Tuesday, September 27, 2011

A Subway Story

This is a story about something strange that happened on the New York subway.  Luckily...on this day...Chad was with us. 

We got on the subway that would take us all the way to staten island.  We were going to visit the Statue of Liberty on our last day in New York.  Now, there are many unique people in New York, to say the least.  But most of them harmless.  There are some crazies...sure.  But most are not out to make you feel uncomfortable or in danger.  Especially at 10:00 in the morning, on the subway.

We boarded the train and Chase and I sat down in two seats that were available on the right of the open door side.  Chad stood to our right in the isle, gripping that nasty pole running down both sides of the ceiling.  We smiled, and chatted, and laughed, and Chase (true to form) grabbed my phone to play angry birds to help pass the time.

That's when I noticed a man sitting directly across from me.  I'm terrible at guessing ages...but I'm thinking he was probably in his late 50's/early 60's.  He looked totally normal.  Like he could be a grandpa.  And to further display his normal-ness...there where two perfectly pleasant and age appropriate women sitting next to him.  They had maps and he had a camera around his neck...no different than 50% of the people in the city.  No different than us.

However, something about this man made me instantly uncomfortable.  It was the way the camera was positioned in his lap and the way his left hand caressed it and easily pointed it in my direction.  His right hand was the give away though.  It was in his jacket pocket...casually resting on the right top of the camera...right on the shutter button.  The subway was filled with people...going about their everyday business...and no one else seemed to notice this.  This is when you can start feeling like you are crazy.  That you are making a big to do about absolutely nothing, and that you are silently drumming up a crazy situation in your head that is sure to be a subconscious memory of some wacky scene you saw in a movie somewhere.  But you watch, and you wonder and you question anyway. 

The point that I remember most was when I looked directly at the camera lens and then directly into the man's eyes.  He stared me in the eyes...made no expression...and I knew.  I knew that this guy was taking my picture...over and over again.  And I sat there, helplessly.  I found myself starting to try and hide my face and then realizing that I couldn't hide my whole body the way I instinctively wanted to and then began to worry that he was taking pictures of my son...innocently sitting next to me.  I looked at Chad.  I looked at Chase.  I looked at the guy and then at the ladies sitting next to him.  My eyes flashed to the other people in the train...back to the guy...back to Chase...and then back to Chad.  The way I looked at Chad made him lean toward me and say, "What?"  I moved my head so that the man could not see me and mouthed, "He is taking pictures of me."  Chad looked confused and said, "What???"  I said it again and
Chad stood up and casually looked over at him.  He looked back at me and kinda frowed that, "No he's not" frown and shook his head no.  He didn't believe me!  Am I going crazy?  I quickly and adamantly said, "Yes.  He.  Is."  Chad looked back and began to watch.  He still wasn't sure.

There was a man standing across from me...sort of positioned next to the man with the camera.  I watched him casually lean back and look at the picture window on the camera.  I held my breath and thought...he will see it...surely he will see it.  And then he looked up at me and smiled.  Not a weird smile, but a comforting one.  A familiar one.  He was telling me.

I looked at Chad and nodded in his direction.  I said, "he saw."  Chad looked at the man standing and made eye contact.  The man cut his eyes down to the camera and then nodded at me...all while silently speaking loudly and deliberately to Chad.  I got chills.

Without another second going by, Chad leaned down in the man's face and said forcefully, "Excuse me.  Are you taking pictures of my wife?"  He said, "No."  Chad said, "Let me see the the last few pictures you have taken on your camera."  He said, "I'm not showing you my camera."  Through this brief exchange...he was quickly deleting, while holding the camera close to his body.  Chad said, "You show me the pictures or I will get security in here right now."  He got flustered and Chad looked at the women and said, "Are you both with him?"  They nodded and Chad continued, "Do you know what he is doing with these?"  They blankly said, "No" and shook their heads and looked at him and back at Chad.  That's when the man began apologizing and saying that he was a tourist and that it was just a hobby and for enjoyment.  Chad said, "You will delete every picture of my wife off of your camera" and the man nodded yes and apologized some more.  Then he looked at me and apologized.  He just kept deleting picture after picture...not letting Chad see what he was deleting.  I was frozen.  The man that had been standing, looked at me and said, "It's good that your husband said something to him" as he stepped off the train that had stopped.  It made me wonder what images of me he had seen in the picture window.  Then the guy stood up and the women stood up and they quickly got off the train.

