Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Christmas Film Repertoire

Our Christmas tree is still up, and so are the outside lights, so I feel we have a few more nights of Christmas movies. Every year, it is fitting and right that we haul out the Christmas movies to get us in the good spirit of Christmas. In my collection, and must watch each year are:
  • Irving Berlin's White Christmas-musical with Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney (auntie to George) and Vera Allen. This was a family favorite growing up. We all wanted to dance like Vera, sing like Rosemary, and my own crazy mother did plan a family vacation to Vermont that was specifically inspired by the movie plot. We liked Vermont so much that we went the following year making the 1,171 mile trek through lake effect snow and accidentally breaking up the trip in Scenectady, NY.
  • The Muppet Christmas Carol:Frogs, Pigs and Himbug-also a childhood favorite, starting The Great Gonzo as Charles Dickens and Scrooge is played by Michael Caine. Every time we haul this one out, I crack up by hearing some new hidden joke between the lines and Muppet fur.
  • Meet Me In St. Louis-another great musical, and only part of it takes place during the winter, but this happens at the climax of the film with Judy Garland singing "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas." On the right December day, this is a huge tear jerker.
  • Little Women- I grew up watching the 1933 version with Katherine Hepburn as the Josephine lead, and then we came across the 1949 version with June Allyson, Peter Lawford, Margaret O'Brien (also in MMISL), and Elizabeth Taylor. In 1994, my sister and I were utterly delighted to go to the theater for a modern version of Little Women. I wore out my VHS copy through the college years, so I was delighted to find a $5DVD so I can watch this version over and over again. I am always overcome with grief when Winnona Ryder, playing Jo, must watch her younger sister Beth, played by Claire Danes, go before her in death. There is always much weeping with that sweeping score. Always having had a very tight, even though tumultuous at times, relationship with my own little sister, the sweet connection that Jo and Beth share can only truly be understood by sisters. And those lines, "Promise you will always remain close by" just always get you at Christmas. Dang it!
  • Love Actually-hit the screen in 2003, and just post college I was captivated by the story lines of loving someone who is unavailable. Being a hopeless romantic six years ago, I enjoyed this movie immensely! Since I have turned into a realist with only a smear of romantic through my icy veins, I was bawling my eyes out as Emma Thompson's character is thrown under the bus of her marriage by her husband Alan Rickman's creep of a character. Grrr. I am sure I will keep watching it. Especially since Husband suggested we watch it this year. Huge cast of famous people all connected through this film.
  • The Family Stone-another big list of famous actors, all playing the slightly dysfunctional American family. There are parts of this film that remind me of my own family, in that we have all different dramatic things going on in our lives, and when we all hit that driveway the armor goes up as the barbs and jabs are thrown around the kitchen. This film hits the nerves when a sibling is bringing home that annoying girlfriend/boyfriend for a family holiday...and let's face it! It can be downright uncomfortable and annoying. Another tear jerker for me; when I first saw this in the theater, my grandma had just been diagnosed with lung cancer and she didn't make it to the following Christmas.
  • The Family Man and It's A Wonderful Life- two great films! Since I am at a new phase in my life, up to my knees in babies, I have a new found appreciation for both of these films and the powerful message behind choices and regret. I laugh harder and cry harder in The Family Man but it's got to be the Italian leaking out of Nicholas Cage.
  • You've Got Mail-One of my all time favorite movies! Watch it! I know you'll love it. Meg Ryan+Tom Hanks + books and twinkle lights. Oh yeah, you guessed it! I cry during this one too.
  • Home Alone- Just the first one. I haven't seen this in a long time, but we probably went through a VHS copy as kids. I wonder if I would think this is as funny now that I have a little mischief maker of my very own....
So there is my list of my top 10 Christmas films. All of these happen to be in my own personal collection, or they were when growing up, so I can quote all of those funny lines with my movie comrades (you know who you are) and we also can sing all of the songs from the musicals. You got a problem with that?

Yes, you do not see any of those icky Christmas movies on here like The Christmas Story or that horrible Chevy Chase movie. ICK! Dating not the right person in college, I was somehow conned into watching a completely horrible Christmas movie list. I was absolutely horrified at how much this family laughed and laughed through these movies, while I felt I was being tortured. Imagine my dismay when Husband's Christmas repertoire included these same films! I only realized this after we were engaged, and the Christmas Story movie was playing nonstop on TNT at his parents' house for our first Christmas together. I seem to remember informing him that I would not tolerate this film in our house...and I felt it was a deal I gave him the option. I tend to throw silly old-tomatoes (ultimatums) like that occasionally. I really meant that one.

I am perfectly accepting and appreciative of the strict rules my mother had for movies when growing up. I guess I don't know what I am missing?...and I am perfectly content in my ignorance of these horrid films. Fortunately for me and for I & F, they love black olives and they will love my Christmas movie repertoire as they grow up...because I am the Mom! I love it.

*I also just realized that there aren't any Santa Claus films on my list, and that would be because we did not have Santa at our house, nor do we now. I remember being very surprised when I was in high school or college and caught my dad watching Miracle on 42nd Street and he said, "Oh this is one of my favorite movies!" I was very confused by this because I had never seen it!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Due Date

At Christmastime we think of Jesus. This year, it has been a joy to teach my children about the baby Jesus. In their young minds that are actually quite large they saw Christmas trees, Christmas presents, and it was always a delight to see them point out the baby Jesus in a yard nativity or at a store. In my delicate condition, slowly moving around over the Christmas days, I kept thinking about Mary being hauled around on a stinky donkey through the wastelands of Israel to represent themselves for the Roman census. God in His infinite plan, had them get to the place where He wanted Jesus to be born on a specific day and He chose the stinky barn too.

God in His infinite plan has been blessing me with peace during my own pregnancy. A little bit of a debate for everyone has been, "Well, how far along is Erin? When is your due date? When are you expecting?" Anyone that knows me well enough, should know that these queries really aggravate me!! I understand and appreciate the concern and the questions on when "my time" will be to be in labor with this child. However, this baby has been a serious faith leap for Husband and I. We have been overwhelmed by God's blessing in our lives! As crazy and unconventional as we may seem, we have been in prayer and understanding from God over the past 21 months.

