Monday, October 04, 2010

This is what I came home to

Impromptu traffic witches at daycare tonight

Monday, September 27, 2010

Brown Marbles & Other Cuteness

Baby Grant and I had some pretty awesome bonding time this past week when our dear daycare lady went on vacation. My little honey and I played at parks, bought his first pair of Nike tennis shoes, bought him some jeans just like daddy's (grungy-looking Levis), sampled treat after treat at Sam's Club, shared some decaf pumpkin spice latte, read story after story, played trains, and hunted for rocks that looked like guitars.

The week ended with a family trip to my folks' house up north, where he wanted to hold my hand while I drove. Awww.

While at my parents' house, Grant awoke on Friday night and went wandering through the house. He went upstairs in the dark in the middle of the night to look for me. Little had he realized I was sleeping next to him all night, since DH was not with us. On Saturday, he had his first tiny box of Milk Duds. Later in the weekend, he asked for brown marbles to celebrate him peeing in the toilet (which he's been successfully doing for nearly a year now). It took about 20 minutes of conversation to figure out he calls the Milk Duds marbles.

Little things, but such fond memories. Sure do love this little guy.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Happy Yodeler

Miss Breanna has learned a new skill at school. See below:

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Oh, the stories...

So back to preschool we go... kids happy... mom driving all over the place all the time... tall tales tripping off toddler tongues tantalizing the tireless...

I don't want to be so blunt as to say the twins have turned into full-blown liars, because although it is true, I would feel terribly sad if they became embarrassed someday if they were to come across this blog. So I'll gently call what they are doing "storytelling." Their imaginations completely blow me away.

Miss Lillian has resorted to basically lying any time you ask her anything. She doesn't often instigate it, but if you ask her if she's put her socks on yet, and you can see the socks on her feet, she will say she hasn't. If you ask if she just stole her brother's toy and you witnessed it, she will drop it behind her back and innocently say no. All. The. Time.

Not to put all the blame on Miss Lillian, here's another instance. At suppertime on the third day of school, I asked Breanna what happened during her day. She calmly responded with a very realistic story about how her favorite friend Eddie bit her in the arm and had to go to time out and how she didn't get to go outside for recess. When I asked DH if the teacher mentioned anything upon departure that day, he said not a peep was uttered. I asked the teachers on Friday and they roared with laughter. The whole tale was completely tall - and believable.

And then comes Master Grant. Thank goodness he's not lying, but he's certainly showing that same kind of imagination. After a big breakfast on a school morning, we dropped him off at Grandma Barb's for daycare. He started telling her how much he just loves oatmeal. He then asked if she had any and if he could see it. She pulled it out and he asked if he could talk to it. With a chuckle, she said sure. He proceeded to sit down and have a sincere face-to-box discussion, something along the lines of, "Oatmeal, I just love you so much. You make me so happy."

Yep, we're all a little nuts and getting nuttier every day...

Monday, August 23, 2010

Birthday Weekend Fun

Each year, our family tradition is to head up to the lake for birthday weekend, usually the second-to-the-last weekend of August. My mom, my cousin Bill and I all have birthdays in the same vicinity, so we share our celebration and kick back. Every year that I can remember, Mother Nature has been mighty kind to us, including this year.

Billy wasn't with us, but we sure missed him. The kids spent a ton of time turning into prunes, I ate a three-marshmallow s'more, and stayed up until 5 a.m. having heart-to-hearts with my husband and brother-in-law around the bonfire. We enjoyed some tasty "Poke Cake" and grilled dinner, went on a couple boat rides, visited with friends and neighbors, opened some pretty nifty gifts, and generally had a super-nice weekend.

