Friday, December 31, 2010


the perfect finish to my 50 posts for the year was supposed to be our family slide show.

a few years ago, for our christmas eve gathering, one of my brothers suggested that each family compile a slide show of their family for the year. it has become the best tradition and i really wanted to share our's that tim made to wrap up our year. but alas. i can't upload it. i tried. i'll never succeed at reaganing.

i should have just stopped with my last post, although this one takes me to 50. oh well, things will never be quite as i imagine, but i'm okay with that.

goodbye 2010. hello 2011. can we please be friends?

preparations for the new year

in my ideal world, my husband wouldn't have to work during the week between christmas and new year's. we would spend the time reflecting on the year behind us and looking forward to the new year ahead of us. make some family resolutions. relax. enjoy a slow and blessed holiday season that didn't end on december 26.

but really, the reflecting and resoluting part isn't tim's style anyways, so i did some for myself.

2010 was a very full year for us-in good and bad ways. but we are still all together, and for that, i am most thankful.

there are some things that i hope for my family in 2011, but mostly i'm going to try to work on me. more exercise. sleep. prayer. mass! gratitude.

there will always be some hard days. and probably never any easy days (at least in the short term). but there will also be many, many very good days. and i will be thankful for them.

so to prepare for the new year, i tossed these guys into the pasture (not ben and max!):

i'm not kidding that these were still on my porch until two days ago.

and i cleaned my kitchen:

which had honestly looked like that for two days.

and today, while i was away at the shower and on my mini-road trip, tim cleaned the rest of the house. even the bathroom. and when i came home, instead of commenting on the few things he missed or didn't do, because his style of cleaning is a bit different than mine, i said thank you. many times. and i meant it. because although he didn't clean the paperwork off the table, he made the bed the way i like-way different than the way he prefers it, folded a special quilt on the bed because he knows it makes me happy, and put a bottle of water on my bedside table. waking up to a clean house and a clean start in the year new-a very nice thing indeed.

i might actually get the hang of this whole gratitude thing yet.

some splaining

(you may be asking yourself, "why is mary posting multiple times in one night?" it's not normally my style, but my dear crazy bro requested/suggested i post 50 posts by the end of the year because, at the time, i was at 45 posts for the year and he thought 50 was a nice tidy number of posts.

yes, he might be a little neurotic-especially after his post in the comments section of my holiday breakings and makings post, showing that yes, in fact, there are other brands of waxed paper than reynolds/cutrite. but the funny thing was, i too had looked up waxed paper online, and was going to make a post solely about waxed paper, entitled "paper of the waxed persuasion".

so, although i hadn't planned on four more posts for the year, i figured, well, i can either watch a movie tonight, or i can do something that hopefully brings a smile to his face, while catching up on a few posts. and since he's in my top six of favorite brothers, i thought i'd go for the smile.)

busy busy

since christmas, we having been going, going, going in a mostly most delightful way. we've gotten to spend lots of time with family and friends and although each day i've gone to bed exhausted and our house messier, each gathering or event has been too special to pass up. christmas eve complete with the world's best egg rolls and family slideshows, christmas day, cousin kwanzaa, dinner with tim's parents, dinner and games with old friends, a "pilgrimage" with one of my super cool brothers and our Godson, a bridal shower brunch, and a mini-road trip with an amazing friend to visit an old roommate who is expecting. that's a pretty busy week by my standards.

(cousin kwanzaa) life is always better when this guy is around.

for the pilgrimage we took our nephew to mcconnell air force base, where the parish is the st. maximilian kolbe military parish, which is one of his patron saints.

i had thought this was a statue there and really wanted to get some pictures of him with it, as well as better pictures of it for myself (i had seen a picture of it from a friend that wasn't very clear), but it turns out it was a picture/plaque on the wall with some dimension to it. i'll admit i was a little disappointed, but really, it is a magnificent piece of art. the "parish" is pretty plain-a chapel like room that is used for different faith/denominational services.

looking around the chapel my brother noticed this:

the wall behind the altar has the dark green curtains. when you stand next to those curtains and look up, you see this cross and crucifix, that can be lowered down depending on the needs/desires of those gathering. there were also statues of St. Joseph and Mother Mary on little revolving door pedestals, so they could be turned out or put "away". i should have taken pictures, but alas, i wasn't thinking for blog purposes.

the other cool part of the visit was walking around the air park-a groomed, landscaped area where they had nine decommissioned planes that had all been at mcconnell at one time.

the nephew thought it was pretty cool.

(don't try to go to the base on your own, wanting to see the planes. we had a tour guide-one of tim's friends works on base and generously showed us around.)

i'm so thankful for all of the wonderful gatherings and events over the last week, but i'm also ready for some chillaxing time. now, if i can just explain that to the boys.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

holiday breakings and makings

nothing warms a mother's heart and puts her in the mood for christmas quite like having to put her kid in time-out a gillion times for taking ornaments off the tree.

and no, i'm not referencing max's behavior. ben is the one taking ornaments off the tree. over and over and over. we didn't put up our tree until yesterday and it has been constant touchy hands. this morning, after breakfast, he went straight to the tree and took off an ornament, which max then copied.

i think this was the only really breakable ornament tim put on, avoiding a lot of our more fragile ornaments. and max managed to find and drop it. if our ornaments were just uniform, pretty decorations, i wouldn't mind as much, but all of our ornaments are from someone or from our childhoods and i'm pretty sentimental about them.

it wouldn't be nearly as frustrating if ben just took them off to look at them, then put them back on the tree. no, he carries them all over the house and plays with them like toys. i know he's just an impulsive little boy and a lot of the ornaments are very cute-my mom gives the boys a new ornament every year. but it's that fine line between letting him explore and teaching him that sometimes he just needs to listen and some things are off limits. i'm sure the novelty will wear off and he'll leave the tree alone, but right now, it's really taking the fun out of the tree.

this afternoon, while i thought max was napping, ben and i *tried* to make chocolate covered peanut butter crackers. i was so pleased with how they were turning out, dreaming of all the people we were going to give them to. of course, max didn't actually nap and this was our final product:

yesterday while shopping, i forgot to get waxed paper from dillons and aldi didn't have any. not wanting to make another trip, i figured i would just grease the cookie sheets really well. i should have listened to the nagging little voice that kept telling me that greasing the cookie sheets wouldn't be enough. the chocolate totally fused to the baking sheet and even after putting them in the freezer, would not release without taking part of the bottom cracker with it.

fortunately, it's only tuesday, so i have time to remake these. the flavor was really good-i ate quite a few to ease my frustration. i'm sure tim will help eat the mistakes, but there's so many-neither of us need that much junk.

in other making news:

i wanted to make something for our Godson/nephew so i stamped this robot on a onesie, adding the heart to cute it up a bit. but after staring at it for a few minutes, i decided the hollow eyes were kinda creepy, so i colored it in.

it turned out pretty well, but took way more work than i had expected. what was supposed to be a five minute project became an hour+ long project that required touching up after i heat set and washed it. it probably would have gone better if i weren't using the rounded end of one of ben's plastic watercolor brushes to do my painting. again, i should have trusted that little voice that kept telling me to stamp a piece of woven cotton and then applique it onto the onsie, but i was lazy and didn't listen, making more work for myself.

i finally, after starting and undoing many hours of knitting over the last couple years, FINISHED a project-a scarf.

