Friday, March 30, 2012


It's been a long time since I've posted anything about any sort of work we're doing.
I swear we're working.
Really hard in fact.
Sometimes it's hard to tell this because I have much more free time than I did a year ago.  And I am in a better mood.  And I am not stressed out.
Maybe this is the way we were meant to live.  Maybe this is the way people are actually designed to function.
Because I can tell you that I've never been so content in my work.  And happy with the job I'm doing.  And I've never before felt as though I was spending time actually getting to know my kids.
I've never before sat on my couch and wondered what I could possibly do next.
I don't know the last time I laid a blanket out on my lawn and just laid on it.  
But I do that now.
And I promise to update you on work.
But I'm in no hurry.
Because this is the new me.
I don't have to live by the deadlines I put on myself, because I've learned to love myself enough to let some things go.
I've learned to give of myself to those around me without the pesky boundaries I've spent years building.
I've learned that I have parts of myself that are worth giving.
I've learned to ask people questions without fearing they won't want to tell me things.
I've learned that most people want to tell me things if I just would ask.
I've learned that young people really do care that I have problems, and sadness, and anger. And they really care enough about me to take it on.
I've learned that people like you to ask questions and to have time to listen to the answers. 
And I've learned that 80% of the fear and social anxiety I have stored in my heart is pure bulls$%t.
So I do promise I'm working.
But more importantly, something is working on me.
And that something is pretty amazing.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

A letter by an eight year old girl.

March 1988

Dear 32 year old Tiffany,
I know I'm only eight.
I know that you're probably thinking that I have a lot to learn before I turn into the person you are.  But I want to tell you something.  I want to make sure you remain the person I am.
I hope that you still love music.  I hope you can also now afford to actually buy tapes rather than recording music off of your pink radio.
I hope you still have your pink radio, because it is my favorite thing I own.
I hope you have two pink radios.
I hope you've seen Paula Abdul in person at least once.
I hope that you have two daughters named Wendy and Ginger because those names are my favorite.
I hope that your brothers have stopped being immature and annoying.  I hope that they play with you more now that you're older.  I hope they've started to see things your way.
I hope that you figured out the secret to climbing the rope in gym class before you graduated.  Because dangling from the bottom is nothing short of humiliating.
I hope you are an artist and get to draw all day.
I hope your thighs aren't big.  Or that they didn't get any larger.
I hope you still love ice cream and macaroni and cheese.
I hope you're in love with someone who is good at sports and likes to do nice things for you.
I hope that the baby inside your mom's tummy is a brother so you still get your own room.
I hope that Mrs. Damman gets to be your teacher again because she is the nicest teacher ever.
I hope that your mom will let you get a perm.
I hope that the perm makes your hair curly forever.
I hope you have a pink convertible car, like Barbie.
I hope you win the jump rope contest at least once before sixth grade.
I hope that you are still dancing.
I hope that your favorite color is still pink.
I hope you didn't kiss any boys in high school, because that's gross.
I hope you are still nice to people.
I hope you learn how to stick up for yourself.
Eight year old Tiffany

Dear eight year old Tiffany,
I don't want to tell you how the rest of it goes and spoil the living part.  But I can tell you that the baby inside your mom's tummy is a boy, and you will get a perm this summer before school.  And your brothers will NEVER see things your way. 

Also, sweet socks.

32 year old Tiffany

Monday, March 26, 2012

Marathon Man

On Saturday Dustin ran a Half Marathon.  You know those things that most normal people spend months training for?  This is how it went down.

Dustin: Someone needs a ride to the Half Marathon in Larne (one hour away).  Should I just run it while I'm there?
Me: (Not really listening) Sure.
Dustin: (Laughing) Are you serious? That would be crazy.  Do you think I could do it?
Me: (Still not really listening) Yes.
Dustin: Okay.  I'm going to do it.

Dustin: Will you come support me while I run the half marathon on Saturday?
Me: The what?!
Dustin: The half marathon you encouraged me to sign up for.
Me: How fast do you think you can run it?
Dustin: Well, it would be at least a few hours.
Me: No.

Me: Have you trained for this half marathon yet?
Dustin: I figured the best training is to do no training at all.
Me: Did you at least carbo-load tonight?
Dustin:  I ate some rice at dinner.

