Monthly Archives: November 2011

Turkey and babies, that’s what I like

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It’s Thanksgiving weekend!  I know I’ll be echoing a lot of people when I say I’m most grateful for my family.  The one I grew up with, and the one growing up before my eyes.  They mean more than anything else in the world to me!

We were able to drive up to Massachusetts yesterday to eat Turkey and cranberries and all the other goodness loaded on my Mom’s table.  We arrived at 3:30am, after a wardrobe/upholstery/luggage malfunction in the car — when Kirstyn spewed vomit over everything — required that we return home, clean up, and hit the road again.

But we’re here now!

Coffee, cards, food, movies, fart apps on smartphones, shopping, sisters, more coffee… it’s a good life.

My kids are just as thrilled to be here as I am.  My husband too!  He gets multiple brownie points for initiating this Thanksgiving trip to Massachusetts!  He loves to hang out with my family.  My married sister and her husband have been hanging out non-stop at Mom’s house too.  And another sister’s boyfriend, and other friends too…

I am so grateful that in our family, we all love each other!  Even the married-ins love hanging out in this big, noisy, beautiful family.

I am grateful for my healthy children.  We have another baby this year, who has turned out to be a sweet, charming, calm, grinning, perfect-sleeper baby boy.  (Eight to nine hours straight, every night?  And then back to sleep again for a few hours after nursing?  I know, I know, he’s quite perfect.)  My sister Liz said, “I haven’t heard him fuss at all since you’ve been here!”  Yep.  He’s a good boy.

My kids are already talking about another one.  Another baby.  Cameron was cuddling with me, leaning on my belly, and asked, “Is there another baby in there yet?”

Not yet, kid.  I can still remember labor and delivery!  But I am grateful for children who love living in a big family, and ask for more siblings.  I can’t think of a better thing than family to treasure!   Not just this holiday season, but all life long.

Eight years of Lovin’!

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 November 22nd, 2011

Dear Dee,

Happy Anniversary to us!  I love you past infinity.  (And I passed Chuck Norris, by the way.)  I love you way more than I did those far away eight years ago.  Isn’t it funny, how we always say that?  It’s true though.  And we look at ourselves now, all glowing and in love, and wonder how we really did love each other back then if this is love.

I’m sure the older folks laugh at us thinking we’re in love.  “Just you wait!” they’d say.  I believe them now.

Eight years ago was love, but this year is a better love, and eight years from now will be love too.  And when we’re really old?  It’s hard for me to imagine that love just grows, and grows, and grows.  Stretches with our skin.  And that we’ll be all wrinkly and wobbly someday, and loving each other even beyond the soulmate stage.  Maybe there aren’t even words to describe that kind of aged and nourished Love.  I can’t wait!

Wait.  Yes I can.  I am so happy right now, soaking up the moments.  And all those wrinkles that come with age?  They can totally wait for a while.  I have to get used to them little by little!  But by the time they’re all here, maybe I’ll have grown to embrace them.  Maybe I’ll believe you when you hold my wrinkly face in your wrinkly hands and say, “You are more beautiful now than you were when I married you.”

Because I know you will.  You have the sweetest way with words!

You know how I like my coffee, and how to brew the best coffee in the first place.  You know how to put our babies to sleep, and how to coax out that very first giggle.  How to pre-treat the laundry, how to load the dishwasher, and how to scrub puke out of the carpet.  You always know whether I need to laugh or cry, and how to offer your shoulder in just the right way.  (And you don’t mind if I get tears and boogers all over your chest.  That big, strong, manly chest…)

You sure know how to treat a girl.  I am so grateful that you picked me to be your wife!  I didn’t plan on getting married until I was 27, like my mom, but I’m so glad I married you when I did!  I would have missed out on some of the best years of my life so far.

Plus, we got a head start on creating this beautiful family together!  I love being the mother of your children.  Can we make some more?

I love that we’ve already grown a little old together.  We’re in our 30’s now!  Can you believe it?  We’re middle-aged!  This is going to be a blast, spending our 30’s together.  Life with you is always hilarious!  I love it.  I love you!  So much.  And I can’t wait to fall in love with you again tomorrow and the next day, and the next… right through infinity again.  (That Chuck Norris, he should really step up his pace.)

