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Sunday, December 23, 2012

Bubbles and bubbly (well, actually, just wine)

I can’t believe that today is Christmas Eve Eve.  It’s almost here; it’s nearly here!  And while the excitement for Christmas continues to build and escalate in this house with a constant rumble and trembling of joy, I feel a simultaneous build-up of sadness in the pit of my stomach.  It’s gotten worse as I’ve gotten older, and I just don’t understand it nor do I know what to do about it.  I’m so freakishly, insanenly enthralled with the whole Christmas season.  From the moment that I’m ‘allowed’ to listen to Christmas music (according to Mike this is socially acceptable the day after Thanksgiving), I’m giddy with the joy that IS the season – the lights, the music, the tree, the Advent calendar and wreath, the movies, the food, the drink…it all.  Obviously, the stress of the season gets to me too – all of the shopping, errands, festivities (which are great, but do fill up the calendar), cooking, cleaning, overly excited (i.e. out of control cranky) children, etc.  That wears me down too, but for the most part, I just can’t get enough of CHRISTMAS…until Christmas.  As it draws nearer instead of feeling more excited, I start to feel the impending doom of its’ ‘doneness.’  It’s like I’m PRE-sad knowing that so soon it will come to an end.  On December 26th, when I turn on the radio and it’s back to regular ‘ol boring non-Jesus’ birthday or Santa-themed tunes, I’m SO disappointed. 


I’m about to admit something a little embarrassing but that, quite frankly, is the part of the essence of me (the “Jenessence” --- a term that dates back to the early days of this here nearly seven year-long, Blog); so, take it or leave it, but here goes.  This is how much I love Christmas: a couple of weeks ago, Mike and I were sitting by the tree in a rare moment of peace.  The three kids were upstairs all playing together well and in harmony.  (Seriously, a Christmas miracle).  Christmas music was playing (of course, as it has been, CONSTANTLY since exactly a month ago – November 23rd), I was having a glass of wine (shocker) and ignoring the mountain of dishes in the kitchen sink so that we could just enjoy the moment.  I was telling Mike just how much I love Christmas, in particular, the whole Santa thing.  I’m still completely enamored with the magic of it all.  As a parent now, I obviously gain a different perspective of this Santa business and in some ways it has added such a depth and enjoyment to the experience.  They say, with children, you have the advantage of seeing life through their eyes.  It’s easier to ‘embrace your inner child’ when you’re surrounded by them…so maybe this is why the Santa thing has actually gotten harder as I’ve matured.  I explained to Mike that I just think the whole idea of Santa is so spectacular and magical and wonderful and [make sure your children are not reading this!!!...] amazing that it kind of breaks my heart that it’s not actually real and then…I…started…to cry.  Yes, I cried because there’s no such thing as Santa.  I didn’t even cry about this when I was a kid!  Sure, I was maybe extra emotional that night, maybe it was a more ‘tender time’ for me (if you will J), but I shed legit tears of sadness over…Santa.  Wow.


Anyway, as Christmas does come closer, and therefore, soon comes to an end, I’m trying my darndest to fight the inevidable sadness heading my way.  Tonight, in an effort to fight this and to, quite frankly, spoil myself, I did something that I haven’t done in almost exactly (to the day!) seven years.  I took a bubble bath.  Stay with me as I paint this picture (but try not to paint one too vividly in your head, you sicko).  The last time I soaked in a tub was when I was pregnant with Zachary and we were at a bed and breakfast in Leavenworth after Christmas.  When I told this to Mike he was like, “Well, yeah, I don’t even remember the last time I took a bath.”


I looked at him and stated the obvious, “That’s ‘cuz you’re a huge dude.”


I, on the other hand, do LOVE a good bubble bath and yet, and yet, it’s been SEVEN YEARS!!  So, finally, today was the big day.  I planned my entire day around the fact that this bath tonight would happen, darn it!  And it was going to be amazing!  And. It. Was.


