Saturday, December 13, 2014

Give us the biggest one ya got!

Two little feet stomping through the house, one joyful cry of "Mama!" signaling awake, old Nora stirs from her doggie bed and noses her way under our covers.  Weekend wake-ups are sometimes wonderful... when they happen at a decent hour, preferably anytime after 7 am.

This Saturday morning was like that.  A tiny sleep-in respite from the early weekday mornings.  A happy 3 year old savoring his new found independence and munching on a bowl of dry cereal left out by a good dad.  Happy baby waking up singing and talking to his baby- my old cabbage patch doll.

I roll out of bed with a mission.  December 13th- a childhood memory that I want my kids to partake in.  St. Lucia Day in Sweden- girls with candlelit wreaths upon their heads, sticky cinnamon buns, white dresses, red ribbons, oh and the boys too since that's all I have to work with.  Star boys- with golden stars to decorate the room with.  I excitedly gather a few materials and put the rolls in the oven.  The boys gather around as I tell them the story and show pictures from a google image search.  When I ask who wants to wear the crown, my three year old wrinkles his nose and fold his arms.  No matter, I think, the baby is always up for mischief. I approach Leo and he runs shrieking from me.  Realizing the wonder of this tradition might only work for little girls eager to be the center of the story for once, I sadly tuck my wreath under my arm and leave for the kitchen, leaving the boys to their trucks and blocks.  Corbin-o follows after me, apologetically saying,"Mama, I like trucks."

Thankfully not all things Christmas- related have ended that way this year.  Our celebrations started with Thanksgiving.  Corbin-o finally old enough to grasp gratitude and spout off the many things he has to be thankful for, "trucks, stuffed animals, moms and dads (note plurals), big Nora, chalkboards...." and on and on, an endless trail of seemingly insignificant things but big things in the eyes of a little boy.  His prayers for dinner seem to be all-encompassing as well, "thank you for this food (but only if he likes what's served), for mom, for dad, for Leo, for Corbin, and for ALLLL the people in the WHOLE world- AMEN!"  A good reminder to count the little things as well as the big things.

We are in our new home.  A major blessing.  With tall ceilings and ample living room space to stretch out and enjoy.  A fireplace!  For me, another place to decorate and its been fun.  We went to get a tree.  With a utility trailer hooked behind our car.  After perusing Home Depot's collection, we decided the selection wasn't so good, nor the prices low enough.  We did not experience the 'power of the home depot' as Corbin likes to announce every time we shop there.  So to Costco we went.  8-9 foot Douglas Firs.  Pay for your tree, drive to the truck, and the guys will tie it on your car for you.  So Leo and I ran in to pay for our tree while Corbin and Mr. Incredible found a spot to park in the back of lot, big enough for a car and trailer.  When I called to tell him to drive around to the trees, the car wouldn't start.  A dead battery.  We knew it was dying so it wasn't a surprise... just an inconvenience.  So I ran back inside with Leo and waited in line and bought a battery.  Then I trekked across the parking lot in search of my car and the rest of the family.  Mr. Incredible had the old battery out and the new battery installed super fast... but not fast enough for two restless kidlets.  Leo squealed and kicked his feet, landing on Corbin-o's chest, who yelled back.  They settled down once we got moving, towards our tree finally.  I ran the old battery back inside for recycling while Mr. Incredible pulled up to the tree truck.  He handed over the receipt, "Give me the biggest one ya got!" And the tree guys, with sap-covered aprons, fist pumped the air and eagerly pulled out a bundled up behemoth, as if they had been saving the beast for us.  The kids started screaming again, so Mr. Incredible told him to throw it on the trailer, un-inspected.  The older man standing in line behind Mr. Incredible chuckled and gave him a knowing look as our car filled with noisy kids and trailer filled with giant fir pulled away.