Almost 21 months ago, Fiona Lynn was born, and through her birth experience, Husband and I gained a new trust for each other and a new trust and faith in God. We realized that we missed some serious cues from the Holy Spirit, and when we ignored signals of peace and understanding from God, we had to live with answers from man and technology. OK that seems a bit deep even as I read it. The point is that with this baby blessing number three, we are allowing God to be in control. Period. So since we don't know the day of conception, we won't know the exact date of delivery. I have an idea on when the baby might come, but I am leaving the day up to God. "Well, yes Erin! We all know the baby will come when God chooses, but what date has the doctor given you?" Ummm yeah, that is not the point. How can the doctor, midwife, or ultrasound know better than God? And why do we need to have a date to go by? If the baby comes before that magical date, then it was early, and if it comes after the magical date, then it is late. Whether it is psychotic or not, it seriously troubled me before Fiona's birth that she was considered a post term baby by 10 days. Let me give you the quick version:
  • I, the mother, knew the day that I conceived. Yeah, it's not gross, I just knew. So shoot me! I am the egg carrier, and I did happen to know the day that the sperm got involved.
  • The midwife didn't trust that I knew the day that I conceived, so she sent me for an ultrasound, because the medical community thinks that they can measure a squirming little baby and tell us how big their bones are, or when they are really tiny and resemble a shrimp shape, they try to measure the opening between the head and toes. Wow! Sounds like they could be really accurate, right?
  • OK, so back up to that part about me knowing the date of conception...40 weeks from that point, which is the gestation period for a full term baby and also the number of testing in the Bible, would have had Fiona arriving on April 2nd. Now back up to those ultrasound people, they told me March 26. Eight days difference.
  • So when you have technology involved, and a bunch of know-it-alls, you have to have a baby by a certain day. This is how it works with the hospitals, doctors and midwives that deliver at the hospital.
  • The Mama is sometimes sitting around with an incorrect due date, with the pressure to perform and pop out a baby in a certain amount of time, by a certain day. It is crappy.
  • Everyone that this Mama comes in contact with, is used to the due date propaganda, and it really just stems from our human way of wanting to be in control of every situation so that we can plan, plan, plan everything.
If you have seen Seven Brides for Seven Brothers you might remember the bit when Millie tells all of the fighting, kidnapped girls that she is expecting. The lines go, "Millie, when's the baby gonna come?" Millie says, "Well you have to be patient." The girl whines, "But when!" Millie says in plain English, "In the spring." Now this seems to be a good enough answer for all of these wilderness people. "In the spring" should give us a good point of reference for what time of year the baby is expected. Babies were just part of life then, and they would come whenever they were ready, and they didn't worry about getting the right color clothing for the baby, painting the room the right color, and having all types of pre-baby showers. These wilderness farmers, were most likely used to their animals just having their babies, and being done with it: the farmers were there in case they needed to get involved, but the mama animals could just handle things on their own. I've never heard of a cow totally disappointed that she had painted her stall baby pink and was presented with a baby bull. She would never have to explain to the farmer that the hat he had knitted wasn't the right color.

Yes, I am crazy. So shoot me.

I am not hoping to compare myself to an animal having a baby, but why on earth can't we all just be left alone to do our thing and have a baby? When is it coming? What are you having? What about your work schedule? What about my travel schedule? I might not be around...OK! Fine! To all that I love, I mean this in the nicest way...I really don't care where you are or what you are doing. For the third time, I am the one having the baby, and I am the one that will have to deal with it when it comes. I love and appreciate everyone wanting to be around for the phone call, and to help out when they can, but it is so much harder getting my brain ready for the task that I need to perform when everyone is watching me like a pot of boiling water. The reality is that babies don't come like they do on television. My most modern example is when Charlotte is confronting Big on a sidewalk in New York and her water version. Another older example is in Cheaper By the Dozen when the mother is planning number 12 at the hospital and she is packing her bags, most likely getting ready for a twilight sleep type of delivery. Well, maybe since she had already had 11 babies they would have just backed away and said, "Do your thing" at least that is what I would hope

Back to this faith process...the Lord has been teaching me patience with my new role as a mother. I tried explaining this gently to a friend who is trying to have another baby, and is frustrated with waiting to conceive. I will never be able to comprehend the pain and agitation of wanting to conceive, because I have the opposite problem! But I do know that if Husband and I were waiting to start our family, I could have waited forever! In that rather controversial post I made this past spring, I was addicted to my pay check and the thrill of working and being profitable. God has worked on me in other ways! He had to take all of those things away from me in order to teach me patience and to trust in Him to lead and direct my life. Each time we discover that we are pregnant, Husband is excited, and I am terrified. I am regretful each time I know that I have another child growing inside of me. How will I handle this? Why on earth are we doing this now? I told my friend that God may be teaching her patience by waiting to have another baby, but I know He is teaching my patience by having babies. God is teaching me through my daily tasks as a mother to have patience with my children, be waiting on Him for direction for my life and to be the vessel through which He will teach them about Jesus. My cup has been overflowing with joy and blessings far exceeding any bank account or stock portfolio for almost three years.

This next step for Husband and I to trust in God completely for the safety of this new baby, the safety of my health, and knowing that God knows the day and the hour that he or she will enter our lives has been challenging. We are anticipating great rewards and blessings, and we are planning to fly under the radar. With all of the intervention, drama, fear, and feeling that we were out of control with Fiona's birth, we feel so much more secure by allowing God to stand at the helm to direct us through any amount of turbulence. By not allowing fear from anyone in the medical community, fear from our parents, family and friends, we are at peace. This baby will not bring the excitement that Iain brought in being the first, nor will there be excitement that it was a girl with Fiona. But this baby will be the first stress free and performance free pregnancy and birth. This baby will be so exciting for I & F to see and they are already excite to see and feel baby move. And Husband and I are truly Spirit led which hopefully sounds crazy, irresponsible, unconventional and loony to everyone. We will boast in our Lord and praise Him for this miracle of birth that He has designed.

