Monday, December 31, 2012

Christmas Cheer.

For our family Christmas Eve is officially tonight.  This is my favorite moment of Christmas - the time just before the night sky darkens the day leading to Christmas Eve.  Tonight we'll be cuddling together to watch a new Christmas movie, drink hot chocolate, open a few presents, and share in a traditional shepherds supper.
For the last two days I've been putting together this clever (or so I thought) card to send to all of you, when my husband informed me moments ago that it was incredibly hokey and he would roll his eyes at it if he received it in the mail.  After much contemplation over what exactly was wrong with "hokey" things, and thoughts around when my husband turned into such a critic of Christmas cards, littered with thoughts of muffled bitterness at his lack of help in the matter, I decided to just share a digital version of it with you all rather than pay to send out a card my husband wasn't 100% behind.  I hope you all have a wonderful new year and holiday season.  And I pray that your eyes don't get stuck in the back of you head from rolling them too hard.

p.s. If you point out that this is actually a week late, I will not be your friend anymore.

Merry Christmas.

Friday, December 21, 2012


Things have been quiet here.  Well not here in Northern Ireland, but here in my heart.  It was a snowball effect really; starting off with no time to post about Liam's birthday, then escalating into this idea that I couldn't possibly post anything else until I had done my motherly duties as a blogger, and finally bulging into this silence situated between sadness and busyness.

I wanted this December to be different.  I even read a book called Doing December Differently.  I was going to focus on the things that matter at Christmas, and I was going to emphasize them to my children.  What started out as good intentions turned into exactly what I didn't want - lists, which turned into working too much, which turned into days where I would only see my children as I was running home for 15 minutes to nurse my youngest.  I did exactly what I promised myself I would never do again - I did too much. And in the midst of the busyness I lost a lot of things.  I lost my Christmas spirit.  I lost time with my children.  And I lost myself. 
What I found was sadness.

I've never associated Christmas with sadness, but this year it has crept up on me.  If you think about it, the Christmas story is so so sad.  A young teenage girl told that she will have a baby.  Probably ridiculed and rejected by society because of her pregnancy out of wedlock, giving birth in the worst of conditions without her mother or any medical doctor there to hold her hand, so in love with this tiny being that it scared her.  Knowing that he wasn't hers to keep.  As an adoptive mom and a birth mom, I suddenly find it all so somber.  I'm sad for Mary. 

I'm sad for the children and parents affected by violence in my home country.  I'm sad because my country can't figure out what to do, and no solution seems adequate.  I'm sad because I'm trying to figure out how I can move back to a place that disappoints me so much.  I'm sad because I also miss and love that place.

I'm sad because today I had to say goodbye to people I love.  I had to say goodbye...again...and it made me so sad...again.

I'm sad because I'm homesick for the people I love from the places I've called home.  Yes, that still happens.

I'm sad because lately I haven't had the patience my children deserve.

I'm sad because I can't catch up with emails I need to send to friends I miss dearly.

I'm sad because Christmas happens in just a few days and I have haven't had a chance to enjoy it.

I'm sad because, with the overseas travel time, we haven't received any Christmas cards from home yet.

I'm sad because I've wasted so much time being sad when I have so so much to rejoice in.

So I'm done.  I'm done being sad.

Tomorrow I'm getting on a plane with my little family and flying to a country I've never been to, on  continent I've never been to. 
I'm going to see my mom and dad, and my brother and sister-in-law.
I'm going to hit the calendar "pause" button until we get back next week. 
And when I return I'm going to start counting down to our Christmas.  We're going to pretend like Christmas hasn't already happened, and we're going to do it right.  We going to take the pressure off, and we're going to be what we need to be to make our family happy.  I'm pretty sure Jesus won't care the it's not on the 25th of December. 

And in the meantime I wish for all of you happiness this Christmas season.  I hope you've been better at it than me this year.  I hope that you are sharing it with people you love.  I hope you are figuring out a way to shine in a world that makes it so difficult sometimes. 

