come and listen

When Brent and I were preparing to walk down the aisle back in 2008, we knew there would be a lot of decisions: what to wear, how many guests to invite, where to have the wedding etc. etc. Most of these decisions I made when I was about seven [yes, I was that child], but one thing I knew Brent would want some say in was our wedding music.

And then a friend introduced me to the perfect song. So I told him that was what we would walk down the aisle to.

And he liked it too.

So David Crowder's Come and Listen it was. [Listen HERE if you've never heard it]

There was something hauntingly beautiful about it in the music. But the lyrics? Oh the lyrics exactly captured what we wanted our wedding day to be about.

We didn't want it to be about a lot of fanfare. Or a big party. Or having THE best of whatever. 
We wanted it to be about how God was bringing us together--how He had brought us together, and we wanted it to be a place where others would see and experience that great God, who at His very core is Love.

So it made sense to start the ceremony off by walking down the aisle to the words, "Come and listen to what He has done. Come to the water's edge, all you who are thirsty, come. Let me tell you what He has done for me…he has done for you…he has done for us."

On that day, as young and green as we were, we knew we wanted to shout from the rooftops what God had done for us. We knew, entering the vast unknown of marriage, that "great was our God, for He is good" and that we wanted Him to be a part of that day and the rest of our lives.

I've listened to the song many times since then. Many times. Which is why I was kind of taken aback by how emotional I got this past Sunday when we sang it at church. I say "kind of" because, let's be honest I'm a very pregnant woman. But as the music swelled I couldn't help but think of that day, nearly 6 years ago…but also the past 6 years. And as we sang, "Let me tell you what He's done for me…what he's done for us…." I was overwhelmed by the goodness of my God. In the good stuff, in the hard stuff, in the unfilled in stuff-- the goodness of my God.

And here we are, two moves, a house, 4 jobs, manymany friendships, and almost two babies later, and I'm so thankful that 22 year old Kelsey and 22 year old Brent had the forethought to want to tell people to come and listen about how good our God is; that they wanted to start their marriage at the "water's edge" thirsty for God to reveal himself to them. And I am so thankful that that God who was present the day we said "I do," is the God I still know and love this day. And in 25 years I hope I still want others to come and listen.

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baby bump #2: week 37

Dear baby,

The end of a pregnancy is such a weird place to be as it is filled with so many emotions. I am currently feeling: ecstatic- I know that you will be in my arms soon and just knowing I will be holding you and breathing you in leave me beyond excited; terrified- there are still so many unknowns at this point because you aren't in my arms yet. What will delivery be like? Will you stay safe and healthy? Will I stay safe and healthy? sad- there is something bittersweet about this time that I'm not sure I can adequately describe. There is an intimacy and safety in being pregnant with you that is hard to want to relinquish. I also know pretty much what life looks like on a day to day basis right now, and soon I'll have to let that go; overwhelmed: you may very well find this out one day if you have children, but something snaps in a pregnant woman in the last little bit. I sent my sister a text today that said, "I have this great desire to clean everything while simultaneously taking a nap!" There is a very real need to have everything in it's place and the house clean and… just to be in a constant state of preparedness. It's weird; eager- I am so eager for you, my sweet second daughter.

I have definitely "dropped" recently. Again, because I'm one of the lucky-long-torsoed ones we have a lot of space to work with, so I don't look as "dropped" as some people do when the baby is getting ready. But I can sure tell. I also feel like I've really expanded in the past week or so, which would make sense, because you're packing on the pounds/ounces these days. The doctor still says you shouldn't be too big [around 6-7 pounds], which would be lovely. Do we have a deal? :) Our doctor's appointment this week went well. She won't check us for progression for another week, but your heartbeat is still strong and everything is looking good. I expressed some concern about having another/even faster delivery, thinking she would assuage my fears. Instead, she seemed even more concerned than me, saying that second deliveries are nearly always faster and that we need to be prepared. She said she doesn't care how far apart my contractions are, or even if what I'm feeling are contractions-- she said if I feel anything consistently to come in, be it sharp back pain, cramps etc. I was anxious last time about my water breaking in front of my students, but now I'm anxious that if my water breaks we really won't have time to get there! Just hang tight as long as you can, baby girl, in order to give us the best help we can get to ensure the safest arrival possible, okay?!