Poor Lillian sobbed as we left Sunday night, never wanting to leave the lake, but especially not wanting to leave Gramma Pamma. Within a half hour of departing on our two-hour drive home, I had three sleeping kiddos and a fresh coffee. I listened to public radio and enjoyed the shooting stars. Upon returning home and unloading my three munchkins, I unpacked the cooler, brought the wet clothes into the laundry room, and plugged back into the internet and caught up on the news. Just before bed, I read through all the kind thoughts my Facebook friends wished me - my birthday ended on a great note. The only thing that would have made it any better would have been if my dear hubby was by my side instead of staying up in Fargo to work this week. I miss him already. So far, my 34th year is off to a pretty good start.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Weird shift in peers

When we lived in Fargo/Moorhead, I had my "special-interest group." The Red River Valley Mothers of Multiples were my gal pals - my home away from home. Though we came from very different backgrounds and shared very different lifestyles/goals/attitudes/careers  (or lack thereof), we had the most important thing in common and that was being the best parents to twins/triplets/quads possible. The friendships I made there and the support I gave and received were immeasurable and truly so treasured. Gone more than 2 years now, I still love my MOMs.

When we moved to the middle of Minnesota, I figured I'd hook up with the local MOMs club and find a new group. Little did I realize until that first new club meeting that the club I'd left behind was super special and very, very unique. Though the club in my new town was smaller, it had a totally different tone and very different approach - this was moms' night out to go drink vs. moms' support group to share ideas on how to be the best parents. I went to two meetings before calling it quits. Then I tried the next-closest MOMs group - in Brainerd, a full hour's drive away. While these ladies were very nice and welcoming, logistically, it just wasn't feasible. This group was small too, but didn't have the strong online community I'd grown to love in Fargo. So, I just mourned and dealt.

Then about a year ago, I was invited to a luncheon group called Forum of Executive Women. All motivated movers and shakers in town. Wise, kind women with great business minds. Nothing to do with parenting, but fulfilling to say the least. Less than a year after joining, I was asked to be on the Board and I'm so glad I said yes. It's filled a different spot in my life and it grows each week.

I've always been a huge supporter of businesswomen and this group has very-much gratified all I've thought about the topic. Yay for business. Big yay for women! Super big yay for a growing camaraderie as we work to support one another and grow our strengths. I've already learned so much from these wise women and I'm sure that will continue.

Even though I'm not getting my twin parenting questions answered by experts any more, I'm recognizing that parenting is getting easier and that winging it with the kids is becoming more and more comfortable. Having twins is special, but it's not the only identifying factor about me and for that, I'm very grateful.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Weekend Magic

This past weekend was a time of pure magic. Our very-dear family friend, Katie Jeffrey, married a wonderful man named Jon Shibata. Woo hoo! They shared their formal celebration with us at the fancy-pancy Grand Hotel in Minneapolis. Everything and everyone was absolutely beautiful. Stunning, in fact. But beyond the visual, the tone and the feel of the entire event was what really was impactful. There was such love, support, respect, and true joy in the bride, the groom, ALL their family, ALL their friends. It was something that left us glowing, even now, days later.

We all enjoyed getting dolled up for the wedding. The twins and my niece all had princess dresses, Grant got his first suit, Dan wore his tux, and I got to wear a fun party dress, too. It was great! My wonderful parents and my dear sis and niece were also there, and DH's super-cool cousin even joined us for a while; she generously went back to the hotel room with the sleeping little tykes so us revelers could revel. My dad, DH and I were the last in our group to finally hit the sack - around 4 a.m., I suppose. The whole thing rocked.

Upon our return, we came home to our every-day life as bumpkins. As a family, we blanched and froze corn on the cob, chopped a bunch of rhubarb for wine, and even disposed of a dead toad tonight. Yep, Lillian, our bug and critter lover, loved and petted her new friend the toad tonight - to death. "Look at how gooey his tongue is, mom." When I asked if he's still alive, she replied, "Of course. He's just tired." DH, being the good husband and dad that he is, took the cue to bring the creature down to the pond so he could go find his brothers and sisters and join them for some swimming. Welcome back to reality!

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

So grateful

As I've met some new friends on some spiritual and emotional journeys this summer, some of the conversations eventually have led to the story of our miracle babies. Yes, I know all babies are miracles, but not all of them overcome less than 1% odds that they'll survive like my dear daughters have.

I've relived some of it, reflecting on the magnitude of the miracles for us. Why did it all happen? I hadn't questioned it until recently. My theory is that God knew I wouldn't be strong enough to cope with losing the twins. Or strong enough to handle major long-term health concerns with enough grace.

