Sunday, March 28, 2010

His Most Recent Smile

"A man's face is his autobiography." - Oscar Wilde

What does Austin's face say about him lately???


These are just a few of the faces I receive lately when I ask Austin to smile for a picture.




And my personal favorite from this week!


Look at that face! He looks like a grumpy old man!!!

So, until he stops this new phase of "smiling during photo ops" my blog might have to focus on landscapes for awhile!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

This time of year

I love this time of year.

I love the sunshine.

I love the blooming flowers.

I love the colors.

I love the thoughts about Easter and resurrection.

I love this time of year.


Thursday, March 25, 2010

A Mom to a Boy

I will be honest.

It is very hard to get a good, focused picture of the boys these days. At almost 4 and 5 years old - Austin and Andrew spend their days at full speed.







They do everything at full speed, and they love to do everything together.

I want to be faithful to my calling - my calling as a mother to a boy! I want to instill in him character, integrity, passion, and a love for Christ. As I watch him run, and jump, and play... I realize that I get to play a role in the man he is becoming. I get to play a part of this "brotherhood" that Austin will have with other men.

I cannot help but think of the Biblical characters of David and Jonathan as I watch Austin and Andrew play. I think of a friendship that promotes deep love. Sacrificial love. I watch the tears that flow from Austin's face as I put him in my car to go home for the night. "I just want to keep playing with my cousin, mom..." He will cry. "I just love him so much."

And even though we won't always live fifteen minutes apart, I want to foster that bond between Austin and his cousin. My prayer is that someday Austin will feel comfortable being accountable, being Godly, being a man of character among other young men.

I have watched as my husband's relationships with other Godly men has been a lifeline during a difficult nine months. In the midst of poor personal decisions, James' two best friends (the two men who stood by his side on our wedding day as best men) have now - (seven years later) stood up to provide encouragement, accountability, and even work! They have been Godly men of character providing relief and friendship to my husband during very difficult days. I am so thankful for John and Kevin.

And as I think, I realize that I was(am) honored to know both John and Kevin's moms. Looking at the lives of these incredible women of faith, it is little wonder that John and Kevin grew into such compassionate and honorable men. And then I think... I get to play a role in this brotherhood. I get to be a mom to a boy! I get to have a son!

As Austin and Andrew run, and jump, and play (too quickly for me to even get a good picture), I pray that I will be a mother who fosters growth... in every area of my precious son's life.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Help Needed... Perhaps simply because I would spend my time blogging about such an issue...

*** This post has been heavily requested by several of my readers. (Okay, two of my closest girlfriends asked to see pictures of my new cut, but whatever...) With all of the serious events of the past year, I need to just sit and talk about something trivial - something like my hair!


I need to talk... and since most of you now live far away, let's talk about it right here on this "mommy blog."

I need to talk about hair!

Last Tuesday, I finally got my hair cut. As women, we understand how important a haircut can make us feel. Feeling a little sporty? How about a cute ponytail? Sassy? What about a short bob that bounces when you walk? Tired? Let's just throw on a hat - or my trick... a headband AND a ponytail. (For some reason, I feel that a headband + ponytail distracts you from noticing that I haven't washed my hair that day... or two days). Cutesy? I have seen some of you pull off some very cute pigtails.

I was feeling sassy (I suppose) and asked my hairdresser for a cute bob cut... a cut that I had noticed on an adorable mom at the baseball fields a few nights earlier.

It's not terrible, but it is short. And, it has eliminated my classic "part on the side and pull everything else back into a ponytail" option.

Exibit A: Taken two weeks ago.


And here is the new cut:


Please ignore the cheesy ""smile at yourself in a mirror while taking a picture look" - and the no makeup look.

It's not bad - right? But, I have an issue with it. I am not a "one side of hair hanging in your face" kind of girl. I have a three-year-old. I spend my time on the floor playing with matchbox cars. I climb over children in the backseat to buckle seatbelts and find pacifiers (see today's earlier post). I need my hair back and out of my face.

So, for the past eight days, I have been pulling that long side back in a clip:

Exhibit B:


Again, not too bad. With appropriate facial expressions and makeup - I could get away with this look.

So, I decided to put on some makeup and ask Austin to take my picture. He gladly obliged, and this photo gives full evidence to my current issue.