We actually have a nice big soaking tub in the master bath of our ‘new’ house (of seven months already!).  I lit candles; I filled that tub full of bubbles and steaming hot water.  I had the best Christmas album of all time playing – Nat King Cole’s, obviously.  I had a glass of wine.  I had a book to read, but I didn’t actually start reading for quite a while.  I just basked in the glory of this completely self-indulgent, relaxing and TOTALLY earned bathing activity!  I laid there and listened to the rain on the skylight.  I listened to Nat.  I breathed deeply.  I thought about how I’m SO not going to wait another seven years for my next bubble bath.  Quite frankly, I don’t know if I’ll even be able to wait seven days.  So at least I’ve got that to look forward to post-Christmas (oh, and some insanely fun New Year’s plans…but more on that…later).  Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Ms. Jenny -- local celebrity, her star status

(real names and places have been adjusted so that I can share this story without losing future business or feeling like an awful person)
“It’s like you’re Angelina Jolie.”
“Or Madonna!” I suggested.
This is just a typical conversation that Rebecca and I had recently about my celebrity status.  I just wrapped up teaching a four week session of music classes at a library.  This library happens to be located on the often-known-to-be-prestigious-well-off-and-yuppy island upon which I grew up.  Ms. Librarian, at this library, was, for the most part very nice, helpful and accommodating, but she was also kinda somethin’ else.
After talking to the librarians at the two libraries that I taught at a couple of years ago she called me in a panic.
“Look,” Ms. Librarian said, “They raved about your music program, but they also said that it caused rioting.”
“Uh, rioting?” I asked.
“Yes, rioting and we just can’t have rioting here at the Yuppy Island Library.”
The “rioting” that she was referring to was the fact that, due to the number of instruments I have, we have to limit the number of toddler/preschoolers and parental unit/caregivers that can attend each class.  Initially, I’d said, 20 should be the max number, but in order to be more flexible, I said that we could make it work with 30.
“We’ll have a sign-up sheet for each week which we won’t put out until the week before each class.  I’m going to limit the ages to 2-3 year olds only this session and make sure to check at the door…” Ms. Librarian said.
(Is she a bouncer?!  Do 2-3 year olds carry I.D.s?  Would Moms start a black market business of whipping up fake I.D.’s so their 4 year olds actually appear to be younger and can attend my class?!)
“Also,” Ms. Librarian continued, “I’m not going to advertise the class until shortly before it starts, we just can’t handle having too many… we just can’t have…”
“Rioting?” I offered.
“Yes,” Ms. Librarian agreed. “So, if you could also not tell anyone about the class.  Don’t mention it on your website, and especially don’t tell your students from the previous library classes. I don’t want your following here taking the spots away from the Yuppy Island children.”
I assured her that a.) I don’t have a website, b.) I don’t typically see any of my previous library students – except for the occasional random, public sighting when I’m approached and asked for an autograph (not really, but I have had people come up to me at the grocery story or library and say, “Aren’t you Ms. Jenny?!  We took your class a few years ago…”). Besides c.) those children would all be in preschool or Kindergarten now anyway.  Not much of a following.  Then, being the savvy business woman that I’ve become, I suggested that, is she’s really concerned about accommodating so many students, they could always book me for two back-to-back classes on each of the four Wednesdays. That way we could provide music to 60 of the young Yuppy Islanders.
