Monday, August 27, 2012

God is Good

It may sound crazy, but I see life in pictures...I mean I'm backing out of the driveway,  I see the neighbor's little girl pushing her big brother in his car down the driveway, and I want to run back in, grab my camera and capture it!  Each day presents so many beautiful moments that we get to capture in our minds, hearts, and sometimes with our cameras.  I used to miss so many moments, but now I notice so many small details that I never would have before Deacon was born.

For example, I can not tell you when Noah or Anna Grace smiled for the first time, reached out, crawled, said their first words, and I can barely remember what age they learned to walk.  I just took it for granted that they would breeze through those milestones with flying colors, like they did. With Deacon, I can tell you exactly when he smiled, because I waited patiently for that smile. I can tell you exactly when he made his first sounds, sat up for the first time, and gave his first high five.  And I can guarantee you that you will know when he gets this whole crawling thing figured out, because we are working hard on that each day.

Each month a group of ladies from my church gets together for "Mom Time."  We get to eat good good, do a bible study related to raising our kids, and we make a cute craft.  For the past few months, I have not been able to attend, but was lucky to get to go last Friday night.  We had a great time!  During the get together, a friend of mine read us a book by Karen Kingsbury called "Let Me Hold You Longer."   This is the poem from the book:

Long ago you came to me,
a miracle of firsts,
First smiles and teeth and baby steps,
a sunbeam on the burst.
But one day you will move away
and leave to me your past
And I will be left thinking of
a lifetime of your lasts…
The last time that I held a bottle
to your baby lips
The last time that I lifted you
and held you on my hip.
The last night when you woke up crying,
needing to be walked,
When last you crawled up with your blanket,
wanting to be rocked.
The last time when you ran to me,
still small enough to hold.
The last time that you said you’d marry
me when you grew old.
Precious, simple moments and
bright flashes from your past-
Would I have held on longer if
I’d known they were your last?
Our last adventure to the park,
your final midday nap,
The last time when you wore your favorite
faded baseball cap.
Your last few hours of kindergarten,
those last few days of first grade,
Your last at bat in Little League,
last colored picture made.
I never said good-bye to all
your yesterdays long passed.
So what about tomorrow-
will I recognize your lasts?
The last time that you catch a frog
in that old backyard pond.
The last time that you run barefoot
across our fresh-cut lawn.
Silly, scattered images
will represent your past.
I keep on taking pictures,
never quite sure of your lasts…
The last time that I comb your hair
or stop a pillow fight.
The last time that I pray with you
and tuck you in at night.
The last time when we cuddle
with a book, just me and you
The last time you jump in our bed
and sleep between us two.
The last piano lesson,
last vacation to the lake.
Your last few weeks of middle school,
last soccer goal you make.
I look ahead and dream of days
that haven’t come to pass.
But as I do, I sometimes miss
today’s sweet, precious lasts…
The last time that I help you with
a math or spelling test.
The last time when I shout that yes,
your room is still a mess.
The last time that you need me for
a ride from here to there.
The last time that you spend the night
with your old tattered bear.
My life keeps moving faster,
stealing precious days that pass,
I want to hold on longer-
want to recognize your lasts…
The last time that you need my help
with details of a dance.
The last time that you ask me for
advice about romance.
The last time that you talk to me
about your hopes and dreams.
The last time that you wear a jersey
for your high school team.
I’ve watched you grow and barely noticed
seasons as they pass.
If I could freeze the hands of time,
I’d hold on to your lasts.
For come some bright fall morning,
you’ll be going far away.
College life will beckon
in a brilliant sort of way.
One last hug, one last good-bye,
one quick and hurried kiss.
One last time to understand
just how much you’ll be missed.
I’ll watch you leave and think how fast
our time together passed.
Let me hold on longer, God,
to every precious last.

Although, you need a box of tissues to get through the book, it really makes you think about appreciating each moment that you have with your children! It definitely goes by way too fast!
And speaking of appreciating moments, here are a few that made me smile this weekend...
Taking the kids to see Memie for the first time since she started her treatments.

Watching them play "Tennis"...

Driving past our first house, and thinking about all of the sweet memories made there. I loved that place, and I sure wish it would have had more bedrooms!