(i don't know why ben was being weird for this picture.)

i was really happy with how this project turned out, especially since i had gotten the yarn for free. so pleased, in fact, i decided to make another scarf, again, with yarn i already had.

my final project was probably my favorite, but that could be because it was so well received by the recipients.

i started with two free frames that tim's mom was getting rid of this summer:

(are you sure you don't want these lovely frames anymore? what? you think they're tacky and outdated?!)

let ben help me paint them with some acrylic paint i had from the robot project:

then added pictures of the boys.

one went to a dear friend of ours and the other went to the woman who comes in after our adoration hour. she really enjoys the boys and i knew she was bringing presents for them, so i wanted to have something for her. i had planned on keeping the second picture for myself, but after debating what i could make for her, the Holy Spirit prompted me to not be selfish and give her the picture. i'm so glad i listened-she loved the picture. she seems like a pretty tough old gal, but when she opened the tissue paper, she got pretty misty eyed and choked up.

today has been a really frustrating day, but after recalling some of our successes and accomplishments, it doesn't seem quite so bad.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

kitchen: part 3 the big reveal (gah!)

i left off with us going crazy. more crazy than normal. my window idea had been shut down and i had to come up with a new way to open up the kitchen. i just couldn't go back to the isolated space that it had been.

i usually prepped food where the big pile of junk is sitting on the counter. if the boys were at the table, the top right edge of the picture, i obviously couldn't see them, and couldn't really hear them very well either. it was also very awkward when we had friends over for dinner, as i was basically cut off from everyone else as i finished up cooking in the kitchen.

the most logical idea seemed to be to knock down that dividing wall, opening up the kitchen to the dining room. i have always wanted an island/bar and here was my opportunity. there were just a few little facts that made that idea a problem. 1.) the wall is load bearing. 2.) the other side of that wall is the only thoroughfare to the family room-putting a bar/island there would make traffic awkward. 3.) we would lose a lot of upper cabinet space. 4.) as soon as you walked in our front door, you would be able to see into our (not always spotless) kitchen. 4. that project would add way more time onto the project than we had to work with.

so, while it was a wonderful fantasy, it really wasn't going to work to tear down the wall. i just had to let the whole kitchen expansion dream go.

what i needed to focus on was counter top. on friday morning, my mother-in-law and i went with my boys to a place that could have our c-tops ready by tuesday IF we picked something they had in stock. we picked one that we thought might work, but then after going back into the warehouse and seeing a whole eight foot sheet of it, realized it would NOT work. then the very nice sales girl showed us another sheet, one that we had really disliked the two inch sample tile of, and it turned out, we really liked the actual counter top. while the sample tile made the color look like a beige alligator skin, the actual sheet of laminate was a nice white-grey marble. i was in a little bit of disbelief that we had actually found something we really liked, but i was really excited and so thankful to have my mother-in-law along to affirm my decision. as we left, we joked about how misleading those little sample tiles can be! (remember this point.)

to some it might not seem like picking your counter top color would be such a major decision, but for me it was. i really wanted to get it right and be happy with what i picked for a long, long time. having that decision done was a huge relief. i just needed to have my nephew call in the measurements and we would be set.

but once again, my happy bubble of having a decision made was burst. my nephew had relayed the plan to his dad (again, his dad is my brother who did a lot of the work building our house) and my brother called me to explain why we couldn't use the counter top from that place. because the counter top was the prefabricated sheets that had the rise in the back, we would be repeating the same disaster of having a million seams that didn't match up because our kitchen has weird angles. thank goodness for my wise brother, but of my goodness, i about lost it. i was resigned to having to wait two+ weeks for custom counter tops, but then my oh so sweet brother offered to build me the counter top. yes, that's right-build it himself.

how? how are you going to build me the counter top, i asked. he had worked in a cabinet shop while in college and sometimes they made counter tops. i knew he was capable-i mean the guy can build a whole house. but how would we get the needed supplies? we didn't exactly have a cabinet shop at our ready like he did back in the day. he reassured me that lowe's and home depot both carry the laminate sheets and all the other needed supplies. i just needed to pick a color and he would work on building it the next day-saturday. (now, please take into account that this conversation took place at about 7 pm. so i need to track down and pick an in-stock color before those stores closed at 10pm. i also needed to pick out the sink i wanted and the faucet, so he could take those sizes into account. and remember that i hate making fast decisions on major things. double blurg!)

after putting the boys to bed, off i went. i think i called my mom as i drove across town, whining about how my head was going to explode. she reassured me that it would all work out and promised to pray for me.

at lowe's i stood there, staring at my options, trying with all my being to will what i wanted into existence. but absolutely none of the five options would work. they were either really, really dark brown granite styles or totally plain-white and almond. so help me Jesus, i was not going to go through this whole ordeal and end up with almond counter top again! my last hope was home depot. i didn't have time to make it to the store, so i had tim call them and double check if they had sheets of laminate in stock and if so, what were the colors. i had the brochures for every possible laminate company, so if i had the names of the colors, i could look them up. heck, i knew half the colors off the top of my head from looking at the brochures so much! when i got back to the house, i searched and studied the brochures, but there were two colors that i couldn't find. the other colors were all dark options and wouldn't work. i went to bed holding out hope that one of those two colors would be the magic solution. i really wish i could remember their names-they were totally vague and gave no clues to what the color might be. we'll call them tumbled rocca and grecian glaze.

early saturday morning, tim and i loaded up the boys and went to home depot. when i asked were the sheets of laminate were, they directed me to the prefabricated, devil counter top with the back rise that we couldn't use in our kitchen. when i clarified to them that i just needed sheets of laminate, they told me they didn't have any. daggers were shot at tim. this was my last hope, MY LAST HOPE, and they didn't even have any sheets of laminate. it didn't matter if tumbled rocca was the most beautiful counter top in the world-i couldn't use it in my freak kitchen!!!!!!!

we went back out to the car and i literally almost started crying. i was so exhausted and sleep deprived. what the flippidy flip were we going to do. my sweet brother was willing to give up a saturday to help us, but we had nothing to work with. again, i think i called my mom. i was just so defeated. it seemed like every time we made a decision, it was undone, or something would fall through. she suggested we try some local places and gave us the phone numbers.

the first place said that yes, they had some laminate sheets- in gold, almond, and a few pieces of dark purple. oh yes please. that would be lovely. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! DARK PURPLE!? the next place said that they had a little in stock, but they weren't sure on the colors. but they also said that they could order a specific color for us and it would be in on monday. if nothing else, monday was way better than several weeks, so we headed to farha's building supply. when the guy showed us the odds and ends pieces that they had i would have lost it, because there was certainly some dark purple in the group, but i remembered the whole ordering thing and pressed him on that, explaining our situation and practically begging if there was any way they could get it for us that day. while the super helpful guy called the supplier we looked at colors.

remember how i said you shouldn't pick your color based on the tiny two inch tile that's a pretty poor representation of the real color. well, that's exactly what we were doing. we could have gotten the color that i originally picked with my MIL, the color i knew i really liked, but we would have had to wait, because that color came from a different supplier/manufacturer. if we went with a different brand, we could in fact pick up our laminate, directly from the warehouse, that morning!! banking on all the prayers my mom was praying for us, we picked a color we hoped would work. yay for local businesses. i was really impressed with farha's. although it's really small and kinda rough looking, the service was great, the price was great, and they actually were able to get us what we wanted and needed better than the huge chain store with the supposed endless selection.

we had to high tail it out of there because we had to get our truck and get back to the warehouse before they closed early since it was saturday. plus, we had two very restless, very cranky little boys who had had enough of all the shenanigans.

after the whole counter top ordeal was settled, the rest of the kitchen came together pretty smoothly. (or maybe i'm too tired to write about the project any more and have blathered on way toooooooo long as it is.) my brother, nephew, and tim built a gorgeous counter top-when they brought over the particle board base to check the size, my eyes welled with tears. my brother rolled his eyes and requested that i not cry. i'm pretty certain he made a mental note not to be around when i saw the finished product.