“You know, I wish we could, but you’re very expensive.  You’re cleaning out our 2012 budget.”  I mumbled something about how I’m totally worth it and we signed off the phone.
A few weeks later, Ms. Librarian called again in a TOTAL panic.
“I don’t know how this happened, but someone LEAKED the news about your class and it’s all over.  It was published in the Yuppy Island Preschool Association’s newsletter…hundreds of families now know about you coming here!”
I tried to reassure her, especially since our first class was the day before Thanksgiving, but I’m pretty sure the poor woman was about to have a nervous breakdown.
As for Rebecca’s and my conversation about my celebrity status…She had helpful tips suggesting that I come in with all sorts of Diva demands like “I’ll need an iced Perrier with two slices of lemon…the room should be kept at 67 degrees…” etc.
Finally, the first day of class arrived.  I got to the library way freakishly earlier than I needed to primarily to appease Ms. Librarian.  It only takes me about five minutes to set-up but I knew she’d be having a fit if it was getting closer to class time and I wasn’t there yet.
As I set up my stuff, she tried – she tried so very hard – to be helpful.  But I’ve realized, I’ve done this for long enough now, I’m kind of a well-oiled machine.
As I pulled out my box of egg shakers she said, “We have some egg shakers that you’re welcome to use.”
“Oh, thanks, I think I’ll have more than enough though.  I brought enough for 30+ kids.”
I pulled out my little boombox. “You can use our stereo if you’d like.”
“That’s OK.  Thank you.  I’ve got mine all ready to go.  Thanks!”
I pulled out my water bottle.  “Can I get you some water or anything?”  (And yes, she WAS watching me do all this before she asked).
“Um, nope, I’m set, thanks.”
“Is there anything you’d like?” Ms. Librarian asked.
I looked at her and completely seriously said, “I’d really love a backrub.”
She paused – startled for a minute, “Oh—“
“I’m kidding,” I quickly said. “Nope, I’m fine, thanks for the help though.”
Anyway, that first class that we (she) was so very worried about was a piece of cake.  And, because it WAS the day before Thanksgiving it was not a crazy mass hoard of rioting mothers and toddlers at all.  We actually only had about 20 kiddos plus their adult chaperone.  After class, as I packed up my stuff, Ms. Librarian chattered on and on about how great it was and how she loved all the early literacy components that I included (she said the same thing to me after every class).
“I do wish we could have you more, but you’re just so expensive and we don’t have anything left in the budget…”
(Yeah, you’ve mentioned that before, I thought).
Each week went about the same, she’d introduce me and say that my program was provided by the wonderful Friends of the Yuppy Island, and “Now, let’s all give Ms. Jenny a warm welcome,” and everyone would clap while I smiled and nodded awkwardly.  And then each class went smashingly well followed by Ms. Librarian raving to me about how great it was – kind of ad naseum.  After my last class on Wednesday, she handed me a small envelope and then proceeded to tell me that it was a thank you note and went on to explain the contents.  I will say though, Ms. Librarian, does seem to be acting upon her admiration.  She asked if she can tell all of the other library branches about my program and highly recommend it.  I can imagine what she’d said, “Ms. Jenny’s program is great….etc….but she is a little pricey…” But then hopefully, after experiencing it four times and raving about it she WILL add, “But she’s worth every penny.”
They attend their child's 1st grade music concert.
(Photo snapped by Paparazzi photographer, Matthew, age 9).