Our family dinner at Strawns, where as a sweet old lady walked by my table, she leaned down and whispered in my ear, "You sure have some beautiful children!" Good thing she didn't notice them five minutes earlier when they were licking the jelly out of the packets like they had never eaten before!

Observing the kids showing off their new tattoos..."It's a Hard Knock Life!"

Catching sister in Deacon's exersaucer...
And I did more than smile when I noticed sister including Deacon in her extracurricular activities...
And last, but not least, as I drove home the other day, I heard a song that made me smile. It's called "You are Good" by Point of Grace.  I remember a few days after Deacon was born my mom told me about this song.  It meant a lot to me then, but poor me, I had no idea what had just happened to our family...I thought it was something really bad.  As I look back over the past 9 months, I realize now...more than ever... how good God really is!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Pride and Joy

Pride...a word that can be both positive and negative.

It's what I feel when my kids do something awesome.

It's what I felt when I made these door hangers for less than half of the price of the one in the Gift Shop down the street.

It's also something that my husband and I both have too much of when it comes to apologizing to one another after an argument. Most of the time our apologies to one another are non-verbal, and his to me usually comes in a cup.  So yesterday, I got one tall order of "I still have no clue what the heck I did to make you go crazy yesterday, but I'm sorry, so drink this and get over it!"    

What can I works! And how do I apologize to him? Well--it's not Starbucks.  And right now, he's still waiting on one!  Every now and then I can bare to apologize via text message. I know it's wrong, but it's how I am. I promise I do pray about trying and being better at it.

Pride is something that my husband felt when he found my car keys.

And it's also something I have to swallow to tell you where...


I'm sure you are probably thinking..."Wow, what an idiot! Did you not look in there?" Well no, I did not!  In my defense, I did glance over the top of it, but I thought that there was absolutely no way that they could be in there.   Dustin drove my car to church, and I never saw him, sat by him, or talked to him until we walked out to the car and realized they were missing.

Even in the all out search party, one witness claims that she saw that the keys had fallen out of Dustin's pocket and were on the floor behind him while he was sitting in the choir loft.

He discovered my keys when he went into my purse looking for my insurance card yesterday morning.  He had to unzip my purse to get into it. I NEVER zip up my purse, so it is still a mystery as to how the stupid keys got into my purse, and I would really, really like for it to be solved, so that I do not have to feel like a complete moron when we tell the other members of the search party (that stayed for an hour after church was over looking for them) where we found them!

I also realized that my key chain is zebra and not leopard. Shows how much I pay attention!

And then there is Joy...

If you could only see the smirk that was on my husband's face when he discovered that the keys were in MY purse! And that smug grin reoccurred each time he told someone where he found them. He swears there was no smirk, but there was! You could tell it gave him great joy that the blame did not fall completely on him anymore.  And it would have given me great joy to smack that ridiculous smile off of his face!

Joy is also what I felt when I was stranded at home yesterday and got to sit and watch my babies play together.  This little girl loves her baby brother!

And even though she is constantly smothering him, he loves her too!

It thrills me to know how much she loves and cares about him. I know that her and her brother will be some of his biggest advocates and work hard to protect him when they get older.  Thinking about that also brings me great joy!

I also experienced joy when I got to spend the evening with a group of women that all had children with some sort of special need.  This is the second time that we have gotten together, and it was so refreshing to sit and talk to a group of women who truly understand many of the things that I think and feel.  A few of us mothers that have children with DS even stood outside in the parking lot for over an hour after the gathering was over just sharing our thoughts, our hopes, our dreams for our children's futures.  It felt so good.

Now, I am off to encounter another feeling of pride as I actually cook a meal for my family.  And I am sure it will bring my husband joy to know that his dinner is not coming out of a box, is not fast food, and is not from the gas station down the street!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

When it Rains it Pours...

