Monday, December 31, 2007

New Year's Eve Day

So far, I'm having one of those days where nothing is going the way I planned. And, that's okay. A and I were supposed to be working from home today, but R was sick all day yesterday and still had a teensy fever this morning, so we kept him home. So we're taking turns working and hanging with the boy, who of course made a miraculous recovery and is climbing the walls, jumping around, and screeching at the top of his lungs. Right now is my turn to work, but the flinging-flanging server I'm trying to access is so slow that I can't do what I need to. I really had to get this part of my work done today because I need to then focus on preparing for my employees' reviews. But I'm starting to get used to never getting anything done on time!

I felt so bad for R yesterday - he was so sad and achey and tired. (In the middle of the night, he woke up and asked me, "Mommy - is something wrong with me? I'm all sweaty!") But at the same time, it was really nice because he just wanted to cuddle and nap with me all day. How many chances will I get for that ever again? He didn't really even want to watch TV or play trains (that's how we knew how sick he was). In the middle of the day, we both fell asleep on the couch for a few hours. Later, A took my temperature just as a joke and we discovered that I had a fever, too. So I guess I needed the sleep just as much as R!

I'm not sure what's on tap for tonight. Last year, we got together with R's friend A and her parents but they may not want to be around the recently recovered sickies. A said he bought some champagne, though, so if I make it to midnight, we can celebrate. Or, maybe we'll celebrate at 9 pm with whatever city across the globe is actually welcoming 2008.

Happy New Year to all of you! I'm very excited for 2008 - it just feels like it's going to be a great year. New babies are coming for friends, we're having our all-family vacation in August to celebrate my mom's 60th birthday, and it's another year of discovery and fun with R and another year of walking with the Lord. I can't wait to see what else is in store for me! :-)

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Merry Christmas!

We had such a wonderful Christmas weekend! It was a whirlwind of food and friends. On Monday, we visited my dad in the afternoon for a delicious lunch. On the way to his house, "The Little Drummer Boy" by Bing Crosby and David Bowie came on the radio. A and I love that version. When it got to the part, "I pray my wish will come true, for my child and your child, too," the tears welled up in my eyes. I was just overcome with love and thanks for my boys. They are the only presents I've ever needed or wanted.

After my dad's, we headed to Edaville Railroad to meet up with lots of our friends for the lights display, rides, and a train ride. It was magical! First up was the ferris wheel. Here are some views from atop the wheel:

When I wasn't clenching my jaw in fright because R was wriggling around in the seat, I was able to crack a smile for a nice family photo. :-)

I went on the Jolly Caterpillar ride with R. A took him on the space capsule and flying elephant rides.

The best part, of course, was the train ride. We managed to squeeze all 15 of us onto one car. R and his friend Z chatted together and had their faces pressed against the windows the whole time in absolute wonder at the lights. It was so sweet.

After a few more rides, we headed indoors to warm up and to try out the "cranberry" ball pit (the whole park is surrounded by cranberry bogs) and a walk-through maze.

This was our second year going to Edaville at Christmastime, although our first on Christmas Eve. It's definitely going to be a yearly tradition for us!

After several days of keeping R up late, we were blessed with a somewhat late morning on Christmas Day. R ended up in our bed and opened his eyes at 8am. He rolled over, gave me a huge smile and a sweet little kiss and said, "Mehwy Cwistmas!" And, once again, we could have just given him his stocking and he would have been completely happy. He loved the train ornaments we got him, and he hasn't parted with them since he opened them.

We really did make an effort to limit the number of presents this year, but we forgot to take into consideration the gifts from family and friends. R was a bit overwhelmed by it all, but he got really great gifts that are all things we can play with together as a family. Next year, I think we'll probably just get him one big gift and then if we're tempted to get anything else, we'll save them for his birthday.

I was very proud of how little waste we created, though. I was inpsired this year by another blogger who wrapped all of her family's gifts in pieces of fabric. I didn't have any fabric remnants around, so we used R's old baby blankets and some kitchen twine. It made me feel so good not to have a huge garbage bag of ripped-up paper to throw out afterwards.

One of our favorite gifts for R was an extension kit for the marble maze we got him for his birthday last year. I highly recommend these things. We have so much fun together with them - creating different maze designs, constructing it, and then feeding the marbles in and watching them go around and around. It's mesmerizing.

It was a lovely, mellow Christmas. I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas, too!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Snow and cold

It snowed AGAIN yesterday. What was predicted to be 1-2 inches and then changing to rain ended up being 6 inches (and no rain)! I'm starting to panic a little bit about the rest of the winter being like this. But R is in heaven. He helped me shovel, and we had SO much fun visiting his friend Z. Mostly they played trains inside, but once we convinced them to go outside, we all had a blast.

R will eat snow non-stop if we let him.

Z's mom and I built the snowman while the boys jumped off snow cliffs. I cannot remember the last time I made a snowman - it was probably in the 1970s! It was so much fun and the boys loved it. They found the sticks for the arms, begged Z's mom to get a carrot for his nose, and then were very excited to have their picture taken with their new, snowy friend.

After some sledding and more snow eating, R was lured back inside by Z's incredible train layout and the promise of hot chocolate. After cocoa and snacks, the boys burned up their energy by jumping off the couch.

R's school got out early today for the holiday break, so A took him sledding with one of his classmates while I was home working. Tonight, we headed to the zoo to see their light display and ride some kiddie rides. First up was the all-important train. R loved it despite what he looks like in this picture. He was just so cold!

R and I rode the carousel together. He was getting really sad about how cold he was, so we decided to make funny faces every time we passed by Daddy.

A took R on the spinny tea-cup ride. Of course, R loved it and wanted to go on it again, but we decided to high-tail it back to the car to defrost and head home.

I think R was the coldest he's ever been. The poor guy was a little freaked out by how cold his toes were, especially the part where they hurt as they were warming back up again. Next year, we'll go on a warmer night.

