Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Why I'm Not Blogging...

My one year blogging anniversary came and went, and I missed it.

The presidential debates came and went, and I missed them. (Though I hear I didn't miss much.)

The first day of Fall came and went, and I missed it.

Funny kid stories have gone unrecorded. Deep thoughts have been tucked away for another day. Movies and books to be reviewed have been shelved. And my last trip to the farmer's market yielded lots of lovely produce but no photos or post.

Why the blogging lull? One word: nesting.

This weekend I completely rearranged the furniture in our tiny house to open up the space and make room for baby. With the help of my dear husband, we switched the boys' bedroom with the spare bedroom/office. While I watched UT lose yet again, I completely rearranged the living room. I am purging closets and dressers and dark corners of the house. All empty space that I created by my furniture rearranging is quickly being filled with items for a yard sale. Our 1200 square foot house is in total chaos with no hope of returning to normal until the yard sale is over.

And then I was hit with the sudden urge to fix everything we have talked about fixing for the past two years we have lived in the house. Bathroom floors, exterior that needs a good pressure washing, weed-covered flower beds, other tiny imperfections that drive me crazy...beware! Anyone know a good tile guy?

Hopefully I will return to the world of sanity and down time soon.

Friday, September 26, 2008


The weather has been as inconsistent as my mood lately. We've had lovely, crisp, sunny days of Fall followed by a cold and rainy Thursday. And today it is warm and muggy, the skies threatening to burst but waiting until we are all good and miserable.

Around here, I have had days of relaxing and enjoying my boys and days of ragweed induced headaches. I have had bursts of energy to begin cleaning and purging and rearranging to make room for baby, and today I am fighting off depression and grumpiness, trying not to let it affect how I interact with my kids and not doing a very good job. Needless to say, the boys' behavior has been as on and off as the weather and my mood, affected by both.

Despite it all, we are managing to enjoy a few things. We took an exploring walk on Tuesday and found some wonderful Fall treasures to decorate our house, acorns and leaves and pinecones. (Oh, yes, and moon rocks, of course. The space obsession continues.)

And we picked up some wonderful books at the library this week. I think I have found two new authors for the boys and I to fall in love with. Daniel Kirk's Moondogs has all that my boys love right now, space and adventure and a moon monster. His illustrations and subject matter are perfect for boys, and the rest of his books look just as promising. And then there is Leaf Man by Lois Ehlert. What and absolutely charming book! The boys and I were enthralled and have already read it half a dozen times, at least. If I get out of this funk, we may even try to make some leaf men for ourselves.

I am loving Kerry's recipes these days. We have a lot of squash to use up from our CSA box, and her baked butternut squash and apples were fantastic. We had cinnamon raisin bread last night and loved that, too. In fact, I have never tried a recipe she's posted that I didn't like, all simple and fabulous.

Finally, I am trying to fight the funk by working through A Mother's Rule of Life and putting some of it into practice. I think it is going to be really good for me if I can find someone to keep me accountable to living it out. Circumstances are not likely to change much for me anytime soon. In fact, I am going to be even more tied to home and children in a few months. I suppose it's time I start learning to live this vocation well, giving thanks and glory to God for the gifts He has given, even when I think I want something else.

What are you enjoying these days? Any suggestions for good books, good recipes, or fun Fall activities? I am in need of some inspiration.

Monday, September 22, 2008

A to Z...

Kids are tiring me out these days. Glad someone tagged me. Have nothing to say of my own.

Tagged by Elizabeth.

A: Attached or Single? Very happily attached for 6 1/2 years.
B. Best Friend? the guy I'm attached to
C: Cake or pie? pie, in general, unless we're talking Grandma's chocolate cake
D: Day of choice? Saturdays in the Fall! Football!
E: Essential Item? Does sleep count?
F: Favorite color? all colors in bold, deep shades, Tennessee orange?
G: Gummy bears or worms? sour patch kids
H: Hometown? ooo...somewhere in the mountains of East TN (This IS anonymous.)
I: Favorite indulgence? Chai latte and a cinnamon scone
J: January or July? January in the South, July in the Midwest
K: Kids? Wearing me out...cute as anything...how will I handle three?
L: Life isn’t complete without? mountains, good literature, learning, God
M: Marriage date? You figure it out.
N: Number of brothers and sisters? 1 brother, 3 sisters-in-law, 1 bro-in-law
O: Oranges or apples? oranges
P: Phobias? small spaces (literal and figurative)
Q: Quotes? "Screws fall out all the time, the world's an imperfect place."
R: Reasons to Smile? the smiles of my boys
S: Season of choice? Autumn!!!!!!
T: Tag 5 People: I don't like tags. If you are reading and want to do it, go for it.
U: Unknown fact? I've never eaten a McDonald's hamburger.
V: Vegetable? crisp asparagus
W: Worst habit? interrupting
X: X-ray or Ultrasound? Well, I've had a lot of ultrasounds over the past four years.
Y: Your favorite food? Grandma's cooking, all of it.
Z: Zodiac Sign? Capricorn.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

"...o' mice an' men..."

a post for those of you who always tell me how well-behaved my children are...

