Sunday, December 24, 2006


After the engorgement we felt after last Christmas, Dan and I committed to doing Christmas more simply this year. That meant coaching our families to tone down the amount and type of gifts, as well as challenging ourselves to restrain from going overboard and challenging ourselves to purchase our gifts with creativity rather than credit.

This summer we garage saled. We found fantastic gifts to tuck away for the kids for Christmas using the change in our wallets or ashtrays. 2 Blues Clues videos, Memory game, Color Train Game, vintage jigger, brand spanking new dart board--grand total $6. Liam will be getting a scooter for his birthday in May--$2 plus some new wheels and grips--$27--little pricey, but that's OK!

Dan parted with some of his beloved CD collection on e-bay and we used the money to purchase some really sentimental, special, and high quality gifts. A vintage Cabbage Patch doll for each of the girls from a collector who had never played with them, only displayed them in her home, and an authentic Burberry cap from London for Dan. Grand total for all three "big" presents--$7 after the credit from our earnings on e-bay. While in Saugatuk with Dan's parents this summer I picked out a mortar and pestle as my big gift-$18 paid in cash. I cannot wait to start boshing things up in it!

Dan and I also shopped clearance racks and aisles last spring and bought all of the gifts for our families--2 bracelets, 3 shrugs, a jewelry box, 2 sweatshirts, a sweater, a polo shirt, a baseball cap, 2 Bibles, slippers, and 3 baby toys, custom desk calendars, and lots of Starbucks! Out of pocket--around $75. That averages out to around $4 per person. I added up the total of the items at regular price, and everything came to $448. Yeah--whoa!

Not to mention we were DONE with Christmas shopping, had no shopping stress, and everything was paid for in advance. (We took all the presents to NJ with us at Thanksgiving, so no shipping $$!! YAY!)

We sent our parents specific lists of things we or the kids needed but were fun too--umbrellas, undies, socks, clothes, PJ's, educational games, books, and a few toys thrown in. But nothing even close to last year's bombardment of STUFFFFFFFFFFF!

Dan and I asked for Macy's gift cards so we could go on shopping sprees--we've already ordered new towels and a cooking pot, and the rest we'll use for a new pair of pants each, a new pair of sneakers for me, then we'll save the rest for things we might need throughout the year for our home or new clothes/shoes for the kids.

So this year we were able to simply focus on things that mattered because our peripheries (is this the right word Heather?) weren't so cluttered. We have had lots and lots of free time together as a family and been free of the fiscal burdens this time of year usually heaps on us, and we are reveling in all the literal and emotional space we have from all the stuff we do not have cluttering us up this Christmas.

I simply love it.

Friday, December 22, 2006


by Jennifer Scott

'Twas the night before Christmas Eve, and all day in our house

Two of three children were spreading crumbs for a mouse;

The stockings had been ripped off the mantel with flair,

It really is amazing that I still have a head of (golden wheat blond #137) hair;

The girls asleep in their cribs, Liam kept getting out of bed,

Needing to go potty, wash his hands, and get more books to be read;

I was in my PJ’s, Dan had his computer on his lap,

Barely awake, soooo tired and longing for a nap,

When across the street we heard a clang and clatter,

And peeked through the blinds to see if anything was the matter.

Encore as a puppy would’ve been there in a flash,

But he’s getting a little slower, there’s pause (“paws” too cheesy?) in his dash.

The moon couldn’t be seen through the rain, we had no snow

Making murky and muddy all the ground below,

When, what to my swollen, puffy, crusty, sleep-deprived eyes should appear,

But the neighbor’s house adorned with three country-ish Christmas trees, two life-sized Toyland torch candles, a spiral tree, some wreaths, a Christmas flag, a blinking candy cane, and a lone reindeer,

With a roll of my eyes, I shut the blinds quick!

I hate tacky decorations. They just make me sick.

I laughed when I saw them, in spite of THEM, not of myself;

And looked at our tastefully decorated living room shelf.

I sighed a big sigh and just shook my head,

And knew that within my own house there was no tackiness to dread;

I shook it off and started doing some pre-Christmas work,

Filled stockings, sorted presents, and hung a curtain so Liam couldn’t lurk,

But I was foiled, Liam got me, “need a tissue for my nose”,

And like a rocket off a launch from the couch Dan arose ;

He sprang to hallway, blocked Liam’s’ view, got a tissue

And marched him back to his room saying “good night, we love you, we’ll miss you”.

The casserole’s made, OJ stirred, presents sorted just right

"I’m tired, it’s 8:52, and I’m going nite-night."

What we did today


and a craft where we traced our hands and made mittens!

Tickled pink

A few weeks ago we were playing some Wiggles games online with Liam and Elli when Dan read me a news flash that Greg, the Yellow Wiggle, was leaving the group due to health problems. I was kinda bummed. You see, I thought Greg was the name of the (hot) Blue Wiggle--but his name is Anthony.

