Monday, February 16, 2009

Times are Changing

For many years, I used to hate Valentine's Day. I hated the seemingly forced affection, I loathe the little candy hearts with words on them, and I thought the whole thing was ridiculous. This didn't go with my personality much, because I am a very affectionate, very mushy person. Kleenex commercials make me cry, come to think of it, MOST things make me cry. So it was never an issue of me being hard-hearted that caused me to roll my eyes every year on February 14th, I just never really thought is was necessary.
When Cody and I met and got married, he knew that I didn't expect much on Valentine's Day because I told him all the time, "EVERY DAY is Valentine's Day at our house being married to you!" and I MEANT it. He is the sweetest, most thoughtful man in the world, and he expressed it in some sweet way most of the time, daily. Flowers come home on a random Tuesday for no apparent reason, cards left on my bathroom vanity, date-nights planned as a surprise...the list goes on and on.
But as the years have ticked by (almost 9 to be exact)...I think my feelings about Valentine's Day have changed. And this year, I have decided I have figured out why. Two very important things have changed in Cody and I's relationship in the last few years:
***3 small children

***A mortgage

I told my sweet husband at the end of Valentine's Day this year that whoever thought up Valentine's Day must have known that at some point in your relationship, there was a very high possibility that you were going to share things like children and mortgages with the love of your life, and that has a tendency to say, suck the romantic life out of you. MOST of our conversations have something to do with one of our children, their bowel habits, thier eating habits, their behavior get the idea...OR Money, in some form. Did you go to the bank and deposit that check? Did you pay the water bill? Have we balanced the checkbook? When are you going to the grocery store? Who is picking up Claire from Ballet today? etc etc etc
Don't get me wrong, Cody is still the most thoughtful man on the planet. But somewhere in the midst of three small children, our love language has changed. Bathing the children and putting them to bed after he does the dishes IS one of the sweetest things that he does for me, but if you had asked me 6 years ago if that would have made my cup overflow with love for him, I would have looked at you like you were crazy. Coming in the door after working a 12 hour day, albeit with GROWN-UPS, and saying, "honey, I know the kids were insane today...why don't you go get yourself a Starbucks and a magazine and just chill out for a couple of hours?" makes me want to become his love-slave forever....seriously. So needless to say, my Valentine's Day song has begun to change. Married couples with small children NEED a day to just be romantic, love on eachother the way we did when we were sans babies, and enjoy all of the things that used to be a daily part of our life. I am happy to report that this year, my man did not dissapoint.
I will spare you the details of our Valentine's Day 2009, but I will say this: ANY man that makes his wife and daughters (and son) heart-shaped pancakes is a keeper. Lucky for me, this was only the beginning of an amazing day.
My point to all of this was re-instated when we awoke Sunday morning with a child running fever, a child in our bed, and another child calling across the house for one of us to come help him "wipe my tiny hiny".
It was great while it lasted honey....can't wait for February 14, 2010.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

I think I might have come across a in my last post. I certainly didn't mean to sound that way, I promise. We LOVE our new home, we love our new neighborhood...I think I have just been a little bit suprised at how different being neighbors with people is than I think the way it used to be. Neighbors were neighbors. Neighbors picked up eachother's mail when they were out of town. Neighbors borrowed eggs when they were making a pecan pie and only had 2 eggs in the fridge instead of the 3 that the recipe calls for. Neighbors smile and wave and know the names of eachother's kids. Am I old fashioned? Am I idealistic? We literally only had 1 neighbor in the house we lived in on Broadway...and you know how wonderful they were. Two words...breakfast tacos. So, I guess it has been a bit of a let-down in the last month when I met our next-door neighbor in the driveway because we are coincidentally getting our mail at the same time. She is a nice lady, married to a man with developing Alzheimer's, so bless her heart, she has her plate full as it is. In our short conversation, I asked her a little about everyone on our street. She simply stated, "oh, I don't know. Everyone just kind of stays out of eachother's business. We like it that way." I'm sure I looked like Eeyore walking back to my front door. Now please...don't misunderstand. I do not want or expect to be Susie Neighbor that know's everyones business. But I do know that the lady that lives across the street from us has an aging father that she is caring for. I do want her to know that if she ever needs ANYTHING...especially if Cody could ever help her...I want her to know that we're there. And when Gregory's remote-controlled airplane gets stuck in the tree next door, I would love it if we didn't feel like we had to tip-toe to the door and beg for mercy as we retrieve the plane. I would love for "Escalade Lady" to smile at my children.
So I apologize if I sounded a bit hostile. I really don't mean to be. Maybe a better word is disillusioned. But I throw this question out into the great world wide web....has being a neighbor changed? Are expectations different? Am I completely old-fashioned in wanting some sort of relationship, albeit very minor, with my neighbors? Help me readers....