after the counter top was in place, i had the divine inspiration to just switch the stove and the fridge to open up the kitchen. thank you Holy Spirit. i really debated, but in end, we bought a new stove-a flat surface, black one. our other stove worked fine, but it was our last almond appliance and had regular burners and just didn't look very pretty. i'm soo glad we splurged on the new stove. the kitchen just wouldn't have seemed "done" with the old stove. thank you to a different amazing brother who did some rewiring for us, making the switch possible.

i have the most amazing family. without my brothers and my nephew, there's no way we could have accomplished this project. i can't imagine how much it would have cost to have contractors do the work for us. thank you, thank you, thank you guys. (although they'll never read this.)

so without further delay.....

to refresh your memory: isolated, crappy counter kitchen.

and AFTER!!!!!!!!!!!

happy kitchen.

in the old kitchen, this would have just been a picture of the side of the fridge. soooo much more open.

look ma, no seams or ledges!

again, in the old kitchen this would have been a picture of the fridge. big blocky mcblockerson fridge. now, i can stand at the stove and visit with guests at the table.

there are still things that need to be finished. the curtain is actually a pillow case that i thrifted and i need to rework it into a curtain. or take down the curtain rod completely. the drawers have no pulls on them and probably won't for a long time. a rug covers the area in the floor that lacks hardwood, there next to the fridge, were the huge pantry cabinet was that we decided to leave out.

i'm sure you were expecting something much more drastic after this whole saga that i have written. the changes were pretty simple. but for me, they were pretty major. i really hated our kitchen before. i love my new kitchen and am so thankful for it. and we got most of project done in time to see my nephew off to college!

what do you think?

now i think i'll work on some writing exercises that force me to be more brief. cause, dang! those posts were way too long.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

kitchen: part 2

so it took me a little longer to come back to this than i expected. max was beastly for most of the week and tim is out of town, so i have been mind-numbingly exhausted. but i'll see how far i can get tonight.

so i left off with us realizing we (my nephew) were going to have to tear apart the kitchen. i should have taken notes during the process, but at the time, i thought i would never forget. but now a lot of it has blended together. such is life.

my nephew had to go finish a project tuesday evening, so the plan was for tim and i to get everything moved out of the kitchen and ready for demolition. tim, seeing that i was about to loose it, sent me and the boys to his parent's house and promised he would get the kitchen ready.

after finally settling the boys in, i stayed up way too late looking at all things kitchen on the interwebs. counters, cabinets, fixtures-i had no idea what we would be able to salvage and what all would have to be done. i had wanted a new kitchen for so long, but just really didn't know what would happen. would we be able to salvage everything, going through a ton of work to have the same ugly kitchen but saving a lot of money, or would we have to replace everything, getting a beautiful kitchen, but lose our savings account in the process. i finally went to bed with my brain spinning.

wednesday morning my wonderful, dear, amazing mother-in-law watched the boys while i went to home depot to get a rough estimate of prices on anything and everything. i wandered around and around and around their display kitchens. then after settling max in for his nap, i headed back to our house.

i was greeted by a dining room that had the contents of the kitchen vomited all over it, including the fridge and large pantry cabinet. all the bottom kitchen cabinets were out in the yard, along with the counter top and sink. a dehumidifier was going to make sure everything was completely dried out. after talking to my nephew about the damage, we concluded that that all the bottom cabinets could be reused, minus the sink cabinet. we choose not to reuse the sink or faucet, which were in terrible shape, and i was so happy to see the counter top smashed. it was such a relief that the cabinets were mostly fine. although they look rough and need to be refinished, they are solid oak and have potential. i didn't like the feel of any of the cheaper cabinets i had looked at and new solid cabinets would have totally broken the budget.

after a little more clean-up, i headed back to tim's parent's house. i had a better idea of what we needed and had to start figuring out what i wanted. we needed a new counter top, sink, faucet, and some kind of back splash. i wanted a new floor plan that opened up the kitchen instead of going back to the tiny kitchen of isolation.

i really don't know what i would have done without tim's mom and my mom during this whole process. i bounced so many ideas off them and rambled on and on, trying to get all the jumbled up confusion out of my brain and worked into something do-able. tim's mom was so helpful with the boys and my mom was such a prayer warrior for me-praying for peace and wisdom, that i could get this all figured out in such a small amount of time.

thursday morning i was back at lowe's and home depot. my nephew was going to be working on resetting the cabinets and building the new box for the sink and i needed to make a counter top decision. at first i looked at a lot of really dark samples, thinking eventually i would like to paint the cabinets white. after talking to my mom, i got realistic and decided to pick something that would go with the existing cabinets instead of adding more stress and more projects to my life. but as i talked to the kitchen associate, one major problem became very clear. anything i picked would take at least two weeks, but more likely three or four weeks to be fabricated and installed. we didn't have that much time. blurg.

when i explained all this to tim's mom, she mentioned a place in town that her sister-in-law had just used on her kitchen project that had a really fast turn around time for counter top, but you have to install it yourself-they just make the cuts. i called the place, and they confirmed that yes, as long as i picked a color they had in-stock, they would have it ready in three days. three days was much better than three weeks, but i was still pretty hesitant because they only carried eight colors in-stock. having studied what seemed like every color of laminate in existence, i knew there were a lot of colors i didn't like. but i thought it was worth a shot, so we planned to go there the next day and take a look.

in the meantime, i went back to the house to pick up some things and talk to my nephew about the plan. as i stood in the kitchen, i just kept getting disheartened that it was still going to be the same dungeon kitchen, even if it had new counter tops. and then i had an *idea*. what if we added a window?! a window above the stove, so that as i cooked dinner, i could keep an eye on the boys in the backyard! a window that would let in glorious sunlight! a window that i could see the beautiful sunsets through as i cleaned up the kitchen in the evening! yes! a window was the perfect solution for my sad kitchen! my nephew was a good sport and agreed to try to work out the plan. i left and for the first time, i felt really excited about the whole project. something good really was going to come out of all this work and stress. i stopped at lowes on my way back to bel aire, checking out sizes and styles of windows. i think the window guy thought i was nuts, getting almost giddy over a window. (i didn't realize i had paint in my hair and smeared on my face, adding to my crazy lady look.) i discussed the window with my mom, sister, and mother-in-law and they all thought it was a great idea! yay! progress! it finally seemed like things were coming together.

but then the call came. thursday night my nephew called after discussing the window plan with his dad-my brother, who helped build the house. the window was still do-able, but it would be way more work and expense than we had thought because of the way the house was built. as much as i wanted it, i had to axe the window idea. my nephew was so sweet and supportive, insisting that it could still be done. but i just didn't feel like it was worth the extra resources.

late into that night, tim and i discussed the option of opening up the kitchen a different way-knocking down half of the wall that divided the kitchen and dining room. could we recreate a big island for baking, or maybe a bar?

ahhhh! this project was making us crazy!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

saga of the kitchen Part One

i hadn't planned to write this in parts, but i'm tired and need to take a break. although i hate to keep you hanging with the rest of the story, if i just save this as a draft, i might never finish it. i need the accountability of it hanging out there unfinished. so if you hate "to be continued"s as much as i do, you might want to wait until i finish part 2.

i've hesitated to post my new kitchen for several reasons:

1. i don't feel like it's totally "done".

2. we (and by we i don't really mean us. my nephew did most of the work.) did this project in august. it is now december. the time for project bragging has expired.

