Merry Christmas, All!

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas from us to you! Here's to a day of family, pajamas, good food, traditions, quiet moments, remembering the things that matter most, and maybe even a nap or two. Best holiday of the year, and I cannot wait to watch my kids' eyes sparkle in the morning.

Happy happy Christmas day to all! 



And here's to an impromptu Christmas photo sesh with my kiddos and their Santa hats today. It's never smooth sailing when I try all three of them at once, but it always ALWAYS yields some hilarious outtakes. 


Sweet Late-Night Whispers

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

I came home pretty late from a party tonight-- about 10:30pm. I went into our room to say goodnight to Joe, who always heads to bed way earlier than I do... And then I tiptoed to Noah and Lucy's room to check on them and adjust their covers. Lo and behold, someone was awake, and sat up when I walked in. 

This girl-- sweet Lucy. Sometimes when she naps hard in the afternoon, she doesn't really go to sleep at night for a good long time. But she's a mellow one once she's in her bed. Whether it's naptime or bedtime, even if she's not tired, she'll play in her bed quietly, look at books, talk to herself  and make up games... She is perfectly content. It's the sweetest thing. And sometimes, every once in a while, if I go peek in on her late at night, around the 9:00 or 10:00pm hours, she is just mellow enough to be almost sleepy, and she's in a rare mood of buoyant smiliness and joy, and I ADORE it. She smiles with a shy, bubbly quiet giggle, over and over, like she knows she's getting away with something and like she knows it's pretty neat to get this dim, peaceful, special time one-on-one with me. I kneel next to her tiny toddler bed, and she sits up, and we whisper to each other. I ask her questions like, "Are you tired? Are you happy? Is Bunny Bunny feeling snuggly?" etc., and she answers in whispers, and those giggles punctuate her answers. We talk, I read her a book or two, we play a few little games.... pinch each other's noses and laugh at the sounds, play peek a boo with the blankets, etc. etc., and it feels like a gift--- an unexpected, special, dimly glowy gift to be there, whispering with my baby girl. 

I can tell she feels it too-- that magic. She is pliant, peaceful, almost reverent.... But also immensely happy. Her smiles during these times are almost too much to take in. It feels like the best of her, and it brings out the best in me, and we both cherish it. 

The thing is, it's not something I can plan for, sneak up on, or predict. These times just..... happen. It's maybe happened four times total, ever. And each time it feels fleeting and rare, and I'm not sure I'll get it ever again. 

But then again, maybe it'll happen in different ways as she grows. Maybe one day it'll be us, snuggled on her teenage bed, late one night after a date or a heartbreak, and we'll whisper of harder things, of more grown-up things, and she'll be pliant and willing to open to me in her 16-year-old-ness.... Rare, special.... 

I deeply hope so. I cherish her so very much. And I adore feeling cherished back during these late-night whispers. 

{These pink photos are from back in March, when she gave me some lovely moments in front of the camera.... She's grown since then, but these particular photos still look just like her, to me.}

Quinn Baby Toddler...

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

I mean, this face.

Only a little over a month away from being TWO. Two. What?

I love him like crazy. His little voice, trying new words every day. Finishing lines of songs when he sits in my lap. Calling for "Woah" or "EEcy", or hollering for "DAAAAA!" or "MAAAAAM!".... Running. Jumping. Dancing. Dragging his high chair to me when I'm making meals. In love with "cucks" and "tains" and "ahpanes".... 

Just full of life, light, and in spite of the scowl above, also full of smiles. A little chipped front tooth every time he grins at me. 

Anyway... Editing photos tonight, and felt the urge to wax effusive about this little one. Carry on. 

All Shall Be Well......

Monday, December 8, 2014

One week since the start of December. One week since we've been back from our whirlwind trip to Washington D.C. Multiple weeks since our household has been well.  Sickness upon sickness, mostly of the garden-variety where it's not dire or emergent, but definitely disruptive to the daily routine. Weeks of to-dos piling up-- from work, from holidays, from celebrations, from everyday expectations. Piling up, but growing too fast for this sick girl to chip away at the pile with any kind of result. It's draining. It's discouraging. I'm tired. I'm so off-center it's not even funny. I want to cry. doesn't help that I had an extra-long bout of PMS this time. Just the Daylight Savings shift and then the harried, hustled, mad mad mad pace of November-into-December and the gloomy, early dark, and the too-much-to-do, never-enough-money, never-enough-time....

It's been a rough start to December, to say the least. With all that other stuff starting it off, it has just been COMPOUNDED by this relentless lack of health in the house. It's hard to feel jolly when someone is coughing and someone else is crying and everyone's nerves are fraying. 

It's classic burnout, folks, and everyone in this house is feeling some form of it-- even the littlest guy, who is fussier than usual... probably from his too-frequent wakings from coughs, and his constantly running nose and light feverishness. 

We need a break, ya'll. 


I've been sleeping in the guest room. This is a novelty. I am doing it to distance myself from Joe's snarfly snuffling. I am doing it to protect him from my back-sleep snoring and my tossing. I am doing it to be close to the kids as they wake, multiple times a night, since my couch-back-sleeping kept me too far to help them and help Joe. 

