Thursday, January 29, 2009

Oh, The Irony

So I think there is a meme floating around out there where you go to your fourth photo folder, and write about the fourth picture.

Actually, it's probably not even floating around anymore, but in lieu of actual content, I thought I'd go out on a limb and re-float it.

When I opened my fourth folder, I nearly spit out my Diet Dr. Pepper (which is not on sale ANYWHERE in the Denver metro area and I finally caved in and paid full price for a 12-pack today after going without for 2 weeks while fruitlessly waiting for a sale.)

(I know.) 

The picture I found is one of the very first things that made me realize I had to start blogging.

Yes, that is us circa summer 2006.

(I can scarcely look at myself so nicely browned because my legs are currently the color of a jar of paste.)

(As if anyone knows what paste is anymore.)

Desperate, or should I say DESPERATE to go on a run for a little "relaxation," I loaded up my 4 year-old and 2 1/2 year old for a little "run" in the double jogger.

Bribing them with an out-and-back trip to Dairy Queen, I pushed that beast (weighing well over 100 pounds, including the babies) up and down the hills of our former 'hood.

Every 100 yards (it seemed) someone needed a drink, a book, sunglasses, a jacket, a jacket taken off, a snack, a toy, and finally MY SANITY.

(Go ahead and feel my pain here.)

As we arrived home, Lilly was wearing her chocolate ice cream cone and dead asleep.

Jackson was nodding in and out of dreams, but still awake enough to ask for more milk.

Naptime was ruined, laundry had doubled, the stroller was broken, and the "fun" I strived for ended up more like a disaster.

And I didn't know whether to laugh or cry.

So instead, I started to blog, because I realized that if I couldn't laugh, I'd cry my eyes out.

Looking back, (I'm going to get all grandmotherly now), I can't believe how quickly the years have gone by.

Those two sweet babies are now 5 and 6.

There are no jogging strollers at our house.

They ride their 2-wheelers while I run.

Heck, they participate in their own triathlons.

They find their own snacks, brush their own teeth, and beat me in MarioKart.

When did all this happen?

So tonight, while I was tucking in the two hearts that exist outside my body, I lingered.

Lilly curled up and fell asleep on me. I could've carried her upstairs right away, but instead, I laid my hand on her back and felt her lungs rise and fall.

I ran my finger through her hair, kissed her cheeks, and rubbed her earlobes.

After I rested her in bed, I turned off the lights, and for more than a moment, just stared at my baby.

Walking across to Jackson's room, he greeted me with a smile from underneath the covers.

When he asked for two stuffed chameleons, I didn't worry that he's still sleeping with various animals.

I handed them over and got down on my knees to listen the highlights of his day.

Hearing how he loved learning about the digestive system and also seeing me (source of future embarrassment) visit his class, reminded me that while he loves grown-up things, he is little.


(Big, but little.)

Any tiny glimpse of perspective is an amazing gift from the Lord.

Today I needed that so badly.

Each day, each moment, each breath that they take is God's grace living in this very house with me.

I am so blessed.


Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Back from the Grave


I'm not a big fan of blogging about sickness, because I don't enjoy reading about other's exploits with vomit and such.

(Unless they're funny.)

But the only reason I'm going to mention the Plague yet again is to tell you that it does, in fact, have a name.

That name would be: mono and influenza.

Coursing through my blood. At the exact same time.

Now, neither of these maladies are treatable in any way, but psychologically, it did me wonders to have an explanation attached to the misery with which I've been body-slammed since January 1. 

To make things more cheerful, Brad contracted a variation as well.

But very thankfully, I am starting to feel better.

Many, many times this past month, we put the kids to bed at 7:30, only to crawl into our bed at 8:00, down a handful of Advil, and sleep.

Makes me think the producers of "The Bachelor" (which I'm loving this season, but that is another blog) should have one of the theme dates be "in sickness and in health."

During this date, Jason and his date (or it could be a group date for added drama) could contract violent illnesses, then get to care for each other and Ty while wearing their ugliest pajamas.

