Thursday, December 29, 2011

So long.

Christmas.  Goodbye, old friend.  I'll harken your return upon the morrow.

When a snow flake falls, I rush outside to catch it's damp beauty on my tongue.  I marvel at the glistening white that turns, a world of sodden rush, to quiet beauty.  I fill myself on the joy that comes from icy blasts of air and red cheeks, hands warmed around hot mugs of chocolate.  For a brief moment everything halts, slowly drops of lace fall, turning a muddy street to tufts of brilliant powder.  Trees hang, weighted, like old men who have said goodbye to many a friend.  Children watch, eagerly waiting the moment the flakes have piled themselves just high enough to whisk a sled to a pile of laughter.  So very, very brief is this moment.

Then out, you find yourself, gingerly placing your foot in the untouched snow.  Laughing as snowballs fly in wild abandon.  The pristine world, once more fills with the life and vibrancy of sound.  Before you fully felt your joy, the snow plows come, chasing away the wild fantasy of life that halted work and productivity.  Dogs must be released and tire tracks replace the halting prints of wonder.  Beauty quickly turns to ugly black ice banks and slippery mud sink feet in it's mire.  Just like that the magic fades.

The week after Christmas feels much like the week after a brilliant snow fall.  The sadness as the beauty slips away and the desperate demands of life sink you back to startling reality.  Gone are the bells and calls of cheer.  The wild, desperate shopping and baking that fills your home with the warmth of scent.  The lights and gleaming decor, replaced in their efficient boxes.  Trees that were picked with such care and wonder, tossed to the street.

Goodbye, goodbye.  

Sweet melancholy fills my heart and I whisper a heartfelt farewell.  I'll stay quiet this week.  I'll soak in the lingering bits of holiday.  I'll have just one more cup of cocoa with mounds of whipped cream.  I'll eat just one more cookie.  Then I'll tuck away all of the joy and memory from this beautiful year and hide it away to show one day to gleaming faces around a lighted tree.

Upon a jingle and a shout of glee, I'll whisper goodbye.

Just one more year and all will change.  We'll all be older.  We'll all be, just a little different.  Never again will this Christmas happen.  It was fleeting.  In that was the magic.


Saturday, December 17, 2011

Let's talk about poop.

Really.  Just for a minute.  It will only be slightly painful.

My daughter is not potty trained.  Gasp. Sob. Sigh.
She is 27months.  Or a little over 2.   Totally not a big deal, right?!  She's still little and whatnot.  But, I'm a mom and I would really like to be a perfect mom.  She is making this difficult.  She is not falling in line.  She is my second.  I thought I had it all under control.  My son was potty trained just a month after 2, BOOYA!  in yo FACE!  Sorry, gangsta C came out to play for a moment, we locked her up, forgetaboutit.  My son gave me this fantastic illusion of perfection.  He let me think I had it all under control and that I was doing things soooo well.  My daughter on the other hand said f**** your control.  Seriously, I really think I heard her say that.  Don't worry, I washed her mouth out with soap.  Okay I didn't, I think you get charged for child abuse with that one.

The point, shocking I know, but I do have one, is that it's OKAY for your child to not be potty trained on your schedule.  Say this with me, They will go in the potty when they're ready!!  Unless they're five, then it's time for shock therapy, medication, or an intervention.  Or if Avi is still not potty trained at five I will come back and change this to 10.  If she's still wearing a diaper at ten, the doctor's missed something and she must not be my child.  Aren't I such a great mom, I would wait for her to be 10 before I gave her back!  I'm awesome.

Parents have plans.  We have boxes.  We hear stories of so and so's kid and think, my kid is so much better than yours, just wait to see how quickly they use the toilet, eat solid foods, write letters, count. It doesn't end, this mommy pressure.  It is less about our kid, and more about how great we are that they can recite Shakespeare at 2.  It's parent pride and I am full of it.  We also don't want to think that our child is in anyway behind the curve, that's never a good thing.  Awkward, embarrassing, because in our minds it somehow reflects poorly on us.  We're parents, we blame ourselves for everything!  Even when it totally isn't our fault, we like to own it, feel some good ol' guilt, then wash it down with a fat glass of wine.

