Tuesday, January 31, 2012

halmark may be on to something

halmark has demoralized valentine's day. they have turned it into a money making racket thus creating a bunch of cynics. "valentines day is just a made up holiday!" "valentine's day exsists just so corporate america can make more money!" "jewlery, chocolates or flowers is all women want on valentine's day"
however, i think this is sad because valentines day has all the potential in the world of being at least one of the top 3 "christian" holidays. christmas would be number one. i mean, obviously the day Jesus was born would have to be number one, right? the number two spot would go to easter. some would probably even argue that it should be number one, but personally i think you have to be born first. so the number two spot goes to easter. but the number three spot, i would argue, should go to valentine's day for sure. why? you ask. let me explain.
while micah was at school, i had hung up a heart garland that i had found while i was cleaning out a closet. and then before dinner i cut out a bunch of hearts and sewed them on the sewing machine and hung them up over our table. so tonight at dinner the conversation naturally turned to the topic of love. micah's school had sent home valentine grams. it's a fundraiser at school for the junior class, but basically you can write a nice note to someone and they give them candy or a flower or something like that for $ .50. we talked about friends and who he would like to send one of the grams to. i told him that would be fine to send one to a friend. he also said that he didn't think he needed to send one to daddy too because he had done that last year. i told him that i thought it would be a good idea to send it to both of them.
i asked him if he knew why i loved valentine's day so much. he said he didn't. i told him that i loved valentine's day so much because it was a holiday set aside just to celebrate love. he thought for awhile and then he said. i think we should write down why God loves us. "there are alot of verses in the Bible that talk about how much He loves us aren't there buddy?" he agreed. let's try to think of three of them, he said to me. right away this one came to my mind and i said, for God so Loved the world that he gave us his only son. micah eyes lit up and without over explaining it at all he got it. we can love because He loved us.

i know halmark has made this a holiday that most people groan over. i know it is primarily sold as a day set aside for significant others, but you know what i think? i think it is a day, that christians, especially should celebrate. so bust out your red or pink and say i love you.
our conversation made me want to call my sister, my two brothers, their spouses and all of their children and say, i love you. it made me want to call my 3 sister-in-laws, their pesky husbands, my nephews and my beautiful nieces just to say a quick i love you. i found myself wanting to call my parents and matt's parents and say, hey, just in case you forgot i want to tell you how much i love you. i wanted to call matt instantly and tell him, i really really love YOU matt harrison. i was able to say it to micah. and then to beatrix and once pips woke up i said it to her too. i want to be the sort of person that spreads love around like every day is valentine's day. even if it is cheesy. i don't even care that halmark has turned it into a joke. there is something beautiful about setting a whole day aside just to tell those you love that you do in fact feel that way.
maybe, valentine's day should be number ONE of the top "christian" holidays to celebrate.
after all, without love there wouldn't have been christmas or easter.

Monday, January 30, 2012

crafty goodness

last friday i took the girls to my work so they could all meet penelope. it was a wonderful visit and it felt so good to get out of the house for the morning. while we were up that way i decided to stop in to my very favorite store, Anthropologie.
sigh...everything in there is unbelievably beautiful. i walked around slowly with pips in the sling and beebs in the stroller. i could go at whatever pace i wanted to. i wandered back to the clearance section and i spied these paper clips on sale for 7 dollars. i knew they would work perfectly attached to headbands for the girls.
i started by cutting them off the paperclip.
then i bought some snaps at the fabric store.
next i hand stitched two of them onto some super skinny elastic. i made the elastics long enough to fit beatrix and one to fit penelope. i also made two more headbands that i only sewed one snap to. that way they could wear just one butterfly or we could double it up for extra butterflyness.
i also hand stitched the top part of the snap onto all of the butterflies so i can mix and match them.

bea likes to wear them doubled up.

so pretty and a great deal too.