Exhibit C:


By the time I put on my makeup (that is all I did!) My hair was completely flat!

Girls, I lived in Texas for ten years! This is not acceptable.

So, I immediately went back into my bathroom and grabbed my hairspray (hey, it worked on my bangs in the '80s). I spent some time poofing and fluffing.


Spent another few minutes trying to perfect my smile in the mirror look.


(none of which were successful)

Finally just tucked my hair behind my ears...


and actually tried to do something productive with my day.

Why is it so hard to be a woman sometimes???

What do you use to give volume to your hair??? Especially living in Florida???

Okay, I am going to go to bed NOW! After all, with this new haircut, I am going to have to wake up extra early to poof and fluff...

A Beautiful Day

Yesterday morning, I went into my dad's office for a few hours to get some work done. it was a beautiful morning, and I was thankful for some quiet time alone in prayer and Bible study.

The start of a beautiful day.

By noon, I had Megan, Andrew, and Austin all in the backseat of my sister's car (my Honda won't hold all three car seats) on our way to lunch.

"I want McDonald's" said Austin (in full excitement) when I told the boys they could pick our lunch destination for the day.

"Well, I want Chick-fil-A." Andrew said - just as excited.

And then it began...


"No, Chick-fil-A"

"No! McDonald's"


Until I just decided to break in. "Okay, guys, this is the way I see it. Chick-fil-A has much better food, but McDonald's has much better toys. So, which will it be... better food or better toys?

And within seconds we were on our way to McDonald's.

We drove to Grandma and Grandpa's house, and by 1:00 pm, the boys were fed, Megan was fed, Megan was sound asleep, and the boys were happily playing together with matchbox cars while watching a movie.

I decided to get some housework done and even spent some time outside vaccuming the pool. "Wow, I thought to myself. What an absolutely beautiful day. Three kids isn't so bad. I could have more kids. I have this in the bag."

And you can probably tell where this blog post is going...

Since Jenny offered to spend the afternoon with Mom and Dad at the hospital, I thought through my afternoon options.

"Boys, how would you like to spend the afternoon at the beach?" I asked.

"Let's go NOW!!!" they screamed! and within the next hour we were packed, dressed, and ready for an afternoon at the beach playground.

It was an absolutely beautiful afternoon at the beach...




AND THEN... It was time to go.

The rest of this post is dedicated to my sister and maintains the form of her recent post here...

Promise the boys italian ice for being so good at the beach.
Get two boys into car.
They are both mad about having to leave beach playground.
Tell them to stop complaining or we will not be able to come back to beach.
Get Megan out of stroller.
Put Megan in car seat that has one two many buckles and straps.
Put stroller in trunk that is 20 pounds too heavy.
Help Andrew buckle seat belt.
Did it wrong.
Do it again.
He yells that He can do it himself.
Austin screams because Andrew yelled.
Tell Austin that we are not getting Italian ice due to his screaming.
Austin starts crying hysterically.
Megan starts crying.
Try to find Megan's pacifier.
It is missing.
Buckle them all in anyway and decide to let them all cry themselves to sleep.
Look at my cell phone.
Missed seven texts from James.
Can't text him back. Driving.
Can't call him back. Screaming.
Austin stops crying.
Pleads his case for italian ice.
It is actually a good argument.
Megan continues screaming.
No paci to be found.
Pull into italian ice store.
Pull car over to call James.
Hear seat belts start to unbuckle.
Car steering wheel is locked.
Can't get car in park.
Take foot slowly off break.
Car starts going in reverse.
Dash board is flashing "theft."
Cannot remove keys.
Finally get car in park.
Tell the boys to stay in their seats.
Try to call James. No answer.


Climb into backseat.
search for paci.
Megan screaming.
Lift Megan out of seat.
Find paci.
Realize the keys are missing.
Can't find keys.
Beg both boys to search car to help me find keys.
FINALLY find keys.
Megan still crying.
Don't know why.
Tell boys to stop climbing in the front seat.
Strongly encourage boys to get in back seat.
Lose patience and tell boys to get in back seat or no italian ice.
Andrew can't find his seatbelt.
Climb over Austin to help him find it.
Look at Austin directly in eyes.
Finally get Andrew buckled.
Andrew tells me I did it wrong.
Look at Andrew directly in the eyes.
Say for the first time to a child, "Are you kidding me?"
Buckle Andrew's seat belt correctly.
Buckle Austin's seat belt.
Get in car.
Drive into line for italian ice.
Read menu to kids.
Pick up phone to call James again.
Phone says, "Jennifer... TIME 6:05"
Put phone to ear.
Hear my sister laughing.
Realization sets in.
"Have you been listening for the last six minutes?" I ask in shame.
Jenny laughing.
"I couldn't stop, she says... it was like a bad soap opera."
Realize I had my own form of nanny cam for the worst six minutes of parenting I've had recently.

