Saturday, December 28, 2013

Do You Remember

Do you remember that time you let me dye your hair?

that time you made me brownies?
that time I told you you had to come with me to MI for Easter to do your home teaching?
that time we played Rummycube and I was so nervous I ate an entire plate of brownies?
that time you asked me where I am from and because of my answer you thought I didn't like you?
that time you helped me look for fossils in the river?
that time we rode the bus using senior citizen tickets because we didn't understand the system, and inexplicably the bus drivers let us do it?
that time you took me to the chocolate festival?
that time you held me hand as I pushed a baby out into the world?  Three times?
that time I remembered you needed fingernail clippers?
that time the vacuum salesman came, and I cried all night because it was pretty much the worst day?
that time we bought a car that neither of us knew how to drive, so my parents had to drive it off the lot?
that time you let me borrow your car and you parked it early in the morning outside my apartment with a bag of sunchips on the drivers seat for me to find?
that time I gave you a cheese grater for Valentine's Day?
that time you laughed at my joke and made me feel like the funniest person alive?
that time you sat in the computer chair and complained about how uncomfortable it was?
that time I got really, really lost at your marathon and my brother had to come pick me up and help me find you?
that time one of the girls ran to the door in just a diaper when you got home from work and you said, "Where's your pants?!"
that time the girls did something we didn't know how to respond to and we just looked at each other with those big "so this is parenting" eyes?  Every day?

Monday, December 23, 2013

Gingerbread Houses!

This year we kept the Gingerbread House Party simple.  For all the reasons.

I know I look really sick and tired and just sort of bad in these pictures, and I could have gone upstairs and put on nice clothes and my contacts and some makeup and fancied myself up for all of the posterity that will see these pictures.

OR if I knew how to use photoshop and cared about things like that, I could make myself look nice digitally.

Which one takes more effort and time, do you suppose? Just curious...

BUT, this is what I really looked like that day, and I'm mostly not even embarrassed about it.

Love the sweatshirt, Grandma Boling, thank you!  Heather loves it too, finding all of the "Smas smas trees" on it is her favorite game when I wear it.

This year was really exciting because Hallie was able to do most of it on her own.  Nice job Hallie!

 Heather and Daddy were a team. 
She had a pretty spectacular house. 
We were really impressed with some of the pieces she managed to hang.  
She'll be a pro in no time!
 Hanna did all of the decoration application herself, and I did all of the frosting application for her.  She is well on her way to Gingerbread Independence.  Maybe next year!


Sunday, December 22, 2013

Christmas Hair

Devin is gone Sunday mornings when we are getting ready for church, because he has meetings.  He comes home just before we leave, and makes the girls a snack and gets the diaper bag ready and out the door we go.

While I am extremely grateful he does those two things, the rest of getting four people dressed and ready is up to me.

Which means that some weeks, their hair looks great and some weeks it looks exactly the way it did when they woke up that morning.

The Sunday before Christmas however feels like a special Sunday, and I wanted them to look nice.

Except I was tired, and didn't want to have to think about how I was going to do their hair, so I let them choose whatever they wanted and I would just do it.

Hallie went first.  Her request was for "three braids and this flower in my hair."


Here is the finished product.

From the front.  Generic I know but you wanted to see her face, too, didn't you?

And here's what three braids and a flower clip looked like at church on Sunday.
This was the second to last braid I got to put in Hallie's hair before her big haircut.
At least now I can look at it without crying.
And, just curious, how would you have done a "three braids with flower clip" request?

Then it was Hanna's turn. She came to me and asked for "a fancy braid with these two flowers".
Here's how she turned out.  
Again, you wanted to see her face, right?
Heather insisted on being in the picture.
 Ok, and now from the back.

 I didn't really know what to do with TWO clips... so, yeah, whatever.
Since I have never in my life used a bobby pin, I had to use them to tuck the end of her braid up anyway, so I guess it worked out.

Then it was Heather's turn. She was not in the mood for fancy braids or any sort of clips.  
She got water and gel, and off we went to church.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Deal Breaker

My girls watched this music video on October 7, 2013.   That was... you know, a while ago.

That was the only time they ever watched it.

They still walk around the house singing it.

Now that's a catchy tune.

It still makes me laugh every time I watch it, too.  And I've watched it many times since then.

Because it makes me laugh.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

The David Jonathon Giveaway

I've had these clothes sitting on my desk, waiting for this moment, for... two months?

Blah blah blah, I hadn't done it yet, all the reasons why, but I've gotten over it now and it's time.

This year, seeing as how one of the reasons is that I have less energy than I usually do, I'm not going to do the giveaway all in one lump.  I'll do it piece by piece, maybe kind of a 12 days of Christmas thing.

Sort of.