This was our fourth year taking him to the zoo at Christmastime. The first three years he had his picture taken with Santa. And, as much as I don't want to emphasize Santa, I was kind of hoping for another Santa picture just so we could see the progression. We did stand in the picture line for a few minutes tonight, but then R decided he didn't want to see Santa. He wanted A to lift him up to see him, which he did, but then R was satisfied and requested that we move along. So we didn't push it. On the way home tonight, R said: "I really liked when I saw Santa and he didn't see me." But he said it in a very sweet, smiley way - almost like it was sort of magical and special for him.

Tomorrow, we're off to get R a badly needed haircut, then we're braving the mall. Ugh. I thought I was going to get through the season without entering a mall, but I have to get a few stocking stuffers for A and R. Hopefully we can get our butts into gear early enough to get a parking space closer than outer Mongolia. :-)

Monday, December 17, 2007

Today's Good Things (and then some pictures)

Today's Good Things
  • 7.5 hours of sleep!

  • An easy, happy drop-off for R at school

  • Checking email to find wonderful comments from my loving family!

  • Sunshine to melt some of the ice and snow

  • Working from home all day with A

  • A short line at the post office

This is the view of the snow from my kitchen window, as I mentioned yesterday (please disregard the mess in the sink! No comments unless you would like to buy us a dishwasher...):

Isn't that hilarious? (For those who've never been to my house, my kitchen window overlooks a little attached shed. So it's not THAT deep, but still!) We have close to two feet of snow on the ground now.

Here are some pics from a week ago when we decorated our tree. First, the bare tree (except for A's paper rocket at the top):

Then, R found the camera. He's getting pretty good at taking pictures (and yelling at us to "make funny faces!").

Another picture taken by R:

The finished product!

And, here's our gingerbread train. I had SO much fun with this. R saw the kit advertised in the King Arthur Flour catalog, and I couldn't resist. He lost interest after we stopped letting him eat the candy, but I wouldn't rest until we got every piece of candy on the thing.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

So tired

I haven't had much time to post this week. Work has been very stressful and is taking over my entire life again. A and I have been working a big project together (for work) for weeks now, and almost every night we're working until 1 or 2 a.m. Then, I get up at 7, take a shower while R sobs because I'm not paying attention to him, miss breakfast so I can catch the bus, arrive late to work anyway, work on the project all day while having to ignore the other two big parts of my job, come home, feed R, put him to bed, and start working again until the wee hours.

I'm feeling very burnt out. I have no time to talk to my family, barely even to leave comments on their blogs. (But at least we have those to stay in touch!) Our Christmas preparations are making me crazy, too, mostly because there is just no time to do anything. And, then we had two HUGE snowstorms (on Thursday and today). This morning I laughed out loud when I opened the kitchen blinds and could only see out of the top half of the window because the snow was piled up so high. Poor R was cooped up all day today in the house because the snow turned to rain, so it was a mess outside. BUT he did get to go sledding yesterday, which was fun.

Anyway, I know I'll get through it all and in another week, I'll have a couple of days off for Christmas, so that will be lovely. I just wanted to post and say where I've been.

Tonight I'm going to bed at 10:30 no matter what. I must get some good sleep!

Saturday, December 8, 2007


R quote of the day: While putting on his jammies, R looked down at his chest and announced, "I have my own boobs!"

Something momentous has happened: A and I have found a babysitter!!!! A's friend's daughter is 13 and has been interested in sitting for R for awhile, but she wanted to take a babysitting course first. She also worked with the little kids at her camp over the summer. But we started her off easy - she and her dad came to hang out with R this afternoon for a couple of hours while A and I did some Christmas shopping. R was waving goodbye to us before we even had our coats on, so he was FINE. They had a good time together. And, this angel sent from God is going to watch R again one night this week so A and I can go to our company's holiday party. After that, we're hoping to have her sit for us once a month so that A and I can start having regular dates of some sort. We are so excited! It's great, too, because she lives just a few blocks away from us, so her mom and dad are really close by if there was ever a problem.

And, now for something completely different: I discovered a new way to get R to eat more vegetables. One night, I was kidding around with him and told him to open his mouth. Then I tried to toss in a tiny piece of broccoli. I missed a few times, hitting him in the cheek, nose, and chin while he laughed hysterically, and then I got it in and he gobbled it up and asked me to do it again. (I tried to make the pieces small enough that he wouldn't choke on them if I accidentally got it down his throat.) This method has worked for a week now, and R has even grabbed and eaten huge broccoli florets in between the ones I toss in. Woohoo! I'm sure he'll catch onto me soon, though.

Enjoy your Saturday night!

Friday, December 7, 2007

Cuteness and clutter

Quotes from R this week:

After seeing our town's Christmas lights display: "It's so beautiful, it makes me cry! Boohooohoo!" (with fake crying noises)

After seeing a crazy Christmas display at one house that had at least 10 different huge blow-up poofy thingies (snowmen, Snoopy, Santas, etc.): "I'm so excited that I can't express!"

When I got up to take a shower this morning: "Don't go, Mommy! I'll be so lonely!"

R and I had a nice day yesterday together. We played trains, went to the Museum of Science and the library, and then came home to decorate our mini Christmas trees (I have three). R was really into it, which made me so happy. I let him have one of the trees for his room, and he put all the teeny tiny ornaments on it all by himself.

Also, this week - R started putting his clothes (including his socks) on by himself! He was SO proud to show us. And, we of course were very, very proud as well. :-)

This weekend we'll be getting our Christmas tree (and decorating it), assembling our gingerbread train kit, baking cookies, and checking out more Christmas lights. Yay!

I can't remember if I've asked this before ... what do you do with your kids' drawings/paintings/etc.? Piles of R's artwork have completely taken over every surface of my office, my office closet, the kitchen, the living room, etc. I don't know what to do with it all! I've framed some of our favorite pieces and hung them up at home and at work. Do I start throwing it out? I haven't been able to bring myself to do that yet. How do you store it all?

