Monday, June 17, 2013

Monday Encouragement

jesus storybook

Forgive the terrible quality of this picture.  I took it on my phone straight out of the Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones.

I was reading through parts of the storybook Bible the other night while Andy was bathing Liam (Liam isn’t quite old enough yet, so we stick with the Jesus Calling Storybook Bible and Tiny Bear’s Bible for him), and I nearly came undone. 

Because in spite of everything, God loves his children—with a Never Stopping, Never Giving Up, Unbreaking, Always and Forever Love.

Oh Lord, that you would create in me a heart that yearns for a heavenly home.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Weddings are important, but anniversaries are better

This is a little different for me, but I’m going here.  I have been thinking about this for a while, and in honor of my own 6th anniversary and my sister’s upcoming wedding, I had a few things to say.

(Please note that exactly nothing I am about to say applies to my sister…she is probably the very first bride I have ever in my life met who has a right and true perspective on her own wedding day and isn’t taking anything too seriously.  Me six years ago could take a lesson from my sister)

Weddings are important.  Weddings are awesome.  They are an incredible day, and a fun time for all.

But then they are over.

And I feel like we might forget that.  A wedding is a day.  And I think some people might think too highly of their own weddings.  I think it’s cultural.  It’s become a phenomenon, this outdo everyone else’s wedding competition.  This need to have the best, the most, the greatest of everything.  The need to have a dozen showers and an entire bachelor and bachelorette weekend getaway.  It’s reached a level of crazy.  Andy and I sat down and tried to calculate how much we had spent on tux rentals, bachelor parties, dresses and shower gifts since we’ve been married.  The number was pretty ridiculous….and our friends tend to be more on the conservative side.  I know a couple who between the two of them probably spent close to five grand on bachelor/bachelorette weekends alone last year…with the same group of people over and over just for someone else’s wedding in their circle of friends.

Weddings are important.  Weddings are awesome. 

But they are one day.

I think anniversaries are getting the short end of the stick.  Anniversaries are important.  Anniversaries are a thing to be celebrated.  Anniversaries are awesome.

You want to know why?

Anyone can get married.  Not everyone gets to the anniversaries.  Even fewer have fun and happy anniversaries.  Look at the Hollywood portrayal of weddings.  Then look at the Hollywood portrayal of anniversaries.  We have a real problem.  Weddings are fun and fantasy like…anniversaries are treated like a waste of time, or made into a joke….”Oh look, this man forgot his anniversary again.  Slap to the head…D’oh.”

But anniversaries are so much more than that.  An anniversary is a celebration of the year you just lived together.  Some years, it might feel like a celebration of a year you survived.  Others, it’s a toast to the best time of your life.  Often, it’s both at once.  But it’s a celebration all right.  A celebration of what you have done together.  The battle scars you have gained together, the joy you have celebrated.  The ways in which your marriage has grown, and changed, and molded, and shaped everything.  You, your spouse, your family, your lives. 

Anniversaries are important.  Anniversaries are awesome.  Anniversaries celebrate everything.

So let’s hear it for anniversaries.  Because they rock.

I started writing this the day after my own anniversary, back in May, but it got lost in the shuffle, so I’m posting it now.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

For 15 to 20 years from now

Dear girls who might want to put their mouth on my son’s mouth in fifteen to twenty years,

First off, if you are putting your mouth on my son’s mouth, you had better hope I like you.  I’m just saying.  I went through hell when that boy was born, and I fully intend to vet any girl who has the nerve to put her mouth on his mouth, because I’m his mama and I can.  So remember that.  Crazy mom.  Are you sure you want to put your mouth on his mouth?

If you’re still around, and still trying to put your mouth on his mouth, then I have something to tell you.  Liam ate a worm.  Just bit it right in two.  Also, he drinks dirty water from his water table and I think I caught him licking a car bumper recently.  Also, he eats dog food.  So think about all that before you put your mouth on his mouth.

But, if you still want to put your mouth on his mouth after all that, you might be all right.

And bonus, he is likely to have a great immune system.


Liam’s mom (the crazy one).

