Last post of 2010

Probably. I heard a friend say once that the days are long but the years are short. I find this especially poignant now that I have children, because every time I turn around my little girl’s curls are longer and my little boy’s legs are stronger and the lump in my throat becomes my own secret obsession as I hold onto the present while trying to embrace the change that the future brings. I understand what Mary the mother of Jesus was doing when the bible says she, “treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.” (Luke 2:19NIV)

I also remember all the glorious discoveries of growing up, and so I embrace the journey ahead of me as I watch my children become who they are called to be…but still…I treasure.

We are still waiting and watching Violet’s face to see when the Bell’s Palsy resolves itself. I am confident that God will heal her, but until then, I live with a little extra heartache every day when she smiles her crooked smile at me. I haven’t intentionally posted any pictures of her lately because I want to be sensitive to her twelve-year old self someday. It isn’t very dramatic unless she is crying or smiling wide, but I certainly don’t want to embarrass her someday. I can certainly think of a few childhood pictures of mine that I wouldn’t have wanted found by a childhood nemesis.

Henry is getting into all sorts of trouble now that he is pulling himself into a standing position. We have a storage ottoman in our living room that was recently turned into the toy chest, so every day he finds all sorts of wonderment in getting into it. Yesterday, in an ambitious moment of indiscretion, he reached too far inside and high-centered himself on the edge–hollering (literally) until I came and saved him.

And yes, toy boxes are much better when you can get into them. It’s like the world at your fingertips.

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Conundrum:

Word of the Day: Conundrum. How do you get your little brother to share his toys with you without you having to share your toys with him? Also, why are my children more possessive of the toys that belong to the other person than the toys that “belong” to them?

We had a beautiful Christmas. Violet loved the dollhouse AJ made her, and Henry loves licking parts of it. I am in the process of stealthily bagging up all the old toys to give away because I have serious allergies to keeping too much stuff. Violet caught me last night with a bag full of dolls and stuffed animals heading into the garage to “take a nap”. Oops.

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Word of the day…

should be “Sleep”. After spending last night and the better part of today in and out of two different hospitals, I have several things to tell you.

  1. we can still pull an all-nighter. we still got it.
  2. Bell’s Palsy: usually manifested as paralysis on one side of the face. Usually harmless, usually resolves on it’s own in a few weeks. Still, before a diagnosis can be made, many other more life-threatening things(like a stroke) must be ruled out.
  3. Violet now has an endearingly, heart-wrenchingly lopsided smile.
  4. She got to ride in an ambulance…
  5. …because you never take a gamble with your peeps.
  6. Henry single-handedly wooed the ladies at Children’s Hospital. I seriously have my work cut out for me with that kid.
  7. I’m so thankful not to have a child with a chronic illness.
  8. If you ever have an option and it’s not a life-threatening emergency, driving  the extra distance to Seattle Children’s Hospital is well worth it. I can’t begin to say how much better they were with Violet than the staff at an unnamed Everett hospital. They weren’t bad, just much more inexperienced with children, which: equals bad.
  9. I am so thankful for the way everything turned out, and we appreciate prayers for the speedy resolution of this facial paralysis.
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Tradition!

Traditiooooooonnnnnnnn! Tradition! I can’t say that word without thinking of Fiddler on the Roof. Sorry. It’s one of those inevitable mental chain-reactions for me. I think “tradition”, which spurs me to mentally sing the word, and then before I know it I find myself spending the day warding off dramatic renditions of “If I were a rich man….yaba-daba-daba-daba-daba-daba….” See? I get carried away.

…all day long i’d deedle-deedle-dum…

…if I were a wealthy MAAAAAN!!!…

Great. Guess what I’ll be humming all day?

See, you aren’t my children. You have no idea how this works. Given my strong propensity to burst out into broadway-style song and dance with the broom for their entertainment; I’m certain that if they find me mildly annoying now, I will certainly be prompting eye-rolls from my teenagers. Violet will actually tell me to stop. “Stop Mom! Yuuuucky song!”

Anyway…

My whole purpose for blogging this morning was to ask what your holiday traditions are. AJ and I are trying to figure out how to celebrate this season now that Violet is old enough to understand a lot.