HOW I GET...{part 3}

how i get breakfast made.

hours of entertainment

did you know, you too can provide hours of free entertainment for your children with an empty diaper box? well, it's true. this is what we call a poor man's basketball hoop.

fun with a baby

slobbering daddy's nose

penelope smiles

garbage for dinner

there are many things i love about matt. one of them being the fact that he can turn frustrating situations between micah and i into laughable moments.
he is a bomb defuser.
i had been working hard on dinner for over an hour one night last week. i had seen on a cooking show a recipe for risotto, which i love and never make because it takes so long. this was a recipe for almost-no-stir-risotto. i even broke open our bottle of champagne hidden away in the back of the fridge for the recipe. hey, it called for white wine. never mind the glass i poured for myself with the added couple of strawberries while i was cooking. ;) i had also made salmon and broccoli. micah came into the kitchen just as i was getting it all together, while holding pips in the sling i might add.
"what's for diiiinnnnner?" he whined
"salmon, rice risotto..."
"what's risotto?"
"just a kind of rice buddy."
"oh man! rice! gross!"
"well, that's nice to hear after cooking for over an hour."
"do i have to eat that?"
matt piped up, "no, you don't. you can have garbage!"
"yeah", i chimed in. "i'll make you some garbage."
micah looked at both of us, struggling between being frustrated and laughing. he decided to go with being frustrated and stomped out of the kitchen. my son does not do well when his blood sugar is low.
matt looked at me and got a slightly evil grin on his face. "watch this" he said.
he went to the garbage can with a plate and piled all kinds of nasty things on it and took the plate to the table with a fork. "micah" he yelled, "come to the table. your dinner is ready."
it's garbage for dinner.
micah was not amused, but matt and i almost peed our pants we were laughing so hard. it wasn't until we looked at the picture later that we realized it was even more disgusting due to the enormous cock roach on the plate. it makes me shiver just looking at it. so gross! haha
matt is great at diffusing explosive devises.

HOW I GET...{part 2}

how i get dinner made.

sunday afternoons

there is something extra sweet about sunday afternoons. there is the realization that monday will be here again soon and so sunday afternoons tend to get packed with all of the things that didn't get finished over the weekend. like car washing, which matt loves to do almost every weekend. the kids joined him last sunday by washing their own vehicles.
as i asked beatrix to look at the camera she moved the hose right over micah.
resulting in...
a wet shirt and thankfully, a smile.
my girl.
those are micah's baseball socks she has on. the socks go all the way up to her thighs like the leg warmers of the past.
i love pictures that tell a story. don't you? this one tells a great story. the two of them sitting next to each other watching a movie after cleaning their bikes. a bag of carrots bigger than penelope sits to the side of beatrix with a few directly behind them for easier access. the reappearance of pacifiers in our home and gripe water too for baby belly aches. beatrix's christmas kitchen is still planted in our living room because i haven't had time to move it.
this picture tells a story.
it is the best kind of picture.
just some cuteness
this is a project that kept getting put off. first i put it off because it was so hot when we first moved into the house i didn't want to stand outside long enough to paint the grates. then a baby came and well you know how that goes. so this last weekend was the one that matt said enough and he painted them himself. no more open vents in our ceiling.

oh, i need to take that dead poinsettia off of the tv cabinet too. sigh

HOW I GET... {a new series}

how i get my shower.

beatrix is excited in this picture because she wanted both of them to wear their cupcake shirts. so funny