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Our day in moments of grace

I have been in a super contemplative (and admittedly emotional) mood lately, and I wanted to record a few moment from today.  Mostly they were moments when I bowled over with grace.  I have been trying to take a step back and examine lately, instead of allowing myself to flit about and end the day with little recollection and very little grace or kindness.  I have been struggling a lot lately, for a variety of reasons, and have been trying to refocus and see the blessings God has placed in my life.  So here are a few of those moments from today:


At a little after 7 this morning, I heard the door across the hallway slowly creak open.  It was followed shortly by a tiny giggle and the pitter patter of our sweet boy coming to join his mommy and daddy in bed.  He crawled in on Andy’s side (as usual) and snuggled in tight between us, taking a minute to give each of us a kiss.  He discovered Ollie with his feet, and lifted the blanket to give him a kiss.  He curled up in my arm and we started to watch Mickey Mouse on Netflix on my phone so I could have a few minutes to stretch out and wake up and smell his sweet head.  He put his hands behind his head and crossed his ankles…the exact position his sweet daddy watches tv in.  It was lovely and perfect and the nicest way to start a day.


We spent most of the day outside, the way summer days are meant to be spent.  Liam spent his time filling cup after cup from his water table, and racing to new parts of the yard to water it.  He is in a helper phase, where he tries to do what he sees adults doing—dishes, laundry, watering, vacuuming.  It’s so sweet.  I love watching him race with his cup and watering can, spilling half his bucket on the way there.  The look of utter joy and pride and satisfaction in his eyes makes my heart feel like it’s going to burst into a million pieces.  There are some moments when his independence makes me utterly crazy, and I need to remember this feeling in that moment. 


After dinner, the day was winding down. Liam had bathed, and we were in the last little patch of time between bath and bed.  Andy had out his guitar and was singing praise songs, I was singing with him as I put away the toys that got pulled out in the forty minutes we played indoors today.  It wasn’t the sweet magical moment I envisioned when we were dating, or even the one I thought of when people talked about family devotions or singing together.  Because only Andy was still, and focused.  I was moving and cleaning, and Liam was running through the living room shrieking and flying his airplane while my mother-in-law pretended to be an airplane chasing behind him making whooshing noises.  Every time she stopped, he shouted “Eemie, shwooosh” (Eemie is the way he has begun to pronounce Grammy…and I love every bit of it.  It wasn’t what I imagined, but I loved it.  Our wild boy, our imperfect little family, is way better than the serene cookie cutter I imagined.  I’m sure some day we will all be still and sing together, but I bet when it happens, as much as I enjoy it, I’ll be nostalgic for now.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Liam turns 2

This picture is Liam on his second birthday.  I wanted to remember what we did for his actual birthday, then his party later.

On Liam's birthday, we had his 2 year checkup.  He and I drove to the Castleton office of his pediatrician by ourselves.  After waiting 45 minutes for our appointment, we finally saw the doctor and everything looked great.  Liam weighed 30 pounds and was 37 inches tall.  His alphabet and number/color/shape skills were closer to meeting the standards for a 3 year old than a 2 year old.  She was super happy with everything.
After his appointment, he and I played outside for a long time.  We did sidewalk chalk and bubbles and rode  his tricycle.  Then he had lunch and a nap.  Mariah was supposed to come visit, but she got sick, so I took a nap with Liam that afternoon.  We had dinner, and cupcakes with dinner.  After cupcakes, Aunt Lauren came down from Chicago.  She and Liam played together for a while, and he stole her dinner.  When it was time for Liam to go to bed, Lauren and I went to Target to start preparing for Liam's party...and we shopped and cooked until 11:30 that night to be prepared.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Letter to Liam at 2

