Thursday, December 29, 2011


I have learned that, though I am eager to host people now that we have room to do it, two near-straight weeks of hosting others (beloved though they are) leaves me spent. I reached a point that I foolishly expressed to my mother and sister:

"I'm ready for everyone to go away and leave me alone... for the dishes to stay done for more than an hour, for the floor to stay swept, to not have to think about what I have that will feed everyone THIS meal."

They were gracious and understanding, sort of. Apparently sweet Momica went to a wedding and told friends she'd become like the smell of a dead fish in my nostrils. Not QUITE a direct quote, MOTHER!

While it's glorious to have space, to welcome friends, and to share in our blessing with others, I think I may have ODed on my first go-round. It's time to weed through the remaining boxes in the garage, find our framed things to hang on the walls, and be ruthless with the alarming number of toys Blake's accumulated. Turns out that, while diligent about the quantity of playthings in our condo, I neglected to keep track of how many boxes of toys were accruing in the garage. We've found almost all of them, and Blake and his cousins have been joyously playing with obscene quantities of superheroes, motorcycles/trucks, John Deere, Transformers, and Star Wars miscellany. I'm about to pour some cold water on all that, because MY WORD.

Third World countries have fewer quality toys than one child with eight grandparents and some awfully indulgent aunts and uncles (pretty sure Rob and I have stayed above the fray, but please don't ask about how the quantity of Legos figures into the equation, because my hypocrisy knows no bounds).

I have photos for you on my camera, waiting to be shared, but first to Costco and the grocery store. Blake's coming down hard, asking if we're doing anything "special" today. Post-Christmas normalcy is a real let-down, but I think I can manage an ice cream cone and a movie, once some of the laundry is done. And one of the benefits of the holidays will be the bag of mint M&Ms that accompany us on our errands.

I might even share with him.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

o happy day

Merry Christmas. I managed to wake before Blake and had some of the candles ready to go. We waited for Rob to roust himself (coffee helped - doesn't it always?), then read the last two days of the Advent calendar preparations and the Scripture to go with them.

Blake made short work of his pile of presents and Rob and I remarked again on the embarrassment of riches bestowed upon us at the end of 2011. After a season of God answering our prayers with "No," or "Not yet," he said "Yes." To everything. All at once. We want to acknowledge his grace with humility and gratitude and be good stewards of all He's entrusted to us.

Blake isn't embarrassed AT ALL and simply wants to put together the approximately 400 Lego sets he got this year (I made the only misstep, accidentally getting him two small sets he already had). Rob's already assembled his new computer chair and sat in it, though he stubbornly refuses to promise that he won't do so nekkid at some point in the future. I'm luxuriating in pretty new wool socks (seriously one of my favorite gifts: I wear holes in them so often and I hate buying socks) and the new music that comes from a fresh iTunes gift card. It's Christmas music, and I'll listen to it gleefully for a while before I put it aside for more timely things.

My folks are coming for the Christmas meal, which we'll host, and the Schuylers will join us too. The candied almonds were made last night, the caramel rolls baked this morning. Caramels were boiled back down and to a higher temperature so I could more easily cut and wrap them last night (the first go-round was too runny). The steaks are marinating, the king crab will arrive with the Myers, and with those two things, I don't really care about anything else we eat today, though the kids may very well slip into quiet little sugar comas.

I love having a home where we can welcome everyone, where the kids can run and play in more places than right under my feet, where the sounds and smells of the joy of Christmas traditions can fill the air as we cultivate the relationships we hold so very dear. There's a fire in the stove, family is on the way, God's in His heaven and all is right with the world, or at least it will be, once I close this computer and focus my attention elsewhere.

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 23, 2011

love and love and love

I waited until bedtime to look through two photo albums. What surprised me most was that I had forgotten about big Blake's dimples (they only really came out when he smiled sincerely), and as I paged through photo after photo of his arm or arms around me, I realized I had forgotten how much he loved me. It seems so evident in the pictures, and yet it often feels like a torch I'm carrying alone. I need to remember that he's still loving me from somewhere, because even though the realization made me cry last night, it was also really comforting.

I wasn't in the marriage alone. Just this part.

It was sweet to reminisce, to see all the adventures we had together, and then it was sweet to cuddle into Rob when he got home from work to rewarm my icy feet. My life is so full and so richly blessed. I am peacefully content and one very fortunate woman.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

unsentimental, until i wallow in it

Oh Christmas. Oh! Christmas!

I got married at Christmastime. Today would have been nine years for me and my original Blakie. I loved that it seemed as though everyone all over the city had decorated for OUR day. I bought a huge roll of silver and white wrapping paper to cover bulletin boards in the theater we married in, a roll so big that all our presents have been wrapped with it again this year, as they have been for the last nine years. I had no idea it would last so long, nor that it would outlast my husband. That is disorienting to me.