I looked at Chad in disbelief.  I looked around at everyone staring at us.  I looked at Chase.

He was still playing angry birds.

I learned to trust my instincts.........and my husband's protection.

Monday, September 26, 2011

When Chase Meets New York

So, I finally made good on my promise to take Chase to New York on a date.  Every time it's his turn for a special outing out with me and I ask him where he wants to go...he says, "How bout New York?"  So when Chad needed to go for a church conference and asked if I would want to go along and take Chase for his 9th Birthday...I jumped at the chance.  We were going to surprise him by picking him up from school on our way to the airport...but he doesn't really enjoy surprises, so we went ahead and told him before hand.  The excitement built for several weeks until the day finally arrived.  And at 9:30 on Tuesday morning, we picked him up from school on the way to the airport.  He was sure showing us the dimples on the way to the airport.

This is how he passed the time on the plane.

This is how Chad and I passed the time.  Does this show our differences, or what?

Chase was super thrilled when he found out that a taxi was taking us into the city.

Once we settled into our hotel on 57th and 9th...we walked to Times Square for dinner.  We thought Planet Hollywood would be right up his ally, since he has such an interest in actors and actresses and movies.

We had to send the baby sister this picture of Elmo.  I'm sure she was devastated that she had missed out on this fine fella.  The girl has a serious crush.

As soon as we entered the restaurant...we spied the Death Star.  Whoa.  It was as if the place had been specially crafted for Chase, himself.

And wouldn't you know?  His favorite actor, Harrison Ford's hand prints and autograph was right there for him to see.

Who doesn't love Times Square?  That's what we would like to know...

He was also very thrilled to ride the subway.  Now I like quick transportation as much as the next person...but this thing confuses me every time.  And if there is no seat available...and you have to stand...take a guess at what you have to touch?  A sure fire way to stress a person like me right out.  He and Chad grabbed a hold without a problem.  Although...I think I maaaaaay have rubbed off on Chase just a little, by the look on his face.

We went to Toys-R-Us in Times Square...which is somewhat of a magical wonderland for a super-hero lovin boy.

And then look who conquered another fear.  That would be MY hand gripping the subway pole.  If I'm being perfectly honest...my fear of ending up on the floor of the subway train outweighed my fear of whatever was lurking on that pole.  After all...I could use my gel on my hands...but people would look at me funny if I had to gel my whole body.  And I would have gelled my whole body.  Make no mistake about that.

Instagram is this amazing little ap that allows you to use different filters on your pictures.  I used it for this picture in Times Square.

The next morning, Chad went off to his meeting and Chase and I woke up when we pleased.  We got ready, walked out the front door of our hotel onto 57th street and said, "Heeeeellllloooooo New York!"  It was absolutely fantastic spending an entire Wednesday in New York on a date with my Chaser.  First up...FAO Schwartz and the piano from the movie BIG.

Boy...did he have a blast on that thing.

I may have had a blast on it too.  Don't worry.  I wasn't the only adult on it.  However I was the only one trying to play Music Box Dancer...the only song I remember from my piano lesson takin days.  Now that I look back...I probably should have just stuck with the chop sticks.  Because when I looked up from my intense ginormous piano recital...Chase had put his shoes on and taken off to see this guy.

That would be Indiana Jones...one of Chase's all time favorites.  And the next best thing to the real deal is him built of legos.

He really needed me to take a picture of Captain Jack Sparrow for Colton too.  I thought that it was sweet and very giving of his time.

I hit the jack pot for the girls at this dolly wonderland.  Annslee is getting a certain Madam Alexander Doll for her upcoming second birthday.  And both girls are getting Princess Puzzles with their picture in the actual puzzle for Christmas.  They were able to take a photo off of my phone and put them right in the puzzle like they were the next big Disney Princess.  Chase sat in the book section and rested while I did that.

We left nothing un-looked at in that place.  I guarantee it.

They have toy soldiers at the door.  I think that is a lovely touch.

