Friday, December 31, 2010

there it goes...

2010.
what a crazy, hard, amazing, merciful, butt-kicking, miraculous year.
every day is a miracle, every breath we take... every moment we have with our dear friends and family... all a gift, to be viewed as such.
2010, I humbly bow to you, and 2011, I ask for mercy, as usual.
It will be an adventure... that's a guarantee :).
Happy New Year, everyone! May you enjoy peace, joy, and love.

For last year's words belong to last year's language and next year's words await another voice. And to make an end is to make a beginning. -T.S. Eliot

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

well hello there

I will be buried in paint and cleaning for the next eternity, along with my husband, apparently. Trying to sneak in some fun with the kids, too! Realtor comes TOMORROW... ACK... hoping she doesn't walk in and say "Ummm, no. this place is a wreck, and everyone will hate it." I did, indeed, have a dream that this happened. AAAAACK!

Breathing deeply...

also, you should see my new haircut from my incredibly talented sister-in-law, Lorin. It's fancy and fun and new :).






I hope you're all staying sane out there! It's the great holiday clean-up of 2010... dun dun dun...

Monday, December 27, 2010

historic white christmas...


I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas! Ours started with Sam wanting nothing to do with anything... (note his block of being in the picture... he's my sleeper, and was NOT happy that his siblings woke him up to see what Santa brought!)

He did a little warming up with daddy on the couch...
and then decided to be happy about Christmas :).


Leah was excited about her new hair accessories, and Pete got the one thing he asked for... a peppermint paddy! (it's the little things in life... and don't worry, he received more than just a piece of candy.)
"santa" had to throw in a little fun...
you know those books where you have to search for certain items among the sea of crazy? that's what the coffee table looked like when all was said and done (find the butterfinger)...

We continued our lovely Christmas by watching the snow fall all day... a total of 6 inches! first time NC has seen a measurable snow since 1969 on Christmas day... and a new record! It was miraculous to watch the heavy, huge flakes fall as we dined with our dear families and celebrated the holiday. The next day was perfect for sledding and playing in the snow!





there's nothing more hopeful and refreshing than a white Christmas... wishing you peace this week!

Friday, December 24, 2010

a weary world rejoices

Merry Christmas to all... and to all a good night... LOVE and LIGHT from our family to yours!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

holiday fail.

today I need that mercy we've spoken of.

I just do not have it all together. I don't have all my Christmas cards out. I'm only baking for the neighbors this year... no time for anyone else. I fear the gifts I've purchased for family members will be measly, not enough, on our tight budget, and that people will be disappointed. And yet I can't find another dime to spend... the last one went to Zach's tuition.

My cheer seems to be missing this week... the stress of packing up half the house to put in on the market in a few short weeks has overcome me. The walls are now bare, ready for painting. I'm tired. I've had a lot of work... worked today, will work tomorrow {dragging my annoyed kids along with me, feeling guilty that i have to}.

What can I give? What can I do? I can give my gratitude for even having jobs that help pay bills. I can celebrate my marriage, my kids, my extended family, their health, our health. And, my baby brother got home from a long deployment with the Army, just in time to be with his sweet wife for Christmas. I can adjust my attitude and give thanks.

I still feel like a failure. I didn't get it all done this year and I didn't just laugh about it as I usually do. I'm wallowing. But maybe we can all wallow together, and celebrate anyway. I think this little guy who was born in a manger 2000 years ago didn't come for the perfect ones. I'm pretty sure he came to show me {the haggard old pissed off tired mommy} love, in a weak form, in the middle of the night, in a dog bowl. Someone who loves everyone? Is it true? I don't really know. I sure hope so.


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Shenanigans!

My blond-headed child... he defines "shenanigans!"
First, he discovered plastic wrap...




Then he decided that coats are completely unnecessary, but one can never have too many scarves... (he's dancing below... action shot of dancing with scarves...)

He's nuts!
This is what happens when school's out...
but I must admit that I don't mind it. This week. Ask me how I feel about it next week... may have an entirely different opinion :).




Monday, December 20, 2010

Flashback: 2008

This was our first Christmas Picture with Sammy home! He's so little and cute... oh how fast they grow! And let's talk about me for just a sec... I'm kinda diggin' the hair. I usually hate it when I get the urge to chop it off, but then I look back at pics and it's pretty cute I think. Maybe too preppy? Contemplating another short cut...