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Making traditions

Now that R is a little older, I'm trying to create some Christmastime traditions. I'm not very original - most of what I've come up with is from my own childhood.

Advent. I couldn't find what I wanted at the crafts store to make an Advent wreath, so I bought two pine swag candleholders (each holds two candles) and the traditional Advent candles (three purple, one pink) to improvise. I have several Advent calendars from years past, including a Playmobil one that my mom sent for R last year. It's really cool because each day on the calendar has a little cardboard box that holds a tiny piece of a Christmas play set. (I'll take pictures tomorrow...) I filled all the boxes tonight after R went to bed. I have a huge "Christmas Treasures" leather-bound book that has all kinds of readings and carols in it - scripture, selections from all kinds of different Christmas stories (like "A Christmas Carol" by Charles Dickens). We had the same one at my house growing up and read from it every night for Advent.

So, tonight after dinner, we lit one of the Advent candles and I read the Christmas story from the chapter of Luke while A wrestled a squirming, yelling, laughing R. Then, A and I sang "It Came Upon a Midnight Clear" while R simultaneously sang "Charlie on the MTA." R did take an interest in opening the #1 window on one of my Advent calendars. Then, he blew out the candle and asked me, "Are we all done?" He actually seemed sad it was over. So, maybe tomorrow night he'll listen a little more. :-)

Excursions. During the month of December, we're going to try to do the following three activities (two of these we've already been doing for a couple of years now):

  • The Zoo - The zoo near us has a special "ZooLights" event where they light up the grounds with lights, and you can have your picture taken with Santa. It's nice to walk around to see the animals and the lights, and the Santa pictures are very inexpensive (especially compared to the ones with the mall Santa!). We don't really talk about or encourage Santa belief at our house, but the pictures are cute and R seems more interested in riding the little train at the zoo than anything else anyway.

  • Edaville Railroad - This is R's idea of paradise: kiddie rides, Christmas lights, fireworks, and a ride on an old-fashioned steam train. We went last year just before Christmas, and R was so full of awe and wonder that it brought tears to my eyes. So we'll definitely be doing this again, and we'll probably be going with a couple of his friends to make it even more special.

  • Lasalette Shrine - We're hoping to do this this year, even though I haven't actually been in EONS. My mom and stepdad took me a very long time ago, and I remember really loving it (10 aces of Christmas lights!). I hope R will enjoy it.

That's what I've got for now, besides driving around to look at lights at night, decorating the tree and house together, opening one gift on Christmas Eve, and having a special breakfast on Christmas Day.

R is a little young this year, but next year I'm hoping to get the whole family involved in some kind of volunteer/service project. There was an opportunity to do something through my work this year, but I just can't imagine us being very helpful with R running around like a crazy boy.

We're really trying to tone down the presents this year. A and I agreed to get R only two large gifts and then some stocking stuffers. It's really hard not to go crazy and buy tons of things, but so far we're sticking to our plan. And, I don't think R will even notice. I don't want Christmas to be about a giant present-opening orgy. I'm really hoping that these activities we've planned will become traditions and that they'll be what R treasures about this time of year later in his life. My mom did this for me and my sisters when we were growing up, and it's that that makes me break down and cry every time I hear certain Christmas carols. My mom made Christmas so special. I miss you, Mom! But I've got you with me in my heart as I try to pass on these things to my little R.

Happy Saturday night!

Monday, November 26, 2007

My budding artist

R made me the happiest mama on Friday: He drew people for the very first time! I was SO EXCITED! I don't know why, but I've been hoping he would for a long time. Generally, his drawings and paintings are pretty abstract :-) - he's titled most of his recent work as "Fire" - and he's always said that he can't draw people or that it's too hard. But he did it, and I'm so proud. (Can you tell?) And, what people did he draw? His mommy and daddy!

First up is me. I've got a head, two eyes, lips, arms, and legs.

Next is Daddy. Daddy has a head, eyes, ears, a beard, arms, and legs.

A and I were talking this weekend about all the changes in R's life this year. It's truly incredible. The year of being three is quite tumultuous! R was potty trained, moved to a twin bed, stopped taking naps, learned to spell his first and last name, started writing letters, moved into little boy clothes (vs. toddler sizes), etc., etc. Lately, he's been having many more meltdowns - either crying or getting very angry and frustrated. I'm sure all of the changes in his life, plus becoming aware of all his different feelings just gets overwhelming at times. He's definitely in that time of his life where he goes back and forth between wanting to be a big boy and a baby. And, I want him to be both, too. I love introducing him to new things now that he's older (like "A Charlie Brown Christmas" and hot chocolate, both introduced this weekend) and I love our family game time at night and raking leaves together and going bowling. But I also love how he can't say his "th"s and how he sucks his thumb when he's sleepy and how he wants me to be with him every minute of every day.

Post-Thanksgiving weekend was wonderful. We raked lots of leaves, took R to an indoor playspace we hadn't been to before, went out for breakfast, met friends at a nearby playground, and had our dear friends A&A over for roast chicken and T-day leftovers on Sunday night. (So, we got our lovely at-home Thanksgiving after all.)

At the playground we went to on Sunday, R and his little friend A had tons of fun climbing the scariest, tallest climbing structure I've ever seen. I was scared to climb it myself, but R scampered up the webbing quicker and quicker each time - and then went down the HUGE slide while screaming maniacally.

These were taken a little closer to the ground. :-)

Only 40 minutes left of Cyber Monday now, and I didn't order anything online today. I feel so left out. :-) I did buy lots of new Christmas decorations this weekend, and if R hadn't been getting restless, I would have spent gobs more money. I really want to make the house look special for R this year. I think I even convinced A to finally put up the outdoor lights that I bought three years ago but never opened!