As I've seen so many loved ones face their own mortality in recent months, I've finally allowed myself to process the enormity of what we all went through. And I've finally grieved. "Grieve over what?" some might ask. Over not getting to enjoy a normal pregnancy, delivery, breastfeeding, nuzzling, cooing, "normal" family life. Over having to drive to the NICU every day to see them, day after day, week after week (wearing an eye patch, no less), not even holding one for the first couple weeks. Over having to handle a full year of colic times two - often all by myself. Over my own vanity when my face became disfigured and my girlish figure became squishy as a result of those precious little souls.

Just a couple weeks ago, I visited with a treasured colleague on a long car ride back from an out-of-town meeting. As we discussed social media and the role it can play in catechesis, I shared with him what a wonderful outlet this blog was for me. I told about how my readers are still across the globe and how much joy I receive from looking at the analytics of the site traffic. I explained why/how I first started the blog and how quickly things went from great to horrible to supter-de-dupter awful and scary within just a few short weeks of starting to journal. And how awesome the support was that I received from my dear readers. (Thank you, again.)

My colleague asked for permission to read the blog and to perhaps use it in a class he's teaching this summer on the East Coast somewhere about how social media isn't always so bad. Sometimes it works to create a community of church online when it's impossible to have that kind of support in person (such as being in a NICU with very restricted visitors). Just think about what CaringBridge has done to change communications.

I gave him my blessing to snoop away, then decided to go back to the beginning and read to today. I intended to start at the beginning post and check for typos and any need for editing. I stayed up until nearly 3 am reading it, bawling, praying, re-reading, not editing a thing. I hadn't realized until that early morning reading that even in my exhaustion I was a PR lady at heart. I didn't let on to my true agony. I shared hopeful, pleasant messages. I spared all the gore  - heck, I didn't even go into how near-death these babies were or how incredibly sick I was. Or how alone and completely terrified I felt that the babies would die on my watch. Or for how long I was in debilitating pain from my nerve damage. And how I didn't ask directly enough for the support that I really should have been begging for.

Talk about a huge summer of reflection. I have learned so much from myself and I am really grateful for having had the time to finally process it all. I've also learned a great lesson in perspective. I am going to be sure to thank God each day for just how incredible this journey has been and pray for peace and healing for all my friends and loved ones who haven't had the kind of recoveries we've been graced with.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Bring on the Brown

Not just the sand. Not just the s'mores. Nor my eyes. Nor my hair. And certainly not just my moles. But almost all of my skin is a little darker after spending a full July week at the lake. Hooray! I went into the week with three goals:

- Enjoy some time on an air mattress
- Give my mom nice-looking toenails
- Write two articles

Articles are still undone, but oh well. Next week I'll find an evening and wrap them up. The interviews are done and I've mentally written them already so it won't take long. The week really was terrific - spent with my folks and my sister and her family, and even some time with our dear friends, Clif and Clancy.

Because this vacation was the first time I've taken more than 2 days off of work in a row since the twins arrived (I think - it's been a blurry four years), I didn't know quite how I'd handle it. Thankfully, I didn't spend much time worrying - it was wonderful. Mellow. Slow. Casual. Sunny. And full of laughter and tanlines (finally!).

Here are a few of the highlights captured in pictures.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010


Hi, friends. Hi, blog lurkers. Hi, darlings. It's been a while and I've missed you. Well, not so much your comments, which are few and far between, but your presence. (Yep, I'm a nerd who uses analytics to see who's reading and when.) More than your lurking, however, I've missed writing.

So, what's to write about? Well, what's not to? We've been driving all over the place doing all kinds of stuff and completely ignoring the mundane. We took the kids to their first baseball game, first street dance, and first Canadian fishing trip (all in the last few weeks). We've hosted numerous wonderful guests at our home, popped a bunch of bonfire Jiffy Pop, eaten way too many s'mores, whipped up a couple batches of super-strong dandelion wine, met some new friends, and a pile of other summer fun.

The most exciting (to me, anyway) is that I'm officially taking a vacation - meaning more than two days off of work in a row - and not for recovery of any ailment. We are going camping for the holiday weekend and then spending the week at my folks' cabin. I'll still have wifi so I won't go through total withdrawal, but I will not be opening any emails from work unless it's absolutely urgent. Yay! I'm positively giddy as I'm planning a menu and making game plans for poor-weather days. This is FUN!

