Driving Miss Ladybug

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Two days a week, we have to leave our house right around seven in the morning to beat traffic and get Ladybug to carline in time for preschool.  I'll admit that I do not enjoy getting up at the ghastly hour that I do to get her to preschool, but I imagine one way or another I would be getting up that early anyway.   It's a part of being a mom and, quite honestly, still managing to take a shower every day.  I do that, you know.  I have managed to shower pretty much every day since she was born.  I CAN happen.  Besides, the drive really isn't that bad.  Most of the time, it's downright enjoyable.

I'm this girl's chauffeur.  The one in the back is usually along for the ride.

If we weren't making that drive twice a week, Ladybug and I wouldn't be spending that time alone, save Dory, in the car together those mornings, talking about everything.  The car is a great place for kids to open up about things.  Ladybug wouldn't be able to share with me how much she loves staring out her window, watching the sun slowly rise all pink and orange in the eastern sky. There's something wonderful in hearing her call out, "The sun's coming up, Mama!  Look how beautiful it is today!  God made that!"  I'm just blessed by that.  It also doesn't miss my attention that it's ironic that the child who hates waking up in the mornings actually loves the sunrise.

I also wouldn't know how much Ladybug loves autumn and the changing colors of the leaves.  We've gotten so much joy lately, just watching for and pointing out trees with leaves lovely shades of red, orange, and yellow.  She gets so excited when she's the first to see a particularly pretty tree.  We wouldn't have that if I didn't get up a 5 am twice a week so we can drive to school together.

When we're not watching the sunrise or looking for leaves, we're listening to the local Christian radio station, KLRC, to hear music we could hear on my phone but also the traffic report, the weather, news, and just general positive commentary.  I always want to start Ladybug out each day on a positive note.  That's not always easy, considering the struggle we often have in getting her out of bed in the mornings.  However I feel that it's important that I impart a spirit of joy and of love to her before she goes out on her own without me those days.

Usually once we're off the Interstate, we switch to the iPod and listen to The Sound of Music Original Soundtrack.  Often Ladybug brings her Chewie with her, and I have heard Chewbacca singing "My Favorite Things." As we wait in carline, Dory watches from the window for squirrels and random people who'll pet her, while Ladybug is usually out of her carseat and bouncing to "The Lonely Goatherd."

So far, I love being her chauffeur.  I know that sounds crazy, and I'll probably regret saying so in five to ten years.  Right now though, it's awesome.  I never tire of discovering the awesomeness of the person who occupies the backseat of my Camry.  I loved the cute, fat baby with the spiikey blonde hair, but the sweet, silly, smart girl with the long golden hair is even better - even when she give looks like this in school pictures!  Seriously, a friend said she's the nicest kid in class.  You just can't tell here!  She definitely has my heart!

Photo credit:  Michelle Gonzalez Photography

What Back To The Future II Means To Me

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Yesterday was "Back To The Future II Day," the day Marty, Doc, and Jennifer came from 1985 to visit.  We celebrated by rewatching the classic sequel and Ladybug wore her pink Back To The Future shirt to school.  I lamented the fact that we don't have flying cars and haven't yet abolished all lawyers, but like many was rather happy men don't wear double ties.

Like everyone else, I thought back to where I was in October of 1985.  I don't really remember, but I'm fairly certain it included Kindergarten.  Of course though it was partially set in 1985, Back To The Future II wasn't released until 1989.  I don't remember the first time I saw it, but in 1990, when Back To The Future III was released, I got the two movie novelizations from either avWeekly Reader or Scholastic Books order.

I remember those books so well, especially the white paperback cover of Back To The Future II.  I was in the fifth grade that fall, and I was reading it when my Dad suddenly died of a heart attack.  That night and the days after, I have vivid memories of hiding out in the bathroom, reading and just trying to escape from the reality of what was going on all around me for any amount of time.

Just then the idea of time travel became even more appealing to me than ever before.  I would have given anything to have gone back in time just a few days, weeks, or months to when my family was still whole. I would have given anything not to be the girl everyone looked at so pityingly.  I've never done well with pity.  If I could not go back, then I would have just as eagerly gone forward to any time other than that specific point in my life.

I did the math back then and realized that in 2015 I would be 35 years old.  To a 10 year old girl, that seemed incredibly old.  Now it is 2015, and 35 doesn't seem old at all.  I'm closer now to the age my parents were at the time the movie released.  I think about all the things they thought would happen by now, and all of the things my Dad never got to see but would have loved like iPhones and iPads, DSLR cameras, and the little blond-headed girl sleeping upstairs.

At 10, I would have loved to have pulled a Marty McFly and gone into the past to change my life for what I felt was the better.  At 35, on the day after October 21, 2015, I understand that the horrible experience I was going through when I first experienced Back To The Future II is part of what has taken me to where I am now.

I don't often look back on those chaotic September days a quarter century ago, but I can look back and be thankful that a DeLorean with a flux capacitor is just a piece of really fun science fiction.  I have faith in Jeremiah 29:11:  "For I know the thoughts and plans that I have for you, says the Lord, thoughts and plans for welfare and peace and not for evil, to give you hope in your final outcome."   To me that's better than a hoverboard.

Birthdays and Rooftops

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

First of all, HOW did we go from the picture on the left to the one on the right so quickly?

I feel like I have truly stepped into my role as Miss Ladybug's chaperone to her busy social schedule this fall.  Last weekend Ladybug and I had a full itinerary attending the birthday parties of two of her friends.  The first was a simple tea party for one of her best friends, Miss E, at Miss E's house.  It was just L, Miss E, and their friends P and S.  Miss E's mom has some crazy-awesome cake-dessert baking and decorating talents, and the girls had fun doing things like decorating cupcakes and playing while we moms got a chance to chat.  It was a very nice morning and lacked so much of the chaos that can happen at big parties - not that I hate big parties.