Therefore, I am going to make a poll with a bunch of traditions and I want you to vote on the ones you do. I ran out of ideas. Please answer “Other” as well.

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Good things come in two’s

3 Things:

  1. If Henry is the king, then AJ and Violet are his court jesters.
  2. Violet burnt her tongue during dinner tonight. She blew a kiss to her hand and then placed the “kiss” on her tongue.
  3. There’s a lunar eclipse tonight or tomorrow morning sometime. I wish I could get excited since apparently it hasn’t happened in like a zillion years but in the interest of honesty I have to admit I could care less. I didn’t use to be this way. Except it’s December. And probably cloudy out. And I get up between 3 and 5 every morning when I get up with AJ for his work. And it will be cold. And I have little kids. You! You stay up and watch it and take pictures and tell me how you liked it!
  4. One thing I find irresistible is little kids dressed up in plays. Promise me you’ll watch this. It’s A-Dorable.

Okay, so four.

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To Teach a Child

So much of our understanding of life and how it works is colored by our knowledge or presuppositions. For instance, death. You and I know about this. We understand what death is and how it affects us. Sometimes we can kind of understand the omnipresent aspect of God’s nature, or His realness without being seen. Here’s another humdinger–try reading a story to a two-year old about a bear that eats the mean fox. This makes the fox gone. And it probably hurts…And by the way, babies? Inside their moms? Don’t even get me started.

I’m discovering that it’s much more complicated to teach Violet certain facts of life than I anticipated. I knew she would come to me with no knowledge or understanding other than instinctual, but I didn’t really understand what that would look like. I am also noticing that things that I find hard to believe or understand are not necessarily difficult for her. Maybe I over-complicate them when I explain because they seem so preposterous to me. Not preposterous…just requiring a great deal of faith. Who is God? What does He look like? Where is He? How is He everywhere at the same time? For me to understand these things requires faith, which comes preciously small and hard-won to me–like a tiny jar-full that I keep closed when walking so it doesn’t spill. Violet on the other hand, comes chock-full of faith to make up for her lack of knowledge. The difference seems proportionate. With this in mind, I have to be careful not to let my lack of faith sap her spiritual strengths when I’m clumsily trying to explain something hard. Not “lack of faith” but perhaps just a much more desperate need for faith.

That’s the beautiful thing about a child at Christmas. We celebrate the virgin birth of the child of God. We celebrate sinless God becoming flesh and living among us. We celebrate angels appearing as God’s messengers, we celebrate in the preparation for Christmas and remember how the world longed for a Savior. We celebrate the choice of His sacrifice and the gift of His sinless life.

So many beautiful “teachable moments” in this season. Now, just the grace to teach them.

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Double Trouble

Henry’s ability to get into things in the past couple of days has increased tremendously. All of a sudden he is crawling much faster and also starting to pull himself up on things. This means that I have snatched him off the stairs several times lately, and also he finds it his daily chore to empty the lowest bookshelf. No longer is moving around about the journey–now it’s all about the destination.

This evening I made a huge batch of cinnamon rolls for a cookie exchange tomorrow. I know, cinnamon rolls for a cookie exchange? You would too if you had the recipe for the worlds absolute best magically incredible cinnamon rolls. This recipe comes courtesy of The Pioneer Woman, and deserves a little look-see on your part. Trust me. There is no way possible that your cinnamon rolls are better. I hate to sound like a jerk about this, but I just don’t think it’s humanly possible. If you try her recipe and think yours is better, then this will be earth-shattering to me, and I must know. Here is that recipe. Make these for Christmas Morning.

Anyway. So, as I was making these I had Violet sitting on the counter beside me and Henry  in the front pack. Henry drools a lot and Violet is always panicking over the amount and location of his drool. That’s why I didn’t pay her much attention as she kept saying “Oh no! That!” while I was making the cinnamon rolls. It wasn’t till I was done with the gadzillion rolls and unhooked the squirming boy from the front pack that I realized that the whole time he had been helping himself to all the ooey gooey goodness that comes with cinnamon rolls and was therefore covered in butter, sugar, and cinnamon. Oops.

