Every now and then, a rather spooky mask or costume caught our eye, and I wondered what a young, impressionable baby brains thinks when beholding such spectacles!
There were about 4 babies, two of whom were within a month or two of Linc. Below is MaryAnne and CJ's Addison, and she is a beauty if I ever saw one. Even though she didn't feel too peppy due to teething, she shone anyway.
Wendy is in the 75% in height, and always has been, and standing next to these two girls, who are within a week of her age-wise, you can see those stats we get at the doc's office are true! She's not even standing erect. Why, oh why, am I going to be a runt compared to my kids? Gonna have to rear them to respect!
Wendy is a funny and unusual child. At a super young age, she let me paint her finger and toe nails and held them perfectly still for me and then cautiously walked around on her heels with toes up in the air and fingers splayed, for a long time, until I told her it was okay to touch things. Last night, she loved my gluing these falsies onto her kitten doe-eyes. She was awesome! I LOVE this pic best!
In some ways, she is so agreeable, but in other ways, woah buddy. Get ready for a struggle.
Before leaving for MaryAnne and CJ's James' mom took Wendy around her neighborhood. Her neighbors love them so much, they spoiled Wendy with actual toys when she trick-or-treated. She scored a cute little doll and a Disney Princess activity set. James' folks have always been there for their neighbors, are like a family, and I am proud of them for their reputation throughout the town. And, James' mom is truly one of the most beautiful women I've ever known, both inside and out. I am blessed to have married into his family.
Okay, so all that was last night. Earlier in the day, yesterday, James and I were about an hour or so from checking out of our hotel, Drury Plaza, which used to be a bank building! We had wanted to hot-tub the night before, but they closed it at 10! Probably cuz it's on the roof and they don't want to risk drunkards plummeting to their deaths! So, I quickly put on my "mom bathing suit," which I bought for the occasion, and a soakin' we went.
The evening we arrived, they had a complimentary (up to six drinks for the two of us) free bar and open buffet. There were some amazing families visiting the hotel for the Christian Film Festival. One was a family of farmers, Fritz Farms, and this man's children, five and one on the way, were all so well-behaved, including his twin 1.5-year-old boys. I was so amazed, I had to ask him for their secret. He actually came to our table, squatted at our eye level and poured out such wonderful wisdom and Godly advice, he definitely left a mark on me that I am thankful for. I'd told him that for us, parenthood is humbling, and we're struggling with Wendy's strong will, and he said so much that I am going to remember as I work with her. Once we get into a home, and have a dining table again, we'll eat dinner as a family and will read a chapter of Proverbs, led by James, every night. We'll ask Wendy what day of the month it is, and if it's the 15th, we'll read the 15th chapter and discuss it over dinner. We'll pray and eat as a family. Every night. We'll talk about the day, learn from each other and grow together, with Christ at the center of our family, as He always has been, but more prominently and more consistently. He also said, "We are responsible to our children, but not for them." In other words, their salvation is between them and the Lord. We owe it to them to do our best by them, and to pray for them, but they then either respond to the call, or don't. He said that when we entrust our children to someone else's care, someone whom we trust, that we should trust them enough to allow them to spank when it is necessary. A young, disobedient child's will has to be broken, as our will is broken in order to yield to the Holy Spirit, to the will of God, our Heavenly Father. That after discipline, not punishment, but discipline with Godly control, we hold our children, look them in the eye and talk to them in a serious but calm and loving way and explain to them why we discipline them, and that we love them, as Christ loves us all but disciplines us as well. I agree with that. If we hate our kids, we don't discipline them. Like if we harden our hearts to God, and refuse His gift of reformation and eternal life, we are loosed to pursue our own destruction as He lets us go. Offensive to the rest of the world, but true nonetheless. He said so many other things that amazed me. It was simple, but so true. Take having children, for example. What does our culture encourage? We cut off our blessings and apply for curses. We prevent having more children, as we see them as a drain, and apply for loans for things, which become debt, and enslave us. Children are a blessing. Debt is a curse. He gave James his information, and I know we'll likely never live that lifestyle to the fullest, as far as moving to Indiana, starting a farm, home-schooling, having as many blessings as God gives us, dressing as they do, etc, but I will tell you one thing. I ADMIRE, I SO ADMIRE, that life. And I know it pleases God, and I love people who die to self, in this way, and seek after the ultra-conservative, by the book, life in Christ. So pure. So courageous. God bless this family and others like it. Sigh, I have been praying that God will make our family more like the family that does it 100%. That we can cut off the sin in our lives, one by one, acquire more and more Godly practices, as a family, but remain relevant in society so that we can influence more lost souls in mainstream America. Can't have a foot in the Word and one in the world, but like a pastor's family, I want ours to walk with Jesus but walk alongside the rest of the world. I hope we can rear our kids to cope with the fall as they see it everyday, and grow them up to resist those tangible temptations and be a light unto the world. In other words, I'm praying for a balance that works for our family, in Christ. I also pray to continue to be teachable, to learn until the day I die. I could say so very much more about this aspiration, but time to move on....The hotel is very "gold." Lots of detail in the craftsmanship of the ceiling, stained glass, etc. I wish they still made 'em like they used to!