Love,

Ruth

Bumming around, soaking up Love

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Yesterday was “Be a Bum” day!  We did go to church, yes, and afterward I was chatting it up with a friend.  She was talking about the pork roast turning yummy in her crock pot as we spoke.  My husband was standing nearby (within earshot), and shouted, “I’m coming to your house!”

Her eyes got big.  (In an excited, I-can’t-believe-I’m-doing-this sort of way.)  “Do you want to?” she asked.

Dee and I quickly conferred, and got back to her. “YES!”

So we went.  She has eight children, the oldest is 10.  They’re Italian.  They’re noisy, and crazy, and absolutely lovely.  Her house had crumbs on the floor and getting-ready-for-church clothes flung in heaps, and it was so beautiful to me.  She invited me into her mess.  No time to prepare, just, “Won’t you please come in and stay awhile?  Share our home?”

We made two pots of coffee, and drank them both!   In between diapers, and pork roast, and nursing and bottles, and kids crying from roughhousing, and swapping homeschool stories.

(We also paused to laugh at our jokester husbands, the ones who both tell friends that their wives hide in the bathroom to smoke cigarettes.  Or make up stories about the hidden flasks in the diaper bags, or the weed smoking…  All false!)

She gave me books for homeschool, expensive books.  I shared how last week felt like a tough week with a baby that wasn’t sleeping much during day hours, and wanted me to hold him when he was awake.  So when he does sleep, do I do school, or dishes, or laundry, or sweeping, or what?!

She told me I was doing an amazing job.

She told me my kids had already impressed her!  She lifted my heart right out of its funk.  Peeled away the doubts that crept in this week about not being good enough.

She told me that she struggles with being spontaneous.  It’s her husband that always invites people over spur-of-the-moment!  He asked her yesterday, “Are you okay?!”

She did this for me.

I know why God calls us to fellowship.  Our friends point us back to Him.  He created humans to crave love, so we would crave Him, and our friends remind us about Love.  My friend replaced doubts in my heart with love and acceptance.

She made herself vulnerable to give me this gift, and perhaps that’s what love is about.

Opening hearts up wide.  Not hiding the heart mess and the house mess.  Because when did that ever help somebody?

My sisters-in-law and I are memorizing the Good Samaritan story from Luke.  The pictures are racing around in my head.  Who was the one that loved?  The man who saw another man, broken, bloody, messy… and picked him up.  He “…came where he was…”, and he didn’t look away.  He made someone else’s mess a part of his own life.

It meant he too was vulnerable to the raiding thieves.

Love is risky.  Risking our own hearts to bind up the wounds in someone else’s heart.

And the best part?  If we do get wounded in the process, taken advantage of, used up…  We have a God who used up every last bit of His love to satisfy our craving.  He will heal the wounds in our own heart, and meet our need for Love.

Love is always a risk worth taking!

Don’t read this if you hate Starbucks-obsessed people

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Starbucks is being extra grand right now, and giving away free drinks.  If you buy a first one, of course, but that’s beside the point!

I made the coffee this morning, and used up every last bit of ground bean.  I told Dee, and he said, “So, around 2:00 this afternoon, you’re going to have to drive to Starbucks and buy more coffee beans?”

“Um, yes?”

He laughed and said, “And they say blonds are dumb.”

The buy one/get one free drinks are only from 2:00pm — to 5:00pm, and it was only Thursday through Sunday this week.  So yeah, I’m taking my girls out later for a Starbucks date.  I have good reasons, guys!  Besides the fact that we need coffee, I also need to stop and buy peanut butter before our trip to Massachusetts next week.  And Megan has been begging for a date.  My poor, neglected girl needs time with her Mommy…

(And no, spending one-on-one time with her at home doesn’t count.  She keeps asking to go on a date!)

(I have to take Kirstyn too, because just this morning she sighed and said, “I wish we could buy eggnog lattes every single day.”  Me too, girlfriend, me too.  I have totally corrupted my children.)

So there, you see?  I simply must go to Starbucks this afternoon.

And did you know, that with my VIP gold card status, all of the “modifiers” are free?  So when I order a venti peppermint mocha (which I do all year round, not just during the holidays), I get a discount because the syrups and espresso shots are free for me.

Starbucks and I, we’re pretty tight.

Oh, the dangerous things we do!