I love this article!

The 7 Feasts of the Lord
The Making of a Baby
By J. R. Church

Zola Levitt discovered an amazing correlation between the Seven Feasts of the Lord and the gestation of a human baby, from conception to birth. While preparing for writing a book for new parents, Zola contacted a gynecologist for some help in understanding gestation.

During that session, the gynecologist showed him a series of pictures, pointed to the first one (an egg and a sperm) and said, "On the fourteenth day of the first month, the egg appears." The statement struck a chord in his Jewish mind because that was the date of Passover. He remembered the roasted egg on his family table every Passover. Now, for the first time, he knew what it meant! Not wanting to lead the gynecologist off from the subject at hand, but he didn't say anything, but continued to listen.

The gynecologist continued: "The egg must be fertilized within 24 hours, or it will pass on." This reminded Zola of the Feast of Unleavened Bread and the seed or grain that "fell into the ground and died" in order to produce a harvest, the first fruits of which was presented to God.

Next, the gynecologist said, "Within two to six days, the fertilized egg attaches itself to the wall of the womb and begins to grow." And, sure enough, the Jewish evangelist thought, "The Feast of First fruits is observed anywhere from two to six days after Passover!"

Next, he was shown a photo of an embryo showing arms, hands, fingers, legs, feet, toes, a head, eyes, etc. The caption said, "Fifty days." The gynecologist continued, "Around the fiftieth day, the embryo takes on the form of a human being. Until then, we don't know if we have a duck or a tadpole." Zola thought, "That Pentecost!"

The next picture showed the embryo at seven months. The gynecologist said, "On the first day of the seventh month, the baby's hearing is developed. For the first time, it can hear and distinguish sounds outside the womb." Zola knew that was the date for the Jewish Festival of Trumpets.

The gynecologist continued, "On the tenth day of the seventh month, the hemoglobin of the blood changes from that of the mother, to a self-sustaining baby." Zola thought, "That's the Day of Atonement, when the blood was taken into the Holy of holies!"

Next, the gynecologist said, "On the fifteenth day of the seventh month, the lungs become fully developed. If born before then, the baby would have had very difficult time breathing." And Zola thought, "That's the festival of Tabernacles, a time of celebrating the Temple , home of the Shekinah glory or Spirit of God." In the New Testament, the Greek term pneuma, normally translated as "breath," is applied to the "Holy Spirit."

Birth takes place on the tenth day of the ninth month. Eight days after birth, in Jewish families, a son is circumcised. Zola noted that the eight days of Hanukkah are celebrated right on schedule, nine months and ten days after Passover.

No human being could have understood the gestation period 3,500 years ago. The establishment of the Seven Feasts of the Lord was given to Moses by the Lord Himself. Its correlation with the human gestation period is not only remarkable; it proves "Intelligent Design." It proves that there is a Creator God that guides the affairs of man

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Tradition! Tradition....TRADITION!

I do have that great song from Fiddler on the Roof in my head...."Tradition! Tradition!....TRADITION!" thanks to my friend over at Per Anna's suggestion, I am going to post one of my favorite Christmas traditions.

A little over a week ago, we (my mom, my sister, and I) took I & F to see the Nutcracker Ballet. It was a big deal for the three of us women, to be passing on one of our very favorite Christmas traditions. Was it a crazy idea? Of course! Was it a bad idea? Never! We got all of our Christmas finery put on, some emergency snack equipment (which would turn out to be a mistake) in the big leopard bag, and we braved the ice covered walkways in Sherman Hill.

Ever since I can remember, my parents have taken us to see the Nutcracker. We have seen many different ballet companies perform it, in many different cities, and as we have grown up with seeing the Nutcracker each year, and it is always the same in that the music, the story and the dancing just carries us away. It has also been different each year, with a twist on the story, a live orchestra in most places, the venue could be Hancher, or somewhere in Chicago or Denver, Clara and the Prince could fly away in a sleigh, be pushed on a sleigh, take off in a hot air balloon...sometimes they don't even leave. The props and scenery have been extremely elaborate all the way to barely there. I have been terrified or enchanted by Heir Drosselmeyer. Every year, it is something new but we always go with great anticipation.

I have missed the last couple of years (being pregnant and having small babies) but the first year that Husband and I were engaged, we went to see the Nutcracker at Hoyt Sherman in Des Moines. With all of the years watching professional ballet companies, namely the Joeffry Ballet, perform with exquisite precision, and most of the time listening to an official live symphony perform Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker Suite, I was slightly...OK I confess...I was greatly disappointed that year watching Ballet Des Moines. The company hired professional people to play the very important lead rolls like the Sugar Plum Fairy and the Cavalier, but the rest of the performers were young girls taking on (what I had always seen as) these huge roles as the Chocolate from Spain, the Coffee from Arabia, and many other rich and . The second act in the Land of the Sweets has always been my favorite, but I left that performance less than satiated. My expectations were snotty. I know it is because, I confess, am a Nutcracker snot!Even though this year was probably very similar to the year that Husband and I went, in my new role as a Mama, I was so impressed with the young ballet company performing all of the parts that I had always seen adults perform. Ballet Des Moines has grown with precision and poise, and I was teary eyed watching little baby mice and gingerbread babies come scurrying out on stage and hoping that one day my little babes could have a chance to at least try out. Unfortunately (or fortunately) Freud was standing next to me in line for the potty at intermission, and she said, "Can you imagine all of the kids that were cut during try outs?!" I immediately shot back at her, "Yes, and imagine all of the kids that wanted to try out, but didn't meet the requirements to even audition!" She looked at me puzzled, and I said, "I always dreamed of being in the Nutcracker, but I was always too tall, so I couldnt' even try out." She just said, "Ohhhh." In some creepy, cleansing way, I was able to let a complete stranger in to my tormented dreams of always wanting to be in the Nutcracker. I seemed to grow every year, and finally I stopped asking my mom to measure me...or maybe I didn't, but I just always expected that maybe I hadn't grown out of the requirement height boundaries. I was so delighted to realize that this local production might possibly be the "recital" for all of the young dancers. How wonderful that their solos, duets, group performances were all a collaborative end of year production that had some purpose! Now that I am officially too old, too tall, and too large, oh and too old to ever be a ballerina, I was completely able to enjoy the dance at any level.Iain, on the other hand, told me in line for the potty, "Mama, no more princess show." Uh oh...