We had another wonderful shower thrown in our honor by some awesome gals from church. It was such a fun time just to fellowship together and think about your arrival. And they blessed us with some even more wonderful items that will be so good to have once you're here.

With some awesome ladies at our shower
Your ole mama turned 28 this week too. This is about where I thought I'd be when I was this age, but it is still hard to believe that I'm here and that you are so close to joining our family to make us FOUR. Your dad thought it would be awesome if I just went ahead and had you on my birthday like your Aunt Beth did with your cousin, George, but you just weren't quite ready, and that is okay.

A few more weeks? One more week? Only time will tell. My aches tell me you're getting closer, and my heart tells me it's not sure it can handle this much more love! We are so excited.

Love, Mom

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I want to always remember

I want to always remember the way it felt when she hiccuped in my belly.
And the way his embrace feels around my waist.
And sunshine. Always the sunshine.

I want to always remember a few multiplication facts
                        because I just never know when I may need to use them.

I want to alway remember the way she kneaded her bread
and how the butter melted perfectly on its crisp, golden surface.
And the way he said, "Our Father…who art in heaven….

I want to always remember that hallowed is His name.

I want to always remember the look on their faces
            when the final out was called, and State Champs became their title.
And the hugs and tears and applause and exhaustion and exhilaration.

I want to always remember the way she calls me Mommy.
And how her pudgy, dimpled hand fits just so in mine.
                 And her smell. Oh, how I want to remember that smell.

I want to always remember the taste of tea brewed in the sun.
And my mom's cinnamon rolls. And chicken salad.
                 And how she prepares them with selfless giving.

I want to always remember that moment she made me an aunt.
And her sister after her.
And their brother.
              And the beauty of the way family keeps on giving.

I want to always remember the day he said, "I like you."
Finally crashing through our silly flirtations into the land of forever.
              And the way he's never stopped humbly loving me.

I want to always remember the imperfect perfection of sisterhood.
And giggles under covers.
And bike rides until dusk, stone cold hands gripping bars in defiance of the setting sun.

I want to always remember reading books with him under the desk.
     And early morning hunting trips, groggy ears taking in his stories.
And rebounding in the broken driveway until suppertime.

I want to always remember community
          and friendships that transcend friendship.
And loving through the hurt; receiving through the not deserving.

I want to always remember what it was like to trust strangers.
And see the good in others.
                 And have boundaries bigger than my own back yard.

I want to always remember how small I am.
And to walk in others shoes, and be like that lawyer in that old, favorite book of mine.

I want to always remember how easy it is to forget
how very good this life is.

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baby bump 2: week 36

Dear baby,

Whew. These days are flying by and crawling by all at the same time. How is that possible? 

This is such a strange time for me in pregnancy. I definitely feel more physically ready than last time, because things have just been a bit more sore and uncomfortable, and yet I don't want to rush it. I still love being pregnant and knowing that you're so close to me in this intimate way. To share these nine months with you is such an amazing gift, and it will be bittersweet to see it come to an end in a few weeks. 

If you follow your sister's lead, I only have two more bump posts to go before your arrival. I know we are ready for you in very real ways, but the unknowns of getting you here are still outstretched before us. Whenever and however you decide to come, we rest knowing that the God of angel armies is always by our side.