We'll start with the David Jonathon Giveaway.  Back in August, Devin and I were picking up a few things for baby, but since this was before we knew if it was boy or girl, we were just grabbing girl things, on instinct.  And then Devin said, "But what if... it is a boy?" and we stopped and stared at each other, and then Devin said, "Do you think it would jinx us to get just a few boy things?"

And we laughed, because we don't believe in things like jinxes.  We still don't, but it has been, all the reasons I haven't done this yet, but I'm over it now and so if you have the same taste in little boy clothes that I apparently have, well, you know what to do.  Tell me in the comments which one you'd like.  Or go for all three!  It's Christmas!

 Size newborn, Just One Year by Carters, it has two dinosaurs hugging, and it says "Mommy's Snuggle-SAURUS. 

This one... doesn't have a size?  I would guess 2T or 3T, but what do I know about the size of boys?  Definitely toddler though.  Obviously it is a tiny sports coat, complete with suede elbow patches.  The deal with this one is, please, if you get it, send me a picture of your little guy wearing it, please?  This one hurts the most, really.  The tag on the coat says "Jonathon Strong".

Red and blue striped sweater, Chaps.  It says size 4.

Good luck, and more things to Give Away to come, so stay tuned.

This Giveaway will close day after Christmas. December 26th.

Friday, December 13, 2013

The Elegance of Cows

You know those times when the magic of life seems lost in the reality of life?

When the snow is just dirty and grey, and the ice seems slicker than usual, and you keep finding Christmas tree ornaments under the table, and the wrapping paper keeps ripping?

All you want is to take a deep breath and try to slow it all down, but there is a baby inside you that has gotten confused, taken up lodging in your lungs instead of your uterus.  You have no scientific evidence for this, but you strongly suspect that it is true.

All that is left is to lay down for a minute and close your eyes, and try to think quieting, peaceful thoughts.  But those thoughts get lost in the high quality surround sound of little voices shouting, "Stop it!"
"That's mine!"
"I had it!"
"That hurts!"
"Momma! Pooping!" 
mixed to the percussion of little fingers poking at your eyes, and little hands batting at your tummy.

The whole thing swirls around you faster and faster until you are dizzy and breathless with the unending chaos of the reality of life.

Can I tell you a secret that I have learned?

At the very moment when I think that surely this time I will sink beneath the wildness of it all, throwing my hands up in the air and joining in the dance of the Lord of the Flies, I find a moment of perfect stillness, perfect serenity.

I had just fought the battle of coats and shoes, hats and mittens, times three, and we were on our way to pick up Hallie from school.  That dirty city snow covered the ground and road and I was not really in the mood to be sitting outside Hallie's school for the next hour.

We turned the corner, now in the part of our drive that is pretty desolate, nothing but fields as far as the eye can see.  Across that vast expanse of snowy white landscape, I found my moment.  That moment that relaxes every muscle, releases every strain, and provides a week's worth of deep breaths and quiet eyes resting all in an instant.

Did you know that cows are beautiful? 

Picture it.

A parade of all black cows.
More than 30 of them.
Daintily picking their way,
each step a cautious motion forward,
across the snow and ice of that pristine white field.
They walked in single file.
No hurry.  No rush.  No pushing or shoving or squealing or squawking.
No groaning or moaning or whining or whimpering.

And all it takes now is to look out over that field as we drive by and I feel peaceful again.  The cows are still on the other side of the field, and every time we see them Hanna yells, "Mommy, your cows! Your pretty black cows!"

Maybe I'm a simple person, but that's my secret.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

My Body

I've largely been successful in not feeling so angry at my body, although there are still moments of frustration.

To curb that, I've started listing in my head all the reasons I should love my body, all the body parts that are still functioning as they should, and giving me no problems whatsoever.

10 fingers that are amazingly deft and capable.  Thanks, guys.  From opening cans to making quilts to wrapping Christmas presents, you guys have been there for me.

10 toes that sit so nicely on the end of my feet.  I can't really see you very well anymore most of the time, and it's true: absence does make the heart grow fonder.

A neck that swivels and allows me to shift my focus to whatever interests me, or whichever child is shouting for me the loudest.  You hold my head up so patiently, day after day, and receive so little appreciation for it.  Thank you.

2 eyes that are able to absorb and appreciate the beauty and the magic of this time of year.  Sometimes I sit on the couch in the dark and just look at the lights on the Christmas tree.  There are some things you just don't ever grow out of doing.

2 ears that are able to hear my children laugh, come to their aid when they cry, alert me when I need to break up fights, and enjoy beautiful Christmas carols.  Lately, these ears especially love that peaceful silence that descends on my home at around 8:02 every evening, when all the little bodies are tucked in their beds.  Knowing that they are safe and warm and dreaming of plum pudding* makes me happy all over.

A nose to smell all the delicious smells in the world, and the skill that it has picked up as an adult of not noticing quite as much the yuckier smells in life.  You've really grown up from the child who had to hold a flower in front of her nose when we went to the market in Brasil, my dear nose.

