorm, I was on my way to the door when I heard Greg asked for my number. I said told it to him quickly, as I kept walking. He ended up calling a few days later, after some convincing from his friends Laura + Sarah who became my friends, and asked me if I liked ice cream. Um, yeah, I suppose. I didn't mention that it was February + maybe there was a more suitable dessert. We made plans for a date to Baskin-Robbins on the following Saturday, which happened to be Valentine's Day.

To be continued ...

Friday, February 6, 2009

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Thursday's Thought

I love books. This is part of the collection I have to pass to Cate one day. Some of them are books I saved from my childhood + others were added as I found them at yard sales.

I do apologize for skipping last week, but I didn't have a post ready before we lost electricity Tuesday night/Wednesday morning. We were back to "normal" until Saturday morning.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Hey, Aunt Cassie!

Apparently Cate misses her Aunt Cassie, too. I wish I had the video camera on when she said "Hi, Zac" and then waved on the family portrait hanging on the wall!


Cate's favorite movie right now is "Finding Nemo." Really, besides Curious George, Nemo and his friend Dory are the only characters she knows. But instead of calling him "Nemo," she says "Mo-ne." It's really funny to me that she says the two syllables in reverse order!

I couldn't decide which of two videos I liked best, so I'll post both of them ...

In that one you heard "Dory" and "Mo-Ne." And other gibberish. At the end she's pointing to the TV, ready for her show to begin. And in the second one (below), she leading me with the "mote" to the TV, where she wants to watch "Mo-ne."