Wednesday, March 31, 2010

it was what it was.

this winter. oh, this winter. maybe it's time to acknowledge what actually went down.

i just want to say, that i refuse to complain about it. the entire 12 years that i have lived here i have ached for it to snow. and a lot. if it's gonna be too cold to go out, it might as well be snowing, was my silent, winter mantra.

so it did. and it was no joke.

we enjoyed it. i think.

it kept robbie busy. which is kind of his thing.

olive, was very occupied with it. and self-occupied, is something that is a rare thing for her.

it was really beautiful overall. and it forced our busy family to slow down, cancel things, call things off, let ourselves off the hook, hole up, shut her get the point. and we needed it.

but what am i, without my grumblings coupled with gratitude? i also have to keep it real and say that i am very thankful that the sun is shining, that the flip flops have made their appearance for the year, that i have friends again...

now i'm not sure the following story was the snow's fault. i thought it was until last night the girls were busted in their room after bedtime for ripping a foam basketball to pieces with their teeth. but one sunday morning in the thick of winter, robbie and i woke up and realized that the kids had let us sleep in till almost 9am. there was no rude awakening at 6:30 to ask for us to put the tv on the right channel, or put a movie in, or get to their favorite baby getting a vaccine while we steal a few more minutes of precious sleep.

so sweet of them, right?

*please note that pictures were not taken until the post freak out*

you know who's really sweet? us, for letting them continue to live here.
oh yeah. bean bag chairs. and it was everywhere. even crawling up their bodies and up the walls. they must have been upstairs swimming in this while we slept away like chumps!

lucy, who was the self admitted ringleader of this incident, no doubt had to be nude for the job. the picture just above to the left is right after robbie blew them into a pile with the shop vac. much to robbie's chagrin, i took pictures. only because this was the perfect visual to express this time in our lives. this daily sensation of feeling like we are being punk'd. like surely ashton kutcher should have jumped out from underneath the bed with cameras. surely there should have been a clean up crew to follow. this took us three hours to clean up! there was no church this sunday morning. only cold, hard clean up. weeks later we are still finding these "beans".


there are days that i cannot believe the things that i have seen, heard, said, and done inside these walls. as they are happening i barely recognize anymore how odd they are in the moment. it isn't until at the end of the day, when i'm closing everyone's doors for what i hope to be the last time of the night it kind of all flashes before me in a heap and i have to reconnect myself to it all. i have to be honest and say that some of those days that realization makes me sad at myself. i could have done better. i could have been less selfish. i could have loved harder. i could have relied less on myself and my own strengths. i could have gone easier on her. i should have held him a little longer. shame, guilt, blah. but as i've expressed like a broken record. every day it gets a little clearer. that rational seems a little more distant. i'm not getting better. i'm just letting more and more....go. letting go of what i thought it would be like. letting go of who i thought i was. letting go of who i thought they would be like. and letting us and it just be what it is and what God designed. we is what we is. and it has shed everything in this hilarious light. lately i feel like God has allowed me to flash ahead 10 years and see it all from those eyes.

"did i really do that? why would i have done that?" i think to myself as i'm checking on finn for the last time. i guess i did put him to bed with my sunglasses case and a very, very, dirty, solitary sock. pull out the said case and sock that he's curled up with and barely recall trying to take these things from him earlier, but him fussing about it and i gave in.

this past fall or maybe late summer, i was nursing finn on the bed laying down. lucy was beside us letting herself fall hands free, head hitting the pillow. great fun. until she misjudged a landing and her forehead hit my nose. i really should have known better. besides giving birth, this may have been the most painful thing that has happened to me. i've never broken anything or had any other health problems. so it really threw me off. i was on prescription pain pills for several days. those things are nice. noted to self- stay away from those nice things.

another day this winter, lucy comes into the room to tell me that she thinks finn would like some hot dogs and could i please cook him up some. "oh yeah, why do you think he wants hot dogs?" lucy leads me into the kitchen to find finn standing at the bottom freezer, door ajar, sucking on/chewing through a package of frozen hot dogs. safety first over here.