3. i haven't been very happy with the pictures i've been able to capture of the "after" and the before picture doesn't really do justice to the awfulness of the kitchen. the battery on the camera was dead on demolition day and the project was so crazy, i didn't get ANY pictures of the progress.

4. i'm not a brief story teller. and this project was epic for me. i knew this would be a reeeeally long post.

but i promised "housey" things and i feel like i can't get back to ranting about motherhood until i produce a house post ; )

this is what our kitchen looked like before.

(i don't even know why i took this picture. it is from january.)

it was functional, but i really hated it. it was claustrophobic and honestly, i looked pretty rough/totally embarrassing. if you look closely you can see how all the angles on the counter top have a darker line going to the back. that was caulk. this tiny kitchen's counter top consisted of seven! pieces of counter top pieced together. the corners were obnoxious ledges that really ate up space. our house has some "quirks" to it, but this kitchen was beyond quirky. it was just ugly.

when we first moved into the house, the kitchen walls were a dark wine/burgundy color. combined with the oak cabinets and floors, the kitchen was a dark, depressing place to be. a couple of years ago, totally fed up with the dark walls, i painted over them with white primer. and then i left it that way. the kitchen was so hopeless-i knew there was no color of paint for the walls that could magically pull of the almondy blandness together into something i liked.

this last spring we got a new dishwasher and fridge thanks to the government and their energy efficient rebate program, so we replaced the almond appliances with black. but it wasn't very exciting to get new appliances because the room was still a yucky cave.

then august came. we discovered some mold under the kitchen sink and ended up taking out all the bottom cabinets and moving all the appliances out to make sure we got the problem totally cleaned out.

the timeline of events was insane! the problem was discovered on thursday. ( i don't even like to say the "m" word. it makes me shudder.) we ignored it until tuesday when tim had the day off because we didn't really know how to deal with it. when tim went to clean it up, we realized there was more than we thought. i don't remember why my nephew stopped by, maybe we called him, and within a couple of hours he had started to rip the kitchen apart.

my nephew, my dear first nephew who was born when i was in the second grade, is totally amazing. he's worked different kinds of construction for a couple of years now and helped with tons of family projects since he was old enough to slam a hammer. he's certainly not an average teenager. fortunately for us, the construction company that he had worked for over the summer ran out of work for him the week we discovered the problem. THANK YOU JESUS!!!

that's where the timeline got crazy. we had a week and a half to rip out, clean up, and put everything back together before he left for college. i think it goes without saying, but i'll say it anyways-i was a smidgen stressed.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

a different kind of adventure

i'm supposed to be in st. louis right now. it was just going to be a quick trip-ride out with one of my awesome cousins today, do a little shopping tomorrow morning, then head back home by myself with a car she needs returned to our lovely sunflower state.

but i'm not there because ben and max are sick. max is on the mend from a pretty nasty cold/fever thing and ben got sick during the night last night. because i have an amazing mother-in-law, as of yesterday, she was still willing to keep the boys today, knowing full well that max might be quite unpleasant. and really, she probably would have still kept them, even with both of them sick, because she really is that wonderful.

but i just couldn't do it. i gave up a totally rad road trip with my way cool cousin who i rarely get to see, finally getting to go to trader joe's, as well as what i was dreaming to be a totally enchanting stroll around the st. louis galleria, which apparently is a pretty nice mall. that might sound odd-mary, a mall rat? while i'm not a huge shopper per se, i really enjoy walking around cool stores and people watching. add in a yummy coffee and no kids to chase and it sounded like quite the fantasy. anthropologie, h&m, urban outfitters, restoration hardware-all passed on so i could spend the day as a human kleenex.

so max brightened my morning as he proudly stumbled around in tim's boots. and my daddy brought me stew and freshly baked bread and stayed with my napping boys so i could go to Mass. although i was pretty bummed about not getting to go, receiving that act of love and kindness from my dad and having ben tell me several times that i was his best momma because i take such good care of him, made my very tiring day not so bad after all.

i had been wanting to make advent more meaningful and mindful this year, so i guess this was God's little gift to me to help me slow down.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


after my last post, i feel a need to clarify.

i don't want to sound whiney about motherhood. because i know, sometimes i do. you can almost guarantee that any time i write a post like my last one, we haven't gotten to see tim in awhile. i already knew it before, but this time of tim's work absences reaffirms for me God's design for marriage and parenthood-children need a mother AND a father. the boys behaviour and attitudes really start to change when they haven't had daddy time in awhile. when they get to spend time with my dad or their awesome uncles, i can even see a difference. our society doesn't do men justice-YOU ARE JUST AS IMPORTANT AS MOMMAS! i know i didn't value tim's role enough and often felt sorry for myself that i had to carry the bulk of the parenting load. of course, when kiddos are nursing babies, this is more true, but as the boys get older, i can see the difference. i also see how much i took tim for granted for myself. i need that teammate that gives me a break from the boys. i need that emotional support. i need that adult companionship.

but getting back to my point-i don't want to be whiney. i know there are bigger, badder things going on in the world than my little problems. lately i've been reading about and praying for a family that will loose their adopted daughter-the only family she has ever known- after a long and frustrating legal battle. i cannot even imagine what that would be like. then, today i received an update from this organization-food for the poor. i cannot fathom going on with life after watching your own babe starve to death. (their gift catalog is a great christmas idea, especially for those hard to shop for people who already have everything. give them a goat!)


but i am also weak and wobbly and sometimes i get really overwhelmed. God knows how weak and wobbly i am and gives me very small crosses, but to me, sometimes they feel very, very heavy. "sparkles and rainbows" is the kind of post that i needed to be able to read myself, and it seemed like it resonated with a few of you as well. a piece about how even blessings can be hard. because when i'm worn out and it feels like i've been on duty all day and all night for the last week, i really start to doubt myself-yes satan, i know that is you. when i see an acquaintance from high school update her fb status about how even when she's home from work sick, it's a wonderful day because it means she gets to be with her toddler, i start to think i am a beast of a mother. why don't i love my boys as much as she loves her kid? it's hard to think clearly when you're exhausted. sleep deprivation is a nasty thing!

sometimes my boys are naughty and sometimes they are polite and generous and everything i have hoped for. sometimes my husband lets me down, but sometimes he is totally amazing. sometimes i am a really great wife and mother. but other times, i would be ashamed if my nastiness were caught on video. most of the time, we all fall somewhere in the middle- we are all human.

as much as weak and wobbly me wants motherhood and life in general to be easy, i know that it will never be that. anyone who projects that image is not giving the whole picture, either intentionally or unintentionally.

some parts of life will always be hard. but as tim said one night as i was on the edge, "it doesn't have to be this hard." so i try to do the things that i can do to make our life "easier": make our home more efficient and tidier so it's a pleasant place to be, reach out to our support network of friends and family, get more sleep (fail!), and the "thing" that i need to improve on the most-PRAYER. pray for strength. for wisdom. for courage. for others in the world who are suffering. and in thanksgiving.'s not that i don't want to be a mother or that I want different kids. it's that i want to be a better mother (and wife and person) and sometimes i don't like what i see. But I know that, with His help, and the intercession of my Mother Mary, i can be better and stronger.

i'll try to lay off the rambly posts for awhile and show some house stuff next time.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

sparkles and rainbows

for some women, motherhood seems to come very naturally. for others, it is a bit more challenging. although i never thought i would find complete and total fulfillment in the role of mother, i never expected it to be as hard as it is.

by the time i got married, i had eight nephews and one niece. i had been babysitting on my own since sixth grade and had even watched two of my nephews for a week, by myself at their house, when i was sixteen. so it's not like i had never been around kids, or only been around then in a "fun aunt" kind of role. i thought i knew what it was all about. while i didn't totally love all of my babysitting time, i enjoyed my nephews and loved them deeply and knew that i was a good caregiver.

but OH MY OH ME what a difference there is between being a caregiver for a day or even a week and being a full-time, always in demand, having to figure out what to do when your child is sick, or not napping, or not eating, or screaming for an hour... parent.

to be honest, i really struggle. this last month has been especially hard for me. my boys are totally awesome, but i often feel like i'm not the right mom for them. or for any kid for that matter. i read articles or blog posts of moms who talk about how their kids are like sunshine to their proverbial gardens. i used to beat myself up a lot about those things, and they still get to me, but for the most part, i realize they are either only choosing to focus on the positive or that maybe they have kids who are a little more laid back than my little beasties. i could paint a picture of purely motherly bliss if i wanted to.