Back to potty training.  I have done a lot right in this area.  I've introduced the potty to Avi as the big scary monster, that she should never come near.  Then I've wrapped it in seran wrap just to make it really impossible.  Why?  Because diapers are AWESOME!!  You don't have to run to the bathroom when you're in the middle of grocery shopping.  You don't have to get up at 3AM to take them to the toilet.  You don't have to have all of those horrible moments that happen, when everything is ready and OH NO mommy, I have to pee!  They don't wet the bed.  These are wonderful things, cherish them.  Diapers ROCK!

In order to be a great mom with bragging rights, you have to get them to put their poop in the right spot. It really can't go in the diaper forever, bummer, I know.  I have an AMAZING friend, all of her girls have been potty trained before 2.  Why?  Cause she's the best.  She's incredibly humble about it, which she can be, because hello! before 2.  It also may be because she's pretty chill.  I may have tried a little too hard.  I did introduce the potty to both of my children at 15 months.  I did give treats and make a big fuss every time they went (in hindsight, this may have been frightening).  I did do naked time, which resulted in lots of poop on the floor.  I did offer something big, if she could go 7 days without an accident.  I did sing silly songs and play itsy bitsy spider to infinity just to keep her on the potty, to get her to go number 2, which she would, on the floor, as soon as she got down.

I have therefore decided to throw in the towel.  I decided this the other day when I asked Avi if she would like to be all done with diapers in January and she sobbed NO! NO! NO!  Therefore, we are embracing the diaper.  We are mounting it in gold and hanging it like a pendant from our ceiling.  Long live the diaper! My fabulous girl is very opinionated and I am pretty sure she would already go on the potty if she didn't think I wanted her to.  So I don't.  I could care less.  When she's ready she will go get on the potty and go, all on her own.  I will be okay with this.  I will not feel like a failure.  I will remind myself that she is her own person and she will go when she's good and ready.  When she is 16 I will tell her about this, in front of her friends.  Often.  Okay, fine I won't.  Maybe.

Lot's of kids take forever before they're ready.  I used to think it was the parents.  Now I have children and I know it's the parents I mean kids!  Before you enter the fabulous world of parenthood, you make some judgements, usually that everyone you know sucks and when you have your own kids you will do everything perfectly.  Not anything like the people that you know, or did, before you stopped hanging out with them because they were such failures at life.  Even, let's be honest, some first time parents do this, because they may just have a perfect kid the first time around.  It's the second that really puts a kink in your plans and if you're second didn't, you need to keep having kids until you know what it's like.

To sum it all up, if you have a child that thinks the toilet is an evil green goblin that should be avoided at all costs, it's okay.  First paint the toilet white, that should help.  Then, let them tell you when they're ready.  It will happen.  If it doesn't by five see above.

Blessings, joy, and luck to all of you in the trenches.

ps. did I ever tell you about the time my son rubbed poop on the walls?

she had just peed, in her pants.  yay!

Friday, December 16, 2011

The confessions of an oddity.

Because I am perfect and you may not be.  I thought I would confess a couple of things.

1. I am not perfect.  I just try really really hard to be and then get really really mad when I'm not.
   a. I am working to let this go.
2. I am not a very good list maker.  I attempt, but somewhere in the middle forget what I am doing and start writing without one.
   a. Maybe this one will be successful.  So that I don't have to get mad.
3. I have expectations.  They are usually not met.
   a. This means that my mother was right.
4. My house is not always clean.
   a. If I know someone is coming over, it will be clean.  Even if my kids have to be tied to the couch in order for this to be accomplished.
5. I think my lower case a's are supposed to be upper case A's.
   a. Maybe I am not a perfectionist, because I'm not going to change it.
6. What if reading this is the best thing you get to do today?
   a. Then I hope you have a cookie, just to make up for it.
7. My mind should not be unleashed.  I think the list is unleashing it.
  a. I'm sorry.
8.  My daughter is not potty trained.  I don't feel like a failure, yet.  I am annoyed with her.
  a. Yes, I know.  Really I do.  Someone will tell me anyway.
9. I love coffee. If I could, I would sit with a book and a GIANT cup of coffee that would never get cold and I would literally never move.
  a. This is a fantasy.  I'm sorry no one's naked, but I just don't think that way.
10. I like ignoring my children.  I am highly skilled at this.  I don't even hear when they cry.
  a. They're very good at paying me back with a shocking mess.
11. I like knowing secrets.  I am very good at keeping them.  As long as you are very clear that NO ONE can know.  If you tell me 3 people can know it won't feel like a real secret and I will tell everyone.
12. I am able to eat an entire pie.
   a. This does not make me sick, just means my pants will be a little tight for a few days.
13.  I think I'm awesome.  I probably think that you are awesome as well.  Unless you suck. In which case no one thinks you're awesome.
14. My New Years Resolution is to eat more chocolate.  To watch more TV.  and to not move more than 5 minutes a day.
  a. Failure is not an option.
15. This is my last one.   I am a sappy romantic.  Truly, I love the cheesiest, gushy movies ever.
  a. My husband does not.
16. Sometimes I lie.