on a similar note, i found lucy chewing off her toenails. i soon realized that this must not be the first time she's done this. i was painting their nails and toenails when olive very motherly said "now, lucy, we can't suck our thumbs or chew our toenails until all this has chipped off. ok?" ew!

another foggy headed winter morning i was sitting across from lucy at breakfast. watching her with a clean, dry watercolor paint brush, pretending to paint the table. i knew it was coming, but then got distracted. she spotted a mostly empty yogurt container and had found something to paint a large portion of the table with before i noticed what was going on. a few hours later i caught her dipping her play cell phone in a cup of milk. dipping it in and then putting the phone in her mouth and slurping it off. i would really love to be in her head for a day and understand why these decisions get made.

sound bytes both said and overheard this winter

"no you may not lick him. he's sick." because i guess if he wasn't sick, it was ok to lick him?

and along the same lines "no licking the edge of the table."

"you must wear panties. OK NEW RULE EVERYONE." (i'm kinda known around here for my spontaneous, albeit genius, rule making) i don't care if you wear shirts or pants, but panties are non-negotiable." yelling this at the top of my lungs.

another rule made "you may not rub your toothbrush on your bottom". and, "you may not use your toothbrush to brush your eyeball"

"no stabbing the fruit with pencils"

"don't toot on me!"

aye yi yi!

the kids and i, for the most part, were snowed in a lot.
i had bought them a yoga for kids dvd for Christmas, after watching their uncle john and aunt katie do a little yoga with them before our 6 hour drive home after thanksgiving. i thought to myself that this could really be a tool to bring out at the right times. i was right. when it was clear that things were taking a turn for crazytown, i put this in.

it's movement for them, that requires focus and quiet. and they love it! i definitely recommend this.

sometimes judgement got fuzzy for me after days
upon days in the house. yes, that was my 15 month old standing on a table. no, he isn't incapable of falling or getting knocked off of it and badly hurt. and yes, i stopped to take a picture because i couldn't resist the light coming in the room. see what i mean? fuzzy.

but that was then. this is now. and i really think this town is going to look back at this winter and smile.

i leave you with a picture that sums up the essence of our winter. a little relaxing, a little beautiful, a little crazy, a little boring, a little simple .

Friday, March 19, 2010

the love of music - part 1

i need to talk about music.
i mean, i really,

and i didn't realize it until my friend tessa sent me a link to a blog, written by tori. so i hope you can indulge my need here.

tessa, and her sweet baby, ella, picutred here.

we went to school with her. tori. she was a little younger than us and i felt a connection with her at the time though knew close to nilch about her. outside of school, she dressed in clothes that looked like mine. a porcelain dolled girl dressed in clothes i could understand. and at that point in my life... in my world of private, christian collared shirts and belted meant pretty much everything. it meant that she, though we rarely spoke, got me. i just knew that if we had been friends she would have understood that i rose above that school. that i was going places, that i was thinking thoughts, that i was more than met the jock's eye. you know, all the things that you hope are seen in you at that age.

my love for music dates back to second grade when somehow i caught wind of george michael's video for faith. oh yeah! sunglasses, black leather jacket, worn out denim, boots tapping on a juke box. puh-lease! i woke up while watching this video. i knew who my imaginary boyfriend looked like finally. his name was johnny and he looked just like george michael and he made me feel like that song made me feel. and there, at 8, began my love for music that won't let up.

for me. music is the most powerful thing God put in our hands. it's the only way that i understand the word - holy. everytime i hear that word i think of the way that music makes me feel. lost, weepy, caught up, momentous, inspired, clarified, understood, ....holy. when i think about eternity, i immediately imagine the sounds of music. and how God will be like the most beautiful song that i won't ever want to stop hearing. that i won't ever want to stop singing. music is the closest i can get to bliss. music is the way that i start my quiet time with God. it gets me right there in that sweet spot of emotion where i need to be. it sluffs the edge off that creeps on me throughout the day.