Actually, check out this video. (a) it's a great song by JJ Heller, one of my fav singers. Disclosure: I usually dislike "Christian" musicians. I think they can be way lame. I know, that is very mean of me, I admit it. And I ask those lame artists to forgive me. Every so often, though, a little gem shines through... a genuine singer/songwriter without a big agenda, other than to be raw. Okay, so that being said, you will most likely enjoy this song, even if you're not religious. onto (b)... her hair. Do you think I could pull that off? Remember this is a major life decision people. I LOVE it on her. Very cute/modern/not-too-preppy. Check it out:

Okay so now you've seen a great song and a great haircut. Nice combo! Onto THIS year's Christmas picture! (well, one of them. This was taken by my very talented 13 year old sister Sophie! Didn't she do a great job??) So yes... look how big my kids are! And, more importantly, how long my hair is! Anyway, I'm accepting advice once again. Not as important as the dental school decision, but almost :).


Have a lovely day!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Christmas Concert

two weeks ago, my darling daughter wrote adorable invitations to her "Christmas Concert," and delivered them to our neighbors. She wrote that a concert would be given on her very own front lawn, at 12 noon on Saturday. She declared that the songs were her very own creations! After delivering the invitations, she ran home to write her songs. Five, to be exact. (Because Taylor Swift writes her own songs, you know, so my daughter has high standards... no existing songs would be sung :).

The neighbors gathered just as it began to snow, and Leah bravely delivered her sweet, a capella concert. It. Was. Adorable.





(ps- don't we have the kindest neighbors? we do :).

I sincerely hope you have a lovely weekend! Christmas is here!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Blowin' in the Wind

My daughter (1st grade) came home singing this yesterday.
She learned it in music class.
I LOVE her school :).

Sunday, December 12, 2010

epic.


When you find out you have to put your house up for sale, something strange happens. Purging, of epic proportions. I should've taken pictures. But holy cow, we just brought a whole latta stuff to goodwill. (which warms my heart every time we drop stuff off...). And, we passed along baby and toddler clothes/gear to FOUR different families in our community.
which is great... but leads to the question... why the HECK did we still have all that stuff?
Cleaning out is AMAZING. love it.
Also, this is a common scene around here... thought you may want to see it:
Zach cooking (an man in the kitchen, where he should be (teehee!)), and Pete serenading him. Cute.
So just in case you wanted to buy our house, I wanted to let you know it is awesome. And we're making it even awesomer, just for you.
And my back hurts from crawling through the attic for two days straight.
Happy weekend to you all!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

cheer

{we really have 5 stockings... have to move the middle one so that it doesn't catch fire. yikes.}

{Home Alone viewing, 2010}

we are letting our breath out, just a bit.
eye surgeries done.
Zach got into school, a dream come true! Decision made.
time to enjoy for awhile.
just... be.

Action figure Jesus (the one from China who "parts the red sea," according to the package (!! pure awesome hilarity!!) is back atop our tree... we're classy this year with a twisty tie instead of duct tape.

And these babies delight our senses...
and visions of working at Trader Joe's next year dance in my head...
(wouldn't that be amazing??? I might actually try to do that...)

Hoping your days are merry...

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

the color still makes me queasy, but...

We were not tarheel born or tarheel bred (we are demon deacons at heart!)... but when we die, we'll at least be partially tarheel dead! (that was an ode to the Carolina chant, for those of you who are confused ;).

I cannot even tell you how much thought, prayer, consideration, and conversations went into this really hard decision, but ultimately we feel called to CHAPEL HILL! Zach is THRILLED... that's where he wants to be... and so the journey begins!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Brick


My dear friend coffeemom often refers to receiving "bricks" from heaven. You know, loud clear messages from the Big Guy (or Lady, as I often like to clarify :)).

We got one. A big fat one. And it's exciting, y'all. A decision has been made. Waiting on a few more bits of info and we'll reveal the news. We DO have that "peace that surpasses all understanding" that we were (not so) patiently waiting for. Most importantly, my husband feels that he's making the best decision for his education path, and that is priceless. Thanks so much for your thoughts and prayers and advice and good karma!!!!!

Also, Leah and I got hair cuts, which is somehow just as important. We love our haircuts around here.

we need a crystal ball.

Two Insane Adults Seeking Advice.

We are in such a dilemma. And I can't even exercise to get rid of the stress (due to the healing eyeball). OH MY GOSH. Sometimes, when given a choice, life becomes a bit more complicated.

