Saturday, February 25, 2012

good week

whoa... a whole week has gone by... hope you all are doing well. We had our usual busy week so we're just chillin' this weekend. Got my "short run" (8 miles) in this morning, met good friends for brunch, studied for my exam on Tuesday, and Zach cooked (this is always a splendid occurrence): 
this is "scarpriella" or something like that. It's chicken (with bones), sausage, potatoes, chicken broth, a little olive oil, and rosemary. Divine!

We had some major busy times this week- often stressful (including an emergency trip to the dental urgent care and me handing over all my money for Leah to get a crown... my kids are bound to have crazy dental problems now that daddy is becoming a dentist... it's some unspoken law among doctor/dentist kids, trust me ;). Anyway, here was the highlight of the week... (for ME anyway)... 

See that? my teeth? no more braces! woot woot!

Here are more artistic pictures by Pete: 

Happy Weekend! 

Monday, February 20, 2012

Leah turns 8 + Snow!

Leah's birthday weekend was a blast! I really hope she felt loved and cherished... we had two sets of grandparents visit and an aunt/hopefully future uncle visit throughout the weekend, all to celebrate our little lady. Plus a day of watching the theatre production of Willy Wonka and a fun mexican feast/cake bash with friends... it was full and fun! She really is acting like an 8 year old... it's true... time flies! 

Yummy Chocolate Chip Pound Cake + cute 8 year old + a mommy who really needs to get those ugly braces off


growing up

marking the 11 miles we ran earlier that day (for our 1/2 marathon training)... and me proving, once again, via weird face, that the braces need to come OFF... (that could be happening soon... hint hint) 

after running in 65 degree weather and wearing short sleeves on Saturday, Sunday gave us this... 

And we awoke to a teeeeeensy bit of this on Monday.... 

Enough to delay school and sled! (remember, we're in the SOUTH here, people) 

They had a blast! 

just a little... pretty though :). 

Happy boy! 

handsome boys

pretty girl
I hope you all had a great weekend... I'm going to clean up the wet mess before picking the kiddos up from school. Love the snow, but since the flowers are already blooming, let's just go ahead and say NC decided to skip winter this year and call it spring. Have a happy Monday!

Friday, February 17, 2012

deep joy

It's Friday... but I still feel a heaviness. I have a lot of work and responsibilities to conquer this weekend. My sweet girl is turning 8, and I want her to feel loved, celebrated, cherished... and sometimes I feel like I might fail... to meet her expectations, to meet my own, to meet others'. Regardless, I'm so in love with this process of life. No matter how much I feel like I have to do, no matter how tired I am, no matter the weariness I can feel in my bones at times, I feel deep, deep joy to be here. I pray for, and beg for, this intensity for some of my friends. So many. So so many are suffering right now. I can't do anything beyond waking up each day, smiling at strangers, holding a door open for an old lady, being the best person I can possibly be, even of that means hard work, to help my friends. But I think trying to be light and hope is about all we can do, sometimes. Just being. One of my dear friends, who I don't see often anymore (since moving), shared that she's dealing with crippling depression. I want to fix that for her- I want to replace it with something, anything else. I keep praying and coming back to this sense of deep joy. I wish for her to have deep joy, regardless of whatever is swirling around in her life. Even in the mundane... work, kids, traffic... can we override our neurotransmitters, open our eyes wider, and let the blue sky heal us? I don't know. We can always hope.

Another friend of mine was in a dark place last year- in a time of waiting. She shared this song and it resonated with me... it is really beautiful... it isn't an answer... it's still a question. But I sense that deep joy in the music, somewhere. I wish that for you this weekend... enjoy!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

all the LOVE i need...

Despite my whining post about having a rough time parenting my spirited children, they're worth every second of every day! My little loves make life worth living <3.

displaying the large amounts of free sugar collected today... all in the name of LOVE :).

They are pretty cute... (not sure where Pete's other shoe is?). But see how they all dressed up for Valentine's Day? Yes. Cute!

Mommy had to make a fart joke to get him to crack up... it worked! I'm not above fart jokes to snap my grumpy kid out of a mood :).