Dear Liam,
I was just reading the letter I wrote to you last year, and it’s amazing to me how much has changed, but how much has stayed the same.
A year ago, I told you that you were a study in contrasts, and that still holds true.  You are either an absolute delight or an incredible terror.  There is little middle ground.  There are days that my heart feels so full it could burst, and days when I cry in defeat.  You are an incredibly bright child, and your dad and I love you so much.
When you were just a little over 1, we moved to Indianapolis.  We have been living with your grandparents ever since, waiting for our house to sell.  Whether that was the right decision or not remains to be seen, but I will say that your grandparents love having you here.  Your Pop (your name for Grandpa…we think you shortened it to the last syllable…you call Granddad “ANNDAA”) had a very, very major surgery at the start of April, and if nothing else, having you here when he came home from the hospital was really wonderful for him.
You are walking, talking in single words and short phrases (mostly commands—get up, get off), running and climbing.  You are a rough and tumble boy.  You are constantly covered in bruises and scrapes.  You regularly needs band-aids.  You love being outside and on sunny days will think nothing of spending 3-4 hours or more a day outside.  At Grandma Jo and Granddad’s, I think you would spend every waking moment outside—their yard is just so much fun to explore.  You love your bicycle, bubbles, sidewalk chalk, and running.  You like to go for walks up the side streets (you do not like your stroller, you prefer to walk yourself).  You love dogs, not just Ollie and Keegan, but every dog you see.  When the school bus drives by, you scream, “BUS” over and over again.  You got to get on a bus at Tamara and Perry’s house a few weeks ago, and you were thrilled.  You love goats, kind of randomly.  They are your favorite at every petting zoo, and you love the goats at Grandma and Granddad’s neighbor’s house. 
You are a big fan of computers.  You like YouTube (specifically any video with Pete the Cat and the Pigeon from Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus, and a select handful of music videos) and you like to watch things on Netflix.  Your favorite tv shows are Sesame Street, Sofia the First, Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, Super Why, and Word World.  Sometimes you like some of the other shows on Disney Jr, but not always.  You pretty much get to watch 1-2 tv shows a day, so sometimes you go weeks without seeing one of your shows, which makes you more excited when you see them.  You have figured out how to use the Kindle Fire and my smartphone.  You have 3-4 apps you play with on each.  Your favorites are a coloring app and an app that teaches counting.
You know your alphabet (not singing it in order, but you recognize every letter) and regularly count to five.  You know a few shapes, and you can name several basic colors.  You like to read your books—you still love Knuffle Bunny and Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus.  They have been favorites for several months.  You like books that have lots of pictures, like the “100 First Words” or “100 First ….” because you can practice naming things.  You love your alphabet puzzle.  I caught you tearing the flap out of a lift the flap book last week, which I really thought you were over. 
You can throw a walloping temper tantrum.  Like whoa crazy.  You have an ear-splitting scream and a mind of your own.  You are starting to respond to correction and time outs, but it’s a long process. You obey your dad far better than you ever obey me.  You respond to him quickly and obediently, after fighting me for a long time.  We have been working on being consistent with you, and I think it’s helping.  It’s also super important for you to sleep well…your sleep very much dictates you personality.  You are exploring you world, and testing your boundaries, and doing the very things that a 2 year old is supposed to do. 
Sweetheart, we love you so much.  I cannot even begin to explain to you how much fun we have with you.  I want for you to know that Daddy and I love you so much.  Baby, just know that we aren’t perfect parents.  We mess up a lot.  We try our hardest, and pray for wisdom…and forgiveness.  Liam, I just want you to grow up to know Jesus as your Savior.  I want Him to be the most important thing in your life.  If we do nothing else, I pray that we, through God’s grace, are able to point you to Him. 
We love you,
Mommy and Daddy too 

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Robot Birthday Inspiration

Tomorrow is Liam’s second birthday.  I have no idea how that happened…I mean, I do, but it’s crazy to think that my sweet baby is now a two year old.  Of course, his attitude is totally that of a two year old (terrible, anyone?), but in so many ways, he’s still just a sweet squishy baby too.  Does that make any sense at all?  I didn’t think so….moving on.

For his birthday, I had watched Liam and observed and tried to figure out what would bring him the most joy.  Three months ago, I would have guessed that we would be having a train party…or Sesame Street.  Then he got really into Super Why.  But in the past month or so, it’s been robots that have made up the bulk of my boy’s obsession.  Or bots, as he calls them.  There are two Sesame Street episodes that have robots on them, and I cannot tell you how many times we have watched them.  I was trying to pull up Amazon Instant Video on our Roku using my phone the other day, and decided to try the voice feature.  As I was saying, “Amazon Instant Video,” Liam reached in, grabbed my hand, and pulled it down to say, “bots,” in his sweet little voice.  I could not stop laughing…and in that moment, I decided bots it was for his birthday.  So I did what any modern mother would, and turned to Pinterest.  The following are a few of the pins I found to help guide me in my robot party planning:

This robot head cut out is super cute.  My sister and I made a robot to use for Liam’s party on Saturday, I just need to find a box to wrap it around.  The blog this came from had a super cute robot party that I loved.

I loved this—Pin the battery on the robot.  This party looked like it would be awesome for an older child…so if Liam likes robots when he’s six, I will definitely be coming back for more ideas.

And you had better believe I planned my party menu around what I could come up with robot sounding names for, like this picture from Celebrate Magazine

I also hadmysisterdraw made some robot coloring pages, and found some cute stuff for favor bags.  And I found some seriously sweet, bright things to use for Liam’s decorations/plates/etc.  I tried to not go too over the top, and to keep costs down, but to keep it cute and fun too.  I will try to post on Monday the details from the party…I am looking forward to it!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Lessons from Ollie-bird


Picture is from last June, but shows why Ollie has to go away during meals…he’s too into Liam’s food.  Also…can you believe how little Liam looks?