And, thank you, everyone for your comments on my dreary Thanksgiving post. God definitely had the same idea as you all. I had two morning devotions in a row that were about being cheerful and being full of joy. I like to think that I'm a positive person, but I definitely have a cynical side and a tendency to get mired in either self-pity or self-loathing. This weekend, I imagined that I had two boxes that were full of two areas of my life that I tend to either worry about or have negative feelings about. And, I imagined that I took those boxes and laid them at the Lord's feet for him to take care of. And then I walked away (again, in my imagination). It has definitely helped me so far, and I pray that I can keep from sneaking up and trying to open those boxes again.

Finally, I want to end this post with a link to my brother-in-law's blog because he and my sister did a really wonderful thing on Thanksgiving, and I'm so moved by them. They don't have a lot themselves, but they shared what they do have (and more!) with some people in real need. God bless them - and all of you!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Thanksgiving wrap-up

I had hoped to do a "day in the life" kind of post where I described our day and illustrated everything with pictures. But, Thanksgiving ended up being pretty bad (e.g., R was an absolute whiney pain in the butt at the restaurant and refused to eat anything - but he was absolutely fine as soon as we left AND A and I had a rip-roarin' fight partly brought on the frustration at dinner). We're still healing from that one tonight. (Emotionally, not physically - just in case you were worried!) I think we were just both really bummed that dinner turned out so stinky. The food was fantastic and the atmosphere was wonderful, and we were SO excited, but I think R had just decided that he really didn't want to be there (that's what he told me this morning). Plus, he has a little cold and was tired. Well, that's what we thought the problem was, but the second we let R get up from the table, he was super happy crazy man again. So, A and I had to take turns wolfing down food by ourselves while the other one took R for a walk. We ended up having to wrap 90% of our food up to bail out and head home. That made both of us cranky, and we just let loose on each other. :-( Stupid holiday expectations! (Now, I know that we were taking our chances on going out to eat with a three-year-old. But R has been an angel the last few times we've gone out, so we thought we were good. Plus, I brought tons of things to occupy him with - cars, a book of mazes, a book to read, a mini train and tracks for the table. Oh well. Lesson learned!)

So, I'll just share pictures from the earlier part of the day when the sun came out, it was 60 degrees, and we went for a walk to the playground and had lots of fun swinging and climbing and chasing R around. That's the part I'll keep in my heart. :-)

(It's funny - this one is just from last weekend. The difference in temperature is crazy! And, today we were only in the 30s. Brrr.)

Today was much better family-wise. We raked leaves together, had leftovers for lunch, then I took R to the kids' gym down the street while A did some work. Then we all went bowling, came home for more leftovers for dinner, read bedtime stories together, and now here we are. The house is quiet, and A and I can have some time to be nice to each other.

I sure hope everyone else's Thanksgiving was much better than ours! ;-)

Sunday, November 18, 2007

When All Else Fails ...

... I can write about R. There just isn't too much else going on right now. Well, I'm extremely busy at work, but that would be unbelievably boring to write about. Plus, I refuse to let work permeate my entire life.

So, I'll share just how proud of R I am these days. I love watching his personality and social skills and sense of humor develop before my very eyes. Somehow he has managed to draw upon the very best of me and A, without picking up our negative habits and attitudes (except maybe a touch of both of our perfectionism). He is such a kind and fun friend. I love dropping him off at school and seeing all the little ones yell his name and come running when he arrives. When we run into his classmates on the weekends, he and the other kids run toward each other and throw their arms around each other in a huge hug. I just love that. He seems to be friends with anyone and everyone.

In just the last few weeks, R has become super, super affectionate. He's constantly kissing us all over, giving hugs, and telling us repeatedly, "You are best mommy/daddy/woman/man in the whole world!" Sometimes he says that when he wants something (the little dickens), but most of the time it seems completely genuine, just his spontaneous outbursts of love. Heavenly.

R is amazingly gentle and loving with our cat Harley, who is TERRIFIED of children. Harley pretty much stays upstairs in my bedroom while R is awake and really doesn't come downstairs until R is safely in bed. The cat is so stupid. If he were smart, he'd follow R around constantly and sleep with him - he would get so much more attention and love. R loves to climb up on our bed to visit Harley. He crawls over to him slowly, talks to him in a sweetly quiet voice, leaves little toys for Harley to play with, and gently pats him. I think Harley is finally figuring it out, though. He's started coming into R's room to give him a head butt or rub up against him, and we even coaxed him onto R's bed twice. (I admit that I have an ulterior motive there. R told me that when Harley starts to sleep with him at night, he won't need me to sleep with him anymore...)

R has a great sense of humor. He's such a ham, always making crazy facial expressions and doing crazy dances. He's picked up our sarcasm and joking tone of voice. On Friday night we went out to dinner at a local ice cream/greasy spoon joint. R picked out something for dinner that was completely unlike him - and that I'm sure he would never eat. When I looked at him in surprise, he smiled wickedly and said, "Are you KIDDING me?!!" the exact way that I do to him all the time. Another night at the dinner table, we were just sitting and eating when R suddenly put down his fork, opened the drawer under the table that holds a bunch of little junky toys, whipped out a noisemaker, and blew into it. It was like eating with the Marx Brothers. A and I are still laughing about it.

R has been saying some incredible things lately, using fairly big words in context. On Wednesday, he said to me, "I had a very surprising dream last night!" I wish I could remember the other things he's said recently. I need to keep a notepad with me at all times.

In this week of giving thanks, I'm obviously so thankful for this little boy who is the joy of my life. I feel like all I do is stare at him lately because I'm so fascinated with everything he says and does, and I just can't believe that this gorgeous child came from ME. This afternoon, we took a little nap together and I woke up first and just watched him sleep. It's still just as amazing as when he was first born. I wonder if I'll still be doing that when he's 18. :-)

We're trying a new thing this Thanksgiving. We're going out to a restaurant for dinner. It's weird for us because we both love to cook, but it's just too depressing for A this year. We don't have any family coming, and most of our friends are going out of town or have other plans. For years, A cooked for tons of people for "orphan" Thanksgivings, where he and his roommates would make a fabulous meal for all of their friends who had nowhere to go for the day. We even kept up the tradition once A and I were together and his friends had families of their own because it was so relaxed and fun and special. But, eventually everyone wanted to do their own meals, understandably. So just cooking for me and R is a little sad for A, a little too everyday for him. So we're going to try the huge family-style spread at Maggiano's in Boston. We figure that even if it's not terribly special, given the portions at Maggiano's, we'll definitely have leftovers at least (you have to pick TWO main dishes - turkey and/or ham and/or salmon, two pastas, two potato-ey dishes, two vegetables, two salads, two appetizers, two desserts!) - plus we won't have to do the dishes!

