Friday, 13 December 2013

a first.

Today was tough. We've been indoctrinated into a special club-- first ER visit as parents. Thankfully Dani Lu is okay, she has quite the shiner after her fall but nothing major was wrong. My baby. What a helpless, sickening feeling watching

There are beautiful days when I'm able to laugh and find joy in all those little moments that are dear to me...Mila goofing off at the table, Dani wanting to be held close, whole shelves being emptied on an hourly basis, books and babies scattered everywhere. And then there are days where I feel weighted down by it all, overwhelmed with things I want to do for the girls, feeling torn by the girls' different needs and not having the time to meet them all. Frustrated by different circumstances in our life and feeling like that's limiting us. During the rare 1:1 moments I feel guilty that I'm not with the other and vice versa. I know I only have two. And they're two AMAZING, relatively easygoing (well, Mila's a threenager but most of the time I can talk her down from the ledge) girls. And there are people with so many more, so much more on their plate and tougher circumstances. How do they do it? I keep wondering when things will get easier. I know they are, and there are moments --a lot of moments-- when I think we've arrived, when I can take a breath and not feel like the other shoe is going to drop. But then there are moments when I'm taking a trillion deep breaths, when I'm sighing inwardly, just so tired and a lot of anxiety doing a number on me. I know the new house has a lot to do with it and am confident that Dani and Mila are on their way to becoming the best of friends. It's comforting to think that in a years' time everything will be that much easier. Dani will be starting to talk and we'll have painted walls, some new furniture, photos and art will be up on the walls and it'll feel like home. And the girls will still make their little messes and Mila will still fight me to clean up. And that's okay. I'm not looking for perfect. I'm just trying to find joy in it all. I know it starts with me.

Anyways. Just trying to keep this space an honest reflection of life these days. Sometimes it's great. Then it's not. Then it's great again. Then it's not. The good with the bad, that sort of thing. One day at a time while still trying to keep the big picture clear in my mind.

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Advent Calendar.

Advent: "a season of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the birth of Jesus at Christmas." Advent is here! I kept this year's calendar very simple, and yet it just might be my favorite ever. I was preparing for a Christmas book/day advent calendar but a few weeks before December 1st...and still needing at least 15 more books...and wanting to seek out something a little simpler on our very full, very overflowing plates this season-- I spotted something similar on pinterest* and a couple clicks later was ordering the angel wings on amazon. Oh these dangerous smartphones and dangerous nursing-baby-to-sleep chunks of time. Also I've always loved the idea of 24 days of Christmas activities instead of yet another trinket/small toy/stuff. I haven't done the trinket calendar with Mila yet and have to admit it all seems a little overkill--24 days of stuff and little presents only to culminate in a huge day of presents and more stuff? I mentioned this before, I'm really trying to stay deliberate in our choices and keep the focus more on joy, in celebration of Jesus and giving rather than presents galore and Santa. Don't get me wrong, we'll definitely be visiting the big guy--we've actually seen him at a local Breakfast with Santa event already and surely he's coming to the Vero mall, right Santa? And you're cool with crying babies because that's most likely how it's gonna down, right Santa? But anyways. Trying to get back to more of an anticipation in our advent, thus the activities. Plus they're things we'd be doing going to see Christmas lights, a living Nativity, today Mila and I made snowglobes, tomorrow we'll try our hand in cutting out snowflakes, that sort of thing. Basically a Christmas bucket list. How I love my lists :) 

I think the calendar's pretty self-explanatory, but basically I wrote the activities on slips of watercolor paper dipped in different watercolors just to give it a pretty effect, then on the back of each a small adhesive number for that day, each hole-punched and attached with twine to the wings. Easy peasy. I pretty much busted it out the day before and only Dani was the wiser, since she woke up while I was tying the string up. Mila also has a window pop-up calendar from my mom with scripture verses each day (she loves it, and all the windows were already popped open in one excited, unsupervised moment). And she has yet another calendar, this time holding leftover bits of Halloween candy. And I justified that one by rationalizing she'll be driven to learn numbers 1-24 by sight this way. Ha! Or at the very least it keeps me from eating that candy. Yeah, that's more like it.

*Steve came home from work one day recently and asked me, "Have you ever heard of pinterest?" Oh boy. I had a good laugh over that one.

p.s. Other advent calendars: Last year's (look at tiny tiny Dani towards the end of that post!!).   2011. 2010. 2009.

Monday, 2 December 2013

Thanksgiving and all these deals.

It's Monday night and I'm all shopped out, folks. I'm not nearly on top of my gift-giving game as I'd like to be but the majority of the girls' gifts that I'm purchasing are done. Now to make some "specials" and find just the right thing for a few adults. Adults are so much harder! It takes so little to make a child happy; I'm really trying to keep that in mind as I shop for the girls. Simpler is almost always better. Anyhoo, cyber this, small business that, it was awesomely exciting typing in those promo codes in all caps and seeing the price subtract but I need a big gulp of fresh air now. Or at the very least just a break from the computer and smartphone. I'd love to not shop for awhile but new homes seem to bleed money, everyone warned me and ours is no different. There are lots of little and big updates we're hoping to do over the next few years and of course I would love them all done at once. But I'm kind of glad we can't afford a sweep-of-the-arms renovation since I think (hopefully) it'll result in more thoughtful and deliberate choices that help our home be perfect for us. 

Onto more delicious things. Thanksgiving! Ours was lovely. We were at my parents with family and good friends--but my favorite was the surprise guest who came just before we sat down to eat: Steve. He had been scheduled to work but ended up getting called off. Marmee worked tirelessly on an incredible meal, her turkey is always just right, the stuffing always ends up so yummy, all the sides are just perfect...she's amazing. The few times Steve and I have attempted to pulled off a Thanksgiving meal for just us back when we didn't live close to family we either a) ended up sick (undercooked ham! to this day I can't stomach glazed ham. I just can't do it cap'n.) and/or b) didn't eat 'till 9 pm. Not even kidding. 9 pm dinner is romantic like 99% of the time EXCEPT on Thanksgiving, apparently. I like to think I know my way around a kitchen and yet all those multiple dishes at once intimidates the crap out of me. Someday I'll conquer it, someday. Just not in 2013. So I contributed two pies and a simple side of swiss chard in a b├ęchamel sauce (Martha!) . I am quite proud of our person-to-pie ratio, we had 4 for 12 people. 11.5 really as most of Dani Lu's meal ended up on the floor, as did yours I'm sure when you were nearly 13 months old, don't lie. I loved my apple pie with 3 different kinds of apple slices layered in and a double crust. And a little late but I definitely shall have this book in my corner for next year. I've heard such great things. Aaaaaaaaaand, drumroll...this year's tried and true: Smitten Kitchen's green bean casserole with crispy onions. It sounds so unglamorous but green beans at Thanksgiving have always been a staple in our family and this recipe just elevates it. It's those dang crispy onions. And don't, DON'T, leave out the mushrooms even if you frequently can be found whining about the "texture" of mushrooms. Side note I'm married to one of those whiners. Chop them up superfine like Marmee did and they'll just hugely boost the flavor. And with that, pictures. There aren't too many, mostly because my hands were with baby and side note again, Dani was sweetly jealous of Robi :) She would practically tackle whomever was holding Robi in order to get in their arms. It was hilarious but a little stressful for the poor little Lu bug. 

Thanksgiving 2013 in the bag. I'm so grateful, so thankful for all of this.