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Feelin’ the Love…

I just got an email from wordpress telling me about a new email subscriber. It said, “…their email address is blahblahblah, and it appears they are from nigeria.”

No, it wasn’t really “blahblahblah.”

Nigeria. Greaaaaaatttt.

While I sit here, my husband is undergoing a rite of passage. He is building a dollhouse from a kit in time for its Christmas morning unveiling. This is the dollhouse of my dreams. Even if Violet doesn’t completely love it, that won’t really be a bad thing because that just means more time for me to play with it. Seriously. It’s 1:12 scale, so it’s pretty big…maybe 2-2 1/2 feet tall. I will post some pictures up here pretty quick but it still isn’t finished yet.

I love how the online description was “minor parent assembly required.” If by “minor” you mean all of it!

He’s screwing in a staircase right now. This is pretty much the cutest he’s looked all day.

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That Thing You Do

Dear Stillaguamish River,
You need to go on a diet.

Yay for living in an area where you either live in a flood plain, or you have to drive through one. Yes, it’s that time of year again. Parties for hosting, marshmallows are toasting, and caroling out in the snow…wait, that’s a song. Let’s see…Sandbags are rising, the flood waters–surprising, and rowboats are out on the road…
It’s the most wonderful time of the year!
There’ll be much mistltoeing,
And hearts will be glowing
from-the-heavy-exertion-of-lifting-sandbags…
It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!
With the kids jingle belling,
And everyone telling you “Don’t-drive-over-covered-roadways-because-that’s-how-the-majority-of-flooding-deaths-occur,”
It’s the most wonderful time of the year.
It’s the hap-happiest season of all
With those holiday greetings and emergency-support meetings,
When friends come to call and-help-you-sand-bag-your-house…
It’s the hap- happiest season of all!

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Pearl+Primo’s Pear Pasta=Perfection

I suppose I should clarify–it wasn’t just the pear gorgonzola ravioli that was perfection. Today we went out to lunch at Primo in Seattle. Primo is a new Italian restaurant that my cousin Max opened just three months ago. I know–you already think I’m biased. It’s hard not to be. Did I mention yet that one of my little brother’s works here as a chef?  Plus, my cousin and my brother are both adorable, so it’s hard not to like them. I already knew that. What I didn’t know (or was dubiously unsure of) was whether or not they really knew their stuff when it comes to good Italian food. I mean, I’ve eaten pizza in Italy. I should stop before I start to ramble, and also because I think pictures can speak louder than words when it comes to food.

Now that you’re hungry, please do me a favor. Go to Primo. The ingredient quality is outstanding, the prices are very reasonable, and the chandelier is amazing.

Check out the menu on their website and “like” them on facebook to hear about specials.

http://www.primoseattle.com/

Facebook

206-54-PRIMO

1106 8th Avenue, (between Seneca and Spring)

Seattle, WA 98101

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Fleeting

Childhood: Just when you think it’s going to last forever, it’s gone. That’s how I remember mine anyway. Actually saying that in the past-tense makes me stop and re-realize that it’s over. I should know that by now, right? Right. Maybe that would explain why I have such a hard time getting out of bed to beautify someone else’s childhood every day.

Just like the sunrise, childhood is the shortest part of the day.

Watch This

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The Hazards of Having a Sister

I should offer a disclaimer first, or at least an explanation. Violet has some clip-on earrings. She wanted me to put them on her. We went and looked in the mirror. Next, she wanted to see them on me. You can guess the natural progression here.

Sorry Kid…

Mommy is really sorry about all this, Henry

I really hope this never gets used as blackmail…

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Christmas: 1, Pearl: 0

Well, I gave in. Violet and I were talking about Christmas, and I was trying to explain about different traditions to her that we use to celebrate Christmas. I know I already made a big stink on this blog about not having a Christmas tree, but when I actually got to the part where I was telling my little doll-face girl about Christmas trees, I couldn’t actually tell her that Mommy didn’t want one because I have issues with adding to the A-bomb of a messy house I deal with every day. I pictured her on Christmas morning without a Christmas tree to grab her presents out from under and I had a mental “Awwwww….” moment.