Wonder if I will ever be allowed to babysit again.
Yet, it was still... a beautiful day.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Curious Boys and their Boat

A few days ago, Austin was reading his Curious George Anthology and came across a story where Curious George builds a boat!


He brought me the book and said, "Mom, we have to find a newspaper, and we have to build this boat!"

Fortunately, Austin's Aunt Kendra was more than eager to help Austin follow the instructions - and together, they built a newspaper boat.

Can you tell how proud Austin is in this picture?


We brought the boat home (all the way from Gainesville to Clearwater) trying to keep it very safe. As soon as Austin saw his cousin, Andrew, he screamed, "Andrew, I built a boat!"

Andrew and Austin decided that it would be a good idea to float the boat in the pool at Grandma's house.


And... although I had my doubts, that newspaper boat - actually floated for a LONG TIME!


Just long enough, in fact, for the boys to decide to change into swimsuits and go into grandma's pool.


So thank you, Aunt Kendra, for helping this little face light up with absolute delight!


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Lost and Found

I am sitting in a new room on 3W - the bone marrow unit at dad's hospital. We had had an emotional few days. Yesterday, Dad's numbers soared high enough for him to be released from the hospital. Today, after a fainting spell, he was readmitted to the hospital for an indefinite amount of time. We are all pretty exhausted from the roller coaster of emotions cancer carries.


This morning, I woke Austin up early to get ready for school.

"Mom, I am so tired. Let's just sleep." He said without even opening his eyes.

I am used to Austin's morning drama, as he already acts like a teenager in the mornings - pulling his covers over his head and begging for more sleep.

"Austin, today is St. Patrick's Day." I replied. "Maybe you will have a special treat at school." I hoped that my term "special treat" would somehow lure the little one into the light of day.

He paused for a second. "Mom," he replied. "There is no St. Patrick in my class... and even if he did come today... and even if he did bring cupcakes for his birthday, I would rather just stay home with you."

"Well, okay!" I said, as we both rolled back over and went back to sleep.

Two hours later (!!!), Austin woke up and was ready for his history lesson.


I didn't mind sleeping in this morning myself as we both had a late night getting dad situated into his "transitional apartment." As I type this now, Mom is back at the apartment packing up her belongings once again for hospital life. Dad has been pushed away to the ends of the hospital for CT scans and x-rays. Please keep praying.


This past weekend, we were able to spend some time in G'ville visiting James. We had a wonderful weekend and I wanted to share some pictures of life before the craziness this week.




As I put Austin to bed the last night in G'ville, he begged me to lay down and sing to him. I sang a few standard bedtime songs and got ready to leave.

"Momma," Austin pleaded. "You haven't sung the lost and found song yet."

"Lost and found song???" I replied. "Austin, I have no idea what in the world you are talking about."

"Mom, you know. The lost and found song. It is one of your favorites."

I thought hard and sudden realization came to me.

"Oh, of course, buddy. You are right. I haven't sung the lost and found song yet."

Amazing Grace
How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me
I once was lost
but now am found
was blind but now I see...

Someday soon, I pray that we will all see clearly through the midst of today's trials. Right now we only see dimly... someday we shall see face to face!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Happy Birthday, Uncle Adam!

A few days ago, the "Bugg" children and grandchildren gathered to celebrate my brother, Adam's, 29th birthday!




I am honored to be your "big" sister. I love spending time with you, Sharon, and Avery. I am so glad to be back in Florida. You remind me so much of Dad through your humor and decision making. You always seem to be able to look at a situation with wisdom rather than emotion - bringing a sense of reality to the world's drama. You handle yourself with dignity even in the midst of difficult situations. Thank you for being so loyal as a son to mom and dad during these days of dad's hospitalization. As their only son, I know that they are looking to you in new ways to help care for dad that are difficult. You have risen to the challenge and you have wisdom beyond your 29 years.