Then we headed across the street to Central Park for pretzels from a park vendor.  That was very New York of us, I think.  We settled on a big rock and ate our pretzels, drank our cokes, and unwrapped a certain birthday present purchase from FAO Schwartz.

That's Chase and his friend, Buzz.  Not to be mistaken for the other 4 Buzzes he has.  This one is different,  Somehow.  I know...because Chase told me so.

I love this boy more than cats love acting skittish...and that's a lot.


And just when you think you are at a normal park...a Zoo pops up.

So we did what anyone on a date would do and just went with it.  First up was the 4 D arctic experience movie.  Now...I didn't know what 4 D was.  But, it turns out...you get pelted with bubbles that are pretending to be snow flakes...and your seats vibrate and that had a tendency to scare Chase right out of his seat.  Literally.

So we bided our time until that thing was over.

This picture...I just love.  I think I am going to blow it up and frame it for his room.  It is a passage out of Where The Wild Things Are.  And I just think it is amazing!

Chase did a project last year on Sea Lions.  So these two were considered friends right away.  I'm pretty sure they have a crush on each other.  They just have that look in their eyes.

This guy captivated me forever.  I was mesmerized by his beauty and grace.

Just look at that paw.  I love paws.

I thought this guy was captivating as well.  He's a snow leopard.  Anything that has "snow" in their name is bound to be pretty.

This little guy was pretty mesmerizing as well.  I couldn't keep my eyes off of him.

After the zoo, we met up with Chad.  We decided to try to hit our first Broadway show.  Somehow I knew that Chase would feel that his ship had finally come in.

Watching real actors and actresses act out their parts.  It can't get any better than that...

...unless you get to meet them and get their autographs on your playbill.

Here is Chase with Mary Poppins.

And here he is with his favorite character...Bert.

Seeing Mary Poppins and meeting the actors is what Chase says is his favorite part of the trip.

And why not eat dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe in Times Square after that?

Then we headed back to the hotel...quite satisfied with our first full day in New York.

The next morning, Chad headed to his meeting and Chase and I hit the town again.  After breakfast at Starbucks where I enjoyed my first Pumpkin Spice of the season and Chase lapped up milk with his coffee cake we decided to just pop on in to NBC.  As we walked down the halls...I pretended to be a real star...getting ready for a big Today Show Interview.  Surely I had a big movie coming out.

We went to the top of Rockefeller Center and saw the view from up there.

I adore this picture of Chase looking out over New York City.

If only I had brought my old dance costumes.   I could have tried out to be a Rockett.

Next, we headed to the Empire State Building.  By this point...Chase was more excited to see the entry way where Elf was filmed than to see the view from the top.  When we were up there...I looked at the view while he played angry birds on my phone.

We took the subway back to Central Park around 5:00 to meet back up with Chad.  This is when I had the brilliant idea to rent bikes and ride through Central Park.

I gotta say...I'm surprised Chad okayed this little adventure.  But Chase loved it.

We were so tired by the end of our bike ride through Central Park that we hit a small pub next to our hotel for dinner and then hit the hay.

The next morning we headed to the financial district and the Statue of Liberty.  The weather was forecasting rain...but we headed out for the island on the ferry anyway.

The view of Lady Liberty was worth how soaked we got.

Oh yeah...I forgot to tell you that we saw Beyonce while we shopped.

Anyways...just look at her and all her glory.

Just Beautiful.

Did I mention that the weather said rain?

Well...unfortunately that forecast was rather accurate.

It was a great trip.

One day over lunch, I asked Chase how it made him feel that we chose him to come to New York with us.  He just replied...


And he is.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

thanks friends...and happy weekend.

first, i wanted to say thank you to all of you who have sent comments, e-mails, and texts of encouragement.  i can honestly say that i have read every one and that they have lifted my spirit in ways that only Jesus, himself, could.  because make no mistake...you were all Jesus to me over the last several days.  i could almost picture Him sitting with me on the couch...with His arm around me...telling me it would all be ok.  to trust Him. 

so i am.

but...my grandmother and a little retail therapy doesn't hurt either.  honey came to stay with me for a couple of days...as she often does when chad is out of town.  we had a good time.  there is just something about a grandmother that is comforting.  (at least, my grandmother.)