We used silver, gold, cream, white, and red glass ornaments of many varied sizes as part of the wedding decorations, and I have used them every year since. I love them. The stocking that was his became his son's, and is now Rob's until I have the time and memory to make us a whole new set of four that match. I am ruthlessly unsentimental about many things. Using this stuff may have caused a pang or two the first year or two, but no longer. I see them and love that I have things that are beautiful and that were used on a beautiful day, and I do not notice or miss the things that have broken or vanished over the years. Except that one major "thing" that both broke and vanished, a week after our second anniversary.

I wonder at the shape my sorrow takes as years pass. I do not actively miss Blake the way I used to. Memories are sweet and wistful and can move me to tears, but I'm very much caught up in the present chaos of life. I wonder if we'd know each other now, or what we'd be like as a couple had he lived. Those are usually short roads I do not wander along very long, because they are pointless and often painfully confusing. I trust that, when we get to see one another again, I may be permitted to sucker punch him in the gut (if I still feel like doing so), then hug him for about a hundred years. And I hope that it will simply be a sweet reunion and reintroduction, not a meeting of two who have been long since strangers.

I don't know how God organizes this stuff, but I know it will be perfect. Easy, even, as I introduce one earthly husband to another, which right now makes my gut wrench and my mind spasm with an "ACK! Awkward!"

It's hard to know how to commemorate this day now, too. I do not celebrate it - there's nothing to really celebrate anymore. I do not ignore it - it's a big deal to me. I just make others aware, not for pity, but out of the desire that Daddy Blake never be forgotten, even if the only way people know him is through the lens I've shaped. And I think that this year, I'll even look through our photos, though it will definitely make me cry (pregnancy hormones at this season again - what a roller coaster!). Because I want to, and that seems like a good enough reason for me.

Except then I found the two pics for this post and thought, "OH MY WORD! WE WERE LITTLE TINY BABIES!!!!" My bangs alone might move me to tears.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

this is totally how i'd christmas carol

Found this on 22 Words and couldn't stop laughing.

"First Rhett and Link uploaded themselves singing Christmas carols to YouTube and let YouTube’s auto-captioning guess what they were saying. Then they went caroling again with those captions as the new lyrics.

It’s holiday gold. Merry Charisma Wrist!"

Monday, December 12, 2011


According to one poll, both "Adele" and "Bing" are in the top trending names for 2011. I realize I have no control over this, but it's nice to have a soulful-voiced redhead driving a lovely name, rather than always hearing, "Adele? My grandmother's name is Adele!" And "Bing" apparently hearkens back to Rat Pack days, where dapper style and well-coifed 'dos were de riguer. I'd like to think both my brother-in-law and I personify these same trends, but maybe I'm over-inflating things a bit?

Sunday, December 11, 2011


Video as promised. Sawyer takes some time to warm up to the idea of performing, since he'd apparently rather see the video he hasn't done anything to create yet.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

picture post

This boy is an impossible ham! I think he was proving that he'd eaten everything.
In this one, it was more to do with the fact that he'd missed a spot. All over his face.
There was a big spider outside Sawyer's room, and we heard a whispered commotion: "It's walking towards the door! Blow on it! Blow on it! Keep it out of Sawyer's room!" Sawyer, asleep, was oblivious of the care his brothers and cousins took to prevent a spider entry under his door. Blake eventually arrived with a Kleenex and crushed it.
We had a big gathering for Thanksgiving, and it was so good to see Hans (lower right baldy - love you Hans!) and Aubyn (next photo) after a long time away. They moved to the east coast, so I guess it's understandable.
We were all held captive by Aubyn, back in her family element and chatty as all get out. I've missed that girl.
Grammie bought blocks in the hopes of entertaining boys that range in age from two to over six.
It worked!
Reese got Soy-boy a set of Spiderman jammies to compensate for the twins' Spiderman costumes. HE WAS SO HAPPY! Video of him jumping off the hearth (like Spiderman) to come soon.
The moving has begun! I'm standing in the dining area, facing northwest.
Our magnificently large kitchen!
Dining room. Got to add a tablecloth to our used table - the very thin (but real oak and mahogany) veneer is peeling off in places and making me crazy. My next big project will then be reupholstering the seat covers. I'm nothing if not ambitious with used furniture!
Blake's room. The kid needs a headboard, but he's got what makes life complete: four light sabers.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

i should really be in bed

Today seemed to be a bit of a turning point in my sickness. I'm dosed up on pharmacist-approved-for-pregnancy cold meds, I dragged the humidifier next to me all day long, and I managed to get my hair colored, run a few errands with Blake (being complimented on how well-kept-up my Honda is by the oil change guy made me very proud of myself), and both cook AND EAT dinner. I feel like a rock star, despite the fact that I still have coughs that are almost productive, but not quite, so I cough hard enough and long enough that I actually gag/retch. Super fun times!

A friend asked for a belly pic, but I demurred, since I'm simply thick. There's a belly there, sure, but it's not one that could be sweetly seen as "baby." In fact, I feel like I'm at that stage in pregnancy where folks who do not know I'm knocked up might secretly be wondering if I'm just hitting the bottle a lot more lately. (Side note: Rob is LOVING how long his home brew batches last when I am not helping him to consume them.)

