Thursday, December 31, 2009

Under the Arch

David and are are in Saint Louis this week for a work related trip. We've been pretty tired on our off hours but have enjoyed taking a little time to explore a new city.

The view from our hotel overlooks my favorite St. Louis monument - the Arch. Our plan was to get up early this morning and go up to the top, but sleep won over adventuring.

Yesterday we woke to a wonderfully snowy city. Not too much to shut things down...but just enough to enjoy in the winter cold! I love snow.

One of our favorite parts of the week - a chance for a laid back morning in a cool coffee shop by Washington University with David's sister Lisa and her hubby Brad. After time together in the holiday flurry, it was good to have a few hours to just sit and chat.

After a New Year's celebration tonight, we'll head back to our long abandoned homestead tomorrow. I will be glad to settle in again in our home sweet home.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Tis the Season

Life's a bit too busy these days for much blogging...but I wanted to put up a couple of Christmas pics from our time in Memphis with family.

Emma came wearing a dress that made her appear a tiny "Mrs. Claus" with her rosy cheeks and sweet little voice.

Nan Nan and Pop Pop with their adorable grandchildren. When I told Sam at dinner that he'd have a new little cousin in May who was growing in my stomach even now, he asked, in all seriousness, "Do you hear him crying in there sometimes?"

A rousing game of candy land with the Dawkins nephews before a delicious Christmas dinner.

A quick picture with "Grammar" at the end of the night...hence the slightly squinty eyes?

My favorite part of the celebrations? Once more my sister, David and I made the trek to the midnight Christmas Eve service at a local church. It is a newer tradition that we've adopted in the past few years. Each year at about 10pm I almost change my mind...but every year we press on and make the trek to the candlelit service. It's always refreshingly refocusing and a wonderful way to watch the clock turn to Christmas Day.

Twas a merry one.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

The Star in the East

I wanted to share an excerpt from Dr. Albert Mohler's blog that I found a helpful reminder this week as we celebrate the birth of the Christ child:

....As we celebrate Christmas and contemplate the Christmas story, we must be very careful not to begin the story in Bethlehem, or even in Nazareth, where Mary was confronted by Gabriel with the message that she would be the mother of the Messiah.

We must not even begin with Moses and the prophets, and with the expectation of the coming Son of Man, the promised Suffering Servant, and the heralded Davidic Messiah. We must begin before the world was created and before humanity was formed, much less fallen.

Why is this so important? Put simply, if we get the Christmas story wrong, we get the Gospel wrong. Told carelessly, the Christmas story sounds like God's "Plan B." In other words, we can make the Christmas story sound like God turning to a new plan, rather than fulfilling all that he had promised. We must be very careful to tell the Christmas story in such a way that we make the gospel clear.

Christmas is not God's second plan. Before he created the world, God determined to save sinners through the blood of his own Son. The grand narrative of the Bible points to this essential truth -- God determined to bring glory to himself through the salvation of a people redeemed and purchased by his own Son, the Christ. Bethlehem and Calvary were essential parts of God's plan from the beginning, before the cosmos was brought into being as the Son obeyed the will of the Father in creation.

The Christmas story does not begin in Bethlehem, but we appropriately look to Bethlehem as the scene of the most decisive event in human history -- the incarnation of the Son of God. Even as we turn our attention to Bethlehem, we must remember that the story of our salvation does not begin there. That story begins in the eternal purpose of God.

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God." That is where the Christmas story begins, and John takes us right to the essence of what happened in Bethlehem: "And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth." [John 1:14]

To read the full post, visit

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Thank You, Mr. Postman

Laura's lesson for the day.

Hubs and I will be gone for quite a while over the holidays and hated to bother our neighbors with a mail pick up request during Christmas. We leave tomorrow and I still hadn't figured out what would be the best thing to do. I thought I might have to go down to the main post office...and stand in a long line amidst all the last minute Christmas put a hold on our service. Today I decided to take a peek at the Postal Service website and discovered that they do indeed have an online form. It took me only a minute to complete it, gave me a confirmation number, and let me know they'll deliver our mail the day we arrive back home.

Mail dilemma solved.

Monday, December 21, 2009

A few of my favorite things...

Snow. I love snow.

Admittedly, it was only a light dusting, but I was absolutely delighted to wake up and find that on this Monday morning of Christmas week...there was a little white fluff on the ground.

I took a picture of this bench because it looked a little "fuller" than some other spots.

