Friday, September 28, 2007

Monday, September 24, 2007

The Queen's daughter

Elli has been into princesses lately. I know! That is SO UNIQUE. No little girls play princess, right?

Anyway. Besides wanting to be called "Cinderella" (I keep trying to call her CinderElli, but she inSISTS that it is CinderELLA) and prancing around 12 hours a day in the blue princess dress a friend from church gave us, here she is pretending to be "Aurora". More commonly known as Sleeping Beauty.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Movies I've watched recently

Dan's been working a lot lately...a LOT...

The Painted Veil: One of the most poignant portrayals of love and human nature I have seen captured on film.

The Hours: There is beyond amazing acting in this soul-quaking, line-crossing, life-depicting film.

The Life and Death of Peter Sellers: This depiction of his life was so bizarre it HAD to be true--no one could make that kind of stuff up. Geoffrey Rush is surreal.

Cellular: Unfortunately, I lost signal after only 25 minutes and had to "hang up" on this one. (Alt- "You lost me at hello"--eh?) Kim B--what are you doing?

Because I Said So: A lot over the top, but I just really like Diane Keaton as an actress. Mandy just isn't my kind of candy.

White Oleander: Riveting, hauntingly dark, revealing, mind-bending, heart-rending. Michelle P is beautifully wicked while Allison L knocked my shoes, socks, and toenails off with her performance.

The Prestige:
Oh, I was watching closely. How can you not? Fantastic.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Sometimes I do weird things

like clothespin two large, red, ripe tomatoes from my tomato plants onto our next door neighbor's tomato plant that is scrawnier than Charlie Brown's Christmas tree and has no chance in hell of producing a red, ripe, juicy tomato--much less two of them.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Morning shower mentations

~I didn't think I'd be utilizing you again this season my doubly-sharp-lipped, rubber-gripped nemesis

~Conditioner first, then shampoo. Conditioner, oh, what a treat!

~Should I close my eyes and try to find things just by feel in order to challenge and wake up my brain? Probably not. I'd probably drop everything and have Dan and the kids worried that either I was having a temper tantrum and throwing things in the shower or that something was wrong and I had keeled over in the shower

~What's something fun I can do with the girls while Liam's at school today? Paint nails? No—too much work and mess. Make banana bread? Mmmmmmmm...banana bread.......

~(that led me to) Bread—best bread I've ever eaten....hmmmmm...has to be a grilled cheese sandwich on thick-sliced homemade sourdough bread slathered in butter with melty Canadian cheddar cheese at a pub in Stratford—that I split with my friend Abigail because we were in college and so darn poor that's all we could afford off the menu. We split meals the entire week—I've never been so hungry in all my life!

~Stratford—that was so much fun. Seeing the guy who played “Gilbert Blythe” in the Anne of Green Gables movies live on stage as Romeo in Romeo and Juliet. It was a slight letdown that he was kinda old, hair getting sparse, and had a beer belly—but all the girls were still swooning anyway. “Aw, Gil.”

~My friend Abigail and I were brilliant for skipping the Shakespeare history play in order to explore the town. I remember finding coat hooks in the shape of horseshoes for my mother's “Colorado room”, a mug that says “KING” on it for Dan—I almost bought “Queen” for me, but again the money factor and I didn't want to presume anything in case this relationship didn't pan out—as well as a whimsical jester-ish looking Christmas ornament to give Dan for Christmas. Funny how in those days all I wanted to do was buy things for Dan—I think my love language is giving gifts.

~At the Stratford Festival (besides today my wearing the white undershirt Dan started out with but I ended up wearing in bed last night) was one of the last times I remember wearing Dan's clothes. I borrowed some nice heavy sweaters from him to “keep me warm”, but really because I liked smelling him on my clothes and thinking of him while away from him. Those were some great sweaters—but I think we got rid of them all because they were so huge—they were during his “wear everything big” phase...

~Hi Elli—what's up? Do you need to go potty? No? Oh, Okay. Yes, I'm taking a shower. Yup, I just washed my hair. Yes—that's my towel. No, daddy won't use my towel, he wants one that's fresh and clean all for himself. Oh, you liked your purple Shrek yogurt for breakfast? Yup—I'm all done. I turned the water off. Oh, thank you for handing me my towel. OK—I think daddy needs you in the kitchen. I'll come out when I'm dressed.

~Face and body lotion—this is going to be one great day!

Monday, September 17, 2007

Christian sex book review

Yes, this is the same post that is on the LABlog right now. But I worked really hard on it! It looks better on the LABlog, so please check it out over there. There are pictures!