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Make Me an Offer

We OFFICIALLY welcomed ourselves to the neighborhood this weekend when we hosted a Paty family garage sale. Yes, friends, we found ourselves up at 5 am, bleary-eyed, holding on to our coffee for dear life, as we arranged tables and double-checked price tags. And much to MY chagrin, there were the "early birds" as they like to call know, the people that read in the paper that the sale starts at 7, so they show up at 6:30....pilfering through my old Victoria's Secret panties, all the while asking if I would take a quarter instead of 50 cents? Excuse me? You are bargain shopping for used underwear? What is wrong with this picture?!
Anyway, needless to say, we did not have 1 neighbor come to our garage sale. We just simply got the cordial smile as they manuevered their Escalades through the Oldsmobiles and Caprice Classics that clogged our street. Our old neighbors on Broadway brought us homemade breakfast tacos the last time we had a garage sale....that's true friendship. No wonder we miss them.
I bet if I waved the $700 Cody and I pocketed at our measly "sale" in front of the Escalade lady's face, she might even crack a smile. Nah...probably not.
"Welcome to the neighborhood, Paty's! Now just get that 1975 coffee table out of your driveway and we can be friends. I won't bring you breakfast tacos, but we can be friends. "

Sunday, February 1, 2009

January Recap

Here it is...the 1st of February, and I am still wondering what happened to January. It was an emotional month in the Paty house...some "firsts", some tears, some changes, and lots of laughs. I apologize for my lack of posts. I have been experiencing a bit of "writers block" and everytime I sat down to chronicle some of the firsts, tears, changes, and laughter previously mentioned...I lacked the words to express myself. Hopefully tonight, the block will be lifted.

First, the firsts. Meredith Grace turned one! She had her first birthday on January 14th, and it was a wonderful day! We kept the celebration very small and intimate, just sharing some dinner and cake with "family"..which in our case includes my parents, Cody's parents, and our precious close friends, the Dodds and the Gleatons. Meredith loved eating her cake and thought the whole experience was quite hilarious. We reflected on what an incredible blessing Meredith is to our family. She is the most laid-back, easygoing child in the world. She is joyful and happy (most of the time) and she has brought so much happiness to our lives.

Another "first" that occurred (finally!) was that Miss Priss finally decided to stop giving her mommy fits and start crawling! I know this sounds alarming to some of you because most 1 year olds are working on walking, not crawling...but Mere is running at about a 4-5 month delay in her gross motor skills because of her PHACE syndrome. Although she got a clean bill of health last year with all of her specialists, she still has struggled with each milestone involving her gross motor skills. This has been a very difficult aspect that I was not told to be mentally prepared for by her doctors, but as she has grown month-to-month, it has become more and more evident to me and her daddy that there would be some delays. Her neurologist told us in the very beginning that he felt like she had "low muscle tone" in her upper body, so naturally crawling is difficult for a baby that doesn't have much arm strength. In talking with her doctors, we have been repeatedly reassured that she will eventually "catch up" by the time she is about 2 years old. The good side to the story is that in EVERY other area of development, she is perfect. Her fine motor skills are great, and cognitively, she seems on track in every way. We are so thankful for this and will continue to provide her physical therapy on daily basis. I know an AMAZING PT! :)

Check out my skills! And check out the piece of paper I am anxious to put in my mouth! I crawl until I reach my point of destination...and then I poop out! Just like my Grandaddy always says, "it's hard being a baby...."