Me: Are you nervous?
Dustin: About what?  I don't really care if I get a good time.
Me: No, about finishing.  What's the furthest you've ever run? 
Dustin: 6 miles, and that was uphill pushing a stroller with two boys in it.
Me : (To Miles and Liam after my eye roll) Hey, did you know that today Daddy is running a big race?
Miles:  Like Rory the Racing Car?
Dustin:  (In the background) Let's not call it a race.
Me: No, he'll actually be running....we hope.
Miles: Like Little Einsteins?
Me: I think you may watch too much t.v.

So then Saturday morning we saw him off to his "not a big race" praying that the younger guys would take it easy on him.  Then Saturday afternoon he came back all in one piece and actually able to smile.   There has been a bit of limping around here since, but I'm actually really impressed with how he did (just a smidgen over 2 hours).  I would document here that Dustin has vowed to never do a half marathon again.  This is good, because I think it stressed me out more than him.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Job's Wife

Job's Wife

I am just the wife.
The wife of a man.
A mortal man who is revered.
Who is revered so much that God allows him to be tested.
This is not fair.

But I am just the wife.
The wife of a man who has lost everything he owns.
Everything I own.
Who lost everything he owns, including his children.

Ten children.
Ten children I carried in my womb and felt kick against the side of my ribs.
Ten children I balanced on my hip and sang to at night.
Ten children I've now buried into the dusty ground.
My children.

But I am just the wife.
The wife of a man with seeping sores running the entire length of his body.
A man who scolds me for doubting and shouts at my sadness.
A sadness that goes unnoticed.

Ten graves dug deep in the earth.
Twenty cheeks I will never again kiss.
One hundred fingers that will never wrap around my own.
The unnamed wife of a God-fearing man I no longer recognize.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Dear Baby

Dear Baby.

This has been a big week for us.  A huge week.  The type of week that makes a relationship cemented into the hearts of it's carriers. 
You must know I love you.  I've loved you from the moment you made your presence known to me. I loved you when I was up all night sick.  I loved you when I saw your beating heart for the first time.  I loved you when I was confined to my house because I couldn't find the energy to lift a single finger past my forehead.
But in the last few days that love has expanded into something so rich and amazing.
Two days ago I found out whether you're a boy or a girl.  Suddenly you are a person.  Suddenly I am picturing you at 3 and 10 and 25.  I picture the ways you are going to enhance our family.  I picture our family vacations and adventures.  I picture us going out for ice cream - because are going to have to like ice cream. I picture your place at our table.  I can not wait to name you, and meet you, and hold you.
Then yesterday you kicked so hard your dad could feel you for the first time.  It seems so early.  You must be so strong.  Fierce.  I'll warn you...there is a lot of fierceness in our family, but it is the type of fierce that we welcome and adore.  The type you'll need to have to survive in this family.  You have two older brothers that already have their opinions about you.
You have an entire house of volunteers that are just dying to meet you.
So these next few months as  I keep what I know about you a secret, know that from the moment I knew who I was going to be raising I was overjoyed.  And excited. 
Someone asked me yesterday what sound I made when I found out.
I'll tell you this baby.  I was silent.  Because the answer felt right.  And I knew instantly that you were the right one for the job.

Love, your mama.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

This moment.

On Sunday I was hiding in a closet and I thought to myself: if I could bottle up this moment...
Okay, maybe I should explain further.  I was hiding from my children.
Okay, that sounds even worse.  Let's try again.
I was playing hide and seek with my kids.  Legitimately.  Trust me.  It wasn't like the one time I told Liam we should look for his red truck in my bed and then fell asleep for 20 minutes while they ran around the house unsupervised.  We really were hiding.  And it was fun.  And I remembered how in love I am with them during these small moments.
I could go on for days and days... but here is the short list.
If I could bottle up this moment I would want to remember...
  • Liam saying "no thank you, I don't want to say thank you." when asked to thank his brother.
  • When Miles says "mmmm...that's delicious" after eating tomato soup.
  • "Heya." the local greeting they've both picked up from someone other than us.
  • Sunday and how they both woke me up with kisses and by saying "Happy Mothers Day" over and over again.
  • The way they chase each other around the house and laugh and laugh.
  • When I overhear them pretending, and it involves "Mommy" in some part of the plot.  I love that I'm a part of their imaginations.
  • How hard Miles concentrates when he is drawing something on paper.
  • Facial expressions on tiny faces....who do I capture those in their true context and nature?
  • When they both walked into our computer room yesterday with their matching pjs on and with hands folded and angelic faces asked "It's not to early?" (to get up)