They could lifelessly stagger to the grocery store to buy Gatorade at 1:00 in the morning, deal with guilt about feeding kids chicken nuggets for a month straight, pick up each other's prescriptions, and sleep in separate rooms.

They could cough until they want to kill each other, not shower for a few days, and see how they still feel about the sickly, greasy mess staring at them across the dinner table.

Because ironically, I always appreciate the depth and strength of our marriage MUCH more during trials and sickness than over dinner and a movie.

(Not that there's anything wrong with dinner and  a movie. NO MA'AM.)

I'm always quick to point out that more couples have married as a result of "The Biggest Loser" and "Survivor" than "The Bachelor."

Adversity shows our true colors, for sure. It's not exactly challenging to put on a good face during a private plane trip to Mexico, for crying out loud.

So anywho, that's what I've been up to; trying to get through each day and figuring out where Stephanie on "The Bachelor" buys her necklaces.

Because now that I'm feeling better, there is some serious shopping ahead.


Sunday, January 18, 2009

If We're Talking About the Chinese New Year, I'm Early

Here we are in the midst of January (the Ides of January, if it had Ides) and I am finally ready to detail my New Year's Resolution(s).

History shows that I am not a fan of resolving/promising/vowing things because I like to keep my options open.

For example: I don't want to vow to do the South Beach diet because the moment I do, the best looking chocolate cake in the whole world will whisper to me and I will a) torment myself by not eating it or b) torment myself in an entirely different way by eating it.

Had I not vowed to give up sweets, I could've made the decision from a much more rational state of mind and just eaten the chocolate cake without feeling guilty.

So anyway, I took to heart Lisa's post about making a New Year's Resolution in one word.

One word seems possible.

So I thought and prayed about what word would grow me in 2009.

Not in a "pick the right word or the year will be toast by February" way, but in a "small changes ultimately make the most difference" way.

I think there is some acronym out there in the Bidness World that talks about how you should create goals.

The only ones I remember are "definable," "measureable," "achievable."

That would make the acronym either DAM or MAD and I don't ever remember Brad's boss encouraging him to work on his DAM goals.

(Maybe if he was a snowboarder, he would focus on MAD goals, but due to some injuries like broken elbows and torn rotator cuffs, Brad knows that if he is caught in the same room with a snowboard ever again, he will not emerge alive.)

All that to say, I've found that for me, ultra-specific goals often fall short.

This may seem counter-intuitive, but goals like "eat more vegetables this year" prove more productive than "eat vegetables three times a week."

All those Big-wig Leader Types talk about being specific blah blah blah.

But I am more likely to follow through if I can give myself the grace to realize that some weeks are more conducive to eating veggies 4 times and other weeks are conducive to having pizza every night.

The focus shifts to making the best choice for each situation rather than eating vegetables at a Super Bowl party just to fill some requirement that no one cares about but ME.

Are you remotely following me?

So, wrapping my mind around one word and applying it to the diverse situations I encounter seems far more manageable than making up dramatic list of do's and don'ts just for the sake of having resolutions.

Oh yes, my word.

Are you ready?

Prepare to be underwhelmed.

It is less.

Several aspects of my personality tend to get overly wrapped up into going overboard.

(That why I made this cake. If one kind of chocolate is good...aren't four kinds of chocolate better?)

There is a time and a place for excitement and lavishness.

There is also a time and a place to throttle back and not miss the forest for the trees.

(I forgot to mention that it's good to use lots of slogans when you're writing about New Year's Resolutions. I will try to work "New Year, New You" into this post at some point.)

Right now, I am not quite sure what exactly "less" entails.

For sure, less stuff, less commitments, less impulsiveness, less me.

Obviously, that opens the doors (mainly of time and resources) for more.

More time with people I dearly love, more time for people I want to serve, more time for commitments that are precious.

(And before you think I am getting all high and mighty, just know that I am not giving up "The Bachelor" or MarioKart.)