Wednesday, December 05, 2012


We did it! We went and saw Santa!  Kayli stood there as we waited for our turn all excited, and then as we started to walk towards him she did the slow motion, stiff as a board, I refuse to take another step closer, mini-meltdown.  We managed to cut her off with a quick, “You get to sit on Matthew’s lap!” ..where she proceeded to look awfully nervous and suspicious of the guy behind her until she’d finally had enough and melted off Matthew’s lap to run into my arms crying.  The photographer said, “Oh! Did you want a candy cane?”
I kid you not; Kayli immediately went from mid-sob to full faced grin and gave a watery exclamation of “Yes!!”  She ran BACK to Santa and sat on his lap smiling from ear-to-ear.  Unfortunately all of the pictures with her smiling were terrible or awkward-weird of everyone else.  It was like the boys AND Santa had used up their nice smiles in the first round of photos.  In one of the photos from the second batch (with a happy Kayli), Santa’s eyes were half closed and he looked like a ringing endorsement for the new legalization of Marijuana in Washington state.  Needless-to-say, we opted to pick the best photo from the first set despite Kayli’s stone cold face (but thought it was better than Santa’s STONED face option later).  

Monday, November 26, 2012

It's here, it's here, it's here!!!

We’ve got extra a lot-a lot to be thankful for this year.  I spent much of Thanksgiving Eve with Kayliana at Children’s Hospital.  She’d started limping again and we had seen our Pediatrician the day before.  Dr. B. wanted us to get more Xrays and lab work done.  It blows my mind that Kayli holds so still for Xrays – maybe she’s kind of freaked out by the process, the big camera thingy, the noise it makes, the hard weird bed thingy she has to lie still on, but she does it like a champ.  After Xrays, we went to the Lab where, sadly, the two nurses had a heck of a time finding Kayli’s wee little veins and had to poke her like crazy before successfully drawing blood. L Holding her down for that was no fun…but, in the end, all tests, Xrays, etc. came back fine and clear…INCLUDING the Xray from a couple of weeks ago on which they saw a cyst on her bone.  Turns out it was just a stupid shadow on the crappy Xray film.  Obviously, we’re VERY relieved that there’s nothing there, but we could’ve done without the expensive unnecessary stress!
In the end, Dr. B. thinks that Kayli’s limping may be from a hip/joint infection caused by a virus.  If Kayli continues limping for a week, we’re to give her Ibuprofen and let Dr. B know for further investigation, but thus far, she’s not been gimpy at all.  Thank goodness!
With our good news and relief, we went into Thursday extra grateful and had a really nice Thanksgiving.  We hosted my parents, brothers and sister-in-law.  I must say (completely biased here), I thought the food was quite delicious this year!
After everyone had left, we curled up with the kiddos and watched Home Alone to kick off my very, very, VERY favorite time of the year!  Thanksgiving is always special and I do try to savor the moments it creates, but for me I celebrate it with the anticipation of what is to come!  Friday is “Christmas Decorating Day,” and we had a lot of fun this year especially since it was our first time decking the halls of this house. We decorated, drank hot cocoa, listened to Christmas music (since I’m “officially” allowed to now, it will be on 24-7 through Christmas) and stayed in pajamas until late in the afternoon.  Despite the pouring rain, Mike and I (but especially Mike) even got the outside lights up.  We. Were. SOAKED.  And then the next two days were dry and gorgeous…oh well.  That’s just how dedicated we are to Christmas Decorating Day!
Kayli LOVES it all this year.  She walks into the living room, looks at the tree and sighs, “Oooh, pretty.”  When we’re driving in the car, even if a house only has one strand of twinkly lights she admires it with a “Pretty!”  And I have to say, we were really impressed with how well she helped hang ornaments.  Sure, they were a little clumped together – and obviously along the bottom part of the tree since that’s where she can reach, but overall she did a great job and was REALLY sad when there weren’t more ornaments to hang!
I’d gone to get the camera so that I could capture the “prettiness” on film when – low and beheld – Kayli was also admiring our d├ęcor but had, uh, dedecked…undecked herself (minus the red sash, of course).
Turkey Day spread

The table and family (minus my dad who took the picutre)

A nudey elf!

One of my favorite views -- and what the kids will see first thing Christmas morning!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Kayliana turns two!!

Today our baby girl turns two.  Not quite a baby, not totally a ‘big’ girl – she’s in that in-between called “toddlerhood.”  I know I’m biased, but I can honestly say that she is the cutest, most fun little two -year old.  She has so much personality and it’s just amazing to watch her as she’s grown into her own little identity.  What’s especially exciting is that she’s really, REALLY starting to talk more.  Yes, slippers are still “fwupees” and quite frankly, I hope they remain fwupees for a while yet, but hearing her say words, even sentences in her cute little voice is just beyond cool.  We’re not doing a big party this year – just a few separate small celebrations with close friends.  

And I am hoping to have Mia and her parents over some time soon so they, too, can join us in celebrating this little girl we all love so much.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Kayli's newest adventure!

I’m ever so behind in writing a post on Kayliana’s latest adventure: her first Xrays!  On Sunday morning, Kayli was running the loop (you know the kitchen-dining room-living room loop that is apparently designed for indoor track drills). We were in the kitchen when a sudden loud cry came from the living room.  Obviously, we weren’t there to witness what happened.  I don’t know if she tripped and fell, if she bonked into the coffee table, if she suddenly just crumpled to the floor – dunno; she was just hurt.  I picked her up, soothed her, she had a decent cry but not insanely long or anything, and then when I went to put her back down on the floor, she gave a shriek and started crying again.  At that point I noticed she wouldn’t put any weight down on her left leg.  We did the whole checking for swelling, bruises, toes wiggled fine thing, but she definitely couldn’t/wouldn’t walk on it.  After a bit, we decided to call the nurse line since this seemed like a problem that wasn’t going to go away.  Sure, enough, she recommended we come in to see the doctor.  Thankfully, there’s one office open on Sundays, so we won’t have quite the same hefty bill that the ER kindly sent us for her last ‘adventure.’