Same friend asked how far along I was, and I blithely answered "nearly 12 weeks," to which she exclaimed she thought it was further. And then I went to my calendar and counted out the weeks and realized that I'm an absolute nimrod at this (my words to her were slightly stronger, but see how I edit for the general public?!). I'm actually nearly 13 weeks.

You may think that being off by a week isn't so bad. I suppose it's not. NOT YET.

When I was pregnant with Blake, I distinctly remember surprising folks that I was still so tiny at five months along - barely showing, even. And then I remember counting again and coming smack to terms with the bald fact that I was merely four months along.

For the life of me, I cannot recall how I got THAT turned around, but I never did go back and correct myself to those friends.

I like to see how big Marilla is in food terms on pregnancy websites, because baby the size of a grape, fig, or lime? ADORABLE!

Baby the size of a medium shrimp?


Maybe it's because all the diagrams show the baby curled much like a shrimp, maybe because it's an actual ANIMAL made of protein that they are comparing a tiny baby to, but isn't that just unsettling? Tell me I'm not the only one...

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

wrapping it up... thirty days of thanks

November 30

Wrapping up this month of gratitude with that for which I am most thankful: my Redeemer. He lives.

Even though I'm entering my favorite season (have I ever told you I'm a Christmas crack whore? the decorations, the baking, the relationships with family and friends, the entire meaning of the whole thing: I just love it all!) without any outward signs - I won't decorate the condo when I'll just have to take it down in a week, and I can't do anything at the house yet - I'm still so in love with this time of year. People's hearts seem softer, their outlook on life more kind. Perhaps I tend to paint everything with sunshine and rainbows, except NO I DON'T! Read the post below!

I know that this is not a joyous season for everyone. Maybe that adds to my gratitude. I've been saved from so much, and I'm not unaware of the suffering in this world. I have even tasted some of it. What makes it all bearable is that this is not my home, my hope is not here, I am just a stranger in this land. I know a woman who used big Blake's death to convince her that there was no God, and I shake my head in disbelief that a heart could go there.

Without my Jesus, what have I left? I certainly don't always love my circumstances, but the idea that I know better than the Author of the universe is awfully proud - and, well, I struggle with that, at times too. I'm so glad that I do not have to understand it all on this messy earth. I do not have to wrap my tiny little head around the profound pain that exists in a fallen world. All I can really do is cling to the Lord, my Rock and my Salvation, and trust that HE IS GOOD. I wish I were braver to share this need with others in person, but I am a wienie, so here you go:

You need Jesus, and He loves you more than you could possibly imagine.

God is good. All the time!

All the time, God is good. I love Him so.

Now I need to go do something involving glitter... you know, for Christmas.

this is how pathetic i am

A: (weakly, from the couch) Rob?
R: Yep.
A: I just want you to know that I really really love you.
R: (without turning around) I love you too.
A: I just want you to know that. In case I die.
R: (slowly turns to face me) Uh...

For context, the cold I've caught is trying to morph into a chest and sinus infection. I actually feel pretty terrible and have been largely useless for the last three days. Tea is my friend.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

grateful for... incredible families

November 29

I have the privilege to be related, by blood or marriage, to many amazing people. I love them all so very much.

The Morstads/Shortridges/Teipes/Pichettes (and even more outliers), those families of my first love and husband, Blake, have huge spirits and generous hearts. Their tenderness towards our son, their love for me and Rob, their compassion for the limiting factors of our circumstances as poor newlyweds all serve to bless me enormously. I am privileged to be part of a such a widespread and raucously close-knit group of clans.

The Bedfords/Sherfeys, the families of my new love and husband, Rob, have welcomed me and little Blake with arms and hearts as wide as the Montana sky. They share my faith and overlook my faults, with a graciousness and patience that encourages and challenges me often, that I could be more like them. Rob even jokes that he's now the outcast, since they clearly prefer me to him, and really, who am I to argue? The sacrificial love they have shown us time and again in the few short years I have known them has revealed to me how thoroughly God answered my prayer when I asked not only for a new husband who honored Him, but for in-laws that served Christ as well, who would have soft hearts for me and my son and our story.

The Myers/Schuylers/Perrines, the family I grew up in and fought with, and those brought into the fold by marriage to a wild Myers girl (though we've all gotten fairly tame through motherhood... well, tame-ish). How fortunate I am that I happen to be related to those precious folks I'd choose to spend time with anyway! My nephews make my heart glad and light, even when they infect me with communicable diseases, because nothing is quite so cute as a two-year-old exclaiming in dismay, "Mom! My boogers are coming out!" when he needs a Kleenex.

Ok, it's a specific kind of cute, especially when I just hacked up a lung and wiped my nose on my sleeve. Again.