Every time we feed Liam, we have to remove Ollie from the situation.  For months, I have been pulling a small morsel off of Liam’s plate, walking it down the hallway, and tossing it into the computer room of my in-law’s house so that Ollie will chase after it to eat it, and then I close the door and lock him up so Liam can eat.

Tonight, I was struck by it.  It started with me laughing a little.  Every single day, multiple times a day, I can trick Ollie into getting locked up for just a crumb of food.  It first it was funny to me.  He could have access to Liam’s whole plate if he just resisted the morsel he was given.  But he cannot. (Also….obviously he wouldn’t really get Liam’s food…he’d be more likely to get in trouble).  That one moment of temptation costs him the opportunity for so much more.

And it hit me.  I am Ollie.  I can be easily led astray by a morsel.  I see a small bite, and wander off course to chase it.  I miss the reward God has, I miss the bigger picture, because I am too stuck on the small bite.  For months, I have been allowing myself to be stuck on a small bite….to wonder why things are the way they are, but I have been missing the reward, the big picture.  I know I do this often.  I know it down deep. 

But in this instance, I see that the small bite is our house….I focus on the part where it hasn’t sold, where we don’t have our own home, where we have no personal space, and nothing is the way I want it to be.  And I miss the reward.  I don’t relish the fact that my mother-in-law can watch Liam so I can go to the bathroom for 45 seconds of alone time.  I don’t enjoy watching my son play with and love his grandparents who missed so much of his first year of life.  I don’t recognize what a reward this has been.  I have reached a place where I realize that while I still desperately want a new house and my own bed, I do know that I will miss being here when we eventually move out.  We have been so blessed, and I don’t want to take that for granted.  I don’t want to focus on my one small bite and miss the whole picture.  So tonight, I want to focus on the whole picture, and thank the Lord for what He has blessed us with.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Liam Videos

Because Aunt Lauren guilted me…also, one of these I apparently uploaded in January and forgot about.  Sorry.



Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Liam Skills

Liam is doing new things on a nearly daily basis right now.  His language, his motor skills, everything, are just increasing at a crazy rate.  He’s learning things that I don’t even know how he’s learning.  I can’t count the number of times I have looked at Andy and said, “Did you know he can do that?”  Here are few off the top of my head:

-He can climb anything.  Stairs are no trouble.  Chairs, stools, counters.  He’ll climb them all.  He really likes to try to go across the three stools at the island…the three stools that are about 8 inches apart from each other.  Yeah.  Not happening.  Yesterday he climbed onto the island to try to get a toy that his grandma had put in the light fixture (I don’t know why…that was never going to end well).

-He can repeat a crazy number of animal sounds.  Quack is his favorite.  His stuffed dog Scout that he sleeps with does a whole, “Can you guess what I am?” then makes an animal sound, then says the animal name and asks him to do said sound with him.  He repeats Scout every time.  I can hear him playing with that and repeating sounds when he’s going down for a nap.  He also has a Baby Einstein book that has animal sounds, and he repeats those and does a hand motion for several.  His dolphin is hysterical.  I’ll try to get it on video.  Yesterday he picked up his monkey finger puppet and started making monkey noises, then tried to feed the monkey his banana.  And when I asked him if he was eating dog food (he was…he was supposed to give it to Ollie, took off and hid to eat it himself) he responded, “Woof.”

-He is starting to learn the alphabet.  I’m sure this sounds crazy.  But he really can recognize like five letters of the alphabet.  He has this Leap Frog Letter Factory toy, and you put each of the letters in the slot one at a time and it sings a song about them.  He will pick up letters, say the name of them, then put them in the toy.  He can do a, I, o, y, e, and sometimes p.  He pointed out the D on Andy’s parent’s vintage Coke machine the other day (it says ICE COLD on the bottom).  And today on Sesame Street they did the alphabet slowly, and he repeated most of the letters as they said them.  And sometimes on Word World and SuperWhy he shouts out the letters when they come on screen.

-He is saying a lot more.  Most of it is incomprehensible, and a lot of times he uses one word for opposites (off means off and on, hot means hot and cold), but he’s picking up new words.  He answered the telephone the other day (we didn’t know it….) and the lady who called said he said “Mom, telephone.”  I didn’t know he could say telephone…but Andy’s mom heard him say t-fa or something like it before that happened. 