I felt cozy being on an adventure, just me and my man. James had a great time knowing there was nothing he had to do, that this was just for fun.
My favorite drinky-poo is a Bloody Mary. One thing we're going to do, that we commit to as a couple, is refrain from drinking any alcohol for a time. To cleanse and to think it over. I know Jesus turned the water into wine for the wedding celebration, so I know it's a gift, but in moderation. And, if it causes one to over-indulge or behave foolishly or recklessly, it is sin. So, going to cut it out altogether for a time. I'm trying to lose weight anyway, and wine makes me HUN-GRY! After cocktails, we walked the River Walk and ate at the Rain Forest Cafe. We went dancing and saw some hilarious costumes.
Moving back in time a little bit, we enjoyed the town of Gruene for the afternoon before driving into San Antonio for the night. This is the oldest continuous-use dance hall in Texas. It was also one of the few structures built just for dancing. George Strait, among many others, performed here long before becoming famous.
And what is a trip without some shopping? We got Wendy her first sterling silver ring, a dolphin, which she's wearing now, a fun antique "thing" for my mom's remodeled bathroom, and two jars of salsa for James' folks.
Okay, so one of the gift shops had some BIZARRE and hilarious merchandise! Doesn't everyone need a spare pair of squirrel skivvies?
In the midst of shopping, we ate at the Tea Room or House, as it might be called, and listened to an outdoor performer, whose voice was quite calming. The weather could not have been more perfect!
Before putting on the mid-day feed bag. Ha ha!
Moving back further, before leaving for Grandma and Grandpa's, James and I tried out a new babysitter! One of the things that we needed to do was find someone, try her out, and have her on file for emergencies, or emergency-dates, which are sometimes just as urgent, as we moms and dads of young kids know! Wendy, still in her costume from school, was a crazy girl, so excited to meet her new sitter!
And I am one of those note-writing moms.Linc has, maybe 8 teeth, just about, he's huge, he's gonna be 1 before I know it. So, as of about 3 days ago, I finished weening him. I nursed him 10 months, I enjoyed it deeply, and it hurts ME to close that precious, cozy chapter, but I know I'll have to stop at some point soon, so I decided to do it in time for our anniversary weekend. And, I timed it well because I wasn't once uncomfortable. James took this pic as a milestone. I credit James and his mom for teaching Linc how to take a bottle about a week or so ago. Before that, he didn't know how to suck one, forget a sippy cup or something!, and he was MAD and wouldn't try! I removed myself from the situation, he had no choice, they worked with him lovingly and patiently, and now he can take a bottle, and drink from a straw! WHOOP! I am not going to lie. I miss nursing already. I know I could still grab him out of his crib and he'd still know what to do, and I could get it going again, but I won't. I don't want to feel co-dependent or something, and he's growing up. But, I'll also tell you this. James and I talked about our family during our weekend, hey, isn't that what parents wind up doing on their dates anyway?, and we are not yet ready to close the door to a larger family in a final way. Our hearts are open, and we'll wait a couple-few years, focus on the two blessings we have, see how we, as parents, and as the couple that we are, evolve, and just see. We think we're PROBABLY done, and we think we might really realize it at that later point in time, you know, knowing us, our lack of tolerance for chaos, my serious health problems, the post partum suffering, sleep-deprivation, cost of kids and their college, etc, but we decided not to decide now. We'll leave some time for God to make it clear, one way or the other. And, there are more reasons to stop, some probably pleasing to God, too, so what's left to resolve are my feelings and desires at the moment, which change. Ha ha. Lots of love to all of you! Love getting the Halloween pics of your kids in my in-box, so keep 'em comin'! On a random note, my bro thinks I'm better a blonde. And my other bro thinks the shalacked look is, well, shalacked, so I'm going to let my hair rest a while and then go back to my "roots," which, as it turns out, are now lighter than my "natural" dye-job. Oh, well. And, my diet starts today. I'm writing that here because I'm not sure where my calendar is and I need to remember that it starts today. Officially. Isn't that an exciting alert? I want to lose 15 so that I can wear my old wardrobe.