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Ten Truths on Tuesday

  1. I know that I am 32 years old and when I am really really sick I still cry because I miss my mom and dad.
  2. I know that this pregnancy has been by far easier than the first, and yet I have had to overcome hurtles that I either didn't have, or don't remember with the first.
  3. I know that spring is coming, which makes me smile so much my face hurts by 10 a.m.
  4. I know that the birds here sometimes get confused and chirp at night - which is such a weird thing that you wouldn't think about unless you experienced it.
  5. I know that it will always rain, and my windows will always get dirty.
  6. I know that if there was a worldwide enforced nap time then the world would be a better place.
  7. I know that if I had to choose between peanut butter and nutella.... it will be pb every time.
  8. I know we've got big plans for a trip with my parents and brother and sister-in-law for Christmas, and although it is too early to share them, I am super excited.  
  9. I know that on Sunday the Ocean was such a brilliant shade of blue-green that you would never believe me if I told you how amazing it was.
  10. I know that every time I feel a tiny kick inside of me, I stop what I'm doing and thank God for this thriving life inside of me.
To read about the origins of Ten Truth Tuesday, click here.

Monday, March 19, 2012

St. Patricks Day in N.I.

Saint Patricks Day is sort of funny here.  St. Patrick is the patron saint of the Republic of Ireland, but since Northern Ireland isn't a part of that, we weren't sure how it was going to be celebrated here.  Because of the past troubles we weren't sure either if it was a controversial holiday, or one that was celebrated by everyone.
Apparently it depends on who you are and where you live.  It isn't necessarily controversial, but people who are loyalists, or Protestants don't necessarily celebrate it as vehemently as people who are republican, or Catholic.  In fact, many don't celebrate it at all.  It is a big day/night for the bars here, but I would venture to say it still isn't as big as it is in Chicago, or Boston, or even Peoria.  People don't really get all dressed up in green and no one drinks green beer.  AND they don't eat corned beef and cabbage - EVER.  I many disappointments.
Now it is definitely a different story if you go down into the Republic, like, let's say...Dublin.  I still don't think they drink green beer, but it sounds like there is much more of a big party going on in honor of their Patron Saint.
However, I wasn't going to let any of this stop me from celebrating it with my family.  And luckily it was one of the volunteer's birthday, so we not only got to have a St. Patrick celebration, but we also got to enjoy an entire menu of delicious German food with it. :)  (The volunteer is from Germany by the way.)
Just so you don't think we let the day go by without any sort of festivities, I have documented some of our happenings throughout Saturday....

One of the volunteers dyed our milk green for us.  The boys have never had so much calcium in their lives.  They were so excited about the new drink, I even heard Liam tell Miles, "It tastes like candy!"

We walked into town in the morning because it was so nice, and then we were so taken by the fun atmosphere around the pubs, that we decided to stop and eat lunch at one that was playing music and had an Irish Stew and Guiness special.  Unfortunately since it was an impromptu trip and we hadn't intended on lingering, and because I didn't have any eye makeup on...this is the only picture from our walk. :)
 After naps we decided to make some festive "green" velvet cupcakes. 
 Notice the putrid green color of the batter - not the pretty green that the picture showed.  I couldn't find the green food coloring in the main house so I improvised by mixing yellow and blue.  Unfortunately this is the prettiest the green got (see below).  After baking the cupcakes they turned an even more putrid yellow/brown/green and grossed even me out.

 The recipe I used called for cream cheese frosting, and then mint buttercream on top.  You would think they looked so bad that they'd taste amazing, but don't be fooled - they tasted horrible.
 Then there was playing in the car for awhile.  The boys could seriously sit in there for hours if I would let them.  And of course, no event is complete without Liam's new favorite accessory. 
 Then later that night we went over to the volunteer house to enjoy a nice St. Patricks Day/German Birthday party.  The food was delicious, but the company was even better.  Soon the nights went off and the strobes came out...and it was our cue to be our typical lames selves and leave. :)  Overall it was a lovely day.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Short Story Saturday: Entrance Ramp

Writing Assignment: Tell a story about a fork in the road and a life changed because of the harder road taken.  (reference - Robert Frost, The Road Not Taken)

Dear girl,
I know that today you’re happy.  Today you think you have everything you’ve ever wanted.  Today your life is perfect.  But let me tell you a story about tomorrow.  Because, baby, tomorrow is going to change the course of your life forever.  Tomorrow is going to be the first day of your life.
This is your story.

