Posts tagged family

Dear Uncle Kermit


Ok, I realize that you are my niece and that that skews my judgment or could skew my judgment, probably does…a little. But, no, I’m ruthless about boring lines that I read.  Yours aren’t. Ever. Always so fresh and real and natural.  I can’t get enough of your twitters. Please don’t become self-conscious and spoil it all.  Just, be yourself, again.

Uncle Kermit

Oh, yes, and, I do love you and Jude and your man.


Dear Uncle K,

I got your email tonight, and I am surprised at  the … emotion(?) it drummed up in me. I think you hit the nail on the head for me without even knowing it. Did you know I’ve been avoiding the proverbial elephant in the room for almost two weeks now? Getting your email, I realized that I finally was ready to talk about it in blogland.

I’d like to think of myself as a fairly transparent person. In the past few years, this hasn’t been entirely true. I learned, to my detriment, to hide things, but with fairly undesirable results. Transparency just works better for me. I need to talk about things, I need to connect, I need to just let it all out and say it like it is. I talked with Simon tonight about blogging about it here, and he gave an unrestricted, quickly-uttered “yes.” And I am so glad! So let the elephant in my room be released. I’ve been talking too much about fluff lately on here anyway and it’s time to say what’s really on my mind.

Just over a year ago, things began to go downhill for Simon at work. Drastically. Since college, he has worked for a small family business, a family we’ve known since both of our respective childhoods. Upon graduation from college, he accepted a fulltime position and was quick to do very well for himself and for the company. Simon is the most loyal person I know. He is focused, disciplined. A perfectionist, nearly. And like most men, he wants to fix things. But when things went south at work, a place that he loved to be, everything changed. It was beyond his fixing and out of his control.

But it took nearly an entire year for everything to hit rock bottom. A gut-wrenching, stressful, marriage-counseling-inducing crazy year. Simon’s boss was in a terrible car wreck last July; the passenger in his car was killed, a dear family friend of theirs. It was like the final nail into a coffin: on top of a recession and other financial woes the company was enduring, it was like that one singular event sent everything else into a crazy tailspin that was seemingly impossible to come out of.

I’ve been praying for a solid year that things were going to improve or that God would give us a new direction to head in. And last week, He did. I knew that Simon was going to leave his job. I knew it for a few days before it all actually went down, and I supported him 110%. I’ve seen him more burdened than I have ever seen him in all the years I’ve known him. I’ve cried my share of tears over the stress he has been under because he has not been the same for the past year. It was a decision that needed to be made, and he did it. He went in to talk with his boss and gave his resignation, packed up his stuff, and he left. I am enormously proud of him for taking this huge leap of faith. And it is a leap. We have no solid direction as of yet as to what we are to do next.

All this is not to say that I haven’t had my many moments of panic. My first thought was, “Oh my gosh, we’re going to lose our house.” I think this was the only way I could really manifest what I was feeling about being out of a job. Let me clarify, under no circumstances are we losing our house. Our situation is not dire in that sense. We are fine. But somehow it was like that was all I could fixate on – the house. As if it were my symbol of security. My beloved house. Isn’t that silly? It’s just a house – it doesn’t love us back or save us from our sins. It’s not a loved one being eaten alive by cancer or some dreadful disease. My sweet little boy is not gone. My husband is still here with me. My world is not shattered. But somehow I couldn’t get beyond that.

On Friday, his first full day of being unemployed, I had a full-on panic attack. I had had lunch with a dear girlfriend. She asked where Jude was and I said, “At home, with Simon.” She got a look on her face, like, what is Simon doing home on a work day? And then I had to say it out loud. “He quit his job.” Whew! Hello, reality! I just said it out loud to somebody other than myself! I nearly fell out of my own chair. After lunch, I got in the car and practically hyperventilated. I got home and freaked out on Simon. I freaked out on Jude. I freaked out on myself and popped a Xanax and called my Dad while I was in the car.

“I’m panicking. I’m panicking big time. WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO NOW?!”

“Darlin,” Dad said, “why are you panicking now?”