i went to get her on wednesday, and we spent the afternoon at mom and dad's, where we had lunch and good conversation.  it was there that the e-mail from chad finally came in.  he had visited the orphanage and got to hold maeve.  he was able to send me a short video of the orphanage worker handing her to him and it was all i could do to not completely crumble.  there was something untangibly and unexplainably sweet about watching my husband take her into his arms.  i know this sounds strange...but it brought up more love and emotion in me than watching him hold each of our own, little darlins for the first time.  that must sound really weird.  but i can't deny it either.  i remember what he was wearing and how her little legs stayed up under her as the nurse passed her to him.  i remember the little squeak she made as he got her comfortably cradled.  and i remember the way he smiled at her and the way her talked to her.  it was about 20 seconds of heaven, is what it was.  i do long to have that feeling again...with a babe that is meant to be ours.

they allowed him to take pictures of the inside and outside of the orphanage.  it was so reassuring to see how nice that orphanage was.  afterall...it was were our girl has lived since she was born.

it's weird how i still think of her as "our girl."  i think a part of me always will.

oh how i hope that her grandmother teaches her about Jesus so that we will be united in heaven some day.  i will pray for that forever.

The next day, we went shopping.  I am lucky enough to come from a very long line of good shoppers.  mom is someone to be reckoned with.  even i can't always hang with her.  i found some serious cuteness for aiden at forever 21.  who knew they had a little girl's section?  you have to sift through it to find stuff that looks young enough...but when you do...great prices and super cute!  and i'm picky.

friday, we hit target. i looked through all that new mizz-whatever-the-name-is stuff that is only there for a short time and i found it hideously ugly. the striped knee socks were cute for the girls...but were 8 bucks a pair and didn't look much different than what we already have...so i didn't get them. there was a stocking hat that was adorable on a.j....but she didn't like it. i'm not kidding. she kept saying, "noOOOoo." unlike the owl hat at cracker barrel...that she loooooved. and let's face it. the owl hat was cuter. and let me just say...that when dressing a little girl or a baby...i like softer colors and things that actually make them look their age...instead of like bedspreads or curtains that you will inevitable regret.  the random funkiness added to an outfit is fine...like striped socks or tights with a small floral...or a chuck taylor with a dress.  but i don't get what all the fuss is about with this target line. i mean...maybe i would like a suitcase or some rain boots or something made out of that pattern...but that's about it. i don't want to look like a bad 70's night club or anything. no offense to the people that love it. it's just not me. i'm more of a jeans and cowgirl boots kind of girl. i can't do all those funky patterns. mustard yellow is about as crazy as i get. we did go crazy and get our flu shots though. that was a party.

she was not really happy with me at this point.  i promised to not put it on facebook.  and i didn't.  i didn't say anything about the blog.  but she doesn't even have a computer.  i think the coast is clear.

then we went to chili's for lunch.  i am a huge fan of their black bean burger.  i get the avocado burger with a black bean patty substitute and then 86 the lettuce and onions.  it is sooooo good.

isn't she just beautiful?

and this one?  well...she wouldn't stay put for anything.  there she is...having her way with the sugar packets.  i commented that colton would never have gotten away with this behavior at this age.  but she has me figured out.  i'm way to tired to concern myself with the disruption of sugar packets.

the way a pleated skirt flips up on a little girl has always made me happy.  just look at that sassafrass.

 the girl does love her chocolate milk.

friday night, we put the kids in sleeping bags in our room to watch toy story and honey and i ordered something borrowed.  it was ok.  i mean...there was no message that i will take from it and carry with me from day to day...but it was cute for a friday night with just us girls.

today, UK came and took honey back home and we spent the rest of the afternoon doing nothing.  i did get the bathrooms good and scrubbed.  that was a long time comin.  and i've gotten through 2 loads of laundry out of 7.  but, here's the good news.  since we didn't do anything outside today...all the kids are still in their pj's and don't need to be bathed.  bonus. 

i do need to feed them though. 

time to break out the waffles and cereal. 

breakfast dinner is a little reward i give to myself for a week of being without my husband.  i mean, really... like they are going to eat some big meal anyways.  as far as they are concerned...i'm freakin mom of the year.

happy weekend friends.