I love to have a poinsettia in our yellow kitchen at this time of year. When we first moved to Louisville (two years ago this January!), to my mom's dismay, I lugged a leftover Christmas poinsettia in the car with us. The leaves tickled her neck the entire time. I couldn't give it up though. For those who know my luck with plants, you'll understand that any plant that makes it through 2 months in my house has my utmost respect and affection. Poinsettias are sturdy, and that's one of the reasons I love them. This picture is of one I bought before Thanksgiving to add a little Christmas cheer. I've forgotten to water until this weekend. But does it look mopey? Of course not. Poinsettias have a healthy constitution and flourish in neglected environments. We're friends.

A few months ago at a craft fair, a friend was selling little aprons...especially for tiny girls. Of course, I couldn't help but think of those little Boeving sweeties and their play kitchen set. I decided to try my hand at it this weekend and presented them with the aprons as a Christmas gift. I love the way they turned out. And the girls immediately put them on and served me "tea"! (Ok. So what if 5 minutes was all over:) Definitely a new found favorite gift for little girls!

Merry Week-of-Christmas!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Keyara and The Nutcracker

Last night I took Keyara to see The Nutcracker at The Kentucky Center with tickets compliments of Brown-Foreman and BBBS. Every time I take Keyara downtown, I get lost. Every. Single. Time. I'm pretty sure she wonders if I know how to drive. Then, on the way home, ole GPS directed us back to her house using one way streets that were going the opposite direction. Eventually, we made it back to her house. At least we didn't end up across the Ohio River in Indiana this time.

As for The Nutcracker - I enjoyed it far more than I'd anticipated. I love the theatre but admit that, generally speaking, opera and ballet just aren't my thing. We managed to find front row seats and peered into the orchestra pit looking for the flute...which Keyara plays in the band at school, if you'll recall. Our seats were at the perfect angle for watching the happenings back stage as well. Though we were perfectly intrigued by all the beauty right in front of us.

On the way home, I confessed to Keyara that I'd really like one of those tutus that stick straight out. How on earth do they use enough tulle for that to happen? I am tempted to try to make one just to see how it's done. For some reason, she never really said that she wanted a tutu too. She seemed most intrigued by the Russian dancers and the "snow" that we discovered was actually created by a soap sud machine.

I thought that I might manage to have an amazing pregnancy dream about the Sugar Plum Fairy last night as a result of the performance. Instead, I dreamed that one of my colleagues caught a rare lion-like hybrid for the zoo.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Bat Drama.

Last night I didn’t make it home until well after 6:30. David was already on his way to watch a friend lay in his junior high basketball game. When our paths finally crossed, I was in the kitchen eating protein (which David looked upon with a favorable eye). We chatted about the day. He told a few stories from his class. Our topics were random…but in natural progression…when suddenly I found that David was giving me a brief history and lesson on bats. Bats - the ones that fly. The ones I hate. The ones that sometimes make their way into our neighbor’s 3rd floor apartment…where I would live in fear. In my confusion, it took me a minute to catch up with the conversation. He was explaining that bats use sound waves to detect objects. When around bats it is best to move slowly or stand still. Panicked, quick movements are the worst reaction. I stopped him mid-sentence.

“David, why are you talking to me about bats. Is there a bat in our house?”

“Sweetie, I was just giving you a tip I thought about today. You know. No need to panic if you do happen to see a bat.”

“Is there a bat nest in the tree outside our door?”

“Laura. You’re over reacting. I was just talking about bats.”

Yeah right. I go to the door to check the stairwell for bats. I return to the kitchen and explain to David that I don’t care what he’s read in whatever bat magazine he reads. Bats dive bomb me. Bats in Africa dive bomb me. Bats on lakes dive bomb me. Bats in caves fly straight toward me. My life experience does not match his reading. I’m going with my experience. I maintain a hatred of bats. Yes, a fear of bats. I cover my head when they are around. I’ve heard they can get tangled in your hair. I forcefully explain this to David.

He eventually confesses to me that when he went out of the stairwell door to go to the game he happened to glance back through the windows he saw, to his amazement, a bat flying around in our stairwell. It eventually landed on our neighbor’s door d├ęcor – a pink stocking. He, knowing that I could not be far behind, picked up the stocking and flung the bat outside onto the porch. When it looked like it was going to fly back inside, he went after it with a broom.

Today when we went home for lunch my first response to the stairwell was to look up and in crevices. David rolled his eyes and sighed. He thinks perhaps I’m going to be dramatic about bats now. Me?

Monday, December 14, 2009

Normal To Us.

Monday is here and I am thankful for the return of scheduled normalcy in my world. I think I've finally recovered from New York...though I could keep posting pictures about all the fun for a few more weeks!

