Wednesday, June 30, 2010

A Visit to the Capital

Our friends Bonnie and Justin are adopting two little ones from Ethiopia. I have been amazed at the amount of paperwork Bonnie has completed to move forward in this process. I've grown in patience just watching her! She was brave enough to invited Jude and I along for a little day trip to Kentucky's capital to complete her dossier.

On our way out of Frankfurt, we passed a little eatery and decided to stop for lunch. It definitely had character! Bonnie went in to look at the menu and said "It's Maybury in there, we have to go in!"

The food was good...and it was definitely a small town atmosphere. Though the owner was a bit rougher than good ole Aunt Bea!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Jude's Booties

My mom’s college roommate has always been affectionately known by us as “Aunt” Melissa. When I was a little girl, she sewed dresses for my American Girl doll. These were not your ordinary doll clothes though…they were ornately designed masterpieces made from silk and satin, with hand crocheted collars and bead work. Each Christmas, some new treasure would be under our tree. As I grew, the gifts changed to suit my age. I still use the handmade sewing case that she gave me as a teenager. When I walked down the aisle at my wedding, I carried a handkerchief with her handy work on it.

This week, Jude received his first pair of handmade booties for his cute little feet from “Aunt” Melissa. They are beautiful.

I’m not sure if I should put them on his feet or frame them!

Monday, June 28, 2010

The Death Of Our Dryer

If I could transplant our apartment to Memphis, I’d do it in a heartbeat. I love our little abode and tear up just thinking about leaving our first real home together. Besides the bathtub that’s never really clean, my biggest source of contention is our basement. Our washer and dryer are in the basement. It is, without a doubt, the creepiest basement I’ve ever seen. It looks like the set of a horror film.

Some of you may be entertained to know why I have refrained from writing about the basement on the blog for 2 years now. I have an unmanageable fear that someone will break into our basement and kill me while I do our laundry. In my secret heart, I thought that writing about the basement on the blog might result in some scary stalker showing up at my door to prey on my fear. This, even as I write it, is utterly ridiculous.

Nonetheless, I repeatedly wage war against the dark dungeon of a basement by shining lights in dark corners and carrying my cell phone pre-dialed to either my husband or 911….depending on the glory of my imagination on any given day. Usually, I just ask David to go down and get the laundry. Once, when he was out of town, I made a friend’s husband check every crevice. I was convinced someone was living in the basement. A bit dramatic, I know.

Our dryer has been on the fringe for weeks. David fixed it just before Jude was born but we weren’t sure it would last long. Our goal was to make it to the move, as our apartment in Memphis has a washer and dryer in it. This weekend, I turned it on and heard a loud bang. It seems to have taken its final blow…and is beyond repair at least for our skill set.

It appears that I will be spending a lot less time than usual in our basement for our final 2 weeks in Louisville and a lot more time at the laundr-o-mat…..which, in the end, might turn out to be just as frightening.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Husky to Huskier

We went to the doctor for Jude's one month check up yesterday. Here are a few tidbits on his growth these days.

Weight: 12lbs, 5oz (I'm estimating at least one pound of this is in his fat little cheeks.)

Height: 23.75inches

Favorite Activity: Relaxing in his baby recliner as seen above.

Nickname: "Turtle" - At around day 2, when we were beginning to wonder if Jude had a neck, he started lifting his little head up like a turtle coming out of its shell. The name stuck.

Eating: Whatever comes to your mind when you think of the eating habits of a 12lb, 5oz one month probably right. Jude's a hearty eater.

Sleeping: My friend Jenni calls him a "dream baby." I admit that I have to agree. Though he usually stays up til around 12 or 1am, he sleeps for a 5-5.5 hour stretch most nights...and even then I have to wake him up to feed him. Of course, this is as unpredictable as an infant:) No complaints here though!

Umbilical Cord: He's still holding on to it:)

Tricks: David thinks that Jude knows how to hold his pacifier in his mouth. He's been teaching him this trick for weeks now.

Oddities: Jude's a grunter. He is the noisiest baby I know. This is not so much when he eats as when he's just hanging out.


I’ve been stalking Redbox for months waiting for the release of the movie Invictus…to no avail. Finally, Beth kindly ordered it on Netflix and brought it to my house.
It was worth the wait.

Nelson Mandela has long intrigued me. I think he's one of the greatest leaders Africa has ever known. After watching Invictus, I may just have to make him the subject of my next book pick.

Confession. Another reason why I liked the movie so much? Though I wouldn’t exactly call myself a sports fan, I lOvE just about any movie that centers around a sports team or figure. I know. That’s weird. But it’s true. It doesn’t really matter what sport…as proved by Invictus. I can’t tell you the first thing about Rugby. Nonetheless, I found myself cheering for the team by the end of the movie.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

One Month

Jude is one month old this week. He seems such a natural part of our family, that I hardly know what we did without him.