-He is learning how to manipulate.  This one is crazy to me.  I can tell when he wants something from me because he will give me a kiss or a hug, or snuggle up sweetly, then go and try get/do what he’s not supposed to do.  Yesterday I told him he couldn’t have popsicles (Andy’s parents eat sugar free popsicles and a part of me dies inside every time they give Liam one….please, give my kid artificial food coloring and sugar free chemicals, awesome)(oh, and he won’t eat the homemade fruit popsicles I make for him because he’s developed a taste for the fake ones, more awesome), and he started to throw a temper tantrum.  Then he stopped, walked over to me, wrapped his arms around my knees to give me a hug, and smiled.  When I said, “Thank you for responding so nicely.” he then walked back to the freezer and tried to pull it open to get his popsicle.  So.  I only got a hug because he thought he’d get something for it.  Nice try.  Didn’t work.

And I’m sure there is more…but he’s waking up right now, so it’s time to go.

Friday, February 15, 2013

A sobering realization

I have been reading a book this week, and in it, I have made a startling discovery. 

I was really, really sick when Liam was born.

I knew it.  Sort of.  But not really.  See…I knew I had a fever, and I didn’t have the strength to get out of bed.  But I was so focused on not being sick, on enjoying the first days of being Liam’s mom, that I kind of let a lot of it slip over my head.  I lied to my mom.  I minimized what was going on, and kind of minimized it to myself.  But the book that I am reading has brought about a sobering reality.

In this book, which is a painful memoir of a year that no one should ever have to experience, the author’s daughter went into septic shock after pneumonia.  She was in a coma for weeks, and took a long time to heal.   But the mother’s accounts of the first days in the hospital sound so like the days after Liam’s birth.  She was lethargic, her fever was spiking to 103 and 104, and so many other little things.  And I realize how very blessed I was that our small town hospital figured out how to treat me so quickly. 

I was really, really sick.

But it could have been so much worse. 

I have been googling septicemia tonight…and fungal septicemia (which was what was on my discharge papers), and it’s scary stuff.  My sister has alluded to it before, but I really didn’t know.  I really didn’t want to know.  I skipped my annual exam with my doctor after Liam was born because I didn’t want to talk about it.  My child will be two in under three months, and I haven’t been to a doctor since I was released from care after his birth (my follow up exam).  I probably need to get on that.  I will have to find a new doctor, of course, and get my records transferred.  Because I probably should talk about it with a medical professional.

Monday, February 11, 2013

The daredevil and the introvert

If you know anything about Andy, you know that he tends to live more dangerously than I.  Not that he’s into skydiving or extreme sports, he just lives life at a much faster and louder pace than I do.  When we first started dating (9 years ago…) it wasn’t uncommon to see him leap over a parking meter or flip over the side of a railing.  It was just what he did.  He’s not quite like that anymore (the whole growing up, getting a job, having a kid thing slows some of that down), but he’s still more of a daredevil at heart.

If you know anything about me, you know that I am an introvert who sometimes pretends to be an extrovert.  Social situations wear me out.  I love them.  But I need to recuperate for a day after them.  I’m awkward, and I get clammy and nervous and convince myself that people are only nice to me because they feel sorry for me, or they just want to be polite.  I can talk a mile a minute and make you think I am completely self-possessed.  I can even keep up with Andy in a conversation…we can be a pretty witty pair when the time is right.  But it takes a lot of out of me.  I’d just as much like to be curled on the couch, or hiding in bed…or just plain alone.  Like to the point that last week I asked if for my birthday next year, I can go to a hotel and just be alone for a day/night (I was a little high on the drama last week…I also told Andy I wanted a YMCA membership not really to work out, but more for the free childcare while I took a shower).

That brings us to Liam.  This delightful creature who is half Andy and half me.  I have often said he is so much more Andy than me.  He operates at Andy volume.  He operates at Andy speed.  He thinks it’s hilarious to leap off the couch and land on his face, or to tip over in a box and bonk his head on hardwood.  He likes to climb tall things and move at fast paces.  The more dangerous and exciting, the better for Liam.  I don’t understand it.  But in the past few weeks, there have been a few instances where I realize he’s a lot me too.  Sometimes, after a particularly intense play session, he’ll go off in a corner and read a book by himself.  Or put together and take apart his Duplos for 20 minutes at a time.  This weekend, he was in high gear while playing with friends (the three daughters of our friends…ranging from 5 to just 2 weeks older than Liam), but after we had been at their house for a few hours, I watched Liam leave the group.  He played hard.  He pretended to be an extrovert.  But it wore him out.  And he wanted to be alone.  I watched my sweet boy step back from the group, and go to the playroom and play by himself for a while.  I asked him if he wanted to read with the girls, but he was content to be in the quiet for a few.  So I stepped back and let him.  Because I get it.  Sometimes it’s best to be quiet with yourself for a little bit.  I want to be sure to watch my sweet boy, to recognize these things in him.  To see that sometimes when he’s throwing a tantrum, it might just be because he needs to be alone for a few minutes.  I do it.  I did it three times last week.  And in our future home, I want to give him a space that can be his hideaway.  Because I was the girl who read books on the floor of my closet snuggled in with pillows, a sleeping bag, and stuffed animals.  And that boy does seem to be 50% me.