Thankfully the Wiggles has a Progression Plan in place and had an understudy already trained and ready to step in at a moment's notice. I was afraid I wouldn't be able to stomach watching the new Wiggles anymore, but it turns out (according to the picture here) that it was just a case of mistaken identity and I'll give the new Wiggle, Sam, a chance. Although I can already tell from this picture that he's not hot.

Thursday, December 21, 2006


I've been feeling a little frustrated at my current station in life. That of being a stay-at-home mom. While snatching a shower this morning, I was thinking it might do my brain some good to try my hand at some poetry writing. I'm not all that creative, so I'd have to mimic someone else's genius.

The first poem that came to mind was "Huswifery". I remembered the title from high school AP English class, but had no idea what the poem was about. Thinking it would be about all the toils and labors of a woman taking care of the home, I thought I'd do a "spoof" and call mine something along the lines of "homemummery".

But when I looked up the poem, I was in for quite a surprise. And a boot to the backside. This is what I needed to be reminded of today. And I cannot spoof it, only hope to mimic it with my life.


by Edward Taylor

Make me, O Lord, thy Spinning Wheele compleat;
Thy Holy Worde my Distaff make for mee.
Make mine Affections thy Swift Flyers neate,
And make my Soule thy holy Spoole to bee.
My Conversation make to be thy Reele,
And reele the yarn thereon spun of thy Wheele.

Make me thy Loome then, knit therein this Twine:
And make thy Holy Spirit, Lord, winde quills:
Then weave the Web thyselfe. The yarn is fine.
Thine Ordinances make my Fulling Mills.
Then dy the same in Heavenly Colours Choice,
All pinkt with Varnish't Flowers of Paradise.

Then cloath therewith mine Understanding, Will,
Affections, Judgment, Conscience, Memory;
My Words and Actions, that their shine may fill
My wayes with glory and thee glorify.
Then mine apparell shall display before yee
That I am Cloathd in Holy robes for glory.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006


Ever have chapped lips where there's a little flap of skin that's all dried out and bugging you and you want to bite it between your teeth and rip it off but you know if you do it'll hurt and be raw and bug you even more? Ohhhhhh.....I just ripped it off...why did I do that?

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

rant and rave

I was going to post a mega Scrooge-fest of a list of horrible things in my day today, but then realized that I also need to balance out my bitching with at least an attempt to find the bright side of life. So, for every bad thing I list, I need to list a good thing as well. That way you don't all think I'm a hyper-critical, negatory, cynical, complaining-all-the-time, Debbie Downer.
  • I'm sick of the smell of sick
  • My kids are whining incessantly
  • There is diahrreah on the carpet
  • I stayed awake all night thinking I was hearing a child getting sick
  • If I have to give one more bath I think I'm going to scream
  • My hands are constantly wet and I HATE being wet
  • Liam's been sick and can't go to school today
  • I don't have any patience today
  • I have a list that just keeps getting bigger and bigger and it's frustrating
  • Elli & Addi wake each other up, so no one is rested and all are cranky
  • Ugly free recliner needs to be steam cleaned & moved out of garage
  • We're being responsible and paying off the deck with Christmas money
  • I'm being plagued with discontented thoughts right now and not sure why
  • I'm stressing about money (that's pretty much all the time)
  • We still have leaves in our backyard from fall cleanup we didn't finish

  • My parents bought us a fantastic heavy duty washing machine that is handling all the sick
  • Elmo is singing songs about potties on the TV
  • I own a steam cleaner--it's being put to use
  • The sun is out today-AGAIN
  • My kids enjoy bathing and bubbles
  • I will be getting a massage at PPD group tonight
  • There is less than a week 'til Christmas
  • Dan and I haven't gotten sick…yet
  • Our needs are more than met
  • We got an ugly but FREE recliner on freecycle
  • Our windshield deductible was $50 less than we expected
  • Our families have been extremely generous to us at Christmas
  • I'm going to be with my family soon
  • My husband thinks our kids are great
  • I've lost 5 pounds
You know that sour feeling you have in your stomach before you get sick. That's kinda what I had before making this list. I just had to get it all out so I could feel better and get on with life. Sorry you had to field my spew.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

It's a good thing...I think?

So I couldn't sleep last night. While trying to not think about why I wasn't falling back to sleep, my mind was whirling with this thought that is kinda in response to a sentence Heather wrote on her blog a week or so ago.

My midnight thought:

If you are a believer and doing good things without consciously owning or ascribing them to the cause of Christ, are they not actually good works? As in, if you aren't thinking "I want to bring glory to God" or "Jesus would do this" as you performed fruit-of-the-spirit-like things, are they not really good works (like you don't get credit with God or men, and your faith is possibly dead), or are they just good actions that you've been trained to perform and negated if they are done without actually thinking of them as Godly actions? I don't know if I explained this well, but maybe someone will get what I am trying to say.

Heather's "One Sentence" that started this thought process:

"The death of a faith is not the instant action of the rebellion but the slow, painful death of inaction."

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Thursday night menu

Come enjoy a personal pizza
and make-your-own salad bar

BYO soda--we'll have water and Phat B's "sweet tea"

dessert du jour
Starbucks and TastyCakes


Tuesday, December 12, 2006


All day this word has been running through my head. After tucking my children into bed, I hastened to look it up to make sure it was an accurate descriptor for my state of mind today.