David is pressing into a week long intensive course which necessitated a full social restriction to be placed upon me. Christmas cards are showing up in our mailbox (one of my faVorItE parts of the season). And I am in my 18th week of pregnancy. I have high hopes for these days. Besides a brief relapse after a 5:30am wake up call for a work related event, my trash can has remained firmly in place for well over a week now. With ole baby jumping around in there all the time, my stomach starting to poke out more and more, and my appetite returning with force, I'm finding new enjoyment in this second trimester.

My food of choice these days is pudding. I am eating a lot of pudding. Weird, huh? The doctor told me in David's presence that I need to up my protein intake. This means that my husband is now a meat-pusher. He takes every opportunity available to "encourage" me to eat meat and checks my plate with great praise after I've successfully finished some carnivorous treat. This I find very entertaining.

These are some of the happenings of our world.

Happy Monday to you.

Friday, December 11, 2009

The Big Apple: Part III

You Get What You Pay For...sometimes

Our budget for New York was, shall we say, minimal. Thus, after perusing guidebooks and Internet sites, we made a few choices that we hoped would help us lower our costs in the city. The main one: after looking at hotels and hostels on faithful Lonely Planet, we decided to book a room at the Manhattan YMCA. For the city, it was dirt cheap. But David and I have both spent our share of nights in shady hostels and hotels while traveling. I confess that it's been a few years for me now though. I almost forgot my flip flops for the shower, and a few other hostel essentials. We checked in and found the Manhattan Y to be as centrally located as we could have possibly hoped for...only a 10 minute walk from Times Square. As for the room, David put it this way: "Well, Laura, you get what you pay for." We payed for a 7x10 block of quiet, dry, warm space with bunk beds, a dresser, a chair and a shared bathroom with water that wasn't quite hot enough.

Ok. So, it wasn't exactly the Waldorf Astoria, but since we were really only there to sleep and shower, it worked great for us...and our budget at $95 a night. (Quite a steal even in the hosteling world in Manhattan.)

It was home sweet home for 3 nights and well worth the inconveniences. I'd rather spend my time at the theatres anyways:)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Big Apple, Part II: Broadway

For those of you who have been around us much at all, you are likely aware that we love to go to the theatre. When a friend calls to tell us about a great deal on tickets to a musical around town, or when we read about a way to get student tickets to a show, if we have any "fun money" left in our little envelope, we're easily tempted. Thus, perhaps the biggest pull of New York for us was the hope of finding a deal on tickets to a Broadway musical. We set our ambitions high and at the risk of great disappointment, stalked the web for ways to get into Wicked on our budget.

We found that for each show, the theatre draws 13 names from a lottery of people who arrived 2.5 hours before the show to put their name in the hat. Those 13 can purchase 2 front row seat tickets for only $26.50 - an absolutely amazing deal! We hit the theatre upon arrival Saturday night to find ourselves surrounded by perhaps 150 others with similar ambition. Our hopes faded quickly as the names were drawn. We didn't make the list so we headed off on a tour of the NYC Christmas lights that evening. We returned the next day for our last chance - the 3pm show on Sunday. We arrived and found that the weekend crowd had apparently flown out that day. Only about 40 people were in the line on Sunday afternoon. David's name was the first one chosen!!!

We prepared ourselves as we entered the theatre for the catch to be a heavily obstructed view. No such catch. We were front and center section. When they sang their solos, I could reach out and touch their feet. It was unbelievable! We were SO grateful!!! The lots fell in pleasant places:)

We haven't stopped humming the tunes yet!

On Monday, we tried to talk the box office at The Majestic into giving us a student deal or last minute purchase price for The Phantom of the Opera but apparently they don't make deals:) We headed over to The Amsterdam Theatre and found great seats at a student rate for Mary Poppins. The show was great...and the sets were absolutely amazing. They had houses dropping down out of the ceiling and people popping through the floor. It was a lot of fun and David was a good sport to consent to see it:)

Now...if you're not tired of reading yet, I'll tell you why I love Broadway stars so much. Their voices are incredibly trained, their acting skills are impeccable, the musical selections require a combination of emotion and force that are incomprehensible to me. When I hear them, I wonder if that's a little closer to what we'll sound like when we praise God with our song in the perfection of heaven. Broadway singers could be doing a dozen different things with their amazing talent ... many of which would no doubt cause their names to be more well known. But they've chosen Broadway. I admire their artistry. I admire them for trading in the screaming fans and paparazzi of modern American singers for polite clapping and a live (unbroadcasted) theatre that preserves an amazing art form.

We were not disappointed with New York's theatres.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Big Apple, Part I

After a brief scare that we might be stranded in Chicago by their raging winter storm, we made it back to Louisville in the wee hours of the morning today! We had an amazing vacation to New York City! I will definitely wear your eyes and ears out if I try to post everything today, so I'm just going to start with a few pictures from the sights we saw and will post more as the week progresses about Broadway tickets, museum stops, NYC curiosities and more!

