Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year

Sitting on my big comfy couch, with my warm blanket picking at my laptop.
Tom by my side trying to find something interesting on netflix.
Kids tucked in bed and blissfully quiet.
Jack curled up at our feet.

This is how I will welcome the New Year.

If I'm doing what I love at the stroke of midnight, being cozy at home surrounded by everyone I love..
maybe it will set a precedent for how the rest of the year will go.

Tomorrow we will do what we love too.
Sleep in as much as possible... which won't be much I promise.
We'll then move our sleepy selves to the couch with blankets and pillows, 
and we will hand out bowls of dry cereal and put on cartoons until one of us finds the energy to cook.
We will make a big "breakfast lunch" of pancakes or french toast and of course bacon... 
always bacon.

After that the plan gets more fuzzy...
maybe Daniel takes a nap,
maybe I do too,
maybe we go shopping, or to one of the grandparents houses to visit,
maybe we won't leave at all because for a change we don't have to!
Probably we will end the day with a movie after dinner to help kill the time till bedtime with cuddling instead of wrestling.

I resolve this year to do more of this,
just being home with my family,
enjoying the ironic simplicity that accompanies this often chaotic life with small children. 

I hope what ever your doing that your New Year is as happy as mine.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Need to Nest

It was Beautiful...
It was exciting...
 and we have been busy and abundantly blessed for the last three days.
I couldn't have asked for a better Christmas for me or the kids.
And now its over.
And I gotta say I'm ready.

My husband has come to expect that every year on the 26th of December I will start figuring out how quickly I can get into un-decorating the house... once I find my window of time I hit it like a force of nature.

I love Christmas more than most,
I put on Christmas music the day after Thanksgiving,
but when its over for me... it's over.

I just want to get on with life as usual,
I want to do all the many things I've been saying I would do "after the holiday's",
I want some normal back.

We are not even 48 hours out from the big event and already I am itching to get this house back in order.
And if it weren't enough that I'm 8 months pregnant I have also been laid low by this never ending head cold,
   I thought I had kicked it a week ago but has come back for revenge.
I told Tom last night I feel like my "to do" list this year is twice as long because the baby is coming soon,
Meanwhile it feels like someone has cut off my right arm.
I can't take the tree down by myself this year,
forget carrying the boxes of decorations downstairs,
I an barely heft a laundry basket down there anymore....

So sadly my compulsive need to nest and clean is at the mercy of my husband.
The same man who tells me every year that his mom keeps her tree up till after New Years.

Six more days may just drive me to the edge.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

The Gift of Christmas for Parents

I think I have figured it out.
Forget the commercialism and the hype that the big companies pump out the moment Halloween ends...
forget if you can the neighbor kids who will be getting the ipod, and the wii...
and the best of everything else too....

That is not what makes me want to make each Christmas "more" and "better" for my kids.
They each only got two toys this year at our house actually.
Two things they really wanted.... but still...
I mean more as in, bake more cookies, 
watch more Christmas movies,
wake them up when we forget to move the advent calendar... and that's no small thing people.

Its the fact that on Christmas day we get a special gift...
a rare perspective...
childhood is reduced to days instead of years.

Isabella is 4 now... so we have maybe 7... 8 more Christmases like this?

7 or 8 more days before these magical childhood Christmases start to fade into the calmer excitement of the teenage years. 

I am not sad that they will obviously and inevitably get older.
I look forward to having deep real conversations with them.
But on days like today when the road between then and now seems startlingly short... I want to soak it all up
do it all bigger...
hold them all just a little tighter.

Hold on tight and enjoy the days like these, they are too few and far between.

Merry Christmas.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry Chrismas.... and A Lot of Firsts

Today I had planned to bake, and wrap, and clean... and get ready!
But after a lousy nights sleep and lots of fake contractions I thought I would try to take it easy and wait till Tom got home to tackle the Christmas workload.... 

the children had other plans for me.

First Daniel skipped his morning nap, 
the one where I was planning to stick the other two in front of the TV 
and lay on the couch for an hour and a half....

this is not so unusual but he didn't nap yesterday at all, so I was sure I'd get my break then.

Ok, plan B... 
everyone will nap together after lunch but before our friend Devin (who is six months old) comes over for me to babysit. I figured I had enough time after lunch to lay them all down, get a shower, and rest on the couch for a half hour before I needed to be up to watch him.

