Archive for the ‘Siblings’ Category

My joy for today is a horrible movie with an awesome date.

My brother and I went to see “The Five-Year Engagement” last night.  It was not good.  We literally warned people coming into the theater to go see something else.  Since this movie was playing against “The Avengers,” my astute, filmmaking, and future Oscar-winning brother, surmised that those involved in the production realized it was horrible, had to release it sometime, and figured they might as well release it around the same time as the first summer blockbuster, at a time when any movie would have a great deal of competition.

I knew it would not be the best movie ever when it was billed as a comedy, but had a running time over 2 hours long.  My general opinion is that no comedy should be longer than about 90 minutes.  There are obvious exceptions, anything by Wes Anderson clearly exempt from this rule.  In order to fill this amount of time, “The Five-Year Engagement” involved a great deal of random scenes, including a foot chase with martial arts, gratuitous awkward crude humor, a frozen toe, hunting, and an arrow in a leg, among many others.  When we were about 90 minutes into the movie, I was sure it would be over any minute.  Spencer informed me that there was at least 30 minutes left.  At this time, we almost totally stopped paying attention and just talked about life.  I really do not know how we would have endured this movie if there was one other person in the theater, for which we would have had to be polite and quiet.

I adored Jason Segel’s “The Muppets.”  I think Emily Blunt’s performance as an overworked assistant in “The Devil Wears Prada” was a brilliant comedic masterpiece.  There were many hilarious people in this movie- Chris Pratt, Molly Shannon, Chris Parnell…  It was sad to see this movie fall apart with so many clearly talented contributors.

It had a few redeeming moments, particularly the ending, which was really adorable.  Interestingly, the ending was very reminiscent of a musical number from “The Muppets.”  This was the shining moment of the movie, which was no coincidence.  It has provided Spencer and I with a world of memories.  We will take away an awesome catch phrase.  I will use it in the last line of this post and do not feel bad about not being a part of our inside joke.  It’s easy enough to understand.  Wait for it…

If you see the movie, which I emphatically do not recommend, you will definitely feel like eating the day old doughnuts.

Enjoy your joys for today.


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My joy for today is my precious three year old.

Our adorable Tucker turned three yesterday.  With all the traffic on my blog from my last post, I decided to wait a day to tell the world about my beautiful boy.  Anyone who started following me because they thought this was exclusively a political blog, feel free to click unfollow now.  As I elaborated on in my last post, I am not just a stay at home mom, but I am primarily a stay at home mother and wife.  My God and my children are the primary source of my daily joys.

For those still with me, let me publicly wish my Tuck a happy third birthday.  He is an incredibly smart, funny, caring boy.  He is almost always happy and greets us every morning with a smile and a cheerful, “Good Morning” to each member of the family.  He loves Star Wars, Mickey Mouse, Thomas the Train, Caillou, Woody and Buzz, dinosaurs and cars.  He loves to play baseball, do puzzles, play outside, ride his tricycle, and look through books.  He plays make believe with his big sister for hours, pretending to be at school, Disney World, the beach, the store, or the doctor.  He loves to listen to music and is a very entertaining dancer.  He enjoys doing “shows,” singing songs for a small audience, and impressing people with his ability to identify letters and numbers.

I have a special song that I sing to each of my children.  Tucker is quite sensitive, cautious, and would not be described as adventurous.  At this point in life, he cries very easily when he gets hurt.  When he cries, 99 out of 100 times, I only have to sing the first line of his song, “Don’t cry little Tucky” and he stops immediately.  My amazing hubby can also flip this switch almost as easily by singing the one line, “If you’re happy and you know it.”

Tuck spends a lot of time with my Granny.  They are so much more than relatives, they are best friends.  They have a great time together and when Tucker knows Granny is coming over, he always cheers.  I am so thankful for this special bond for both of them.

This post does not have any deep, controversial, or momentous meaning.  It is a simple happy birthday wish for my precious boy.  Tucker, I am so thankful for you and I love you tons little buddy.

Enjoy your joys for today.  

My adorable birthday boy!
Thanks again to Spencer for the amazing picture.