You will wake up in the room with a dull headache.  Perhaps it is from sleeping too hard, but more likely it is from sleeping too little.  You will look over at the sleeping boy, knowing when he wakes up he will probably say something like “Happy Birthday babe,” or “Another year older, huh?”.  Or maybe he’ll say nothing at all, hoping the diamond earrings that he has tucked away in the tiny wrapped box are enough.  He'll wrap you in his arms and it will be perfect.  
You'll decide that you can't wait any longer and you’ll try shooting lasers from your eyes into his forehead, willing him to wake up, but he won’t even stir.

After some thought you decide to start the day off alone, because letting him sleep on seems like something a good girlfriend would do.  You’ll stumble off to the bathroom and stand under the falling water thinking about how great your day is going to be with him.  Your birthday.  He must have something amazing planned for you. He must.  After getting ready, you decide that you’ve taken long enough.  He’s probably waiting for you in the room, on the edge of his bed, excited to wish you a happy birthday and to sweep you off your feet.

Only you’ll be wrong.  He’s still sound asleep, except now he’ll be breathing just heavy enough to completely drive you mad.  You might as well go get some coffee while you wait.  You attempt to wake him up to tell him you’re going out, but he barely lets out a groan as he turns over in the bed.  You’ll start to feel a little jaded, but this will only be temporary baby.  You see, you’re used to feeling jaded lately.  

Your coffee will taste exquisite.  In fact, it will be the best coffee you’ve ever had.  You’re still drinking it with lots of milk and sugar, aren’t you baby?  You’ll look out the window and think about how excited you were to come out to visit the day before.  You drove for hours well over the speed limit because you couldn’t get here fast enough to see him.  You’ll remember that you love him.  You’ll remember that you knocked on his door with so much anticipation....or were they expectations?

You won’t know it at the time baby, but he’ll still be sound asleep in his bed, not realizing how critical every minute is.  If he would have just woken up and found you, he could have changed the fate that will be delivered in those moments.  He could have cooled the hot coals that were flickering with heat in your chest.  

You'll see a family walking down the street together.  You'll see an old couple holding hands.  You'll see two friends sharing a laugh.  You'll see your own reflection in the window.  
You’ll look at your watch and realize that you’ve had enough.  Enough of the dull listless date nights that end with you feeling unfulfilled and disappointed.  Enough of driving two hours just to eat dinner at the all-you-can-eat buffet with him and his friends.  Enough of the promises of marriage that no longer seem appealing to you.  Enough.


This is where the road gets bumpy baby.  Because tomorrow you’ll walk back into his room and tell him it’s over.  You won’t be able to tell him why, because you yourself won’t know.  You won’t be able to make any promises, because you have no promises to give. And you won’t believe it’s happening, because today you just cannot imagine it.  

It will hurt baby.

And it will be hard.

But there are better things on the other side.
Things that will take years to get to you, but are worth the wait.

Be patient baby, because this intersection will guide you down the road you were meant to be on.  This is the road map of your life baby.  And tomorrow you’ll be entering the freeway.

Friday Morning Eye Candy

Thursday, March 15, 2012

A Mural Runs Through It

Yesterday I had the opportunity to complete that forgiveness mural I've been talking about for some time.  I went last week and worked with the P3 students.  53 of them to be exact.  In one room.  At one time.  With only two teachers and myself with no real concept of attention span or skill level of 7-8 year olds.  Now I can tell you....they are very different from the high school students I'm used to.  It would have taken high school students DAYS to finish these mural boards.  It took the students last week about 5 minutes.  They are fast.  And furious.  And they love to paint - not necessarily inside the lines, or with any sort of precision.  But as a bit of a free spirit myself, I can totally dig their needs to be individuals - it's just hard to allow them this on my mural. 