A mouth that tastes and laughs and kisses and yawns and drools and holds all my teeth in so nicely.  One of my recurring nightmares since high school is that all my teeth fall out, and so far my mouth has done a nice job keeping that from becoming a reality.  Thank you.


Admittedly, sometimes one or more of these joints hurt and sometimes I have threatened to cut them off from my body, but at the end of the day they get the job done and these days, can I really ask for anything more?

An appendix that has never burst, or even threatened to burst.  We're on good terms, my appendix and I, and I shouldn't take that for granted.

A gall bladder that honestly, I'm not even sure what this little guy does for me, but again, I'm so glad we are friendly and I've never had to worry about having it removed.  Let's keep you in there nice and tight, shall we?

A belly button, especially now that it does not have a two inch tear above it in my insides.  Of all the things I am grateful for this pregnancy, you should really probably be at the top of the list.  Thank you for keeping yourself closed shut this time around.  It feels so good.

Then of course, there are all the other things that get a lot more recognition, and of course I am grateful that they work: brain, lungs, heart, liver, kidney, small intestine, large intestine, stomach, and so on and whatnot and what have you.

It really is a pretty good body to be in, and as far as I can tell it is making one great little baby.

Lest you felt ignored: Way to go uterus.

*Has anyone ever actually eaten plum pudding? What is this?

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Sleeping Beauty and Anger

Hello, hello you poor neglected blog.  You sad, sad little thing.  I haven't been myself lately, and I haven't wanted to take it out on you.  So you see, it's me, not you.  I promise.

I've been angry, at my body, at my current state of weakness and limitations.  I get angry about being in pain and uncomfortable and not being able to move quickly, or take care of my children and home the way I want to.

And I do not like being angry.  So then I get more angry.

On Friday on our way to the church Christmas party the girls asked me to sing their favorite Christmas songs to them, and even though I didn't want to because I was especially angry at myself that night, I obliged and began singing.  When I was done with their songs, I asked if I could sing my favorite Christmas song.

And then I cried the whole way through the song.  And then entire drive to the church I cried.  I was just so tired, and even more so tired of being angry.  It is exhausting to be angry.

I had one of those moments where you just have to slap yourself across the face and say "Wake up!" "Get over it!"  "STOP IT!" I mean, sure, I am going to get bigger and more awkward and uncomfortable and in more pain each day for the next seven and a half weeks.  There is nothing really I can do about that.  While I am grateful that I don't hurt as MUCH as I have in previous pregnancies, I still kept feeling angry at how little I am able to do.

So.  There is nothing I can do about that.  But I can choose to be angry about it, or not.

That's my choice.

On Friday I abandoned my anger, and my insides just feel all better.  My emotional insides, you know.  My physical ones are still very aware that there is a baby inside me that probably has far more limbs than it really should.  Honestly, I don't remember with the other three that it hurt so much when the baby moved.  Uncomfortable, sure.  And when they'd stick in your ribs, sure.  But every movement?  I didn't remember that.

Tonight, Hanna sat on the couch and read me stories.  Disney Princess stories, you know.  The thing about my girls is they know who all the Disney Princesses are, because how can you be a young girl in this world and not know who they are?  But the only Disney movie they have ever actually really watched is Cinderella.  You should have heard me trying to read them the story of The Little Mermaid.  They were completely baffled.  I didn't try too hard to get them to understand it, it being my very least favorite story of all time.

Anyway.  There's Hanna, "reading" me the story of Sleeping Beauty.  It went like this:

Sleeping Beauty was a lovely girl.  She loved all the birds and her owl.  "But wait, there's more!" she said.  "I have a blue dress."  And she did not like the dragon.  But she did like her prince.  And then she lived happily ever after.

I like that story.

My other favorite thing about today, is that Hallie kept trying to talk about when she and Hanna were younger, and she doesn't know the past form of the word "fit" so every time she said "fat", as in "When Hanna was little and she fat in that dress" and I can't help myself, it's funny.  We taught her how to say it right, of course, but part of me is sad that maybe she won't say it that way anymore.

Speaking of which, Heather makes me laugh every time.  When she asks for something, we tell her to say please.  She does.  "Please!"  Then we give it to her, and I ask her to say "thank you".  And every single time, she nods her head and says, "Welcome".  Awesome.

That little girl has the chipmunkiest smile you ever saw, and it's a good thing that she isn't a naturally naughty little person because between me not having the energy and her ridiculous smile, I would be in big trouble.

And, the only other piece of news I can think of to share is that Devin has officially declared that I win the spelling war, and we can name the baby Hazel.  He still isn't "happy" with the 'z', but he says I can have it.  Thanks, honey.

If you are wondering, my favorite Christmas song is "O Holy Night".  You just try singing it when you are feeling lousy about yourself and not cry.  I dare you.