Thursday, December 4, 2008

The Long Day: Autumn

Man autumn was a long day! Seems like we went from September to one exhausting long day and then BOOM ... winter time. October and November are just a blur. And now it's cold, even in Texas. It was 34 degrees here last night, and bundling up the girls this morning for the mad dash from the garage door to the already-warming car was a reminder that winter has arrived. So what in the world happened to fall? Or, for the sake of this blog, what in the world happened to the Smith family for the past two months?

Well, our blog posting took a hit in October, because October totally surprised us with its complexity and outright difficulty this year. Julie started back to school, and that turned out to be a very stressful situation for a little while. She's at a new school this year, and although the kids are really great, it's always a challenge to start somewhere new, especially when you're starting a month after the school year kicks off and coming off of a lengthy maternity break. So that presented a lot of challenges for our whole family. Also, Julie's new school is on the way to my office, so we now carpool. Getting both girls dressed and ready, getting ourselves ready, and getting all of us out the door in time to drop off the girls and then get Julie to her school on time has made seismic changes to our morning schedules.

On top of the school stress, there was the added stress of many new doctor visits and check-ups and therapist sessions for Berkeley. We sort of ramped up in October and November on all of that stuff but have settled back down for now. Of course, we'll ramp back up for surgery sometime in January. All of those doctor visits have to be coordinated with time off from work for either Julie or myself, so that has added some degree of scheduling stress for us. We're getting better and balancing all of that, though.

And then we also have had a few holidays/events to deal with in the past two months. Halloween was greatness. Brighton was a duck this year, and Berkeley was a chili pepper. No, we didn't do the thing where all the kids match each other somehow. Duck. Chili pepper. That was it.

We had a funeral to attend, as well. One of our very good friends from church, a wonderful lady named Bobbie, passed away after a fairly brief but difficult battle with cancer. Brighton loved Bobbie and prayed for her every day, saying, "Help Bobbie feel better." Toward the end of Bobbie's life I sat down and chatted with Brighton about death and what all it meant. Trying to explain that in a two year-old way of thinking is not so easy. I told her that Bobbie would be going to live with Jesus in Heaven and that we wouldn't see her for a long time, until we went to live with Jesus in Heaven, too. On the morning after Bobbie passed away, I pulled Brighton up and sat her in my lap and explained to her that Bobbie had died. Brighton looked at me very seriously for a few seconds and then asked, "Bobbie way better now?" I laughed, wiped a tear away and told her "Yes. Bobbie's way better now." That was one of those moments I'm sure I'll never ever forget.

Election day was a pretty good Brighton moment, too. I had explained the day before what election day was and how we get to choose who our president is. I even tried to tell her a little bit about the candidates: their names, their parties, and some basic positions on issues. I told her I liked McCain's tax plan and national security credentials a lot better but that Obama was a very dynamic leader who seemed to have a lot of momentum. I mostly was just talking at her, not really to her. When I stopped for a minute and asked her what the next day was called, I was expecting her to say "Election Day." She said "Obama." I had a feeling right then that McCain was sunk. After the results came in, and I told her that Obama was our new president, she asked if I was going to see him. "See who?" I said. "Go see Obama," she answered. I then had to dissapoint my daughter and let her know that daddy isn't on the president's guest list for any upcoming parties or events. I'm such a loser. :(

Okay, so then Thanksgiving came around. This year, I provided the turkey for the Austin, TX side of the family. Me being the gourmet cook that I am, I ordered a smoked-to-perfection turkey from Mike Anderson's BBQ here in Dallas and took it down with us for Thanksgiving. It was pretty darn good, too. Thanksgiving all around was great this year. Brighton got to play with her cousins for a few solid days, and a lot of our family got to see and hold Berkeley for the first time. The only downer at vacation this year was my Tigers getting beat by those Razorbacks. What a horrid year for LSU this has been.

Okay, so we're roughly caught up to date here. Sure, a LOT more happened in the past two months, but the gist of it is that we really just got sort of overwhelmed by our own schedules in October and are only now beginning to find a pretty good balance with all of that. And with balance comes blog postings. We should be able to update again at a semi-regular pace. I'm sure Berkeley's heart surgery with throw us into a tailspin again in late January, but we'll try to get in some stories and pictures between now and then and just cross that bridge when we get to it.