I have to end this post with this video clip someone posted from the concert I went to last week. This is Phil Wickham singing "Cannons," the title song from his new album. It still gives me chills. The video ends abruptly, but should give you the gist.

This one's not from the night I saw him, but had to share it, too. I love Phil's voice and lyrics. He's only 23!!!

God bless and happy, happy Thanksgiving to everyone!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Rockin' Friday Night!

Last night, Trish and I went to see the David Crowder Band play. It was SO MUCH FUN! And, we had some fantastic tickets - only four rows back from the stage! David Crowder was great, and so were the two opening bands: the Myriad and Phil Wickham.

The Myriad were so impressive. They all look SO young, but their performance was really tight, and the music was loud and rockin'. (And one of the guys reminded me of Peter from "Heroes.") I have absolutely no idea what lyrics they were singing, but I'm sure it was inspiring. :-) Apparently, they are in a contest on where you can vote them as the best up and coming band or something like that. Pretty cool. Here is a mediocre picture:

Next up was Phil Wickham, who was incredible! It was just him up on stage with his guitar, but his sound was amazingly full - it sounded like he had a full band behind him. He has a beautiful voice and tons of energy. I'm definitely going to buy his album.

Then came the David Crowder Band, and they did not disappoint. Woohoo! Not only are they fun to watch, but David is very inspiring when he talks, too. While they played a lot of my favorites (like "Everything Glorious" and "O Praise Him" and "No One Like You"), my favorite moment was when they broke out the banjo and fiddle and did a rousing, hoedown version of "I Saw the Light." :-)

So, it was a fun Friday night for me. Trish was great company (I'm so grateful to her for agreeing to go with me!), and the music was fantastic. And, the whole Boston Christian rock music scene was very interesting. Beforehand, I was wondering if anyone was going to show up. Well, it was packed. I also wondered if I was going to be the oldest person there by at least 10 years. Well, it was pretty close. Trish and I were definitely some of the oldest people there who were not chaperoning a youth group. But, it didn't matter one bit. :-)

In summary, if David Crowder is coming to a town near you, definitely get tickets! (Shaun and Johanna: Can't wait to hear how his show in Orlando is!)

Thursday, November 8, 2007


I'm feeling so much better. Just writing out my post the other day lightened my heart. Thank you so much for your comments and prayers! I'm really trying to focus on enjoying and appreciating my life and my family as it is right now instead of fretting and grumbling over how I want things to be different. (Because one of the big things I was bothered about was whether to have another baby. Enough said for now.) And, it's working. Every time I start feeling anxious or frustrated or whatever about the size of our family, I just try to be truly in the moment with R. And, we've been having so much fun this week playing together, laughing, reading stories, talking - in a more relaxed way than usual. And, I've been leaving my laptop at work on purpose so that I can't have even the possibility of being distracted by work when I'm with him. That's been great. (It has done wonders for me and A, too. Our normal routine is to put R to bed, then we camp out in the living room with our respective laptops and pay more attention to the TV and to the laptops than to each other. Not good.)

Plus, I keep hearing God whispering to me that he's got plans for me. So I need to trust that he knows what he's doing and that everything will work out for the best. :-)

OK, enough about my emotional/mental/inner life. Gah!

I wish I could set up a live video feed of our yard right now. This morning, the sun was streaming through the trees, which have finally turned bright yellow and orange and red, and the leaves were falling like gentle rain. It took my breath away. I'll try to take pictures this weekend when we're raking.

Gotta go prepare for a presentation at work now. Happy Fall, everyone, and God bless!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Con: Evil stomach virus; Pro: 10 pounds lighter!

If anyone is feeling guilty about all the candy they ate last week, just lick your nearest preschooler. You'll pick up a lovely stomach bug that will take care of those calories for you and then some. That's where I've been. (Apparently, this bug is not confined to the Boston metro area - since Lynette's house also got attacked by it in Texas this past weekend.) R had the thing a week before I got it. Luckily, he threw up once, had a teensy fever one night, slept it off, and was fine the next day. I wish I could say the same.

But I'm better now. And my pants are much looser. I guess three days of eating pretty much nothing except an occasional popsicle will do that.

I've been in a stupid, crabby mood for the last week or so (before I got sick), and I'm trying to shake it but having a hard time. I've been praying and asking God to take my bitterness, regret, etc. away, but it's not working because it's one of those times when I really want to wallow in it. I feel like I'm saying, "Here, God, you can take.... this. But. wait. a. second. No. You. can't. have. it. I'm. not. done. feeling. sorry. for. myself. yet!!!!" And, that just doesn't work. You have to mean it, I think, for it to work.

However, just so that I'm not only posting my negative vibes here, this morning when I got off the train, there was a man playing guitar at the station. And, he was playing the same piece I always hear him play. It's a classical piece that I'm sure would be very familiar to everyone (I used to hear it in the old Victoria's Secret stores - when they were lovely, elegant stores that played classical music - not trashy underwear stores with scary, red-light-district-looking mannequins in the windows), but I can't remember the name/composer. (I will post it when I do. UPDATED: I knew I would find it two seconds after posting this... it's Canon in D/Pachelbel's Canon.) Anyway, it always makes me cry because it's just so incredibly beautiful. And, every single time I'm feeling completely rotten and down in the morning, I step off the train and that man is there playing that piece. But he's not there any other time. So, as I told Lynette this morning, I think that's God saying, "Yes, I hear that you're down and life stinks right now. But listen to this! Isn't life beautiful and amazing and magical!?!?!" It's God's way of smacking me upside the head.