Definition of beleaguered:
having so many difficulties that you feel as if you are being attacked from every direction

I don't know why I've been feeling this way today. I don't know why I feel so attacked. There have been myriad instances where I've felt quite ready to raise the white flag, to rip off my "Kiss the cook" apron and hop in my mommy mini van, squinch my eyes shut tight and just drive away to outrun whatever it is that is beleaguering me today.

Listening to Sara McLachlan's "River" off of her Wintersong album hasn't helped this morose need-for-escapism feeling, either. Yet it seems to capture what I'm thinking and feeling today, and I've relished the artful fusion of music and lyricism that can take an emotion that feels as scratchy as a steel wool sweater on bare naked skin and make it feel like thick, warm melted cacao oozing over every prickly barb that is rasping away at my weary mind. I hope tomorrow has a better adjective than today did.

Lyrics to Sarah Mclachlan River
It’s coming on Christmas
They’re cutting down trees
They’re putting up reindeer singing songs of joy and peace

Oh I wish I had a river
I could skate away on

But it don’t snow here
It stays pretty green
I’m going to make a lot of money
And then I’m going to quit this crazy scene

Oh I wish I had a river
I could skate away on
I wish I had a river so long
Teach my feet to fly high

Oh I wish I had a river
I could skate away on

I made my baby cry
I tried hard to help me
No it wouldn’t be at ease
[ these lyrics found on ]
But it left me so naughty made me weak in the knees

Oh I wish I had a river
I could skate away on

But I’m so hard to handle
I’m selfish and I’m sad
Now I gone and lost the best baby that I’ve ever had

Oh I wish I had a river
I could skate away on

Oh I wish I had a river so long
I would teach my feet to fly highhh
Oh I wish I had a river
That I could skate away on

I made my baby say goodbye
It’s coming on Christmas
They’re cutting down trees
They’re putting up reindeer singing songs of joy and peace
Oh I wish I had a river
I could skate away on

Monday, December 11, 2006

career guicance

Dan and I were talking last night about me going back to work. He said "what would you do?". For someone who usually has all the answers, or is good at making them up, I was dumbfounded. I have no idea.

So I am turning to you for career advice. What do you think would be a good "fit" for me--something I would enjoy and utilize my skillz.

If you can't think of anything, just take the opportunity to openly compliment me on all the zillions of things I am really good at--100 words minimum, please!


breakfast this past week has consisted of a tepid tap water in whoever's cup is left on the counter with a handful of vitamins and Zoloft generics.

the scale and my stomach have been letting me know that this diet just won't do, especially as I either eat lunch around 2:30pm or not at all then eat nonstop in the evenings.

so this morning I downed said vitamins and mood-enhancing meds with a Danactive yogurt drink. Cranberry Raspberry--so yummy. And so tiny it's like a shot. A healthy shot.

I'll keep ya posted.

Friday, December 08, 2006

a penny for your thoughts

Penny was on the verge of breakdown she was so tired. She worked day and night and was at the beck and call of the family she had been hired to cook, keep house, and nanny for. Though never alone, Penny was lonely. On her night off, she decided to attend a local poetry reading club in hopes that she might meet other people with whom she had something in common and make some new friends.

After a month of attending and enjoying the group immensely, it was time for the group to take a break for the holidays. The leader of the group got paid a generous sum for giving his time to organize the group, research the best literature, and talentedly share the beautiful lyrics with the group.

After the last meeting, Penny was talking to a newfound friend. While half-listening to this friend, she saw the leader standing outside the doorway of the room talking to a volunteer who had come almost every week to set up chairs for the group to sit in while listening to the readings. Out of the corner of her eye, Penny watched the leader covertly hand the young volunteer the entirety of his night’s commission. The volunteer was stunned and stammered that he didn’t need it and hadn’t expected to be paid for setting up the chairs. But the leader gently refused to take it back and quietly told the volunteer to use it to buy Christmas presents before walking away.

Penny can hardly remember the power of the poetry that had so moved her at that last meeting, but through the ensuing weeks that singular act of secret generosity, which no one had been meant to observe, has repeatedly played out over and over again in her head.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

dangling the key to my diary

I saw something that wasn’t meant to be seen. I’ve only told one person about what I saw, but I think maybe I should tell some other people. But I’m not really sure what will come of my telling it. So I’m still pondering whether or not to keep on keeping it to myself. I just thought that maybe putting the possibility out there of telling might help assuage my feelings of needing to tell others so I could continue to keep this one to myself.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Losing my -my

It's a stark moment of realization that time is fleeting even when you are in and aware of the moment when time is blowing by you like a Mary Poppins-esque gust of wind.

Elli has stopped calling me mommy and just calls me mom. I'm not sure exactly when or why, but I noticed it two days ago. I thought maybe she just did it once to abbreviate my name, but I took note that all day it was only "mom".

A piece of me is excited. She's growing up. A piece of me is sad. She's growing up.