Sunday, January 22, 2012

18 year old matt

dear 18 year old matt,
i know that you have just entered the military and are probably on your way to iraq. i am sure you have no idea yet, but there is a girl in iowa who is going to love you someday and become your wife and drive you crazy and make you happy all at the same time. she will ask you to do all kinds of strange things. one day, many years from now, you will find yourself in a park, after a picnic with your friends, carrying a blanket, your wife's purse, a pillow for this wife who is nursing your newest baby and a publix bag full of a change of clothes for your three kids. most of the time you will do these things good naturedly because you will love this woman from iowa. but sometimes you will do it grudgingly and with a little mention of how 18-year-old-you would never have imagined this scenario.
well, 18-year-old-matt, i am writing to tell you that i appreciate that you will have to give up some things and some dreams that you would have liked to accomplish.
thank you. thank you for eventually becoming 36-year-old-matt. even though you are far from where your 18 year old self ever thought you would be.
i will love you.
love a girl from iowa

a few things i love

i love his smile and his two missing front teeth. i love how much he loves to learn new things and how unbelieveably gentle and loving he is to his two sisters.
i love her spunk! and how much fun it is to fix her hair. i love how she calls me meme. i love when she comes in my room every morning and lays with me. and i love how empathetic she is which was a happy surprise.
i love her dimple fingers and her two little chins, i love her smell and her newness and the way her tounge touches the roof of her mouth when she grins.
i love these three little people.

on my watch

it had been quiet for awhile.
however, that's not unusual with her. she will play by herself in her room all the time building things or reading books. i was busy on the computer working on penelope's 7 week pictures and when i went out to the living room this is how i found her, out like a light. she was all curled up on the couch with her mouth open a little bit, snoring softly and her 4 little turtles in her open hand by her side. i just sat there for awhile watching her sleep. thinking that she looked so little and so big at the same time. trying to freeze the image of her laying there in my mind. i went and laid pips down in her bed and then came back for beatrix. i picked her up and took her into her room. i laid luvy beside her, covered her with a blanket and walked slowly out of the room.

six going on sixteen

i had a big fight with micah on saturday.
he was so mad at me.
he kept pestering me all morning to go on a walk with him because he wanted to ride his bike. well... honestly, i didn't want to. i was on a roll with cleaning and working on some other projects. penelope and matt were sleeping. beatrix was content playing, but micah kept coming to me every 5 minutes wondering what he could do. by the time matt did wake up i had had enough. i was so frustrated i felt like i was going to pop. micah had just come to ask me what to do, AGAIN and i looked at him and walked away. he stomped off and went into his room. the next thing i knew this sign was on his door. matt suggested i go in there and just tickle him or wrestle with him or do something physical. so i did. i marched in there with a ridiculous grin on my face trying to keep it light and playful and i tickled him till he almost peed. he was so mad, but yet he was laughing. he kept trying to hit me and i would just throw him back onto the bed. (not meanly at all, just messing around) anyway, it kept escalating so finally i took him into the bathroom and threw him in the shower with his clothes on. he was so MAD! i got my first, i hate you from him and that hurt, but matt suggested i let him be. so i did. i handled it totally differently than what was my intuitive response. beatrix was beside herself trying to comfort micah. i wanted to go in and comfort him, hug him, tell him i was sorry and probably over talk the situation too, but instead i just bit my tongue and waited. matt went in and talked to him. micah yelled that i was mean and matt told him that what i did was the opposite of mean, and that i was trying to mess around with him and get him out of his funk.
and it worked.
i don't know how but it worked.

my dad and i had a similar relationship to what micah and i have.
we are both talkers.
we would try to out talk each other in emotional situations like this. i would want him to hear me and he would want me to listen to him. my mom would often times have to step in. i would get madder and madder until i could hardly take it. i mean i really felt like i was going to explode. i am sure that is how micah felt yesterday. i think matt's suggestion to not engage in causing more anger and frustration, but to try to defuse it was good advice.
that's what parenting is all about, right?
trying to figure out what is going to work for each individual child....
it is ridiculously difficult.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

seven weeks

i tried the chair first...she just fell over asleep.

i love when she recognizes our voices or our faces and turns on this smile. how is it possible for a baby to smile with her whole body? she does though. when she isn't engaged she kind of just sits there, like a lump. but when she smiles? wow, it's like even her toes are grinning at you.
i love babies.