“I…. I…. just don’t know what to think?!” I puffed into the phone. “What about our house?!?”

“Darlin, you knew that this was the best thing for him. He was being eaten alive inside. He had to leave. You’re going to be fine. He is going to be fine. God has a plan.”  (I love you, Dad. You are so wise.)

I guess this is the part where I guess we get to find out how much faith we really have. This past year in BSF, we studied about the life of Moses. Over and over again, the Israelites griped, complained, moaned, and whined about how awful their lives were in the wilderness as they made their way to the promised land. They had witnessed quite possibly the greatest miracles the world has ever seen before or since then, and yet they still didn’t trust that God had their best interest – and his ultimate glory – at heart. They were led out of slavery, oppression, and bondage, and yet they still wanted to go back to Egypt when the going got tough. Our discussion leader at BSF pointedly asked us a question: are we going to repeatedly freak out over our life’s circumstance(s) every time something seems to happen? Or are we going to enjoy a front-row seat to what God is going to do in our lives, for His glory?

Enjoy. Now there’s a powerful word. Relish. Appreciate. Savor. I can think of a bunch of other synonyms. Am I going to savor this time in our lives that God has brought us to so I can watch how much He loves us? And so I can fully contemplate that He knows the plans that He has for us, plans for good and not for evil – to give us a hope and a future? He promised this to us and I know He will provide. He keeps his promises – plain and simple.

So now we begin a new chapter. I jokingly tease Simon about how this is now our opportunity to backpack with Jude through Europe (doesn’t that just sound so great? I mean, who hasn’t wanted to do hostels with a toddler?) — I’ll blog about it, and somebody will pay me big bucks to publish my story! Genius! Or maybe we’ll open a 7-Eleven; I’ll work the thing, serving up Icees, and Simon can stay home with Jude. All the Icees we could drink. Perfection.

But in all seriousness, I am excited for him. We went away to Dallas that first weekend, just to get away and decompress, alone. On Saturday, I looked at him and asked how he was feeling. He smiled. “I feel good. I feel relieved. I feel like a burden has been lifted off of me and I can breathe.” I started to well up with tears – I feel like for the first time in over a year, I have my husband back. Sure, it hasn’t been the easiest few days; there will be ups and downs, but I feel anticipation like I haven’t felt in some time. I know that God has not left us and He will not let us down now.

So there you go. In a nutshell – quit the job, went out of town, refound ourselves, and now we’re contemplating what’s next. You had no idea that your sweet email would unload all of that, did you? 🙂

I love you, Uncle Kermit. You’re my favorite uncle; you always have been. Aunt Cheryl is another mother to me, and we love you so so much. I wish we were all there together in France, sitting out in your backyard, enjoying fruit and bread and yummy French cheese. I wish you were here to hoppity hop with Jude; you would not believe how utterly big and busy our little 21-month-old Red is.

Ok. It’s getting late, so I’m closing down this blog. Sorry it’s so long.




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4th of July

Things I want to remember:

  • Simon got off work early on Friday. Yay!
  • Perusing the wares at the dollar store to decorate the stroller with for the 4th of July parade in our neighborhood
  • Dinner on Friday night at Jo’s Pizza in Edmond with the Lopers.
  • Subsequent snowcones at Shivers with the Lopers.


  • Laughing with Ben & Matthew about silly kids’ songs in the car.
  • Sadness over our AV cable not working in the car to hook up the iPod to the DVD player to watch silly kids’ songs podcasts.
  • Jude, eating a naked snowcone in the car (aka, no sugar syrup! just ice!)

  • Getting ready for the parade in our neighborhood.
  • Enjoying the sights and 500+people who turned out for the parade.
  • Taking first place in the stroller category! We win a blue ribbon and a plastic gold medal.
  • Being one of only two entries in the stroller category! haha

  • Meeting nice people in our neighborhood.
  • Seeing all the fun kids, people, pets, horses, and rigged-up floats (Hillbilly hot tub anyone? It is Oklahoma).

  • Making the mile-long trek to the park, where ice cold water and watermelon awaited us.