We also celebrated Cody's 33rd birthday and my birthday was today (31st). I've got quite the working out to do to work off the cake I have consumed in the last thirty days. Speaking of cake...we attended one of the most beautiful weddings in San Antonio. Cody's boss's son married Jenna L*cado and it was amazing. They are an unbelievably precious couple that is madly in love with God and with one another. It was a great trip, sans children, that allowed us some sweet time as a couple. Weddings always make me so thankful that I married Cody. He just keeps getting sweeter and sweeter.

Changing gears....Cody and I are going through an intense period of CHANGE in our lives right now. We moved homes twice in a six month time period, but more importantly, our relationships are changing. I have often said that living in Sweetwater has it's blessings (and its curses) but more than anything, I believe that the relationships that we have built here are what makes our lives so rich. Three different families that have played a pivotal role in our lives over the last 8 years are leaving Sweetwater (one has already left) and in all has rocked me to the core. I have grieved and cried over this situation more than I care to admit. Each family is leaving due to better job situations that are going to immensely bless their family, and I am sincerely happy for all of them. But each family is precious to us in different ways and the void is going to be incredibly hard to fill. Our dearest friends, the Gleatons, that I mentioned earlier, is one of these families. Their daughter, Sophie, is 5 weeks younger than Meredith. Look for these two at ACU in 2026 as college roomies because I know that they are truly going to be friends for will their parents.

Somewhere in the middle of all of this, God has found ways to reveal Himself to us daily. Claire and Gregory continue to grow and learn and amaze us with their precious little personalities. Claire memorized and recited "The Lord's Prayer" for her Bible Class this morning, and I cried as she remembered each word she had worked so hard to retain. There is no pride like the pride a parent has for their children when they exhibit their love for the Lord! Gregory split his forehead open while playing at church last week and nearly gave me a nervous breakdown with the amount of blood that he shed. We were afraid that he was going to need stitches, but Dr. Mike (our beloved doctor that delivered all three of our babies.....and one of the other families that is leaving SW....did I mention he is BELOVED) graciously cleaned up the "battle wound" in time for Gregory to still eat a sandwich at the party we were attending. The highlight of the experience? The "Get Well TOY" that Granna and Grandaddy took him to get post-trauma. We are now the proud owners of not one, but three Star Wars Light Sabers....proudly pronounced "light savers" at this house. He is absolutely the cutest 3 year old on the planet. Period.

(This picture of Meredith and Gregory was taken before the split head incident...but I figured you could just imagine the yucky wound on his forehead and just enjoy their cuteness)

After typing all of this out, I am exhausted. No wonder I haven't blogged...who's had time? I realize this wasn't the most eloquent of posts, but its the best I could do with the amount of brain cells I have left at midnight. I'll close with a pic of Madeline Claire in all of her 5 year old glory......

Blessings to everyone for a fabulous February!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Apparently, my mother thinks I'm stressed. I cannot for the life of me figure out why she would think such a thing, but that's neither here nor there. She gave me a bottle of "Stress Relief" Aromatherapy lotion from Bath and Body Works for Christmas, and let me just say that it is delicious. I've been using it faithfully for about 2 weeks now, and while it smells amazing and makes my skin soft every morning after my does cause a girl to wonder...what in the world makes a lotion make the bold claim of being "stress relief?" Does it contain some magic ingredient that erases the problems of the world the instant it is smeared on my hands and body? Does smelling it make one "relax" and view the problems that one might face in a new perspective? I'm thinking that the answer to these questions is unequivocally NO.

But more than anything else...the thought occured to me this morning, "wouldn't it be amazing if we had the ability to bottle REAL STRESS RELIEF and sell it?" Would our days be different if the answers we are all looking for were in a beautiful glass bottle and sold at our local retailer? Children acting up? Have a squirt. Money issues? Just pump here. Family driving you crazy? Lather up!

I can say that I would probably have less gray hair (I'm not even kidding...I don't even remember my natural hair color anymore) and more time to enjoy the simple things of my life, like hide-in-go-seek with my children. Not to mention the money that could be made....sigh.

All of this to say...thanks, Mama, for thinking of me. Bath and Body Works....keep working. You haven't quite achieved the impossible.