Your dad had a bit of a stomach bug this week. Yikes. Long night for him. He doesn't really complain when he is sick [unlike your momma!], but I could tell he was pretty miserable. I felt awful for him, but I also really didn't want to get it for your sake [and mine], and I really didn't want your sister to get it. So we quarantined him a bit, and then I bleached and scrubbed and cleaned and cleaned. And I think we managed to somehow escape it! God is good! And your dad is feeling much better too! I just kept thinking, "Oh no…I'm gonna go into labor while he's sick and then what?… " But we would have managed. :) 

You are the size of a cantaloupe now! I can tell you're a little more squished up in there. You've been officially growing for 9 months now [I'll let you in on a little secret for when you have your own children: there is no 9 months about pregnancy! It is 40 weeks-- give or take-- and, if you do the math, that's more than 9 months.] It literally seems like yesterday when your dad and I were jumping for joy when we discovered you were on the way. 

I think we have everything ready to go. I still need to put your carseat base in the car, and find all my nursing gear, but other than that…bring it on! There are of course other "nesting" things that I would like to get done before you come, but may just not happen: like power washing the house and cleaning the windows and…etc. etc. :). I am certain you won't care if those don't get accomplished though. 

Soon. Soon. Soon. You'll be in my arms and I'll be smelling your sweet smell and listening to your sweet sounds and whispering sweet dreams and prayers in your tiny little ears. Stay tucked in as long as you need to though. 

Love, Mom

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another confession

Okay. I have something I feel like I need to come clean with:

I absolutely love to vacuum.

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Judge away. But seriously, it's the best. I love just about everything about it. I think, in large part, it has to do with my vacuum-- a sweet Dyson-- which I still love as much as when I first got it and wrote this post.  I was actually vacuuming the other day and thought, "How long have I had this vacuum?" And I remembered that I had purchased it in the spring of 2011. That is how much it has changed my life: I remember the exact timing of my purchase!

Before I bought our Dyson, I always had the mindset that fancy pants vacuums weren't all they are cracked up to be… but I am singing a different tune now, I suppose.

So why do I love vacuuming? Besides the fact that I have an awesome vacuum that does exactly what it's supposed to do?

-I love the monotony of it. I don't have to think about it, I just have to keep pushing it. I can let my mind wander. It's a very methodical thing that requires no method.

-I love the smell of it. I don't know about you, but I think vacuums have a smell. It is probably the smell of dirt and dust, which we all know is really dead skin [we all know that, right? I'm not breaking any new, disgusting ground for you, am I?], but there is something about it. I think this has something to do with my childhood and the power of scent: we always kept our vacuum [a very heavy KIRBY] in a little coat closet in our entryway. This coat closet was awesome, It had a tiny little window. And tons of stuff to hide behind while playing hide and seek. And it always smelled like the vacuum. And I loved it. [You won't have to ask people who know me too many questions to learn that I have a weird sense of smell, so if you go sniff your vacuum and are repulsed, I apologize.]

- I love that it takes a fairly small amount of time, but leaves me feeling like I've accomplished something and that the house is much cleaner. If I only have 15 minutes, I can easily bust out the vacuum and clean the living room, dining room, entryway, and hallway. Probably 10 minutes. Boom. Done. Clean. Beautiful.

- I love that in order to vacuum, I have to pick up the floor a bit. I'm not a huge fan of crap laying everywhere. Who is? And since I vacuum frequently, it helps me keep things off the floor. [I vacuum frequently. Probably too frequently. I read once that too much vacuuming isn't great for your carpets…but I ignore that warning. And I vacuum, sometimes 4 times a week. It's a sickness, really.]

- I love that vacuuming allows me to be okay with Blythe making messes. Or people wearing shoes into our house [remember this?]. Honestly, if someone tracks in some leave or Blythe drops a cheerio or two and it gets stepped on, I'm secretly excited I get to bust out the vacuum again.

- I love that when I finish, it always looks like I've cleaned something. There are certain cleaning jobs that make me feel better because I know something is cleaned, but vacuuming leaves those neat little lines in places and you can just tell when a carpet has been freshly cleaned.

