Friday, November 30, 2007

The last day of November!

Computer is dying. Something about blogging made it sick months ago. And it has been in a state of gradual decline ever since. Getting out of Google-Reader to comment on blogs is like trudging through a pool of sludge. It requires much patience and prayer. And if there are graphics, or ads or layers on your page, it's almost hopeless. I click that link and walk away, to get a cup of coffee or fold some laundry, then come back to see if it was able to accomplish the task, or if it locked up passed out from the effort. And sometimes now, mid keystroke, it just turns itself off. Jumping ship. Grumpy and overloaded, it stubbornly refuses to do one thing more. I know how it feels.

The Man has been voicing loudly the need to reformat. That the best thing for computer is a fresh start. While I know this may be true, I have been resisting. Because The Man, while very nice to look at, and quite accomplished at many things, tends to leave things in a slightly altered state when he fixes them.

He's actually quite a whiz at computers. He has written code for program after program to do tasks as simple as manage our contacts or as complicated as run his business. But the last time he reformatted he wiped the information out of said contact manager completely, leaving me floundering on how to reach the voice teacher. Or my mother.

And it's not just computers. The toilets he has repaired do work, but with little irritating quirks that weren't there before. "Someone go jiggle the toilet thing" is now a daily request around here. And so, I have been understandably resistant, worrying what I would lose.

But I have surrendered. Computer is in pain and we need to do what's best for him. You know, so I can get back to surfing and commenting at will. Because I have a lot to say. And because it's Christmas time. And I need to s-h-o-p people.

So I ask you all to say a prayer for computer and his trip to The Man's hospital this weekend. That we would come through the other side new and refreshed and without any significant memory loss. That afterwards he would be able to do his work easily with the passion he once had. Opening up window after window with ease. That he would be well again, completely well.

With no jiggling required.

What I am thankful for today. That November is over. I have posted 36 posts in November. THIRTY-SIX. Talk about self-indulgent ridiculousness. And the idea that I had, that I would just be popping on to write a quick line of thanks. That was pure stupidity on my part. It's been a time sucking machine. So when next November comes, if I even think of participating in this daily posting thing, someone please shoot me. Seriously.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Day 28

Today I am thankful for my children who were, all four of them, conceived without difficulty. Who were carried to term, with no problems beyond those of typical pregnancy discomfort. Who were born healthy and strong in deliveries that were relatively complication free. I am thankful for the sleepless nights I spent in my home feeding them, rocking them, walking with them until I could barely stand. I am thankful for the anger they have caused me and the tears I have shed on their behalf.

This week some friends of mine delivered twins at 25 weeks after years of trying to conceive and several rounds of IVF. Those babies are struggling just to to take a breath. We are all praying just for their hearts to keap beating. Each day we get an update, because for their parents each day is simply another battle that wasn't lost.

I have friends who have recently lost babies and those who have never been able to conceive them. I have cried for them. My heart breaks for them, but I don't know what it's like to be them. I couldn't possibly.

But today I know that each day that I walk on this side of that darkness is a blessing. A fragile blessing that I have not earned. And for the days that I have forgotten this, and the days, too soon, that I will forget again - I am truly sorry.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Day 26

Today I am thankful for my sister-in-law who sent me this adorable shot of Ben and Clara from Thanksgiving. (I should have had her take my Christmas Card picture.)
Also for Rotisserie Chickens from our grocery store for those voice lesson/basketball practice days when I just can't get my act together.
And for my supportive bloggy friends, who occasionally get stuck listening to reading my confessions, and are gracious about it every time.

Monday, November 26, 2007

The great newsletter debate.

The Christmas cards I actually ordered before Thanksgiving arrived today. I admit I was kind of hoping I had exaggerated the not-so-greatness of the photo in my mind. I hadn't. There they were, my four children squinting through the sunshine with forced smiles on their overexposed faces. It's amazing how I can get such wonderful shots of my children individually but put them all together and it's hopeless. I think next year, I may just pick a great individual shot of each of them and do a type of collage. Or maybe actually splurge for a professional photo. Imagine that.

But this year, in an effort to fore go my quest for a perfect Christmas in exchange for a peaceful one, I am sending them as they are. And the picture isn't horrible exactly, it just fails to capture all their gorgeous personalities. Which I doubt anyone would appreciate quite as much as me anyway.

Which brings us to the next part of the Christmas Card process - the annual newsletter. Several years ago, I decided it would be fun to write a newsletter updating the world on what we had been up to that year. Yes, I actually thought it would be fun. I only had two children at the time, and I must have not settled into my roll as "The Family Scrooge" yet.

And I think it was fun the first year. But what no one tells you is once you have decided to enter the world of Christmas Newsletters, there is no returning to the simple days of stuffing a photo in an envelope. Unwittingly I had added one huge item - recap our entire year in a witty, non-boring letter that doesn't sound too much like the previous year, and keep it as short as possible so someone might actually read it - to my Holiday to do list.

And every time I suggest that I might not write a letter that year, a handful of people - most of whom live in this house - let out a loud protest. Oh, and my mother-in-law. She loves the letter. Bless her proud Gramma heart.

But I am finding it increasingly difficult to be witty or original or interesting. And I wonder if anyone - besides my mother-in-law, of course - even enjoys receiving them.