I admit that much of my day is spent looking with wonder at this little person God has entrusted to us. I know that life will pick up again at a pace that will change that luxury of the newborn phase.

But for now, I’m loving this season of relative quiet and memorizing the details of his tiny face and hands.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


I just finished up my annual read of Stepping Heavenward by Elizabeth Prentiss.

As I pass through various seasons, I find that the lens I read through differs and offers me new insights. I like to read the same books sometimes as a reminder that I am growing and changing.

Another book that I continue to return to as an old favorite is Til We Have Faces by C.S. Lewis. I read it first as a high school senior and continue to pick it up every 2-3 years. It never seems to lose its power on me.

“When the time comes to you at which you will be forced at last to utter the speech which has lain at the center of your soul for years, which you have, all the time, idiot-like, been saying over and over, you’ll not talk about joy of words. I saw well why the gods do not speak to us openly, nor let us answer. Till that word can be dug out of us, why should they hear the babble that we think we mean? How can they meet us face to face til we have faces?”

Monday, June 21, 2010

Father's Day

Yesterday we celebrated David’s first Father’s Day in the Dawkins house.

Jude bought him a watermelon and wrote him a little card. We had fried chicken, corn, mashed potatoes and chocolate ice box pie for lunch…which felt truly southern to me!

As is the case for most holidays in this land far from family, we celebrated with the Boevings. Have I mentioned that I can’t even talk with Laurin about moving? It’s too much.

Of course, we also celebrated our own dads as well! Every year my thanksgiving for those men is more poignant. It seems that with age, recognition of their sacrifices and service in our lives grows deeper.

They’ve given David mighty footsteps to follow.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Thoughts on Blogging

Several of you have expressed surprise at my continuation with the blog through these first few weeks of motherhood.

Consequently, I’ve given a bit of thought to why exactly I continue to make efforts to update the blog.

Part of it is, quite simply, that I like to write. In fact, sometimes I enjoy it more than talking. I definitely enjoy it more than talking on the telephone.

Upon reflection (as if this is a matter of such deep gravity that it requires a lot of reflection:), I think the truer answer lies in that tension that I always feel over living such a transitional life. Our dearest friends and family are scattered over the better part of the United States…and even beyond. But when I write a post, I know that Laurin, who lives down the street, will know a little of what’s going on in my day. When I write, I also know that my dad can sit in his farmhouse and read about a trifle in my day that it is unlikely I’d share over the phone. Or Stacey down in Mississippi can see a picture of Jude as he is now…not as he will be in 2 months when she sees him.

The community God has given to us is larger than a few blocks in my neighborhood or the names on our local church registry. I love that. Sometimes it’s harder that way though because I always feel the pull of the hills of Tennessee or the skyline of Memphis or the brick street of Clinton or…soon…the abundant trees of Louisville.

In short, I’m blogging even in a really crazy life season because even though everything in our world seems to be changing, I want to keep sharing life with the faithful friends and family God’s given us. It reminds me that we have a community…scattered though it may be. For that, I am grateful.

And so for you, I’ll keep posting weird pictures and random recipes….because if you were sitting at my kitchen table, I’d be showing you the same things.

In case you're looking for an example of a weird picture...

Jude "Muscle-Man" Dawkins posing on his Dad's hairy legs.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

These Boots Were Made For Walkin'

In one short month, we’ll be loading up all of our worldly possessions and heading to Memphis.

Bitter sweet is the best way to describe my thoughts on this move.

I love our friends in Louisville, our cozy apartment, our wonderful church, and quite honestly, the city itself.

But we all know that there’s no place like home….parents around the corner, Jude’s Aunt Lindsey, friends who’ve known us for the better part of 20 years, and streets that don’t require a GPS to navigate.

Memphis. Here we come.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Hush Little Baby

I have an aversion to public crying.

Jude seems to know this instinctively.

Last week I took him to the public library for a bit of emailing as we don’t have internet at home. He slept for the entire walk. He slept as I logged onto the computer. And just as I began to respond to a few emails, his face began to contort.

I got nervous.

I rocked his little stroller.

I looked about me at the other library patrons. No one seemed particularly concerned with keeping things quiet in there. I could hear other children crying upstairs.

Then Jude began to cry.

I packed everything up as quickly as possible and pushed him back outside to head home.

He fell back asleep immediately and slept the entire walk home…and into the house.

I’m guessing that one thing I’m going to have to overcome is this aversion to public crying. At this point, I don’t even try to console him in public places…I just leave…as quickly as possible.

Eventually, I know I'm going to have to move past this. We can't stay at home for the rest of his baby days.