- I love emptying out the canister when I'm done and seeing my accomplishments. This goes with the last one. I always make sure when I start a new vacuuming job that my canister is empty. That way, when I finish, I can look and see just how much dirt I picked up! It's a fun reward, no?

Now that you all think I have totally lost my mind, I will leave you with this:
I dream of one day owning either of these two pieces of bad boy cleaning machinery!

One of Dyson's sweet hand held cleaners. Dude. This would change high chair and car seat cleanings, no doubt, but would also probably inspire me to vacuum my baseboards and my couch cush and clean out my car. And WHO KNOWS what else??! Nothing would be safe.

The other product that would revolutionize my life?
One of Dyson's newest products. It's a vacuum, but look at how tiny and sleek and light this thing is? Oh and did I mention there is no cord? This could be busted out quickly for a small job I need, or I could keep it propped up in my kitchen corner to do a quick one-over under the table after meals [did I mention these vacuums can be switched from carpet to hard surface with the click of a button? Cause they totally can]. My aunt just got one of these and it's awesome.
all google images-- and this is Dyson the man. 

And there you have it. I love to vacuum. My secret is out. And I would rather have new cleaning products than diamonds? What is wrong with me?

Also, I feel like I should clarify that I am not being paid to endorse Dyson. I just love my vacuum that much.

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baby bump 2: week 35

Comparison at 23 and 35 weeks.
Oh what a difference 12 weeks [and a few Oreo balls!] can make for a pregnant lady.

I'm thinking,  "Is this the same shirt?! It can't be! I look too different."
Also, to be fair about the hair situation, I took this at about 9:30 at night. 

Dear baby,

We did it! We are in the "safe to arrive" zone!

I can sure tell you are running out of room in there. I apologize I don't have more space for you, but it's only a sign that it's nearing time to let me hold you in my arms.

Everything went very well at our appointment this week. You are for sure head down…way head down actually…we measured a little "small" and then when Dr. C checked she realized that you were further down than she originally thought. You should more than likely stay this way until it's time to deliver. Thank you. I didn't want to have to stand on my head or something to try to get you to flip! Your dad and I can't help but laugh because there is some part of you that is nearly always sticking out my right side. Your feet? Not sure. It makes carrying your sister on that hip pretty darn near impossible though! :)

I wrote your name on a couple of things this week. It definitely makes it seem more real, and gives you more of an identity for us. There are so many great names out there, but we hope you'll grow into the one we have picked for you and appreciate the meaning and story behind it.

We also pre-registered this week at the hospital! What?! We are officially in the system, they know the gist of our preferences [we had to say, "Sure!" when they asked if they could give you a pacifier, or "Of course!" when they signed off on your vaccines]. They asked how many people would be in the room during your delivery, and the plan is just your dad and me. That was our plan last time too, and little did we know it was to be our only option!

Oh my word, sweet girl, we love you so much already and we are definitely getting some ants in the pants to meet you. Obviously I'm cool with you waiting five more weeks, or so, and have a few things left I'd like to get ready, but if you surprise us now it will be okay! Your sister said she will read you some books and sing you songs when you get here, so you're in for a treat there.

We love you. So much.

Love, Mom

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Oh be careful...

Thank you all for showing my dad your support and for all of your kind words surrounding this post

The other day I was driving over to Brent's parent's. He had worked with his dad all day on a project, and Blythe and I had held down the fort at home. We were going to meet up for supper.

Blythe has always been pretty darn great in the car. She needs very little entertainment, and I think she could have cared less if we would have left her rear-facing. Other stay-at-home moms will understand this, but when Dad is gone on Saturdays, those can be pretty long days. I was happy to strap her in the car and take off when the time came because 1. Being in the car with her is pretty much like being by myself most of the time and 2. We were headed to find her dad!

