Friday, December 23, 2011

The Christmas Club

There is a whole genre of clubs that require no dues, have millions of members, but nobody is trying to join. They are clubs that once you're in, you're in. These clubs require that you have one significant thing in common. I'm in a couple of these clubs. I am a member of the infertility club and the death of a loved child club. I have managed to go 26 Christmases without being very sensitive to the Christmas Club. This is a group of people who want to slap the crap out of the stupid smiley faces of people like me, around the holidays. These are the people we nickname 'the grinch' or 'scrooge' or 'grumpy'. You'd think that because we are all a part of one of these free, lifelong, heartbreaking clubs that we'd be more sensitive to them. This is what I've learned this Christmas.

I. Love. Christmas. I even love the insanely ridiculous Christmas songs that play on a loop in the mall. When I worked at David's Bridal, Christmas was my favorite time of the year. I belonged in one of those romantic comedies set in December, in Manhattan. I sorted the dresses with a skip in my step and a song on my lips. My coworkers thought about investing in a tranquilizer gun, and they would have been justified in using it. My parents are still married, and are madly in love. My husband is crazy, but faithful and present. My children are healthy, happy, and here. I have a roof over my head, and food on my table. I am redeemed, and in love with a man whose birthday we celebrate this season. I. Love. Christmas.

The Christmas Club, however, is filled with a group of people who probably want to feel the euphoria that I do around this season, but instead feel mocked by the commercial joy that's being sold on, quite literally, every corner. These people can't look anywhere without seeing people who are exuding, sincerely or not, a happiness that they can't feel. I remember this feeling when I wanted nothing more than to be pregnant, had been told I never would be, and every single stinking woman was round with the blessing that I had been denied. I wanted to hit pregnant women... in the face... every day. Who does that?!?!?! People in the club!

So here's to the Christmas Club. I apologize for the shock that I've displayed every year at your 'scrooginess'. It was ignorant and insensitive for me to deny you the club rights that I myself claim. You are loved, and prayed for.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

August on Time

Here's to being on top of things! August has been c.r.a.z.y. Rusty and I got to take our first real break from the chillins. My parents came in and kept the boys for four whole days. It was magical. I felt like we were dating again, except that we got to sleep in the same bed. *score* The boys loved having the g-parents here, and actually cried when my mom told them that we were coming home, because they knew that meant the fun adults would leave soon.

Rusty and I went to a crazy bed and breakfast. Literally crazy because the owner should be committed. Do not go to the Inn of the Patriots, unless you have a fascination with how Mental Illness works in a person running a business. In spite of that, we had a fantastic time just being together. I feel like maybe I've developed a slight case of tourette syndrome though, on occasion I felt like I needed to hush a non-existent child. odd.

Mid august was the start of yet another semester for Rusty, and he started his 15 hours of graduate level classes. *what are we thinking?* I actually look forward to the semester starting because even though it's chaotic, it's predictable chaos. I work better under predictable stress. We have all started our fall supplements of probiotics, vitamins, and cod liver oil. We're NOT getting sick this semester.

August is wrapping up and so far we're doing okay! Rusty has survived his first week of classes, I haven't killed the boys, and I've gotten started on a routine with a chiropractor that I am hopeful is going to fix my back right up. Fingers crossed for September success.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

July in August

My children keep on getting bigger, without my permission. Judah has started saying, "I LOVE YOU TOOOOOOOO!" In response to our I love yous. Andrew talks, constantly. He has started making up stories, and songs, and games. It's hilarious. Judah sings "burn burn fire" (Ring of Fire) at every meal. They play together remarkably well! They also fight a lot more. Andrew can name all seven continents (even though he calls Europe, "syrup") and all four oceans (Even though he calls the Indian ocean the "Indy Ocean"). Rusty continues to teach him all the shapes that most people don't learn until middle school geometry. For example, he can name trapezoid, rhombus, pentagon, and so on. FREAK, I know. He has also mastered all the letters in the English alphabet, and the Hebrew alphabet. He knows the Greek song, but doesn't recognize the symbols yet (dummy). Judah thinks Andrew's name is Judah. So we're pushing him towards athletics. Here are some pictures. (yes, Judah buried Andrew in the toy box)

Monday, August 29, 2011


I'm in a bit of a funk. I hurt my back about 7 weeks ago, and it is still giving me a really hard time. The boys have learned that they can take advantage of me, because I cannot deal with them as usual because of the pain. My friends are carrying on without me, because they are young and healthy. And I am struggling with contentment. Every day I have to pull myself out of the pity party that I'm throwing and remind myself that all of this will get better. My back will heal, my kids will receive enough correction to go back to the somewhat obedient children that they usually are, and I will get the green light to go back to the gym with my girlfriends soon enough! My life WILL get better.

In church yesterday we heard about a family in Israel that is in the thick of some very serious persecution. Their lives are hard. Like really hard. They've chosen to stay where they are so that the people who persecute them will know that their faith rests on the one who will ultimately win it all. What a challenging story.

In short, I am praying that I will be constantly reminded that this world is not where my hope rests. It's okay to enjoy our time here, but feeling as though this side of heaven is failing me is proof that I've become too comfortable in what it has to offer. I'll pray for you if you'll pray for me.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Parental Growth

I've been feeling really frustrated with parenting lately, and I thought I was in need of a tune up. Rusty's been really busy with grad school, work, and now summer school, so I've been on my own a LOT. The boys have felt the stress and it has shown itself in whining, and temper tantrums. Judah is getting bigger and stronger and, as it turns out, is a wicked wicked little thing. He is, more often than not, the cause of any strife between the two. I am having to teach Andrew to retaliate just enough to get Judah off of him, but not so much that he causes major injuries. Anyway, it's been a tough couple months. I picked up this book and I am about half way through. I thought I would recommend it because it does a really great job of discussing how your children should take priority without forgetting to accomplish your other tasks. I have started praying with the boys before bed again, and I am surprised about how much it helps me to re-establish a calm attitude. Andrew sits still with his hands folded, and Judah runs around like a crazy person. But ultimately it's two minutes that refocuses the family before the end of the day. I use it as an opportunity to ask forgiveness for losing my patience with the boys, and to ask for help to grow in all my many areas of weakness. I've got a long way to go. These boys try my patience, but my heart desires to be a mother that teaches them what's really important.

