August 3, 2011

Roots - Reflections - The really big catch-up post...

I can't believe it's August already. So much has happened since May, lots of changes for our family. It feels good to have accomplished what we did, what I was not sure was possible when we started. Overall the past month feels like a big exhale of air that I had held in for many months. When Jeremy was sure he had the opportunity to move to Houston, I found it interesting that I had roots already in Dallas after only 18 months. I always knew it was probably going to be a temporary stop on our journey but I still felt a connection, a tug, when it was time to go. I think it's natural to want to plant yourself somewhere and call it home, but it's really much less about the place, the physical dwelling and much more about those you share it with. That is why I will probably always say "when we go home" when talking about visiting family.

I feel like before I talk about where we are, I have to share a little bit about where we came from the last month. So this is a bit of a catch-up post.

I am so thankful for my mom, who when I said we were moving started arranging her schedule to come and help. Dad too, for letting her go for a week, which I know isn't easy for him to do. We did some packing but took the time for a Rough Riders game mid-week.

So much fun, despite the fact that Bear started the game with a little face to concrete contact.

I love the times when I look at Ava and I can see a reflection of mom when she was little. I promised not to share the video of mom singing "I Got You Babe" along with the on-field entertainment. It was fantastic. She can remember the words to everything and used to bust into song all the time when we were kids.

Talk about time flying - where have the past 8 years gone Drewsky dude? Starting to enjoy our deeper conversations, your thoughtful questions and how excited you get when you talk about your dreams. Reminds me of my brothers and how they would describe what they had dreamed about the night before, each of them trying to outdo the other. Sometimes when I look through my camera lens I get teary eyed, when i see how fast you are growing. This was one of those moments.

Bear and his beat up nose. For the record when he stood up he was bleeding out of both his nostrils. He now randomly tilts his head back and asks, "mom, am I bleeding out of my nostrils?" It's pretty funny if you know the story, but kind of requires explanation when it happens in the check-out line at Target.

Mom, Drew and Ava on the big screen!

Ava and Bear with Daisy - the Rough Rider's mascot.

At the end of mom's week with us, the kids had the opportunity to stay with family while we transitioned from Dallas to Houston. It was a chance for them to catch up with friends and family. I am quite certain they loved every minute of it and I am so grateful for everyone who took the time to give them some roots in Kansas. I made a flying trip with mom on Friday, it was an awesome Friday night with quick visits with a lot of family and the necessary Kramer botanical garden tour.

Dad has a rock for each of the grandkids. I am only missing a photo of Si Fan Wu's rock, it always makes me pause when I see his name and think about the day when he will know about his little rock in grandpa's garden in Kansas. Dad hides them in a different place every time and the kids have a little adventure finding them.

Drew still gets into the game of looking for his name and I hope it lasts for a long time.

The Bear hiding under some plants.

Took us a little bit of hunting, to find Ava's rock. Stopped for a minute to capture this moment of motherhood at it's finest. She is glowing!

Dad has a way of very patiently pointing out the little details to the kids, warms my heart. I am sure I didn't have much love for it in my teen years but I am happy that he took the time to do that for us when we were small too.

I am quite certain he is saying something here like, "drink it in..." He is pretty famous for sticking something in your face or smashing some leaf between his fingers and saying, "smell that, can you smell it?" Makes me smile.

Dad teaching again, honeysuckle, that is one you really do have to smell...

Grandma, with Dad and Ava, discovering another treasure. Before Grandma left there were lots of hugs, tighter than ever and tears. Worst part of being where we are, hands down, the distance between us and our family. It makes the times we are together that much sweeter.

Jen came early in the morning before I left and I was so thankful to get to say goodbye, more tears. All my nieces and nephews are growing like weeds and I know it's going to be awhile before we see them all again.

I got to Dallas about 4:30 and Jeremy had finished the whole house. It was completely empty and clean.  I really couldn't believe it was done, I love that guy, he did a good job, to the point that I was frustrated there was nothing left to do. He was on a roll and just ask his mom, you don't get in the way of those Ladner boys when they are on a roll. So despite some grouchiness and road weariness on my part, we jumped back in the car and drove to Houston with the help of the Robertson's. It was a whirlwind...

Fast forward two weeks and the kids are ready to move in with either side of grandparents and not that interested in coming home. However, this mommy was so ready for hugs and kisses, I could barely stand it. We met Jeremy's mom and dad in Oklahoma City to pick up the kids and had another short but, very sweet visit with family. Let me start off by saying Oklahoma City was not previously a town I thought very much of, it was always the downhill slide of the trip to and from Dallas. The roads were bad in the winter and it always seemed as though there was some sort of construction. Upon closer inspection, my opinion has changed - it really was nice and we had such a great time. We had dinner at a Mexican restaurant in the Bricktown area and took a little late night cruise on the water.

I am pretty fortunate, this lovely woman, who happens to love my children like crazy and has patience like you can't believe, is also my husband's mom.

Jeremy ordered this gigantic burrito, he couldn't finish it and set it aside to wait for a to-go box. The waitress accidentally tossed it and when he asked her where it was, she felt so bad they made him another plate. The to-go box was the size of a lasagna pan and the next night all five of us ate it for dinner.

We strolled along the river walk for a little while and Ava was mesmerized by this place. You could hear the music from the outside.

And now she has been asking for a set of red drums. Not sure I have the patience for drums, we will have to see how long the fascination lasts.

In the morning we took a quick swim in the hotel pool.

I have always wanted to visit the memorial in Oklahoma City and so, despite the extreme heat, we drove to see the memorial site. It was extremely moving. The inscription reads - "We come here to remember those who were killed, those who survived and those changed forever. May all who leave here know the impact of violence. May this memorial offer comfort, strength, peace, hope and serenity." It reminds me to tread lightly, you really never know what someone has gone through, what has led them to the moment that they cross your path.

It is important to know the human side to events like these. The construction of the memorial is breathtaking and it gives the opportunity to reflect. There are 168 chairs representing each individual whose life was lost that day, smaller chairs are for the children.

The fences were installed after the bombing to protect what was left of the Murrah Building. People leave tokens of remembrance on the fence still.

I asked Drew if he remembered this place and he said, "I was just thinking about it, it's the last time I saw Grandma and Grandpa." So we are doing well and we are having fun, but we are missing friends and family. We are so thankful for everyone who helped in taking care of the kids, it's a lot of work to take care of three children and it's even more difficult when they are not your own.

This is our home, making some roots already.

This is daddy's work.

The rest of our days have looked pretty much like this... waiting for adult swim to be over.

More on this later.... I may or may not, have an addiction to the large Coke at McDonald's and another thing, what happens if you "Mess with Texas?" I guess that might be a little blasphemy right there so if you don't hear from me again, you know what happened.

Summer is almost over and school is almost here. Trying to wrap my head around having two children in school. I am not ready for school to start yet, having so much fun exploring with the kids and Jeremy. What do you have planned for the rest of the summer?  Where are your roots, how do you make new ones? Would love to hear from you, leave a comment below. Enjoy your week!

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