So off we went. I popped in a current favorite worship CD, she happily looked out the window, and we each had a little chill time. We were getting close to our destination and I was pretty into the music. For some reason, after a long week and with the sun shining in our van, the words to worship song were really striking me. I don't know about you, but when this happens, I just gotta worship a little. I didn't even really think about it and was singing and put my palm in the hair in a bit of praise to how good my God is.

I glanced in the review mirror. What did I see? A little girl who was watching her mama oh-so-closely. Blythe's little palm was extended out in the air.

In the moment, it was more than I could take in: the goodness of my God who I couldn't help but worship, the beauty of the day, and a little girl who was watching me.

As the tears filled my eyes, I realized the significance of what was happening. It was a reminder to me. It was a reminder that I have little eyes and ears on me at all times. She may not have understood what her crazy mother was doing, waving her hands around as she drove, but she did it too. 

She will do what I do, mimicking me without thinking. She will say what I say, how I say it. One day, she will become a teenager [which I think will happen tomorrow at the rate time is moving], and she won't want to be like her mom. But she will be. Somewhere inside, she will be. And I pray that there are more moments of hands raised in praise than nagging and facebooking and gossiping. I pray that she sees me worship more often than I criticize. I pray that she sees me speak love more often than I choose to be unkind.

And I pray her mother will remember the little black-brown eyes that watch me from the backseat.

Oh be careful little eyes what you see.
Oh be careful little ears what you hear.
Oh be careful little hands what you do. 
Oh be careful little feet where you go.
Oh be careful little mouth what you say. 

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cupcakes and a two year old

I mentioned that Blythe turned two this past weekend. I didn't really feel up to doing a big shin-dig, nor did I think she really needed a big shin-dig. 

So we just had a little thing Sunday night with my side: cupcakes and ice cream, then headed to Brent's folks Monday evening with his side and his mom made a great supper and I brought cupcakes and ice cream. It was fun to watch people enjoy our sweet Blythe. 

She's so big…but still has such a small amount of hair! :)

I did make a few cupcake toppers, but that was the extent of it. I wrote a little sign and hung a picture Blythe drew. Voila. Done. :)

The entire time we sang to her she looked around and made some serious faces at us.

But boy did she know what to do with those cupcakes. And she knew the right people to ask for more.

She had a few presents to open, and this is such a fun stage because I think she would have sat and played with each thing for 30 minutes or more, but we had to keep her moving.

And her great grandpa A.J. MADE her her own rocking chair for our front porch! It matches the ones he made for Brent and me a few years ago. She LOVES it!

Oh, and we gave her a swimming suit which she immediately wanted to put on…so we let her. And then the next day? She wanted to wear it again. Somebody is ready for summer! This girl LOVES to swim!

Then it was to Brent's parents. I hope this little girl will one day understand just how lucky she is to be surrounded by family…and that she got to share her early birthdays with FIVE of her GREAT grandparents. I knew many of my GREATS as well, and cherish the pictures, videos, and limited memories I have of them. I pray she will too…or that they just go ahead and live until they are 140. Either way. 

She knew the gig this time, and soaked up the attention during her birthday song. Mainly she was ready to dig in to that cupcake.

Brent's very talented mother made her this beautiful coat out of scraps she had left from the bridesmaid dresses she made for my wedding [which looks orange in this picture but is actually coral]! She only needed to measure for the buttons! It is SO sweet and I can't wait to parade Blythe around in it let Blythe wear it!

It was a very, very happy [low key] second birthday with most of her favorite people present. 
We love this growing girl so much, and are excited to watch her learn and develop and become a big sister over the next year. 


Now, the story wouldn't be complete if I didn't warn a few parents out there:
Let me recap something for you: 
Sunday night Blythe had lots of cupcakes and ice cream because "Oh, it's not gonna hurt her!" It was her birthday… let her live a little, ya know? 

Monday around noon we headed to a little reception/banquet for my dad's retirement. Guess what? There was cake. Guess what? Blythe charmed her way onto people's laps and ate about two more pieces, give or take. 