Hope you all feel loved today... and every day, of course :). Here's a happy love song for you, by, of course, the Civil Wars, my favorites :). (When Zach and I grow up, we're going to BE them)

Sunday, February 12, 2012

being a mom...

I really love being a mom. But I really hate it too.

Oh no. Here she goes, gettin' all real in here again. Sorry.

I'm in one of those rough spots. Pete has always been pretty unpredictable. He's my wild card. I love him more than life. But he's not easy to parent. He's spirited and brilliant and sensory-seeking. Meaning he NEEDS more sensory input than most kids, in order to REALLY FEEL some sensation he's seeking. He throws himself against the ground or a wall. He has a hard time controlling his voice (he's LOUD). He ALSO gets overstimulated easily at times. Which seems counter to what I just described, but nope, it's all within his wiring. He seeks big, loud, things, but then big, loud things (like being at a basketball game) can send him over the behavioral edge. I never, ever know what to expect from him when I wake up in the morning. We have a firm schedule, set breakfast foods, low lights, pre-determined clothes to wear, etc, etc. Still, it's hard to know how he'll react to each thing. He's getting better with age, but I always have to be ready. He's like a bouncy ball, and you're bouncing it and it's unpredictable, you know? You're trying to catch it but you really can't tell which way it's going to bounce. Sometimes it can be really fun, and sometimes it can be really frustrating. Pete is not trying to be "bad" most of the time. He's a really good kid. He does really well in school... we've worked on self-control techniques and he's mastered them. But who is his "safe" person? Me. His mom. So he loses it. For me. Every day. (I'm pretty educated in this area too. I know a lot about it. I help others with these things. Still hard when it's your kid, no matter how much you know).

This wears me down more than I ever could have imagined.

Then there's my Sammy, who is just 20 months younger. He's a completely different kind of child. He's easy-going and calm (by nature). He's a go-with-the-flow kind of person. But he has entered his "grumpy phase" as most kids will. You know, when they are seeking independence (around ages 2,3,4 for any given child), and they start to say "no" more often, start throwing tantrums more frequently, start being generally pissed off if they don't get their way. Today he was rude to his Sunday school teacher- he glared and declared they hadn't made a craft and he was mad. Um, WHAT? He was basically a bratty, ungrateful kid who displayed this to another adult (other than me). Nothing embarrasses me more that my kids being flat out rude. His grumpiness can really cast a spell on the day.

Leah is almost 8, and sometimes I think she's advanced... in the drama department. She's above average in everything academically and apparently this has migrated over to her attitude. It's been really difficult to manage her dramatic outbursts about life not being fair, and blaming every other existing thing for her behavior before owning her mistakes and apologizing. She has entered that eye-rolling stage and loud-sighing stage and everything in between. She is old enough to completely understand her behavior but not old enough to know how to implement change on her own. She's always had her own opinions about life- a quality I love- but she can tantrum too, and it's more difficult (and confusing) to manage as she gets older.

Are my kids awesome in a zillion other ways? Of course. But sometimes, when the stars align and they're all in "hard phases" at the exact same time, I feel like the world's biggest failure. It's not like I've been twiddling my thumbs since they all entered our family. I've worked hard, like so many other parents, to teach morals, values, good behavior, kindness, manners, respect for others, self-control, on and on and on... every minute of every day. And some days it seems like I've taught them NOTHING. Not one thing. Maybe I have completely messed up (not firm enough? too firm? inconsistent?).

I'm making it sound like my house is some some depressing place filled with bratty children- which it's not. They're happy most of the time, content most of the time, listening well (sort of) most of the time. Loving life most of the time. But it's those intense times of misbehavior that have the potential to send me... to the airport, to board a plane, alone, to... somewhere else. Preferably another country.

I have no idea why I'm writing this (as usual). Perhaps to provide evidence to you that your kids (or parenting) are probably better than mine. Or to provide comfort to those who also have kids who seem to be in hard places, who are frustrating to parent at times. Who feel like they're on a gerbil wheel, spinning around and around, wondering if ANYTHING they do, day after day after freakin' day, is making any bit of difference. Do our kids hear us? Are they learning? Is our parenting working? Is any of this worth it? What's the measure of a "good parent" or a "good child"... do we just hope and pray that they'll turn 18 and not be a total asshole... and instead a good, kind citizen?