And I hope you'll share your light with me.  Because it only takes a spark to see what's around you.

We can be one another's light.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

This is my confession...

The terrible, awful, very bad confessions of Miles', Liam's, and Ollie's mother...
  • I tried to get on board with the "bugs deserve to live" stance like your dad and Nana, and to gently put the little creeps outside to be amongst their native environment.  However, all bets are off when you're not there to see it, and the little buggers don't stand a chance against the closest shoe/book/magazine/insert heavy object I can find.
  • I ate 88% of your Halloween candy.
  • I don't think that other mothers typically make their non-napping son stay in bed for the entire 2.5 hours the other son is sleeping so that he can have some "down time".
  • Although I LOVE the 36th truck coloring page that you've just handed me this week, I can't keep them all.  And I don't have a growing file folder anywhere or a fancy binder.  The 126 others you can't seem to find from this month? They aren't going to show up in some box I've been keeping for your graduation day when we can pour over them together.  They're in the recycling bin babe. Keep up the good work though.
  • I sometimes make really nice, fancy desserts and don't let you have any.  It's not that I don't love you, but I know that you would be just as excited about a sandy half-eaten Twizzler you found under the picnic table.
  • I hate don't love playgrounds.
  • I used to get super anxious about taking you to birthday parties of friends I don't know.  In fact, until earlier this week, I always just pretended we had a "previous engagement."  We appeared to be very busy people.
  • Bathtime is not my favorite part of the day.  In fact, I myself find showering to be an inconvenience that I only do daily so my own mom won't scold me.
  • Your father and I decided that you weren't going to get any presents from us for Christmas this year.  I'm sorry we suck so much, but we are taking you on a very exciting trip over the holiday.  Haven't you always been bugging us to take you to Morocco?  No? Someday you'll thank us.  Also, most likely anything we got you we'd have to leave here. 
  • Which reminds me....a lot of your toys will not be coming with us to the U.S.  Which means they may be gradually disappearing over the next few months.  Not the toys that other people have been giving you as gifts, but more likely the "previously loved" cheap toys your mom and dad have wrapped up and given you over the year.
  • I have a chocolate stash in my bedroom you don't know about.  It's even down at your level.  
  • Liam - you have two identical blankies.
  • You all three wore the exact same cloth diapers.  I know that seems gross, and they are on their last leg, but trust me when I say you didn't know the difference.
  • I'm trying to groom one of you to be a hairdresser so I can get free colors and highlights from 18 years onwards.  
  • I despise the movie "Flushed Away" and I can't even tell you why.  Maybe it's the idea of an entire city of rats living down in a sewer.  Maybe it's the poor story-line.  I think it's the disgusting giant belch let out by the slightly overweight rat at the beginning that is so powerful it includes gas ripples and the other rat's hair flapping in the the terrific wake of disgustingness.  I feel nauseous just writing about it - and I'm no prude.
  • I sometimes don't eat all of my vegetables and I still get dessert.  When you're thirty plus you can do the same.
  •  Sometimes when you're in trouble you say really funny things and I have to leave the room so I can laugh.
  • The reason you probably won't get all of those really super cute crafts that all of the other kids in America are doing, or won't have kick-ass handmade party invitations, or other cool things is because I swore off Pintrest's ability to make me feel inadequate.  I no longer pin those sorts of things because I just can't keep up with them.  Other mothers are awesome at it. I tried it.  I really did.  We'll just spend a lot of time admiring everyone else's cute stuff and congratulating them on their hard work. 
  • When you go to bed your dad and I eat delicious foods that we don't share with you.
  • When they say you've been naughty or "overly active" at school I only pretend to side with them.  In truth, I'm dreaming of how those "qualities" will someday make you amazingly talented individuals, and we'll all sit around laughing about your crazy ways and how they led to your amazing careers as stunt doubles or playwrights or whatever it is that "overly active" little boys choose to become.
Forgive me.  I wish I could say I'm sorry....but that would be yet another lie.