I get a warm, fuzzy feeling inside on rainy days. I love everything about the rain....the sights, the smells, the sounds. And I especially love a rainy day when I have no place to be. Normally, I would just cuddle up on the couch with the kiddos, a cup of coffee, a good movie, and just enjoy the coziness of it all. Not yesterday! As I was feeding Deacon his dinner and watching the rain beat down on the back porch, all I could think about was what it was like being a kid on a rainy day and how we used to run down our dirt/gravel driveway splashing through mud puddles, diving in the ditches, and swimming through the culverts like they were some kind of water park attraction.  Yes, we were some country folk, but those were the days!

So I asked my kids if they wanted to go play in the rain, and they couldn't quite comprehend the question. They asked if they needed swimsuits, and when I told them no, they ran to their rooms frantically searching for raincoats, boots, umbrellas, and any other rain gear that they could think of.  I tried to explain to them that all of that completely defeated the purpose, and they needed to hurry up and get their little rear-ends out there before it started lightening, or I changed my mind!  

They were a little apprehensive at first...

But quickly got caught up in the moment...

I even took the little D-Man for a sprint through the sprinkles, and then we sat and watched as Bubba and Sissy had a grand ole' time! Ah, but to be a kid again!

And then there was today.

You know, normally Satan likes attack us on Sunday mornings as we are on our way to church...that's usually when we have our best arguments. However, today he decided to hit us up afterwards. I was actually in a really good mood and had thoroughly enjoyed the sermon that Bro. Rocky had just preached. But, it was just one of those lovely hormonal/emotional days where it didn't take much to cause me to do a swift 180 and be completely provoked to anger. Who knew a simple decision like where to eat lunch could result in tears? Turns out that my desire to eat a quick, light lunch at Subway was disregarded because of my carnivorous husband's need for something more hearty. This resulted in an hour-long drive through Shreveport, a nice little argument, take-out from two different restaurants, and a very quiet meal at home.  Ridiculous? Yes. But it happened!

I was thrilled that I had plans to go hang out with some girlfriends by the pool, and I could not get out of the house fast enough! I forgot what it felt like to go to the pool without a beach bag fully-loaded with floaties, goggles, sunscreen, etc. and to just layout and have adult conversation without having to worry about keeping one eye on each kid at all times. It was fabulous! It just didn't last nearly as long as I would have liked for it to.

I rode back to church with a friend, and Dustin met me there in my car. It only took a few minor incidents, sitting next to four restless children and not being able to hear a word of what I'm pretty sure was a really good sermon, plus some unresolved feelings towards my husband to put me back into my "wonderful" mood.  I just wanted to grab a quick dinner and go home as soon as it was over. No such luck.

The icing on the cake...

We get to the car, and Dustin could not find the keys. I'm frustrated, but I'm thinking he will go back in, back-track, find them, and we can get this show on the road. However, a search party and an hour later...still no keys!

Needless to say, my car is still sitting in the church parking lot. We hitched a ride home with my parents, and thank the Lord they had a key to my house. I do not even own a spare set of keys, so I guess I will remain without a vehicle until we get this one figured out.

Of course, then I come home, take a breath, sit down at the computer, and this plaque that I bought the other day is staring me in the face.

So that is what I am going to try to do....think good, pure happy thoughts! I'm going to go to bed and forget about all of the petty things that got under my skin today.  They were legit feelings, but they were intensified by an extreme case of PMS!  I'm also going to pray that someone picked my keys up by accident, looks at the big leopard key chain that says Andrea, and calls me tomorrow to tell me that they have them.

When I bought this plaque, I saw another one I really liked too that said, "Happiness is an inside job".  After today, Momma's got some work to do!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

It is What it Is

Yesterday was a successful, productive day for the Tharpe family. We survived the first day of school and all that comes with it. I cannot believe I have a 2nd grader!

On Sunday afternoon, Noah started to whine and say that he didn't want to go to school. Then that night we were getting his clothes ready, and he remembered that his Nonna bought him a new pair of shoes for school. Don't you remember the feeling you got as a kid when you got a new pair of shoes? And these were not just any shoes....poor baby has been deprived and these were his first pair of light up shoes...Luminators, to be exact! He ran in there, put them on to see how fast they would make him run, and then said, "Man, to think I was nervous about starting school...not anymore!!" 