At home, a new neighbor came over to help shake dead needles off and admired our pick. "That's sure a... good-looking tree!"  And he was right- its a good looking tree, just massive.  But inside, next to our stone fireplace and with soaring wood ceilings above, it fills the space and sparkles with white lights and glittering pinecones.  I finally pulled out our actual ornaments and added red, yellow, teal balls.  It shimmers and catches your eye from all parts of the house.  And the kids are in love.

We've been blessed to read Ann Voskamp's Advent book this year.  Each night after snuggles on the couch by the lit Christmas tree, Leo gets sent to bed and Corbin cracks open the book. We read the story, he sits and listens, and then hangs an ornament on a little tree.  I never know how much he understands but he recounts bits of each nights' story as he spots its ornament, always looking for that cut-off stump with a tiny shoot that marks the beginning of Jesus' genealogy.  A favorite was the story of Rahab and the red rope.  He excitedly looked for presents wrapped with red ribbon and exclaimed-"There it is!  Jesus' love for me!" (thanks Aunt GiGi for using red ribbon this year!)

The boys and I attended the children's concert with our 90 year old friend, Grandma Ruth.  They bounced on pews and clapped at the wrong time and made goofy faces at the people behind us but it was a good start to a lifetime of concert-attending.

"Santa Clause is Coming to Town," Corbin sings softly, under his breath.  Mr. Incredible asks, "Who's Santa?"  "Oh he's the guy in the red suit."  "But what does he do?" Mr. I presses.  "He goes to the mall and takes pictures of kids." Corbin answers matter of factly.

"The Children were nestled all snug in their beds, while visions of cookie crumbs danced in their heads." Corbin reciting The Night Before Christmas.

Leo hears music and has to move.  This baby feels the beat sooner than my ears even recognize a song is playing.  Pentatonix Christmas albums are on constant shuffle on our Spotify accounts.  When "Hark the Herald" starts playing, Leo waits through the beautiful, chorale opening.  He keeps his eyes on me and stays within a few feet of where ever I am.  Once the dance beat drops, he turns to me, shoots across the floor like a bullet and reaches up, hopping and saying, "humph!  humph!" Which in Leo-language, is "Up! and Dance!"  So we dance.  I've decided that once we start remodeling, a dance floor has to be put in the plans somewhere.

This season is busy- as it is every year.  But my little ones force me to notice the little things.  Christmas  lights in a neighbor's yard half hazardly flung into a bush.  The way the setting sun glints through our living room window and lights up the glass balls at the top of our tree.  The poor, chewed up plastic nativity set that gets tossed around the house- but that the angel "the one Leo chewed on, Mama, can slide down the stable to tell the shepherds about the baby."  And the little things are becoming bigger in our world.  The insignificant, suddenly hold a significant place in our days.  So we say yes to reading one more Christmas story.  And look for every opportunity to give gifts to those who need them.  And we say "Give us the biggest one ya got" and join in on the tree guys' joy or the checker at Trader Joe's smiles.  We hope you savor the little things and that they become big things for your family too this Christmas season!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Summer Photo Dump

This blog has officially been neglected.  Almost abandoned.  Too much going on this season, some good, some more difficult.  Its actually because of the difficult that I haven't completely abandoned this space.  The desire to write, to share, to maybe someday have words for someone else going through 'difficult' keeps this space alive.  But today 'the difficult' is put on hold.  Too many great summer memories that demand to be recorded in this space.  So sit back, enjoy the ride of our wild and not-so wild summer.  

It mostly centers around these two...

I anticipated the joy of having babies...of having toddlers...of having boys. But not of having brothers.  Oh my heart- the mischief, the belly laughs, the spats, and the sweetness is almost too much to bear!

Church friends... little brother photobomber.

And suddenly, not so little. 

One year, gone in a heartbeat.  He analyzes the world around him, deciding how things go together, how they should work and fit.  No time for mama, but sometimes looking to big brother to be a partner in crime.  

And this one too... now three!  With more words, more ideas, more imagination.

More hats too I might add.

Can you picture them as thirteen year olds?  They probably all will have a crush on the blond girl in the front seat but will be too shy to speak to her.