Monday evening she begged and smiled and we celebrated some more and she ate even more cake and ice cream.

On the way home she was fussin' and I just assumed she was tired because it had been a lot. 
At two in the morning when my perfect sleeper woke up crying, I knew. I just knew. 
So Brent and I spent well over an hour giving her a bath and doing laundry in the middle of the night. It was the first time she's ever thrown up. She was totally fine after. 
Cake. Lots and lots of cake. 

Parents, don't let them tell you it's no big deal. :) Or at least don't be a dumby like me and not think, "Ohhh, 24 hours of straight cake might not be a good idea?" 

The next day she had her two year appointment and had to get shots and have blood drawn. Thumbs down. She did well though. And is totally healthy. 

And now I spend my days with a TWO year old. And I LOVE it! This is my favorite age. Challenging? Demanding? Sometimes incredibly frustrating? Yes. Yes. Yes. But I LOVE it. 

But seriously… don't let your two year old eat cake for 24 hours. 

*Also, this was my due date two years ago. Blythe was 5 days early.

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baby bump 2: week 34

Dear Baby,

34 weeks. Here we are, on that downhill slope. Generally people keep telling me that we don't look like we are this far along, which is a great compliment. The doctor last week [we saw someone besides our regular doctor] told me I'd gained enough and should stop. I think we will go with the people. ;). Speaking of weight though, I can tell you're getting bigger by the day. Since I have such a long torso, you have a lot of room to spread out, so I'm not super uncomfortable yet, but can definitely tell you're taking up more and more room. 

We celebrated your sister's second birthday. You liked the cupcakes, for sure, as you spun and twirled after I ate them. Celebrating two years of Blythe's life reminded me though of how quickly my time with you girls will pass. Before we know it we will be celebrating YOUR second year of life…and then you're third… and then high school… and then your wedding… But I guess I'm getting ahead of myself. Let's enjoy this last stretch together while you're still so close to me and we still get to share secret moments together. 

I have a friend who recently had a baby five weeks before her due date. I'm not expecting that to happen, but it makes me think. I said to your dad just today, "I'm gonna go ahead and get a list together for things we need to put in our bags." I don't think we need to pack them just yet, but being slightly prepared will make me feel better. 

I just know the weather is going to warm up before you get here. It has to! And when it does things will get green with new life and I know that I, too, will be bursting with new life and with even more anticipation! We will sit on the porch and rock and just get to know each other this spring and summer. Oh it sounds so good. 

I almost slipped and said your name when I was talking with someone about you the other day. It's becoming more and more natural to me to think, and your dad and I use it all the time when we are talking about you, but we still want to keep it a secret until your big debut! 

Downhill slope. Downhill slope. Downhill slope. Let's do this! 

Love, Mom 

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behind the uniform

There are many jobs that require uniforms. For example:

Baseball Players
You're welcome for throwing it back to the George Brett 80's era. 
But really, this is what major league baseball players go to work in. Pretty sweet gig, if you ask me. 
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Big Wigs:
Ya know, the CEOs and other abbreviated titles that require expensive suits and cuff links. 
This could be consider their work uniform. 
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 Youth Pastors:
Admit it, this is funny because this is actually the youth pastor uniform [guitar and facial not-quite-beard included]. 
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Doctors/Nurses/ Medical Personell: 
I.E. the people that get to go to work in their pajamas. Can you say it with me, "Not fair!" [except that I, essentially, go to work in my pajamas whenever I want now. And also except that they get vomited and bled on, so really I guess it's fair]. 

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In my life there has been one constant with uniforms, and it is that my dad has always worn one. 
It switched from gray to blue over the years, but it was always with shiny shoes, a gun, handcuffs, and bullet proof vest that my dad walked out the door for work. 