This year, as the curtain was lifted, I was again transformed into a wide-eyed child with the party scene and all of the festivities that come at Christmastime. I was able to see through the eyes of my Iain who quietly sat on my lap, engrossed with all of the children dancing and playing on stage. I loved pointing out all of the little nuances of the ballet that have always been my favorite, and he nodded with his thumb resting quietly in his mouth. A quick glance down the row of seats, and I saw my darling Fiona perched on her Mana's lap, watching all of the moves and jumps of the "princesses" in all of their costume finery and pointy toe shoes.I + F made it as far as the "Waltz of the Flowers" and it was time to sneak out of the theatre. I was a bit depressed that we were making too much noise and had to leave, so I looked at my sister and mother and whined, "This is my favorite part coming up...the Pas de deux!" My sister whined with me and said, "Mine too!" Mana was so gracious and said we could sneak back in and watch a bit more. We were just standing in the aisle, and giggling at each other as we were getting our own fix of tradition. How could we be there, hear the music, and not want to see all of it?! Pretty soon, we heard little voices reminding me that the almost 3 year old and 1.5 year old did very well by sitting through almost 2 full hours of ballet. That is more than most grown men can handle! So we scooted out, to take little people home for naps.Husband and I say each year that we need to start our own traditions at the Little Josephs. Each year we battle each other's own family traditions, and if there is stress it is that difficult time when we have to release some of our own childhood traditions and build with each other for traditions we make with our own babes. We are keeping some, and modifying others. This year has been a tear jerker for this Mama as I hang up my own childhood Christmas ornaments along side with the collections that have already begun for my children. Each one of mine has a special memory for me, and each one of theirs has a special memory for me too. I am afraid it will be all too soon, that our tree will become naked as they go off and need their own ornaments to decorate with. Their little voices speak truth about the baby Jesus and the angels, and their excitement just pours out when we sing "Chri-me-mas" songs. As we get close to another turn of the calendar, God is so good. That is all I know today.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

From the mouths of babes

I am having some serious struggles with my little man today. Disobedience, defiance, laziness, back talking...the list goes on and on. We had to leave the house today. The days inside on the sub-zero days, I know we need to stay inside. I can barely let the dogs out without my skin instantly freezing. It would be too difficult for me to take I & F anywhere productive, and there is always that thought in the back of my head: "What if the car dies? What if we get a flat tire? What if someone else slams into us as we are driving around?" The confines of our warm home are fitting on those days, but with the forecast today...we could reach 20 degrees and the sun is shining, it was time for an adventure.

There are all sorts of things in our community for those cabin feverish days. I had been reading through our community datebook and found that there was a story hour at the nature lodge. We went a couple of weeks ago, and this over critical Mama was very disappointed at the organization (or lack thereof) of the program, the wasted time during this "story hour" that the coordinator spent eating her microwaved lunch and sucking down her Diet Coke for 30 minutes of the story hour did not sit well with me. We were in a rather small room which housed many different creepy crawly creatures on the perimeter. The rodents that Iain was interested in, I was disgusted with, and the reptilian and amphibian life that didn't bother me as much was terrifying him. He couldn't listen to the two stories that we heard because he kept realizing that he was "scared" with this little snake that was 4 feet away from him, in a rather thin looking plastic type cage. The sun was starting to hit this cold blooded guy, and he was becoming quite active in the short amount of time we were sitting there. We then cut out snowflakes, but in my cloud of negativity, I couldn't handle the spray adhesive fumes that were apparently necessary for the glitter on the snowflakes, so we high tailed it out of there, grasping for fresh air.

Today, I was directed to a Christian bookstore, that had a story hour, with coupons for purchases made, free cookies for the kids, and a very fun, fume free craft for the babes. We had true Christmas stories that were beautifully illustrated, full of truth, and oh yeah! lots of words! I forgot that the lady at the nature lodge, picked up a book, but put it down after she started it and said, "This book has too many words in it!" Iain did not want to participate at this story hour at the bookstore. Fiona was sitting on my lap, and being relatively good, and she patiently waited while Iain fought with me during our candy cane pipe cleaner craft. Iain was pouting and complaining, if a two year old can pout and complain...yes they can! and asking to go and ride the choo choo train at the mall. I promised that if he behaved and obeyed we would go after the time we had looking at books. Fiona diligently strung alternating red and white beads onto the pipe cleaner, and would only allow me to hold it steady for her. Any time I tried to help her, she would say, "No Mama! I-do-it"

Iain continued to do everything I asked him not to, and after the final fight to get into the car, I told him that there would be no train ride today. He had a mini-tantrum, and as we got closer to the house, he told me "I bad. I choo choo train." When I told him he had been bad, he finally realized the fight was over. We had situations during lunch, and then he went down for an early nap with Fiona.

The ritual started, and he needed to be tucked in, a kiss, a hug, and "Pray Mama." We prayed, and I asked Jesus to help Iain with his attitude and to be obedient. About 30 minutes into the nap, he came running down the hallway to tell me he had to peepee. Excellent! Let's go! We were productive, and then it was time for the nap. In the bathroom, he asked for another hug and kiss, and for me to pray again. It is all very cute and sweet, and his requests do tug on my heart strings, but I also know that these requests are stall tactics and he will take hug after kiss after prayer all night and all day so he doesn't have to go to bed. So I had the idea to have Iain pray on his own.