I know that it was not always (if ever) easy to have two older sisters. Jenny and I were occasionally mean (i.e. giving you the number for the weather station rather than for mom and dad while we were babysitting you). However, I think that you repaid me well the time you lit fireworks in the bathroom while I was babysitting! In the midst of being dressed up in our play clothes and forced to act in our childhood plays, you grew up to be a man, and you stand with strength in the midst of great trial.

Even as a young boy, you were able to connect with other children in a rare and special way. We always wanted you to help when we had nursery duty at church. Younger children loved your playfulness and laugh. Your nephews are testimony to your unique ability to still connect with children. Austin and Andrew both love you (and your Wii). You are an amazing father, and I am so excited to watch as Avery grows into a young woman.

I love having a brother who understands my random quotes from "Friends" and shares so many mutual memories. I will never forget holding fireplace pokers in our laps in Colorado in case we were burglarized... or the time you sat on the floor of the car during a long drive (I am so sorry about that)!!!

I once wrote a nice blog post about our sister, Jenny. You called her to ask her if "she was dying" - due to the tribute I posted. I just think that occasionally it is nice to write down the things that we are never quite able to put into words. And I am honored to be your "big" sister. I love you. Happy Birthday!

Megan is ready to start eating food! In this photo, she is staring down Austin's chocolate cupcake!


Sunday, March 7, 2010

Painting with Messy Hair

We have spent our "sick days" walking around in pajamas.

Painting pictures for Grandpa's hospital room


And not worrying one bit about things like combing our hair!


We hope that you are having a wonderful weekend as well:)


*** Austin's "work room" in these pictures is my mom's laundry room. Yes, she painted the walls! It is inspiring and beautiful. I am hoping that it will encourage Austin to keep painting!

And the stack of books in the background is my mess! Books that have yet to find a new home after our Texas move!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Not Forever!

It was a typical morning in the third grade. I was busy planning my Friday Show and Tell and learning my multiplication tables. I sat next to a friend named Angela, and on this particular third grade morning, I noticed that Angela kept looking at her arms.

“What’s wrong?” I asked as I leaned across the row to her desk.

“I am making sure that I don’t have Fifth Disease.” She responded very seriously.

“Fifth Disease??? What is fifth disease?” I whispered while our teacher continued the fours tables.

“It is a very serious disease. You get a rash all over your arms and they will kick you out of school… forever.” Angela dramatically replied.

I remember this day in third grade so vividly because all of my friends and I spent our entire outside playground time studying ever single red bump on our arms. Could we have fifth disease – the dreaded disease that would cause us to get kicked out of school… forever?

I am pleased to report that none of us were diagnosed that day and life in third grade continued as normal.

Fast forward approximately 25 years.

Two days ago I noticed that Austin’s cheeks were a little flushed. By last night, his face looked inflamed and a bright red rash was starting to spread down his arms. I immediately began “googling” the words “rash on toddlers cheeks.”


The first words on the screen took my breath away. “Fifth Disease!”

I immediately became an insecure eight-year-old once again. “Oh no! He is going to be very sick and kicked out of school… forever!”

After a trip to our pediatrician this morning, I am sad to report that Austin does indeed have Fifth disease, but am happy to report that he is completely fine.


In a few days (possibly weeks) the rash should completely disappear, Austin has no other symptoms and isn’t even itchy. And in my humble opinion, he is rather enjoying the extra attention and popsicles mommy is allowing.


We still might be a little contagious, so we will stay around the house for now… but I promise… not forever!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Team USA

Several days ago, Austin woke up and said,

"Mom, you know how my cousin is going to be a professional t-ball player when he grows up?"

"Yes, sweetheart." I replied with a big grin.

"Well, I have decided that when I grow up, I want to be a professional hockey player... for Team USA!"

So, a few days ago, we met several friends at the ice-skating rink for some practice.

Austin, Averi, and Andrew

Aunt Sharon completing a spin

Sweet Averi enjoying the ice

Go, Andrew, Go!

Watch out, Canada, Austin is coming... (and hopefully he won't be holding his mommy's hand when you meet!)

Austin and Mommy

BTW: Thanks to Aunt Jenny - who had her hands fulls while we all skated!