Hope you enjoy the pictures! We definitely enjoyed taking them!

The NYC skyline from atop the Empire State Building during our late night NYC adventure!

One of many unsuccessful (and cold) attempts to get a good picture on top of the Empire State Building at night!

The style of my favorite European store - H & M. (I discovered this store during my semester in Austria during college...where they pronounced it "Hah und EMMmm!")

A little of the craziness of NYC!

David admiring the system of Grand Central Terminal upon arrival.

Checking out the window displays and holiday flurry at Macy's 34th Street Store!

The Muppet Workshop at FAO Schwartz.

Enjoying our view of the city from atop the tour bus. Of course, we loved it because of all the odd tidbits we Janet Jackson's apartment building, how many taxis are in NYC and the origin of Macy's star.

Stayed tuned for more tomorrow!

Friday, December 4, 2009

New York, New York

Tomorrow morning while all you dedicated Memphis gals are lacing up your shoes for the St. Jude marathon, the Dawkins will be making their way to none other than New York City!!!

Since we move to Louisville two years ago I've been hinting (ok. maybe outright begging) for a trip to NYC. Somehow in my mind, Louisville is as far north as I think the Dawkins will ever live so it just makes sense to go from here. Right? In all my travels, I've somehow evaded this magnificent city save a stop over in their airport from which I glimpsed Lady Liberty several years ago. I thought we could just drive on over for a weekend. Somehow David (who would be the one in the driver's seat) didn't think that was such a great idea.

This fall Southwest ran a screamin' deal that we couldn't refuse and with little Dawkins about to change our lifestyle hints turned to reality just in time for us to see the city in all of its Christmas splendor!!!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

In the 16th Week...

A little pregnancy update for all you gals out there.

Fat Clothes:
Little Dawkins seems to be growing by leaps and bounds these days...or at least my stomach is. My pre-pregnancy obsession with ab work is no more and it's beginning to show. The scale is only tipping about 3 or 4 pounds more than I was back in August but it seems that some of my weigh must have shifted to give me a baby belly. I'm not in maternity clothes yet...but I'm wearing my "fat clothes." (I know you all have them - pants a size or two larger that you reserve for the day after Thanksgiving and after that week on the couch eating milkshakes:) I don't think I really look pregnant yet though to those who don't know..I just look like I've "grown."

The Sad/Happy News:

I had a great week last week. It seemed that my consistent need for a trash can was subsiding. My energy level was up. I had fewer aversions to normal foods. I was hopeful. I was very hopeful.

Sadly, this weekend I seemed to regress a bit though. My symptoms are back...though thankfully not quite as strong. David has renewed pity for me...which is sweet.

How much longer can this really last? I mean. Really.

Happily, I'm discovering a few more foods that I actually like to eat. I purchase frozen strawberries in bulk now and could eat one at any moment with joy. Triscuits are my new BFF...which is a total mystery to me because even now when I try to swallow wheat bread or any other grainy food, my swallower just stops working.

Most Exciting Moment of the Week:
I get most of my medical information from the internet (which my doctor loves;). I read that this week I might just start to feel the little pea moving around in there. Sure enough, last night I was sitting at the table while doing some reading and thought I felt a little flip. I waited a few minutes and gave my stomach a good poke. A bigger flip. I waited a few minutes and did it again. Another big flip. He might be a kicker.

That Husband of Mine

Not long after we found out that I was pregnant, good ole Rebekah sent me an article from a psychology journal about a disorder some men develop during pregnancy. These empathetic men actually begin to have the physical symptoms of pregnancy. Some gain weight. Others feel nauseated. They may experience emotional instability.

Only Rebekah would find such an article. We thought it was hilarious and anytime David's been the least bit sick for the past few months, I've suggested that maybe he is developing this disorder.

This morning I told David that I'd been having a really wild and vivid dream life lately. He immediately responded "Me, too!" I then informed him that the pregnancy website says that vivid dreams are common among pregnant women. He backtracked quickly...."Well, it was just last night that I was really thinking hasn't been common for me." Yeah, right.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Wedding Bells

On Saturday night, our family and a handful of friends gathered at the Hughes Pavilion in the Dixon Gardens to witness the marriage vows of my little sister, Lindsey, and Andy. The ceremony, which was beautiful, was made particularly special to me by my conversations with Lindsey over the past few months about Andy's character, her love and deep respect for him, and my observance of his service and tenderness toward her. We were so grateful to be there.

The lovely couple...

A most delicious cake and my Mom's fabulous decorating skills....

Now that's cute....

A few of the Robertson family...

Congratulations, Sis!