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...