  • Feeling great pride in our community and once again feeling blessed in how much we love our home.
  • Marvelous lunch with Kim, Mike, and Forrest! Yippee! Bagel Cafe for all!
  • Heading to mom and dad’s for the rest of the weekend. We took tons of food!
  • Loving on my dear mom.
  • Grilling corn on the cob.
  • Preparing my blue velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting and blueberry center.

  • Realizing that they really looked more like Smurf cakes than anything.
  • Sleepover at Mom & Dad’s with Ben & Luke Loper.
  • Driving with Simon, Jude, Dad, Ben, and Luke to watch fireworks in the rain at 9:30pm. Yes. IN THE RAIN.
  • Parking and watching the fireworks — Simon’s mom found us with her cute little doxie, Lily Belle (who was dubbed Liberty Belle for the day).
  • On the way back home, we watched a bunch of wackos set off fireworks around a giant striped tent out in the sticks. I asked Dad if he wanted to set off a firecracker for fun. He replied nonchalantly, “Nope. I love my thumbs.” And so he wants to keep ’em!  Hahaha!

  • Laughing that maybe Mom was setting off firecrackers at their house in our absence.
  • Surprising the Loper boys with a trip to Tulsa on Sunday morning.
  • Surprising Simon with a broken window in the car. Well, not broken, exactly. It refuses to roll down. This presents a problem later in the day. Dad laughs.
  • Driving through the countryside to get to the turnpike. Enjoying the view of barns and cows. (“MOOOOOOO!” says Jude when he sees a cow.”)
  • Sleeping boys in the car. Ben talks nonsense in his sleep.
  • Arrive in Jenks. Hungry boys, so we drive through Sonic. But then we realize that we can’t roll down the window.
  • We make Ben get out of the car and place our order into the speaker for us. He says it’s the first time he’s ever ordered in a drive-thru. Eric thinks this is pitiful. Simon gives Ben a script to read. Carhop gives us a dirty look when we make him come around to the other side of the car to deliver our food. Dad says later he’s sure that the carhop thought we were trying to be smart.
  • Oklahoma Aquarium! Smells like fish. Isn’t that a bad sign? Jude goes berserk for turtles and sting rays.

  • Oh, did I mention we decided that it was Talk Like a Pirate day? ARrrrrgghhh, matey! The Lopers’ white SUV is dubbed the White Whale.
  • A trip to the Whole Foods market for all. Delicious French cheese and special snacks are purchased. There will be more corn on the cob consumed this week.
  • The Shingletons and Lopers diverge paths. And we head to Carrabba’s, where we had a near-religious experience with pasta and garlic.
  • Finally, the long ride home. ::Sigh::  Does the weekend have to end? Let deep summer ensue.

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Where I’ve Been This Week

Apologies for the light posting this past week, but I’ve had my hands full! My brother Earl and sis-in-law Chrysi left for 10 days to go on an Alaskan cruise, courtesy of Mom & Dad. Thus, their three darling kiddos needed somewhere to crash! Last Friday, I went over to my folks’ house to help out. I ended up taking Amelia (age: 2) home with me on Saturday, and she stayed until Monday. I’m kicking myself that I didn’t get any pictures of her and Jude together, but really, we were just so busy with the two of them together. I give a BIG high five to ALL mothers of more-than-one. Jude seems like a piece of cake after having two the same age!

Let’s see, what else — oh, Monday. Amelia went back to Mom & Dad’s, along with her siblings, who were at the Loper house. Simon came down with a delightful case of double-whammy pink eye (in both eyes). That night, it was a birthday dinner for his mom at their house. Tuesday — Mother’s Day Out! Yay! Errands galore.

Wednesday, I went back out to Mom and Dad’s to help with the kids again. Mom and I decided to take them out to Pops in Arcadia. It was a semi-disaster, in that it was Jude’s naptime and he was mega sad, and then we had to wait 30 minutes to get a table, and at least another 30 minutes to get our food. After two hours, 5 orders of fries, 4 kids, 3 bottles of red soda, and 1 sleeping baby later, we were out the door and on the way to Noah’s piano lesson. They were all such good kids!

