Sunday, December 25, 2011

 Celebrating the birth of our Savior King!! Wishing you the Merriest Christmas!!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Elf on the Shelf

This little guy has a cult-like following....children and parents alike going gaga over a tiny Christmas doll.  If you are unfamiliar with The Elf on the Shelf, you can read about him here;  the basic premise is that he watches kids during the day and at night flies to the North Pole to report to Santa, returning to the child's home and getting into mischief in the wee hours of the morn.

Our elf, Ging-E does not monitor behavior (Garrett is too cunning for threats  and knows full-well he will be getting gifts Christmas morning) and does not get into any trouble, because he does not clean up after himself.  This momma does not have time to be sweeping up powdered sugar from an 'elf-angel' gone wrong.  I could have written this.

Ging-E enjoys calm activities in the night:  TV,  board games, and manger scenes.

It is a really fun (just as much for the parents) tradition and yet another way that I'm eating my words on this journey of parenthood-- I made serious fun of these little creatures when I first heard of them:).

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Just like the rest of America, we've been decking the halls this month....scurrying around like crazy trying to get all the "things" of December done.  As if I needed any more reasons to adore my mother, I am realizing in new ways all that she did to 'go the extra mile' during Christmas (my dad too, but let's face's the women that do most of the work, or at least spend most of the time thinking, planning, and organizing all that needs to be done, which is most of the battle, I think).

Just for the record....we do not put out gifts till Christmas morn.  These are for family:)

I love it, but it sure is hard work being Santa.  Santa is somewhat disorganized and scatterbrained (shocking, I know) and was even spotted in the return lines early this year.....bringing back a gift she bought in duplicate:).

Friday, December 16, 2011

You know how all little boys love their mommas?? Adore might be a better word and I enjoyed a very good run of adoration from my oldest.  Being queen was fun while it lasted, but I have been de-throwned.   It's been a gradual process since the age of 3--as it should be--every day, Garrett studying and imitating Paul instead of me.

As with most little ones, Garrett has gone through phases of likes obsessions:  balls and then trucks, cars and then animals, superheros and then legos.  And then, one day...out of what seemed like the clear blue, it was basketball.  And boy, is it basketball.  Garrett is 'all in'---it is all he does, dribbling that little ball until I think my teeth are doing to fall out of my head...talking about practice and layups and copying celebratory chest bumps, while I nod my head and say "that's great" about 600 times (I am lucky to match the ball with the correct sport).

About 6 weeks ago, Garrett put two and two together that his daddy used to play basketball for the Vols (Paul walked on the team his junior and senior years) and.....OH.MY.HEAVENS!!!! The joy and awe in that little boy's eyes for Paul is about the sweetest thing ever.  And so, there is a new king in town and it's the real-life basketball player:).  G has peppered Paul with countless questions, begged for basketball bedtime stories, and even accompanied him to a few games.  When the girls and I are lucky, we get to be the announcer or the cheerleaders (a vision, I assure you), but most of the time, we are just fans--a role we are both well suited for and comfortable with being.  

Watching some game footage

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


My dad and I took Garrett to the circus over Thanksgiving.  I'm not sure who was more excited--me, or my dad.  I don't list Garrett as a possible 'excitee' because I bought the tickets and told him afterwards.  He declared he wasn't going, which is par for the course with him....if it's new and/or not his idea, he's not having it.  I practically had to beat him to get him in the car, which is one of those hilarious parental moments where you feel ridiculous because you find yourself saying, "I don't care if you want to go see a bear riding a motorcycle or not--we are going to the circus and we are going to have fun.  If it kills us".  Ok, so I didn't say that exactly, but you get the drift.
Tiger on a Stick.  Such an important part of the circus experience.

It ended up being fabulous and we all had a great time.  I cried when it started because I was overwhelmed with the excitement....the lights, the costumes, the bear wearing a skirt (I loved the bears)...a sure indication that I need to get out more.:)  Another thing I learned about myself via The Bigtop was that I've crossed over---I can no longer watch death-defying acts and enjoy them for entertainment sake.  I was a nervous wreck the whole time that chick let some motorcycle-man spin her around at 30 mph at a hundred feet in the air, hanging by her toes.  By the time they shot the 80yr old man from a cannon, I was done--which was convenient because momma was broke!

$8 bag of cotton candy.  Gone in 8 minutes.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Everyone knows denial is one of the first steps of grief.  When Lilah was first diagnosed, Paul and I were pretty sure we had skipped over that step. We knew and accepted her limitations and the impact it would have on our family, or so we thought.  But, we didn't really know or fully accept all that the cluster of medical terms thrown at us would look like, because......well, we were in denial--which isn't all bad.  Because, I was about to crack the way it was--each day bringing all I could bear, without the full knowledge of the road ahead.

One thing I was sure of, in those early days, is that I did not want my life, or my family's life to be defined by this--a sick child.  It would always be part of us, I knew...but not who we were, I thought.

As the days, months, and now years (thankyou, Lord) go by, I realize I was wrong on both accounts (*Paul* I told you I could say I was wrong) .  We were in denial and it 'is' (having Lilah) who we are.

Because of my background, I had more of an idea than most about the implications---having a special needs child would affect a lot of things....where we lived, what we drove, what schools we chose.  But, I did not realize it would affect every.little.thing....there is almost no aspect of family life that is not impacted differently than it would be if Lilah were "neuro-typical" (did you know this is one of the PC terms for non-normal? I speak a new language these days...turns out all that space I didn't think my brain had for higher level French was being saved for this).  I am sitting here frozen at my computer trying to come up with examples that don't sound lame--laundry, car-trips, dinner, shopping, visiting friends.  None of those get at the fact that Lilah's care,  her limitations, her likes and dislikes weigh into every decision we make.  The burden of these things and worries over her future can rest around our shoulders like a lead balloon.

We decorated our tree last week...made a big deal about getting, bringing in, and lighting a giant Christmas bush.  In my mind, our children would be gathered on the floor, under the lights, as Paul and I sang carols.  Don't laugh.  The reality included the Backyardigans blaring and Lilah chewing on the cords of lights--and I snapped.  I turned off the beloved cartoon and yanked the lights out of her reach...bellowing about how I was sick and tired of every frickin family event occurring with "we're your best friends the Backyardigans" as the theme song--putting an abrupt end to all merriment for everyone.  It was good times.  Merry Merry.

Like I said; this is who we are.  Like it or not (hate it), we are the family that watches TV to get thru family meals, that skips more events than we attend because it's too much trouble, and that carries more worries and what-ifs than we care to count.

Every few months, it--the magnitude of all that having a child like Lilah means--hits me.  And I get all down and crabby.  Morose and, well, if I'm honest,....angry and full of self-pity.  This is not at all what I want for my life, not to mention my daughter's or the rest of my family.  I just want to be normal (this, btw, is a lie--there is no normal).

They're best backyardigans:)

But, it's who we are--good and bad.  We are the family that appreciates each day, that rejoices in little moments, and that is raising some truly incredible children (by no merit of our own).  Paul and I are better people because all we've been through.  We are thankful and do enjoy life much more the ship we're on--sometimes it feels like the Titanic, but I'm pretty sure it's the Queen Mary.  And besides, there is no switching mid-voyage, so we might as well break out the champagne.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Half Birthday

My baby is 6 months old.  Love her heart...she is feisty, and curious, and generally very good natured.  Ada is also sharp as a tack, knows how to get what she wants, and is on the fast track to becoming the most rotten Burch baby.  Cant imagine the days before that precious smile....
Modeling her new winter hat...thanks Granny:)

She's sitting, nearly crawling, and has 1.2 teeth