Wrong again.

The children and the dog made a mess of some goldfish crackers all over the living room.
So I had to vacuum after lunch, 
meanwhile I sent Tommy to the potty to prepare for nap time.
Tommy then failed to close the door when he was finished...
and Daniel decided to go play in the potty water...
and did I mention that Tommy also forgot to flush said potty water?

I will spare you the rest.
Daniel is a handful but this was a first for me... and that's saying something when your on your third toddler.
I guess I should be grateful.

So in trying to strip and bathe him I end up with the icky water on me... hence I am now running late...
but I REALLY need that shower.

I lay them down as quick as I can... and run through the shower.
Still somehow there is time to lay down.
Set phone alarm.

Thank God for soft semi-new couch, and sleeping children.

Close eyes.


Feel someone poking me.

Its my Darling oldest child informing me she needs to go potty... 
I tell her she just went.
She says she didn't have to go then.

I give up.

Help her potty and stick her back in bed for what will only amount to 10 minutes...
then I hear Tommy yelling for me... 
Before I know it I have them both in front of the tv with snacks
in a desperate attempt to at least keep Daniel asleep.... he needs it the most anyway.

Devin comes.... Daniel wakes... Devin sleeps... 
Devin's mom comes to get him and as we are chatting Daniel decides to take a glass ball off the tree and whip it into the dining room full force.
Another first.... the kid is breaking all sorts of standards around here.
Bear in mind this tree has been up for three weeks...why now? 
Who knows.
Soon I have cleaned up the mess and am trying to decide what to make for dinner.
I am out of easy Ideas and I feel guilty asking Tom to shell out money for take out so I begin cooking very near tears from exhaustion.

Soon Bella comes hobbling toward me crying... and I see in her wake a trail of blood.
Apparently I missed some glass.

And the mother of the year award goes to.....
I clean her up and stick her on the couch to be examined by Daddy when he gets home in about a half hour.
  vacuum again to spare us all more pain....

Dad gets home and is checking on Bella... trying to see if all the glass is out.
In the kitchen I see Daniel starting to try to climb his heavy wooden high chair out of the corner of my eye.
I am holding a knife so I turn to put it down as I go to stop him...
If you are a mother you know whats coming.

He goes backwards and the HEAVY, WOODEN high chair lands totally on top of him.

I am immediately next to him, and Tom is even faster than me.
I am also immediately crying.
This is my limit.

Tom thought he knocked out a tooth but it was just a little piece of cauliflower he had left in his mouth...
If you are a mother right now you are saying thank God he didn't choke.
Heck if you have half a brain you are saying that.

Once again the mother of the year gave the 18 month old cauliflower and let him loose.
To be fair I doubt it was big enough to choke on... but still.

Lots of blood and tears and a split lip seem to be the only thing he suffered.
(Its on the top right which makes him look a little like Elvis...)

I will be checking on him more than once tonight for sure.

Once again, this is another first.
This boy is either trying to kill me or himself... I'm not sure which.

Please God, I would like a nice, quiet girl for number four.
Tomorrow I will (hopefully) bake some, I will (hopefully) nap some, 
and I will try to calm my frayed nerves with some soft Christmas music....

Tonight I will Thank God that he protected my children and my least for today....
And that even when bad things happen I can take comfort that he understand a parents pains and fears.
At Christmas more than ever we should remember that God is a Father too.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Daniel's First Haircut

In the midst of this very busy weekend I have to stop for a second and write about a little milestone.
This one always makes me cry....
but its especially bad when its Christmas and I'm a pregnant hormonal mess anyway.

The kids have their Christmas pageant at church tonight, 
and Daniel finally decided to sprout some hair in the last few weeks.
I'm not kidding... the kid had no hair at all for the longest time.... here he is in August.
Lately however its been looking a little mullet-ish.... so my baby got his first haircut last night.
What is it about boys? 
They are a baby one minute and then they get hair cut and they look suddenly so much older.
I don't remember that happening with Bella. 
Anyway, I cried a whole lot more than whats considered normal....
I suppose I should get it out of my system now, because in about eight weeks our baby Daniel will suddenly be a big brother, and I'm sure that's gonna make him look a whole lot bigger too.
I keep thinking this quote is quite appropriate for my wild child's latest milestone.

