Sunday, May 15, 2011

Our crazy boy

As Noah is growing bigger and bigger in size, we watch as his personality grows at an even faster pace. Just a quick pic of our crazy little boy and a fun video which really captures what a happy little guy (and a little general) he can be.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Mackie & Me

This morning I woke to find out that my dog, Mac, passed away late last night surrounded by my family in New York. I spent most of today feeling sad and thinking about all he had meant to me. I took the kids to the park this afternoon to get out of the house and clear my head. It was a beautiful day outside and all I could think of was how much Mac would have loved it. How he would have been sitting in the grass with his paws crossed like a gentleman, with his nose tipped up into the wind, the little white patch on his chin, the bump on his head, his sad brown eyes. It is difficult to imagine I will never see him again. That we will never share a day like this again this side of heaven. It's been so long since we have.

My sister and I brought Mac home when he was just a little puppy. We chose him because his head was bigger than his body and because of his sad eyes. We thought it funny that we would have a boy in a house that had for so long been "girls only" including all our pets. He was trouble from the start. Mostly, he was misunderstood. If you didn't really know him- if you had only heard about his antics- you would have never known what a good boy he could be. But he was. He looked out for all of us. It is true what they say. There are some pets who are more loyal than people.

Mac was my buddy through so many seasons of life, mostly the really rough ones. After my back surgery, I remember how he'd crawl up into my bed each night and lay there. He'd keep watch over me all night long unaware that most nights he made it very hard for me to get physically comfortable. Still, it was a comfort to have him by my side. When I decided to move to Virginia, he seemed to feel almost betrayed. He sat for days next to my suitcase as though he knew it meant I was leaving him. This picture always makes me laugh because it fully depicts how my pets took it when I decided to move out on my own. Mac was so angry that he chewed the wood right off of the wall. While I was away, I was told, he slept on the floor in my room day after day, waiting to see if I would come back. I didn't for a very long time. The next time I returned for a short visit, he wanted nothing to do with me. Would barely look at me. Would growl and "side look" me if I so much as said his name. I know it sounds silly but ask anyone in my family and they will tell you the same thing. He never forgave me for leaving him. He held a grudge.

Through it all, Mac always had his "wife" Lucy by his side. From the start they were inseparable. I'll always remember when we decided to split them up - when Mac went away for a while - and the day Lucy watched Mac being taken away. As he walked away, being led by his leash down the stairs, she blinked her eyes and then threw up all over the floor in front of the glass door to our porch. But it was not long before I heard his heavy footsteps like horse hooves galloping through the house. He ran up the stairs and pounced on me in my bed, licking my face. The only one more overjoyed than Mac was Lucy. Regardless of the fact that they lived apart these past few years, they were inseparable until the day he died.

The last time I saw Mac, I had no reason to believe it would be the last time. He held my hand like old times but he still wouldn't really look me in the eye. He let me rub his head and talk to him without growling but it only lasted a few minutes before he walked away and threw himself on the floor with a big huff. I joked with my family that it was progress. I said "Goodbye Mackie," careful not to inflect my voice to the sing-song level that seemed to open old wounds and caused him to growl. I rubbed the bump on the top of his head glad that we were making improvement.

Noah was fascinated with both my dogs from the moment he first saw them. He was so enamored with all of our pets that Michael and I decided to take my 19 year old cat, Trixie, back to Virginia with us for him this past October. It's hard to believe that my cat, who still looks so much like a kitten in her old age, has seen me through graduating middle school, high school, college, law school, getting married, having a baby - all of it.

Trixie, we called "the general." She always kept Mac in line. They had a rivalry between them that never ceased to crack me up. There were times when they would just "stand off" against each other, staring each other down to see who would falter first. It was always Mac. I still remember little Trixie with her claw-less paws slapping Mac's face repeatedly, like a prized fighter holding nothing back. He stood there and took it as though he did not understand that he was 10 times her size and capable of putting her in her place with so little effort. Although he had his wild moments, he was oddly polite. Although I was a little nervous as to how Mac would react to Noah, he was always very gentle with him, despite his misgivings towards me that he'd carried throughout his life.

I always said I would never get another pet again after having lost my first Boston Terrier Baby. I didn't want to have to deal with that kind of pain again. Noah is so fond of dogs and loved Mac, Lucy and Trixie, but the thought of putting him through that kind of loss gave me pause. Still, I know this is a part of life and though I'm sad, tonight I try to be grateful. Grateful that these pets, who were such a large part of my childhood and younger days got to be a part of Noah's. What a great blessing.

RIP Mackie. I love you.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Noah's 2nd Easter

It's hard to believe how much our little boy has grown in the last year. I remember last Easter like it was yesterday. We were living in Leesburg and Noah was 8 months old, the age when he started to get very mobile. Even at 8 months, he was ever the ham. I took a bunch of pictures of him in Vanessa's room, using her bedspread as a backdrop. I was so glad that I was able to get some great pictures of both kids but then never got around to doing anything with them. Looking back on them today, I could hardly believe the difference I see in both Noah and Vanessa. What a difference a year makes!