So yesterday I gave the P5 classes (8-9) year olds the VERY IMPORTANT job of making the fabulous mural that the P4 classes had done EVEN BETTER than it already was.  I emphasized what an important job it was for them, and that I knew what amazing artists they were because I had seen their drawings.  We talked about how not all of the people in the mural needed to have peach skin, because no one really has perfectly peach skin, except for maybe Nicole Kidman.  We talked about how ladybugs only need one head and how bumble bees maybe need at least one head for their antennas.  These kids were amazing. 
The calm before the storm.

And to parents of third graders:  you know all of those wonderful manners and skills of kindness you teach your kids at home, but question whether they could possibly transform out of the monster you know and love?  I'll tell you this.  They remember everything you teach them.  And they use it when you're not around.  And they are respectful, kind, and helpful.  Those third graders rocked my world today.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

A mother's heartache

Dear mothers of boys...
I'm only singling you out because I don't yet know what it's like to have a girl.  I guess I, myself am a girl, but my whole life I've been surrounded by brothers, boy cousins, and now little boys.  I've always felt protective of my brothers.  I know now that they were much stronger than I thought at the time, but I wanted nothing to hurt them.  I couldn't stand to see them cry.
So I'm speaking to you - mothers of boys.
I'll tell you this much.  I have discovered the single most painful event I've had to endure in this tiny little life of mine as a parent.  I have found the one thing that will make even the strongest woman crumble into a heap on the floor.
I have watched my little boy try not to cry.
He's way too young for that...that's what you're thinking right? Me too.
Yesterday Liam touched my curling iron and it was hot.  Right away he pulled his hand back and kept trying to talk to me about things that were unrelated, all the time holding back the tears that he wanted to let go of at that moment.  I told him to cry.  I begged him to cry... let it out little one.  But he held ever tear back.
I ask you, experienced mothers, have you ever seen anything as willing to break your bursting heart than a little boy - your little boy - trying so hard to be strong.  Willing himself not to cry?
For centuries mothers have had to go through this.  How do they do it? 
I'll tell you this.
I haven't been properly prepared for my heart to break so often and so willingly.
THIS they do not tell you in all of the adoption and birthing classes that you sign up for, expecting to already know it all.
THIS is not in the parenting books.
THIS is not on Super Nanny.
THIS feeling, although also what reminds me that I have an opportunity to love these boys so fiercely. 
It all comes back to love.

Monday, March 12, 2012


All my life I've heard people tell me that I can do amazing things. Not because I myself am particularly amazing, but because I've been lucky enough to be surrounded by people who are just that awesome, kind, and inspiring.
So I have the rare gift of believing in myself. I don't think it's something I decided for myself somewhere along the way.  Oh trust me, there were times when I definitely felt beaten down and defeated.  There were times when I sobbed to my mom or my husband that I just didn't think I could do it.  But if I remember correctly, every instance only lasted for a very short amount of time.
Then I bounced back.
Dusted myself off.
And began re-believing.
I believe in myself almost to a fault.  How can there be fault in that you ask?  Oh child, I tell you this...ask my direct college loan officer.  Or my husband.  Or perhaps even my parents.  Have you ever watched the show "The Middle" and witnessed the personality of one Sue Heck?   It is possible to believe in oneself too much.
And although I over-believe in myself when it comes to career goals, creative ideas for the future, or even what I must look like in skinny jeans, I can tell you that there are also recent developments that force me to question myself for the first time in my life.  I doubt I'll ever feel more than the average fleeting 5 minutes we as parents are gifted once a year when we believe we are doing absolutely everything right in raising our children.  I doubt I'll ever feel like I'm doing enough to make this world an okay place for my children to live.  And I doubt I'll ever be a size 6.
But these doubts have done something interesting to my unfaltering belief system.  I still believe.  I may even believe more.
I think it's because I have to.  I have to believe in myself, because I want my children to believe in themselves (although maybe with more financial sensibility).  I have to do the things that I am excited about (like begin a new art series) and passionate about (draw out new silver designs).  I need to feed my soul to feed theirs.  I need to be the woman that shows them how to believe when others don't.
I need to teach them how to be "yes" men.