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My joy for today is my birthday boy.

My firstborn is 7 today!  I cannot believe I am the parent of a 7 year old.  Seven seems like a totally different era of childhood than six.  To me, 4, 5, and 6 seem to be grouped together, and then you have 7, 8, 9.  It is entirely created in my mind, but still seems significant.

Since it is his birthday, I will take this opportunity to brag about our amazing son.  I feel like I spend a lot of time trying to downplay his amazing qualities to not make other people feel badly when they are having trouble with their kids.  Not today.  Today the world must know how of his greatness!

Of course, Noah is not perfect.  He recently got in trouble at a birthday party for (playfully) hitting an older boy in the ear while tricking him that there was something on his shirt.  Very random and unusual act for our sweet boy, but I am sure this other boy’s parents think our son is far from perfect.  However, after this act was brought to our attention, and Noah was informed that the other boy was not happy about it, he immediately and sincerely apologized.  But of course, this is proof that he is not, in fact, perfect.  Just nearly.

Noah has an amazingly sweet and caring spirit.  He went to a water park with Chad today, just the two of them.  I told him that I would miss him and was sad I would not see him much on his birthday.  He then proceeded to write me a letter that said, “I will miss you too.  I hope you do not forget me when I am at Aquatica.  You are the best mom ever.  I love you very much.”  This type of event, where it is absolutely clear that he has thought a great deal about the feelings of others, happens at least every few days.  I have boxes full of letters very similar to the one I just quoted.  He was not a snuggly baby, but he has made up for lost time.  Even though he is huge for his age, he will cuddle up on my lap and ask me to rub his back, no matter where we may happen to be.  He is always sure to hug and kiss when parting or saying goodnight.  If something breaks or spills, he is the first to jump in and try to help.  He has a very kind soul.

Along these same lines, he is an amazing big brother to his siblings.  He is patient and sweet with the little ones, and plays with them for hours at a time.  He will often notice Amelia doing something adorable, and if I am not in the room, come ask me to see it and say, “She’s so cute!”  When in the backyard with his siblings that are two and four years younger than him, he will push them on the swings, help them on the teeter totter, and play tag for hours.

Noah is in 1st grade, but reads at nearly a 5th grade reading level.  He reads for hours a day, sometimes waking up in the middle of the night and finishing a chapter of his most recent book.  The book he reads most often is the Bible.  He knows Bible stories much better than I do and has read several children’s Bibles cover to cover.  He is the first to remind us if we forget to pray before a meal.  His love and thirst for knowledge about the Lord is truly a blessing and is inspiring to both of his parents.

If you do not really know Noah, you may find this post annoying or unbelievable.  If you do know him well, you will know that I am just hitting the tip of the iceberg.  He is an excellent athlete, funny, a good conversationalist, outgoing, friendly, and generous.

One of my favorite authors, Henri Nouwen, in his book Reaching Out, says this, “Our children are our most important guests, who enter our home, ask for careful attention, stay for a while and then leave to follow their own way.”  My son is becoming his own person, and I am awestruck that I have been entrusted with such a special being, for such a short and important time.

My sweet Noah, thank you for ushering me into motherhood seven years ago.  You are more special to us than you can ever know.  Happy Birthday my precious Boo Bear!  I love you.

Enjoy your joys for today.

My Birthday Boy as a Pilgrim on Thanksgiving.
Thank you for the picture Spencer!


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My joy for today is running 13.1 miles.

It was an unusual morning, complete with gale force winds, plunging temperatures, thunder, lightning, and rain.  My alarm went off at 5:15 am and I could hear the rain slamming against my bedroom window.  Would the race even happen?  I got out of bed, checked my cell phone and e-mail, had no messages, so paced around for a few minutes.  Thankfully, Amelia started calling and I nursed her while contemplating whether or not this race would happen in such weather.  I put the baby back to bed and checked me e-mail yet again.  My own personal weatherman, my kind husband, had been spending his time checking the radar and concluded that the worst of the storm had passed through the race location, about 45 minutes from our home.  So I somewhat reluctantly got dressed.

