Friday, October 29, 2010

Friday Four

One of my friends started posting each member of her family's highlight of the week on Fridays. She calls it "Friday Five". I thought it was a great idea so I'm stealing it for my family of four. :)

Matt: Seeing you and the kids at random times during the day this week.  
(Ummm...I could also make this into a game of Fact or Fiction. Was that really the highlight of your week, babe??)
One afternoon I got a text from him telling me he was going running, and since we were nearby, I decided to see if I could find him. Sure enough we found him shirtless and sweaty in the parking lot where he runs. Just as I suspected. Even better, he treated me to a smoothie. Then as I was climbing the stairs at the gym yesterday I got a whack on the butt. Though I workout alongside some creepers sometimes, I doubted anyone would be willing to be that creepy- except for my husband! Sure enough, it was him.

Me: Going on a date with Matt last night.
Aaaahhh- I'm glad that after five years of marriage I still get excited to go out on dates with Matt. All we did was go to Home Goods and Lowe's, but anytime I get the chance to shop without kids is awesome. We could walk around leisurely, without alternating between looking at an item and making faces at a baby to keep him from crying, or telling a toddler that she shouldn't eat random pieces of candy off the ground. Oh- and we also got frozen yogurt, which would be a highlight of the week even if I was eating it by myself trapped in a glass bubble. Having Matt with me made it that much more enjoyable though.

Em: Jumping and playing in the Jeep at the beach.
This actually happened in a backyard instead of by the ocean but that's okay. I'm glad that she likes imaginative play. We went to an annual pumpkin painting party at a friend's house where she got to play with a bunch of other kids, jump on their trampoline, and cruise to the beach in a broken down Jeep toddler toy. I got to chat with other adults. Win/win.

Jax: Going to the doctor.
Okay, this is probably a stretch, seeing as though the poor boy had to get three shots, but let's roll with it. His sister got stickers, which made her happy, and a happy sister makes for a happy little brother. At least when the sister is prone to biting. We found out that he's measuring in the 43rd percentile for weight and the 39th for height. This is great because it means he'll be able to stay in all of his clothes for longer. No need to pack up the 3 month old clothes yet. My peanut will have plenty of tine to wear them out.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Veggie Tales

There's something that will never be found on my blog. Ever. It's a staple for most mommy blogs but not mine. At least not without a miracle from God.

I will never post a recipe.

I love food.
Truly. Madly. Deeply.

But cooking.
Hate it.

For as much as I love food, I should like to cook. I think about food. I make plans around food. I'll drive miles out of my way for food. Just don't ask me to cook.  I have two dishes that I make with relative success, but beyond that, I'm a hot mess. I manage to ruin every recipe I get my hands on. I used to think Matt just wasn't really a "dinner person" until we moved in with his parents. Turns out he likes dinner just fine as long as his mom's cooking. Though he'd never admit it, he makes his plans on whether or not to eat dinner based on who cooked.

A typical conversation of ours goes is as follows:
"Are you planning on eating dinner?"
"Who's cooking?"
"I was going to make _______ (insert anything)."
"Hmm, I had a pretty big lunch. I'm not that hungry."

So the story goes.

I can't say that I blame him, but still, how's a girl supposed to improve if she never has the opportunity?

Here's the other problem though. I hate touching raw meat. I hate even looking at it. The smell, the texture, everything about it makes me sick. When it's cooked I'm as carnivorous as can be, but if I have to handle it myself I  can't get it out of my mind what it looked like before being cooked. I mean, the feel of a once living being's flesh between my fingers makes me want to vomit. When I'm chewing, all I can think about is how gross it is that I'm eating something that was alive. Weird, I know. What's weirder is the fact that I rarely have these thoughts if the meat was cooked by someone else. Give me a nice steak marsala from Carrabba's and I'm a happy girl. Have me season some chicken before Matt throws it on the grill and I'm done. Cooking almost makes me want to be a vegetarian. Not a real vegetarian- just a when-I'm-cooking-vegetarian. I've run the idea by Matt but he's not for it. He likes his meat, but since he doesn't like my cooking to begin with, what's the difference, right? Right. Maybe meat has been the problem all along though. What if there's a great vegetarian cook trapped inside of me, desperate to get out?

So, with that said, I need some good vegetarian recipes to ruin.
Can anyone help a sista out?