It kills you to see them grow up. 
But I guess it would kill you quicker if they didn't.
  ~Barbara Kingsolver

Thursday, December 16, 2010

A Snow Day or Three

This has been the scene the last few days... 
so Monday and Tuesday we just hibernated... happily!
It wasn't just snowy, its been bitter cold.
We only left Wednesday night for Christmas play practice.

I love it, 
staying in our pj's, 
baking constantly, 
making a bigger mess than usual because we have nowhere to be and no need to clean up.
Taking extra time to make a nice dinner,
watching Christmas movies over and over.

Here is what our hibernating looks like.
Reading about the birth of Jesus and putting sticker in our mangers scenes as we read.
Helping make Daddy's favorite...
poppy-seed cake and rice krispie treats.
Sadly all good things must come to an end.
But we have a weekend of fun and memory making ahead, 
and I get to go shopping kid free tonight.

There is good in everything.
If your snuggled in warm in your fuzzy robe and slippers, 
or out at the mall braving the crowds...
find the joy!

Monday, December 13, 2010

I Blame You and God Should Too.

God has been calling me out lately.
 I hate when that happens...
but I guess I'm also flattered that He takes the time to notice that I need the lesson.

He's got a lot going on don't you think?

So I'm humbled when I hear so directly from Him.

It went something like this....

Me: Lord I don't understand why everything is so crazy around here lately...
Please help me to be patient.
I'm so tired of all the running around, all the drama, all the late and busy nights.
Why can't they do.... XYZ
Why can't she just.... blah blah blah....
 Really they are creating these issues... can't you deal with them Lord?
It would make everything so much easier!

Are you seeing the problem yet?
(If you are pat yourself on the back because I was not.) 

So here is what God said... and by "said" I mean this verse which I don't know popped into my head 
and I looked it up...

Isaiah 1:13 ~ Stop bringing me meaningless offerings!

Ok... God is usually a little gentler with me.
But I immediately knew what He was saying to me.

God: What are you really praying about? Yourself? Or everyone else?

So at that point in my prayer time I felt bad but still as though I didn't quite get it...
my prayers were meaningless?
The time I was giving to God that morning was meaningless?
Because I was talking to God about what everyone in my life was doing to me.
What everyone was asking of me.
What everyone was needing from me.
me... me... me versus them.... them... them....

I don't think that God minds when we vent to Him, I think we should speak to God like a friend.
But I think His point to me was that this is what all our conversations lately looked like.

So I prayed to be shown better... and God showed me John chapter 5.
Again the amazing thing was I had no idea what was in John chapter 5.

What I found was the story of a man who had been an invalid for 38 years.
He was waiting by the healing waters of Bethesda.
When Jesus saw him he said "Do you want to be well?"

I read that and thought... what a ridiculous question! Who wouldn't want to be well?

But do you know that the man didn't say yes....
He instead gave Jesus his short list of reasons why he hadn't been made well by the waters yet.

"Sir," the invalid replied, "I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred.
While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me."
To paraphrase:
"Them... them... them....
no one will help me....
everyone pushes in front of me...
no one notices me...
they are all selfish...
they are greedy...
 they are the reason I am this way.
pity me...." 
Now... I have no experience learning how to study the bible,
I am not qualified in any way to teach anyone about faith or God. 
This is just what God was showing me in this story....

Quit blaming others for your circumstances.
Quit judging they're actions so harshly.
Do you think I don't see? 
Do you not trust Me to deal with them the way I'm dealing with you now?
Its not My will for you to be bitter and frustrated.
When you are to act or speak I'll tell you...
until then don't stew...just let Me change you, 
and in doing so you will be doing My will.
And most of all pray for those you feel have wronged you... pray My will for them.
Now.... "Do you want to be well?"

wow..... ouch......

So what is God's will for them?

Well the day after God dealt with me on this subject this verse was the daily verse in my bible.

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness.
Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
2 Peter 3:9

Not surprisingly the sermon on Sunday was all about this same topic of being critical and judgmental.
Without going off on another tangent, 
it was about the woman who washed Jesus feet with her hair and her tears.... 
Its in Luke 7:36-50.
Read it if you have time.

It is a hard thing when God holds a mirror up to your face.
But it is a beautiful thing to see all the little details of his lesson for you 
and to know He loves you enough to take the time to show you.

So my point in saying this all?