Praise God for relationships with open communication and love (nothing drives me quite so batty as poor communication as an avenue for conflict), where even disappointments are handled with grace and kindness, where generosity and humor abounds, where losses are keenly shared and celebrations magnified in kind. I am wealthy beyond my wildest dreams, in all the ways that truly matter.

Monday, November 28, 2011

grateful for... being almost done with this!

November 27

Yesterday I was grateful to be back in my own bed, even if I wasn't able to sleep much in it. Rob and I both tossed and turned, and I can tell he's getting frustrated by lack of sleep by how violently he rolls over. It reaches a point where I'm genuinely concerned about being popped off the bed by a particularly indignant flop.

November 28 

It's hard to feel grateful for much today, because I'm sick as a dog with a nasty cold thanks to one of the ankle biters I was in close quarters with at Thanksgiving. "Cover your mouth!" is a frequent refrain, one often lost on the little shits coughing right in my face. At least I managed to evade the 4-6 hours of puking that tagged Sawyer, Smith, Matt, Blake, and my Mom over the course of a week.

In the absence of anything nice to say, I will leave you with a poem, I'm Thankful, by Jack Prelutsky:

I'm thankful for my baseball bat
I cracked it yesterday
I'm thankful for my chess set
I haven't learned to play
I'm thankful for my mittens
One is missing in the snow
I'm thankful for my hamsters
They escaped a month ago
I'm thankful for my basketball
It sprung another leak
I'm thankful for my parakeet
It bit me twice last week
I'm thankful for my bicycle
I crashed into a tree
I'm thankful for my roller blades
I fell and scratched my knee
I'm thankful for my model plane
It's in a dozen parts
I'm thankful for my target game
I'm sure I'll find the parts
I'm thankful for my bathing suit
It came off in the river
I'm thankful for so many things
except, of course for LIVER!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

grateful for... permission

November 26

Warning: all profanity has been edited out. You know, for the children (and my Grammie). Feel free to sub in the worst words possible when reading aloud.

A little background: My friend H and her hubby have been trying to grow their family. After a suitable amount of time, they sought medical help, subsequently discovering that H suffers from endometriosis (uterine tissue grows places it shouldn't, pulling a woman's reproductive system's organs into strange positions, blocking Fallopian tubes, and making pregnancy difficult to achieve without intervention). Specifically, she had a large "chocolate cyst" on an ovary. She has shared her struggle with me and M, and we've done our best to either buoy her spirits or mourn with her as she grieves specific hopes and dreams for her family.

We were particularly dismayed by the term "chocolate cyst." Apparently named for its appearance, we agreed that men have to be the numbskulls behind such a terrible appellation, trying to ruin chocolate for women ALREADY hurting. H requested a nickname, and M eventually landed on "Destructive Little Fricker," or "DLF," as the monster was going to require H to undergo surgery. The day before surgery, we got a message from M that read:
So I just realized that the proper name for the DLF is exactly seven syllables long. Seven! Know what that means? It's PERFECT for a haiku. I mean, it's begging. BEG-GING. productivity level for the day just went down the tubes. Emails with you and Addie to commence in 3...2...1...
H subsequently gave me permission to publish said haiku. We were very productive in a very specific way. You're welcome or I'm sorry. You pick.

Surgery Day: A Haiku

Free the ovary,
Destructive Little Fricker!
Cut, burn, meet your doom.

Kill and maim no more
Destructive Little Fricker!
Cyst removed, clear tubes.

Baby-making fun,
Destructive Little Fricker,
You will ruin no more.

Get out of my friend,
Destructive Little Fricker!
You are going down.

Now what, DLF?
Dancing 'round you with pitchforks.
Made you our be-yotch.

Go go gadget arms
Excise DLF with care
Leave that ovary

Burn, mother fricker,
You're just medical waste now.
Hannah be set free!

You're Terminated
Destructive Little Fricker
You will not be back. (accompanied by a photo of the Terminator)

Frick you, DFL
No more pain on my left side
I am done with you!

No coffee, Fricker
Preparing for surgery
You've hit my last nerve

Thirsty, no caffeine
Can't have best part of morning
Now I'm mad as hell

No coffee, no food
Still, it's the best day ever
Burn, DLF, burn

There's no knife involved
Going under the robot
Coming up cyborg

No coffee morning
Blowing up Addie's inbox
This is what happens

"I am a pumpkin.
She scraped all my insides out."
Quote from drugged Hannah.

grateful for... the richness of fellowship and rich food

November 24

So so much to be thankful for, surrounded by family on Thanksgiving. Our family knows and loves Jesus and shares the promise and hope of God's great rescue plan. There's no estrangement or awkwardness when we are together, just delightful laughter and pleasure in sweet company. We are so incredibly wealthy in all the things that matter. Thank you, Lord, for the blessings we enjoy, this day and always. May we never lose sight of Your never failing, never stopping, always and forever love. May Christ always be sweet to us.