So I am asking you, my bloggy friends, do any of you write a newsletter? And if you receive them, do you like it? I understand by asking people who read/write blogs that I am asking a portion of the population that generally likes reading about other's lives, but I would still like to hear your thoughts.

And today I am thankful for Brandon. I stay on his case more than any of my children because he is, well, a fifteen year old boy. But every night when I am making dinner, he helps me occupy the weekids. Most of the time, without complaint. And sometimes, like tonight, he volunteers to do things like give baths, or feed dinners. And I am grateful for him. For many reasons of course, but tonight particularly so, because he preserves my sanity.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Day 24

I had a longish post planned for this evening, but The Man and I decided to watch Amazing Grace. , which was inspirational and informative and I highly recommend it. But now it's late and I am tired so just another quick list from me: Today I am thankful for:
  • - which is also, and I am such a word nerd and I just love this site. I am there everyday: To make sure I am using a word correctly, to find another word, to check out the word of the day, or to discover the meaning of something I have read on one of your blogs. I think this really solidifies my dork status, you know, in case there was some debate.
  • Sunday Afternoon Naps
  • Watching Ben & Clara run (crawl? knee-walk?) after each other laughing and screeching with glee. It's a dream come true for me to see my children so completely enjoying each other's company, even for a few moments.
  • DVR-Really isn't this just the greatest invention? Before we had this I would rush through dinner and plop myself in front of the TV on the night of my favorite show, obnoxiously shushing any family member brave enough to speak to me - or each other - during the episode. Our new system is a vast improvement.
  • A post it note I found on my fridge. Allie put it there before she went to bed. It says: Mommy, Daddy. I heart U. Allison. Sigh - The happy kind.
  • A wonderful Thanksgiving weekend spent with my family, which has sadly come to an end. Sigh - The unhappy kind.
Ya know, this thankful thing gets easier the more you do it. I guess that was the point, wasn't it?

I just can't help myself.

So I have been running around the Blogosphere entering contests. Because I recently won a couple things on some blog contests and now I have the contest bug. And because we are broke as a joke this year and I am trying to pad our under-the-tree-offerings for Christmas morning. Even though I recently wrote a ranty post about how that's not really what Christmas is about. I know, I know, I should just walk around with the word "Hypocrite" stamped on my forehead.

Anyway, the one contest I would love to win most of all, is this one for the old fashioned pedal car for Ben and Clara. And while I know, that if I did miraculously win, I would choose this gender neutral work of art, I just can't help but think that this

picture of retro pink perfection is the cutest thing I have ever seen. I mean really, can't you just picture the adorableness of little Clara tooling around in it? Couldn't you just eat it with a spoon?

So go enter the contest already, and if you win instead of me, I promise I won't hate you. Well not forever.
Oh, and I'll be back in a bit to do my thankful post on the things I ALREADY HAVE in my life. Cause I am. I swear. Even if they aren't pink. And convertable.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Day 23

Today I am thankful for:
  • My messy neglected home. I am ashamed of all the times I have complained about it.
  • My children, all four of them. Because the break me out of my solemn, grumpy shell and make me laugh-out-loud every day. And sing. And dance. And play games. And tell stories. And hug. Even when I don't feel like it. And it's a balm for my soul.
  • Baby Nathaniel, who was Christened today. And for his family, whom I love.
  • Footy pajamas.
  • "You've Got Mail" Allison and I watched it tonight and I forgot how much I love that movie.
  • Pumpkin Pie
  • These moments of near complete silence, and solitude, and peace.
  • This verse: For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. Phillipians 1:6. Because lately I feel very unfinished.

Friday, November 23, 2007


I walked out the door to the garage this afternoon to run an errand. I found Brandon in the driveway playing basketball with Eric; a likable kid from our neighborhood he's been hanging out with for years. I gave a friendly greeting and went to get in the van. As I was pulling out I saw Eric hopping in a red jeep that was blocking me in. I hadn't been able to see it from the garage.

"Sorry" he yelled as he backed out of my way.

I stopped. Frozen in something like shock. It took me a moment to continue my commute out into the street.

That's his jeep. He drove here. My son's friend. He drove his own car to our house, and now he's moving it out of my way, all nonchalant like its NO BIG DEAL.

Phrases like, "Eric, will you move your car?" are going to become part of my everyday vernacular.

It's amazing how I could know something was coming. This new phase. The next step. I even knew that it had arrived; The Man and I had talked about it. Yet somehow, actually seeing it still knocked the wind out of me, like a punch in the gut.

My son's friends are driving.

I think I need a drink. No better yet, I think I need to pray. A lot. For like the next five years straight.

I am so not ready for this.

What I am grateful for: A lazy day. A clean kitchen. Taking my daughter and my niece to a charmingly gooey girly movie and loving it. All of us.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

I read a post by Painted Maypole today that moved me on what it really means to be Thankful. So for my Thanksgiving Post, I am going to send you her way.