Because my dad has always been in law enforcement, I'm sure there are plenty of ways that I look differently at the world than others. A few examples: if in an unfamiliar location, especially at night, I take wide angles around the corners of buildings, as I've been taught you never know who may be lurking. I also have shot a variety of guns at a variety of targets. Self defense lessons often took place in our living room, and he only made my mom pass out once when showing her where pressure points were located. Seeing flashing lights on the road typically gives me a sense of security, instead of panic. I have to think in military time to know when to tell my dad to come over. 
With his brothers: Kirby, a city police officer, and Creighton, a corrections officer [yes, can you tell they are ornery?]
some of those moves I was talking about…Brent's a good man
I think most girls feel safe when their dad is around, or they know that their dad will get there quickly if they call and need him. I knew this to the nth degree. I knew if I called, my dad's lights would be blazin' and his speedometer would be, well… up there! [Let's just say he and my mom were the first to arrive at the hospital when I called to tell them Blythe had arrived so quickly!] My dad always has a gun nearby, has been trained to wrestle grown men to the ground, and has been deemed the keeper of the "flying panties" since my sister was little and he rescued her in a dream [from flying monkeys]. And don't disregard this guy's number one weapon he's developed over the years of being in public service: a silver tongue that can convince even the drunkest of people to bend to his will. 

When I would hug my dad as he left for work, the stiff bullet proof vest would be unmoving. I usually didn't think anything of it. After awhile though, and after the reality of the very real dangers of law enforcement reached us with Bob's death, that rigid plate was a reminder of the potential sacrifice my dad was making every day he headed out the door to enforce the law, yes, but to serve and protect to the utmost.  

A lot of little kids, and some older kids, are afraid of uniforms: firemen, policemen, you name it. It was never this way in our family. I know personally that I always felt a kind of kinship towards anyone in uniform; I felt like I understood them in ways others may not. I know some people have had bad experiences, or have unfortunately had to deal with the rotten egg or two that are out there and it has left a bad taste in their mouth towards law enforcement. Trust me, you're not telling our family anything new if you tell us there are some not-so-good-guys that can wear a uniform too. But luckily I've met a lot, and I can say with no hesitation that mostly it's the good guys behind the badges that serve us. My dad, obviously, being one of them. 

It's been fun to see Blythe and Kali's kids realize that Papa comes with a uniform [but more importantly a very cool flashlight to play with]. He somehow mastered the ability to carry a baby comfortably while still wearing all the necessary equipment [Blythe only tried to push the bright red emergency call button on his radio 83 times, but they managed!]. 

 This week marks the last week my dad will be in uniform. 
He is retiring. 

It will be strange to not see the patrol car in his driveway, or know he's out "fighting for the good guys" when I crawl in bed, or see him lace up his boots anymore. I will no longer hear the familiar zchick of the crackling velcro when he removes his vest. 

 But I also won't have to wonder if he's working a routine traffic stop or on a high speed chase after a guy with a known record. I won't have to worry about waking him from his naps after a night shift [I still might accidentally wake him from his naps though, let's be honest], or worry that he's falling asleep at the wheel at 3 AM. I won't worry about him being the one that has to go to some mother's door and deliver the worst news she's ever received. 
I won't have to worry about that bullet proof vest being used anymore. 

At this point in the post, I'm staring at my blinking cursor, wondering if I can really wrap up my dad's career in an adequate way. So I'll just say this: I know that my dad will keep being the man that serves and protects-- the man that seeks justice. I know he'll keep being the man that he's always been, even after he hands in that uniform that has been such a part of our lives. 
[And I know he'll still notice when people don't come to a complete stop or use their blinker or display drunken tendencies. Let's be honest.] 

It's been [mostly :)] fun being a daughter of law enforcement. 
Thanks for being one of the good guys, Dad. 
When it's time to be done, it's time to be done. And though I've enjoyed rooting for you behind the uniform, it's time to be done. And that's a good thing too. 

Happy retirement! 
I know, without a doubt, that it will truly be a happy one!
[and your retirement present will be ready for you in, oh, about 5 weeks ;)]

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