November 25

I was most grateful Friday for sleeping in, having filled a plate at dinner the night before and - joyous event - having been able to actually eat it. I may have turned a corner the last few days, starting to feel less green and being able to eat a wider variety of food.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

grateful for... being teased

November 23

I spent a goodly portion of the day on the phone, which is rare for me. I caught up with two sisters-in-love, from two different families, and both conversations were very, very sweet. When I got done with the second, my parents and Rob were seated round the table, having already finished the meal. The moment my butt hit the chair, the three of them leapt up and began chattering loudly into phones they had hidden on their laps, wandering all around the room.

Bewildered, I suddenly realized they had just flash mobbed me, with an execution as synchronized and flawlessly executed as the pros, and burst out laughing.

This snarkiness? THIS IS WHERE I GET IT, PEOPLE. I was taught by the best.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

grateful for... inappropriate (and hilarious) haiku

November 22

Today I am grateful for a friend who trusts me enough to share a painful journey she's on and grateful for another friend who had the brilliant idea to write poetry about it.

Haiku, to be exact, with foul language. If H gives me permission, I will publish edited versions at some point. However, I gather from her husband that she's still loopy from the surgery she underwent earlier today. I would totally ask permission now because of that, but I doubt I'd actually reach her on the phone...

I did ask her husband to ask her silly questions and videotape the responses, but that's just reasonable.

Monday, November 21, 2011

grateful for... not having to pull it myself

He came prancing into our room this morning, waving about his tooth and holding a Kleenex to his mouth. Both floss and string slid right off yesterday, and simply tugging on it did no good. We finally gave up, and I instructed him to wiggle it a lot and even twist it. Then I ran screaming from the room with my hands over my eyes, then over my ears, then back over my eyes.

I am a big wienie and have not-great memories of my own tooth travails. No fewer than three had to be yanked by the dentist, and neither a needle to the gums nor that crunching sound are never really forgotten. Shudder and gag.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

grateful for... a communing family

November 20

Blake made a public profession of faith and became a communing member of our church family today. I cried.

He has been eager to partake in the Lord's supper, but it took some time for him to reach understanding about what is involved, and the conversations we've had leading up to today have been sweet and funny.

Unfortunately, the children's church class didn't release in time for him to actually HAVE his first communion, but what can you do? We still couldn't be more proud of our little man and his love for Christ.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

grateful for... sweet spirits

November 19

A: I'm so sorry I can't be out there. It smells amazing and yet the smell also turns my stomach.
R: (who was cooking dinner according to my recipe, simply smiled and leaned down to kiss me, then left the bedroom and closed the door)

B: Mmm, your home brew smells GREAT!

B: If you don't put lotion on, your skin will be very very pruney. You need the moist.

A: You are too young to use sarcasm. It's just disrespectful.
B: My dad teached me sarcasm.
A: Impossible.
B: No, he did. You say, "It's a nice day outside," but you don't really mean it.
A: You are too young to use sarcasm.

A: I changed my mind about more TV tonight. We can watch some after you read me a story.
B: Okay.
A: I'm sorry that my being pregnant is being hard on you. I just feel so lousy, and I feel like I'm making your weekends boring.
B: Well, I'm sick too, cuz of my cough. I'm sorry that you feel sick, but I'm happy you're pregnant cuz of the baby.
A: That is the good part in all of this. Dad and I are happy about that too. And I should start to feel better soon.
B: Well, that's good. I love you more than you can imagine, Mom.
A: (sniffling a bit) I love you too...
B: Can we watch Phineas and Ferb?

Friday, November 18, 2011

grateful for... sick days and cozy pants

November 17

A day with my fellas yesterday. We were all sick, with either a migraine (Rob), sore throat (me), or a low fever and a nasty cough (Blake). We never ever EVER get a full day together. Rob's days off don't coincide with mine or Blake's, so while I see a lot of Rob and a lot of Blake, the three of us are only together in short, sweet bursts.

Even though we were all a bit under the weather, it was really nice to be together, having cocoa or tea, snuggled up in various ways. Blake was playing Wii when Rob was able to rally himself out of bed, and Rob just grabbed another controller and they beat levels and had a great time together. Blake was out of his mind happy, Rob got a bit of a gaming fix, and I loved watching them develop a hobby together. It was a good day.

November 18

Jammie pants. These ones right here. >>>
I might live in them for the rest of my life, which means I either need another pair, or I should do laundry slightly more often. Technically, they are yoga pants, but that's an awful lot more like "work pants" than "jammie pants."