Saturday morning we did a little running around with Bart which included him renting a pressure washer to clean our shutters, fence, and whatever he felt the need to blast with water.  When we arrived home, he got started while I tried to get a little rest before the next birthday party.  About an hour before we were set to leave, Bart asked me if I wanted to hold the ladder for him while he cleaned the second story shutters.  I had walked out earlier and took note of how everything near Bart (including Bart) was wet and of the wind the force from the pressure washer created.  I had no desire to do that to my hair right before leaving the house, so I told him to wait until the next day, when I had time.  L and I were soon leaving, and Bart was supposed to be finishing what he was doing.

L had a good time at her friend Mr. B's Mario party, even though she is afraid of heights and wouldn't get on the inflatable slide.  We enjoyed a nice evening with friends before returning home.  Bart was sitting on his recliner when we got home, and I asked how he was.  That was when he confessed to having decided to climb up on the roof while no one else was home, getting scared (because Ladybug gets her fear of heights honestly), and just sitting, all wet and cold on the roof for around forty-five minutes until a neighbor came outside, and he could ask for help.

I'm a horrible wife, but had I been the one to discover Bart, I wouldn't have helped him down until I could take several incriminating pictures of him with my good camera.  I mean, seriously... How many times do I get such a golden opportunity?  It.never.happens.

In the world of good news, Arkansas finally won a football game this weekend, so B and L were both happy campers.  OU is 4-0 going into the Red River Rivalry.  Texas isn't good, but they always show up for this game, so I imagine at some point Saturday Ladybug will be telling me that I need to stop yelling at the TV.

I think I'm going to have buy stock in Spray and Wash and OxyClean, because Ladybug can't come home from Tuesday Morning Bible Study without a thick layer of dirt covering her entire body.  It's like she and her friends are playing the pigs that the Prodigal Son had to sleep with when he ran out of money.  For some reason she gets dirtier on Tuesdays than Monday and Wednesday, when she is at school... at church.  It's baffling, but I'm thankful that we go to a church that has such a great women's ministry.  Tuesday mornings are precious to me, and Ladybug enjoys getting to play more with her friends.  It's win-win for us.  It's worth the dirt.  Just remember, we have someone who can readily play the part of Pig-Pen in You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown.  Yes, I made her take a picture.

Restless Vacation & Black Dogs

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Over the past three and a half years I have learned a great many things.  I've learned how to get most stains out of little clothes, and I've learned to Hot Dog Dance.  I've learned that Play-Doh almost always makes the world a better place, and I've learned that once you're a mom a family vacation means anything BUT rest.  I'm not saying that vacations aren't fun, but don't expect them to be restful.  I think that's why I'm reluctant to commit to taking more than just a weekend vacation with Ladybug now.

Last weekend we took a little trip to Kansas City.  We took Ladybug to a farm to ride a pony, went to Legoland, a Crayola store, and capped off the weekend with a Royals game.  It was a fun weekend even though the Royals lost.  Just about nothing makes me happier than seeing my people happy.  My house is still a mess, because I haven't been home much except today.  I'm finally starting to feel rested, but I'm very thankful that I got to spend such a great time away with my people.  It didn't hurt that we got out of town during Bikes, Blues, and BBQ either.  That is always a plus.

Doesn't she look grown up on Penny the Pony?

Our favorite part of LegoLand was the Star Wars exhibit!

My people.  They make me happy.

I will say that taking trips without a suitcase full of diapers or pull-ups as well as soppy cups or bottles was very nice.  Of course I had to trade that for the joys of taking a three-and-a-half year old to public restrooms.  1). We don't like toilets with automatic flushers.  2).  We REALLY don't like loud hand dryers.  They're scary and cause super-shy bladder.   3).  Would it cause the apocalypse if places could put a little step-stool somewhere so that moms don't have hold their kids up so they can wash their hands?  Or possibly have a few kid-height sinks?  I mean really, how hard would it be to make public restrooms more kid-friendly?  Thank goodness there's hand-sanitizer.

Today is National Black Dog Day, and I want to talk about my Black Dog, Dory Gale.  She was the dog no one wanted, the puppy dumped on the side of the road with her chocolate sister.  She was the dog who had such horrible separation anxiety that she would wet herself anytime she was left alone without Lucy.  Now, she's my car-line buddy, who is ready to leave for school before Ladybug is.  She's my cuddle bug who loves to curl up on my legs and feet.  She can't control her licker, but her kisses are awfully sweet.  She is the epitome of a good dog, man, woman, child's best friend. One of the best decisions we've ever made was to make the trip to Kansas City to adopt her almost six years ago.

There's a stigma against adopting black dogs because people fear them.  According to nationalblackdogday.com, "Black animals altogether, are the least adoptable pets in shelters because of their color. All too often, black dogs are overlooked because of many stigmas such as; the color black is evil (the same stigma that cats have), black dogs do not show up as well in photographs as muti-colored or light colored dogs and black dogs look scary and intimidating because you cannot see their facial expressions as easily, etc. They are easily overlooked when people are searching for a new dog and the first to be euthanized in overcrowded conditions."

I have been loved by four black dogs:  Dorothy Gale, my childhood dog Jetta, my "niece Apache, and my in-laws' late dog Licorice.  They all have a very specific place in my heart, just as the red girl, Lucy.  They have all been blessings in my life.  Our family wouldn't be the same without our Dory Gale.  Don't let the color of the fur scare you from an awesome friendship.  Adopt a black puppy dog!

I love my car line buddy!

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