Friday, March 9, 2012


Lately I've been hearing a lot of "I do it!" with a tone of sheesh mom - back off, or "I did it all by myself" with a tone of sheer pride.  My boys are growing up and and there is very little I can do to stop it.  
Miles has always kind of allowed me to take the lead, and has never resisted me doing things for him.  Which is good (for my heart) but bad (for his development).  For example, one time (about a year ago) teacher asked me if he could get dressed and undressed by himself.  I honestly didn't know the answer because I had never given him the chance.  (I mean, doing everything myself without allowing others to give it a go - that doesn't sound at all like me does it?! (shut it D)).  So that day I went home and told him to take off his shirt and put a new one on.  He grumbled a bit, and then just did it.  Like that.  Easy peasy.  He has however, been the type to closely observe others and then just out of the blue start mimicking them without asking for a word of help.  He was twirling spaghetti on a fork before he was one and a half.  Now, without a single word of prompting from me, he is eating with a knife and fork properly - like the Europeans do it.  He knows what buttons to push on the remote to get a movie, and will sneak on to my computer and pull up his computer games from the internet based on the bookmarks I have saved.  This kid is so funny.  I love it.
Miles playing a computer game (deep sigh) all by himself.

Liam is very different.  Almost every conversation we have involves one of us saying "No, I do it!" and it is usually not me.  Sometimes it's hard for me to let go - like when it's late at night and I want him to get into the bath PRONTO and he has to undress himself and I "accidentally" undid one of the buttons on his diaper without his permission....and I wait.  Those times are harder...because friends, if you know nothing else about me, know that I am not a good waiter.  He has to do everything that his brother does.  "I get my yogurt" "I pour my water" "I put on my coat MYSELF!" This list goes on and on.    And on.  His determination is amazing, and sweet, and when I'm not screaming into a pillow, really empowering. 

No ordinary cereal for us...cornflakes, rice krispies, yogurt, and bananas "just like dad"

How soon do you think I'll be able to leave them home alone while I go out to dinner with my husband?

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Thankful Thursday

Today reminds me to be thankful.  There are so many thing I take for granted in life, and yesterday I was forced to remember just how grateful I should be.  I wanted to name at least 40 things I can be thankful for in my life without counting the most obvious things I think about everyday.  I wanted to thank God for the things I sometimes (oftentimes) take for granted.  The things that aren't naturally available to everyone in our big cruel world.
  1. I'm thankful for two strong, working legs.
  2. I'm thankful for two ears that can hear my sons playing in the other room.
  3. I'm thankful for two hands that are nimble and steady.
  4. I'm thankful for the clean air I breath so thoughtlessly everyday.
  5. I'm thankful for creative ideas that can be shared.
  6. I'm thankful for forgiveness and that it has gotten me through so many obstacles. 
  7. I'm thankful for a strong flexible back that allows me to bend over and pick up small children.
  8. I'm thankful that I live in a place where I don't have to worry about my sons being kidnapped, drugged, and forced into being a killing child soldier.  Because those places exist on this earth, and the earth is a small place.
  9.  I'm thankful for my family's good health and strong bones.
  10. I'm thankful for naptime.
  11. I'm thankful for music and the way it can transform a space.
  12. I'm thankful for a mouth full of healthy strong teeth that can bite through an apple.
  13. I'm thankful for apples and the taste and feel of them on my tongue.
  14. I'm thankful for clothes that fit.
  15. I'm thankful for a bed that is warm.
  16. I'm thankful for heat I can turn on at my own will, and turn off when I'm too warm.
  17. I'm thankful for spring and they way it comes back every year.
  18. I'm thankful for paper and how it has transformed communication.
  19. I'm thankful for a working server because it means I can skype with people from home.
  20. I'm thankful there are people at home to skype with.
  21. I'm thankful that all of my windows roll up in my car.
  22. I'm thankful for my sense of smell combined with fresh baked banana bread still in the oven.
  23. I'm thankful for having a place to go to work every morning.
  24. I'm thankful for schools and free education.
  25. I'm thankful for laughter and how it spreads.
  26. I'm thankful for Hulu.
  27. I'm thankful that my techie husband that figured out how to use Hulu over here.
  28. I'm thankful for libraries.
  29. I'm thankful for the car I get to drive my son to school in.
  30. I'm thankful for the wellies that keep all of our feet dry on the rainiest days.
  31. I'm thankful for clean floors.
  32. I'm thankful for toast with butter and honey.
  33. I'm thankful for sleepy heads that rest on my shoulders.
  34. I'm thankful for movies that give me an escape.
  35. I'm thankful for sketchbooks that fill with ideas.
  36. I'm thankful for the ability to read, and the time to do it.
  37. I'm thankful for dinners and breakfasts out with friends.
  38. I'm thankful for date nights and getting all dressed up.
  39. I'm thankful for love.
  40. I'm thankful for internal organs that work well enough that I don't have to carry around a bag to pee in.
  41. I'm thankful for moments of silence.
  42. I'm thankful for warm clothes right out of the drier.
  43. I'm thankful for the man who delivers our milk every week.
  44. I'm thankful for all of the times when the electricity does work, and I can have light with the flick of a switch.
  45. I'm thankful for safe drivers and carseats.
  46. I'm thankful for pizza.
  47. I'm thankful for free speech.
  48. I'm thankful for a voice that is trained to be heard.
  49. I'm thankful for blogs.
  50. I'm thankful for clean water to drink.
  51. I'm thankful for the fact that I can so easily come up with 50 things to be thankful for.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Welcome March

