Tuesday, December 28, 2010

that's what he said

B: Wow, making your bed is a really big job.

B: Mom, I'm ready for breakfast! (serious look) I decided to take a break from the sugar cereal. I just picked out the regular cereal.

B: Long sleeves and a tank top look cool. Short sleeves and a tank top (disdainful look), not cool.

B: Mom, I'm sorry that I just washed my hands. UGH! My head just goes crazy when I try to brush my teeth!

B: I am SO going to beat you with my soup!
A (absently): Mmhmm...

A: Oh! It's downright balmy out there - 40 degrees!
B: Is it perfect for a picnic?!

R (while putting together the Hess truck from the Teipe side of our family): These are...
A: Amazing?
R: Kind of the coolest thing in the world.

B: Ooh, there's a tiger on it! RAWR!

B: Smitty, will you please not disturb me when I'm resting?

R (talking to N): I'm going to give Mason and Smith a haircut today, then take them out for ice cream later.
B: Um, Reese, may I please have a haircut?

(I said yes, buzzed his long shaggy hair off, and then we all went to Baskin Robbins.)

Sunday, December 26, 2010

"Warning label? Yes, WARNING: prepare to be blessed."

It has been a difficult week. On Tuesday, I spent the work day preparing for Wednesday, as is usual. What was unusual was that Wednesday was December 22nd. I kept typing and seeing that date EVERYWHERE. It would have been the eighth anniversary for me and big Blake, and at first, though wistful about it, I wasn't overly bothered. Then I went to Blake's school Christmas program.

As I watched his father's MiniMe climb up on stage and wait to start singing, my eyes started to leak and I just wanted to talk to big Blake and tell him what he's missing out on. I looked at our son and wept for what both father and son do not know about the other. I believe that those who have died in Christ have some awareness of what's going on here, but I do not believe that big Blake is always with me. Actually, that would be creepy. Given the choice between face-time with the God of the universe and hover-time with me... well, it isn't really much of a choice at all.
Joy to the world, the Lord is come! Let earth receive her King;
let every heart prepare Him room and Heaven and nature sing!
I pondered about it all day. He's missing out on so much. Does he know? Will he ever really get to fill in those blanks when we're all together in glory? And December 22nd. December 22nd. December 22nd.

I read this, wondering if anyone had posted anything since 2005. They had not. I kept catching myself crying quietly, being largely worthless at the job and hoping my office mate assumed I had a sniffly cold. I picked up Blake and told him how proud both his dads must be of him, but that sadly neither was able to attend the program, and I choked up and couldn't quite get it all out.

"Do you just think I cry all the time, Blake?"

Rob got home and let me sob all over him, squeezing my hand in understanding as I tried to explain this particular sorrow. My grief is taking new shape with a new man in my life. I do not miss big Blake so much for myself now - we would be strangers to each other at this point - I grieve for our boy and for the layers of complicated family tugs that I feel all the time, but especially keenly at Christmas.
Joy to the earth, the Savior reigns! Let men their songs employ;
while fields and floods, rocks, hills and plains repeat the sounding joy!
My friends and family poured out love upon me via the magical medium of Facebook. I had posted about my aching heart and expressed gratitude for my RobRob for taking on all of this: this woman whose life should have come with a warning label. The title of this post comes from one friend's reply, which took me by surprise, for I rarely feel like a blessing to others... which is good! It's not about me.
He rules the world with truth and grace and makes the nations prove
the glories of His righteousness and wonders of His love!
The next day contained a particular piece of bad news that I am not at liberty to share, but it did have the effect of co-opting my emotion on Tuesday in a wholly new direction. I decided Christmas had been ruined.

And yet... I love Christmas. I think I always have, but it holds so many meanings for me in so many areas of my life that I love it more each year. And each year it seems I am reminded that it is a minefield for me (and truthfully, for many). The blessings, however, will always outweigh the aches.
No more let sin and sorrow grow, nor thorns infest the ground.
He comes to make His blessings flow far as the curse is found!
We had family pictures taken hours after I decided upon holiday ruination. These are my two favorites, and Christmas day itself was delightful. I am also seeing God work real miracles out in my heart, and the holiday was by no means ruined. It wasn't even marred.

Our Christmas card, which, by the time I send it out, will be more of a Valentine. And, just as I thought last year, "It can only get better from here."

Sunday, December 19, 2010

bedtime stories

A: (after tucking B in and leaving the room) I HEAR YOU BEEN TICKLING MY SON.
A: (claps hands very hard)
B: (from the bedroom, giggles hysterically)
A: (claps hands very hard)
B: (from the bedroom, giggles hysterically)
A: (quietly) We might be starting a bad habit, but his giggles melt my heart.

B: Dear Jesus, please help us to sell the condo and help Mom when she's in Hawaii so I can have a brother and a sister. Amen.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

even more grateful!