Thursday was Omniplex day! I met Mom & Dad and all 3 kids plus Jude out there, and we had a blast.

The gymnastics hall of fame section was definitely the fave for all the kids!

Ok, whew. I am exhausted just reliving all of this here! I’ll be back to normal posting asap!

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I’m a day late getting this one out, but I wanted to let the Dads in my life know how much I love them!To my own Dad, there is no one like you! We love you so much! Jude asks for you on a daily basis. Your wit, wisdom, and godly character define you. To my father-in-law, Keith, we love you! You are so sweet and gentle with Jude, and I know that you are one of his favorite people! And finally, to my sweet husband Simon, I love watching you with Jude. I love watching the way he lights up when you walk in the door every evening.  You are so precious to me, and I am no doubt the luckiest girl on earth. Love you, sweetheart.


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Staying in Venice

Hey everyone! I hope you had a fantastic week. We are back from our sun-and- fun-filled week in Los Angeles. First of all, I want to say how thankful I am to my husband Simon for making our little getaway possible. It’s only because he works so hard that we get to enjoy the fruits of his labor, both here at home and when traveling. Thanks, honey!

Simon found us these really cute little vacation apartment rentals, the Venice Paloma Suites. Having not been terribly familiar with Venice from my Pepperdine days, I thought ok, let’s do something totally different than our norm. We had also considered staying at the Venice Beach Eco-Cottages, so we made sure to do a drive-by when we were there. For the record, they are just as precious in real life as they are in the photos. More on that later.

our street

our "street"

Like the eco-cottages, the Paloma was also just as perfect in real life as it was in the photos. No bad surprises here. Remarkably well-designed for a small space, we were pleased as punch with the entire arrangement. It was perfectly decorated and very spacious. I really have no complaint at all with the experience and I would stay there again. The beds were pretty comfy (memory foam mattresses!), the kitchen was well-appointed, and there were TVs in each room. The location was close to the beach, (one block!) and it was very quiet. Oh, no washer & dryer, but apparently there was one in the building? Never explored that option.

The only downside is that there is no on-site parking. You take a five-minute walk to an enclosed garage in a new-construction apartment building. Kind of a pain.

To be honest, the neighborhood was on the fringe of sketchiness. In other words, I wouldn’t have felt super comfortable walking around the ‘hood by myself at ten o’clock at night. Did we feel unsafe in our apartment? Never. It was totally private, and we had to have a key to even get in the gate. However, just walking a few blocks to the north, we were in an adorable part of town with lots of shops and cafes to choose from. In fact, one morning, Jude and I walked from our house all the way up to Santa Monica’s 3rd Street promenade, a distance of about 2 miles. More on that later, too.Isn’t this fun? In the hallway, there was a long row of hooks to hang your stuff on. Surprisingly practical and extremely useful, especially since there was minimal closet space. Hmm… good idea!

All in all, we were totally pleased with our Venice experience. The Paloma was the perfect spot for our family, with lots of room for Jude to run around, and with bedrooms for him and for us. The entire time, I kept thinking, “We would have been miserable in a tiny hotel room.”  Alternately, if we had stayed in the eco-cottages, it would’ve been a totally different experience and would not have had enough room for all 3 of us. (side note: It was in a neighborhood, much further from the beach, but very well-designed and close to Abbott-Kinney, the hipster street (also with lots of fun shops and cafes). This neighborhood did not feel iffy at all, and had lots of beautiful landscaping, cute houses, etc. So. Something to keep in mind for your next getaway, no?)

All in all, I’m almost sad to be home! It was such a perfect little vacation for us, and I wish I was back on Paloma Court, laying out on the chaises longues and enjoying the (non-humid) sunshine. ::sigh::  Oh well, we’ll be back.

Lots more LA stuff to come!