My gratitude today is for my family. And I will show them being with them this weekend, completely, and patiently and without distraction. Thanks for the lesson, PM.
And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him. Colossians 3:17

Wednesday, November 21, 2007


Here in Georgia, the weather has been perfection for the last month. Glorious fall days with temperatures in the 60s and low 7os. Gentle breezes sending leaves spinning from the trees in showers of red and gold and green. On days like this it feels almost criminal to stay inside. And so we have ventured out more this past month than all year. Visiting parks and taking walks. Throwing ourselves into crunchy piles of leaves and lying flat our our backs to look up the contrast of the blue sky through the red leaves. Playing soccer and basketball and football in crispy brown grass. Thinking how heavenly it would be, if it could last forever.

And yet, therein lies the irony. It has lasted for months, and we have paid a significant price in return. In Georgia we are in the midst of the worst drought in our history. All outdoor watering is banned. We cannot wash our cars or preserve the life of our trees. Showers have been shortened as we watch in unfamiliar fear, as our drinking supply ebbs dangerously close to nothing. What will happen if it's exhausted? I don't think anyone really knows.

It paints a picture for me, of how imperative balance is in life. I cannot count how often I have heard people pray for the absence of rain: to prevent flooding, to enjoy a lovely day planned outdoors, to ease travelling, even to win or lose a sporting event. And yet, all throughout Georgia, people are now praying for the skies to open up. For day after day of earth soaking rains. Because we cannot live without it. Because balance is a requirement for life to continue.

It's representative I think, of our own need for duality. As much as we hate to admit it, isn't our joy incumbent on a certain amount of pain or sadness for it's existence? Without this dichotomy wouldn't we also become dull and parched and fade from life? Is it possible that we should thank God for our disappointments simply because of their power to define our delights?

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. It's supposed to rain. In fact, the forecast for this week calls for rain five out of the next seven days. We won't be venturing outside to revel in the sunshine. Our leaves will become a sodden, brown mess. We will cover our heads, and pies, and children and run for doorways. And yet, we will not complain. We will be thankful for the rain in a way we have not been before. Because we have new perspective, and sunshine, without rain, it's simply incomplete.

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: Eccl. 3:1

I am taking the day off tomorrow. Not from gratitude, but from blogging. To focus on family and food and our loving Father whom I am grateful for most of all. Happy Thanksgiving to all of you. This blog brings me much joy and I count you high in my blessings.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Day 19 - Clara 16 Months

My impossible, irresistible, baby girl. Sixteen months have passed and yet I still feel as if I am just getting to know you. In just ten short minutes you were this:

and this:

and this:

You shuffle around now walking on your knees. Wearing out the knees of your pants and the toes of your shoes and adamantly refusing our promptings to walk another step. Stubborn and strong willed, you spend many days rubbing my nerves raw with your temper. But seconds later you are bubbling joy and warm soft cuddles. You laugh and sing and say a new word almost every day. You are a mischievous risk taker and an avid conversationalist. You are loud and rough and boorish. Yet you are gentle and unsure and adoring.
I wonder if it's possible I will ever know all the facets of your capricious personality.
And I wonder how my life ever felt complete without you.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Day 18-Thanksgiving

This morning Ben woke up at 5:45.

"It's the middle of the night!" I growled at him, and sent him back to bed. And when I woke up 2 hours later, all was quiet in my home. A small miracle actually. I drank my coffee in peace as it dawned on me...It's Thanksgiving week.

Lest you think that I am jaded and disenchanted with all Holidays, I have to say - I just love Thanksgiving. I know, I know, it's the official start of the Holiday-that-shall-not-be-named, but even that doesn't dim my enthusiasm. So today, I am Thankful for Thanksgiving. And here's 7 reasons why.
  1. Thanksgiving always falls on a Thursday, so it makes for a short week. Allie woke up this morning singing "It's not really's actually Thurrrrsday!" And I concur with her conclusion. The kids only have two days of school this week, and The Man only works three. Glory. Glory!
  2. I. Never. Host. Thanksgiving. It's true, and I couldn't be happier about it. No stressful cleaning of the house or planning menus. I have never cooked a turkey and I am willing to postpone that experience as long as possible. Repeat after me: Gizzards are gross. (Which is why I am profoundly grateful for my mother and my sister-n-law who graciously host us each year.)
  3. We get to see our families. I know for some people this is a chore, but I genuinely love it. My kids have lots of cousins on both sides who we don't get to see nearly as much as we would like. I love the chaos that comes with a house full of excited children. I'll be sad if it ever changes.
  4. My mother hosts the celebration for my side of the family the Sunday before Thanksgiving, to keep us from having to run like crazy on the actual Holiday. God bless her. So...I get to eat Turkey and pie all week long. It also makes for a lazy day on Thursday. We get up, watch the parade. make casseroles. watch football. Give the kids their nap. And head over to The Man's celebration late afternoon. All Holidays should be this stress free.
  5. I am thrilled that in America - where we truly are blessed - we have a Holiday simply to stop and recognize it. I love discussing with my children the things they are thankful for, and watching how their lists change over the years. They never cease to surprise me.
  6. The food. 'Nuf said.
  7. Thanksgiving always falls on a Thursday so we all have a long weekend off together. Practices, Games, Rehearsals, Lessons...all take a break. As a family we have really come to look forward to this. We do things together as a family. The Man watches an astounding amount of football. I read books. We watch movies, and play games. For a few days life moves at a slow pace, and I recognize that for the rare gift it is.
So what are your thoughts on the Holiday? Do you love it? Dread it? Does your family have any special traditions? We don't travel and I think if we did, I would feel differently about it. What do you think?