I surely haven't got this whole "one word" deal figured out, but I am positive that as I spend more time with Jesus, he will graciously empty me of self and fill me with Him.

So here's hoping this year will be LESS-tastic!



Or (if I'm honest) probably a little hard and a little great...all at once.


Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Midnight Train to Nowhere

Well, it looks as if it was not my time to die because I have indeed lived, despite The Plague's best chances to get me down.

I still have no taste for sweets and have had at least 10 people ask if I am pregnant.


I've been drinking tea (which I don't even care for unless it is iced and has a substantial amount of mango syrup in it) and anything salty hiding in our barren pantry. 

Hopefully by this weekend, I'll be back up to full Chocolate Strength and resume eating chocolate chips as a side dish to breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Until then, I'll continue alternating tortilla chips, potato chips, crackers (ironically, not Saltines) and toast.

Wanna come over for dinner?


That picture of Brad and I from a few posts back?

Um, not our real prom picture, people.

(Which maybe I will post someday, because it is a doozy.)

(That makes me sound old.)

The fake prom picture was from Halloween 3 or 4 years ago.

That was, however, the actual dress I wore to some high school dancing delightfulness.


But at the time, the rhinestones and shiny blue-ness of it all seemed like the right fashion direction.


Brad never pierced his ear or spiked his hair.

But I probably did wear a Swatch with a formal dress. 

And since I can't quite remember, do you think I wore black or white PANTYHOSE with that dress?


It was probably the last time pantyhose have seen my legs, so hopefully we had quite a night together.


The whole thought of a picture of the two of us kind of cracks me up.

Remember when we were dating/engaged and EVERY PLACE WE WENT was a fantastic photo opportunity to capture Us! Together! Smiling! And Acting Silly/Adorable/Insanely Immature!...together!

I loved nothing more than to get a roll of film developed (dating myself here...) and find 5 or 6 fantastic shots that had Rehearsal Dinner Video Potential written all over them.

And when we were newly married?

We swam in a sea of shiny, new, silver picture frames blanketing every available surface in our entire apartment, all containing pictures

And if you will join me while I screech in horror, I'm sure that in one of them we were both wearing denim shirts.

(Close eyes and scream)

And now?

When people look at Brad and I at, oh say, a wedding, and request that we "get together for a picture," I roll my eyes, lean my head in, and kind of wonder why we need another shot

I'm sure it looks like some version of this.

Now seems like a good time to mention that this post was actually going to be about my New Year's Resolution.

But I will save that for tomorrow.

Because I've talked about nothing for way too long and I have to go cough for a few hours before bed.

Good night.


Monday, January 12, 2009

I am Too Sick to Think of a "Wizard of Oz" Pun, But if I Could, I'd Put it Here

Lucky for all of you, The Plague of Sickness and Near Death germs aren't communicable via internet, so you are safe.

I, on the other hand, am nearly two weeks in and wondering if I will be around to see 2010.

At this point, I would say chances are slim.

Just to clearly paint the picture, I made this cake and didn't eat any because I didn't feel like it.

Brad is checking all distinguishing characteristics to make sure a body double hasn't invaded.

(I heard the cake was great, so you'll have to try it sometime.)

Part of my preface is to preemptively apologize for the terribleness of the following narrative.

I am running low on wit and frivolity, so it may read with the excitement of a History Channel documentary on UFO's rather than a crisp and clever SportCenter recap.

However, Dorothy isn't featured much on ESPN.

And neither is the Yellow Brick Road.

Or the Ghetto Brick Road, as it soon came to be known.

It started out 100 feet long and winding beautifully through the front yard.

About 10 minutes later, hurricane strength gusts (seriously. just ask the Denver meteorological team), blew the Yellow Brick Road all over my front yard.

So we shortened it and then Karen injured her foot on it badly enough to warrant x-rays.

But that is either here nor there.

(Karen might feel differently, but moving on...)

Know where to buy a pair of red, classy, sparkly pumps?

