Monday, May 26, 2008

More Ordinary Miracles

*Tried to post this last night... hope it comes through today! :)

An inspiring message this morning and one of those spring evening backyard conversations just moments ago reminded me of my intention to post some of these each week or so. So now while I'm up thinking about other important things in life (like whether or not to make brownies), here are some more of the small, yet profound, everyday details for which I am grateful. Consider yourselves tagged, if you'd like!

1...That lately throughout the day Hope will look at one of us and say “hans, hans” with her own hands wide open. Then she’ll hold onto our fingers for several priceless moments while she goes about whatever she was doing.
2...That for the past few Sundays when Joe holds Hope during worship, without any prompting, those same little hands often find themselves lifted high into the air.
3...That you generous souls remind us that a sunkissed little girl in a summertime sundress can really make you smile (Mr. Benny, you did GOOD!)

4...That I'm having a summer baby which somehow gives me the right to consume as many ice-cream cones, milkshakes, and smoothies as my heart (womb?) desires. For crying out loud the Steak and Shake is directly across from my OB’s office.
5...That right before bedtime it is a requirement to not only kiss Hope goodnight, but to also not forget “Bobo,” her favorite bear. She usually lifts him up and everything for this final smooch before she'll roll over and call it a night night.
6...That this relaxing three day weekend, full of grilling out and bonfires and finishing up baby projects, comes to us by way of remembering the sacrifices made to ensure our freedom.
7...That date night included laughter, really good conversation, lots of hand holding since we actually had all four of them free (in public, no less!), and movie theater candy.

8...That Tucker seems to be trained on the wireless fence (please, oh please, let me not jinx us!) and he has since made the other dog in our house his best friend. Seriously, we have never seen Tuck so happy-- or calm!
9...That having someone else cook dinner every other night makes my meals more fun and her meals taste so good, especially when that same someone has demanded to take over the mopping and vacuuming in these final weeks. Twist my arm, right?
10...That one of Joe's dearest friends, dating all the way back to middle school, and his wife just welcomed their daughter Lily into the world! We cannot wait to meet her for ourselves just as they traveled to meet Hope after she was born. Congratulations also to Grandpa and Grandma P., who were like second parents to us while we lived in Tidewater… another beautiful granddaughter joins the family! Here are two pictures from memory lane we hope to recreate, this time with your little bundle in our arms.

Friday, May 23, 2008

A Bird? A Plane? No, it's...

Toddlers are amazing, beautiful little people. They are also fast, curious, and many times into EVERYTHING! But are they a match for (insert Superman theme song)… DEMO DADDY?

With his drawer latches…

New doorknob installation and tricky cover…

Bungee cord contraption...

And gate putter-upper skills?

Oh man, we hope not... Hope tells us all the efforts wear her out just thinking about how creative she now needs to be. :)

ps... In other exciting new developments, Joe and I have our first date night in a year tonight (seriously, we mean the first time we've even been alone in a car together short of one Target trip). "Prince Caspian" and dinner, here we come! Hope should be soundly sleeping while we hit the town, so we won't be missing any quality time with her in the process... thank you, Hightowers!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Celebrating and Reminiscing

Fellow picture lovers, you should enjoy this post! :) We are celebrating kinds of folks… we love to throw cook-outs, parties, game nights, you name it. People’s birthdays, births, weddings, holidays, gotta new job days, my you look lovely days, hallelujah it’s Friday days… whatever it may be, it’s fun to remember it in a special way. Even macaroni by a little candlelight makes for a memorable evening in my opinion! I find it especially fun to be on the planning and executing end of it all, but oh how humbling when others take time out to remember you. That’s exactly how we’ve felt in the past few months as we prepare for the second baby Martins to join our family.

Back in March I thought my friends had ditched me when even my daughter headed to the upstairs of our Girls’ Weekend cabin while I was left alone with my muffin and fruit salad. Luckily that didn’t last long before they called me to join them for a surprise shower in the loft! We’ll never forget it, friends, and we love you!

Then last weekend we took a too quick trip to Asheville for a shower thrown by my family (wishing we could have seen EVERYONE… but someday, right?!) When my aunts called for a little poetry help on the invite, I loved the final result: “Boy or girl? Only God knows as inside Mommy this sweet one grows!” Our green and yellow picnic afternoon made for a fun, treasured time. My mom has 4 sisters (6 now including two sis-in-laws and 8 including two very close family friends) and you can see that no one went hungry. This is quite typical for all family gatherings, first to Joe’s shock and then to his great delight, and I proudly claim the pregnant woman’s plate featured below! Thank you everyone... wish I could post pictures of you all!

Nana coordinated the decorating efforts… every little detail so precious right down to the corsages for both Hope and I.

It is touching how others remember Hope during all of this. Here are a few pics with some of the thoughtfulness as she hams it up and tells you how big she is… “SO big!”

All the excitement of being at Pop Pop and Nanas, going to Uncle Biwee’s new house, hanging out with so many people, and operating on one crazy nap schedule wore Hope out. No sooner did we put her in the carseat while we said our final goodbyes than she was counting sheep. To give her more time to sleep we drove around since Joe and I lived in Asheville for two years just after we were married. With the windows down on a beautiful spring evening we were flooded with memories. So many of those memories were in the old farmhouse we rented. Can you believe this field was our front yard and the Blue Ridge Parkway practically our back one? (Seriously, we had bear claw marks on our trashcans at times when the wildlife came down for midnight snacks!)