Here's how we thought it would play out. We thought that Zach would get in to one dental school. Bam, decision made. Go where we got in. Easy breezy. And the Universe cackles! Oh silly, ignorant Zach and Becca! Life is so not that orderly! Here, let me give you a challenge! Oye...

Will you be our crystal ball for a moment? feel free to give advice. Let me give you the scenarios:

1) East Carolina University. Inaugural class of the brand-new school of dental medicine. Completely fresh approach on how to teach/train dentists- very "hands-on" to train general dentists. School started to address the needs of rural areas/underserved areas of NC. In a small(ish), eastern NC town. Not glitzy. public schools (for our kids) not quite as good as near the capital city of NC, but certainly not bad. No prestige yet. "ginny pig" class. waaaay low cost of living, and could live within walking/biking distance of the school and actually afford a house. tons of individual attention from professors, and this class is made up if 50 students (as opposed to 80), so more of a community feel, less competitive. but, no prestige, and many people questioning why on earth we would go to a school that is just now starting when Zach got into the best of the best, ranked in the top 5 nationally...

2)... which is UNC Chapel Hill. Arguably the best school in the nation. Huge, remarkable honor to get in. Especially in the first round of admissions. Traditional, mostly-in-the-classroom academic work (not as "hands on" as ECU). Trains students for a specialty (as of now Zach doesn't want to specialize). Housing in Chapel Hill HUGELY expensive... we'd have to live 20-30 minutes away to afford having our family together in one house. Much less family time as it is academically strenuous and much commuting involved. Everything more expensive. Great public schools. Much glitzier, sophisticated town (ha, like we'll have time/money to enjoy it...). Closer to family. People would think we were completely nuts to turn it down and take a risk on ECU... and yet, no one we've talked to had to do this with three kids in tow...

So this is our dilemma. See why we're going nuts? It's a humongous, life-altering decision... and we are 100% torn. Do we give up the BEST school to go to a brand new school? We have so many variables... many more than someone straight out of undergrad... We're flopping all over the place like fish in a boat... words of wisdom, anyone???

The strongest principle of growth lies in human choice. George Eliot

Saturday, December 4, 2010

wonderland






we live in a place where this is rare
snow before christmas?
well, i declare!
lights are hung
festivities have begun
blessings abound...
beauty is found

Friday, December 3, 2010

whew!

Thanks for your surgery prayers and happy thoughts... this surgery went far, far better than the last... no allergic reactions and the pain is minimal! amazing how different this has been.

Aaaaanyway, I told you on Wednesday that Zach got into ECU for dental school, which is totally incredible. He also got into one of the best schools in the nation, UNC Chapel Hill. WOW. We are so, so blessed to be able to choose where he will go to school. It's also a very, very tough decision because the schools are incredibly different, and obviously we have many more factors to consider (3 really important, live, breathing factors too), so... wow. Either way, Zach will be a dentist at the end of four years. It's just hard to know what to do... so many conversations with many wise people will be taking place over the next month... Ultimately, I want Zach to go where he will learn best and feel the most empowered on his career path. We'll keep you posted!

And, to all my Hanukkah celebrating dear ones... my friend shared this on facebook... Happy Hanukkah! May you all be blessed with little and big miracles!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

incredible piles of awesomeness.


You guys.
This is incredible.
Remember this post?
We got some news, yall! SOME BIG NEWS!!!!!
my husband got into dental school! we really will be traveling... most likely to East Carolina University, near the coast of NC!
time to put the house on the market (after we work our tails off to get it ready... yikes...)!!!
And, just to add to the excitement, I get to have more eye surgery tomorrow, so this little blog may be quiet for a few days... hopefully I'll heal quickly this time...
Surgery will be easier to handle knowing that our crazy hard work has paid off... woohooo!
Thanks for all your love and support during this process... we still need lots of where that came from!
Time to celebrate :).

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

my kid is smarter than your kid.

or at least a little more... uh... creative?... my first grader wrote this at school... check out her illustrations, too :).



("be sure to bring a grown-up with you. Bring the right materials.")
("bring lots of food and water")
("do not use dynamite it will hurt the cave").
("never go alone. stick together. leave the creatures alone.")

I love first graders :).


Sunday, November 28, 2010

truth.

(Carolyn is a Champion among adoptive parents. Check her out in this week's People Magazine (the one with the almost-princess Kate Middleton on the cover. Carolyn's story is in the center of the magazine).

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Black What?