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Day 17

Yesterday morning I attempted to take our annual Christmas Card picture of the children. The last two years I took their picture less than a week before Christmas, had them printed overnight and mailed them out December 22nd. I was determined to do better this year.

My children had other ideas.

They poked.
They shoved.
And most of all, they whined:

"Don't poke me. Don't push me. Look at the camera. Scoot over. The sun is in my eyes. Are you done yet?"

I took about 25 shots and didn't get one decent one of the four of them. Here's a sample.

I think Ben's expression says it all.

I ended up frustrated and depressed that my efforts to be on time were thwarted. I started planning when we could do a retake. Or maybe I should just spend the money and take them to a studio.

I didn't.

Tonight, on impulse, I picked the shot that was the least offensive of everyone and ordered my cards. I settled for mediocrity and I feel liberated.

My cards are ordered, it's not even Thanksgiving yet. And THAT'S what I am thankful for today.


Oh and pumpkin pie. We had Thanksgiving at my Mother's house today and she sent me home with a pie. I ate pie for dinner while ordering cards. It was like a hug, with spices. Thanks Mom.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Day 16

Last night I went out with two of my girlfriends, Debbie and Melissa. I can't remember when I had a better time. We were giggly and obnoxious like 15-year-olds, which is appropriate since we all knew each other when we actually were. I have said this before, but I can't say it enough, there is just nothing like old friends. Friends that knew you when, and love you still.

We then went to the 10:15 showing of "Dan in Real Life." I know! Can you believe it? We went to a movie that started after ten o'clock. We're a regular bunch of party-moms. The movie was predictable and hokie in places but we laughed tons. And Steve Carell really is a gem, so I would recommend it for that alone. I also recommend having a glass of wine before you see it. It worked well for me.

Today has been a lazy kind of day. Nausea and a seriously tenacious sinus headache have rendered me pretty much useless. I only ventured out once, and that was to the used bookstore for an emergency book run. I actually made it to the bottom of the stack. I didn't know it was even possible. I thought that thing continuously replenished itself.

As for gratitude? I actually have 3 for you today.
  1. Well my fabulously immature girlfriends, of course. They totally rock.
  2. Some bloggy friends introduced me to the word Callipygian today. I shared it with my family and we are enjoying trying to find ways to use it. :0)
  3. Look what I found in my messy kitchen today:

~Magically Delicious.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Day 15 - It's The Man, again.

The Man just walked out the door. He bundled up Clara and Ben in coats and packed snacks and sippy cups while I was blow drying my hair. He nagged Brandon, and Allie and one of her friend's to get their shoes and coats while I was rummaging through sweaters to wear. Then he corralled all 5 kids out to the minivan to take them out to dinner leaving me here, sitting at the computer. To say I am thankful wouldn't do it justice. I am beholden, but even more so, I am smitten. There is something about a man that will take 5 kids out to dinner without batting an eye.

And in a few moments I will grab my small purse and get in the small car and go meet two girlfriends for wine and Hibachi.

But right now I going to sit here and savor this deliciously foreign experience of being here, in my own home, alone.


It started months ago. Back in September, or maybe even August. Just a whisper at first, before the flood. A precocious harbinger of the storm to come.

I noticed it first at the mailbox. An additional weight. A little less room. Gaining momentum with each passing week. Until now, each day, I am met with stacks of glossy catalogs depicting heart-stirring scenes illuminated by twinkling lights. Porcelain people glowing with contentment and bliss. Offering their secret. The keys to the picture of perfection.

Peddling personalized toys, Fair Isle sweaters and trendy trappings in the guise of memories and joy and fulfillment. All with free shipping.

And then overnight the subtlety is replaced with a garish barrage on my senses. The radio waves become saturated with countdowns, and promises. Slipping words like cherished and love and always remember between jingles for diamonds and electronics at unbeatable deals. "Do your carpets need cleaned? Will your family feel loved? Will your home look beautiful? Will you?" Until even the songs that once made me sing are sending the same message. This is love. This is celebration. Can you measure up?

At home the onslaught continues. Movies framing overflowing tables and breathtaking homes. A man with a beard making dreams come true. Reconciliations. Perfection. And, maybe worst of all: Bleating in and out in the spaces between my children's television shows, with a steady hypnotic beat: "Don't you want this? Shouldn't you have this? Won't this make you happy? If they love you they will. If you love them you will." Happiness for sale at a price much larger than a credit card payment.

And I find myself dreading it. All of it and what it has come to mean. Surely a baby in a manger, hope for the world, a selfless gift of love, was not supposed to become this. This machine that pumps out nerve wracking pressure, and unmeetable expectations, and consumerism in the place of peace and gratitude, hope and love.

Surely we have gotten it wrong.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Giving Thanks...Revisited

Okay, so I am having kind of a bad week. I doubt this is much of a shock, I haven't exactly been hiding it well. My kids are driving me c.r.a.z.y. Ben's trying out this new thing where I tell him to do things and he pretends I didn't speak.

Yeah. It's really charming.