He took my hand and said: "Jesus, a bleda rocha (toddler babble) I bad today and a no choo choo train, a blah blah bleh bleh (more babble) and Poppa working, at the jewelry store, a diamonds, a be good, and Jesus Amen!"

About 20 minutes later, more frantic clambering down the hallway, "Mama! I go kaka!" Excellent! Great! Let's do it! Again, he was productive, but kept starting and stalling, and there was lots of wiping, and getting up in between...more stalling. "Iain, time to get down to bed and take your nap." "Ok Mom!" He starts to run into his bedroom, and turns around to asks to be tucked in, another hug, another kiss, and more praying. Again, I know that I will want him to ask me for hugs and kisses someday, and I love it when he does, but he is sooo clever with the stall-outs! I told him to pray again. "OK mom! A dear Jesus, I bad today and no choo choo train ride. Mama! A close eyes and down head! Babble babble...and Poppa working, at the jewelry store, and Foner asleep, and Eenie asleep, and Jesus AMEN! I pray Mama!"

I am amazed to see how his little heart was convicted, because during our first prayer today, I prayed that the Lord would work on his heart so that he would be obedient and follow directions on the 1st time and not waiting until the 5th seemed that he must have understood that my final resort, and should have been my first resort, was to talk to Jesus about Iain's behavior. The little man is sleeping, and obediently staying in bed. The nap interruptions today were those wonderful bathroom requests that we have been working so hard to accomplish, and praise the Lord for those heart changes as well! So my little sponge was outpouring today, and from his mouth there is truth to be heard and growth in his soft little heart.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


If you are snowbound like we are, you would have the time to read John Greenleaf Whittier's poem "Snowbound." I thought to post it here, but alas, it is quite long. I do appreciate this verse from Emerson's "The Snow Storm" which is just as fitting:
    "Announced by all the trumpets of the sky,
    Arrives the snow, and, driving o'er the fields,
    Seems nowhere to alight: the whited air
    Hides hills and woods, the river and the heaven,
    And veils the farm-house at the garden's end.
    The sled and traveller stopped, the courier's feet
    Delayed, all friends shut out, the housemates sit
    Around the radiant fireplace, enclosed
    In a tumultuous privacy of Storm."
    Emerson,The Snow Storm.
They first said we would be somewhere between 6"-12" of snow. Then they changed it to 8"-14". When I went to bed at 1:30 this morning, the snow was still falling, and the weatherman said that the snowfall would slow down from 2" per hour to .25-.50" per hour which would give us about 4" through the night. When we woke up this morning, it was still much for stopping at 4am. The total so far is 15.5". Quite a bit of stinkin' snow, especially for the first storm of the year. Nothing like...easing your way into the winter.Husband is home for the day, so this is the most serious storm we have weathered together. Probably the fact that the roads aren't plowed would make it difficult for any customer traffic at the store. I am cracking my whip here at home! As long as he is here, I do need help lifting things and getting the house a bit more ship shape. After all, as anyone knows me well enough, I do like to run a tight ship. Plus, it somehow makes me feel good when I hear him exclaiming at the piles of dog puke, or uncovering another art form on one of our beautifully painted walls, that is about 3' high. It just makes the burden easier to bear with Husband close at hand.I did spoil us last night, with a rather gourmet, but completely nourishing meal for dinner. On tonight's menu, he will be glad he stayed home as well. As if I need to tell anyone about my latest obsession over food, I have decided that I do need a space to journal as I am learning. So I am starting a new blog site for all of the strange and non-conformist things I am learning and desperately trying to implement in our home. The name of the new blog is It's Your Nourishing Density. The inspiration for this title comes from the line from Back to the Future when George McFly tells Lorraine "You are my you are my destiny."

Update since posting earlier: More photos of this storm. It will be historic. We just don't typically get 16" of snow. It just isn't normal. The last storm of this proportion (according to the weather people) was in 2001. I was a junior in college, and I do remember classes getting canceled, and just staying at the Towers complex. The issue of snow removal never crossed my mind. We now wrap our outdoor exposure around the snow removal and if and how the dogs can get outside. Caesar was captured, just watching out the window, and the snow is higher than his stature. Husband, is suited up and ready to be digging. He is planning on writing a bit of an article about why snow shovels are Republicans and snow blowers are Democrats. Can't wait to hear what he has to say...And finally, our front walk. Need I say more?

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Monday Dialogue and Tuesday Observations

I know it is Tuesday, so the idea of Monday Dialogue on a Tuesday is a bit confusing, but the point of Monday Dialogue is that we spend the day with Husband and so there is more talking between Husband and Wife. There is more dialogue with the babes as well, so, I don't know, it is confusing, but these bits are from Monday:

Jake getting Fiona out of bed: Fiona? Did you kaka?
Fiona: No! A bunny, FART! A blankie, FART!
Jake: Oh? your bunny and your blankie farted? you are clean?
Fiona: YEAH!

Right now, my observation of Fiona, is that she is has pulled down her pants, and is mesmerized by walking around with her pants down around her ankles. Also she is finding it very amusing to throw the Little People Nativity all over the house.

Husband discovered Iain sitting with a carrot, and the peeler. He brought it to me and said, Were you peeling a carrot and got distracted? or do I have reason to believe that someone fetched this carrot on his own and has decided to peel it? I had no intentions to peel a carrot, but I had been letting Iain help me bring in carrots from the garage yesterday while I was cooking...Husband said, He must want the carrot, so he peeled it and Iain was walking around gnawing on this huge carrot. The little man will not eat a carrot stick, but this huge carrot was his cup a tea. Fiona came to me in the kitchen and said, "Mommy, a pink carrot." I said, I'm sorry, but we don't have pink carrots. I don't know if God made pink carrots. She said, OK and walked away. Later I found Iain with no carrot, but a huge orange mustache around his mouth.