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Okay, so there are articles floating around that say parents should let their kids play with fire (supervised), and do other potentially dangerous things like walk to school.  Articles that point out how some parents these days tend to be over-protective.

Me, I’m far from neurotic!  Very far.  In fact, I’m probably the type of parent that created those over-protective parents.

Because yes, I let my kids eat the seasoned pretzels that fell on the floor in the shop.  (Where Dee works.   The secretary was horrified.)

When my kids climb to the top of the freezer in the basement, I just laugh and say, “That ceiling fan might slice your head open, or you could fall and break your neck.  Please don’t do it again!” after I take a picture.

I let my kids build forts in the woods across the field behind our house.

I let my boys carve sticks with pocketknives.

My boys ask for lighters for Christmas, and I sound really apologetic when I say, “No, not this year.”

I let my kids have sharp needles to practice sewing, and hand them ice if they poke themselves.  (All of my kids need ice if they get hurt, so they can suck on the ice!  I think it’s a children’s version of acupressure:  ice on the tongue affects most other parts of the body.)

I let my kids do drugs.  (Caffeine, people!  Just caffeine.)

I let them have huge, serrated knives to help slice lettuce for salad.

I let them climb trees, cross the street to get the mail, and drive the lawnmower.

And yes, I do let my kids light fires and poke their amazing fires with sticks.  This is a rite of childhood!

Megan’s 1st haircut

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I did it.  I cut her hair!  (It wasn’t just the gum.  Dee’s been hinting at a haircut for a while now.)  Then I sniffed, got out a little baggie, wrote “Megan’s 1st Haircut” with a sharpie, stuffed as much hair as I could inside… and tucked it away in my dresser drawer.

When Dee came home, I showed him Megan’s hair and he said, “Who did it?!”

“Me, why?”

“It looks good!”  Silly man.  Don’t sound so surprised.  Where do you think our children get their superior scissor skills?

I had a REALLY hard time snapping pictures!  She wouldn’t pose!  She did an excellent job sitting still for her haircut (chocolate bribe!), and I think she was all sitting-stilled out.

Either that, or the formaldehyde from our freshly re-laid carpet was getting to her!  She wouldn’t stop giggling, and spinning around, and falling down in yet another fit of laughter.

I love that girl!

Pardon me, I’m busy breathing

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I’d really like to complain.

I’d like to say that my baby didn’t sleep well today, so I felt like we didn’t get in a good day of school.  I’d like to say that Megan was unusually whiny, and Cameron screamed for me too.

I’d like to say that my big kids were at each other’s throats.

And one boy wet the bed.  Again.  And one boy got into the unfrozen popsicles.  Again.

I cleaned up a bloody chin and bloody noses.

All that would be true, but really, I can’t complain.

My breath, it must be saved for breathing in the sweetness.  I rock the baby and I lean down and feel his warm head, breathe it in.

I hold Megan, giggling, on my lap.  She just wants me, that’s all.  Up until two months ago, she was the baby I breathed in.  So today I do it again, while we read a book about a cow who leaves her farm to live at the zoo.  Her baby curls are still untouched, and I rest my head against the softness.  (She has a tiny piece of gum stuck in her hair, so I’m sad to think that tomorrow will be her very first haircut!)

I play Candyland with my big kids, and put together a puzzle with them.  A cool, glow-in-the-dark one.  So we have to turn all the lights off, and we talk about how wouldn’t it be cool if our new basement carpet was all glow in the dark?

I let them wash my dishes.

I let them eat the noodles raw.

We bring a meal to a neighbor, a new mommy, and I let them walk and meet me there.

I watch them make shields out of cardboard boxes, and be superheros.  Sure, they might whack each other too hard, but I think, and I pray, that they will always be superheros together in Life.

I sigh at the in-between boxes of baby clothes.  Zach, he’s already stretching out his 3-6 months sleeper.  And I don’t even have all the 0-3 months clothes out of his dresser.  The bigger clothes, they sit in used diaper boxes on the floor in my room.

I was sad, the other night, about my babies growing up.  My life is perfect right now!  Dee, he told me, “Soak it up, every day.”  I soak it up extra for him, since he leaves every morning and our babies are a whole day older when he comes home.

So today, I’d really like to complain.  My overwhelmed, selfish side would love to do that.  But my overflowing, mommy side is winning right now.  I’m just breathing it all in, tucking the warm memories away for later.