Spencer came over to the house and we left about 15 minutes later than we had planned, due to my questioning of the status of the race.  After arriving for packet pick-up, Spencer stood in line while I went to the restroom, primarily to find shelter from the cold.  It was extremely windy, wet, and about fifty degrees.  This Florida girl was not happy.  I rejoined Spencer in line, found that he had quite expectedly made a friend, and received my number, chip, shirt, and other goodies.

We ran our stuff back to the car and then waited.  The race started a little late, due to the weather.  The countdown started, and we started running.  And running, and running, and running.  We had planned to attempt to run, without walking, the entire first 5 miles.  This may not sound like much, but it was far more than we had ever done in training.  I was unsure of this goal the morning of the race as I was battling a cold, complete with snot and sore throat.  I asked Spencer at about a mile and a half how far we had gone.  I did not ask again until we were at six and a half miles.  We had made the five mile goal!  Since I had made it so far past five miles, I began to wonder how much farther I could make it without stopping.  So we kept running.  And running, and running, and running.  We ran straight to the finish line.

In some ways, it is strange to pay money to do something you can do in your own neighborhood.  You do get a medal, a shirt, official timing, and other perks, but the camaraderie among runners is one of the most unique differences from running on your own.  Spencer and I were closer to the back of the pack than to the front.   It was a primarily out and back course, meaning that we were passed by the leaders of the race very noticeably.  They literally ran right by us.  Of course, the winners passed us, on their way back to the start/finish, embarrassingly early.  After a while, we had seen so many people go by, that I was sure the turnaround had to be coming up soon.  So I started yelling to people running by, begging them to tell me that the turnaround was just ahead.  One runner said, “I don’t want to lie to you.  It’s a little ways yet.”  That was discouraging.  But as we kept running, sometimes without me even asking, runners on their way home would see the look of despair in my face, and yell, “Almost to the turnaround!  Great job!”  Those kinds of comments literally made my feet keep moving.

There was much less fanfare in this race than in my previous half, the Disney Princess, or in my husband’s full marathon in Miami.  In Miami, practically the entire course is lined with supporters and well wishers.  In residential areas, people stand on their front lawns with signs, drinks, and snacks, to encourage runners that are complete strangers.  You can only imagine what the hoopla is like at a Disney race.  This was not the case in the Orange Blossom Half Marathon.  Although almost the whole course is among private homes, there was not a single home that had a supporter outside.  It was a quiet course with beautiful scenery, around a gorgeous Florida lake, for more serious runners, just doing their thang, running 13.1 miles, early in the morning.

What the course lacked in fanfare, my family made up for at the finish line.  My family of six, my parents, my Granny, my cousin, and a friend of Spencer’s rounded out our cheering squad.  I was greeted by the most precious handmade posters from my six and four year olds, three bouquets of flowers, balloons, and doughnuts.  There was video and pictures taken with every combination of people possible.  We felt admired and adored.  It was indeed a joyous day.

Enjoy your joys for today.  


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Super Spencer

My joy for today is my most faithful blog reader.

My brother visited this past weekend.  I saved this short draft and title on February 23, 2010.  I don’t remember this visit in particular, but it was meaningful enough to prompt the saving of this blog idea.  A great deal has happened in my brother’s life since then.  He has graduated from college (in a shocking and impressive year and a half), completed and screened his second full-length film (please visit his website via the link provided), won a prestigious award for his most recent film, studied abroad in New Zealand and England, and is now working on two master’s degrees, one from an art school and one from a seminary.  I am in awe of his worldly accomplishments, but these are not the reasons he is my joy for today.

I have had the unspeakable privilege of witnessing my baby brother turn into a man, from the day of his birth to today.  I was 8 when Spencer was born.  I helped change his diapers and snuggled him as a baby.  When I began dating my husband, Spencer was 10.  At that time, he was often annoying, as is typical of a pre-pubescent boy.  I was probably neglectful of both him and my younger sister at times, as is typical of a self-absorbed teenager.  He recently told me that on one occasion when I was in high school, I thoughtlessly told him that he didn’t need to kiss and hug me good-bye every time he left my bedroom to go across the hall to his bedroom.  It shocked me that he remembered this incident, and I felt guilty for ever making him feel that I didn’t treasure our time together, including our partings.