Or sixteen?  Vying for that driver's license, choosing electives in school, hanging out on weekends and eating cold pizza.  I'm savoring the weekends we have now- consumed by hotwheels, plastic cups filled with milk, and the occasional scuffle that still needs to be broken up by a mama.  Cold pizza and girl crushes can wait!

Good dads.

And some actual no-kids, several nights away, couple time for Mr. Incredible and me.  To Vegas no less.

Cell phone cameras...

Blurry because we don't know exactly what to do with ourselves without scheduling nap times and kids' meals.  But we figured it out quickly and enjoyed each other's company and conversations, and adventure like the old days.

But eventually back to this... and this is good, if a little messy at times.

More thoughts and photos and fun too to come.


Wednesday, July 2, 2014



A month of endless showings- nearly two a day for thirty days!- and then the decision. Off the market, air conditioning purchased and installed, colorful walls painted 'realtor white.' One month of working, and waiting, and trying not to worry. Back on the market and a full schedule of showings once again. Three days later, an offer. We counter, they accept, the ball is rolling!  Inspection scheduled, papers signed, we begin to think about a new house. Long story short we find a house and are encouraged to make an offer. We are hesitant and have low expectations but surprisingly the offer is accepted!  Two days later our buyers come back asking for a major price reduction. We decline.  Both houses fall out of escrow. Back on the market. The end was in sight. Disappointment. 


Receiving a call for a second showing. Prospective buyers deciding between our house and another.  "Your street is so quiet- especially compared to the other houses we've seen." Dinner is cleaned up and dishes put away. Floors mopped, toys tucked into their hiding places. Boys and dog loaded into car five minutes before the showing is scheduled. Austin makes one more sweep of the backyard and the party erupts. Our neighbors steadily getting louder.  We rush to the car, nothing to be done, and are pulling out of the driveway when three police cars screech to a halt in front of our house. Officers hurry to the neighbors' door.  Our quiet street is suddenly not so quiet... And it's all completely out of our control.  We leave and don't know if the prospective buyers came, drove by and saw police cars and kept going, or blew us off entirely.  Discouraging. 


I would have despaired unless I believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; Be strong and let your heart take courage; yes, wait for the Lord.  Psalm 27:13-14

So we will wait. And we will not despair. And we will believe in the goodness of God. 

Things recently enjoyed:
First fruits from our Anna Apple tree
A growing, almost- three year old imaginary world of trucks, donuts, neigh- neighs, and more trucks
Kale pesto- and watching my kids devour it
Excursion to the fair- 2 mamas vs 4 little boys...and the mamas decisively won!
Watching tentative, first steps from an almost one year old
Photographing 3! newborns this past month
A sweet baby shower for a college roommate
Hearing "mama!" from the baby
Homemade antipasta
Meeting new friends

...The goodness of the Lord in the land of the living...

Monday, April 28, 2014

Morning coffee

6:59 AM- coffee maker beeps, I stumble out of bed and towards the shower. Sleeping in isn't an option as it would be a guaranteed way to make both boys wake up and start their path of destruction with the demise of one of the few objects left in the house that I hold dear. 

7:12 AM- the tantalizing aroma of fresh brewed coffee finds me as I'm stepping out of the shower.  I'm half way through the hair/makeup routine when the toddler kicks the bathroom door open and begins his barrage of words that will make up the background music of my day.  "Good morning mama! I had a good sleep. I'm really hungry- I need a snack. I don't like breakfast because I get too full but I need a snack. I drive a yellow cement truck with two trailers- Nora sits in the back..." And on and on and on.  It's all I can do to keep him from barging down the hall with his narration and waking up his brother. 

7:24 AM- Dad fills up his travel mug with life- sustaining goodness and gives kisses goodbye. 

7:28 AM- Sweet Nector, you're almost mine! Toddler has been shushed and coerced into tiptoeing past sleeping brother's room and then bribed with a cup of milk and toy truck to stay quiet a little longer. I grab a mug, pour in some creamer, and then fill the rest with coffee. Before taking a drink though, a bowl of Cheerios is demanded and I oblige. 