Saturday, October 27, 2007

Thanks a lot, Prokofiev!

On Thursday, A and R went to the library and picked up a set of new books. We take R every three weeks, and it's been great for discovering new favorite authors (like David Wiesner, who is AMAZING). We also pick up a book on tape each time, which has been great. Whenever R begs to watch TV, we offer the book on tape as an alternative, and it almost always works. It's really nice to listen to the tape, turn the pages with R, and snuggle together on the couch.

This week, A picked up Peter and the Wolf by Sergei Prokofiev as the book on tape. R has really enjoyed the story, but A didn't check it beforehand and forgot (as did I) about the part where men are hunting the wolf with guns. R asked a lot of questions about that part, and we tried to answer honestly. Then, it happened. The day I've been dreading since I found out in December 2003 that I was having a boy. My sweet, loving son who loves both man and beast ran into the bathroom while I was in there, held one of his drum sticks like a gun, and pretended to shoot it at me.


So, of course we talked to him for awhile about guns and how dangerous they are, and how I don't want him to ever pretend to point one at someone (person or animal) again. I have always known that this day would come, and I decided long ago that when it did, I would let R pretend with his finger or a stick or something, but that I will never purchase a toy gun - or have one in our house. He can use his imagination, and that's it. But, honestly! I guess I thought we still had a few years to go before the issue came up. Hopefully, this will pass just as most of these kinds of things do with him.

(At least R isn't the first of his friends to do this. It's actually kind of funny because one of his friends/classmates has been pretending to shoot things, and his parents publish a peace magazine that focuses on non-violence, peace movements, etc. They must be mortified. The boy's dad won't even go to nearby Castle Island because it has an old fort from the 1700s that has working cannons.)

On a brighter note: Tonight, we played several rounds of Ants in the Pants before bedtime, and R has totally mastered that game! He beat me many times, and I taught him the word "champion." :-)

Also, happy anniversary to me and A! We were married 7 years ago today in New Orleans. A is cracking open some champagne now, so I'm going to sign off. Happy weekend to everyone, and GO SOX!!!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Sunday night randomness

This was a nice weekend. It was gorgeous here - sunny, breezy, in the 70s - so we spent a lot of time outside, mostly taking R to assorted playgrounds and making him chase us around the soccer fields (i.e., wearing him out). The result? Utter blessedness! I got R into bed at 8:15 Saturday night, and he was asleep within 5 minutes! I came downstairs by 8:25!!! (He woke up later, and I ended up sleeping in his room, but I did have several hours of lovely relaxing time before that and even a couple of hours' sleep in my own bed.) Tonight, even though we were out at our friends' house a little late, A got R into bed by 8:30, and again he fell asleep within minutes. Woohoo!

On Saturday morning, we toured a brand new fire station in our town during its open house. The old firehouse was really dumpy (we used to vote there when we lived on the other side of town), so it was really nice to see this beautiful new building for the firefighters. And, they were so excited and proud. Their kitchen was WAY better than my kitchen (stainless steel appliances!), the bunk rooms were very spacious and comfortable, and the living room had some really huge leather comfy sofas, plus there were the beginnings of a gym in the basement. Considering that the town was actually considering closing that station altogether at one point, I'm really happy for the firefighters that it turned out so well. I've learned a lot about firefighters because of R's interest in them (and their trucks), and I have so much respect for them. So, yay for the new swanky fire station!

Yesterday, when I took R to the park in the afternoon (and we were playing fire station), we had an incident. R wanted to use one of the climbing structures as our fire truck, but there were already two other boys there. R started telling them to leave, one of the boys told him, "You're mean!" and when I told R that the playground is for everyone and he needed to share, I watched in horror as he picked up a rock and hucked it at one of the kids. ACK! Luckily, he's only 3 and can't aim very well. The rock sailed way over their heads and did no damage. But I was stunned. I pulled him aside and made it very clear that that behavior was unacceptable, and he got it. He really did. He apologized several times, including later that night and again this morning, and promised he'd never do it again. Today, when we went to the park to meet up with our neighbors, he got frustrated with having to wait his turn for the slide and then decided he didn't want to play with his friends anymore. He and I just wandered off to the fields, while he mumbled about being sad, frustrated, and not wanting to visit with anyone. It was definitely an improvement over rock-throwing, but it's just so unlike R to not want to share and play with other kids. :-( Any advice about how to help him channel his anger and frustration appropriately? (A just told me that R took a swing at him on Friday night when A was trying to get him to go to bed. *sigh*)

I went to church today for the first time in ages. As I was getting ready to go, I was tempted to instead grab my Bible and head up to the big hill in my town that overlooks Boston (and the sunrise) to have my own quiet worship time, but I headed to church anyway. And, it was fine. It was a little interesting because I was listening to some great gospel music on my way there and was very surprised to see that one of the songs I had been singing was actually the opening hymn for the service ("I Love to Tell the Story"). But I had to smile because the way I'm used to singing it and hearing it is not the same as the Lutheran way. (Think Stones or Springsteen songs sung with an opera voice.) But the sermon was by the church's intern (a seminary student), and it was very moving because it was about how music and hymns help us express things that maybe we cannot say in spoken words, for whatever reason. I definitely find that to be true.

And, on that note, I am currently obsessively listening to the David Crowder Band. I am not usually a fan of contemporary Christian music, but my brother-in-law sent me a video link to their song, "Everything Glorious," and I was hooked. So much so that I decided to go see them when they come to Boston in November. And, Trish agreed to go with me! I'm very excited. First of all, I can't remember the last time I went out to see a band that wasn't made up of our friends (i.e., partially obligated). And, second of all, their music is very exciting and moving, and I'm really interested to see what the concert atmosphere is like. Can I really feel comfortable worshipping in that setting? I'm not sure, but I'm going to find out!