June in July

Andrew was doing SO WELL with potty training, but then just decided all of a sudden to hold it until he got a diaper on. So we started giving him tattoos for pooping in the potty. That's right, we talk about poop on this blog. So here's some evidence of his success.

The best part about summer is getting to spend so much time playing in water! We spend a ton of time at the pool, and when Rusty got a day off of work we went to the lake. The boys get so excited to spend time with their daddy that they swarm him. Rusty does a great job juggling both boys.

We have read a handful of books to Andrew so many times that he knows all the words. This is one of them. Forgive the crotch shot.

Aunt Julia pointed out just how sad it is that Andrew gets the whole lap, while Judah has to get on tippie toes to read over the arm of the chair. Us youngest siblings really have to work to get what we want.

Making up for May

I am so very rarely in the pictures, since I am always the photographer, so I stole an opportunity to make Rusty take pictures while I forced the boys to sit with me. Andrew was a willing participant, while Judah was less so...

The haircut for the summer is just like Daddy's. We take the boys out in their highchairs and buzz their adorable little heads. Now my boys all look the same.

One of my favorite things about Spring is all the fresh fruit. There is an organic strawberry farm and me and the boys went and picked strawberries for strawberry shortcake. I could live on the stuff.

That pretty much sums up that month.

Andrew turned THREE! (three months ago)

My sweet boy turned three on April 12th! We celebrated with a cookout. Friends and family met at a park and toughed out some spring showers together. We had cake in an old little cabin and opened presents. My Andrew is growing into one of the kindest little guys I've ever known. His personality is so laid back, that I am becoming convinced that I took someone elses child home from the hospital. His favorite things are: big trucks, motorcycles, reading books, and snacks. After two years of trying for a baby, I was given this bundle, and I love him.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Office/Desk Organization

Avoid a jumbled mess of mail and school papers by setting up a message center and inbox for each family member. Use the area to corral artwork, homework assignments, forms, and magazines as soon as they enter the house. At each week's end, go through the contents of each box; discard old material and file away things you want to keep.

I like this desk set up!

Take your office anywhere -- to the couch, dining room table, or deck -- with this tote-able solution. Outfit a dish drainer with pretty file folders, and use the utensil holders to organize pens, pencils, and small notebooks. Slip the dish drainer into a cabinet when not in use.

Turn an old cart into a mobile office. Lower shelves can store notebooks and boxes for supplies and paperwork (try using a vintage suitcase to corral everything). Plus, the cart can be pulled up to an armchair or couch, and the top surface can be used as a laptop workstation.

Use unexpected containers, such as these simple mailboxes, for desk-side storage. They're perfect for organizing mail, takeout menus, and bills. Plus, they'll keep your desktop paper-free. Dress them with pretty motifs from wallpaper remnants or decorative paper adhered with decoupage medium.

Mount a low-cost shower caddy to the wall to stash home office supplies, bills, and mail or create gift central (shown here) by storing stationery and wrapping paper. Add ribbon to a wire canister to hang writing utensils from one of the hooks.

andrew's funny

Me to Andrew:
 "Daddy is my husband!
Grandma is my mommy!
Judah is my son!
Lala is my sister!"

"Lala is MY sister!"

"No, Lala is your AUNT."

"Yeah, Lala is my bug."

(Andrew hates having dirty hands, so one night this was our interaction.)

It's 8:30 and Andrew had been in bed for 30 minutes.

"I have a booger!!!! Mommy.... I have a BOOGER! MOMMY, I have a BOOOOOOGER! BOOOOOOOGERRRRRR!"

Me *in thought only*:
"Wipe it on your sheets like a normal boy!!!"

Andrew (now in tears):
"Booger on mine fingers!"

So I go up, wipe it off with a tissue, and he rolls over and falls right asleep. (!?!?!)


After a particular incident where I lost my temper, Andrew turned to Rusty and said, "Mommy needs to go back to bed. Her is tired."

Kitchen Organization

Plan and shop for several meals at once, then sort the non-perishable ingredients for each, including side dishes, into bins or baskets. Attach a label and the recipe. Now that meal preparation time is cut in half!

Organize Grocery list by type of food, so that there's less doubling back to get something you overlooked.

Clear sink space with over the door wire storage for the daily used items.

Shift dry goods into airtight, stackable containers. Packaged food products can be stored more compactly when transferred from their packaging into stacking containers. Cut out the necessary information from the package (instructions, nutritional information, etc.) and tape to the outside of the container.

Rethink how you use tension curtain rods. Place rows of the affordable window treatment hardware inside a cabinet to keep baking sheets and serving trays upright and well-organized.

Stock your freezer with storage-smart ideas to make use of every inch of shelf space. Use plastic baskets (an affordable organization tool) to store foods by type and put a labeled tag on each. (We used scrapbook paper and luggage tags.) Keep small adhesive labels and a permanent marker on hand to label individual containers.

Give order to a collection of small appliances with a system of cubbies. Tuck in the necessary attachments and manuals that accompany each appliance so everything is on hand.