I have zero answers. I know that having indescribable love for my kids, that is greater than anything within myself, is what keeps me going. This is all worth more than the alternative, which is not having them in my life at all. So when I want to fly off to the Caribbean, I change my mind a few minutes (okay, maybe hours) later (after I've had some coffee, usually). Maybe I was too young to become a mom, but I am one, and that's not going to change. I'm committed to my kids and my family, but that doesn't mean I'm perfect or that the days will only be filled with peace and joy. It's a big fat combination of every emotion ever created.

Sometimes I don't feel okay with that, but most of the time I do. Parenting is hard. Very hard. Never to be glossed over. But we have mercy, lots of mercy, bestowed upon us, embracing our mistakes, patching them up, and moving us forward. I'm worn out, but I'm ready for another day. And for my kids' therapy bills, sure to exist once they're adults... (I'm kidding! hopefully ;-).

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Photography by Pete

Pete got a camera for his birthday... it's been entertaining him, to say the least :). When you have a REALLY busy child, having an arsenal of cool, techy things for him to do is a lifesaver. This camera has saved the day on many occasions! thanks mom! I feel a post coming soon about raising "busy" kids... many strategies are needed to help the whole family feel loved, safe, happy, and thriving... Maybe I'll write about that soon! tata for now... 

Sunday, February 5, 2012


Well hello there... I seem to have lost blogging steam. I'm a social worker and was assigned a case last week, so I have a little less time (I had oodles before... ha!). Glad to have a case, glad to have work at the kids' school, glad to have my health back (was supposed to run my 10-miler on friday and got sick... fever, sinus goo, etc). So tomorrow I'll feel good enough to run again, I think. Super awesomely happy that my baby niece is back at home!!! She'll be closely monitored but is able to be home with her mama and daddy and wait for the meds to work. Amazing!

Apparently people watch the Super Bowl on this day every year... I just did two loads of laundry and put it all away. We did manage to make cookies, dumplings, nachos, and fish sticks... (??). The game is on, via the computer, so I guess that counts. I should be studying something important, but I decided to blog instead. About nothing.

How are you all? This thing on? Anyone still reading?
Sorry for the lack of entertainment around here lately. I'm so very glad to be busy though. Most of the time.

Don't forget to check out the opportunity to support a cool organization (post below).

annnd, let's see. Anything else? I always have a blog post written in my head every night, and forget all about it the next day. Oh well. Just livin' life... having fun... and laughing a lot every day. Lately we've been listening to a lot of Civil Wars pandora station... it makes for a great day, I'm telling you! These musicians are intense and talented... we love them around here :). Cheers everyone! Have a great week...

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

giving thanks...

thank you so much, to any and all of you, who smothered my baby niece in prayers, good thoughts, and love over the past few days. I'm so thrilled to report that the medicine is working to help her. It's a long story, what she (and her dear parents) have suffered through during these trying hours and days, but the doctors in Seattle have assured them that baby Caroline will be okay. Steps are being taken to ensure her health, and I have never felt more relieved in my entire life. Just knowing that my brother and sister-in-law have had to go through this is enough to floor me. No parent should have to experience that kind of fear and uncertainty, but when we choose to love, and choose to have a family, we open ourselves up to the deepest pain imaginable... Any of us who love others dearly would rather take that risk that not love at all. I humbly thank you for your prayers and support, and thank God for the provisions of hope and peace bestowed upon my family.

In honor of my niece Caroline and her recovery, Zach and I have chosen to make a donation to our favorite non-profit, The Mighty River Project . Our friends, Scott and Erin, are on a mission to ensure a better life for women and their children in Uganda. A better life means access to so much, including better health care, something so holy to me right now as a simply medicine is literally saving my niece's life. They have a very awesome fundraising campaign going on right now, and I'd be so honored if you'd give, even a little, towards this cause. Go check it out! You can give even just ONE dollar and help them tremendously as they plan their future in Uganda.

Knowing that even a tiny amount of money can help a mommy trying to make a better life for her child? priceless. Thanks for considering this, friends. And thanks again for your outpouring of love and support.