Finally, we're watching the Red Sox-Indians game now, and I remember why I pretty much gave up watching the Red Sox years ago. It's just too tense and potentially heartbreaking. (Plus, if I have to see Terry Francona spit one more time, I'm going to throw up. Blech!)

Thursday, October 18, 2007

I've created a monster

Last night, for some random reason, I started singing "Charlie on the MTA" during dinner with R. (Does anyone know this song except me?!?! Or, is it just a Boston thing?) Loving anything to do with trains/subways/etc. the way he does, R promptly asked me to sing it again. And again. And again. You get the idea.

So, since I couldn't actually remember all the words, I offered to look it up online to see if we could find a video of the Kingston Trio performing the song.

I love YouTube. It's amazing what you can find there. R and I found two different videos of the Kingston Trio's recording of the song, set to either still photos of old and new T trains or someone's fun animation experiment with T trains. R and I have watched these videos so many times in the last 24 hours, I've lost count.

There are also some other freaky versions of the song on YouTube. I'll spare you those.

Today, R and I spent pretty much the entire day at the Museum of Science. We met up with two of his friends from school who are brothers. The boys had such a great time together, and I really enjoyed hanging out with their mom. Unfortunately, she told me that they'll most likely be moving to Ohio before next summer. Her parents are there, and it's just so much cheaper to live there. She told me that houses are basically half what they cost here in New England. Ouch. That seems to be a trend lately. This has always been my home, and I really and truly love it, but I wonder sometimes if the high cost of living here is worth it.

I just can't imagine raising R anywhere else.

Monday, October 15, 2007

How it went -- and a question

My time alone on Saturday was great. It was a lot longer than I had expected (6 hours!), and I got tons done at home. I vacuumed every inch of the house, did a gazillion loads of laundry (including washing our living room curtains, which I've wanted to do for eons), washed the floors, organized my office, plus had time to watch several episodes of "The Office" and start reading Harry Potter 7. I will admit that I panicked when A and R were leaving, thinking that something bad was going to happen to them (the ultimate in guilt - So, you wanted a break, huh? Well, selfish woman, you'll never see your boys again! Mwah ha ha!). But I said a quick, desperate prayer asking God to protect them and bring them home to me safe again. And, after four hours of wonderful aloneness, I was ready for them to come home. I missed them. So, I had my break and then was ready to appreciate my guys again. I'm very thankful for the time I had. A and R had a fabulous time at the party, too. R found lots of kids to play with, loved setting off rockets, and even danced to the band. And, A got to hang out with his old friends for a long time. So it was great for all of us!

Now, on a completed unrelated note, I've got a question for all of you: How do you balance listening for God's voice and discovering his plan for your life with taking risks and action? If you don't get a loud and clear answer from God in a situation, how do you move forward? A lot of my devotions this year have talked about following God's plan for your life, but others have talked about taking risks and not just sitting still and waiting for things to happen.

I wonder how much I've missed out on lately because I've been waiting for God to tell me what to do. I don't mean that I've missed out on tons of fun or anything like that. What I mean is - what if God is waiting for me to take a chance on something (new job, new church, etc.)? How do you know when to act and when to wait?

I don't tend to do anything without thinking it through ad nauseum (or buying a book to tell me everything about it first). And, I'm the same way with God. I tend to ask him to show me the way and, in the meantime, I just keep doing everything the same. If I don't hear God telling me to change or make a move, does that mean he thinks I'm already doing the right thing? If you get a strong urge to do something, how do you know when it's just you/your own desires and when it's God giving you a nudge?

Friday, October 12, 2007


Last night was SO much better. It wasn't just better, it was lovely. Amazing. Wonderful.

All my readings and devotions yesterday were about casting your cares and worries upon God, so I starting sensing that God was trying to tell me something. :-) And, I did my best to do what he was asking. Besides a good day at work (in which I had to speak in front of the entire company), I was able to enjoy my time with R in the evening. I gave him crazy piggyback rides for half an hour, we had a really nice bedtime/storytime, and I told him that I was just going to lay down with him until he fell asleep (versus sleep with him). And, he fell asleep within 10 MINUTES!! And, I made it downstairs by 8:50 pm and was able to watch "The Office" as it was being broadcast (instead of hours later on tape)!! Then I went to bed myself by 10:30 (I refused to bring work home yesterday), read the Bible for a little while, and fell asleep to the sound of some furious rain.

R woke up sometime during the night, and I just called to him to come in our room, which he did. I scooped him up, and he fell asleep immediately next to me. That was the last I heard from him. We both slept really well. So did A!

This morning, I got up on time, read my devotions, took a shower, got dressed, made my lunch, and then had to wake R up to join me for breakfast!! No screaming or crying from him!! Woohoo!! So thank you, Lord, for that glorious break.

And, thank you, Johanna and Lynette for supporting me and encouraging me. I love you both!

Here's the part where I actually listen to your advice. :-) Tomorrow, A is taking R for a few hours to a party with a lot of A's friends and former co-workers. They are probably going to do some rocket launches, so that's why A wants to bring R. Normally, I would be expected to attend to keep an eye on R, but this time A said I don't have to go. So, I am going to stay home and have some time to myself. YAAAAAAAYYYY!

I'm actually giddy about having the house to myself so that I can clean it. But that's what makes me happy. The whole house needs cleaning, but my office in particular is a disaster zone. It will make me so at peace to have things in order again - even if it's just for a few hours. And, if I have time, I'll do some reading. Or, who knows? Maybe I'll forget all that, pop some popcorn, and throw in the 6-hour video version of "Pride and Prejudice" (the one with Colin Firth).


Sunday, October 7, 2007

Patience, please

I started this post on Monday (and couldn't decide whether to publish it or not because I didn't want to be too negative. But the week just keeps getting worse in the R department!


