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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baby bump 2: week 33

I've gone and done it again and gotten behind. My apologies. Now let's forget about it because it will probably happen a few more times. 

Dear Baby,

Whew. Mama looks tired in this week's picture. Growing you is exhausting work, but worth it.

I think it's funny that just last week I was telling you how your movements are a little fewer and farther between but strong. Scratch that. You're moving all.the.time. now. It's funny because it's like something switched and poof! You're groovin'! Your in my ribs a lot now on my upper right side. There are a few times that it's uncomfortable, but usually it's such an unusual feeling that I can't help but kind of enjoy it.

Everything looked good at the doctor this week. You are head down and will most likely stay that way from here on out [hence why I feel so much movement in my ribs now! Your feet are busy!]. I think I have another week or two and then we go to the doctor every week. Can you believe it? That's a sure sign that you're getting close to being here.

I think your dad is getting a little tired of me constantly cleaning and preparing things for you, so if it were up to him you'd come sooner rather than later, just so that your presence in my arms would occupy me :)! But really we're just so glad you're staying strong in there and that you're still healthy and growing like you should be. Patience is one of the traits we are praying for you, so who know is you'll demonstrate that this side of delivery or not? Your sister sure didn't!

I held a newborn girl this week, and while I held her you kicked and squirmed and it made me even more excited to see your sweet face and hold you in my arms like that. We love you, baby girl. So very much already, we love you.

Love, Mom 

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