And since starting to sleep there, there's been this really interesting shift in myself. See, last year, my Christmas gift from Joe was 24 hours in a nice hotel here in town, all alone. Just me. My only Christmas wish. It was HEAVEN. I napped. I watched HGTV. I napped again. I grabbed some greasy food and brought it back to eat in bed. I went to bed when I was sleepy and woke when I was refreshed. I dashed out to catch a movie. I felt..... PEACE. 

And this would be my only Christmas wish this year, too-- a reprise--- except I just don't think we can spare the money. It's pretty silly, when you think of it, to spend $100+ on a bed in the same town as your regular bed... just to be alone. So maybe next year. Maybe I'll save up, and ask Joe to take a day off for me again.

But meanwhile, there's this guest room that has been in our house the whole time. When I was setting it up, my ultimate goal was to create a peaceful space. I went with all white bedding. Kept the all-white walls. Kept the tchotchkes to a minimum. Made it feel clean and serene. And not ONCE did I think about sleeping myself in that room. But here we are, just this past week. And I am finding that when  I retire to that room, for a nap while the kids nap, or at night when the whole house is asleep, I can pretend it's a hotel room. White, fresh bedding. Extra pillows. Unfamiliar (for the most part) room. Quiet. Different. Peaceful. And I love it. 

I mean, I'm not going to sleep there forever. I miss Joe. And someday soon, fingers crossed, he won't be a snuffly sleeper, and I won't need to be on my back (my neck flared up again, and back sleeping is the only thing that helps it immediately). And we can be cozy in our own bed together again.

But for now, I'm finding an unexpected solace in my "hotel room" in my own house, and I'm slowly coming out of the malaise and ennui of the last few weeks. Managing small moves towards the December I planned on having. I feel, for the first time in days, optimistic about these coming weeks. It helps that I finally took myself (and Lucy) to the doctor and got some validation and medication. That feels hopeful,  too. 

So. In light of this small bit of peace I'm clutching onto, I took a minute to read some of my favorite inspirational essays, from Simple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach, because I remembered she writes about being under the weather, and about burnout... And I read those ones, too, but this one, copied below, was the one I needed today, to round out my corner-turning. 

I hope if any of you are feeling any kind of despondence, hopelessness, unsettlement, worry, or just discomfort, that these words can help you a little like they do for me. If nothing else, to remind you you're not alone. And all shall be well. It WILL.

"Rx For Harried Hearts and Frazzled Minds"
by Sarah Ban Breathnach,. Simple Abundance, November 26

      "Some nights waves of weariness beat against out brains, crash against our hearts, wash over our bodies, threatening to erode our best defenses like sand dunes upon the shore. The water is cold, dark, and deep....Nothing seems to hold back the tide. We need someone to throw us a line, to rescue us from drowning in disappointment. 

      When these nights come and I find I'm stranded alone on the beach of faltering belief, I have found refuge in a very centering and comforting prayer by Dame Julian of Norwich, a thirteenth-century English mystic: 

All shall be well, 
And all shall be well, 
And all manner of things shall be well. 

      This simple affirmation of faith is especially comforting because it seems to console the dark submerged sadnesses of the inexplicable, the unexpressed, the unresolved, the unfair and the undeniable that stalk my soul after I close my eyes. I'll say the prayer over and over again softly, under my breath like a mantra, not trying to understand the meaning of the words because I can't. Some mysteries are beyond our comprehension. Some mysteries we will never solve. Never know. 

      So instead of trying to make sense of it all, I'll simply let the Spirit of the words soothe my frazzled mind and harried heart until sleep comes. Sometimes we can't make sense of it. Sometimes none of it makes sense. Sometimes it just is. But if we can hold on long enough for this night to give way to another day, all shall be well, even if it's different from what we had expected. Even if it's different from what we had hoped for and believed with all out hearts would happen. 

All shall be well, 
And all shall be well, 
And all manner of things shall be well."

 (Photo of our tree from last night. Somehow, even in the middle of a hard hard week, we managed this. And I am very proud of that fact. The tree is another reason for my newfound hope.)

Friday Morning, After Noah Had Gone To School...

Friday, December 5, 2014

First Quinn woke... 

Later, Lucy woke...

And when I decided to just put these random but utterly recent photos into a blog post today during naptime, I decided Noah needed to be represented somehow. So this is some art he made this fall when he got a book about sea turtles from his aunt. He copied a photo from the book, but in his own style. And I love it. I love this kid's art.

Tally ho, Weekend. I'm ready for you.


Thursday, December 4, 2014

Continuation from my last post:

You know what I REALLY want? Just more time. More time and less outside stuff pulling pulling pulling me away from the core things I cherish and value.To be able to say, "NO. Not now. This isn't fulfilling my core needs and beliefs, so no. Not now."

I want things to be more simple. More linear. Less multi-tasked. Less worldly. 

I just want....more time and less "stuff".

That's all.
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