anyhoo...tori expanded on a facebook note craze and spoke on her favorite songs. and i feel the need to do this too.

kids, you are the bees knees. really. i was born to mother you. but sometimes i do fantasize about something entirely different. it's not at all thought or planned out. i have no idea what it would look like. but when i hear a song i love, it's there looming and waiting. i'm somewhere other than with you and i feel this sense of another life that i almost entered. a sense of my life had it taken some weird turn, if God's will for me had slighted to the left a little. and i have no choice but just to get lost in it. to just go with it and let it intoxicate me like it does. and then the song ends and i'm back in my minivan on I-40, driving you home from your doctor's appt. i'm mom. i promise. and i'm privileged. down right, blessed, to get to be.

but mommy's got her jams.

and i want you to know about them. this will certainly not be summed up in this blog entry. consider this installment 1 of many of the love of music.

here we go yo. and in no particular order. because i could just never, ever rank. (aside from ranking jacksonville city nights the best album ever. ) but nevermind.

1) mellow mood, by bob marley.

"i'll play your favorite song, darling" - he's definitely trying to romance his lady here. and who could resist a "darling" ? it's southern. it's gentlemanly. it's aparently, jamaican. it's just plain old universal.

"open up your heart
open up your heart
let love coming running...IN, darling
cause i've got your love, darling,
love, sweet, love

raspy, sincere voice. you just can't not love, bob. everyone has their bob song. this is mine.

2) you don't know my name, by alicia keys.

this song has mood from the first beat. from the first note. descending piano notes in the chorus. soul throw back from the oldies. and it doesn't try too hard. she's just feeling it.

"and i swear on my mother and father it feels like ooh"

it definitely does feel like ooh.

3) bouncing around the room, phish

one of my first phish songs. gotta love a live one.

"and in a sweet sound bouncing 'round"

can you help but dance? and wonder what your high school boyfriends are up to now?

4) for the widows in paradise, for the fatherless in ypsilanti, sufjan stevens

"if you have a father or if you haven't one
i'll do anything for you.
i Did everything for you.
i Did everything for You. "

"if you ever make a mess
i'll do anything for you"

this guy gets it. he understands how much we're loved. how much was done. and it can't go unnoticed that he's playing a banjo, singing about Jesus, and managed to be unlabeled as a gospel artist.

5) karma police, radiohead

it's never quite the words with this band. for me, it's very cure-esque in this way. the music is transcendent and speaks over the words. it's very rare and special. you look at thom yorke and know that whether or not he had the words, he absolutely has caught a moment of your life in music.

6) sweet illusions, ryan adams.

"let me go
i'm only letting you down
i've got nothing to say to you now"

you knew i had to go there. this music is a complete package of the senses. it's in the words. it's in the music. it's ambiatic. he knows what you're trying to get at. he's singing what you were. he's singing where you're at. he's singing the would have been. it's best alone with your thoughts and with wine.

"you and i used to shine like a jewel
but times been nothing to us but cruel"

when cold roses came out, this song was a stand out. it haunted me.

"we were nothing
we were only the best"

it comes off very easy, vulnerable, no second guessed lyrics.

"i ain't got nothing but love for you
love, i can't use"

ugh! head in your hands, down on your knees kind of music.

more on music to come. it may just go on and on and on, so bear with me.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Coconut heads

happy birthday to my little girls!

(in the fort you both had made)

i'm pretty sure you guys are the craziest people i've ever met. congratulations on that.

oh, lucy bea. you are 3 now. please stop growing so fast lately. it's haunting your mommy. it's keeping me up at night. you and me, we're friends. we get eachother. i know that you want to at least try to do everything by yourself once and then cry about how no one is helping you, and then completely forget the prior sequence of events once someone starts to help you, and insist on doing it yourself again.
i am just like that too.
(on a train in the courtyard of a mall in Richmond)

olive, sometimes you are just too beautiful. i have so much hope for you, child. despite what some 4 year old at morning school who called you "hopeless" says. we really do think you're going to be a doctor someday. we believe you. and deep down i see, even on your bad days, that you want so much for me to know that you are good. and you are and you will be. i can see all this. i love how reasonable you are, even on those bad days, if we take the time to explain things to you, your little self will find reason with things that you don't want to make peace with. i can see that you wish you didn't understand. but you can't help that you do. i think you tick yourself off. you and i, we speak different love languages. i don't always understand where you're coming from. but we are both trying. even you, now 5, are now mature enough to try.