Merry Merry Merry Christmas.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

a woman's moment.

There she stood.  Quiet on the mountainside.  The widespread beauty stunned, and for a moment, there was nothing but the fleeting rustle of sound.  Cold, she pulled her sweater close and breathed the rich air of pine and smoke.  The ridgeline swept high and tapered one after another.  Deep majesty made clear the small place she took in this life.  Her insignificance threatened to overcome and she wondered at her place in this so great a world.

Children shouted back and forth, until the weight of barreling bodies, thrown full force against her, almost brought her to the ground.

"Mama!  I find you."small hands cupped her cheeks and tiny nose rubbed eskimos.  Little boy arms clung to her leg.  They stood, small lives braced against the world.  Sometimes, her lack felt bigger than her riches.  Sometimes, all she should have done, swallowed all that she did.

There is no one writing sonnets to the woman at the stove, nourishing those she loves.  No music plays while she scrapes the crusted food from the well worn floor.  There is no applause when she carried a hurting child and kissed the blood stained wound.  Stories did not give part to the woman who valiantly stood through life, faithful in the mundane.

The sun set and his arm came to wrap around her.  As always happened, the puzzle fit back into place, and she was safe, held, home.  The colors spread in glorious brilliance and the family faded in the dark.  The night whispered close and though no one was there to see, no pen to recant, all beauty glittered in that night.

Thursday, December 8, 2011


It is a brilliant day.  Blue skies and cold, but not crazy, wear a million coats, frozen face, cold.  Pleasantly cold.  I love December.  All month I get to enjoy every little moment.  I have an excuse to shop and wrap things in pretty paper and I get to drink as much hot cocoa with candy canes as I want.  This is a great deal of cocoa.  If your supermarket is running low, more than likely it is because of my massive consumption.  

I love the smell of pine, I love brewing my big cup of coffee and turning on Christmas music, while the lights on the tree glow joyfully through the room.  Simple to say this is a very happy time.  

Beyond all of the magic of Christmas, this is the last month of the year.  Probably the last month of the world, because everything is going to end in 2012.  I love to take this time to reflect on my year, to use what I've learned to propel me forward into the next.  I don't typically look back and feel a twinge of regret.  This year I do.  Not condemning regret, more of a realization that I could have done it better and a deep desire to press into this next with purpose.  

What is purpose?  It is both intention and the reason we exist.  In its nature, it is the outward looking of our lives.  The necessity to carry, focus and determination.  

Often I can find myself wondering where did this day go?  What did I accomplish, attain, or more importantly, impart?  In this moment, I find myself looking back in review and speculating upon the very little I purposed.  

This could turn to a discouraging diatribe on all I should have done, all I wish I did, and how I am somehow less than, for not doing or being 'better'. 

But, I have no use for that.  

In these few years I have lived, I can tell you that nothing good will come from beating yourself down or wishing you could change what has already been.  There is no life there and it's better to move from it as quickly as possible.  

I reflect, because I want to grow from where I have been.  As I am feeling now, I don't want to redo last year, I want to transform, move forward with decision and purpose.  

I want to grow.

This was definitely a difficult season.  I think in the middle of hard times you can miss all that is being accomplished in you and through you, because it's not easy to look beyond the immediate.  Yet, in this place I want to focus.  To live in consistency, despite what life may feel like.

Some goals I have for this year, to improve over my last.  

I want to focus on my children.  To enjoy them.  To always be kind.  To be patient.  To listen.  