The best-laid schemes o' mice an' men...

  • pick boys up at preschool
  • unload groceries
  • read books with boys
  • settle Hobbes in bed while Calvin has quiet time
  • settle Calvin down for a nap
  • do some work and rest a bit
  • put bread in bread machine for dinner
  • have snack time and do a craft for Daddy's birthday
  • pick up veggie box from CSA
  • cook dinner to serve with yummy bread while boys play or watch video
  • welcome hubby home for dinner and birthday
...Gang aft agley,
  • pick up boys from preschool
  • unload groceries
  • read books with boys
  • settle Hobbes in bed while Calvin has quiet time (so far so good)
  • casually mention to Calvin that he might want to try a nap
  • spend next 30 minutes trying to calm Calvin's emotional meltdown and convince him that holding him gently is not hurting him, just keeping him from hurting himself or me
  • send Calvin to bed with a book while I rock a completely awake Hobbes to sleep
  • spend another hour alternately listening to Calvin melt down, bursting into tears myself, having a discussion with Calvin about speaking respectfully, trusting Mommy, not being violent, and finding healthy ways to express his emotions
  • leave room having completely given up
  • return when a calmed Calvin asks for help sleeping, even though it is really too late for him to nap
  • enjoy 15 minutes of detox time until Hobbes wakes up, having wet himself and his bed
  • change Hobbes and give him a snack, forget to feed self and baby
  • rouse Calvin from bed just in time to run out for CSA box
  • return to wash wet bedclothes in time for bed tonight, realize I am starving
  • throw children on hubby as soon as he comes home and heat up leftovers for dinner
Sorry, love! So much for a peaceful birthday evening.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Snapshots of a Weekend

There are times when I forget my camera and wish I hadn't. This weekend was full of those moments. So that I won't forget them, I write here.

...a trip to a local dairy's country store for ice cream, two boys sitting on hay bales in the back of a horse drawn wagon as we bump around the edge of the cornfields, feed for cows drying in the hot end of summer...

...Calvin with his double chocolate ice cream all over himself...forehead, ear, chin, shirt and shorts...

...Hobbes contemplating his mint chocolate chip cone so seriously as it dripped down his hands and arms...

...Calvin, when asked what he wanted to order for lunch today, pointing at the menu and saying, "I want the cheese pizza with fresh tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese." That was exactly what it said...

...Hobbes in his red and white Hawaiian print shirt, following carefully behind a white chicken with red comb in Gram's orchard, saying, "May I please pet you chicken? May I please pet you chicken?"...a lovely shot of red, white, and green in the late afternoon sun...

...both boys helping Gram pick watermelon, beans, and tomatoes in the garden on a warm, sunny, Sunday afternoon...

It was a pretty good weekend. My team even won.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Help Me Save a Mountain!

Please, please, please!!!!! This is more important than the babble I usually write here. Read it and take action. We're talking about people blowing the tops off of beautiful mountains and polluting the air and water, forever changing the topography of a region, and putting people in danger. Will you join me in doing something to make a difference?

Please take a few minutes to sign this petition to save Coal River Mountain in West Virginia. Massey Coal company tried to begin blasting today and was stopped by the governor, thanks to e-mails, phone calls, and the petition. The citizens of that area are offering a fantastic alternative of harnessing the mountain's wind power for clean energy while allowing some underground mining to continue for coal.

In case you don't know, I am a bit passionate about saving my mountains from mountaintop removal mining. If you don't know anything about the damage this horrible practice causes, watch this video. With MTR, the Coal River Mountain will only provide about 14 years of coal supply. If the mountain can be saved, the energy harnessed from the wind is endless and coal can still be mined responsibly.

If you want to do more, check out this site. And if you haven't already, plug your zip code into the box on my sidebar and find out your connection to coal. Leave a comment and let me know you have helped!

Thanks for helping save the most beautiful, rugged place in America!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The Goodness of Old Friends

Today I am thankful for...

...a friend who let us live with him in our poor grad school years and whose home and generosity we still return to on visits...

...three wonderfully fun and godly couples with whom we have shared so many meals and laughs...

....God's faithfulness as those couples have prayed and cried and rejoiced our way through incredible loss and beautiful blessing...

...the community of Christ, which survives moves across the Atlantic, and even across the Mason Dixon, and hopefully one day across the Pacific...