Friday, June 11, 2010

The Great Outdoors

Summer has finally arrived and the Dawkins are drinking it in. We took Jude for a little stroll by the Ohio River last weekend. David is doing all in his power to make him an outdoorsman from a young age.

Sunshine was a good excuse to invite myself over to Leslie’s apartment complex for an afternoon at the pool. Jude was lounging in his car seat...don’t worry, he was fully covered!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Girl Who Cried Wolf

My dear bff, Rebekah, has a knack for pulling off amazing pranks. If ever you want a good story, ask her about the exploits of her college days. After years as her roommate, I rather prefer to be her pranking partner than the one she would prank. Those who’ve played a good game of Mafia with me know the truth…my face says everything I know. I can never fool anyone, try though I might…and believe me I’ve tried to get Rebekah.

This past April, I took advantage of the distance between Louisville and Memphis and the fact that Rebekah and I have schedules that are polar opposites. This makes it almost impossible to talk on the phone with her more than once a week. In the past, any April Fool’s Day joke would be immediately discovered by one look at my face or conversation with me. Emotions aren’t read over emails and texts though. After years of failed attempts, I finally got Rebekah. It was a complete victory. The details are fodder for another blog though or I’ll just let you ask Rebekah about it.

Rebekah was supposed to come to Louisville last weekend to meet Jude. I got a text from her early in the week saying she’d broken her foot and couldn’t drive for 6 weeks.

My response?

“Yeah, right. I knew you’d try to get me back for my April Fool’s victory.”
She called and tried to convince David and I that she’d broken her foot while rescuing her cat, Charlie, from a ferocious dog in her parent’s front yard.


I expected her to show up on my doorstep last weekend. Instead I got an email from our mutual friend, Kim, with this picture attached.

David, not one to be easily fooled, examined the cast for cut marks exclaiming that you could piece a hard cast back together for a picture. As it turns out though, she really did break her foot while rescuing her cat. Sadly, she failed to find the least bit of sympathy from our household for at least a week until we received proof.

Sorry, Rebekah. It’s the price a prankster has to pay.

Her emails to me this week have all ended with the request that I show her picture to Jude everyday and repeat her name so that he’ll know her when they finally meet.

Happy Mending, Rebekah.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Summer Cooking

With the arrival of Jude, neighbors, family, friends and church members have simply lavished us with love, support and gOOd fOOd! I wanted to share a few of my latest cravings from these offerings.

1. Dee’s Chicken Salad

My neighbor, Dee, brought over a dish of chicken salad when we returned from the hospital. I love a good chicken salad sandwich. Of all the recipes I’ve sampled, I think this may be my favorite one yet!

3/4 c mayo
1/2 to 1 t curry powder
3 c diced cooked chicken
1/3 c diced celery
1/3 c diced onion
1/4 c chopped cashews
2 T fresh lemon juice
1 T parsley

Mix mayo, powder and juice then mix all together - can add raisins or use other nuts or add small can of pineapple tidbits - all good!

2. Grammar’s Vinegrette Salad Dressing

David’s mom often serves this dressing over a romaine lettuce salad with mandarin oranges and sugared almonds or walnuts. I made it for the first time after she left and found that with the addition of 2-3 Tablespoons of OJ, it is pretty close to the house dressing at Havana Rhumba, my favorite restaurant in Louisville. They serve their tropical salad with an orange vinaigrette, avocado, mango, papaya and caramelized walnuts. Delicious.

Vinaigrette Dressing
¼ c Olive Oil
2 T Apple Cider Vinegar
2 T Sugar
2 t Parsley Flakes
½ t Salt, Dash of Pepper

3. Passion Tea Lemonade

Ok. I made this one for myself. Laurin always has a pitcher of refreshing lemonade at her house. I’ve been craving it since the sun began to shine a little harder on Louisville. I think Rebekah first filled me in on the goodness of Passion Tea back in her Starbucks days. My favorite summer drink is a combo of real lemonade with plenty of sugar and two bags of Passion Tea boiled in 3 cups of water added into the mix.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Life with Jude

10 thoughts about my new life with the little man...

1. Besides Sunday morning when we had to be at church at 9am, I can’t recall one day since Jude’s arrival when I’ve been remotely prepared to leave my house before 12pm. Sometimes, David comes home at 5pm and I’m still not ready.

2. Before Jude came, I remember telling someone that I thought I might be bored as a stay at home mom. I didn’t know what I’d do all day. I’m still not sure what I do all day now. But I’m not bored.

3. Jude is a voracious eater. He looks like a miniature football player. He eats like one too.

4. Jude does not spit up often, but when he does it makes up for the days of no spit up. For this reason, I’ve taken to draping the couch with blankets before I burp him. On Monday, I walked unsuspectingly into the kitchen with Jude on my shoulder. He gave no warning. He simply covered the kitchen floor in unwanted milk. David attempted to assist but could only find a frying pan to catch the flow. Needless to say, that was rather ineffective.