Then I repeat my request, louder this time, and the battle commences. He didn't go to school today, because I told him if he didn't come here right now and put on his shoes, he wasn't going. I think it took him about an hour for it to register that I really wasn't taking him. And then we had another meltdown.

And Clara, bless her little schizophrenic heart, has been a whining, crying, fit-pitching monster for the last week. I think it's related to a molar coming in, but it's possible she's just conspiring with Ben to see if my head actually will explode.

None of this is really a big deal. One of the benefits of having been down this parenting road before is that I know this phase will soon be behind us and, most likely, replaced by a new challenge. It has however, had the unfortunate effect of making me grouchy and short tempered. Because, really, who can keep a pleasant demeaner when your toddler is whining 12 hours a day?

I've also been busy. Crazy busy. Thus the late night trips to Kinkos and for tap shoes.

All of this has made my "I will post something positive every single day in November" resolution a bit of a challenge. By the time I make it to the computer at 11:00 every night I am exhausted, and frazzled and would really rather not post at all. So I end up posting something like "I am thankful for wine. Or locks on bedroom doors....Or tubal ligation."

But that's not really gratitude. It's just another way of complaining about my day. Which couldn't be more contrary to the point.

So for the rest of this month, I am going to stop and find something I am genuinely grateful for each day. Even if it's small. Even if it makes for boring blog reading. Because the point of this wasn't to be entertaining. It was to count my blessings. Even on days when I don't feel blessed. Especially on days when I don't feel blessed. Doing it publicly on the blog, was just a way to keep me accountable.

And puleeze, if I end up posting something like I am thankful for Clorox Wipes (which I seriously am by the way. How did I ever get by without those things?) don't feel like you have to comment.

And today?

Today I am thankful for the woman at the mall. Ben and Clara were strapped in the double stroller to prevent another Ben disappearing act. Ben was whining because I wouldn't buy him something and Clara was in a full out turn-blue scream fest because I wouldn't pick her up. This kind woman stopped and tried to calm them down. And then she told me, without a trace of sarcasm, that I had beautiful children and I was very blessed. I almost hugged her. I wish she could know what a difference it made in my day.

And I am thankful that last night it rained. But I think everyone in Atlanta is thankful for that.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Day 12


I am thankful that the Blockbuster Video - where I hit the curb while parking and blew out the tire on my van - said I could park it there overnight. Because it turns out I don't have a spare.

I am thankful that there is a junkyard near our home where tomorrow I can find a spare tire for my van. Hopefully inexpensively.

I am thankful for my husband who stopped working - without a trace of annoyance in his voice -to pick up Allie from voice lessons and then rescue the kids and I at Blockbuster.

I am thankful for my husband's car, which I used at 9:00 tonight to make a 40 minute drive to pick up tap shoes as a visual aide for a project on Shirley Temple. I am especially thankful I was able to make that drive ALL ALONE.

I am thankful for my friend Melissa who I called on my drive to pick up tap shoes. Because she makes me laugh.

I am thankful that my office is littered with scraps of paper because it means that the Shirley Temple Project is complete. And mostly - with the exception of some road trips - it was completed by Allison.

I am thankful that today is over. And for the gift of tomorrow, to give it all another shot.
Through the LORD’s mercies we are not
consumed, B
ecause His compassions fail not.
They are new every morning;
Lamentations 3:22-23a

Monday, November 12, 2007

Day 11 - $3.00

Remember that sentimental giddy place I was in last night, where gratitude was flowing like rain.

Well, maybe not like rain exactly. At least not here.

But man, if there isn't something about Mondays that just makes me want to slap my shiny happy self from yesterday. On Mondays I am tired, and irritable that the laundry and mess in my home has multiplied over the weekend like Tribbles. And it always feels I am starting off another week of tediousness 3 steps behind.

And today was shining example of a Monday.

Which is why today I am thankful for Kinkos. Because they stay open until midnight. Which means that I could go there to print photos for Allison's project on Shirley Temple after I picked up Brandon from Basketball practice at 9:30PM.

And inside Kinkos it was quiet except for the hum of the computers and printers around me. And I just may have just sat there, at my terminal, for fifteen minutes longer than I needed to...purchasing a bit of alone time at the rate of 20 cents per minute. While Brandon sat in the car doing homework.

And I am thankful for that as well.

Best $3.00 I spent all week.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

My cup runneth over.

I am feeling particularly thankful tonight. The Man is back home, where he belongs, and things feel right with the world again. While I took the kids to church this evening he cleaned the house. I don't love him because he cleans, but it's certainly a perk.

While he was gone on his trip, Allie and I did some serious girl bonding. Last night we had a slumber party. We huddled under a blanket with Ben watching a movie while we gorged ourselves on popcorn and Reeces Pieces. If you haven't tried putting Reeces Pieces in your popcorn, you really are missing out on one of the finer things in life.

After Ben went to sleep, we climbed into my bed together. I suggested we read. It's something we used to do often, but with the birth of the little ones, it fell out of our routine. So we took turns reading chapters aloud from From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. My grandmother gave me this book as a child and then, again, when I had children of my own. Surprisingly though, Allie had never read it. I was tickled to see what she thought of Claudia, an under appreciated eleven-year-old, like herself.