So, we have a Christmas tree. And Violet Loves it. I am foreseeing very much the same thought process with Christmas baking. “Sorry Honey, Mommy is on a diet this Christmas so it looks like you don’t get to help decorate gingerbread men this year.”

Hey, it’s not like I was going to put coal in her stocking.

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The Adventures of Parrot Boy and Pirate Girl

Once upon a time…

There was a darling little boy,

who made parrot faces.

They called him Parrot Boy

Maybe it was from eating sour apples…

or mashed carrots.

(probably not).

Actually, it was from watching…

Her.

Pirate Girl.

She was a very gentle, peace-loving pirate.

But sometimes, she had to hide in a box to avoid walking the plank

So, she decided she needed to update her image. First, a Parrot.

Then,

a mustache.

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Aaaannnnddd Time!

I’m finally done! I was the photographer at my sister-in-law’s wedding last month, and I just finished editing the pictures today. This was my second wedding, and I had a fantastic time. I think I might want to be a wedding photographer when I grow up. I know, it seems like everyone’s cousin is a wedding photographer these days, which is daunting and irritating to me at the same time, but I have to remind myself that photography is a unique art form and its appeal is based largely off of perspective, individual preference, and being fabulous. Luckily, I have those in spades. Here’s a taste of the day:

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Not from “The Shining

When I said that “all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” was an old saying, I didn’t mean “old” like from the 1980 movie The Shining. Besides, I may or may not have been born somewhere around that time, so what does that make me? Not old, thank you. The term was first used in a collection of proverbs by James Howell in 1659. That’s old.

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Magic in the Air

Today I sat in a parking lot and savored every last drop of the combined sweetness of two children sleeping in the back seat and a peppermint mocha. I happen to be one of the those moms whose children don’t take naps on any sort of regular basis, so every once in a great while they both fall asleep at the same time–usually in a car seat where they have no choice but to sit still and listen to jazz music with the heat cranked up–the perfect storm. I must clarify–I do not think Jazz is boring, I think it’s relaxing.

I absolutely love this time of year. In our modern culture, we don’t spend a lot of time in tradition, and designated family times, and celebrations along those lines. I wish we did. Sometimes I am jealous of all the sacred feasts and holidays that other religions celebrate. Especially the sacred feasts. There is something deeply ingrained in human nature that loves a good party. We’re also creatures of habit, so repeating parties on an annual basis and calling them holidays is right up our alley. I think that’s one of the reasons that God set up so many holidays for the Israelites to celebrate. As everyone knows, all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, or so I’ve heard. I have an uncle named Jack, I should ask him.

What? You’ve never heard that before? It’s an old saying, okay? I have no idea where it comes from, but I have a good guess that some little boy named Jack told that to his mom in between weeding the watermelons one summer day in an attempt to spend the rest of the afternoon in the creek.

Anyway…I love this season because of the camaraderie it fosters. Hugs are tighter, coffee is hotter, noses are redder, and everyone thinks of family.

All this over a peppermint mocha in a parking lot to the sound of snoring in the back seat…

 

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knee deep

So maybe I’m a day late and a dollar short here, but it’s officially the season of Christmas. My house still doesn’t reflect this new fact, but i have plans–big plans. Not really. I just have to figure out a way to decorate without  making my house any messier than it is, or at least having the potential to be messier than it is. By the way, I am having a 50% out sale after Christmas at my house. I can’t handle collecting things, especially in such a small house. By “50% out”, i mean that I am getting 50% of the stuff in my house out…hopefully into yours.

First out–a toaster. Used to be really shiny. occasionally doesn’t pop up the toast. still works okay.

Also, a toilet paper roll holder shaped like a Volkswagen. All yours.

Assorted tupperware and lids–none matching.

How does that happen anyway? I’ll make a wild guess and say i’m not the only one that gradually loses matching tupperware sets. I have a bunch of lids, and a bunch of containers, but not a bunch of matching.

Oh, a striped rug 3×4.5

lots of toys. lots and lots of toys.

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