Friday, October 28, 2011

Thursday, October 20, 2011

the pumpkin patch!

Same song, new verse.

I know, you've seen it all before. And even before. And even, before that. But I just can't help myself. And so, in case you're feeling so inclined, here are a few shots from our recent trip to our favorite pumpkin patch - last weekend.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

*this just in*

* I discovered a forgotten half-bowl of chocolate ganache which desperately needed to be used up. Happiness!

* My 20-month-old has developed a passionate love of Kombucha. Grape Kombucha, to be precise. She is forever draining her sippy cup and asking for more.

* I recently did some figuring, and determined that if all goes according to plan, we'll be in great shape with our school lessons by the baby's due date. But my babies are never inclined to arrive by their EDDs, and I am planning to continue with homeschooling pretty much right up to the birth. So anything we accomplish after that will be icing on the cake. Sweet!

* Speaking of the baby, I am feeling so ready to meet him or her. And weary of this pregnancy. All of which means that the next 7-9 weeks could seem really, really long. However, we're not ready yet anyway. We need to get a new car seat, and some newborn-sized Pampers (yes, I still cloth diaper, but I prefer to use paper diapers that first week or two), and set up the bassinet...

* I finished all of my Christmas shopping last week. For a woman expecting her baby in mid-December, this is fantastic news. Now to tackle the gift wrapping...

* Those of you who receive packages from us at Christmastime might just be finding them on your doorsteps obscenely early. I make no apologies!

* In July, I felt like making caramel corn. In October, I feel like making peanut clusters. I seem to be precisely one season off lately...

Sunday, October 16, 2011

sticks, stones, and the other stuff

"A cat's a better mother than you."

I have always found these words from Rhett Butler to Scarlett in "Gone With the Wind" rather jarring. They make me cringe. And while I might agree that Scarlett would never have been nominated for the Mother of the Year Award, that was just plain cruel. I mean, I think it's fair to say that most, if not all, mothers have a sort of tape of self-criticism that plays in our minds. We chronicle our faults, our failings, the times we messed up. We know all too well where we have failed to measure up to what we want to be as mothers. We don't need reminding.

Not too long ago, someone told me to my face that I am "unapproachable." Here's the bald truth: I am a shy person. I'm reserved. I'm an introvert. I find it draining to be in groups for large amounts of time. I'm not a natural conversationalist, or a social butterfly. But I try. I try as a believer in Christ, as the wife of an elder, and as a person who cares. I approach people I don't know at church. I often seek out someone sitting alone at gatherings. I've learned a little bit about the give and take of conversation during the past few years, and I think I'm slowly getting better. I am still reserved, and it isn't at all easy for me. But I am trying.

So...those words felt an awful lot like a slap in the face. And they were spoken in front of some people I really respect, so thankyouverymuch for that.

Did you ever see that episode of television's Friends? The one where Ross was trying to decide between Rachel and this other gal, and he made a List? It was a list of pros and cons, the girls' benefits and drawbacks. Rachel ended up coming out on top, but in the course of time she discovered the list, and was deeply hurt by it. She knew all that bad stuff about herself. She didn't need to see it pointed out, examined as a reason whether or not to be with her, especially not by someone who claimed to care.

I know that there are times when words of edification are in order. Spoken lovingly, received with a humble heart, these words can spur us on to be more like Jesus, and help us to grow. But so often (and especially in this modern, computer-driven world) words are spoken carelessly, boldly taking us places where we wouldn't think of going under normal circumstances.

As a mother, more often than I care to admit, the words I speak to my children are critical. They are meant to be edifying, but they end up pointing out incomplete tasks, unkindness to another child, carelessness. And I don't want to leave my children with that tape in their minds. I'm striving to find the balance between encouraging work well-done, work they can take pride in, and the sense that they're not measuring up. And more often than not, I want to point out when they do things well. The times when they are considerate and courteous. Those moments when they remind me of Jesus.

Because let's face it - for the most part, we know our faults. We know the places where we don't meet the standard that's been set before us. We are well aware of the times we fall down and fail to meet the hopes and expectations of those around us.

I want my words to be the kind that encourage positive self-esteem and cultivate a desire to keep on trying.

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.
1 Thessalonians 5:11

Saturday, October 15, 2011

remembering our babies

Today, October 15th, marks the annual Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. It's a day to remember the sweet babies who have flown away far, far too soon - whether it be through miscarriage, stillbirth, ectopic pregnancy, or the death of an infant.

This subject is one that is, all too often, dealt with in silence. There is a a strange, unspoken taboo against sharing about these losses. This day of remembrance is a way to honor the little ones who never fully shared in our families' lives, as well as to offer support to those who have suffered through the loss of a precious addition to their families.

One of the most beautiful parts about this day is the Wave of Light. At 7pm, wherever you are, you can light a candle. Leave it burning for one hour and it will become part of a continuous wave of light in memory of these sweet babies.