What's everyone else up to these days? Fourth of July plans? Happy summer, folks!

Friday, April 16, 2010


As always, my famous last words continue to be a breathy "What a whirlwind!" I think I topped out at a million miles an hour this past month. DH went back to working nights at the factory and building his contracting firm by day. And I launched the biggest (and most public - in some ways) project I've ever had to handle myself. I rebuilt our diocesan website from scratch - with no previous web development experience and no staff with any either. Thank God for my sole employee, Barb, who made it all very attractive and worked side by side with me - many many days and nights - to pull it off well during Holy Week. I also called in a huge favor from a former colleague, sweet Jode, who guided us through the development tool and all our options and as well as handled all the super-techie stuff. We tapped into our official self-proclaimed hack for posing scenarios and testing theories, and thankfully, Tim didn't show his panic too visibly. As sucky as the hours were, it was worth all the work and tears and absolute exhaustion. The site is beautiful, functional, and so-so easy to use. I deem it a huge success.

Now that we've launched and tested, I'm finally going to take a vacation day. I hadn't dared to ask for a day off for fear my boss might just kill me. He has no idea what goes into building a website, but he did make it perfectly clear that I needed to find a way to do it - with no budget - with no staff - with no support - and in a jiffy. Well, now that the site is up and everyone is oohing and aahing, I'm going to gracefully sneak off the radar for a long weekend at the Mothers of Multiples state workshop (which is code for MOMs spa, in my book). There's something mighty therapeutic with surrounding yourself with 400+ other wonder women - with no kids in sight for the whole weekend. Hooray!

Although, with DH working nights and me working days, weekends are our only overlap time, so I am going to miss him a whole bunch. And our three crazy kiddos - well, I'm going to miss them a lot, too. Not single parenting, per se, but their adorable quirks and crazy phrases, for sure.

Breanna's biggies: "supter-de-dupter" and the "puppy-don't-run-away-string" (more commonly called a leash) and when we ask her something she's unsure of, she cleverly retorts "you tell me first"

Lillian's latest: "tell me that in a song instead of just saying it" and "I want to go back inside your tummy and go to sleep, I am so tired" and "who drove Jesus to heaven and what color was the car?"

Grant's greatest: just this morning, we walked into daycare to see Grandma Barb wearing shorts. He checked her out and said, "Nice panties." We, of course, roared. He also replies "green" whenever we ask him a question he's not sure of the answer for, such as "What day is it today?" And he insists on kissing the little children on his angel night light at bedtime, except for last night, when he pretended to eat them, sound effects and all.

But their craziness won't go to waste, as I'm bringing them up to my folks' house tomorrow for a weekend in the woods. That way, their nuttiness will be right at home.

Saturday, March 27, 2010


I am mellowing in a very gradual way. Just noticed it tonight. Perhaps because it's been so nonchalant.

Since first having to deal with my in-laws anew a couple months ago, my explosive temperament hit its peak and then somewhere began traveling back down to normal. I've dealt with a lot, and I mean a LOT of stuff in recent months, in terms of people doing and saying stupid and / or mean things. People in nearly every facet of my life. Some of them have pulled some pretty fast gut punches, and it's frustrated the heck out of me. Why can't we all just be nice and act respectable?

But in the midst, somehow I think I'm simmering down. Perhaps it's the warming weather. Or the busy-ness of the kids who are simply nonstop. Maybe I'm just worn out. Or could it be my prayers to God for some inner peace are working? Whatever it is, I am grateful. After my stressful weekend of entertaining in-laws, we've hosted a barrage of company and thoroughly enjoyed the socializing. I hope it's a sign of the tone of the summer, which is fast approaching.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Big lunchbox

I realize that every kid has funny moments - heck, they even named a TV show after it a while back. If my documentation of quirky comments doesn't charm you, that's ok. This is my place to jot them down so I don't forget what MY silly kiddos do and say.

For instance, on our way home from daycare last week, we drove behind a minivan with one of those tomb things on top. Breanna quipped that they must be really hungry to have such a big lunchbox strapped to their van.