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

grateful for... progress

Beautiful slate entry. Door is not yet ready for public use.
Or any use, really. It's nailed shut.
The built-in bookshelf in my office (where Blake will get his own computer).
Blake's bathroom. This is likely as clean as it will EVER be.
True story, from the woman who sat in what he left on the
toilet seat he chose not to lift earlier tonight.
Boys are SO GROSS.
Upstairs guest bathroom, where you will probably be
showering when you come to visit and play with us!
Rob's built-in shelf for books/Blu-Rays...
.... or IS IT?
Dining room, with a door leading to the back deck.
Kitchen, pre-counters and pre-appliances.
Apparently I need to clean my camera lens.
The giant spacious living room! It's under all that building crap.
I think I see our dishwasher and stove hood too.
The spot for the wood-burning stove that I am SO looking forward to,
once the insulation that fell from above is cleared out.
Master bathroom. We picked the granite for here today, and I
must admit, I was pretty laissez-faire about it. Was shown one
color that was big enough for the counter and said "Yes, I'm
sure that will work just fine. Can't bring myself to care
more about it at this point."
The big old master shower, with a bench
and room for two. ;)

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

grateful for... feeling like crap

November 15

Pregnancy is pretty easy on me, and I have little to complain about (naturally, that doesn't stop me from doing so). Still, food is not a friend, and it's been a bit of a puzzler about what I'll be able to eat and what will satisfy me for more than five minutes (the two rarely overlap, I'm getting tired of cereal, and I won't let myself eat THAT much ice cream). Marilla the Gorilla likes to punish me for eating the wrong thing, like red meat or coffee, with side effects I will bless you by not describing.

Tonight I had some major gagging and even dry heaves, which is unusual: in my limited experience, I do not throw up in my pregnancies. I am green around the gills and find eating a chore and still feel pretty miserable, but do not need to actually hug any porcelain. So tonight, as I made Blake's dinner while holding my breath, then promptly went into another room while he ate so I could open a window, lie down, and breathe through my mouth, all I could think the whole time was: I'm so glad I feel this badly.

It means Marilla the Gorilla is most likely still going strong, so it's reassuring in its own odd little way. And for that, I'm grateful. Reassurance is quite dear to me about this little bun in my oven, who is about the size of a kumquat this week.

Monday, November 14, 2011

grateful for... robrob my hearthRob

November 14

This goofball right here. I love him so. Even when he drives me batty.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

grateful for... cute hats and good friends

I took yesterday off. Actually, I was busybusybusy all day with family, which was lovely and is a post for another day of gratitude. I love my family... they are so great.

November 12 and 13

Today I am grateful for the cute hat seen in this photo. I get complimented on it EVERY TIME I wear it, which, because I get complimented on it, is quite often, as you may imagine. I even wore it to church today, like a heathen, and was complimented twice. Holy people are not always immune to flattery or vanity, thank goodness.

I am also grateful for the dear friend seen in this photo. She came over and we had tea and played Go Fish (twice!) and Candy Land with a certain little mohawk man, and then we sat cozily on the couch and talked about important things and not important things and Kleenex was used and we shared a blanket and it was very good. She and I go way back to when she was my teaching assistant when I took a sign language class. We had mutual friends and enjoyed each other, but her moving back to Bozeman after years spent elsewhere has fostered a kinship I hadn't imagined back when I was a self-involved narcissist in college (some of you may claim that not much has changed given the second paragraph of this post, but I guess it's my story and I'll tell it with whatever slant I want!). She's one of my favorite people, and she accessorizes the hat so nicely in the photo she masterfully took.

Friday, November 11, 2011

grateful for... tiny oranges

November 11

Today I am grateful for a few things, not least of which is a new friend volunteering to watch Blake while I ran errands, then refusing to take money for the hour or so she played vigorously with my son. During my time out, I grabbed a bag of satsumas, having recently discovered that the tart acidity helps to soothe my tummy. Then I saw a bag of potstickers and grabbed them too.

Are those Eggos in that Costco-sized box? No? Kirkland brand waffles? GOOD ENOUGH FOR ME!

Then I beat a hasty retreat before more of the store found its way into my cart. Though I usually enjoy Costco samples, I had to hold my breath and hustle past them today.

I'm about to enjoy an orange now (third today! tummy soothed AND I will be quite regular!), along with a cup of tea and either something on the telly or a crossword.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

grateful for... helping hands

November 10

I was only half-joking when I asked Rob if we should just delay cleaning for a whole month so we could do one last thorough job when we moved. His enthusiastic response was alarming enough that I promptly cleaned one of the toilets last night. By promptly, I mean I sprayed it down with cleaner at 5:00 and forgot about it until I headed for bed at 11:30 (stupid, I know, I'm trying to break the late night habit). Cleaning a toilet at midnight isn't high on my list of things to do, mostly because cleaning toilets is already pretty darn low on that list.

Today, the same man who would cheerfully live in filth if I let him (I think - we haven't tested the theory since getting married), cheerfully helped me clear the floors, then swept them himself, then mopped them, while I moved furniture back into place and vacuumed. It may have to do with the fact that I lovingly called him the "Mop Master," or perhaps with the fact that I have a habit of touching him inappropriately when asking him to do unpleasant tasks, or maybe with the fact that he daily sees my pathetic attempt at life in the first trimester and took pity on my sorry little act.