So I took a day at the library to do all kinds of LAB stuff, and worked really hard on writing this book review. After I was done, I started inserting the pictures and somehow got an extra box in there, and while trying to delete it out of the HTML code I somehow accidentally deleted half of the written content! D'arvit! (Anyone else read the Artemis Fowl series?) So, I re-wrote what I had deleted, but it wasn't quite as good as it was the first time around, but it's still OK. Take a look.

Warning: This book (and review) contains adult sexual content.Is There Really Sex After Kids?

When this book started out with,

Hi, I'm Jill Savage. My husband, Mark, and I have been married nineteen years, nine of them happily.

I smelled honesty. I knew I would enjoy reading the truths that were sure to emanate from the ensuing pages.

I almost skipped the first chapter, "God Created Sex!" (I thought--oh this is gonna be boring), but I'm glad I didn't. It was a good reminder that sex begins with "Into Me See" (intimacy)--the non-sexual side of your relationship rooted in conversation, trust, and vulnerability. And how juicy the book of Song of Solomon is--and that's in the Bible!

Jill honestly lists the most prevalent intimacy inhibitors (aka "excuses") and gives suggestions on how to unpack them. Here's a quick list--see if any of them apply to you:

* Media--movies, novels, magazines, and TV setting up unrealistic (s)expectations and scenarios that you and your partner will never meet
* Slang terminology--words and phrases that dirty up, cheapen and demean the sexual relationship. (That doesn't mean you and your spouse can't have secret pet names or secret vocabulary that you use in private conversation--whew, right love muffin?)
* Parental instruction about sex (sorry mom and dad)--things like:
o "We don't talk about that in this house"
o " You don't have sex before you get married"
o "Sex is something you endure, dear"
o "Sex is okay before marriage as long as you are responsible"
* Baggage that comes of previous relationships--such as anger, jealousy, fear, shame, guilt, mistrust, or previous sexual encounters
* Religion--no one ever discussing the "elephant in the room" or giving an unbalanced view of how a sexual relationship is designed to work
* Poor conflict resolution skills such as sulking at lack of attention, "ice queen", slamming doors, cutting remarks, "every thing is fine" when it really isn't, passive-aggressive behaviors, withholding sex or affection, never admitting a wrong, refusing to say "I'm sorry; will you please forgive me?"

Jill also stalwartly introduces the major challenges that abortion, sexual abuse, affairs, pornography and sexual addiction, and men who refuse to seek help proffer.

In the chapter called "And then I had kids", Jill gives it to us straight. Being the nurturer or being touched all day, fatigued, sleep-deprived, nursing, experiencing sexual side-effects (aka "numb from the waist down") of medication, in a birth control dilemma, distracted by your children, physically or mentally feeling unattractive (aka un-showered or still harboring baby weight), or having a hard time switching from "mom" to "wife", are all legitimate excuses and inhibitors to intimacy. But an unacceptable way of life. Jill encourages us that:

While you and I might want to push "pause" on the marriage button during the childbearing and childrearing years, we cannot succumb to the temptation. Building intimacy in our marriage must be a priority during these years. How do we do that? Turn to the next chapter and let's find out.

I love the next chapters. First Jill suggests we all go out and buy a copy of “Sex Begins in the Kitchen: Because Love is an All-Day Affair" for our guys! Kitchen time is an intentional plan to set aside time each day--despite the demands of children--to talk, communicate, reconnect, and plan out the rest of the day/evening. She's also a firm believer in weekly or bi-weekly dates. I have friends who do this religiously and I give them kudos for making each other a priority--it takes work and money to make these dates happen--but the marriage payoff is priceless.

In the juiciest chapter of the book, "Let me Please You: Understanding the Concept of Pleasuring", came my greatest revelation. Let me quote:

Did you know that God gave you, as a woman, a part of your body that has no other purpose than sexual pleasure? While doing research for this book, I ran across this statement by Dr. Rosenau, "the clitoris is given to the female solely for sexual pleasure." I reread this over and over---struck by its significance. Did you realize how important this is to understanding God's design for sex, feeling comfortable with our sexuality, and moving past inhibitions? We need to know that God created a part of our bodies exclusively for sexual pleasure. That little sentence says a lot! Clifford and Joyce Penner put it this way: "The fact that the clitoris in the woman is unique in its function of receiving sexual confirmation that God intended women to be intensely sexual beings, not just 'vaginas' as recipients of the man's sexual expression."

Now that is not something you've ever heard in church before! I also appreciate the honesty and thorough explanations Jill gives about "touchy subjects" like orgasms, the mess of sex, sex during menstruation, oral sex, quickies, masturbation, anal sex, and what's "not okay" in bed.