Less rushed.  Better at taking deep breaths and not reacting to the stress of the moment.  Who cares if we are going to be thirty minutes late, even though we were trending to be early.  Getting mad will not get us there any earlier.  (burn this in me oh Lord!)

To see each day as full.  Even if we never leave the house.  To make our time matter, because we are focused and intentional in each interaction.

To be a joy and blessing to every person that we encounter.  May their day be brighter because they were near us.  

Even if it happens in snippets, to take those moments and just be with the Lord.  It doesn't have to be a cup of coffee, sitting on the couch, with the lights just so, and quiet.  It can be the chaotic ball just missing my head and children singing gleefully, while twirling hands dismantle a room.  I want to find my peace in those moments.  Learn huge wisdom, when life is beyond me.  

To pursue my dreams.  With wild ambition and passion, not despising the baby step process.

These may not seem like huge wild sweeping goals.  Each in its own way is moving me with purpose.  Keeping me held to a higher demand on my life.  Propelling me to be the woman, wife, and mother to whom I have been destined.  

May this amazing season be filled with great joy.  May you sink your teeth into the very heart of life.  And enjoy giant cups of rich cocoa, don't forget the candy cane.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

looking inward.

                                                                                                 photo by the amazing Heather Armstrong

Today seems like a good day for confessions.

I am a dreamer.  Since I was young I would follow the rabbit trails through my imagination.  I would form rooms of secret longings.  When life beat too hard, I would retreat to my hidden sanctuaries.

I have never acted on my dreams or wholeheartedly pursued the worlds I would create.  They were just places to visit.  I never thought myself worth bringing them into the every day.

Longing, I have lived.  Not quite accepting of where I find myself.  This place of dreams just a thought away.  Slowly, I realize I am living dissatisfied.

In this self reflection I have to wonder how many out there resonate with this realization.  That have become so comfortable in their imagination, they've neglected to pull them into reality.

I would be the first to say that I am terrified.  Crippled by the belief that I am not good enough and that nothing I could create would really be worthwhile.  It is this type of lie that continually holds me bound.  Always longing, never realizing.

This blog is a small step of living in my dreams.  Though, I haven't nurtured or poured into it as I ought.  Still, feeling the weight of fear.  I have dabbled just my fingers, too afraid of submerging myself.

My dreams have begun to grow old.  The closets in my head are shrinking.  Leaving the paper and my pen the only outlets of a bleeding mind.

Babies and colds.

Hi.  It has been a while.  I didn't mean it to be so long. Or, maybe I did.  We've been in the trenches, so to speak.  It comes about every now and then, usually in the winter.  Sickness strikes.  This time it was a little mean.

There is something about being a mother and having a sick child.  Especially when it's your first, there's this psycho need to be aware of every little thing, monitoring exactly how many feedings to wet diapers, to flush to fever, to oh my goodness are they going to survive?!  I was blessed to have amazing women go before who encouraged, instructed, and also laughed hysterically at my concern and inexperience.

Sometimes it is more than just a cold and more than just croup and you end up in the hospital.  I remember when I was a new mom feeling so annoyed when people would tell me I'd know when it was serious, I'd know when it was time to take action.  It takes a little while to learn your child, but you do.  You learn what their cries mean, you learn their language, you know what they're thinking or what they're up to maybe even before they've completely thought it out, because every day you are studying them.  It just happens.

If you are anything like me, you are also researching every sniffle and home remedy out there.  I love the internet.  I love finding a million cures.  I also love that I knew what to do for croup, long before my daughter had it, because I'd googled coughs when my son was four months old.  I am an expert at coughs.

This last little round had me pulling a couple of all nighters.  I have to admit that I kind of love them.  I love staying up with my sleeping baby, holding them upright so they can pull in full breaths.  I brew a big cup of coffee and put on Gilmore Girls.  There is something so special about Gilmore Girls in the middle of the night.  I used to watch it when Judah was first born and would literally nurse from 1-5.  Thank God I finally put him in bed with me.   But, I miss those Gilmore nights and happily relive them when my babies are sick.

I'm happy to say that we are on the mend.  We've survived this first bout of illness and we'll survive any to come.  I'll miss those quiet days cuddling on the couch and the stillness of the nights.  But, I prefer our health.  I am eager to throw myself into this Holiday Season and embrace the joys of each small memory.

To your health and joy this Christmas.  May you be fully blessed!