The doctor – an attractive woman with the nicest, smiliest eyes I’ve ever seen – seriously, she LOOKED like a Pediatrician – squeezed up Kayli’s left leg and, apparently, noticed a ‘hardness’ near the femur.  Ruh-roh.  That’s definitely the worst bone-leg situation to have as it means full on mega-cast if a cast is indeed needed.  I brought Kayli back to the Xray room.  We sat in the tiny waiting area across from a 9ish year-old boy and his dad.  I gave them a nod and asked, “What are you in for?”  (I’d like to think that I asked this in a gruff, The Godfather kinda-way but I probably was just boring and normal).  Turns out he’d fallen of a bar that he was swinging on and landed on his right wrist, but, as I found out with them, it wasn’t broken so he was sent home castless.


Kayli did great for her Xrays.  I thought for sure I’d have to hold her down (especially since she still won’t go on the examination bed thingy without having a total fit), but she did totally fine.  She layed there with her blankie, sucky her fingers, looking at (and talking about) the big Elmo poster on the wall.


Once the doctor got the Xrays, she did that sound that I just LOVE to hear from medical professionals, “Hmmm….hmpfh.  Weird….huh.”  All reassuring noises.  Not.


She brought me over and showed me the film where on one you could clearly see a large knob/bump sticking out of one of the bones. 


“I don’t love the look of that,” she said.  Yeah, me neither, I thought.  “It looks like maybe a cyst on the bone that’s possibly nothing – could’ve been there since she was born and we’d never know if we hadn’t done an Xray…and I don’t think it’s related to her injury this morning…but let me go check with one of my partners.”


She left the room and was gone for a while.  While she was away, Kayli wanted to get down and walk.  I decided to see what would happen and, sure enough, miraculously, she was walking WAY better.  She was still only walking on the toes of her left foot but definitely wasn’t showing signs of intense pain.


When the doctor came back in she still looked puzzled.  “Well, two other doctors looked at it with me and none of us can really figure out what’s going on.  But there’s definitely no huge noticeable breaks or fractures.  If I was being really conservative, I’d send you to Children’s for more in-depth Xrays, but we could just wait and see.  You’ll get a call in the next couple of days if there’s more follow-up needed.”  When I told her about Kayli walking around better she wanted to take another look at her.


Once again, Kayli walked like it wasn’t a big deal; she definitely had a limp, but it was nothing like before!  She even let the doctor squeeze and feel her leg without even a grimace.  In the end, the doctor was just as befuddled as I was.  She guessed that maybe Kayli had pulled a muscle and the hardness she felt was muscle spasms.  I heard her tell the nurse out in the hall, “Hmm! Yeah, that’s definitely not how I saw this ending.  I thought for sure we’d be putting her in a cast.” 


Then, as I sat in the room, putting Kayli’s pants back on her, I realized something: So, what’s this about a cyst on her bone?  It’s just a total coincidence?  Like, I’m supposed to just pretend that it isn’t there?!  I stuck my head out the door and asked the doctor pretty much that question.  And she pretty much – still looking a little confused – said, “Yep! It hasn’t caused any issues!” 


Hmmm.  Alrighty then.  Kayliana will turn 2 a week from today.  I think, you know, just out of curiosity, I might follow up with her pediatrician for her 2 year check-up.  “So, about this cyst on her bone that we’re just pretending we never saw…so, that’s cool, huh?  Right....?”

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween-y fun!

Zachula, the Dracula. Puppy Kayli and Civil War Soldier Matthew

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween! That’s right: WHILE I type this we’re in the midst of the sugar-frenzied fun times.  Mike just departed with the kiddos to go trick-or-treating with some of our new neighbor friends.  Meanwhile, I’m sipping a glass ‘o red, sneaking the occasional candy bar and also manning candy passing out duty.  (I also plan on filling out my ballot and voting when I’m done with this post). Is it weird that I’m getting all teary about this being our first Halloween here?! I also think it’s strange that – despite constantly knowing and expecting the doorbell to ring any moment – I jump about a foot and nearly pee my pants out of surprise every time it does.