This morning Fiona told Jake that there was pink snow outside...we are still trying to figure out if she is a girly girl, by requesting pink and princess things all of the time, OR if she is truly not a girly girl when she declares her BURPs and FARTs so loudly and adamantly. The verdict is still out.Iain initially said these things a few days ago while we were eating dinner, but he repeated himself in a new situation last night, and I just love it!
Iain: Poppa, more water?
Husband: Ignoring Iain, continues to eat.
Wife: Looks at Husband still eating, and looks at Iain, and gets up to get him more water.
No Mama, you sit, eat. Poppa! MORE water!!

Last night, it was during dinner, the same scenario, except Iain asked to go potty, and the same thing happened, and Iain told me again, No Mama, you eat. I love that my little man understands how things have been working at our dinner, or breakfast table, which is that I am always the last one to the table by finishing up a dish, or just actually making my food since I typically make Husband's first and then babes and then mine. He somehow knew that it would be alright to insist on his Poppa helping out, while I got a chance to eat.
There has been an ongoing discussion about this branch in the back yard the fell about a month ago. We noticed a branch hanging from one of our trees, but it was very high up and just hanging on. After a rain storm this fall, it fell...on the Little Tikes play structure, right on top of the slide. This was a bit distressing as I wandered down the idea that one of my babes could have been on the slide when this branch decided to fall. We pray for extra angels to protect these babes whenever we get the chance, because there are some things we know we will not be able to protect them from. Having the slide thing right underneath the tree, was a bad move on the parent's part.

So before Husband and I knew each other, I have wanted to have a branch of some kind, inside of my dwelling place. I had one picked out while living in my condo, but I could never figure out a way to secure the branch without putting holes into my brand, spankin' new condo, so I never took the plunge to introduce a branch inside. My plan was to have white twinkle lights and various birds that I have been collecting to perch, and during the holiday season would be a good time to have twinkle lights, but I thought it could stay up indefinitely. I got this idea while I was in college, as my roommates and I were all addicted to watching Trading Spaces. The older man with the glasses put a huge tree in someone's kitchen, and I just liked the idea. It was very interesting.

With much debate, and some of those, "She's crazy" looks from Husband, I have my branch, with twinkle lights and birds. Even though I despise, loathe and abominate pet birds, and I am absolutely terrified of huge flocks of birds overhead like crows...I have always had a fond appreciation for wild birds like cardinals, blue jays, chickadees, get the idea. So when I have seen wild bird ornaments, I absolutely buy them. My first acquisition was in Epcot Center...of one of those Old World ornaments...not the fake ones, the real ones, the expensive ones and I found a peacock, with a real feather as the tail. I found him in 2002. After Husband and I got married, I found a few more bird ornaments at my favorite jewelry store, and I started a bit of a tradition between us for the tree in our room and called it our "love bird" tree. My "love bird" tree will now be the "love bird" branch. I am so "Martha"!

I will take the credit for the idea of the branch, but Husband gets the credit for making my idea happen, but cutting the right size branch and screwing it to the wall.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Speed Blogging

Instead of writing the normal dribble, today's post will be explaining my photos, which we all know can be worth 1000 words on their own.

Fiona is first today. She is blooming into a very opinionated and chatty little girl. "No" is her favorite word of choice, but this clever Mama is always testing her to see if the "NO!" truly means no. She has decided that her favorite color is pink, and only wants to wear pink clothes, pink socks, pink shoes, pink diapers, and drink from pink cups and eat pink food. If it is not pink, then it is all about princesses. We took the babes to see Disney on Ice, and she was yelling for all of the princesses as if they had just made a touchdown. Iain has decided he is in love with his Auntie Doodie. He talks about her all of the time, and if he isn't trying to tell me which way to pull out of the driveway..."No MOM! The other way!" or telling me that he is ready to go to his Mana or Nani's house, then he would rather be talking to Auntie Doodie on the phone, telling me about the cool slippers she bought him or wanting to go to HER house. He has decided that he is not a little boy anymore, rather he is Robin Hood. Since discovering his acute imagination, we can't go anywhere without his beach hat, now officially the "Hood hat" including taking it in to bed where he lays it right next to him on his pillow, and he can't go on the potty without the Hood hat as well. He has decided to acquiesce, and wear a stocking cap underneath of the Hood hat when we go outside in the bitter cold. But don't forget! The hat must be tilted at a 45 degree angle, to cover one eye in order to be completely authentic.The two of them together are quite a pair. About 90% of the time, they get along like the best of friends, and even in those moments of despair, one of them will take charge: "Foner! No! A-my book! Here yours!" or Fiona will just shriek at the highest tone she can make, so that Mama will get involved.
This Mama is still pregnant, and just starting in the last wave before the end. Loads of baby movement inside my belly, and I+F love to kiss and hug my belly, and today, I think they truly felt a kick. Iain said, "Mom! It kicked you!" Husband is starting in on the holiday rush, and couldn't be having a worse time with his 4th illness...cold, flu, crap, whatever you want to call it...of the year. Unfortunately, now Wife is annoyed because this is the first time she has come down with anything this year, so I am kicking him at night as he is snoring and my throat feels like I have razor blade ornaments hanging from my nonexistent tonsils, and I have to roll my huge body out of bed to go and blow my nose in order to breathe.Yeah, we still love each other. Our 5th Thanksgiving together, and baby number three is coming down the pipeline.

This next photo is to prove to myself AND my sister, and any family members, that Doodie and I, in fact, look very similar. We have the same parents, so it stands to reason. That's all I'm going to say on that matter. I have been busy with all different types of projects. Several friends have had babes in the month of November, so I have been knitting a few little baby pilot caps. Fiona is modeling the second made hat, which is Iowa State themed and I did figure out how to get a big juicy gold I right on the top. This cap is for one of Jake's co-worker's baby boy Alex. Mom used to play basketball for ISU, and dad played football. I hope they liked it.
The third hat is on baby Ehlis, and this was more true to the newborn size. The ISU cap turned out a bit too large. Gauge issues always aggravate me. You knitters will know what I am saying.