Friday, February 8, 2013

February Playlist

I made a playlist for January…but then I didn’t really listen to it much.  There were too many songs on it, and it just wasn’t right.  I need to combine my Amazon/Itunes music sometime soon…but I just got my computer back (it had been living in Madison without me)…so all of these songs were in my Amazon account (my phone makes it easier to use the Amazon MP3 app)….and it’s a little Mumford and Sons heavy…like a lot, really.  But I’m liking them right now…so it works.  Also…I did download Sara Bareilles and Ingrid Michaelson’s Winter Song…so it was a new song for me.  I kind of ended up with an unintentional super wintry feel…like these songs should be listened to tucked in under blankets whilst reading Jane Eyre and drinking Lady Grey tea.  It happens.

Sara Bareilles and Ingrid Michaelson—Winter Song

Mumford and Sons--

Whispers in the Dark

Ghosts that we Knew

Sigh No More

The Cave

Winter Winds

Little Lion Man


Imogen Heap—Can’t Take it In

The Lumineers—Ho Hey

Les Miserables soundtrack—Suddenly

Of Monsters and Men—Little Talks

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Liam’s favorite books: February

I thought I’d update this every so often too….some may be favorites for several months (we have some definite long-lasting faves).

Knuffle Bunny—Mo Willems

Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus—Mo Willems

Pete the Cat and his Four Groovy Buttons—Eric Litwin and James Dean (Liam especially loves the song that goes with this…we’ve been watching Pete the Cat videos on YouTube

Llama, Llama Nighty-Night—Anna Dewdney

Pantone Colors Book—he is starting to be able to identify his colors because of this book.  He loves to look at it and point at the different colors.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

What I’m Into: February

Recently, I saw somewhere this list of questions, as a kind of blog starter post…and I kind of thought it would be a great way to document what’s going on in our lives, and sort of in my brain.  So…every month or so, I thought I’d update, and at the end of the year, try to have a recap of year in a different light…through a new window, so to speak.  Although, I kind of guess this might be more of a January/February update…since some of it is what has happened, and some is what is/will be.  I’ll figure that out later.

On the Nightstand:


Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.  Andy got me the hardcover versions of all the books for Christmas, so I’m working my way through the books again.  I recently made a decision in regards to books, one that fits my personality best.  All books will start as library books/Kindle books/Kindle library loans for me.  If I truly love it, and know it will be a read-again book, then I will buy it in hardcover.  Because hardcover looks so much prettier on the shelf, and is just so much nicer.  That way, I can have the books I love, and not clutter my future home with things that I don’t find useful.  So that’s why Andy bought me the Harry Potter books in hardcover…they are a definite read-again.


Persuasion—Jane Austen.  Persuasion has my favorite Jane Austen heroine.  My parents got me the Penguin Classics hardcover versions of Persuasion and Pride and Prejudice for Christmas.  I read Pride and Prejudice last month, and am re-reading Persuasion this month.


Decorate—this was a birthday present from my parents and I cannot wait to peruse it.  I am super excited to start getting ideas for our second house.

At the Theater (or from the couch):

We went to see a movie in the theater in January.  We saw Les Miserables!  It was the second time we’ve been inside a movie theater since Liam was born.  The movie was really well done and lovely.  I cried.  And I truly loved the original song that was written for the film.  Here are the lyrics..I felt like it so captured that moment when one becomes a parent….the overwhelming feeling of love that engulfs you first realize that your child is your own.  I may have cried ugly tears in the theater, and wished my child wasn’t spending the weekend with my parents, so I could hold him close and breathe him in.

Suddenly you’re
Suddenly it starts
Can two anxious hearts
Beat as one?
Yesterday I was alone
Today you walk beside me
Something still unclear
Something not yet here
Has begun.
Suddenly the world
Seems a different place
Somehow full of grace
Full of light.