We used to go for walks most evenings, but especially on Fridays, through this neighborhood when Tucker was just a puppy. While we’re reminiscing… here he is as a “baby” on the first day he joined us (ahh, our firstborn!) Isn’t it obvious why we couldn’t say no to this side of the road rescue? Below that is a view from the Blue Ridge Parkway where our first home is hidden just beyond all those trees.

The view we had each morning on the way to work as first timers in both our professions... though we were pretty stressed at times, we could always feel God near us when we stopped and considered the beauty that surrounded us. Heading the opposite direction on that same road would take us to my parents where a homecooked meal awaited on many of those worn out weeknights… we know, Dad, you added them all to our “tab.”

What seasons we go through… and goodness, how the time flies. I’m thirty-two weeks tomorrow, so it’s not much longer until we add a whole other addition to our story. Talk about celebrations… that surprise party in July is sure to be one of our very favorites. And you’re all invited to watch it unfold!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Leaving the Light on For You...

We love nothing more than when the home God gave us is alive with the sounds of people. When we lived at the beach our stream of visitors left us wondering if they were coming for us or the shore. Since moving to our new town, we’re reassured that we might actually have more of the influence as we’ve been blessed with several sweet visits in the past month. :)

Our good friend Andrew kicked it off by coming to run a marathon in the nearby big city. He did awesome and quickly won his way into Hope’s heart by bringing her (and the new baby!) stuffed dogs. We seriously lost count of the “MWAs” she gave him afterwards. Thanks for those and our Bodo's Bagels t-shirts!

Next our dear friends the Hightowers made their move here after lots of prayer and a great web design opportunity! Thanks to all those who participated in their “Cadan’s Crib” welcome; they were so touched. They’ll be living with us while they look for a new place to call home, so we’re in perpetual slumber party mode for now.

Hope is BESIDE herself to have a baby and another dog in the house (two of her favorite things), but what good practice. Just see for yourself… giving Cadan kisses and, well, a little something else. (Such true pictures of our girl... so tenderhearted, yet so full of life; notice the purse in one hand and the finger of the other! Whew, it's exciting to keep up with this fun loving gal some days!)

We can barely wait till the end of the month for a visit from Uncle Dave (Joe's "little brother"... at 6'7" he gives us a lot to look up to); unfortunately, the Scotts won’t be able to make it as planned (though we’re so excited about the cool job opportunity that Jon landed!) And all this to say that we love all you visiting people... come one, come all and we'll leave the light on for you!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

"Ha-pee! Ha-pee!"

Those were the words I heard outside our bedroom door after a leisurely shower this morning. Moments later in walked my dynamic duo while Daddy coached Hope through, "Ha-pee Mama Day!" as if she were reading it from the sign they made below. Their two days of practice paid off... be still my heart.

But today not only do we want to celebrate the ways that we've been blessed; we want much more to honor so many women out there. First to our Mamas, now affectionately known as Grandma and Nana... we are forever indebted to you for your prayers and support, love and encouragement, wisdom and simply everything... really, words fail us.

And then on to our sisters (the term in-law not even necessary) who inspire us by their example to lead, guide, and love our kids in such powerful and creative ways... to grandmothers who have gone on to watch us from Heaven our friends who have trail blazed before us or who currently walk alongside us... to aunts, cousins, and other family who too have shown us the way... to our friends who love kids and young people so beautifully every day whether in hospitals, in classrooms, on campuses, in their homes, at the homes of others, and beyond... to the moms of many of those friends who are like second mothers to us... to the mothers out there, whether we know you or not, that bravely face each new day though circumstance calls you to do it on your own or to do it inspite of the hardships you faced as a child... to the spiritual mothers at every age who have answered the courageous call... to the women who have opened up their hearts and homes to love children whom they did not birth, but are fully mother to... to the women who get up every day and go about this life with the purpose of making it a better place, a place where our children will know the way.

This list could go on, but the message the same- "You are worthy to be celebrated!" Our love to each of you!

ps- Check out some of the Mother's Day quotes along the right side... with a laugh and a sniffle! :)

Monday, May 5, 2008

"Ha- PEE Birfdey NA-NA!" (how I like to say it!)

Written by Hope (with just the teeniest bit of help from Mama) even though we know Nana in her humble ways will probably get us... WE ALL FIVE LOVE YOU! :)

Even before I got here-
My Nana could not wait.
From the beginning she said, "GIRL!"
Knew Mama wouldn't deliver late.

But, oh when I actually arrived-
The joy that filled her heart!
As she stayed with us for weeks
And her wisdom did impart.

Then as I grew bigger
The fun we began to share-
Baking, laughing, telling secrets,
Reading, playing... EVERYWHERE!

Now that I am older
She's even more a favorite of mine!
Loving, compassionate, and talented...
An absolute one of a kind!

Please join with us in wishing her
An extra special day...
From all of us who love you,
"May God bless you in EVERY way!"
(XOXO... MWA!)