"ahh, brotherly love." except that they were actually fighting and jockeying for space in the truck when i took this picture. and then max bit ben because ben kept smushing him.

or this one. a fun snack in the super cool fort that i made for them in the newly cleaned out upstairs. reality: feeling exhausted and knowing that ben would whine about any real dinner i made, i gave them popcorn, cheese, and pears while i laid on the floor and read a magazine. then max ruptured my spleen when he jumped on me because i wasn't paying attention and ben started to complain that he was going to throw up. he recovered, but was again bitten by max because max wanted the lego helmet that ben had. yes, brotherly love indeed.

some moments really are just wonderful and beautiful. but for every wonderful beautiful moment, i would honestly say i have an equal amount of moments where i can feel my blood pressure rising and i shout to myself, "what the frick frack is he doing!?"

i've been trying to remind myself that i'm a mother because it's my vocation and not because i'm looking for a fun filled joy ride of kisses and giggles. our culture is all about doing what you want, when you want, and i feel like children are becoming, for some, more like an accessory than a being with a soul, entrusted to be raised to know, love and serve Him.

but yowzas! this whole raising and teaching gig is hard. for me it is agony and ecstasy and a lot of in between. so much pain (emotional and physical) and frustration and so much beauty.

i'm glad i didn't fully comprehend what i was signing up for when i became a parent. i would certainly have locked my chastity belt, thrown away the key, and ran for the hills. but since there's no turning back, i'll just have to keep taking pictures of my cute boys and trying to block out what was really going on in the picture.

i keep trying to explain to them that unless they tone it down, they will not have any other brothers or sisters. (ben makes frequent requests.) i think max wants to stay the baby of the family because i swear he keeps kicking it up a notch.

Thursday, November 11, 2010


we're just going to ignore the fact that i've been gone for nearly a month. ben says it's okay, and with those smart looking glasses, it's obvious he's the boss. life's been full to say the least. and by the end of most days, my brain has been reduced to a bowl full of mush. (guess what book i read the boys before bed tonight. )

ya know what is good to do when your brain is mush? when really you should just go to bed? watch shows via the interwebs!! the other night i got sucked into an episode of "16 and pregnant". i justify it to myself by clasifying it as research for work. it would make my job so easy to just watch an episode with a class, analyzing it in all it's immature, trainwreck of relationships glory. so next time it's been a month since i've updated and you need to black hole some time, go watch some trashy tv. you will then want to call your parents and thank them for the utopian childhood you had in comparison to some people out there in the universe.

as evidenced by the picture of ben, we have a new camera. it was a painful process for me, but i'm pretty pleased with what we ended up with-a simple little canon powershot. at one point, tim was so sweet and suggested i just get one of the super spiffy, way awesome cameras i lust after. that kind of financial decision might be easier if i wasn't the one who did the budget. no sweetheart-i don't think a camera is a valid reason to dip into the investment account. seriously, i looked at several of the more artistic crafty blog i sometimes browse and saw what kind of cameras they use. as much as i wanted to join the "cool girls with big nikons" club, i wasn't going to drop a grand to get in. i'm still figuring it out, but without reading the manual and maximizing it's capabilities, i'm satisfied. if my pics are just too amature for you, get da heck outta here!

the following series of pictures is proof that i have spacial issues. anytime i try to take a picture by holding the camera out in front of me or above me, it's just not going to work. i was trying to finally take pictures of the huge hail stones that pumeled our house back in september. they have been taking up room in my freezer and although i hated to just let them melt, what do you really do with bowls and bowls of hail stones? save them for all posterity so i can show my grandkids what life was life back in the year 2010?

after the last hand out of the frame picture, i gave up and went and got a dang tangerine to use as a size reference. point proven! the hail was huge. let's not talk about how i very irresponsibly ran out into the storm to collect these. about how i darted from tree to tree to get the really big ones, while thinking, "hmmmm. if one of those hits me, i'm pretty sure it could kill me. and the boys would be alone in the house." but of course i didn't go back out into the storm after having that epiphany. no, that would have been irresponsible.

so that's what you've been waiting an almost month for. cute ben and bad hail pics. i promise, i'll do better next time. i just needed to break the fast.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

*huge sigh of relief*

it has been a very busy several of months around here. much of august was consumed by our kitchen project. as soon as i got things cleaned up from that, i had a big push for work before our grant ended. today i finished up my last site and don't have any more scheduled for the near future. during that time we had several other small house projects and put a new roof on the house. all while tim was gone for 60+ hours of the week and the boys needs didn't magically freeze or wait.

as i drove home this afternoon, i felt like i could finally breath for the first time in a long while.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

riddle me this

i wasn't going to post tonight. but then i realized we didn't have hot water in our house for some reason. then i ate a good sized portion of chocolate custard with peanut butter cups to soothe my weary endless-house-project soul. and now i'm a little hopped up on sugar. i thought about harnessing the powers of the white pony to clean the bathroom. but, that would require getting up off the couch, so i came here instead.

i've been thinking about this space a lot lately. (because, although most people don't realize how neurotic i am and how much i analyze things, i do. constantly.)(and apparently this post wasn't enough to convince me.)

blogs are funny little creatures. in my mind, blogs kind of look like alots. when i told one of my cousins that i had a blog, she giggled because she thought blog was a funny word. and people who write blogs are bloggers, which to me, sounds like boogers. to me, that is the most ridiculous professional title, a professional booger. i envision this conversation at a party: bob-"so what do you do?" betty-"i'm a blogger." bob-"oh. what do you blog about? politics? religion? education?" betty-" about what i had for lunch and the funny thing i overheard while waiting in line at walmart." bob-"oh. very meaningful. and people pay you for that?" betty, shrugging and wrinkling her face up-"yep."

i've stumbled across several new-to-me blogs as i decompress in the evenings of professional bloggers and i think, "geez, that would be nice to get paid to do that." but then i really think about it and realize, although it seems like a pretty cushy job, i really wouldn't like the intrusion and the pressure to perform. but then i get all competitive and think, "well, what makes them so special that millions of people read about their slightly interesting/mostly normal life? i'm special to ya know!" and then i call my mom to be reaffirmed that i am indeed special. and i can hear her roll her eyes. so i hang up and remind myself that i don't even like those kind of blogs and that i don't want to make money just for the sake of making money. oh how hard it is to tame my competitive spirit.

the type of blogs i like have meaningful content. some times i'll read a post, like this one, and think, wow, that's exactly what i've been mulling over in my head and she articulated it much better than i would have ever eeked out in the two hours i tried to put it on paper. one of my consistently favorite blogs is soulemama. pretty much every day, she offers a little bit of beauty or wisdom. i like that i can go there and count on a new post.

but most of the time, at the end of the day when i sit down, my brain is waaaay too tired to come up with something meaningful and there's no way i could post every day. shoot, once a week is a push for me. but then i feel like i'm letting you, my vast and plentiful audience, down. i really enjoy several other blogs, but am a bit sad when i go check them and they haven't been updated. so i kind of lose interest.

so what's a girl to do? i'm not quite sure.