How was I to know
That so much hope
Was held inside me?
What has passed is gone
Now we journey on
Through the night.

How was I to know at last
That happiness can come so fast?
Trusting me the way you do
I’m so afraid of failing you
Just a child who cannot know
That danger follows where I go
There are shadows everywhere
And memories I cannot share

Nevermore alone
Nevermore apart
You have warmed my heart
Like the sun.
You have brought the gift of life
And love so long denied me.

Suddenly I see
What I could not see
Something suddenly
Has begun.

And I am trying to convince myself to try at least one Independent film on Netflix a month because it’s really easy for me to get sucked into tv shows and not watch anything that makes me think.  And thinking is a good thing.  Unfortunately, my first pick was really just kind of Eh….and not much for thinking.  It was mostly just kind of messed up.  I picked the movie Butter because it had Jennifer Garner.  But it was not one I’d watch again. 

On the small screen:

Here is where I say to you, Hi, my name is Ashley and I watch too much tv.  Way too much.  But my favorites in the last month were:

30 Rock—I was sad to see it go. But I liked it while it lasted!  Tina Fey is so seriously funny.  I mean seriously.

Downton Abbey—Although it made me cry harder than I’ve ever cried at a tv show before.

Sherlock—OHMYGOSH!!  I loved Sherlock.  Loved, loved, loved it.  Like I might rewatch it.  Loved.  Also…I’m weirdly into the BBC shows on Netflix right now. 

Nashville—I watched the first few episodes in the fall, then stopped for a while.  But I caught up on the season, and I’m rather enjoying it now.

In my ears:

I made a January playlist, but Liam’s dance mix got more play.  I need to make him branch out some, so I’m going to work on my February playlist shortly, and try to keep him on it a bit more.  Liam’s a big fan of Train and One Direction, but I need something a little deeper this month.  Liam also got this cd from my mother-in-law and it’s what we listen to in the car (and I so love it—it is Scripture verses set to music…amazing):

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Around the House

I was going to hold on until we had a house for this…but I realized that I did just help Andy’s mom redo their bedroom.  We found some new pillows and curtains at Target (have you seen the Threshold brand for Target?  It’s everything I ever wanted in my life and then some….only a slight exaggeration….but seriously, so beautiful and so affordable)…and she painted her bedroom.  And here is where I would like to submit Benjamin Moore’s Bennington Gray for the award for perfect middle-ish beige.  It’s not too dark, not too light.  It’s not pinky or yellowy.  It’s just lovely and creamy and warm.  I will try to get a picture later.

In the Kitchen

Andy and I went back to slow carb (although we’ve since fallen off because of lack of grocery shopping…hopefully we will remedy that later today).  My new favorite recipe is for Indian spiced lentils.  Go here for a lovely legume recipe.  I have cooked a stinking ton this month, I just don’t remember what, exactly…except for the lentils.

In my closet

Nothing.  My dresser is an IKEA shopping bag.  I have two pairs of jeans that fall off my bum, and spend the rest of my time in yoga pants and long-sleeved tees.  We need a house…I miss my wardrobe…all packed away in boxes in storage.

In my mailbox

I got birthday presents from my Mom and Dad.  Andy bought a server…like for computers.  And some books for Liam.  Because I cannot stop myself.  I might get another card or two for my birthday, but that’s probably about it.  Oh…and our tax documents…those came, haha!

In my cart

Size 2T clearance clothes at Kohls and Target, because I assume that’s what Liam will wear in the fall.  He now has 4ish pairs of pants and 6 or 8 long sleeved tees to get through the last of this winter/start next fall.  Most of his 18 month clothes fit fine, and should get him to warmer weather,but just in case, I’m covered.  And if they still fit in the fall, then I am excited.  Because I have spent less than 20 dollars on all of it.  And I got Liam three new plates because they had my favorites again at Target.  Somehow, I can only find heavier weight non-slip toddler plates in the seasonal aisles at Target.  They didn’t have any for Christmas, but there are Valentine’s Day plates.  So now my son eats off of Halloween and Valentine’s plates every day.  And I bought a birthday present for a sweet boy who turns three this month…I got it with Kohls rewards this morning.

On my heart

I have been dealing a lot with old anxiety and fear issues.  You know, the ones that crop up every few years and seek to debilitate.  They are in full gear right now, and I’m kind of a wreck.  And general anxiety over Liam, and wondering if every bad thing that happens is my fault….and that other people don’t have the problems with their kids that we have with Liam, our strong-willed boy….and trying to figure out an appropriate level of correction

In my prayers

-Our house.  And the need for a new home.  We really need a new home….really, really.