The first day of spring is one of the best parts of living in the midwest for me.  I thought I would miss it this year since fall wasn't nearly the same here, and even winter was very different from home.
But I was wrong.
March 1st isn't the official first day of spring, but for me it has always been a day of inspiration for me.
I love and miss the midwest, but around February 25th I always began to question why I felt any sort of love for my little piece of the world. 
The beginning of March is this deep sigh of "I made it."
I made it through another winter of snowboots and mittens.
I made it through another winter of icy roads.
I made it through another winter of scraping icicles off windshields.
I survived.
I am a winter survivor.

Now on to the important daffodils and tulips,
sweaters and sandals.
picnics and hammocks.
garden beds and warm rains.
early mornings and late nights.

The things that make it all worth it.  This short-lived, tiny moment in time when everything else in unimportant.

Spring is to my soul what Mountain Dew is to a pre-pubescent boy with too much time to kill.

Welcome March.

Our "backyard"

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


The first time I've seen him try to stay within the lines.

Monday, March 5, 2012

A Day In My Life...

Whenever I talk to family or friends from home they often ask what a typical day is like for us.  I decided to document it through a photo every hour for an entire day.  I chose last Wednesday, which was leap day - an extra day!  I hesitated because it wasn't really a typical day...but then I decided that I don't really have "typical" days here.  Everyday is different depending on who is watching the boys and what sorts of meetings or groups we have lined up for the day.
7:00 am Blogs.

8:00 am Getting ready.

9:00 am Small town traffic jam.

10:00 am Work.

10:30 am Extra help.

11:00 am Meeting.

12:00 pm Picking up.

1:00 pm Naptime!

2:00 pm Paint.

3:00 pm Progress.

4:00 pm Walk.

5:00 pm Milkshakes.

6:00 pm Dinner.

7:00 pm Bathtime.

8:00 pm Writing class.

9:00 pm More writing.

10:00 pm Relaxing.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Did I forget to tell you about my birthday?

I think I did. 
It was a good one. 
It started out like this....I got to go to the doctor and have my first sonogram.  And see a heartbeat.  That was all I really wanted for my birthday - a healthy heartbeat.  And I even got a souvy to take with me.

Then I waited the rest of the day for my "party".  You see, everyone here gets a party, so I knew mine was coming.  It's just that no one would tell me when or where.  So mysterious.  Especially when Dustin told me I had to wait at home for them to "come get me."  Which is strange considering the volunteer house is only about 50 paces from our house. 
Then I found out why. 
Those creative volunteers had managed to completely surprise me. 
The theme: French Artist.
The costumes: Everyone wore stripes and mustaches, with a few berets.

The transportation from my house to theirs: A laundry cart converted into a boat, complete with a french-speaking, rowing, mustachioed chef as my guide.  We even had a minstrel following behind us playing nice frenchy music on a guitar.  He was even from the African country of Cameroon, which made him the only authentically fluent french speaker there.

When we arrived I got a mustache and strawberry birthday cake with one sparkler - my favorite garnish.

There were even fresh crepes being whipped up by the resident Canadian, and therefore only other French-speaking person in the group.

And then we announced the good news - that there was another one on the way.  Everyone of course was surprised.  And happy.  And probably wondering what the heck we were thinking since this is now our core group of babysitters.