Mike insisted that we get the full-size candy bars this year.  We distinctly remember doing that for our first Halloween at our old house.  It’s like he wants to make a good impression on the trick-or-treaters in the ‘hood.  I even said things like, “Tell your friends: we’re the COOL house!”  Anyway, our first trick-or-treating group tonight was a herd of pre-teenaged boys.  There were at least five of them.  I don’t know if it was the sight of the big candy bars, but they were the politest group of young men!  One handed me our newspaper that he picked up in the driveway and said all cheeky, “I’ll trade you your newspaper for a candy bar!”  Then, when I held out the bowl, instead of plowing in like crazy sugar-starved crazies, they all immediately started complimenting our decorations, our jack-o-lanterns and then, yes, our candy selection. After carefully – and patiently – making their choices, they called out numerous thank you’s as they walked away.  I heard one kid say, “Ahhh, yee-ah! We hit the jackpot with that one!”


Well, the last group of boys was not quite so polite and not all in costumes either.  I wish I had some brussel sprouts to drop in their bags instead.


Pictures of our people to come…(once Mike returns with the camera), but here's a few from last weekend's parties and Kayli's photo shoot.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

kids say the darndest things!

The boys have had a couple of great lines lately:


With Matthew’s teacher living just down the street from us, he’s excited at the prospect of trick-or-treating at her house.  “I wonder what she passes out on Halloween…I sure hope she doesn’t pass out homework!!” (he nearly added his own drum bu-dum-dum riff at the end of that).

* * * * *


Zachary, the other day, while doing his reading practice next to me on the couch, suddenly leaned in really close and inspected my face. “What are all those lines on your forehead?” He asked.


“Those would be wrinkles.”


“Why do you have them?”


“Because I’m getting older and you get wrinkles as you get older.”  Then, feeling a tad defensive, I added, “You’re getting older too, you know.”


“What?!” he sqeeeked in alarm.


“It’s true, every day, you’re one day older.”


“I don’t believe you,” he retorted.


I explained that, you know, each day, you’re one day closer to your next birthday.  He pondered on this for a while, then came up to me in the kitchen, about twenty minutes later.  He wrapped his arms around me and said, “But I don’t WANT you to get old.  I want you to live forever.”

* * * * *


At church on Sunday, I was following Matthew in line for communion.  Because we sit in the back for Kayli’s sake, in what I call the “party room,” we are some of the last people to get to the front for Eucharist.  After receiving the Host (bread), we headed over to the chalice for the consecrated wine.  Apparently supply was getting really low and Mike, walking in front of Matthew, had been forced to finish it off (there was only a drop left for him).  So, Deacon Jack, put the cloth on top to cover the cup and stepped back a little.  Never having experienced this before, Matthew followed him.  Deacon Jack kind of shook his head and said quietly, “Sorry.”  I quickly whispered to Matthew that it was all gone, and rather loudly he exclaimed, “Darn!!”

* * * * *


I’m SO happy to report that sleep training bootcamp has paid off and Kayliana is sleeping SO much better (and therefore so are we)!  Thank you, Jesus!  Seriously, nearly three months of not-consistently decent sleep?!  I’d like to apologize to everyone that I came in contact with as I doubt I was neither competent nor pleasant. 


It seems that the solid sleep (and the fact that she’ll be two in a few weeks), has flipped the switch of talking and vocabulary in her brain.  Just within the last week, she’s really started talking.  Like, REALLY.  She’ll parrot what we say and for the most part is very clear and understandable.  Then, there’s the word slipper.


She insists (with some determination and aggression should you press her on it) that slippers are called, “Fwupee.”  Last night, I was in hysterics as I listened to Mike over and over trying to get her to say “slipper.”


“S-L-I-P-P-E-R.” (Not spelled out, just said, VERY slowly).












This went on and on.  The best part was the look on her face and the tone in her voice.  She was looking at him like he was the biggest moron.  ‘Dad, what is your damage?!  I’m saying slipper!’


At one point he tried just, “Sli…sli…”


She humored him for a second and said, “Sli…fwupee!”


Matthew had “funjunjun” (fire engine).  Zachary, who didn’t say much until he turned two, and then when he did it was as clear as a little old English professor, insisted that yogurt was “gahonk” and breakfast was “brefext” for about four years.  So, if you ask me, Kayliana can go ahead and wear “fwupees” on her feet.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

House-y Progress!

Early morning double rainbow -- taken from dining room window.
Early morning visitor -- see his baby antlers?!  He's not quite as impressive as Sir Hoofington -- the deer who always visited us on one of our camping trips this summer.  (Sir Hoof had a manly full rack, but this guy'll get there.)