-Andy’s dad.  He may be having surgery to close the wound in his back in the next month or two (his hole still takes 4 yards of gauze to pack…and they pack it twice a week), which will be a real blessing.  But until then, the constant pain and nausea he deals with daily are more than most could bear.

On the calendar

Interestingly, not much.  This month seems to slow down some after a recent whirlwind.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Pink is the new black

Or potholders are the new footwear

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Potato Head

Liam tried to throw his potatoes on the floor.  Grandma threw them in his hair.


At the grocery store on Saturday, Liam was given a pack of Smarties.  He has never had any candy before (we did split a Toblerone once....I'm not proud) so Andy let him keep it thinking he wouldn't know what it was.  We turned around a few minutes later and he had bitten the wrapper apart and was gnawing the candy out.


Liam ate jam with toast.  Yes, I said it right.  This is the aftermath.

Monday, January 21, 2013

House update (not a happy one)

We got an update from our realtor today.  Sadly, it was more of the same.  The house has been shown seven times in the past two weeks, and everyone says it looks like a really great house, but no one's buying.  He told Andy that they aren't selling much at all in town right now.  We dropped the price another 5k, so we are officially at 10k less than we paid for it...we'll be lucky to get a few thousand (like 3, maybe, tops) in the sale of it.  So I need to start cutting more out of our budget to put more into savings to make a down payment on house #2.  Awesome. Really, really awesome.  Nothing like a deficit of close to 30k (what we will lose on the sale...the 10k that went into the sewer line in June and the other stuff we did to fix it in the five years we lived there) into a house to make your Monday really great.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Today and things

First off, I am hangry.  On day 3 of hangry, actually.  Hangry is a combination of hungry and angry...the kind one gets when one decides to get off one's lazy arse and finally start addressing the problem of being an elephant.  So I'm three days in, and I think soon I will adjust.  It's not too bad most of the time...just occasionally, and that's when I get hangry.  And hateful.

Also, I'm insanely sleep deprived.  And just a general mess.  Liam has been sick this week, and contrary to my beliefs otherwise, a sick child is not a sleepy child.  I don't know when the whole "lay on the couch and watch movies while eating chicken soup whilst ill" age starts, but I'm ready for it.  Because the run around the house screaming and slamming my head into things whilst throwing rampaging fits and sleeping 3-4 hours less each day age isn't fun.  In fact, on multiple occasions this mornings I declared that my s%&* had been lost.  Sorry for the is what it is.

Liam has a new obsession.  One Direction.  As in, the boy band from Great Britain.  He's totally in love with their music videos (only 3...the other 2 he didn't care for).  As in, we have watched "Kiss You," "What Makes You Beautiful" and "Live While We're Young" at least 10 times each the past three days.  He jams with them and gets really into it.  I think it's hilarious.  Andy wants to try other songs.  Unfortunately, it's somewhat difficult to find music videos that I think are okay for him to we're sticking with the boys of One Direction. Even if Liam is trying to imitate Harry Styles just a touch too much.

Also, side note.  The hair.  I am becoming increasingly obsessed with the hair.  On all of them.  It's insane.  In a good way.  It makes me wonder if Drew texted Nick to say, "Dude, in our day we just had to frost our tips and gel that %*$ up."  Yes, Drew and Nick Lachey.  Of 98 Degrees fame.  What, you don't think they watch the boy bands of today and compare them to their glory days?

Liam has other interests too.  He has recently (in the past week) started to like the show Word World, which makes me happy.  I've been pushing for it.  He is less interested in Sesame Street...he only watches the street scenes and Super Grover 2.0, or special songs.  He watches a few minutes of Chuggington, Jake and the Neverland Pirates, and Sofia the First.  And all of that adds up to about 42 minutes of television a day.  And we run and play and go crazy the rest of the time.  He really loves his trains (he knows the two Chuggington trains he has, and will bring them over if you ask), and his lacing beads and sushi set.  He can't lace his beads on a string, but he's good at putting them on a straw.  He's starting to recognize colors and can point them out.  He is picking up new words, slowly, but surely.  He doesn't say a lot, but he takes in a lot.  So I figure when he does start, he will take off.  He eats a ton of food.  I told Andy that I think he and I are probably consuming about the same number of calories a day.  I get kind of jealous when I'm feeling especially hangry.  And that's all for now...I need to go exercise.