As always, distance makes the heart grow fonder.  As I journeyed off to college, newlywed life in Miami, and the birth of four children, I tried to always convey how much I still treasured both my baby brother and sister.  I am not sure I always succeeded.

For now, a short but glorious time, Spencer lives down the street from us.  Having him around to spend time with our kids, have meals together, go for runs around the neighborhood, attend church, and just spend time with, is such a gift.  I hesitated in posting this blog because it is so difficult to sum up a loved one’s admirable qualities in a thousand word post.  No words could ever accomplish such a task completely.

I realized recently that I have been getting to know Spencer all over again, as an equal and a friend. I admire so many things about him, and most of all, his faith and pursuit of the Lord.  He is encouraging and intentional in relationships with those around him and makes greatness in life seem easy.  Sadly, I have realized that there were things about his childhood that I entirely missed, and I imagine this is mostly inevitable with age differences between siblings.  But I am so thankful for the opportunity to make up for lost time.

Spencer recently posted a comment on this neglected blog of mine, encouraging me to return to writing.  I received an e-mail notification of his comment, and it meant a great deal to me.  Thank you to others who have also encouraged my return.  Thank you to my baby brother for becoming a man that I am honored to call my friend.

Enjoy your joys for today.

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My joy for today is two year old mispronunciations.

Our 2-year old, Molly, has a better vocabulary than her older brother at the same age.  I think his presence and constant talking to her and at her is helpful.  She can sing many full songs, say her ABCs, count to 12, and carry on a conversation.  Most of the time she speaks very, very softly and we are always asking her to speak louder.  We don’t seem to ever have that problem with Noah…  However, she is at the age where she mispronounces so many words, and it is so adorable!  Some of our favorites:

Noah = Doah

Princess = P  (which her Daddy uses to call her his “Precious P”)

Milk= Juice

Swimming= simming

That most recent word has been used often and is one of the two main reasons for my lack of postings recently.  We have been doing every day swimming lessons with Molly for the past three weeks.  When we started, she cried the entire time and kicked and screamed on the way to the pool.  Today, she jumped in the water to her beloved teacher, Miss Lisa, swam underwater, floated, and made it to the side by herself.  As soon as she got out of the water, she said, “I love swimming Mommy.”  It has been great to see her progress and her newfound love of the water, but it has been exhausting for me to have to drive half an hour away every day.

The second reason that I have been a reclusive blogger is the plague of colds and flu that have been going around our home.  It has been pretty much all I can handle to maintain my daily responsibilities and fall into bed around 9 pm.  All five of our family members have not been healthy at the same time for at least the past month.  Praying so much for a time of health for at least a few weeks!

This explanation is mostly for my most faithful blog reader, my brother.  More on him in a future post.  🙂

Signing off for today and looking forward to Molly waking up from her nap and greeting me with her beautiful voice and cuddly arms.  Enjoy your joys for today!

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Precious P

My joy for today is having a princess in the house.

For those of you with daughters, you will be sure to understand.  Having a girl is such a gift and so different than mothering boys.  Thus far this morning, my little princess has dressed herself in a crown and tutu, attended a dance party in her big brother’s room, attempted to care for her little brother, sucked her thumb a lot, and played outside extensively.  She is so much more sensitive and dramatic than her brothers.  Almost every day, she wears some form of dress-up clothes; and also cares for her baby dolls.

There is a lot to be said for the debate over how much gender differences are inborn.  I absolutely believe that there are huge genetic differences between girls and boys that result in differences in toy preference, personality, among many, many other things.  In an undergraduate psychology course, I remember there being some discussion about whether there were innate gender differences actually existed or were forced by their parents.  Whoever was debating this clearly never had both male and female children.

Our sweet Princess Molly is at the age where she mispronounces lots of words.  One of my favorites is how she says her brother’s name: “Doah.”  A few months ago, she could not pronounce “princess,” so she would say “p” instead.  We started calling her “p” and it just stuck.  My joy for today is my lifelong friend, my precious p.

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