Whatever the motivation, a chore that I absolutely despise took no time at all, and even though it's far too cold to pad around barefoot, I know that if I did, my feet wouldn't find the grit of all the random debris that had accumulated since the last time we took care of the floors. He may refuse to clean toilets point blank and unapologetically, but he helps me elsewhere, and it warmed my hard little nauseous heart today.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

grateful for... marilla

November 9

Today I am grateful for the ultrasound that confirmed our little tiny baby is still going strong, making us 9 weeks and 4 days along, with a due date in early June. Remember back when I posted about not being pregnant and being okay with that because of the time it gave me? Yeah, that was written just after a pregnancy test that turned out to be a false negative. Ten days later, it was very, very positive, and I entered the wonderfully nervous world of "Please let this one take!"

I started calling her "Marilla," much to Rob's chagrin, speaking in faith and prophecy that the little girl Lane is having will usher in a wave of baby girls for me and my sisters. Because it's about time we had a break from all those penises (husbands, I don't mean you...).

We've now had two ultrasounds - one at a crisis pregnancy center after I assured them it was no crisis - and one today, after the doctor couldn't find the heartbeat externally (he wasn't worried at all - it was quite early - but it made me anxious) and wasn't confident that my dating for the gestational age was accurate (because of the weird things my body did in the three cycles after the miscarriage, not because I'm an idiot).

Rob promptly texted his family, declaring "We have a live one! 150 beats per second!" which would mean we are having not a baby, but a hummingbird on cocaine. I will love her and squeeze her and pet her and call her Marilla... at least until she actually gets here.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

grateful for... better living through chemistry

November 8

Today I am grateful for ibuprofen. A better night of sleep last night was lovely, but somehow I was left with a tender left temple that had me stretched on the couch with my eyes closed all morning. So today I am thankful for drugs to help alleviate such things, and a delicious chai brought by my sister with her dear youngest monkey.

Monday, November 7, 2011

grateful for... being appreciated

November 7

R: You're pretty.
A: Thank you! I don't feel particularly so today. I'm kind of a wreck.
R: Well, your hair looks nice and polished, your make-up is artfully done...
A: (bewildered look) Uh...
R: (getting closer) Or fabulously minimal.
A: Yeah, it's just mascara and powder.
R: Well, it's like I've said, I'm consistently surprised at what a looker I got to marry. I still can't believe I got a pretty one that's smart too. Though sometimes I'm not so sure that "smart" is all that great. You got a mouth on you.
A: I love you too.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

grateful for... sunday afternoons

November 6

I took a 2.5-hour nap. I had some strange dreams, but it was restful, which is what I needed. Blake and I capped that off by watching the Pixar Short Films marathon on ABC Family. I love light-hearted things that make him laugh that hard. I read a few chapters of a book that is good and thought-provoking and tender, but only a few. The writer is a poet, and I find such language contrived and too self-aware (yes, I realize that's a bit hypocritical coming from the writer of this self-indulgent navel-gazing).

I'll polish off my Sunday afternoon with a Sunday evening, working on a sewing project and drinking hot tea to calm my unhappy tummy/body. It's been a pretty decent day, all told.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Friday, November 4, 2011

grateful for... an involved teacher

November 4

Today I am especially grateful for a teacher who saw a need in my son and met it. Apparently his impulse control isn't what it could be, despite having fairly strict parents and having already been through years of preschool and a year of kindergarten. He was regularly getting in trouble at school for talking out of turn, distracting other students, and being a bit too hands-on with his friends. We're a physical family, so I understand part of that, but where he got the idea that pushing a good friend's head into the drinking fountain was funny is beyond me.

So Mrs. B instituted a behavior chart. There are five specific areas where he can act out and get a check mark for it, and if he gets five marks in one day, it's an automatic parent/teacher conference. The chart comes home with him every day, and so that he'd understand our influence and authority extends all the way to school, he has specific consequences for each mark, and specific consequences for no marks (he usually picks Wii time). A mark-free week has yet to happen, but we're close, and I'm thinking a small Lego may be in order to show him that we really value his good behavior. It's also dangerously close to a bribe, but it just so clearly illustrates that good comes from good, so maybe I don't care!

Having a teacher on it enough to give him a warning and a simple mark makes things easier for her, I'm sure. It shows him exactly what he was doing that was not okay, and it gives him things to work towards (she's a fan of special stickers for good behavior). Rob and I can encourage him to obey in more specific ways, and I know what's going on when he's out of my range of vision.

And the best part (to me, at least)? I just heard from Margie, big Blake's mom, that HE had a behavior chart too, and once he realized that disobedience at school was known about at home, he whipped it together right quick. I love knowing that about the child, because the man was so stinkin' self-disciplined that it almost wasn't real!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

grateful for... carnal relations

November 3

Now, bear with me. This is a PG-13 rated post simply because it acknowledges the existence of sex.

I'm really grateful for intimacy with my husband. We had a moment recently where he asked, "Why don't they show THIS in the movies?!" while we both laughed. Needless to say, it wasn't a particularly "sexy" moment, but it was deeply intimate and funny and dear. If you're not laughing when making love to your spouse (and for the record, kids, that's the ONLY sex I advocate: intimacy within the covenental bounds of marriage), you're doing it wrong.