Later that same night, Lillian told us during dinner that she is too little to eat more dinner. The only thing that could fit is some frosting and some cake and three cookies and some steak. But no gum, because we only chew gum, not swallow it. Then she continued babbling about how she is getting so big and her tummy is almost like Santa's. She told us she is so big that she needs a bigger roof in her bedroom because she almost bumps the ceiling. (For the record, even when I stand on her bed, I cannot reach the ceiling.)

We've been encouraging them to let Grant talk for himself and let him learn how to say words by them zipping their chatterboxes. Since we've started, his words have been FLOWING out. His words and sound effects. When he says puppy, he instantly hangs his tongue out and pants. And when he says horse, he wiggles his butt to wag the tail.

Who doesn't just love kids?

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Pretending not to care about being judged

These past two months have been ... interesting for my marriage and interesting for me. For the first time ever, DH and I are on opposite planets. Not unfriendly planets, but just in very different worlds with very different takes. And it's really weird. I miss the "normal" that has been so comfortable for us ever since we first moved here.

Just before we moved about a year and a half ago, we made a very difficult decision to estrange ourselves from his parents. Both of DH's sisters agreed to do the same thing at the same time as a result of some escalating destructive behaviors on the parents' part. We let them know that we still love them and pray for them, but until they got themselves into a rehab program, we would not be exposing our precious children to their behavior. It wasn't long before the sisters made the decisions to send their kids to the parents' home for unsupervised care (for whatever their own reasons are - I refuse to speculate or judge them on it). We, though chastised up and down, held our ground. Not just chastised from DH's siblings, but subjected to some of the nastiest middle-of-the-night phone calls and emails from the parents. Garbage no offspring should ever have to hear their parents say. Our kids are simply too precious for us to take the chance of exposing them to such ugly, unhealthy situations.

Since making that big decision to separate ourselves, we have been treated like absolute garbage. It's part of the addiction thing - you deflect the blame. You deny the real problem. You have zero accountability. Regardless, some of the things that have been said and done are nearly unforgivable. Nearly. I think.

Suddenly, a big monkey wrench was dropped into our pleasant, mostly drama-free life in our new town. (Their contact attempts slowly dwindled as time went by.) About two months ago, DH's dad was diagnosed with terminal cancer. 1-2 years to live. DH immediately forgave his parents and decided to spend as much time as he can with them trying to build the relationships they so easily demolished. I admire him so very much for being able to let bygones be bygones. He's sent all those nasty memories straight into the trash and is relishing the opportunity to build new ones.

On my planet, there is none of that unconditional love. No desire to see any of the people who have caused my wonderful husband (and me, too) so much pain. No excitement to see those who told all the rest of the family mean and nasty lies about why we were no longer in the picture. No trust. And certainly no wanting to have to give up my comfortable, drama-free life. Yet, I love and cherish my husband and recognize that I need to support him. He's hurting as he struggles with the fact that he will never have the relationship with his dad that he's always wanted. And that they still don't call him. And that no one has acknowledged one ounce of accountability with all the crap they pulled. And through all the hurting, he still just wants to be with his parents and longs to have a non-dysfunctional family.

Needless to say, I've been biting my tongue so much I've created canker sores. Over and over again. I've even gone with DH to their house two times. Can't say I've slept more than a wink there, but I went for DH. Constantly on guard, waiting for the other shoe to drop. Trying my darnedest to be polite and not explode at them. Aching to someday be able to forgive them. Forcing myself to have some compassion for someone who has just received his death sentence at age 57. Praying that I won't be forced into a situation where I have to whisk my kids away so that they don't see something inappropriate. Wondering what my blood pressure is when I'm in their house.

My darling of a husband, thinking he was giving me a break when it comes to logistics, informed me last Sunday that he'd invited them to our house instead of us having to pack up our little family and head to their place. They're coming this weekend. To my home. My sanctuary.

Soon after he told me, I wretched my guts out in the toilet. I didn't tell him. As much as I tell myself that I don't care what anyone else thinks of me, I know it's not true. Especially when it comes to them. I would give up lattes for life in order to not allow them the satisfaction in finding one ounce of ammunition to say about us. They've done enough of that without any real good material already. Should I give a rip about what these people, of all people, think and say about us? No. Not one single bit. After all, we have a wonderful little family and a beautiful home and in the big picture, we've got it pretty well put together. And yet, I give a big huge stinkin' rip about it all.