Friday, October 1, 2010

happy day

this week has been stressful.

trying to work. taking care of mitter max, who has the cincinnati hot poops. coordinating wootang roof-fest 2010. still not having a camera. constantly squabbling boys. only seeing my husband when i should be sleeping and spending that time discussing the sick boy and the house.

this week has had joys as well.

celebrating max's birthday with our wonderful families. getting to help my incredible mother-in-law, if only in a small way. feeling the love of my brothers who will assemble to help us roof tomorrow. the few moments when the boys aren't trying to kill each other when they are best buddies.

i'm trying very hard to chose to have a good day today. if i could have this song on constant replay, i think it would help. it is 3 minutes of bliss. the boys and i have watched and listened to it over and over and over and can't help but giggle and dance and laugh. (and no, this video is not a hint of any sort. one has to have a husband to get in the family way.)

Magic- A Belly Grows from The Panic Room Videos on Vimeo.

happy friday. happy feast of st. therese.

Friday, September 24, 2010


if you're stopping by from moneysavingmom, welcome. sit back and take a look around. i hope you enjoy our blessed brand of craziness.

Monday, September 13, 2010


that's the sound of my brain taking a picture. i've been having to take a lot of brain pictures lately because our camera is broken. (that's actually what inspired my last post, because i never appreciate our camera until the battery is dead or now, broken. it's a luxury, not a necessity to have a nice camera. when i take things out of the necessity category, it makes me realize how really very blessed i am.)

so if my camera were working, these would be the pictures i would post.

-my boys "reading" on top of the submarine tim built them out of boxes. they were frighteningly quiet out in the family room so i peeked around the corner to see them perched atop the U.S.S Peter T. Hooper. *click*

-the U.S.S. Peter T. Hooper herself, in all her glory. *click*

-the sand castles we built in the sandbox this morning. it was a glorious morning and we soaked it up outside. when we got our new fridge i kept the door shelfy box things from the old fridge (since i new it was going to get trashed :( i figured i could at least repurpose something out of the deal.) one of the shelfy box things got sent to the sandbox and it makes great bricks. now, don't let your imagination get too carried away. i didn't make a sandcastle out of shoe box sized bricks (yet!), but they did have multiple levels and i was pretty proud. *click*

-our feet and hands after playing in the sandbox. we were grubby little puppies when all was said and done. thinking about it just now, i dread looking in the bath tub. but at least it was a happy mess. *click*

-seven kiddos sitting against our deck rail eating dessert with evening sun making them glow. we were blessed with the wonderful company of three momma friends last night and their nine children. beautiful chaos! at one point, i think there was ten kiddos, from ages 7 down to 9 months, in the sandbox. *click*click*

-house projects i have been working on, including our new! kitchen! i've been trying to stream line and organize this summer (and the last three years) to make our house a more peaceful home. i really hate clutter. it stresses me out and turns me into a very bad wife, mother, and person. the rub is that tim and i are both accumulators and we have two small children. stuff can take over very quickly around here. it's a work in progress, but with some serious inspiration from the Holy Spirit and help from my momma, i'm happy with my results. *click*click*click* and *click* (the kitchen required a few extra pictures : )

well, that sums up life around here. hope you enjoyed the pictures. (bah ha ha ha ha. i crack myself up.)

here's a couple pics from the archives because this is really were i take a lot of my pictures-at the table, were my boys hold still, if only for a little bit.

sticking out his tongue for pictures is in his genes.

"an empty bowl doesn't count, max, if you've just moved all of your breakfast to another bowl."

the look that will take him far in life.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

when it's gone

(not that it was all that difficult, but i'm pretty proud of myself for figuring out how to embed a video. techno nerd i am not.)

i really like this song and video. maybe i feel a connection with them because i know how to do that cup rhythm. (okay, i feel no connection-i just wanted to brag that i can do that cup thing.) the boys really enjoy watching it as well. it is the anthem for all the things that i take for granted until they are gone.

-sunshine. fall sunshine is so melancholy for me because i know it will soon be gone and i know that i have not soaked up enough of it.

-max going to sleep easily. (although even before, "easily" was a relative term.) he figured out how to get out of his crib and the pack 'n' play is no barrier either. but we'll find a new normal eventually. growing pains.

-tim. we, but most especially myself, soooo took our time together for granted. a year ago, i'd get cranky when tim got home at six, knowing that if he hadn't goofed around at work, he could have been home by five. now 7:30 feels like bliss and a day off is like the queen's birthday!

-$$$$$. i really can't complain about money. we have a home. cars. food. money in the bank. and other than our home, no debt. but wow. if i could go back three years and give myself a good throttling, i could have used some attitude adjustment. even then, i knew in the grand scheme of things we were doing well, but on the day to day of life, i whined about things being tight. things are way tighter now with tim's job transition, but things will get better. so instead of whining about our new budget, i've been trying to focus on the freedoms that we have. the freedom from debt that has allowed us to take a much lower paying job with huge potential for growth. a job that my husband really loves instead of one that causes major stress and anxiety. and freedom that, although things are tight, i don't have to drop my boys off at daycare and go to work full time.

-uninterrupted sleep!!! i don't think anybody appreciates this until it's gone. even more than uninterrupted sleep, what i really miss is the ability to sleep in. when we were first married, it was the norm for us to wake up after 11am on the weekends. (well, i would wake up sooner, but go back to sleep several times to try to keep pace with ol timmy boy, a man who's sleeping skillz never cease to amaze me!) we are both night owls, which is not conducive to boys who are wild and ready to go the minute they wake up.

i could go on and on. i have a very ungrateful heart. i hate it sooo much and i hate it when i see it in ben. always wanting more or what others have. i often pray for a grateful heart and God is slowly helping me to change.

many of the things that i am critical or ungrateful or whiney about are things that if i really wanted to, i could change. it's empowering (and humbling) to admit that many of the things that i say "i can't" to are really things that i chose not to do.

it also helps me to think of stages of life as seasons. seasons that will pass. summer really doesn't seem all that long in comparison to a whole year. and although i will be raising children for a good many more years, this very, very intense season of life with small children will soon pass. yes, hopefully God will bless us with more babies, but ben and max won't always be so demanding and will hopefully, eventually, be *gasp* dare i say it* helpful. i look forward to lovingly enslaving my children with yard and house work. and just like i look back and wish i would have enjoyed summer more fully, i'm sure i will look back and miss my babies. (although i try to take pictures and videos of the horrid tantrums so that i won't forget what life was really like instead of just looking at pictures of smiling cherubs.)

when i was a kid, one sunday after lunch my dad read us a story with a poem. it has always stayed with me, but i think of it more often now, with the joy and frustration that fills my days. the poem itself is kind of cheesey in my opinion, but what really stayed with me was the context of the poem. although he didn't write the poem, the guy who shared the poem-the guy the story was about that my dad was reading to us, was a man who had no family, who lived in a home for lepers, and had lost his eyesight and was significantly crippled by leprosy, prayed the poem.

I've never made a fortune
and it's probably too late now.
But I don't worry about that much,
I'm happy anyhow.

And as I go along life's way,
I'm reaping better than I sowed.
I'm drinking from my saucer,
'Cause my cup has overflowed.

I don't have a lot of riches,
and sometimes the going's tough.
But I've got loved ones around me,
and that makes me rich enough.