Here is the stack of bibs I knocked out on my dear old friend sewing machine. There are more on Fiona's pile than Iain's, and the two of them pointed that out to me. So this means that Iain will not wear anything that is pink or floral in nature. Most of the fabric was from scraps that I had lying around, and all of the backs are different fabric as well. These are serious fun, and save all of our adorable clothing...when we wear them.
Here we have Fiona modeling the first one to get snaps put onAnd this is the back view. Difficult to see that the bibs look a bit like a pinafore.

I had a horrible experience with my work from home job, the bead stringing/repair. I left a bead job, in the middle, getting up for...hmmm...probably something important...and I came back to find Fiona shaking this 5 strand bracelet. Fortunately, I found several of the beads. Unfortunately, there were still some missing beads, and Husband found a few. And unfortunately again, I found some while vacuuming, and this biggest misfortune, was realizing that I had sucked one into the vacuum. I had to go in after it. Can you find it in this mess?Growing up with a dentist for a father, there has never been an absence of latex gloves. I have had to order up a box to keep on hand at my house, and they are great! Cleaning toilets? Glove up. Cleaning up puke? Glove up, and mask on. Sifting through the vacuum bag? Glove up, and mask on. You can learn a great deal about your life by having to sift through a vacuum bag. The main thing I learned, is that when Husband is at the helm, there are lots of things that are going into the vacuum that should be being picked up: bobby pins, paper clips, little plastic balls that go to our fake fish tank, and a long extension ladder that belongs on a little fire truck. This last item is not too small to see, or grab, or pick up.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

It's really not about olives

So I had planned to blog about how my babes LOVE black olives. I bought a case of Lindsay black olives (the very best brand) at Costco...and there was some eye rolling from my husband who happens to loathe black olives, but I have successfully produced two offspring who love black olives just like their Mama. My little sister has this thing about being an olive lover or a non olive lover, and how we come from a family of 5 olive lovers to 1 non olive lover. The two olive lover kids that have been married, somehow have married two non olive lovers and this had brought down the ratio of olive lovers to non olive lovers. I am happy to report that I have fixed the ratio again to the proper balance in the force with my two happy olive loving babes.

So this is not about olives...really. It is actually about adding another horrible day to my list. I feel that I have these really out of control days where there are these crazy out of the ordinary things that I become heavy with child. It never fails! When I was pregnant with Fiona I had that horrid day when Iain split his eye open and we thought he had crushed his leg so he needed a radio graph and I spent some good time freaking out in the E.R. Then, also pregnant with Fiona, our water almost got shut off. So I was traipsing around town, with a heavy pregnant belly and an equally heavy not yet 2 year old trying to pay our water bill at the city offices. They were less than helpful.

Today, we started out with this great idea of a bike ride out to see Husband for lunch. My attempt to ween ourselves away from Husband after a week of stay-cation was going to give us an outing with a picnic. We read a pile of books before going, so that took away my bike time, so we piled in the car to leave and whirrrwhirrwhirrwhirr the car was dead. Lovely. Just lovely! How could this be? So a long day's worth of phone calls to AAA and waiting for the jump, refusing the $122 offer of a new battery put in right in the convenience of my own garage which seemed like a rip-off actually was!! I drove over to my new friends at Auto Zone and they told me that my battery is totally fine and not the dead, wasted cell that the stupid crooks at West Side Auto Pros claimed my lifeless battery was. I can say that WSAP are dirty filthy crooks because this is not the first time that they have tried to screw us over on car repairs. They are bad dogs for sure.

The most refreshing part of my below average day was the honesty and forthright truth from a decent person. Eric told me "I don't work on commission, and I would love to sell you all of the things that you would need, but you don't need this!" He had checked my battery twice and it gave a good report...twice. I love it when people don't try to talk me into something that I don't need!! It makes me trust them and respect them as well!! Plus, without selling me anything, I will become a customer. Easy as pie.

So this post, is not about the black olives, and still not about the faulty battery. Instead, it is about my little mischief maker. I could be blaming this dead battery on my own personal, and compact Curious George, but it is highly likely that when I caught him in the driver's seat, something could have been switched over and turned into a "parasitic drain" on the battery. Husband or I could have made a mistake as well...however, let me share the situations that George has been responsible for, which has caught us with that stupid "How the heck did that happen" look.
  • The mild things like leaving food in "hiding" places around the house, are still mild, but everything has a start, and I would say that hiding a chunk of banana in my asparagus steamer many days? We will never know. It was just that horrible smell that had to be tracked down by detective mom.
  • It made no sense as to why I would be taking the first shower of the day, and I have some warm water starting out, and then the water continued to get colder and colder and ICE cold. What could have happened? Oh yeah, George flipped the switch on the hot water heater in the basement. So Husband had the task of lighting the pilot light after I rewashed a couple loads of dishes in the dishwasher and thawed out from my shower. And yes, I most likely had shampoo residue in my hair. This turning off the hot water heater has happened at least twice now, and maybe I have blocked out the third time.
  • This summer, I reached into the ice dispenser to find a bunch of wet sticky ice. Very peculiar. I thought very little of it for a few hours, and then when I went to check again, I noticed that the ice cubes were stickier and wetter! Yes. He turned the freezer AND the refrigerator off.
  • The crock pot dinner, that wasn't done by dinner had been shut off at some point during the day.
  • The thermostat has been switched to OFF as well.
  • Sometimes the dogs, and babes end up outside with no shoes or socks on, and they are all out in the front yard.
What I have realized is that I am really not as OCD as I could be or should be having this little ball of mischief living in my midst. "That's the kind that puts strychnine in the well!" I continue to ask the Lord for a host of angels to protect my little man and little woman from getting into trouble and hurting themselves. They are so clever and silent when they get into trouble...oh yes, I did change my pronoun from him to they. He has an accomplice now. We have found her on top of the table eating leftovers. It only takes a moment of "Where's Iain" or "Where's Fiona?" and they could be standing with both legs and feet submerged in the toilet or covered in face powder and broken eye shadow and tubes of lipstick that are smashed all over the cupboards and smeared on the floor and all over their bodies as well, looking as if they are covered in war paint and ready for battle.Our ratio was good.