Needless to say, this has been a great motivation for us to finish up some stuff with our house. I installed window treatments for our new family room and the kids' rooms. DH finished the bathroom tiling and had the plumber in to finish the rest of that end of stuff. I hung pictures, bought a new tablecloth and rugs and a fresh welcome mat, planned a wonderful menu, ordered some fresh flowers, etc. I'm taking the day off tomorrow so I can clean high and low (yes, they would lift up a lamp to see if I'd dusted beneath it and would open bathroom drawers to see how clean they are - I know - I've set traps for them in our old house - they snoop).

When DH told me last night at bedtime that they had changed their minds (this is part of their MO - they like to call all the shots and make sure everyone is under their rule), that they are only coming for Saturday and then driving back home that night, I nearly lept out of bed to do a great big happy dance. I'm not sure why, but it has lifted off at least some of the pressure.

Talk about stressing yourself out for those who least earn that designation. But oh, how therapeutic this has been to get it off my chest. Now back to wiping down the laundry room. I wish all of you dear readers a much more relaxing weekend than I anticipate for myself. If you are of the praying kind, please pray for peace for me and good behavior for them.

Thursday, February 25, 2010


Baby Grant has officially become a two-year-old, but he's still very much Baby Grant. Because of all the chaos that's come with funerals and the immediate panic/travel that goes along with learning that a parent has a terminal disease, I completely dropped the ball with Grant's birthday. He turned two on Sunday; we sort of celebrated by taking him to his first college hockey game Friday night, which we all LOVED. Then we played at home (inside and outside) all day Saturday. I baked up a fantastic, gigantic chocolate cake that night, and then we had a very low-key birthday that involved church, naps, taco dinner and tasty cake.

But have no fear, we're going to do a real party this weekend. Not that it will be anything much higher-key, but it should be fun, nonetheless. At least it won't be just our immediate family who didn't have time to shop for presents. My folks and cousin and a few family friends will be stopping by for a casual turkey dinner and some cake and ice cream, and perhaps a few presents or two to open. Which reminds me... I still need to shop for a few presents from us, too. What to buy a two-year-old who still snuggles but thinks he's at least 10... Where does the time go?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Got Gum?

Our Grant has become a gum-chewing machine, and over and over again, he walks up to anyone he sees and asks, "Got gum?" We've wised up and resorted to giving him a quarter piece at a time because he sometimes forgets to keep chewing it and down it goes. It's hard to believe he's going to be two this weekend.  He seems so much older at times, and yet, he still carries his blanket everywhere and wants to snuggle whenever he gets sleepy. How can you not love it?

Miss Breanna has become a bit funnier, as well. In the past month, she has really found her expressiveness. She is constantly raising and narrowing her eyebrows, winking with her whole face, and showing exactly how she feels without having to say a word. Not that she's often silent. But she's finding ways to enhance her communication skills and it's hilarious to watch how extremely animated she is becoming. She has also started to remember her dreams. Just this morning she told me - very nonchalantly - that there was a green whale under her arm in bed this morning. It was tickling her and she got a little scared, so she hid under her polka dot blanket. She doesn't quite understand what dreaming is, so it's still a reality to her.

Our Lillian is keeping us mighty entertained these days, as well. The more excited she gets about anything, the higher her little voice squeaks and the longer her sentences go with no breaks for air. She's very observant about everything around her. If you asked her right this second how many airplanes are the sky, she'd be able to rattle off the number without glancing up - she's just aware all the time. That means the questions come from all over the place about things we have no idea how to answer. Nothing like being humbled by a three-year-old who is already smarter than her parents.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Looking for the Silver Lining

This has been quite the downer of a winter so far. I've been to two funerals in the past two weeks and have another one to attend sometime in the next few days. All people I've liked.

My brother-in-law's grandma is in the hospital and not looking so good. My friend just had brain surgery and is having lots of complications, still hospitalized, and we learned this week that my father-in-law has terminal lung cancer.