The kitchen!

We finally got blinds up (and valance) in the kitchen and nook.

The powder room -- I call this color "Apricot Medley."  It is yet another custom color.  (I had a snaffoo trying to doctor up the really bright peachy-pink from the laundry room at the old house and basically turned into Peptobismol pink, but the paint dude at Lowe's was able to tone it and orange it down for me).

The family room!  Note the quilt on the back of the loveseat (it matches the new kitchen window valance): it was a gift from my honey and I refuse to share it with anyone!

Looking through the "cut-out" (as we call it).  The door on the right is the powder room.  The door frame on the left is the laundry room which leads out to the garage.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012


A sleeping beast has been awoken from deep down inside of me.  I’m almost ashamed to admit it because I’ve denied its existence for so long now.  The beast is: Crafty.  As in craftiness, as in crafts.  As in artsy-fartsy making stuff that you could just buy for sometimes the same price if not less, but instead you MAKE for the joy of the process.  For years now, I’ve poo-pooed craftiness (particularly scrap-booking which, at one point, became the bane of my existence when I lamely attempted it).  It’s not that I don’t appreciate crafty-skills in others.  I admire them greatly!  I just never ever thought that I could qualify as crafty.  I even bragged about just how NON-crafty I was.   But I can’t deny it any longer.


Yes, the stupid-yet-wonderful time-sucking obsession that is a website called Pinterest is partially to blame.  It didn’t wake the beast, it’s just helped feed it.  Especially with settling into a new home in mind, Pinterest provides an endless supply of home improvement, “diy,” crafty projects.  A couple of my crafty ideas (particularly for the garden) have come from Pinterest.  But, if anything, looking on Pinterest and at other people’s creative ideas has encouraged me to come up with my own.  The juices are a-flowin’.  I mean, if everybody just puts ALL of their ideas on Pinterest, there will be no more original ideas!  I’ll admit I’ve even checked Pinterest to see if one of my craft plans was on there – I was thrilled that it turned up no hits.  Yes! Finally, I – the anti-crafty – came up with a do-it-yourself, crafty-craft that 368 people haven’t already “pinned” on to a Pinterest board.  Am I perhaps, somewhat original in this day and age of everything-is-already-somewher-online or in an app??   But my next thought was, if I do a good job with my craft, I WILL take a picture of it.  I WILL post it here, and then what if someone snags it to put on Pinterest??  OK, at that point, I’ll still just be so surprised with my own craftiness, I’d be honored and probably wouldn’t stop bragging about my ‘pinability.’  But, still, the whole thing: my new found love of certain craft projects, the amount of craft ideas out there, the amount of time one can spend looking at craft projects for your home on-line…the whole thing has kind of become obsessive and time-sucking, really. 


I’ve slowly been evolving into this craftiness but have been in denial.  I’ve painted furniture – the blackboard kitchen table has been a plan of mine for a long time (pre-Pinterest, thank ya very much).  Painting our last house in way more bold and bright colors than most people deem normal and appropriate.  The tile table and mosaic that the boys and I did a couple of years ago were probably my main gateway drug into the adult crafting world.  Before that, I’d dabbled in pottery painting (with a bit of a success, but that just wasn’t practical and was too expensive – which defeats the point of craftiness, if you ask me!).  I tried knitting and successfully knocked out a few scarves that were mediocre at best.  Back in my youth, my craftiness came out in the form of jewelry making.  Now, I’d say, my craftiness is definitely specific: I like crafts that can beautify my home, yard, or act as a nice (and doesn’t look like a 2 year old made it) accessory for me and/or others.  Quite frankly, I have all these plans for doing homemade craft-type Christmas gifts for people, but I just don’t know if I’m quite there yet.  I enjoy the fact that I have children though and can always give them credit (or blame!) if my attempt DOES look completely juvenile.  Or if it’s really bad, I might go so far as to say it was created and purchased from a blind and limbless craft-creating animal of some sort.  I’m sure those are out there.  I’ll look for some on-line.


The history of craftiness: 
Matthew's bday party last year -- note the sneaky craft lurking in the background.
Our mosaic table happily chillin' in its new home. (The deck underneath is now the same dark red as the vertical posts).

