Monday, February 21, 2011

Naomi and Payton

We've got two new babes! Well, not MY babies, but my brand-new darling nieces breathed their first breaths just a few days ago. My little brother Chris and his wife Crystal are now Daddy and Mommy to (nearly) two-year-old Joy Taylor and TWO NEW BABY GIRLS! We didn't know the sex of the twins, so what a fun surprise to welcome these beautiful girls into our family.
Naomi Evelyn James - 6:21pm, 18.5 inches, 4lbs, 15 ounces
Payton Amber James - born 6:31pm, 18.5 inches, 5lbs, 1 ounce

A few interesting tidbits...
- Naomi and Payton get to grow up in Bozeman, Montana. How fun is that? We're surrounded by hiking and snowboarding cousins!
- Crystal gave birth to these two naturally - her body worked and the twins cooperated - and she's got my full respect (natural birth or not)
- Naomi and Payton were born at nearly 5 lbs each, fully healthy.

Chris is still recovering from shoulder surgery, so they're juggling him still wearing a sling, caring for twenty-two month-old Joy Taylor, and these brand-new babes. Even so, Chris remains upbeat and is in awe of Naomi and Payton. He said that no matter how they lay them down, the girls end up snuggled together nose-to-nose.

Daboo was so excited she put a spray of pink balloons over her front door, along with an email announcing her granddaughters' birth to her neighbors. Among the congratulatory replies, one neighbor wrote back, "I see a bigger golf cart in your future."

Uncle Trey with five of the twelve cousins last fall
These babes have no idea how good they've got it with Chris and Crystal. What a fun, easy, loving home they're born into. Praising the Lord for His Good Gifts - needless to say, I'm a proud auntie (and proud sister!)
Chris, Crystal and big sis Joy Taylor
And for the record - here are our twins who like to stay nose-to-nose!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Eleven and Counting

Happy eleventh birthday, my creative, courageous, fun-loving boy.

Branson, you continue to teach me that I need to be teachable, that I don't have you figured out. Just when I think I know you or anticipate your next move, you surprise me. I want to keep learning you.

As you turn eleven, here are just a few things I hope to remember: 

- You've done it. You've beat me in arm wrestling. Up until the last year or so I could hold my own against you. No more. You're the victor, fair and square. Try to remember HUMBLE HEART.
- You're a writer. I learned this last year getting to teach you at home. Your great Granny was a wordsmith, a poet, an exquisite writer. As is your Cappy. And your mommy makes some attempts. Where writing's concerned, I owe more to my genes than a college degree. You too have that gift. And I didn't know it until last year. You keep consistent word tense, you have a gift for description and character development, and you can simply tell when things sound good. And that dramatic imagination of yours doesn't hurt!
- You're a hard worker. You stick with things, whether it's staining a bench or finishing a section of Wordly Wise or wiping down the kitchen counter after clearing dishes. Even when it's something you don't want to do, you'll finish the task thoroughly. Most of the time.
- Even when you HATE raking leaves, you are gratified through hard work (22 bags and counting)
- You jump into tasks and projects head-first, not worrying with perfection. Even when you don't want to do it, you are fantastic about just "doing the worst first."
- Practical joker. Can you EVER go upstairs for bed without messing with Hud? Nothing holds more intrigue than wrapping houses, ice cream that smells funny, and whoopie cushions.
- You always, always want to be in the know. When? Where? Why? Who? What? As Daddy wrote on last year's Valentine, the Great Inquisitor. 
- Leadership. You are amazing with building into younger children, and you seem to have a lot of opportunities for spending time with younger boys especially, and making them feel significant. 
- You are crazy creative. With problem solving, organization, lyrics and songs, artwork, even relational strategies and thinking through what to communicate with people. You are able to come up with creative solutions and options almost effortlessly.
- You have matured in the last couple of years tremendously, and aren't near as concerned about what others think. Makes me trust your decision making more to see you thinking independently.
- One of your best qualities - valuing others. Like your Daddy, you are genuinely interested in others, and ask a zillion questions. I love that.