We had a great, great, GREAT day yesterday. Against my better judgment (driving so late, having fewer than 24 hours to stay, pulling B from school, skipping BSF), we all bundled into the car on Tuesday night after Rob got off work and drove to Billings. He had the opportunity to meet with some folks on Wednesday - his day off - and wanted to jump on it and wanted us to come along. So we did.

On Wednesday (yesterday), I got to spend a good chunk of easy-going time with family (Mom, Lane, Maddox, and Jetty), we all enjoyed some great Laotian food, and to cap it off, one of my closest friends and her husband had their son while we were in town. I got to meet Titus James within hours of his birth (didn't take pictures because my hands were full of BABY! the whole time I was in the hospital room), which was so special to me. I had wondered how it would work out when he was born, with Rob working so much and me aching to go to Billings to meet T and him aching to go too and unable to leave. God has said no to many of our requests lately, and I didn't even pray about this, but I joked to Molly that she was awfully kind and considerate, being over a week overdue and then progressing through labor SO quickly for me to be able to meet and hold her son before leaving town. It was a little bonus that I appreciated so much, God working out the timing perfectly.

While in the hospital room, we prayed over the family of a young man - a friend of theirs - who died recently in a car accident. The "how" and "why" of his death will likely never be known this side of heaven, but it was a privilege to lift up those who love and miss him before God. And while I have this song on CD by another artist, I hadn't watched this video (posted by Molly) until today.

A life taken, a life given, and God loves us through our joy and anger. He is not offended by our frustration at Him, and He loves us mightily with a love that is not made meaningless by Him wasting it saying "Oh, and I also love coffee. You and coffee. Man, that's gotta make you feel good."

How He Loves : A Song Story from john mark mcmillan on Vimeo.

My heart is so full.

Monday, December 6, 2010

grateful good times

Also in his Thanksgiving list, in this order: I am thankful for video games, feast (they had a "friendship feast" in their class), mice, my family.
We rated after mice, video games, and food.

At the car wash, with his color change car in hand.

Cleaning cars is a VERY SERIOUS BUSINESS.

I looked over and honestly thought there was a hedgehog on my feeder. Anyone know what this is? My guess is a young starling-type bird, which shouldn't be young this time of year. Weird.

Glammed up for a friend's 80s themed birthday party. I forgot how easy it is to achieve mall bangs! Rob was quite literally speechless when I emerged from getting ready. Mission: accomplished. I also led the karaoke charge with "Livin' on a Prayer" by Bon Jovi, and during an instrumental riff, felt compelled to bang my head. I have been paying for it ever since, but I stand by my decision as it was the right thing to do.

Reese and I took the older boys to the Christmas Stroll downtown, which, as usual, was flippin' FREEZING. All the monkeys got to see Santa Claus, immediately identified the downtown tinsel trees as "spiders," warmed up by insisting on cocoa (also known as "coke-up") then refusing to drink most of it, roasted s'mores, and identified game mounts within the Powderhorn.

I LOVE our mantel this year, mostly because of the wreath ($25 and made locally!) and the footed bowl full of balls glass ornaments.

Sparkle and mellow. This nativity scene was a gift from a dear friend for my December wedding to big Blake. Little Blake loves the cartoon-like figures, they are sturdy enough for him to play without fear of breakage, and when he was two, Lane and I taught him the noises for the animals and the angel (an operatic monosyllabic AAAAAAAW!).

My big project. I decided in late November that I didn't want to buy another paper Advent calendar. First of all, by the time I start looking, all that are left are ones that open up to a Santa scene, which I hate. I realize that I cannot single-handedly change the focus of this season, but seriously, an Advent calendar that opens on Santa? SANTA?! It just shows a clear lack of knowledge about Advent, a season of expectant waiting and anticipation of Christ.

I decided I would buy a handmade one on Etsy. No luck there either. Then I decided I would make one, but not out of paper. This bad boy came together in a few short days, with the binding and hanging portions taking the most time, due to hand stitching. Next year I will plan a little further ahead and put together a themed item in each day (a friend has written a book to help instruct children on Advent, and each day has a meaningful token to go along with the Scripture). This year, I have a Hershey kiss in each one, accompanied by Bible verses that Blake and I go over first. I'm pretty stinkin' proud of it, Blake's excited about it, and I finally feel like I might be able to keep up with my awesomely sew-tastic friends!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

we were at mackenzie, in case that's not clear

D: What's this meat?
B: It's prosciutto.
D: Yeah, well, what's that then?
B: It's pork, not sure what cut, that's been sliced really thinly and cured by doing something and putting it in a closet or something for about six months.
D: Since when do you know so much about prosciutto without really knowing anything about prosciutto?
B: Well, I worked in a restaurant, so...
A: Um, at MacKenzie River. A pizza joint. THEY don't use prosciutto.
(silence across the table)
R: Addie, where do you think we ARE? Wow. (to the others) She's not the sharpest, but at least she's cute.