This year, Noah is 20 months old and Vanessa is one month shy of her 11th birthday. Just yesterday (it seems) she was 5 years old, playing makeup and collecting panda bears, pushing our heads together announcing "you may now kiss the bride." Now, she is a beautiful young lady, soon to be in junior high. As of this weekend, she has also officially surpassed me in height. Big shock there, I'm sure. This year she is old enough to understand the meaning of the Easter season and what we celebrate on Resurrection Sunday in a much more meaningful way than she did before.

This year, to commemorate Good Friday, Michael, Vanessa and I watched The Passion of the Christ while Noah slept. It was a powerful reminder of Christ's sacrifice on the cross and it provided a great opportunity for us to discuss the Bible and help Vanessa's understanding of Jesus to become less abstract.

This morning, I took Noah and Vanessa to have their pictures taken down the street from our apartment and then this afternoon, Michael, Vanessa and I did a Bible Study before he had to take Vanessa back. It was definitely the most meaningful celebration we have ever had as a family, albeit low-key. I hope it will become as much as a tradition for our family as decorating Easter eggs, eating chocolate bunnies or hoarding marshmallow Peeps has been.

The last time we did not have Vanessa on Easter Sunday we also had her for the preceding Friday and Saturday. That was the weekend I found out that Noah was a boy via ultrasound. That day too feels like it was just yesterday. I had decorated the "nursery" of our South Riding townhouse in blue and assembled a blue Easter basket for Vanessa which included the blue bunny Noah is holding in the above photos from last Easter.

Tomorrow morning Michael will be playing for 3 services, starting with the Sunrise Service at McLean Bible Church's Prince William campus. Unfortunately, we will be away from our church family, but I am excited to see the new campus and worship with my husband. This Easter we will not be celebrating with either of our families, as we did last year, either, but I am grateful that we have such wonderful friends who have opened up their home to us.

In spite of everything going on right now in our lives, despite situations and circumstances which make it seemingly impossible to feel peace or joy, I am trying to focus on the weight of Jesus' sacrifice on the cross, trying to keep my eyes on Him and not be distracted by the details and worries of life that I often give too much importance to anyway. That's what this season and this holiday we celebrate is really all about.

"For God so loved the world that He gave His only Begotten Son that whosoever should believe in Him should never die, but have eternal life." (John 3:16)

"But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5:8)

"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead..." (1 Peter 1:3)

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Welcome Spring

"It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade." ~Charles Dickens

Michael, Noah and I are still at Tom and Sue's enjoying a weekend visit after having been away for quite some time due to everyone being sick. This past winter was not anywhere near as treacherous as the winter before, which was marked with one snow storm after another that buried us on the mountain in Leesburg. Nevertheless, we could not be happier to be welcoming the warm weather and beautiful colors of Spring. It is especially nice that this year, Noah is walking around and able to experience in a much more meaningful way than he did last year.
We just got back after enjoying some of this beautiful spring(ish) weather. I think the above quote captures perfectly the kind of day it is today. Noah had a blast picking dandelions and dragging Sue and I up and down this beautiful Stephen's City neighborhood. We had to practically drag him back to the house in order to wash the yellow stains left from flower-picking off his hands.

I was able to capture a few photos of him on Michael's phone. Though he has grown so much from the last post on here containing pictures, he has remained a constant ham. Glad I could share his sweet smile with you today.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Catching Up

It's hard to believe that the last time I updated this blog was when Noah was 5 months old. Nearly 15 months later, my once floppy baby is a rambunctious toddler with a huge sense of humor, a strong will and an unlimited supply of energy. Although I have surely neglected to keep up with blogging my baby and although many months will unfortunately remain unaccounted for, I am resolved to pick up blogging again.

To provide a very brief update: Noah turns 20 months on the 25th. He is walking (more often running) and talking up a storm. He amazes me everyday with what he's picking up (and often throwing -- pun intended). He is sweet and stubborn as can be, eager to give affection and intent on having everything precisely his way. And though my days are often marked with tantrums, which have a wide range in duration, they are also filled with laughter. I love being a mom.

Apart from being a mom, I also work full-time now in my first post-law school job, in a career I love and one which has a great future, so long as I passed the Bar, which for the next 20 days it to be determined. Life has surely been more hectic than I ever could have imagined and some days as of late have been very hard to bear. Adversity has touched every corner of my family. My mother-in-law, who I love as though she were my own mom, was recently diagnosed with small cell lung carcinoma. While the cancer has been hard on her body, her heart is still as big as ever. As I type, she and Noah are laughing and playing as though cancer had never touched her. I am so grateful for her and miss the days when we all lived under one roof and she was as big a part of raising Noah as Michael and I were. At times like this, living so far away is surely hard. This past Thursday, my 88-year-old Ma fell and broke her hip while doing something as ordinary as frying an egg. Her life, too, has changed overnight and I know the road ahead will be long. I'm incredibly grateful that Noah and I were able to visit her in Florida just last month. At times like this it's so hard to be apart from my family and I am reminded of how important family is. I pray daily for healing for them and for the division and brokenness in all three of my families and trust that God is big and capable enough to answer.

Unfortunately, I am not at home and do not have access to any recent pictures to post. But I'm hopeful that I will find the time to do so soon. I look forward to sharing more of our life with Noah with those of you who have followed our journey as parents. It certainly makes the distance between us seem a lot easier to bridge.