It is about to become not so good.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Rather Blustery Day, Today

So we did have some very beautiful and perfect autumn days, and Praise God for those! The babes had a glorious time running around and enjoying the leaves that had been falling in our yard. Actually, the yard was carpeted with leaves! Iain is always amazing us with his memory of things, and as I got out the rake, he was talking to me all about leaf piles and jumping. Fiona was just a small nut last year, so this was her first experience with piles of leaves and she was timorous in her attempts to experience the full joy of jumping and rolling in leaves like her older brother. She tries desperately to be just like him, but the itchy, sticky, stinky leaves were too beneath her. Iain was quick to grab a broom to help out with the leaves, but the real chore was being saved for when Husband was home to offer the physical strength needed to complete the project. At points, the leaf raking seems futile with the cascade of leaves still dropping from the treetop.The flowering crab tree is called Prairie Fire.
We didn't know what that meant until we saw the leaves.
Today, I was happy to report almost a completely naked tree, so this should be our 2nd and last weekend to rake the yard. Oh wait! We will probably have another weekend, but it will be because of our neighbors and their poor work ethic. Husband is always cursing "Communists!" under his breath while we are raking huge Sycamore leaves, which hail from two houses North, and jamming their yard excrement into our purchased lawn bags. I grew up in a truly Communistic city, so the idea of bagging leaves seems ridiculous to me when we know that there are city leaf-sucker-uppers that just come and suck in all of the leaves each week for those who rake their leaves into nice piles along the curbside. I am sure the garbage fees are more money over there, but the convenience factor is almost worth it! Except for those people who don't have leaves to be raked; they would definitely feel that we are all Communists.Iain already takes good photosAnd he is peddling away! This is so cool to not have to be pushed by Mama anymore.

With the earlier nights setting in, we are using our Netflix account to its fullest advantage. Jake decided that he was bored to tears with my repertoire of films (I don't even know where I hear about some of these films, but the queue has been established months in advance when I go through and just click everything, AND THEN I am totally surprised to find something I wasn't expecting in the mail box. Part of our film education.) so he went through the queue and has updated to reflect his taste in movies. So every other one in the mail is something that Husband has ordered. *Rolls eyes* I am all about sharing and watching what he watches, but I can't stand some of these films!! We got Transformers II last weekend. *gag* I started watching with him, since I had been forced to watch the first Transformer movies, and made myself scarce when he was watching some huge boxed set of Transformer cartoons after Christmas last year. There were about six DVDs worth of episodes and it seemed as though he would never get done with watching those. So I patiently sat and started to watch this horrible film about mutating machines that are (apparently) part alien as well as part machine that can morph into different pieces of equipment on planet earth, but they are (of course) secretly trying to take over the world. *Knit, purl, knit, knit...* This time, there is some human that might have accidentally touched some sort of Kryptonite that is allowing him to...OK it was ridiculous. I give it a huge capital F with boogers on the side, and yes, I did not finish watching the film because it was erasing important brain cells that I need for the rest of my life.

Moving on! Husband really "owed" me a serious chic flick for the 40 minutes that I watched of Transformers, so it was a good idea that he told The Proposal to come in the mail next. The only bad thing about this form of revenge is that Husband, secretively or not, enjoys chick flicks!! It was a great little film, and the only part of it that is similar to our own story is that I was Husband's "boss" when we met. Sandra Bullock needs Ryan Reynolds to marry her so that she won't loose her fabulous editor job to be deported back to Canada. Husband knew the landscape of most of the film taking place in Sitka, Alaska, where he was taken on some of those seriously spoiling cruise trip vacations as a child. There were some parts in the film that were a bit of a stretch, but overall it was a good giggle of a film and worth the rent. I would give it a solid B.

Iain and Fiona have been frequently asking to watch Olivia "the pig show." Olivia is an adorable pig that walks on her back legs and has a younger brother named Iain. Everything in the two little episodes we have is so mild and appropriate, however, my little Iain has started to pick up on little things in "shows." My heart was shattered when he asked for a kiss goodnight the other night, and proceeded to say, "YUCK!" and wipe his hand across his face. Where would he have picked this up? Then I remembered that when the Grandma pig comes for a visit, she kisses Iain and he decides he is too old for kisses so says, "Yuck!" after the kiss and wipes his snout. *sigh* It happened again today when tucking down for a nap.
Did I forget to mention, that we like to fish in our yard?

Husband and my ears perked the other morning during Sesame Street when we heard a little nutrition segment about eating your carrots, and broccoli, and this list of vegetables, when all of a sudden we heard "You gotta eat your TOFU!" WHAAAAA?!!! We freaked out simultaneously, and rushed in to turn off the boob tube. We had just turned it on, not two minutes before the tofu propaganda, so there was great confusion amongst the small fry and so we danced about eating chicken embryos, dead cows, and dead chickens, fish, shrimp, get the idea...but followed up with "TOFU IS POISON!" OH yeah! We felt empowered trying to undo the garbage on public television, and we are trying to ween the TV more each day and stick to a movie. They seem to love anything with pigs, so it was Charlotte's Web that they chose yesterday, and even though there is a plethora of immense words and extensive vocabulary in that film, we have the vegetarian pig who is desperately afraid of becoming morning bacon.
On a completely unrelated note, but again using this space to document, Husband was on a walk with the babes the other night while I was being converted into a cosmetic genius. The moon became hidden behind some clouds and Iain exclaimed, "HEY! A moon go?" Husband had to tell him that it was behind some clouds and would come out again, but I could only picture this perfectly crisp and quiet autumn evening, with the babes all tucked into the stroller and all of a sudden "HEY! A moon go?" like, Hey! who hit the lights?