The spray paint aisle at Home Depot.

And in case you need some witchy tights for prom this spring, just get some white ones at Wal-Mart and wrap black electrical tape around them.

Toto sitting in a bed of poisonous poppies was a great centerpiece:

And the cake...

I wasn't super-pleased, but there were NO fabulous ideas out there.

Trying to combine "Somewhere over the Rainbow" and the poppies was tough. But the kids woofed it right down anyway.

I had fun throwing a piece of blue and white gingham fabric down for a tablecloth. I cut it to fit and used packing tape to secure it to the table.

Who needs Martha?

You'll have to look up close to see the ruby slipper cookies. I have no idea how they tasted, but they were darn cute.

Oh, and if you were here, I'd offer you a Glinda's magic wand.

(Pretzel rod dipped in white chocolate, rolled in edible white glitter.)

The kids probably would've eaten white crayons if I made 'em all cute, but I went with pretzels anyway.

Favor bags, yo.
While the girls were outside inspecting the deceased Wicked Witch of the East, the rockstar party helpers scurried all the presents upstairs.

After we settled back in, I whipped out a note from the Wicked Witch, saying that she'd taken the presents and Toto, and we'd have to complete three adventures showcasing our brains, heart, and courage to get them back.


Apparently a career in dramatic storytelling is in my future, because I accidentally made a few of the girls cry at the thought of facing the Witch.


They recovered, then showcased their fabulous brains by finishing a Wizard of Oz maze.

(Glinda was keeping them safe, thank goodness.)

Next, we pinned the heart on the Tin Man.

Then the kids courageously braved a tornado to rescue some treasure.

I had visions of a huge tornado swirling from the ceiling fan, but after the Witch scare, I'm glad we went with a smaller dust devil, powered by the ol' box fan.

Lastly, the kids had to get the witch's broomstick.

A few of the kids didn't want to brave the witch's lair in the basement, even when I PROMISED them that she wasn't actually down there.

But these girls were strong-willed.

Lilly grabbed that broom and rode it around.

(Have you ever noticed that in the movie, the WW doesn't actually get on the broom to ride it? It's more of a side-saddle approach coupled with terrible special effects.)

Broomstick in hand, witch melted, we headed upstairs to the Emerald City:

Hopefully everyone's imaginations were at full strength since it wasn't overly Emeraldy.

But hey, the presents and Toto were there, so that was all good.

Even better was the cake:

And frankly, there are about 100 other pictures I could show you, but I have to go die.


Saturday, January 10, 2009

I Think That is Me Under the House

We survived the Wizard of Oz party and I think that Lilly can now die happy.

I, however, might just die.

More later...


Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Raise Your Hand If You Turn 31 Today

Yep, you guessed it!

The person who kills me at MarioKart and also fathered my children has a birthday.

He is the best dad in the world for Jackson...teaching him to throw stuff for hours at a time into any body of water, giving tips about Legos, and showing him daily that loving selflessly is God's best.

He is a great dad for Lilly...throwing her into the air far higher than legally acceptable, braiding her hair when I'm out of town (that is serious points, folks), and modeling both strength and compassion in her life.

And for me...he is the best. I completely appreciate someone who never hesitates to embarrass himself right along with me, and even take the shame up a notch. He loves me for who I am, even when that is pretty terrible (that is even more points than hair-braiding).

I meant for this to be much more heartfelt and sentimental, but I'm suffering from a case of Death combined with Wizard-of-Oz birthday planning procrastination/excitement.

More later from the Sick House/Emerald City...


Saturday, January 03, 2009

I'm Gonna Beat the Dead Horse

I realize Christmas is over and done and we've all moved on to the excitement and brand-spanking, sparkly, new-ness that is 2009.

But I didn't share any tidbits from Christmas (and OH, there has been one thrill after another!) so here they are.

And don't panic--I can share all you need to know about our holiday in exactly four pictures.