Not to say we're yucking it up the whole time, but the movies do young folks a grave disservice in how they portray the jubilant fun and relationship of sex. It can be bumpy, awkward, and incredibly silly-feeling at first. And as you grow to know and love your spouse, the one committed to you in sickness and in health, you grow less self-conscious about that love handle or stretch mark. A healthy marriage includes a healthy sex life, and both are incredibly safe. You can experiment and know that if things go wildly awry, you'll collapse into a fit of giggles and have fun the entire time. You can enjoy one another, in all the glory and foolishness that accompany the human bodies, just as God intended.

Sex is supposed to be spiritual. That's how it connects you. It's supposed to be fun. And I am really grateful that even when we're not having much of it for one reason or another, Rob and I love it when we do. I truly praise God that He created sex and created us one for the other.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

an attitude of gratitude

Two friends have mentioned using their blogs/social media to give thanks for something each day of November (you know, in honor of THANKSgiving). It's early in the month yet, I'm only a day behind, so I'm jumping in.

November 1

I am grateful for the blissful extension of a real fall in Bozeman. Crisp nights have given way to sunny days that have a bite to them. We've been able to enjoy leaves actually changing color and falling off trees naturally, as opposed to what we've had in the past: a sharp frost so early that the green leaves simply went limp, then the trees seemed to disgustedly shudder them off to fall in sodden, sullen, moldy piles.

Blake will play out in our small common-area yard past dark, waiting to be called in for dinner while fighting imaginary monsters and bad guys. I only just threw away the last of the snapdragons and marigolds that had persistently held on thus far. Winter likes to come early and linger overlong, so a late fall is always welcome!

It's just an additional bonus that Blake's costume for Halloween didn't need to accommodate his winter coat. One year back in junior high, I went out as a cardboard box in the hopes it would keep me warmer. I piled on the layers underneath, wrote "This end up" in red lipliner on my forehead, and didn't really think arm holes through sufficiently. But boy, was I warm!

November 2

I am grateful for KitKats. There's a parent tax on all the good candy Blake brought home, and right now, I am enjoying a little break with some chocolatey wafer goodness. I don't tax the bad candy, but he got blessedly little of that this year, so I'm in clover!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

nothing much to say, here's a recipe

Seems like the only things going on around here are just daily enough that there's not much to remark upon. Rob and I are praying that God would bring us family friends with kids Blake's age to cultivate deeper relationships with. Rob's work was just bought out by Oracle, which likely doesn't threaten his job itself, but it could dramatically change the culture of the company (which is currently well-loved) to something profoundly more bureaucratic. The house is coming along rapidly, and I'm getting annoyed by all the decisions I have to pretend to care far more about than I actually do. Then Rob will make a design decision and tell me about it, and I'll promptly change it.

I guess I had it coming to have it all foisted upon me, but that doesn't mean I'm very happy about it!

Ok, I'm kind of happy about it. I love control! But I'm still nervous that we'll break a lot of dishes on these granite counters that everyone seems to think are so special. And I'm hoping that all the decisions I'm making come together into a cohesive vision of a house that doesn't look like a blind person chose the counters/cabinets/tile/floors. Regardless of how it looks, the sheer space will be transformative, and I cannot WAIT to have more than two or three guests at a time. I'm already planning parties with a friend for whom parties are a specialty... she has way better ideas than I do. I'd make a casserole and put out a six-pack, she has thematic food and drink, decorations, and goodie bags.

I've hit a fall-to-winter wall that's had me either fully ill or borderline ill for weeks now. I can't decide if it's the transition in weather, poor sleep, or a child that probably brings home every bug known to man (tsk, public schools...), but I'm ready to feel well again. Making comfort food is only helping a little bit, but I'm not certain I'll still be able to button my pants in another month!

Comfort Corn Chowder
  • 5 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced and separated into rings
  • 2 cups frozen corn
  • 2 cups diced cooked potatoes
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup (this is about the ONLY thing I'll put cream of anything soup into anymore)
  • 2 1/2 cups of milk
  • salt and pepper to taste (about 1/2 tsp of each)
Cook onions in bacon fat until translucent. Put everything but the bacon into a pot and heat through, but do not boil. Serve with crumbled bacon (and make sure a touch of the bacon fat makes its way in there too, when you dump in the onions), crusty bread, and good beer.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

house update

Facing the north (that's the back porch beam) with interior walls raised.

The front porch beams in the sunset.

The roof going up (looking west, the small window on the left is the master bathroom).

View of the back porch.

Nearly the same view. Now there's siding, stain on the porch beams, a chimney.

From the corner, aimed at our front porch.

Prepped for sheetrock, insulated, blessings written. This is taken from the dining room,  looking through the living room towards the front door.

Also from the dining room, looking into the kitchen.

Some blessings and Blake's excited pronouncement (I get my own computer).

Rob's blessing, written over where our bed will be. I'm not sure he really means it. Or maybe I hope not...

A taste of what's to come. Paint's on!