Maybe I need to get me a pair, and I'll be more excited too.  For some reason, I had a hard time when I dropped him off yesterday. I'm not going to lie, I even had thoughts of homeschool. But that was short-lived, and I quickly came to my senses. I love being with my kids, but I don't think I am disciplined enough for that!

Guess what else happened yesterday? After two weeks of attempting to clean and get organized, I finally finished! I was so excited to be done and I knew it wasn't going to last long, so I kept the kids out of the house until bedtime just so I could savor one evening of it being that way.

That hall closet is completely organized, and I now know where everything is...including the five decks of Phase 10 cards that I found. It feels good to know that the next time I decide to waste a good 2-3 hours of my life, I won't have to go out and buy a new deck.  

But you know what did not feel good...discovering a dead mouse underneath all of those shelves in the process.  And on top of that, finding it while Dustin wasn't home to handle it! I tried to coerce sister into disposing of it, but she refused. So I put my big girl panties on, grabbed a long craft wire, tapped that bad boy right into a target bag, and then ran like the wind to get that thing out of my hands and into the trashcans outside. Lord knows how long it had been there, and I don't know how it didn't stink!

(iphone pic)

I still cringe just looking at this picture. I came back in, covered the floor with baby powder, vacuumed it, and tried not to think about what had just taken place.  I know it's gross, and I probably shouldn't be telling people, but it happened! 

It is what it is!

Those five words have become quite meaningful to my family here lately. I didn't realize it, but when Deacon was born, my grandmother had a really hard time believing and accepting the fact that he had Down Syndrome.  She and my dad were having a conversation about it and he told her, "It is what it is." She said that those words just really helped her and stuck with her, and the day that she found out that her cancer was back, she told my mom that story and said, "This just is what it is." I'm not great with talking about things like that, so instead I just wanted to get her a little something to let her know I was thinking about her. I was in TJMaxx, and I decided to go look for an inspirational coffee cup, since I know how much she loves her coffee. And what do you know....

Tell me God wasn't in that! Of course I hesitated to get it, because that is not typically something you would give someone for inspirational purposes, but it meant something to her, and she loved it! Now it has just kind of become our family slogan. In fact, my brother called me yesterday to tell me that he got his own interesting version of it when he was driving through town and saw a pimped out vehicle with those words written across the back window in big, gold letters that appeared to be similar to the magnetic ones that you would put on a refrigerator. The Lord really does work in mysterious ways!

Speaking of my grandmother, she was supposed to begin her treatment today, but there were a few setbacks. Please pray for her and for the Doctors as they decide the best course of treatment for her.

We've been trying to spend as much time together as we possibly can while she is still feeling well, so we've been all about some family, good food, and fun around here lately.

Speaking of having fun, at 9:00A.M. last Wednesday (while still on a coffee high) my friend, Kelly, and I decided that it would be fun to all go bowling that night after church. We were pumped about it! However, at 9:00P.M. after a long day of grocery shopping, Dr. visits, and cooking for the church, we did not have the same enthusiasm and were wondering what the heck we were thinking! We sucked it up, carried on with the plan, and had a good time. I enjoy bowling, but I am way better at it on the Wii than in real life.

In addition to bowling, we have spent the last of our summer days reading...

Discovering our toes and trying to eat them...

 And holding our own bottle..."Go big boy!"

And tonight, something magical happened...I cooked dinner! So what if it was just a jar of Pace Picante' Sauce mixed with some taco seasoning and thrown over some frozen chicken breasts in a crock pot. It made a dang good burrito, and if Dustin hadn't asked how I made it, he would have thought that I really worked hard! Thank you, A.J., for that recipe! I even threw in some homemade guacamole to go with it. 

After dinner I went outside with the kids to play for a bit.

Then Daddy came outside for a watermelon picnic....

That somehow went terribly wrong!

And then resulted in having to spray the kids off with the water hose before they could come inside.

And that is when my redneck husband decided to give the kids their bath right there in the backyard!  At that point, I had to go inside to avoid the humiliation should a neighbor drive by. Since, as you can clearly see, we have had fence posts for almost a year now and still no fence. We aren't quite ready to give up the extra yard least that is the excuse we like to give.

Yes, we may be the white trash of the neighborhood, but....

It is what it is!