5. I am entirely confident that my stomach will never, never be the same again….even if Jillian Michaels were my personal trainer.

6. Say what you will. At 2 weeks, Jude is already enjoying the pacifier. I confess I am enjoying it too.

7. Jude’s a bit unpredictable. Sometimes he sleeps the whole night, except when I am feeding him. Then there are nights like last night. By 3am, his pattern was fairly predictable. Feed Jude and he will stay awake for the next 3 hours.

8. Sometimes I watch runners fly past me on the sidewalk and wonder if I’ll ever run again. Considering it’s only been two weeks, I really do feel great….until I lace up my tennis shoes and go for a walk. I can make it about a mile before I hit a wall. A mile...walking.

9. I’ve given Jude several bird baths since he arrived home from the hospital. I realize that some newborns have an aversion to baths. Not Jude. He lays his little head back in the baby tub and I use the kitchen sink sprayer to wash his hair. So far, not a peep.

10. As most of you know, I’m a fairly emotional gal. Thus, I wondered what postpartum life would hold for me. Certainly, I’ve had moments where I’ve felt sad and overwhelmed. I am sure I will have many more. At this point though, the emotional aftermath of the birth has taken the form of heightened awareness of the sacredness of these passing moments.
e.g. David walks into the living room to find me holding Jude as tears stream down my face. He takes my hand and asks me what is wrong. I burst into sobs and explain that I love this season. I love holding sweet little Jude as a baby. I like his smell, the shape of his nose, the young innocence of his eyes, the clutch of his tiny fingers. I feel time rushing past me. The knowledge that life is but a breath solidifies with each passing year. It is not that I dread the end of life. In that thought, I find unspeakable joy and hope. But I do love the seasons that God has designed as the natural course of the lives of most mortals. It is hard sometimes to know how to drink in the beauty of a precious season and all the while walk forward into a new phase of life with expectant hope. Life is progressing. The very visible progression of a newborn wakes in me a deeper awareness of the frailty and irreversibility of life, as we who dwell in time, know it.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Over The Rainbow

When I was a child, my mom often sang to me before I went to sleep. Her two signature songs were You Are My Sunshine and Somewhere Over The Rainbow. I remember feeling confident as a young girl that had my mother wanted to try out for the role of Dorothy, Judy Garland would never have had a chance.

At the hospital, my mother gave me a gift that is among the most thoughtful I've ever received. Despite the newborn phase and all that comes with that, I've worn it frequently for the past week and a half.

My mom is a buyer and manager for a gift shop in Memphis. Ayala Bar is an Israeli jewelry designer. Her necklaces are artwork. Exquisite artwork. My sister and I love to see little boxes come our way on birthdays that bear her emblem. I wore an Ayala Bar necklace on my wedding day.

As I opened the little package, my mom explained that she picked this particular design to represent the lullaby she sang to me as a baby - Somewhere Over The Rainbow. Jude's been hearing the tune a lot lately.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

No More Cankles

About three months ago, I looked down and discovered that I'd lost my ankles. They had been replaced by puffy cankles that poked out of my shoes.

After the delivery, to my dismay, they grew larger. I asked the nurses and they assured me it was quite normal. I wondered if I would ever see my ankles again.

This week, I've been staring in wonder at my ankles. They've returned. I'd almost forgotten that I had ankles and was resigning myself to a lifetime of cankles.

Welcome back to my ankles.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010


The response to Jude's features has been a mixed bag. Some folks think he's the spitting image of his mom. Some can't get over how much he looks like his dad.

A few months ago, David's mother brought us a box of old photographs from David's childhood. Included in the stack was an image of David in his hospital crib.

Apparently, things haven't changed much because they're still using the same beds! We attempted to take a similar photograph of Jude before our departure. (Ok. It was late at night and it was a bit too much work to get the profile from the correct side!)

When I look at Jude beside that old snap shot of David, the similarities are striking. My prediction is that he'll look a lot more like his dad than he will look like me. And as there isn't a man in the world I like to look at more than David, I am just fine with that!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Grammar & Pop

David's parents made the trek up from Memphis to meet their 4th grandson this weekend! It was so nice to have 4 extra hands to help while David was working! These pictures were taken while I was upstairs, sleeping soundly:)

David's mother worked for many years as an English teacher at ECS in Memphis. With the arrival of their first grandchild she choose the name "Grammar." I love it! David, who has been known to re-phrase mid-sentence to avoid ending with a prepositional phrase, definitely got his love of grammar from his mom!

David's dad kept us stocked up on amazing desserts throughout the weekend and even did my grocery shopping for me on Monday!

Thank you for the visit, Grammar and Pop!