Then I begged invited her to sleep with me in my bed, reminding her of how she would nag me to let her when she was small. I always declined then, saying "I can't, I'm saving that spot for daddy." So last night, she happily agreed. I am thankful there was still enough little girl left in her to be excited with the idea. I am not sure my mama-heart could have handled the alternative.

We stayed up talking and giggling in the dark for a while. Eventually she snuggled down between her stuffed dog and her real one, and went to sleep.

For a long time I just laid next to her in the dark, savoring the glow of our evening together. I listened to the soft rhythm of her breathing, the way I did when she was tiny. Sentimentally mulling over how long it had been. And I realized, with a tiny flash of awareness, that I had just experienced a memory in the making. Something I may hold on to for years to come.

A night when I got it right.

It was one of those fleeting moments in life, where I wonder how I could ever be anything but thankful.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Day 9 - The magic of three

Yesterday morning Ben and I were sitting on the couch doing our morning snuggles, talking about the day to come. We have a routine where he says "Tell me about my day" and I tell him as much as I can about what his day will be like. I stole this idea from my cousin Ginger, and he loves it. Knowing the sequence of events that will occur has really helped to head off fits and transition problems, especially if we have a busy day. We go over it several times until he can repeat it back to me. He can't get enough of it, this itemizing of things in his day. And counting them. He'll declare proudly "I have 5 tings today".

Yesterday, we were talking about our errands. I told him we had to go drop off clothes at a store (consignment) where there would be some toys he could play with while he waited.

"And we go in mommy's car?" he asked.

"Mmm Hmm, my car"

"And you will be the driver and I will be the rider." He dictated.

"Yes", I said chuckling at his assignment of transportation duties.

We sat in silence for a moment

"Can I be a the driver?" he asked in a tiny, hopeful voice. "Or am I too wittle?"

"Oh honey, You're still too little" I responded.

"Oh." he said sadly. Sitting for moment. "But I am getting bigger now."

"Yes" I replied wistfully. "You really are".

Today I am thankful for my mischievous, lovable Ben, and the wonderful age of 3, where each day is full of wonder and adventure. For a boy who can't go an hour without making me laugh out loud.

We should all be so blessed.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Day 8 - Lessons learned at the Waffle House

On Friday nights our family goes out to dinner. Every Friday night, unless we miraculously have other plans, or one of our children is sick - And I mean really sick, not church nursery sick - we wrangle all our kids out the door and head out for Mexican. And it's always Mexican. We used to vary our dinner spots, but as out clan grew to include infants and toddlers we came to value no wait times, cheap food, and immediate chips-n-salsa over quality or variety. We're an inpatient, messy, noisy clan. Mexican suits us.

Occasionally Brandon or Allison will have plans with friends and our party will be down to five. Even less often they will both be gone and it's just The Man and I with Ben & Clara. These occasions almost feel like a dates, because we can actually talk about stuff, albeit in code.

A handful of times a year, I will go out with friends, and The Man, Superdad that he is, will take the herd out on his own. These evenings they go out for Barbecue. I don't like barbecue. They all act like it's a celebration. Barbecue without mom. Woohoo.

And all the while I am thinking: Wine without kids. Woohoo indeed.

The only real constant to Friday night dinners is The Man. Poker nights fall on Saturday, so Fridays he is always home. Always.

Until tonight.

This afternoon he and some of his buddies took off for the weekend to go hole up in a cabin, watch football, play cards, and do whatever it is that men do when we are not around. I am perfectly content not to know exactly what that is.

And he dropped Brandon off on the way.

So tonight for Friday night dinner, it was just Allison, the Weekids (Ben & Clara) and me. We were excited about the change. I decided to shake thing up a bit. I let her pick the restaurant.

"Just keep it inexpensive", I said.

She picked Waffle House. Sigh. So we headed out for platefuls of grease and overly sweet waffles served irritably by someone I always feel the need to overtip.

The place was surprisingly busy. Middle aged couples, small families, and several people alone, drinking coffee at the counter. The booth next to ours had seven teenagers crowded into it. They were arguing loudly about jukebox selections and how they could keep their parents from knowing they had ditched the mall to come there. I thought immediately of Brandon. I wanted to call all their mothers myself. Do you know where your kids are?

I suddenly felt old.

And with a pang, I missed my husband. I wanted to laugh with him about how prudish I had become. I wanted to talk about how part of me was still sitting with him in one of those booths at 2:00AM and part of me doesn't even know who that was anymore. I wanted to ask him whether he thought Brandon has ever walked across the busy highway to eat there.

I wanted him to cut Clara's waffle while I ran to the bathroom with Ben.

Instead I made Allie take Ben to the bathroom. And we had a really pleasant meal. She seemed genuinely thrilled with our special outing, and I was proud of her for stepping up to help so much with the little ones. A role Brandon usually fills.

But what I came away with is that my life without Shane, even for one lousy Friday night; it just feels lacking. And that without him to remember the sippy cup and the highchair cover, they don't make it to the restaurant.

I realized that there is a quiet joy in our predictable routines and our glances across the table that don't require words. And a camaraderie in our schlumping down together on the couch on Friday nights after they are all in bed, with an air of "Whew. We did it."