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Memorial Day Weekend

Highlights I want to remember:

  • Being in my swimsuit all weekend long and feeling just slightly tan.
  • Lounging in the languid, warm pool (just like in Temecula!)
  • Jude, discovering the sprinklers for the first time and opening his mouth wide to taste the water
  • Sitting with my mom in the piano room, watching her hold J and feed him cinnamon rolls
  • Baby cardinals in their nest just outside the window
  • Simon and Eric’s bike ride up to POPS in Arcadia (39 miles round trip! Go S!)
  • Lunch at the Spicy Pickle in Edmond, followed up with OrangeTree fro yo
  • Iced tea and limeade punch. Not together, though.
  • Simon’s yummmmm hamburgers and delicious cream cheese cake w/ fruit filling
  • Jude’s 2nd blowout while only in his 2nd time swimming in the pool. And subsequent hose-down in the grass. 
  • Cousins sleeping all together on pallets at Grandmother & Grandaddy’s
  • Queso.
  • Sudden rain storms out of nowhere, and everybody sprinting from the pool for their towels. Thunder and lightning quickly follow, confirming our need to exit the pool w/ haste.
  • The mass consumption of popsicles by the whole clan while bobbing in the pool on Monday. 
  • This conversation overheard between Amy & Matthew about consumption of popsicles. “How many have you had, Matthew?”  “Oh, Mom, only six so far.”  !!!  🙂

I hope your Memorial Day weekend was fun and relaxing! Summer, we welcome you!


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Untitled Update

Ok, so I still haven’t heard from the winner of my first giveaway. If I don’t hear from her by Wednesday, I’m going to draw another name! So. Keep checking back, ok?

I hope your Mother’s Day weekend was great! Ours was delightful.  Friday night was spent at Mom & Dad’s (pancakes for dinner!). While Simon ran errands on Saturday morning, Jude & I enjoyed a leisurely breakfast and looked at books and magazines. It was good just to hang out with my folks. I know they’re probably a little bit stir crazy from being stuck at home while my mom recuperates. Mom is doing better. She is still on oxygen, but has gotten good reports from the doctors. There is no cancer, and for that we are supremely thankful. 

I had a baby shower to go to in Yukon (aka, the boonies — well, from where Mom & Dad live, at least!), and somehow in my mind I had convinced myself that the shower was at noon. Um, wrong. After hauling it to Yukon, finding the house where the shower was at, and then realizing that there were no cars there, I placed a call to a friend and casually inquired as to the time of the shower. Um, yeah. One o’clock. Oooookay. So what to do when stuck in Yukon? Drive around and explore! Yukon’s actually a pretty cute little town. The old downtown has some fun little shops, and I went to Sorella Due, one of the cutest little kids’ boutiques in the area. 

Saturday night, Simon made me the most amazing dinner he has ever cooked. I think that he has missed his calling as a chef, I really do. He made this most amazing filet mignon, crusted in peppercorns, a la the Barefoot Contessa. It was amazing. And. AND! He made me a two-layer yellow butter cake w/ chocolate frosting. Divine. He is so amazing.

As I ironed a tiny little boy’s button-down shirt on Sunday morning, I thought to myself, “How marvelous that I get to do this.” My petit is so precious. Yet somehow when we picked him up from the church nursery after the service, he was shoe- and pants-less. There was an … ahem, accident. So the poor kid had to make his way through church sans pants. Only at this age, my dear, only at this age.

Mother’s Day lunch was at Mom & Dad’s. It was so good for all of us to be together. Mom looks really good and seems like she’s feeling better. I love you, Mom.

Today we hit the pediatrician’s office for J’s 18-month checkup. He is 32 inches high; 24.5 pounds heavy. This puts him in the 50th and 30th percentiles, respectively. These are the highest percentiles he’s ever been! Go Jude go!

And tomorrow I will go in for my second Remicade treatment. We jokingly call it my herbal infusion, as if I should be receiving some kind of special spa treatment. In a way, I look forward to it. It’s two hours, child-free, where I can read or sleep or whatever. So in a way, it is like a spa treatment. A really expensive spa treatment that involves needles. Ahem.

I hope your mother’s day was fab! And like I said, check back in to see about the giveaway. I’m sending SOMEBODY a Venice print, darn it!

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