(just back from the dollar store)

scarves tied around your necks, whipping around every corner of the house. i hope i don't miss these days too much. i'm trying so hard to appreciate them enough now, so i don't regret that i didn't one day. but i have to admit, most days i catch myself wishing you older and more independent. but i know that i don't really mean that. in fact, it is my new years resolution to be present with the notion that NOW is wonderful and beautiful. even if all we've done all day is yell and pray for self control.

olive: come on, powergirl! we have to save someone.
lucy: oh
olive: we're wasting our time! let's go to the moon!
lucy: oh. (thinking of what to add) SAVE THE MOON!
olive: lucy, your face needs to be mad - like this (hideous mad face)

lucy, i don't even really know how to explain to you how equally ridiculous, fun, cute, and gross you are at this age and all those things at once. not long ago, i went to check on you guys before i went to bed, as i always do. in the dark i could see your face as if it were glowing in the dark. i turned on the light. you had made yourself a full on beard and mustache out of diaper cream. there you were sound asleep, looking like santa claus. par for the course, lucy. par for the course.

on a different night i found you sound asleep in your bed with a hairbrush, a truck, 2 little people,

a doll, an elephant, and a phone. i only remember because i wrote them all down when i left your room. i one by one slowly started taking each thing out of your bed. slow and steady as not to wake you. but you woke up and groggily asked for each one of those things back in the dark, listing every item, as if they each had a purpose there in your bed.

olive, i hope you understand how good you have it, with lucy as your sister. you rock her world in every way. she often times asks you if she can get you a napkin, or your juice... if just she and i go to the store together, she asks me if we can buy you some candy. if she gets to pick out candy for being good at the store, she picks out your favorite so she can share with you. the giddy excitement on her face on the way home as she anticipates how happy she is about to make you. every monday and wednesday, when we're on our way to pick you up from morning school, she waves at the swans on lake susan on the way and tells them we can't stop and talk to them right then, because we have to go get you. you are her world. and her mission is to keep you happy and laughing. you are a child that needs a lot. a lot of attention, a lot of quality interaction, a lot of affection, a lot of affirmation... daddy and i wear ourselves out on giving you what you need in all these areas. but i have to say, that on more than one occasion we note how thankful we are for lucy, who supplements with all the "company" that she offers you. you really have an ally with her.

have i mentioned how obsessed olive is with all things medical. it started with her month long stomach bug that landed her in the hospital. that was over 2 years ago. this phase doesn't seem to be budging. here she is applying address label bandages to lucy's head injury. her new favorite thing, is watching doctors on you tube. her favorites are promos for children's hospitals and personal footage of people filming their babies getting check ups or vaccinations. recently, i put a clip on for her, showed her how to click through to similar videos and then left the room to do some laundry. later, i came passing through the room again to put away clothes and i found her engrossed in some early 90's spanish soap operas. she was instantly hooked on all the emotional women and big jewelry. olive, only you child, only you.

lucy, i love that you call olive's fisher price laptop a "pooter". and i love that you told her it was broken the other day. "your pooter's broken, ollo. maybe somebody fix it for you". i find this very funny. it's nothing but high class humor over here, all around.