Tuesday, October 09, 2012


I’ll be the first to tell you, that when it comes to public speaking, I think I’m pretty darn good.  It’s a bit of a gift.  Growing up doing musical theater, performing in choirs, participating in music competitions definitely helped my self-confidence when it comes to standing in front of a crowd.  I still get a little nervous but nothing uncontrollable.  Mike has even gotten quite natural in front of a group.  No, he’ll never be the ham that I am – and he better not! There’s no way I’m sharing too much of the spotlight – but considering that on our Engaged Encounter retreats he can share personal stories in front of 70 people, it is pretty impressive.


Last night, we got to go to Amara, our adoption agency, and share our story and answer questions at one of the Information nights.  This is the first thing that you do when considering adopting through Amara.  I was SO looking forward to it.  We even got to bring the kiddos – who THOROUGHLY enjoyed the play room, honestly it looked like 20 kids had played back there, but no, it was just our three. 


The social worker introduced us to the group --  probably 20 people – and we introduced the kids who then ran out of the room (literally) to get back to playing.  We shared our story – why we chose to adopt, why we went with an Open Adoption (continuing contact with the birth mom), what were some of our fears, what have the struggles been, the joys etc.  I feel like we did a decent job presenting the information.  We answered all the questions moderately well and thoroughly, but honestly, I just can’t shake the feeling that I blew it.  The second we walked out of the room I was full of regret: thinking of things that I said that I probably shouldn’t have and thinking of things that I’d wanted to say but forgot.  I was SO disappointed with how I did.  And, I’ll admit, with my healthy self-confidence, I’m not used to feeling that way after a public speaking sort of event. 


My two biggest regrets: I bragged WAY too much about how awesome Mia is.  We did try to put it in a “we know that this doesn’t always work out this way, but…” sort of way, but I still feel like I came off as all sorts of our-birth-mom-is-better-than-the-one-you’ll-get-nah-nah-nah-nah-nah-nah! But it IS TRUE, we did luck out/get immensenly blessed with a birth mom who’s fun and pretty darn down-to-earth, put-together, etc.  But I certainly didn’t need to go on and on about her awesomeness as much as I did.


My second HUGE regret: I didn’t share my favorite story of pretty much all time.  The story that will permanently be etched in my memory, that I usually can’t tell without getting choked up.  That would be: the night we’d brought Kayliana home from the hospital, the boys sat in the rocking chair and held her, rocked her, and sang her lullabies.  (We even got a great photo of the moment – it’s framed and on the wall in the upstairs hallway).  Matthew looked up at me at me and said, “I like her MORE than love, like I don’t even know the word for it.”  I immediately wrote it down – not that I ever could’ve forgotten that moment.  But, yet, I forgot to share it last night! What’s wrong with me??!  How could I NOT think to share that with a group of people trying to decide whether or not they’re going to adopt a child??  Are you kidding me?!! ARGH. 


I suppose I could’ve told them that Kayliana is just like any other child – we love her like the boys (but also differently, just like you do with each individual child).  She is a perfectly ‘normal’ toddler…although she is interesting in how she expresses her rage.  Once, she tried to angrily throw my left butt cheek.  Yesterday, out of anger, she ANGRILY climbed into the washing machine.  Really?  You’re mad, so you’re going to climb into the washer?  Makes tons of sense.  Last night, for the 2nd night in a row (thanks to the Ferber sleep techniques that we’ve been using), she slept through the night!!! But then has been nothing but cranky this morning – pushing me when I went into her room, she dumped her entire bowl of cereal on the floor and then smacked me on the head when I was down cleaning it up.  Deep breath.  Yep, we love her like she’s ours…because she is. 


We did have a pretty funny moment last night: the kids were out playing in the playroom and Kayli suddenly realized that we weren’t there.  We could hear her little voice, “Mommy?  Mommy?”  Not concerned, just curious as to my whereabouts.  The “mommy” got louder and then she stood in the doorway, “Mommy?”  And then she saw me, “Mommy!!!”  She came running into my arms.  We couldn’t have planned that any better, really.  I picked her up, sat her on my lap, she looked out at the crowd, smiled coyly and burped.  Yep, our little princess!