When you hold resentment toward another,
you are bound to that person or condition by an emotional link that is stronger than steel. 
Forgiveness is the only way to dissolve that link and get free.
Catherine Ponder

Are you overly critical?
Are you blaming others for everything?
When you pray, what is the point?
Do you sound like my four year old ratting out her little brother?

Try forgiveness instead.
Try letting God handle it.
Love covers over a multitude of sins, and it keeps no record of wrongs.

That is why the Bible tells us that God is love
Go to Him... He can show you how.

Last Weekend

We had a really busy weekend, and a busy week... and another crazy weekend.....
That is why on Sunday night I'm writing (or rather editing) a post I wrote on Wednesday
about LAST weekend....
Got all that?

So to save my brain a bit of effort I'm going to show more pictures and type less.
Here we go...

We had a birthday.... this is my attempt at a number three pancake...
 It was before eight am and I was getting three kids ready for church.... gimme a break.
Also ignore the weird face he is making.... who knows?
After church we took a quick nap... and by we I mean they... then we headed to Nana's for his Big Birthday Bash.
Decorations by Aunt Julie.
Thank God for Nana's house, but I can't wait till ours is big enough to host these things.
And what else could we do besides a Buzz theme? The boy has an unhealthy obsession... but its cute.
Here is Daddy praying for Tommy's year ahead.
I always love this part.
And here is Daddy yelling at Mommy for letting them put red icing on the cake....
 "It will stain everything! Quit laughing and get me a napkin!!!"
I'm of the school of thought that it is one day... let them go nuts, who cares?
Apparently their father does.
Father knows best?
And the grand finale? He is now a card carrying member of the NRA.
Are you eyes watering yet... there is more...
We also got our Christmas tree on Saturday morning, we looked at the calendar and realized it was our last chance for awhile so we took it.
 I know I'm their mother... but this is adorable
.Many layers later we made it to the tree farm.
He looks scared of me doesn't he?

And it seemed we were always going uphill though I know its not possible...
I said to Tom at the outset "We have three small kids, I'm 29 weeks pregnant, lets not go far."
I even said "Not over there at least..." and pointed way across a valley near a pond.

To no avail... the trees in that direction were the best and he knew it.
...she is not outdoorsy either...
 everyone got a turn "helping" Dad with the saw.
Pictures with the tree...
 and timber!!!
 Then me back to the nice warm car... here is me and number 4 getting toasty again.
And last but not least.... first Christmas outfits of the season!
.... whew... maybe I'll get to write about this weekend sometime before Christmas....
I can dream!
 To all a good night!

P.S. If you like the new header and pictures I'll be writing all about that very soon!
My awesome sister in law did them for us... It really deserves its own post!

Ok... for real... good night :)

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Dear Tommy,

Dear Tommy,
It's snowing a lot today, just like it did three years ago when you were born. I love it...
I can't explain the joy you have given us the last three years.
You were the sweetest, most content baby, you ate, slept and smiled all the time.
I don't say that lightly anymore... 
your brother is loved beyond measure but I would never call him "easy going".
Its a compliment for sure, 
but even when you are a screaming, crying mess I would still not trade you for the world...
maybe for a few hours... but I could never stay away for long.
 You are a joy to your Daddy too.
I remember trying to shop with him for things for Bella, and wondering why he didn't seem to be having fun.
Now when we go out to get Christmas gifts I have to remind him about our budget
as he dreams about race tracks and nerf guns he can buy for you... or himself?

You brought out something in him I hadn't seen before, its him when he was a little boy.
totally precious.
And to see you be little brother and now big brother to these two melts my heart.
 You are in a tough spot little man, you sort of have a balancing act to perform.

Never the first to do anything, 
but never the baby either.

I don't envy you, and it won't be easy. But then nothing worthwhile ever is.
God gave you this spot in our family because he knew it was a job made just for you.
You have to be patient with someone smaller who you can boss.... sometimes,
and someone bigger... who is going to boss you... sometimes.
I know that part of that sweet nature God gave you was just for this role.
 Don't misunderstand, you do have your moments and meltdowns....  just like anyone.

But the phrase "a rose between two thorns" keeps popping into my head.
 So happy happy happy birthday to you my sweet baby.
Hold on tight to that joy and sweetness that is so much a part of you.
Its God given.... so keep it always.

When your Daddy prayed for you today he said may we have a hundred years more together,
and may the days go slowly....  I'm sure a hundred years won't be enough.
But I'll say Amen.

Love, Mommy