....i REALLY, lump in my throat, love you.

green stamps

i almost gave all of these to the goodwill,
but matt rescued them from the box.
the previous owner of the house never got a chance to use these. green stamps date pretty far back. S & H green stamps were trading stamps that were popular from 1930-the 1980's. Customers would receive stamps at the checkout counters of supermarkets, department stores and gas stations which could be redeemed for products in a catalog provided by the company. we researched if they even still did it and sure enough you could still redeem green stamps for things like apple gift cards and many many other relevant stores. matt and micah spent an evening gluing and counting the stamps. we also researched how to go about redeeming the stamps. we had to glue them onto paper and count all of them. some had value of 50, while others were 20 or 10.
after all the counting was complete matt had something like 48,000 points. he looked at me with a very knowing and reprimanding look.
last week he finally received the email stating that his stamps had been received. i walked in the room as he was "spending" his stamps. he told me later that he spent it on two apple gift cards for i-tunes. "one for me", he said and then he grinned, "and i got you one too."

blurry love

Friday, January 13, 2012

swing high swing low

three days ago i was rejoicing over something as simple as poop in a potty and then last night i got a call that swung me back to the other side of things.

i knew my mom was going in for some tests yesterday. i thought it was gonna be pretty routine. she called me in the morning to tell me she was on her way to the doctor's office. i chatted a little but i was pretty distracted as is my normal state on the phone these days. i told her goodbye and i love you and then i didn't give it much thought after that. i did think about it again around 1. she told me she was going to call after the tests. when she didn't i figured it was because she got busy with something else.

the phone rang at 6:30. i let it go to voicemail. matt was still at PBA teaching his night classes and so after dinner i put micah in the shower, beatrix into the tub, i was cleaning up the kitchen and i was trying to finish nursing penelope. i was doing too much at once. while a friend held the baby, i finally had a chance to listen to her voicemail. she said that she didn't have kidney stones and that the blood in her urine was probably just because the infection was so bad, but she did want to talk to me about something else. that phrase is never good after your mom has gone to the doctor.

i called her back. bracing myself. she started off chit chatty...i wanted her to get right to it. so i asked. she told me that they did a CT scan of her abdomen and they found a tumor on her liver...silence. a what? a tumor on her liver. she told me it was small, 3 cm. but to me a tumor is a tumor is a tumor. a tumor. she told me they were going to send her to a liver specialist. she was still going to go on the trip with her family this weekend to mexico. she used the phrase, "it will be special." i didn't like the sound of that. i asked her how she was doing and she told me she had peace. she had been singing the song, "the Lord is good" over and over in her head. that is a whole nother discussion as far as i am concerned. she also told me that it was small, it could just be a collection of cells and vessels like her aneurysm was in her head. it could be non-cancerous. or it could be what i am dreading...cancer.

i just stood there at the sink, washing dishes. micah was yelling his head off for me. beatrix was screaming every 5 seconds meme, meme! penelope started to cry. she has gas. it is ridiculous how my life is all about poop right now, one who just put it in the potty and another one who can't seem to get it out. i was standing there with all of this going on around me and i couldn't think of anything to say. i probably failed right then at supporting my mom in her hour of need. but i found myself needy. and like so many times in my life when i get hard news, or something tough is coming i wanted to run. run out of that house and just keep running. run right down the street. i wanted to run to get a drink and then run to get a cigarette. i just wanted to run. i swallowed and turned off the water, then i said goodbye to my mom. i told her i needed to go and take care of the kids. but i still wanted to run.

i couldn't though. in fact the opposite happened. i was more than glued to that house. i finally got beatrix out of the tub and into bed with help from a friend, i got micah out of the shower, dressed and into bed, and i finished feeding penelope who continued to cry off and on for the next 4 hours. in the midst of that insanity i had lots of time to think and pray. i thought about anything and everything i could think of in those 4 hours. i had no way of escape and it was probably the best thing for me.

i don't know what is going to happen with my mom. it could be something simple like a surgery to remove it and that is it. or it could be. well, the other. i do know this much. she has gone through so much physically that it would be great if she could catch a break on this one. please God, could you let my mom catch a break? ...please?

i need to take it one day at a time.
its amazing to me how life can swing so high but just as quickly it can swing terribly low.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

rejoicing over what???