Friday, October 22, 2010

Life As Three Seconds From Insanity

Life as art? Hahaha- Monday's post mocks me here on Friday. This week it's more like life as surviving without poking my eyes out. Or life as three seconds away from losing my sanity. Or life when your child's your thorn in the flesh. Yep- it's been one of those weeks.

Em has always been prone to tantrums. She's had some doozies but had been doing really well for quite a while. She had a rough patch in the time period right before she could really talk and her method of communication became the freak-out. Then when Jax was first born she threw some hissy fits, which have continued off and on since June. The past month or two have been hard, but we've tried to be consistent with her when I know life is pretty inconsistent right now. When Matt's gone (like this week) the fits usually peak, but this week...oh- a total mountaintop experience. I mean, my girl peaked.

It started off at the gym when she decided to bite her bro. On the head. Poor sweet, unassuming Jax who smiles 90% of the day started wailing as I had just put him down to get a diaper out of my bag. I knew instantly that it had to have been the result of a bite, so when I saw his wet forehead with huge teeth marks in it I wasn't surprised. I handed my sobbing Jax over to the childcare worker, spanked my Em, and subsequently watched her fall into the tantrum to end all tantrums. She freaked. She screamed, she cried, she flailed. It was awful. And she did it the whole way out the door. So there I was with a baby in one arm, trying to pick up my psycho two-year old with the other arm. It's a darn good thing I've been working out. We got about halfway to the car (it's a looooong way to the car) when I put her down and just started walking. This was a great lesson for me to learn. Two-year olds don't realize that they won't really be left behind. Muhahaha. I used that trick more than once this week. Yeees.

Back to the biting though. Unfortunately, it's become a pattern. As in, she's bitten her little brother in the toes twice before the head incident and just last week bit her best buddy on the cheek. So, I did something that no parent ever wants to do. I bit my child. The whole idea of "this is going to hurt me more than it hurts you" was so true in this situation. It was an awful feeling. Very calmly, on the ride home, I told her what I was going to do and explained to her why. Then I tested it on my own arm to figure out the balance of not too hard, but hard enough to have an impact. I called a friend who had done the same thing and whose child never bit again. Then I swallowed down my own tears and went up to her room. I guess this is what they call tough love. I don't like it at all.

The week didn't improve either. She threw tantrums all week and I truly don't know what to do. She just did again this afternoon. I've tried everything. I stay calm even when I'm seething inside. So what in the world can I do? What's the one thing I haven't tried yet? There's gotta be something. Is it just me? Am I just a terrible parent? Oh my word. HEEEEEEELLLLLLLLPPPPPPP MMMMMMEEEEEEEEEE.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Life as Art

Emma's really into coloring these days. She's pretty good at it too, for a two-year old. I love watching her creativity develop. She'll draw circles all over the page and tell me that she made a giraffe. She likes her art abstract. My nine-year old niece called me yesterday for advice on a monologue she's going to use to audition for community theater. I hope she continues to seek out opportunities to be part of the telling of great stories.

All of life has some element of art to it. I love that God has placed this innate desire in our hearts to create, to make things beautiful, to tell rich stories. To be a part of something. God is the ultimate creative genius, but he lets us be a part of creation. He's been doing it from the beginning. Even after forming the world and proclaiming it good, he allowed Adam and Eve to continue with the work, to cultivate the space around them, using their own minds and hands to make it even better. What's even more amazing is that he knew we would sin and mess things up, and he still allowed us to be part of the creative process. What artist lets amatuers take his work and add their own touches? A generous and confident One that knows that He cannot be outdone. No matter how good or bad the other artists are, they ultimately just highlight the works of the Original. When I backpacked in Europe, I visited countless churches and cathedrals and saw great works of art, but nothing made by man compared to the Meditteranean coast or mountains of Austria. I was literally awestruck by the greatness of God while walking the mountains of Cinque Terra, where every turn produced an even more breathtaking view. And the God who created all of this invites us to be a part of the continual creative process.

Life is constant motion. We all have our own little space that he's given us to cultivate and keep. He's given me gifts and talents to use along the way, but my whole identity is secured in Him. I don't have to be anxious about not getting it right or failing. I don't have to operate in crisis mode, like I was in this post. Even when life seems mundane, whether it's cleaning the house or learning to raise my children, it's all the work of taking something as it is and cultivating it's potential. I just have to be faithful with the palette He's put before me and trust that He will make it into something beautiful.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Where It All Began...