And tonight I am thankful for that. For The Man and our comfortable marriage, that I often take for granted, but that my life would be so much less without.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Day 7 - Sleep

It's nearly midnight. The end to a long day. I struggled all day to find time to stop and write a thankful post and now, 20 minutes before midnight, I struggle to find inspiration. Oh, of course, I am thankful. For my kids, my husband, my friends, my home - I could sit here listing all night long listing the ways I am blessed- but I had hoped to find something deeper. Or at least something funny. Something profoundly specific to this day in my life. That was the point wasn't it, to stop each day and take notice.

But here, at midnight, I can only notice that my eyes are heavy and my brain is mush. And I am thankful for my bed, and my down comforter, and the knowledge that, right now, sleep is much more important than profundities.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Day 5 - A Double Header

As it turns out I have already had two moments of gratitude this morning.

#1- R.E.M. was on Sesame Street this morning which made it imparative we all stop for a spontaneous living room dance party. Shiny Happy Monsters, indeed.

#2-Clara and I were preparing to take our shower together. I was running around collecting clothes and towels and she was streaking through the house in delicious naked-baby glee. When from out of the living room I hear Ben yell "Oh, Oh, Oh, Cwara, Yucky!"

What I was thankful for at that moment.... Hardwood floors.

Catching up

A while ago, Erin K tagged me for a Meme she created on music. I have been procrastinating on completing my task because as riveting as my blog typically is, a post completely on my tastes in music is apt to bring it to a whole new level of thrilling. Somewhere in the neighborhood of sorting socks. Because, you see, I am not much of a music aficionado. The only songs that ever get downloaded in this house are for my children. Which means that they are Hip Hop (Brandon), Broadway or Hannah Montana (Allie) or Laurie Berkner (Ben & Clara). It's sad but true. Music is just another area of my life where my own tastes have been diluted so much by those of my children that I can no longer make out what they once were.

However, because I wouldn't want to let Erin down, and because I could use the blog fodder, I am going to attempt it.

So here goes...Prepare to be thrilled:


What song is in your head? Well none right this second, but I actually have had a pop song in my head for the last week. I am kind of smitten with it and even more so after hearing the backstory. A song written to win a girl, named Delilah, no less. It didn't work, but it tugs at the teenage girl in me nonetheless.

What is the top album on your wish list? This is where you see how lame I truly am. Rock & Roll Oldies by Gymboree. They play this CD everytime we go to class and Clara dances like a maniac to it, but they stopped making or selling it and I have been unable to locate a copy. I guess another upbeat oldies compilation would probably have the same effect on my dancing queen. I would also like Noel by Josh Groban. Because I am a sucker for Christmas CDs & Josh Groban.

What is the most recent live music event you have attended? My friend and I attended a music festival in September called Celebrate Freedom which featured all day concerts by various Christian artists. We saw several artists, but this song by Nicol Sponberg was the one that brought me to tears.

What is the top live music event on your wish list? I have to admit that the top live music event on my list is the musical Wicked. Allie and I actually saw it when it came to Atlanta and have become mildly obsessed with seeing it again. I think we have the score memorized.

What are the top three albums currently in rotation at your house?
1. Well Wicked, of course.
2. Whaddaya Think of That? by Laurie Berkner. And can I just say I wouldn't be too heartbroken if I never heard this CD again. Ben has been completely smitten with Laurie Berkner for over a year but I have had about as much of her as I can stand. Thus the whole search for the Rock and Roll Oldies CD.
3. Pages by Shane & Shane. I recently won this CD from BooMama. I must admit I was iffy about it when I first listened to it. But it grew on me and I now reach for it whenever I am in the van sans Children. Which is like once a month.

Whew...okay, I made it through this. I am supposed to tag someone, but I am going to leave it up to all of you to tag yourselves.
Oh and one more bit of business I have been delinquent on.

I have not made a secret of my adoration and admiration for a certain blogger. Well believe it or not, all my sucking up worked, and she has awarded me a Community Blogger Award.
The description of this award reads "this is a person who reaches out and makes my blogger community a better one" Thanks so much Slouching Mom. Coming from you, this means the world to me.

And I am going to pass this award on to Lori. Because the description fits her perfectly. Her posts, and her comments, contiuously uplift and encourage me.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Day 4 - Signs Gratitude may be elusive this morning.

1. You spent the morning sleeping semi-upright on the sofa so you didn't keep your spouse awake trying to cough up your intestines.

2. Before the time change you were doing your very best to get your 3 year old to sleep until 7. This morning when he woke up at 6 he found the prospect of sleeping semi-upright with you on the sofa unappealing. Then your one year old who normally sleeps very late decided to join you at 6:30 because she couldn't breath.

3. Your eleven year old daughter got an attitude this morning because you happened to mention that her agenda book contained a stamp for homework not turned in. The nerve.

4. Your 3 and 1 year old were ornery and fought all morning long, resulting mostly in the 1 year old screaming her head off and while your 3 year old ran away and yelled "Sorry, Sorry, Sorry!

5. The one year old dumped your entire cup of coffee onto the area rug, herself and the clean laundry. Don't worry it was cold, you spent much too much time refereeing and cleaning up other messes this morning to actually have time to drink it.