I thank God for his blessings,
and the mercies He's bestowed.
I'm drinking from my saucer,
'cause my cup has overflowed.

I remember times when things went wrong,
My faith wore somewhat thin.
But all at once the dark clouds broke,
and the sun peeped through again.

So God, help me not to gripe about
the tough rows that I've hoed.
I'm drinking from my saucer,
'Cause my cup has overflowed.

If God gives me strength and courage,
when the way grows steep and rough.
I'll not ask for other blessings,
I'm already blessed enough.

And may I never be too busy,
to help others bear their loads.
Then I'll keep drinking from my saucer,
'Cause my cup has overflowed.

Like i said, it's not my style of poetry, but if a man who is blind and crippled feels like he is drinking from his saucer, i think i can find a few things to be grateful for too.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

y'all gonna make me lose my mind.

i am beyond fried today. max is being "tricky" and has been for the last three weeks (or two years). seriously, i almost burst into tears multiple times at Mass this morning, and i'm just not that kind of person. but max fell asleep on the way home and STAYED asleep when i brought him in (cue clouds parting and choirs of angels singing.)

after i plugged ben in, i went to pull my hair up because i was really hot and thought i would amuse myself with a blog post about it.

my hair is really thick, so if it's on my neck i get way hot and it makes me crazy. like, "i'm going to shave my head if this hair doesn't stop touching me" crazy! i like it when my hair is short but it takes frequent haircuts to keep it that way because my hair grows fast. i'm more of a once a year haircut kind of gal than every 6 weeks. i also avoid cuts because i have this fantasy that if i grow my hair long, it will magically curl and tussle into soft, perfectly imperfect spirals. so i avoid cutting it. but then i get crazy hot.

if i pull my hair into a stubby ponytail my boys see it as their duty to pull it out or mess with it-which totally makes me crazy and i end up growling that if they touch me again i'll bite off their hand. it's also really annoying in the car not to be able to put my head back on the headrest. so i put it in pigtails when i get hot. (ben still plays with the pigtails but since they're easier to fix it doesn't bother me quite as much. i have had to bite his hand off a few times though, because when i put him in his car seat, he pulls my pigtails like bell chords and makes accompanying sounds. chomp!)

so why are pigtails blog worthy. well, they're really not, but my need to discuss this matter is based on the fact that...i'm not a pigtail kind of girl.

pigtails are for little girls, coy playgirls, or southerners/farm girls who wear red gingham button down shirts tied above their belly buttons.

i am none of those. i am a ponytail kind of girl. not a high ponytail (ditzy) or a low ponytail (studious), not a side ponytail (trendy)or a cute, perfectly messy ponytail (i envy those), just a middle of the head ponytail that attracts absolutely no attention. honestly in middle and high school, unless my hair was short, the number of times i wore my hair down could probably be counted with both hands. i always wanted to be one of those girls who wore different, cute hairdos, but i lack the patience, skillz, and motivation. i am a wash and go kind of gal.

so when i wear pigtails, i feel like i'm living a lie. i'm advertising to the world that i am a person that i simply am not.

i envy the veils of religious sisters and islamic women who wear head scarfs. a couple of weeks ago, a friend and i joked about starting a "wigs for white girls" club.

maybe i should just go get my hair cut.

don't be fooled into thinking max actually napped the whole time that i wrote this post. no, i actually stopped and came back to it, because it was obviously that important.

peace out.

(like my new sunglasses? although they are very not me, i think they're super cute. guess where i got them. tim bought them for himself and although i tried to stiffle my laughter, he instantly knew they were girl glasses based on my reaction. he had his suspicions when he bought them but because they were only a dollar and he was tired of squinting, he took the chance. he always gets paranoid when buying glasses because he can't tell the difference. i bought him some for christmas that he really liked, but he lost them, along with three other pairs, so he gets no sympathy from me.)

Sunday, August 22, 2010


i may sometime return to this space. as i'm sure most of you saw the vague postings of on facebook-we are redoing our kitchen. we had a mold situation that has been a bizarro blessing in disguise.

until the dust settles...peace out.

Friday, July 30, 2010

and the winner is.....

i didn't want to send you into the weekend with suspense over the giveaway. so with out further ahhhchoo....

the winner picked by random number generator was...

elizabeth! it is appropriate that she won because she had several comments, but each time she made new word suggestions. so if she made multiple comments just to up her chances, she did it in a clever enough way so as to not attract attention. plus, it was her first comment that won it for her. so maybe matt isn't the lucky one after all. (although he has you and the girls, and that's pretty darn lucky!)

my favorite word suggestions were snorckel from erika and schnixzel from jja. they were all really good, but i felt like they didn't quite embody the apparently completely unique to me phenomena that is my "caught off guard, laughed out my nose because i forgot to open my mouth" action, which i think i will from here on out call snorkeling. several of them had to be thrown out because there was no way my little brain could figure out how to say them or remember how to spell them.

amanda wins a special prize for saying "sneeze pee" and census guy was disqualified for using one of my very least favorite words-fart. (even just typing it now makes me send a scowl out into the universe directed at him.)

because i never win anything and because i'm a pretty totally fantastic nice person, anyone who emails me their address at mary_strawberry(at)yahoo(dot)com before next wednesday will receive a prize in the mail in 6-8 weeks. (or maybe even days if we all get lucky.) be assured, i will sell your personal information to as many scammers as possible, so please also include you SSN# to make it worth my time.

have a great weekend.

Monday, July 26, 2010

buying friendship

because tim is on his way home with a free! pizza from knolla's,

because i finished the work that i had been putting off even though i would have rather stuck needles into my own leg,

but mostly because you guys crack. me. up! with your comments,

i am doing a giveaway.

seriously-you guys encourage me, commiserate with me, and literally make me laugh out loud. and sometimes through my nose. (can someone please give me an accurate descriptor of the action of exhaling/laughing through one's nose. neither guffaw nor snort is quite appropriate.)

i love stationary and love getting mail-who doesn't?! pretty/cute cards are such a satisfying cheap thrill for me. so as an excuse to buy more cards and in an attempt to thin out my own stash, for christmas i made these compilation sets of a bunch of cute, blank note cards. i gave them as part of my gifts to tim's mom, my sister, and several other people. this set was intended for a friend, but then i didn't want her to feel obliged to get me a gift and set the precedent for gift giving between us, so i didn't give it to her. (yes, i know i over think things.) they have been sitting in my craft/storage room ever since, longing to be loved.

so leave a comment giving me the word i desperately need to describe what i do when elizabeth describes matt rolling her down the stairs and using the word "girth" in her comment. (see the comments on my last post if you are confused.) if you need me to imitate what i do, ask me in person. i considered doing a video of my snort laugh but that would be weird even for me. (but in person i have no problem ;)

i'll select a name at random, but the best word might garner an extra prize. (brother-if you win, i'll man things up for you, drenching the cards in beer before i mail the package to you.)

thanks for brightening my days with your comments. seriously, thank you.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

hot time. summer in the city.

put on your imagination eyes. the camera needs to be charged so no pictures have been taken this week.

we stayed at our annual vacation resort this week for two days. red hot bel aire!!! tim's parents were out of town and graciously told us we could hang out at their house, eat their food, swim in the pool, watch cable, and bask in a fully ACed house. we had talked about it for several days, but other things kept coming up. then, tuesday night after dinner, tim decided to pack up and go. he packed for himself and the boys and left me to come after i went to knitting.

inspired by his light packing (stuffing their clothes and max's necessary multiple special blankets into their respective pillowcases) i to (too? whatever) packed light. i felt the nudging to pack food for us but was being lazy, and, slightly annoyed that tim makes things look so easy and i always seem to over complicate things, i didn't.

once we got there and i realized there wasn't much food (i know, really, how rude of them not to fully stock their fridge before going on a week long vacay!)i refused to go grocery shopping because i didn't want to have to pack home whatever didn't get completely consumed, and well, i just didn't want to go shopping.