Six years ago these kiddos were merely a twinkle in our eyes.

Six years ago, Matt pulled into the parking lot of the Cedarville gorge, took my hand, and asked, "Want to go on an adventure?"
Such a loaded question.

There are several gorges where we lived, but this particular one had significance to me from our college days. One of my first days as a freshman, I went on a class walk there, where I had my first, awkward conversations with people that would become my friends. I remember hiding from the police with random people after bridge-jumping at this gorge. Throughout my college years I would often go running there with my girlfriends, sometimes ending up just laughing together or swimming in the deeper parts of the creek. Matt and I would take walks there together, where I learned of our shared love of nature and that he could identify plants and knew the names of the each layer of the rock walls. There were times that I would escape to the gorge to have a good cry by myself or look for God when I had trouble seeing Him in the middle of my Christian college. I loved it there.

But back to the proposal...

We got out of the car and he dragged me lead me through the trail, tripping over roots and rocks, almost breaking our ankles. A flashlight probably would have been a good idea, but I suppose a pitch-black rocky trail was more our style. We got to a staircase that was lit with candles that lead to a rose-covered blanket with an open Bible and two bottles of Jones soda. He read I Corinthians 13 to me, said lots of nice things that I can no longer remember, and got down on his knee and asked me to marry him.

I'm so glad I said yes.

Thursday, October 14, 2010


A couple weeks ago we headed back to Ohio for the first time since leaving two years ago. It was Matt's five year reunion and since I'm always up for a sixteen hour drive with two young children, on we went. Matt's mom was nice enough to make the trip with me, so we could take extra time and Matt wouldn't have to take off more time from work. We split the trip up, stopping at Joel and Terri's in Atlanta. We got to spend an entire day with Terri, doing what three women with two children do- shop, eat, and shop some more. Em and Jax are well trained for such excursions. The next morning we were on our merry way.

It's always funny stepping back on Cedarville's campus. Not much has changed; the Cedarville culture that existed while I was there is still in place. The students still look the same, dress the same, and use the same lingo. Case in point- while out to dinner at Chili's the night before with my sister-in-law and a couple of her friends, one girl was describing a possible crush-worthy boy and used the same inflection as I remember my own friends using while saying said boy was "quality." Yep. So many Cedarville boys in my day were described as qual-it-y during a quality conversation in the dorm while stuffing our faces with pretzels and nutella. Those were the days.

We got to catch up with lots of friends at the alumni soccer game where all the once soccer girlfriends were toting our now soccer babies and watching our almost thirty-year old husbands try not to injury themselves on the field. I also got to have lunch in Yellow Springs with two of my favorite people from college whose lives are so totally different from mine right now, but whom I'll always be able to connect with. I love relationships like that.

We were able to get a couple fall(ish) activities in on Friday with the kids. And by fallish activities I mean going to an apple orchard that wasn't producing any apples to pick. Boo. We got a few cute pics of the kids with some gourds though. It was the best we could do. We also took the kids to where it all began- the gorge where Matt asked me to marry him. Actually, today is six years to the day that he proposed. One of these days I'll blog about that.

Saturday afternoon was a washout. It rained all during the soccer game, which is not fun in the Ohio cold. Literally two minutes into the game Jax and I called it quits and sat in the car. Nursing in a cold rain is not on my bucket list. All plans of catching up with people that we had missed thus far were ruined. We also made the mistake of attending Matt's reunion. Unlike my involved-in-campus-life friends that I graduated with, we forgot that Matt's friends were all too cool for such events. Can't say we knew more than 3% of the 250 people that attended. Oh well.

At 4:30 the next morning Emma woke up coughing, which woke Jax up. With two kids and a mommy that couldn't go back to sleep we did the only logical thing- we hit the road. We were stopping in Atlanta again and since Matt hadn't seen Joel and Terri on the way up, we thought we'd get there in time to actually spend some time with them. A good choice on our part. Along with being able to hang out, we were able to have Pinkberry for the third time that week. Score.

I think we might attempt the trip again in May for Tim's graduation. Too bad we didn't go to school in a more exotic location. Or at least not in a cornfield. Note to self: when it comes time for my children to attend college, think Westmont.