I know we'll be doing that in our house, in honor of our precious Riley Jordan.

Friday, October 14, 2011

this girl...

This girl...

...has discovered that a basic stool grants her access to a great many things, including the kitchen counter and the bathroom soap dispensers.

...loves to rummage through the flatware.

...steals her brothers' stuff in order to get them to chase her.

...has developed quite the fashion sense. When I buy something new for her that I hope she'll love, I try to play it very, very cool. I'm letting her think this darling new item is her discovery.

...will bring her own book when I'm reading school books to the boys and climb up next to me on the loveseat.

...won't keep pigtails in longer than 60 minutes.

...loves to rummage through her pajama drawer.

...thinks she's at least three years old.

...often carries around an article of clothing - and she's not picky. It could be her brother's dirty sock, pajama pants she pulled from her dresser, a shirt from the basket of clean laundry, or a pair of mama's underwear. But once she has decided she likes something, it's glued to her little hand.

...loves to hold my hand whenever we walk somewhere - even to another room in the house. She absolutely melts me!

...blesses my heart every single day.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

family folklore

Considering how quiet the blog has been lately, I thought I'd reach into the archives of my email to share an "old" story with you. This incident happened on March 13, 2007. Owen and Elise had not been born yet, Benjamin was at preschool, and our little Kyle was about 17 months old.

Though it's a story on him, Kyle loves to hear about this day. And as for me, it taught me a big lesson about preparedness as a mama. Here is the story as I wrote it out that very day, in order to share with friends and family:

....and here's what happened today. Kyle's big thing lately is to go around and close doors. Bathroom doors, bedroom doors, you name it. This morning I learned that he can lock them, too! I went out to our garage (which is attached) to get some shopping bags out of van, leaving the door into the house open. I was in the garage maybe 30 seconds, and in the meantime I heard my 17-month-old close the door. When I got to it and turned the handle, it was locked! It wasn't even one of those push-button ones, it's a flat lock that you turn!

We have a cat door in that doorway, so I was able to see & talk to him. I tried to get him to unlock it, but he just grinned at me. Tried reaching my arm up through the cat door toward the doorknob-- but there was no way I could reach. Then I had the bright idea of having him bring me my purse. He would get up, walk off purposefully, and come back with no purse! I don't even know if he knows what my purse is, but regardless, he would not or could not bring it to me. At this point I'm starting to get a little panicked. My husband works way across the city, we don't have a key hidden anywhere, and I am supposed to go pick up my older son from preschool in about an hour. I have no keys, no phone, no coat. I did have garage door opener in the van, so I finally decided to take it with me, close the garage, and use a neighbor's phone. At that point Kyle was getting upset. Mama, why are you leaving? Why are you closing the garage door when I'm here by myself? He was was so hard to leave him like that!

Thankfully I found a neighbor who was home, and let me make few phone calls. Even after the locksmith got there, it was another 20 minutes before they could get either of our doors open. Thankfully Kyle was happy enough at that point. Bewildered, yes, but just glad I was back. I had found a bag of Cheerios the van, so I passed it through the cat door for him to munch on (this was all during lunchtime, but we hadn't eaten yet).

So...I guess from now on I need to take my keys with me when I go bring groceries, etc. in from the van! Or go out to get a soda, or give the cat food, or anything. Ugh. Either that, or keep a key in the van... Hide-a-keys make me nervous, so I don't think we'll do anything like that...

The funny thing in all of this is that right before I got locked out, my darling son had pooped in his diaper! So he spent the better part of an hour sitting on that poop, squishing it flatter than a pancake. Not to mention being really smelly! What a stinker!

Love from a very exhausted

Monday, October 3, 2011

a letter to my neighbors

To my dear neighbors ...

I think you ought to know that we actually do discourage our children from screaming bloody murder in the back yard. But sometimes they forget. And while I try to come as soon as I hear their playful screams, these days during playtime I am often upstairs. And pregnant. Sometimes exercising on the floor. So it may take me a while. But rest assured, when you hear those otherworldly noises coming from our yard, I am waddling downstairs as quickly as my tired old feet can carry me.

Also, we really are going to do more with that back yard. Promise.

Another thing I'd like to point out is that I almost never hear knocks on the door. Between noisy kitchen activities (small appliances, the dishwasher, the faucet running, not to mention my love of listening to music as I work) and the fact that it's impossible to hear a knock on the door from the second story...well, knock at your own risk. I know I'm in the minority, but I really don't mind if you use the doorbell.

Lastly, there's no need to be concerned if you see the light at the back door being turned on and off, on and off, on and off. Please don't concern yourself that someone might be trying to signal an S.O.S. in Morse Code. There's no need, I promise. It's only that my little girl has discovered the versatility of the humble stool, and she is also very fond of light switches. I am merely trying to pick my battles here, especially when there's a toddler involved.

So, that's it. There were just a few things I thought you might need to know. Do with that information as you will...