"black friday"... might be fun if you have money. I'm not really sure. I've never really had money to spend, and I hate crowds/malls/crap, so we had our own adventure with my wee little family plus my dad and two of my younger sisters. We hiked up stone mountain (north carolina)! Everyone did so well... very strenuous at first, and then the rest was a nice walk (a little hilly but perfect). The kids hiked 4.5 miles!!! Hiking rock stars, they are...





Despite Zach's huge, white, scary legs frightening all the deer away, we had a fantastic time! We got great exercise and enjoyed beautiful views :). We highly recommend this kind of "black friday." Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving! Off to put up the Christmas tree... cheers!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

hope

Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. ~Anne Lamott


Some years it's quite easy to give thanks, and other years it's a bit harder. I'm settled and happy this year... despite this (at times) gut-wrenching waiting period that will determine our future.

I've got it good right now. But so many others don't. Enter: Hope.

I have two dear friends who are suffering today. Their reality is deep grief. One grieves the death of her mother. The other grieves the death of a dream. But in both cases hope lingers around the corner. For my friend who lost her mommy, mourning will turn to joyful memories. Grief will not fade, but the thick ink she has to swim through over the next few days will begin to thin out and clear up and hope will burst through with new life. For my friend who lost her dream... the dream will simply take another form. The original dream morphs into a new path, and new beginning, new hope in how a family will be formed. Hope always exists and always prevails. Even when it isn't apparent, for awhile.

I'm thankful to be on this journey with so many of you. Real life. It's messy, no? But worth the strife.
{also, to be honest, I'm thankful to be staying home for thanksgiving this year. Sorry in-laws, but sometimes the sanity of a mother of three children (to ensure their health and safety) trumps your desire to see us on this holiday, and is quite worth the offense that may occur. I'm so, so happy to be HOME!}

Happy Thanksgiving, friends!

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity.... It turns problems into gifts, failures into success, the unexpected into perfect timing, and mistakes into important events. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow. Melodie Beattie

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

reality bites

How is it possible to feel so incredibly happy and pissed off at the same time?
I'll tell you how.
Raising children. Damn.
Love it.
And
Sometimes
feels like being pecked to death by chickens.
Kids playing happily in the playroom
apparently
oh wait, it's too quiet
and somehow my cake pan has made its way to the playroom and is now filled to the brim with
glue.
wouldn't trade it for the world. (but wouldn't mind them growing out of the glue phase).
:).

Also, you may be interested to know that I'm considering selling my soul to the devil just to get a trader joe's here. {dark chocolate covered peppermint joe joe's. are you kidding me.}

And, I think the target commercials right now are the funniest thing ever. Either you'll think I'm hilarious or an idiot based on that statement. But seriously. That actress cracks me up!

I'll be making pumpkin pies for the first time ever. wish me luck (and many thanks to Libby's pie filling... just add eggs and evaporated milk. I can do this.)

Monday, November 22, 2010

Preparing

We're in a time of waiting at our house. We're waiting to hear if my husband got into dental school, and sincerely hope to hear sometime on December 1st. We've sacrificed a lot to make this change in our lives. During the academic year of '09/10, Zach was a full time student while working for his company full time. He needed the required prerequisite courses completed in order to apply to dental school. It was a hard year... he barely slept and I was basically a single mom. We've spent the last 2 years preparing and working hard towards this goal. It was been very hard and very good for us, too. We love showing our kids that with hard work and determination, you can and should follow your dreams.

I love this time of waiting, as strange as that sounds. I know that, soon, we'll have an answer. But for now, it's completely unknown. Will he get in? If so, where? Where will we move? Not knowing the answers really forces us to simply appreciate today. Just today. No expectations. So we wait, wait to prepare.

I am a Christian (although, for the record, I do struggle with that word and all that it entails. I've actually even tried not to believe, but I do.). So, that being said, I love and was raised listening to and singing the song "O Holy Night." There is a line in the song that says "A weary world rejoices"... and another that says "His law is love and His gospel is peace." I feel like those words encompass our lives in this moment. Sara Groves is one of my favorite singer/songwriters, and she re-wrote the music (not the lyrics though) to O Holy Night. This is what has been coursing through my brain as we wait to prepare for our big news. It is comforting. And yes, we're listening to Christmas music already :). Enjoy!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Surrounded

We're surrounded by beauty here... I want to remember it!


(our front and back yards)

Glorious are the woods in their latest gold and crimson,
Yet our full-leaved willows are in the freshest green.
Such a kindly autumn, so mercifully dealing
With the growths of summer, I never yet have seen.
William Cullen Bryant
The Third of November.