Daddy and I are both proud to be your parents, to get to live in the same home as you. Anytime I'm  meeting someone new or someone I haven't seen in awhile, I'm looking around for you to make sure I get to be associated with you. Keep making us look good! And that prayer I pray over you every  night is heartfelt - thank you Lord for letting me be Branson's mom.
Love you, B. Happy happy eleventh!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentines

Happy Valentines Day.
It's a rather quiet morning around the Wilson home. Hudson is home sick from school, reading here on the sofa with me as I type, both of us entertained by our new puppies Cross and Ruby as they tumble across the carpet and then come to rest in a tangled, furry ball.
This special holiday is made a tiny bittersweet for me in that we didn't get our annual family Valentine  in the mail. So here I am, wishing our friends and loved ones an electronic greeting.
Oh well.
It's not the paper-in-your-hand greeting, but I hope it conveys our love and appreciation. This Valentine's day finds us a grateful household. Grateful for deep relationships with our parents and brothers and sisters and nieces and nephews and family. Grateful for friendships, some of which span several decades now. Grateful for our community and school and neighborhood, and for a lovely, comfortable home. And even more, for the inhabitants of our home.
As I'm learning, gratitude is a practice, a learned habit. And somehow even in the midst of all of these gifts, I'm still having to learn, to practice. More than any person or position or material thing, I find that the only thing that truly satisfies me is the nearness of Jesus. So especially today, on this day that symbolizes love, I pray that you and yours experience the nearness of our Savior. May He dwell (and overflow) our hearts and homes.
Happy Valentines 2011!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Valtrex and Vicadin

I thought it was a bug bite.
That little red, quarter-size spot on my temple. It was tender to the touch, but looked like a reaction to some sort of bite. So two weeks ago Thursday, I spent the following weekend applying benadryl ever-so-lightly, hoping the thing would go away.
It didn't. And by last Monday, when it hurt a little more and I realized I'd been taking Advil around the clock for about four days straight, accompanied by a bit of chills and fever and nausea, I was convinced it was a spider bite. Something mean and nasty. I even called the executive housekeeper of the hotel where Corbin and I were staying when I first noticed the spot, to see if he had any idea what kind of spider it might have been. As I guessed, he responded with, "Well, just about everything is out here, Ma'am."
I ended up in an emergency clinic last Monday night and was given a heavy dose of antibiotics and ibuprofin. By that time we all concluded that it was simply infected, thus the systemic reactions. But in talking with one of his doctors Tues morning, Corbin called me and said that his doc was convinced it was shingles.
Electronic messages just don't replace
Umm, excuse me?
I'm young and healthy and not terribly stressed out.
Besides, I really didn't even know what shingles was. 
I promptly got my antivirus meds and looked it up on WebMD. Don't do that. Don't ever look up a virus or disease on the internet if you want to stay sane and calm. I had my funeral planned for about a month out. Either that or the psychiatric hospital for when my brain started shutting down. 
Sweetness leads to healing
But seriously, internet pictures and reports aside, I was beginning to get a little nervous. First of all, shingles is a bit painful. Second, it was on my face, and it was getting worse - that red spot was now a scabbed-over sore, and red blotches stretched across my cheek and face. Worst of all, my left eye was swollen and pretty painful. 
Daboo came to the rescue and drove me from doctor to doctor - I saw my primary physician, who sent me straight to a retinal specialist. Evidently my eye and vision were in question... and from the pain I felt, I believed it. And after several rounds of eye drops and the brightest, most brilliant (and excruciating) light ever put in my eye, the opthamologist (who was precious to squeeze me into his very full schedule) declared it clear.  
Mom and I celebrated with big diet cokes.  
A little bit of Heaven
All that to say, I've spent the last five days or so, for the most part, in bed. I have a renewed appreciation for health, and for those who struggle with chronic pain. Oh my gosh. And in the meantime, it's made me grateful:

- A mom who stops everything to drive her adult daughter around to doctors offices and pharmacies... and Sonic.
 - Valtrex and Viacdin, no kidding. And gabapentin. And antibiotics.
- Tamiflu for the rest of my family who have been down with fevers this weekend (!)
- A pizza delivery straight from Montana
- Mama and Papa coming to Fort Worth on the exact day I was diagnosed - only the Lord could plan that (even if Mama is down with a yucky fever now, no doubt caught from Essie's lavish kisses)
Buffalo meat loaf  (YUM!)
- Food. Even when I told people no, they insisted. And now with all my back-up gone - Mama sick and Daboo leaving town to take care of Crystal and Joy Taylor in Montana - I still have sweet friends offering to bring us dinner. 
- One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp.  I'm in the middle of it right now, but it's lovely, and what a sweet reminder of gratitude and thankfulness. Even when it doesn't come naturally.

I'm up and around, but still have enough of a headache to keep me taking it slowly. Hope this doesn't come across as a "poor me" post, but rather, "I'm so stinking shocked at how shingles can stop me in my tracks." Not slow down, but stop. Whew!
From Barefoot Kontessa's kitchen
By the way, my kids have no idea I've been sick. They simply don't perceive it. I can come down the stairs, cold washrag pressed to my temple, still in pajamas at 4:00 pm, hair tousled, face swollen and bruised, dark circles under my eyes, and they look at me and ask, "Hey mom - what's for dinner?"
Love that their world keeps right on spinning...

Just makes you happy inside