{warning-this is a post about poop}
she did it!
she finally did it!
and i am so happy that i wanna cry.
it took the right motivation i guess. and that came in the form of a little einstein's video about birthdays that she has been talking about for months. i looked it up last week and decided to buy it and make it her poopy video. i started all of this by giving her some fiber gummies for a week, to loosen it all up just a bit. (they are for kids don't worry) when i got the video in the mail, i told her that she could watch it every time she went poop in the potty.
it came two days ago.
she carried it everywhere yesterday asking me if she could watch it. i told her she could if she went poop in the potty. she asked me again this morning and i told her the same thing. she gave me a look and then she went into the bathroom. i could hear a couple of little grunts. she called me in. there wasn't anything but i could tell she was trying. "not yet honey, nothing has come out yet." i went back to the living room. she worked on it for a couple more minutes. she called me again, "meme!" i went back and there it was.
right there in the potty.
i couldn't believe it!
i am tearing up again.
i mean i knew that she wouldn't start kindergarten pooping in her diaper, but well, honestly i was starting to wonder. this has given me a window into beatrix.
a big window.
A. when she decides to do something she will do it.
B. it takes the right motivation.
C. positive reinforcement means everything to my little girl because she was positively glowing when i praised her for putting her poop where it belongs!

Friday, January 6, 2012

catching up

the pictures are out of order, but that's ok. it is a miracle that i got them on here at all.

my brain is foggy and fuzzy and all around not clear. going from sleeping regularly to not very often is playing tricks on my brain. i drop sentences in the middle of speaking, i don't remember when matt and micah leave in the morning to go to school, i have fallen asleep in the rocking chair more than once and i stand in one place in the house trying to remember what it was i was on my way to do. but it is worth it cause penelope is growing and that is what is important.

we had visitors for christmas and it was wonderful. my parents were here for almost a week around christmas. it was fun having them here. they took the kids on a two-mile-one-way-walk the first day they were here, we went to the new chipmunks movie one day and went to a huge bonfire on the beach later that same night. it was comical getting anywhere with all 7 of us because we would either have to make two trips or mom and i would have to sit in the back of our car. hilarious! most of the time we hung out around home watching movies. my mom and i got to go shopping for a couple of hours one day and we went to christmas eve and christmas day service at our church, which was within walking distance.

she is 3 weeks old...
i look huge. someday, i will look back on this picture and not think that at all but for now i look at it and think, "i look huge!"
one of the lego sets that micah got for christmas. the age suggestion on this one was 7-12 years. ??? um, hello lego company? my son is 6!
3 days after my parents left matt's parents arrived for a visit. micah was ecstatic as he got a second christmas and more grandparents willing to give him lots of attention. matt and his parents took the kids fishing one day while i went to the doctor. micah was itching to use his new pole that he got for christmas. he also showed them his 4 lego sets that he got and promptly put together in less then 24 hours, it was amazing. beatrix enjoyed showing them her new Thomas the Train pillow and cooking food for them in her new kitchen. they all enjoyed playing games on their i-pads. will i even know what an i-pad is when i re-read this in years to come? one evening matt, his dad and his mom were all sitting on the couch playing with their own i-pads while i sat feeding penelope. it was pretty comical. we had a nice relaxed time and lots of fun. one afternoon we did manage to make it to the ocean for a walk on the pier, followed by pizza downtown lake worth and ice cream.
it is wonderful when family visits! i love living in south florida and i love my families...but i wish i could somehow meld the two together. matt and i are guessing they will retire somewhere close by, both sets expressed how much they loved our weather.