...committed, kind, missional professors who are still happy to see me after all these years and who don't think I am wasting my potential by teaching my own children instead of college students...

...holding yet another little boy born to one of the best mamas I know, a boy who is even more of a gift than most babies because of the path his mother has walked...

...his mother and two other beautiful, strong, intelligent women whom I am blessed to call friends...

...women who can reunite after years apart and feel like no time has passed, who love me despite my propensity to talk too much and listen too little, who graciously open up their lives and homes to us whenever we return to see them...

...and most of all, for these same women, who don't judge me or try to make everything okay, who know just the right way to respond, when I surprise myself by being a little bit disappointed that it's another boy.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Boy or Girl?

Now that I am very obviously pregnant, I often get stopped when I am out with the two boys. Complete strangers will come up to me to make comments.

"Is this one a girl?"

"Bet you're hoping for a girl this time!"

"Trying for a girl?"

I don't know why, but this really irks me. I love my boys. I actually wanted to have two boys. I think I am better suited as a mom of boys, and the thought of having a girl scares me a bit. If we have another boy, we will be more than happy. Having a girl might be a fun, if scary, change. Of course, as you other parents out there know, we will love our child no matter who he/she is.

I remember wondering when pregnant with Hobbes how our family dynamics would differ if we had another boy or a girl. I remember thinking there was no way we could handle another child. I remember wondering how we could possibly love another as much as we did Calvin. And then Hobbes arrived. Now our family would feel incomplete without him. Of course Calvin needed a little brother just like Hobbes. That was how it was meant to be.

The same questions are floating around my head this time, about how our family will change once this baby arrives. One thing I do know. Once I hold this baby in my arms, our family will feel incomplete without him or her. In fact, it already would. This child already has a place in all of our hearts.

With both Calvin and Hobbes we chose to wait until birth to find out what we were having. I loved the mystery of not knowing this little person inside of me, and I am not sure how to be pregnant without that element of surprise. That is why I am hesitant.

We brought it with us to Illinois, the envelope that has been sealed and in my dresser drawer since our ultrasound six weeks ago. Our plans were to open it this evening, as we gather with three dear families, families that used to be couples and have now grown to include 11 children age 5 and under. We have 8 boys and 2 girls and our little mystery.

I know that I will love our baby. I know that our baby will be just what our family needs. I just don't know if I want to know if it is a boy or a girl...

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

My Bags Are Packed

Well, actually, my suitcase is at my sister-in-law's, the house needs to be cleaned, I have laundry to put away, and I am nowhere near ready. Nonetheless, we are leaving tomorrow for a long weekend with some dear friends. Not that you have heard much from me lately, anyway, but I thought I should explain my absence. Be back next week!

Oh, and in case you are following the Hobbes situation, he cried again this morning when I dropped him off at school, despite his best efforts to control it. I'm so glad Calvin is there to grab his hand and distract him. I hope this will get better.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

But It Can Get Worse

Update: My friend, Catherine, tells me that Mr. Rogers is gone from all PBS stations. Please consider e-mailing your local PBS station and the national organization, asking them to return the best children's show on television. (Go to PBSkids.org and send an e-mail from the "help" page.) I truly cannot imagine my kids growing up without Fred Rogers' compassionate, respectful, and loving way of interacting with children. It just makes me sooooo sad.

Unfortunately, things have gone downhill since yesterday.

My team lost. In overtime. With a missed field goal. To and unranked team. They looked terrible.

And then I just discovered that Mr. Rogers is no longer being shown on our local PBS station. No Mr.Rogers?!?!? It makes me sad to think my kids suddenly won't have access to him anymore. We can't buy DVD's because Mr.Rogers is only available on PBS, no videos for sale. I am almost as sad as I was when I found out he died. If you can't imagine being sad about losing Mr. Rogers, here's why I love him.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Orange Shirts, Football, and Free Chick-fil-A...Does it get any better?

That's right folks. Today is it, the day everyone in my family is forced to wear orange and prepare for the opening of my beloved Vols football season. It's been a good day so far. The boys slept late. I spent the morning on Skype with a dear friend who lives overseas. And we just returned from some Labor Day shopping and a fun lunch. After naps we are headed to a cookout and swim party with church before coming home to prepare for Tennessee vs. UCLA tonight.

What a sight we were today, all four of us wearing bright, obnoxious, lovely orange as we strolled through Babies 'R' Us to buy Calvin a new booster seat for the car. Then we headed to Chick-fil-A for our free chicken strips. If you are near a Chick-fil-A and love it as much as we do, put on your team gear and head over for a free 3-pack of strips.

There's nothing a pregnant mama likes better than having her husband home on a Monday and getting an almost free lunch out! Except of course, watching her team win tonight...Oh, I hope they do!

Wish that I was on old Rocky Top...