lucy, i hope you understand how good you have it, with olive as your sister. you have more questions in your little brain than i ever dreamed possible. we tire quick from just talking around here. but olive has more endurance for your curiosity than anyone in the whole house. she has even begun to anticipate your questions now and just goes ahead and explains everything in full detail. this endurance wears out around 8:30 at night when she comes out of ya'll's room crying at the top of the stairs because she doesn't want to answer any more questions. another reason you are blessed is that you have a sister that completely freaks out if you are going to get a spanking. now don't get me wrong...she gets a total kick out of you going to time out....almost giddy about that. but if you have been bad enough that she can see that we're angry, she gets very protective of you and melts into a heap on the floor, begging us to just give you one more chance. and in addition to all of these things, olive is an adoring sister to you. she'll come and tell me something "cute" you've said. or she'll beg me to come look at this picture she found in an album that she just can't get over how little or sweet you looked. this girl is in your court for life.

olive, can sing an entire verse of rick james' "super freak" only substituting the word "stink" for "freak". this is finn's theme song and he has heard it so many times that at the first stanza he starts bouncing.

"he's a very stinky boy.
the kind you don't take home to mutha'

he will never let your spirits dowwwwwn

once you get him off the street

that boys a super stink

he's alright
he's alright

that boyyyyyyyyysss allllllllllright with me
he's a super stink

super stink

he's super stinky yow"

i'm just so very proud.

(with aunt elizabeth at thanksgiving)

have i mentioned that olive almost single handedly potty trained lucy this summer. she really did! she just started to take lucy in the bathroom with her whenever she was going and pulled down her pants, took off her diaper, and sat her down on the training potty. then olive would come ask us for a potty reward treat for lucy, and then precede to con lucy out of half of it. now we are just trying to gear up for no diapers at night or naptimes for lucy. olive had, what she thought was, a great idea on how to do this. "i'll just lay down blankets for her at night for her to potty on! that way we can just wash the blankets every morning!" she was honestly truly pumped about this idea.

and i must note something else that has developed this year, in you olive. you are developing a very compassionate heart. and we're so thankful for this gift God has given you. you raid our mail for letters from charities that help sick kids. it sincerely breaks your heart to see a child that looks poor or that has a cleft palate or is in a hospital. "what can we do to help them?", you ask with worry all over your face. so we pray and talk about some ideas and you decide, after confirming that you would indeed get some presents to open on your birthday, that you would like for mommy and daddy to give some of the money that we would have spent on you, away to these children. you're completely confused and concerned about how the money will get to them and insist we just need to go and find the kids. but i just want to say, that i appreciate you for being burdened for things outside of your blessed little world.

and lastly on the agenda of what to talk about on the year in retrospect is clothes.


what is the deal?
why will you not stay dressed, girl?

are you allergic to fibers?

put on some pants

throw on a shirt

add some panties

and then like really go crazy and leave them all on, please

let's make this a new year's resoluction lu-bird.

anyways, ladies. i hope to have painted a picture here of who you guys are at this age or at least who you guys are when you're not fighting with each other! we love you so much. you are teaching us so much about ourselves. we're all growing together.

happy birthday, coconuts!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

happy birthday to finn


Happy Birthday to our man!

At this age you:

are even sweeter than you look.
are really into your mommy and planning to stay this way.
are very verbal (momma, dadda, nonna, go, no, and most importantly "gush").
lay your head on our shoulder before bedtime and pat our back slowly.
don't even PLAY about your food intake, in addition to your distaste in people, or the dog, eating around you with no intention of sharing.
are a biter.
crawl back and forth in the tub the entire bath time.
love to look out the window.
scream in torture over diaper changes.
have close to no entries in your baby book.
also go by "tote totes man", "pork chop", "biscuit", "buddy", etc.
love to make us laugh.
have infamous hair.

throw yourself to the floor (usually backwards) if ticked off.

were, by miles and miles, the best thing that happened to us in 2008.
This family needed YOU.

lucy has had to warm up to you quite a bit this year. and i think you guys are almost there.

olive has been overwhelmed with how she feels about you from day one

you always seem nervous that you are going to be stepped on and don't like to be put down on the floor much. we couldn't imagine being you.

what a blessing you are every day. happy birthday, son!