As DH sometimes says, "when it rains, it poops."

I've always been a pretty huggy wife and mother, but this past month, I feel like I've rarely spent time alone without some physical touch. I've even found myself picking up the kids in the middle of the night and just holding them. I am so very grateful to have such beautiful innocence at my fingertips. I'm looking for more of the good out there, so if you have any extra positive stuff, please send it our way.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Great Big Balls

When I arrived at Grandma Barb's to pick up the kids from daycare today, Barb told me the kids entertained her with stories of their wonderful snowman. I barely raised an eyebrow - the snowman is from Christmas Day - nothing new to discuss, right?

"They told me their snowman has great big balls."

I chuckled.

She continued, "Just like their daddy."

We both cracked up.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Christmas Highlights

Yes, I realize it's the middle of January and I'm just now sharing the fun of our Christmas. Yes, I'm still building the website for work, and yes, I am SO ready to get it launched so I can just not work for like - I don't know - two nights in a row or something crazy.

Back to Christmas, this was our first year we didn't have to travel. Oh, the joys of relaxation! And not only did we not have to travel, we didn't have to host. Technically, we did a little traveling, and technically, we had two very-loved guests in our home, but it didn't really count toward holiday stress. My parents came to our house on Christmas Eve day and we lounged. They're so low-key that we didn't have to stress out about cleaning super duty or serving everything to them. We ate great food (we made our first crown roast and it was delightful)! We had a birthday party for the guest of honor, including cake and the "Happy birthday dear Jesus" song. The dads took the kids out for sled rides and gigantic snow-woman building (they named her Crystal). And we thoroughly enjoyed the beauty of the children.

Then on Saturday we went up to my folks' place and had a weekend with them, with my darling sister, brother-in-law, neice, and cousin joining us. Dan even got to bow hunt in my parents' woods and shoot a deer, which was the highlight of his holiday.

All season long, whenever anyone asked Miss Breanna what she wanted for Christmas, she said she'd like a purple candy cane. Miss Lillian wanted happiness, and perhaps some candy, too. Needless to say, they received their treats and more and it was all truly magical for these little pumpkins. We spent a lot of time reading Christmas story books for children, and the kids really got into that. In one book, Breanna pointed out that Mary was riding on a beautiful dog into Buffalo-hem. Lillian corrected her that Mary was on a camel. Breanna reminded her that camels have lumps and that Mary's dog had no lumps. Ah, the memories.

Favorite gifts: the jumpolene, the soft babies, and the train set. Way to go, Gramma and Papa. Here they are in the new playroom, trying out the jumpolene, which is mugh bigger than I'd expected, but great nonetheless. Note Breanna's "hat." She came upstairs from the playroom wearing the doll sweater on her head just before Christmas, and when asked what she'd found, she replied with a shrug, "What, my head was cold." We've had a hard time getting her to remove it ever since. And note Grant's socks, er, his dad's socks. DH is finally learning to pick up after himself a little bit.

As a whole, the holiday was delightful. We all enjoyed the relaxed pace, had some time for reflection, and even got some wonderful fresh air. I know we're all feeling mighty blessed.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Reminder about bridges

My wise mother used to remind me from time to time to never burn my bridges. And once again, I was reminded to thank her for sharing that wisdom.

This world seems to get smaller each day. Just this week, I came across someone who I once was extremely tempted to spout off to when he was acting inappropriately. Now, this person has matured into a respectable professional who approached me about donating to one of the ministries I manage. How glad am I for that invisible muzzle?

That invisible muzzle is probably one of my most prized possessions, although it doesn't work 100% all the time. One of my worst traits is my ability to spew some of the sharpest venom without raising my voice. I rarely let it be heard, but it's certainly there and can be harshly cruel, particularly when I see someone doing something mean or greedy intentionally. Because it really is not in my place to judge, I have to work deliberately to overcome this trait.

It's times like this when I realize it's worth the effort. It's also times like this that inspire me to make a resolution for the coming year. I aspire to keep my venom from reaching any other person's ears. Or even reaching a point of developing. We'll see how it goes. In the meantime, I'm going to focus on being thankful for all the good that surrounds us.