7:34 AM- coffee is rapidly cooling but I forgot to provide a tiny spoon to the tiny Cherrio eater so I must abandon my cup and dig through the silverware for the yellow spoon. I finally locate said spoon and head back to my coffee but...

7:37 AM-  coffee drinking thwarted again! The baby is awake and protesting his current confinement in his crib. I greet the smiley but stinky baby and start wrestling him out of his footie jammies to remedy the stinky situation. He grins at me while flipping onto his belly and frantically scooting away from the diaper changing business. I barely catch him before he carreens onto his head from the changing table and with a combination of diaper changing skill that only a mom of little boys has acquired and brute strength, the baby is changed, reinserted into his jammies, and we are heading back to the living room to feed him, by way of the kitchen to pick up my abandoned coffee...

7:49 AM- Target aquired.  Coffee in hand, I head to the couch and feed the 'starving' baby. I take a sip of coffee - finally! - and it's barely warm... Mostly cold actually. Despite my desperate need for caffeine at this point, I don't drink cold coffee. That's another story though. 

7:59 AM- Coffee abandoned again. Baby is fed and happily headed toward stealing his brother's toys. I stick my coffee cup in the microwave and give it a zap to warm it up. The toddler has discovered the baby gumming on his favorite truck and declares war.  As the microwave beeps, I rush to rescue the baby from the toddler's choke hold. Baby is laughing hysterically by the way, but the toddler still gets a talking to.  Boys are properly separated and I retrieve my coffee and take a big gulp- Aghhhh! Too hot! I leave it on the counter to cool for a second. 

8:06 AM- coffee cools. Toddler declares that he has to go potty.  I rush him to the potty. We make it just in time. Since he's already mostly undressed, I decide to get him ready for the day. We dig through dresser drawer for the 'yellow truck shirt' but I forget that it's in the laundry. A 'blue not truck shirt' has to suffice but first I have to witness an epic toddler meltdown. Meltdown over and shirt is on. Baby has made his way to the bedroom and discovered the chalkboard easel. While I'm touting the merits of the 'blue not truck shirt' the baby is eating pink chalk. Baby leaves room and leaves a trail of pink handprints on the floor. 

8:18 AM- I follow handprints back to the kitchen where my coffee awaits. I manage another careful sip before I discover the pink chalk dusted baby heading toward his favorite toy- the cord to the floor lamp. Coffee tossed aside, I apprehend the baby before the lamp crashes to the floor. I also manage to catch the lamp with my leg so nothing breaks- score!  I am now covered in pink chalk dust too. Holding the baby away from me, we go to get cleaned up and changed. 

8:38 AM - coffee takes another spin in the microwave. Everyone is dressed but demanding more food. I start the process of cooking eggs, tossing Cheerios to the baby/bottomless stomach, and pleading with the toddler to put the goldfish crackers away and eat real food. I get a few more sips of coffee inbetween the chaos. 

8:46 AM- toddler complains that his eggs aren't 'yellow enough.'  Baby scarfs his egg down and screams for more. I scramble another 'yolk-only' egg for the baby while force feeding my toddler. 

8:59 AM- the coffee maker beeps again, signaling that it's done for the morning. It reminds me to drink my coffee, which is, big shock, cold again.  The toddler declares that he doesn't like breakfast anymore and the baby scream -pleads for more food. 

9:24 AM- More morning chaos ensues. Toddler begs for 'just two cartoons' while the baby needs another diaper change before being put down for a nap. I finally remember to feed the dog, wash dishes, throw some laundry in, unplug my unused curling iron. 

9:42 AM- I contemplate switching to iced coffee as I dump my coffee mug in the sink and herd my boys out the door for the day. 

Monday, April 21, 2014

March-April Photo Dump

Ahh Spring... how fast you've flown by.  Here's what we've been up to:

Lots of playtime...

Learning to be brothers...

Growing up...



And then Easter...