Last weekend wasn't a stellar one for me as a parent. R was very whiney, refusing to listen to us, and jumping around like a crazy person (and then injuring himself repeatedly). And, it got to me. Although Monday was a little easier because we kept R pretty busy with lots of fun things to do, by the end of the day, all of us were flat-out exhausted. So, when I tried to go to the bathroom and was immediately joined by R busting in the room, I was ready to cry. I swear he has some kind of radar - he could be upstairs nowhere near the bathroom, but within seconds of me going in there, I can hear the progression of events: First, I hear him say, "Hey, where's Mommy? Mommy?!? MOMMY!!!" Then, he runs from wherever he is to the bathroom. Then, the door flies open. Then, he asks, "Mommy? What are you doing?" Or, he begs me not to go to the bathroom because I need to come play with him. It doesn't matter that I've been with him for every second of the entire day (and night!). When I asked R why he has to come in the bathroom with me every single time, he thoughtfully said, "It's because I love you." Darn him!

This week, I'm swamped with work and I really needed to work at night this week after putting R to bed. But no dice. On Tuesday night, I started the computer and did about 10 minutes of work before I was summoned to R's room to calm him down from a crazy fit. (Turns out he had to pee, but he was hysterical and flailing his limbs everywhere, and it took me some time to understand what was wrong.) I ended up in his room for the night (again), but he woke up pretty much every 20 minutes crying (bad dreams?), so I got basically no sleep. Which made for a great day at work on Wednesday. :-(

Last night was my night alone with R, but I ended up with food poisoning and had to get R to find the phone and bring it to me so I could call A to come home. We had a horrible time trying to convince R that I could not do bedtime because I was too sick and needed to rest. It eventually worked, but around 11:30 (I think) R woke up upset. I don't remember much now, except that I convinced him to sleep in our room. And, by some miracle, I got a good night's sleep because R wasn't doing his usual kicking me in the back or shoving me off the bed (thank you, Lord!).

But then I tried to take a shower this morning. You'd think that A and I had torn off one of R's arms from the sound and intensity of the screaming. A decided to literally hold him down while I went downstairs to shower. I could hear R screaming, "LET GO OF ME!!!!!!!!!" But when I got out of the shower, all was quiet. Thank goodness.

This stuff automatically makes me feel guilty about not being a stay-at-home mom. It makes me think that maybe R needs me even more right now and that's why he's having such separation issues. But I really do not have a choice in the matter. I'm the primary breadwinner, and that's just how it is (much as I've chafed against it for years). But I really do spend every minute when I'm not at work with R. (Except for last week's ladies' night.) And, a friend suggested to me that that may be the problem. R has no sense of me as my own person - I'm just his mom. So, I guess in a sense I've spoiled him into thinking that I must always be at his beck and call. She suggested that I just take one hour every weekend to do something on my own - even if it's just taking a walk. I think she may be right. At the very least, it would help my sanity. It's wonderful to be needed and adored 97% of the time, but the rest of the time it can be a little much.

But it makes me sad because I've been putting so much effort into compensating for not being with him all the time. And now it turns out that that compensation may be the root of this problem. Ack!

So I'm asking God to guide me here (as always).

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Oh, yes it's ladies' night ...

Tonight, I met up for dinner with my friend Alicia, Tourette's Mom, and Trish. We had such a nice time and consumed an incredible amount of delicious food! Now, I will admit that since I have not had a night out with friends in nearly a year, it was bound to be a refreshing change for me no matter what. But, it really was such a great night.

First, it was wonderful to see Lynette (Tourette's Mom) because she's been through an incredibly painful year, and she lives far away, so this was my first chance to see her in person and give her a huge hug. And, it was even better to see how amazing she looks! She's radiant, glowing, beautiful - and with God's help, she has managed to get to a place where she's at peace and hopeful for the future. I respect her so much for handling her situation in such a positive way.

Second, it was so cool to meet Trish! Lynette and Alicia have been telling me about her for awhile now (they met her through church a couple of years ago), and I've recently started reading her blog on a regular basis. She's beautiful and funny - plus, I love her for being such a good friend to Lynette.

The best thing of all to me, though, was sitting at a table with three wonderful women and talking about God. That was a completely new experience for me, and it felt incredible to be able to do that without feeling weird or self-conscious. It's not like we had this full-on theological discussion, but we talked a little about church, our prayers, how God has helped us, Christian speakers we like (Trish: I promise to give Joel Osteen another chance!). As usual for me, I did more listening than talking, but it was very inspiring and uplifting, and I'm grateful to the ladies and to God for it.

Oops - R is calling for me, so I've got to go. But I'll be thanking God tonight for these women and for the fun we had. Woohoo!

Monday, September 24, 2007

Birthday and rockets

It takes me forever to download pictures off our camera, so I tend to post a bunch of photos all at once. Here are some pictures from my birthday canoe trip with A, R, and my sister:

Here is evidence of why we don't have many good family pictures. Either we can't get R to sit still or my sister or I have our eyes closed. :-)

This is what happens when R misses his nap and we completely wear him out with excitement and fun.

This past weekend, we had another model rocket outing with our friends. We tried a new field that was next to farmland, which worked out really well (until A had to try to find one of his rockets amongst the cornstalks!). There were actually two other families there setting off rockets, and we ended up chatting and helping each other do recovery. Plus, there were a bunch of kids who were just hanging out and ended up being our fan club. It was a beautiful day, and we had great fun! I'm really getting into this hobby now. Mostly, I stand around, chat with my friend Lis (the only other woman there), keep the kids fed and hydrated, slather on sunscreen, and take pictures. But it's so nice just to be out in the sun with friends and to watch the boys (young and old) get so excited about the rockets.

R shows off his new purple rocket to the "fan club."

Prep time!

R and his friend Zachary share some snacks.

Our friends Mark and Pendragon

I love watching A and R working on the rockets together.

Triple rocket launch - before and after:

My best action shot! I love that you can actually see the engine firing!

Out of focus liftoff, but I'm still proud I caught it!