I definitely recommend that you read this book if you, like me, have struggled to feel sexy, sexual, desirable, or just plain have the energy it takes to be mentally and physically intimate with all the demands and challenges children bring into our homes. An easy and honest read, Jill gives great practical advice on things both you and your partner can do to deepen intimacy (aka great chats over steamy mugs of hot cocoa resulting in a sparkle in your partner's eye and and a racing heartbeat of your own!)

OK, I'm out

So last week I'm just getting out of the shower when I hear Dan's phone ring. He picks up (despite being "on duty" with the 3 kids) and I hear him talking in a gentle voice I haven't heard from him in a long time.

I'm listening to the tones in his voice and the responses he's giving when I realize he's talking about me. And the love and gentility with which he's responding to whoever he's talking to touches me to the core of my being.

I toweled off and dressed as slowly and quietly as I could so as to listen in as long as possible. I could not figure out who in the world he was on the phone with and what in the world this conversation was all about.

I emerged from the bathroom and mouthed "who is it?" to Dan. He tipped the phone away from his mouth and mouthed "my mother" to me. Then, I got quite choked up.

I realized that this was a big moment for me. Let me back up a bit.

A few weeks ago Dan's sister and brother-in-law came out for a visit. I corralled them into helping me with childcare for a LAB meeting. When they returned to NJ, they relayed what they had done and a little bit about the LAB group and meeting they had witnessed that evening.

On a subsequent phone call Dan's mom asked Dan a little more about the group, and Dan mentioned that we even had a website up for the group. Little did he know his mom would look it up and start reading.

Back to this week's after-shower phone call. As Dan's mom was reading, she simply felt that she had to call. She said she was crying, smiling, and just moved. She previously had no idea what all the postpartum "stuff" we were going through entailed, and she wished she had known while we were in the throes of it so they could have been praying more, helping more, being here more.

She said what we were doing by starting a group and sharing our lives on the blog was so brave, so commendable, that my writing was so good. You will never know how much these accolades mean to me unless you know about the rocky start to my in-law relationship, and how amazingly far this relationship has healed and grown thanks to God's unfathomable grace. I never thought we would be friends or that I would be able to call her "mom", but both of those have happened so organically.

I'm so relieved to know they know. And now I know that they know I know they know, I have a new arm of support that I can lean on and be authentic with--for better or for worse.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Q: What do you do if your dishwasher stops working?

A: Kick him in the patoot and tell him to keep washing.
So I'm sitting here typing and looking at old pictures while Dan is washing dishes.
It's wonderful.
He's wonderful.
Having a working dishwasher is wonderful too, though...

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Plumb awesome

So these four tiny, tooth-looking plastic pieces called dog agitators (or dog agits) were all we needed for our washing machine to agitate and wash our clothes properly.

We could have called a repair person and probably paid well over $100 for them to come trouble-shoot, replace the part, and pay for the labor (and these days everyone is charging an extra "fuel surcharge"--what's up with that?). But instead we ordered these dog agits online for $5 and thought we'd try to fix it ourselves before putting out the big bucks or risking having to view a plumber-butt.

It took us about 45 min to remove the old, worn smooth dog agits (we couldn't find the washing machine manual anywhere, so we just had to figure it out how to remove them on our own).

It me took 45 minutes and a skewer to replace the new ones. It would have been a lot less time if I could have remembered which direction they needed to face...oh well! Lots of trial and error.

Now the washing machine is humming along on the first of many...many...many loads to come. There are at least 7 piles downstairs waiting. But at least we didn't mess up the budget for this month with an unexpected plumbing bill!

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Just a taste

of what I did today:

cinnamon raisin toast for breakfast
got dressed
got kids dressed
went to farmer's market
got landscaping advice
chowed a bite of lunch
made sausage egg casserole
made homemade cinnamon rolls
one load of laundry
trouble-shoot and take apart washing machine
talked to Dad on the phone
broke candle
cleaned up glass
send Dan to store for milk, creamer, vinegar and library for movies
chopped veggies for pasta salad bar dinner
“assisted” Liam and Elli in cleaning their rooms
vacuumed first floor
vacuumed lower level
poop scoop
watered vegetables
CLR and vinegar through coffee maker
CLR and vinegar through dishwasher
1 load of dishes washed and put away
scoured kitchen table and counter tops
shook out rugs
swept floors
Addi bath
called brother to plan food tasting prep schedule
reorganized pantry shelves
kids in PJ's
brush Encore
take out trash
e-mail LAB volunteers
swing with Addi on swingset
write LAB post
police getting-out-of-bed kids
make excessively long list
eat cookies and watch movie
read book
sleep...I hope...there's so much more to do tomorrow!