6. You finally had to put your 1 year old down for a nap early because she was screaming so much you thought you might abuse her. This is not a joke. While she was wailing and trying to hit you to get away from having coffee cleaned off of her, you almost slapped her. You then decided that her screaming in her crib was preferable to child abuse.

7. Your 3 year old stepped on a tack that was on the floor because you were dumb enough to use tacks for your Halloween craft. He then hobbled around for the next half hour whimpering "I have a hole in meeee"

8. You have consumed half a pound bag of peanut M & Ms in the last 3 hours.

What I am thankful for: At this very moment they are both asleep. The house is quiet. Even if it does still smell distinctly of CoffeeMate Peppermint Mocha. I am profoundly thankful for quiet. Who ever woulda thunkit?

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Day 3 - Keep payin those premiums honey!

If you saw my other post, it's gone. Wallowing in self-loathing should never be a public event. I'll pretend I didn't write it. You pretend you didn't read it, and we'll all be better off.

Today, I am thankful for Health Insurance. Because I am becoming increasingly certain that Clara will not make it to age 2 without experiencing a trip to the emergency room.
When you look at this picture, I would like you to consider that Clara can not walk. Not 2 steps. And she can not stand unsupported for more than 10 seconds but she continues to get herself in these situations.

Here she realizes she is stuck, and Ben is attempting to help her. It really is amazing I can't loose weight as I seem to be constantly sprinting to save her. Except, I guess in this case, it was more like sprinting for the camera. But sprinting was definitely involved. Or at least fast walking.

And if this is not proof enough that a trip to the emergency room is eminent, you can find more
evidence of Clara's daredevil climbing in my two latest posts at Worst.Mama.Ever.

So thank goodness for health insurance. We're gonna need it.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Day 2 - The luxury of sleep

This morning The Man took Weekids duty so I could sleep in. It made finding something to be thankful for today, very easy. I'm thankful for sleeping until I woke-up. And then rolling over and sleeping a bit more.

It's amazing what a luxury that has become.

Friday, November 2, 2007

29 Days of Thanks - Day 1

Today I spent 3 hours at the salon having my hair colored, washed, conditioned, cut, slathered with products, blown-dry, and flat-ironed.

It was fantastic.

And because I was there for so long, sans children, I was able to contemplate what I was thankful for today. And it only took me a second to realize, it was those moments. I live a life that allows me to spend 3 hours and an extravagant amount of money just to make me feel better about the way I look. This would be inconceivable to a large part of the world's population.

So today...I am thankful for my life that allows me such luxuries. And for my styist, and friend, Nikki.

Cause she makes me look purty.

30 Days of Thanks

So Simply Nutmeg drew my attention to an idea by Boogiemom called 30 Days of Thanks.

It's a version of NaBloPoMo where you post each day in November about something you are thankful for. I really thought this was a wonderful idea and I signed right up.

On November 2nd.

So, unfortunately, mine is going to be 29 Days of Thanks. But I have never been one to let being late for the party keep me from having a good time.

So each evening in November I am going to stop and reflect about what I am thankful to God for that day and write at least one sentence about it. And I hope at the end of this month I will have a renewed appreciation for the blessings I experience each day.

Which is not to say that some of my posts won't be a bit silly. Because it's still me afterall.

Oh and I am sending out a challenge to my friends that might also think this is a great idea. Will you join me in celebrating 30 29 Days of Thanks?

Oh, and I'll be doing my official thanks post for today, later this evening.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

The day after...

It's been a sluggish kind of day. The cold I have been beating off the last week waged a sneak attack last night and I woke up hacking and sniffling. I was also suffering from what I refer to as The Day After Halloween Syndrome. You know, when the kids and I are all exhausted from too much excitement, too much sugar, and not enough sleep.

Yes, I used the same opening paragraph on both of my blogs today...lazy, lazy, lazy.

So I spent most of the day on the sofa, gorging myself on chocolate while trying to hide the obscene pile of candy wrappers in the sofa cushions in case The Man made it upstairs from the office. The candy didn't make me feel better, by the way, it actually made me kind of nauseous.
Go figure.
I did do something productive today though. And trust me when I say this is a very loose interpretation of the word productive. We had these 3 pie pumpkins sitting on the kitchen table that were supposed to be painted at some point, but, as usual it never happened. So, when Ben and Clara both became bored with climbing all over me between coughing fits, I decided we could do this:

In case you are not sure what you are looking at here, it's 3 pumpkins decorated with pushpins. Oh yes, I know, overwhelming, isn't it. Right now you are thinking I am quite the crafting goddess. Heh.

The saddest part is it wasn't even my idea. I stole it off someone's blog, which I would definitely link if I could remember who it was. Theirs was all classy-like though, a Fleur-de-lis in antique brass brads. I am sure they would be horrified at our redneck interpretations. If it counts for anything, my 3-year-old thought this was genius.

And for good measure, here's a picture of a couple of my kids from last night. It seems posting costumed kid pics is the in thing to do today and I wouldn't want to be bumped from the cool-kids table. Clara was a Dalmatian but my camera died and then she went to bed early so she was not able to make a photo appearance.

Allison had to fend for herself costume wise this year, and I thought she did smashing on her gypsy. Brandon declined to dress up for the first year ever. Kinda sad actually.
Alright, I am off to bed. But first, I have to go clean out some sofa cushions.