(this could be a post itself: mary's weirdness about grocery shopping. i'll spare you this time, but just know, i have issues. lots of them.)

my avoidance of shopping and therefore lack of food definitely effected the quality of our vacation. if nothing sounds good to me, i just don't eat. or if there's only enough cereal for the boys to eat, i just don't eat. but the catch is, when i don't eat, i get "grouchy". it takes me a really long time to get uncomfortably hungry, but in the mean time, i will have been "grouchy" for a looonnnngggg time. if tim ever makes this connection, i think he'll just start pinning me down and stuffing food in my mouth when the stink-eyes start shooting his way. (on a funny cereal note-proof that my boys are seriously deprived in the cold cereal department: ben got really, really excited about fiber one cereal, the blandest cereal ever!)

the fact that tim had to work both days we were there and that i had work stuff that needed to be done could have also been a factor. or that i was deliriously tired, but instead of going to bed early one night, i got sucked in to "i didn't know i was pregnant" on tlc. lack of sleep also makes me "grouchy".

or the fact that there was a pool-cool, refreshing, and tempting, calling out to us, but i wouldn't let the boys swim. max is way too daring around the pool and i didn't think that i could handle both boys by myself. i finally gave in one evening, and with the help of all of our guardian angels, managed to stay alive and have a good time.

or the fact that my boys aren't good sleepers, which is amplified by being away from home. ben fell out of the (quite high) queen bed twice both nights. it didn't seem to bother him much at the time but he seemed pretty grouchy during the day from the interrupted sleep. max actually spent one of his naps sitting up in the pack-n-play. he fell asleep while nursing but woke as soon as i layed him down and threw a fit. after he quieted down, i went in to check on him and yep, he was sleeping sitting up in one of the corners. i think it was the biggest "doh! i don't have the camera" moment of my parenting thus far. i watched my adorable sleeping budda for a while before ben started yelling for something and i dove out of the room to silence him.

after really only staying for one whole day and one morning, i threw in the towel on the vacation that was anything but. we headed home at max's naptime and of course, he only slept in the car and didn't transfer in to the house. damn you, illusive transfer-of all days!!

by thursday evening i was very, very "grouchy".

i learned a few things from this "vacaton".

1. don't think that staying up way too late will make me any less grouchy just because we are in a different environment.

2. my already very poor time management skillz don't stand a chance against cable television. i really can't resist the beast.

3. a vacation, when both parents are working, is not really a vacation. thinking any differently is just a set up for failure.

4. although a pain in the tushy to plan, food is very, very important. me need to eat.

5. i love, love, LOVE my king sized bed. although not very aesthetic, (monica, i think you mentioned this.) the amount of space is soooooo essential for us.

don't get me wrong-we had some fun times in the exotic land of bel aire. but it was good to come home.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

something clever

i was reprimanded last night by a reader (although one who has never left a comment-ahem missy!!)that i haven't been blogging enough lately. reasons for not blogging include:

-i'm lazy.

-i've been tired.

-i've been busy.

okay, i'm lame, i know. my lack of blogging is certainly not for lack of material. plenty of weird and noteworthy things happen around here. but with summer comes later bedtimes for the boys, which means less computer time for me. actually, when i really think about it, in the winter i go to bed later than the summer. so that meant: the boys would go to bed around 7, then i would curl up with the computer for warmth and stay up really late. i think i stayed up so late because although my brain was exhausted from the boys, my body was still restless from lack of activity. i'm pretty worthless in the winter and really should just hibernate. (maybe the boys will get the memo this year.) but i feel unfulfilled from the lack of activity and the dark gloom of winter so i seek stimulation and cheeriness online. amongst all that random computer time i would eek out a few blog posts.

but now it is summer-ahhhhh glorious summer! i'm doing so much more because i'm not half frozen and my body, as well as my mind, are both pleasantly tired at the end of the day. my computer time is just enough to keep up on blogs i read and facebook, but not the endless internet wandering of winter. (wow, no wonder i feel so pathetic during the winter.)

and i've been working on house projects. and we've had a lot of family stuff. (i feel like i've said all this before, but i'm too lazy to go back through old blog posts. see bullet point one.) and when i've been away for a while, the mental que of posts builds up and then i'm overwhelmed into inactivity.

so this is what you've been missing. it is guaranteed random.

our "daycare" kid is with us this week and as i was walking out the front door i couldn't resist trying on his sandals. my feet are only slightly bigger than an almost six year old's. i used to worry about ben being tiny. now i thank my lucky stars that i don't have monster children. although maybe i wouldn't give in to max demands of being carried all the time if he weighed 40lbs. or maybe he could carry me. hmmmm. (is it weird that i tried on his sandal? i didn't think so until i wrote this and then i kinda felt like a creeper.)

(excuse me. lord maximillian has awoken. i must go fluff his royal pillow and lull him back to sleep.)

(i'm back. he's lucky he has gloriously soft, golden curls i can kiss and stroke and kiss some more as i nurse him. seriously, if it weren't for his hair, i would have weaned the boy in february.)

me thinks these tiny toes are much cuter. ben got these sandals for his birthday and max thinks they are his. he threw a huge fit when ben dared to wear them. when ben first opened them max begged to wear them. so i put them on him, with the elastic cord still on them that holds the two sandals together-it made max waddle like an inmate. he thought it was pretty funny.

thanks for all your kind comments about "blurg" and the whole car situation. i read all the comments to tim because really it was his decision and kindness. because the whole reclaiming the car mess happened in the middle of the night, i actually woke up in the morning hoping it was all a really annoying dream. of course it wasn't, but we both just let it go pretty quickly, which was totally a grace thing.

after a week of back and forth with different interested peoples, we sold the car. again. because it's kind of a niche car, even though it wasn't running, there were still quite a few people who were, in fact, interested. the kid who bought it actually paid more for it than we sold it for the first time, but we bought the parts he would need to fix it. so it pretty much evened out and we didn't have to spend the time (that we didn't have) to fix it. the story could still not be over because he's making payments to us on the car. not ideal, but he was willing to pay the most and his down payment was what most people were willing to pay total. so we'll just wait and see. but my goodness, does God sure have a sense of humor about how he provides!

these gorgeous lilies are blooming in front of our house. because the flower bed is so terribly neglected and overgrown, combined with the fact that the grasshoppers DEVOUR them, they are almost depressing for me to look at. so i brought them inside and played with them. ben ooooed and ahhhhhed at them and max literally climbed up on the table after his nap as soon as he noticed them and kept exclaiming "pitty! pitty! pitty! (pretty)" as he jabbed at them.

i settled on this little jar and these happy little bottles. i love random jars and bottles so much more than vases. the bottles are from a trip tim and i took when i was pregnant with max. while strolling mass street in lawrence we stopped into a fun little import shop and tim picked up a bottle of orangina (the round bottle)and i got a bottle of "sanbitter". i picked it solely because i liked the bottle and knew i would save it. fortunately i had no expectations for the drink inside because it was awful! a fun memory of a great trip that is now repurposed on my table.

the cloth underneath the flowers is a burp cloth that i remember using for my baby brother. i love the fabric, and again, it makes me happy to see it getting a new life.

several other events deserve there own posts but i just needed to break the blogging fast.

random, as guaranteed.