First off...Christmas Eve. We'd never actually celebrated Christmas Eve in town, so it was wonderful to be part of our church family on that special night.

The kids sang, babies cried, candles were lit, fires avoided, and it was just beautiful.

I even borrowed the church's tree for that photo-op since the family tannenbaum was AWOL.

Each year, Santa secretly leaves just one gift for the kids to open after church.

And you know what?

It's always pajamas.

And Santa shops at Gap. (Which Jackson and Lilly thought was entirely too coincidental this year, seeing as their very own mother has been seen there a time or 50.)

After we donned our gay apparel, we snacked on sugar cookies (still stuffed from a lunch at the Grand Lux Cafe) and read the Christmas story from "The Jesus Storybook Bible."

Then we (not to be confused with Santa) let the kids open one gift.

Every single year it's a flashlight and books. On the hardest night of the year to fall asleep, I do believe some fine literature and flashlights are necessary.

In a few years, we'll probably lace their hot chocolate with Ambien, but for now, the books do the trick.

After the children were nestled all snug in their beds, my favorite part of the evening awaited.

Step one: eat all of the cookies for Santa.

Step two: DECORATE!!! I love arranging the fireplace display for the kids' viewing pleasure in the morning.

My parents always did a spectacular job of gift presentation and it's fun to do the same. 

We usually leave one or two gifts unwrapped for initial shock effect, then creatively and sometimes, sneakily wrap the others.

Here is Lilly with her favorite gift:

I barely have the heart to tell you what it is.

Ok, I give.

A planner.

From the nail salon I visit twice a year.

That I got for free.

(There is a message there, I'm sure.)

When the salon owners gave it to me, I tucked it away, knowing that my girl who adores all things pencil and paper, would savor it.

I didn't know, however, that she would kiss it, gently thumb through the pages, and ask, "Mom! Did you put these amazing maps in the back just for me?!"

Jackson loved his Legos:

He and his dad have hunkered down in the playroom, football game on TV, Legos neatly sorted, and instruction book open.

I have yet to read an instruction book for a-n-y-t-h-i-n-g, so I'm thankful the boys have each other.

On a completely unrelated note, here are the two babes after a day at the rock wall:
Lilly can climb now that she's five, so she celebrated by scampering right to the top on her first try.

Now that I've officially documented Christmas, I have to go give Brad a beating at MarioKart.

Duty calls.


Friday, January 02, 2009

Two Days Late and Many, Many Dollars Short

Jules at The Roost, in all of her fabulousness, had the creative idea to have a New Year's Eve Party where we post our Top 10 Pictures of 2008.

Just like my kids' Christmas parties at school, I have the date and time wrong, but am excited to jump right here goes!

(Oh, and these are in no particular order because it would take me until 2010 to and the entire tech support of Blogger to get them in the desired order.)

#1..Brad's 30th birthday! Nothing says "30" like playing video games with friends until the wee hours.

#2 Love this shot of my beauty relaxing and enjoying the heat at the pool. This, and her ability to burp loudly confirms she is my daughter.

#3 I have never wanted to kiss any of the Star Wars characters, but this precious Obi-Wan changed my mind about that.
#4 I love my girl and her dad fishing together in southern Colorado. I think I'd rather get a hook through an eyelid than actually fish, so I'm glad Brad is equal to the task.

#5 Family camp in Michigan was fantastic, and when I wasn't busy tubing, I even let the kids have a turn.

#6 My newborn baby turned six and lost a tooth

(And NO, I am most definitely NOT okay with that.)

#7 Um, Zorro and Captain Hook are out of control. As usual.

#8 I am still speechless over this and will laugh about it till I die.

#9 Jackson, the ultimate sous-chef, was my main assistant in the kitchen this year. 

I am praising the Lord, because for the first time since I birthed children, one of them actually contributes to the finished baking project instead of merely attempting to crack eggs and smear them around while I'm not looking.

#10 And last but not least, Indy and Dorothy just melted me in October.

Here's to 2009...and the many blurry pictures to follow!