Thursday, March 31, 2011

deeply grateful for what is often taken for granted

I got the mug in yesterday's post from Dan for Valentines Day. Best of all gifts to me are gifts I get because someone I love made a mental note of me noticing & admiring something. This was the case. I kinda found it a few weeks before V Day when I was snooping organizing the desk in our home office where a Starbucks bag had been sitting for a few days.

I didn't look inside. Didn't have to. I just smiled. Assuming. And I was right.

We have a thing for coffee mugs. He gets a new one on the morning each child is born and we've been collecting them on special days since our Hawaiian honeymoon. Not just that. You may remember my coffee in the morning post (here) and how meaningful it is that he makes the pot we share every day. If there's a cup leftover after our morning cup and his 2nd to-go, I save it for when I miss him while the kids are napping.

Sound too personal & nostalgic to have a point to this post?
I happened upon a blog I've never found before.
At first glance, her blog looks like most all of the other mommy, wife, making the most of life blog I subscribe to. See it here. But it won't take long before you realize there's something different from the others.  

Here's the note she posted that really got me.
This one with the raw details of the day is as far as I could get.
I closed it. Prayed for her. Asked forgiveness for my ungratefulness. And now I'm sharing with you.

I hope you'll read it & let it inspire you to cherish what is yours. The predictable, even painfully so days of motherhood and housekeeping and plain-old-life.

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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Love when that happens!

It's 8:25 and my kids aren't awake. 
I'm almost to the bottom of my coffee mug.
This is what dreams are made of.
But nightmares too.
I should check in.
And risk waking them...not happening.
They're fine.
I'm positive.
I think.

Dan & I had a long discussion last night. Mostly back & forth with all the ways what we think we want may not be what we think it is AND how incredibly impossible it seems it would be for what we really want to work out the way we think God put on our hearts. Follow me?
For some reason I thought today was April 1st, so I turned to my new verse & read:
"God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! "
Eph 3:20 (Message)
What a tremendous hope we have in Him!
Heb 10:23. Hold tightly to this hope, we can trust in His promises!

The kids are up. I saw their sleepy faces almost as soon as I started telling you about my conversation with Dan last night.
Have a great morning! Pin It

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Making the most of a couple days, just us 2



We thoroughly enjoyed the couple of days we had to ourselves in DC. The cherry blossoms are gorgeous against the monstrous monuments & government buildings downtown. I can check "see the DC cherry blossoms in their glory" off my life list.

A few tips for making the most of time away from the kids:
1. Do what you can't/don't do with your kids (sleep in. linger at museum exhibits.)
2. Go where you can't/don't go with your kids. (trendy downtown eatery. walk instead of drive)
3. Work on grown-up time. (breakfast at 11. dinner at 9.)
4. Don't let "make the most of it" equal stress or pressure to pack it all in & wear yourself out. Thus coming home not the least bit rejuvenated.
5. Grand plans of touring every Smithsonian museum, but feel like sitting at the Tidal Basin & enjoying the cherry blossoms with a latte after just touring 1? Go with it.
6. And this is a universal trip MUST in our home: discuss expectations in advance. "If I come home & didn't stop @H&M's maternity section or see the cherry blossoms, I'd be disappointed."

I loved walking everywhere (especially since being in my 3rd trimester gave me the fashion pass to wear sneakers). Georgetown is uber-charming. Reminds me of Boston. And we always have to spend time there. Re-visited Pizza Paradiso for it's brick oven pizza & homey ambiance. Even stopped in at Georgetown Cupcake to see what all the hype was about. The pink boxes & fresh flowers on the tables impressed me most.

Did WAY more touristy things than I've ever done on a vacation. Even carried my DSLR around downtown to shoot the cherry blossoms (above). Thank the Lord for iPhone because I just don't think I could go as far as carrying a map.

Since we'll be back soon with the kids, who will enjoy the zoo & the Natural History Museum (Night at the Museum 2), we hit the much less preK kid-friendly, American History & Holocaust Museums. I think the biggest thrill I got was heading out of the hotel at 9pm for dinner in a dark bar the locals love. Haven't felt so young in years!

An unexpected highlight was a conversation with the owner of Ben's Chili Bowl, who lived through segregation & kept her business alive against all odds in an area that was once the ghetto. (More here) Now the line is long just to get in & wait in line again to order a half-smoke smothered in chili & fries on the side. She told us all about her friend Bill Cosby & his contribution to Ben's success and explained what goes on when the President of the US comes to eat. Did you know the secret service does a walk-thru & when cleared, the President enters & the doors are locked? No one goes in or out until he does. Wild! Not sure why she came over & spent such a long time at our table, but I'm grateful she did. I think the folks around us thought we were someone special b/c I noticed all the eyes checking us out when she finally walked away.

Nope. Just us.

For the record: I love it when it's just us.
Also for the record: I imagined the kids' reaction to nearly everything we saw. Can't wait to see it through their eyes next time.

*FYI: Yelp & Washington Post's Best Bets were my main resources for dining spots. Pin It

Saturday, March 26, 2011

we've hit the road again. 
this time sans kiddos and not a moment too soon. 
hope you have just the weekend the dr ordered.
i can hardly wait to explore another city, walk around the farmers' market & sleep in past 7:30!

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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

"if you'd like me better, me is negotiable" is so 20s.

I'm a few months into my 30s (yes, 6 months still qualifies as 'a few') and I've noticed some great developments that have surprised me.
For one, less of who I am is negotiable.
For example: I like books and have always aspired to be one of those respectable girls that read.
But, it turns out reading means I can't multi-task and I'm multi-tasker.
On the contrary, I can watch a movie AND fold or sort. This way I get the thrill of being entertained & productive simultaneously. Ahhhhh....
(In exchange for using my imagination, I gain inspiration through the sets and the dialogue. Throw in a romantic montage set to the perfect song & I have my emotional fill!).

Recently a friend mentioned the shame in watching the movie before or instead of finishing the book, and that's when I discovered this new version of me.
I spent ZERO time pondering how I should change or be ashamed, even if I do agree: it's more commendable to read than watch & most often the book far surpasses the film.  
Could I be nearing the end of "If you'd like me better if I weren't exactly me, "me" is negotiable"?

Not sure. But, in this matter, I know who I am.
I read only because it's good for me as a writer (& sometimes the book doesn't have a movie-yet!)
But my heart belongs to movies. I'm a movie-girl. Unashamedly.
I'm equally a girl-friend-girl. If you're my friend, it's because you possess something I value-whether we have it in common or not. :)

I loved, loved, loved this post by RS editor, Advice I wish I could give to my younger self:
  1. Stop apologizing so much.
  2. Appreciate how you look right now. It’s a lot better than you think.
  3. Understand that sometimes boys are just clueless. They are not being intentionally clueless to hurt your feelings.
  4. If you think everybody is looking at you, you’re wrong.
  5. When you are arguing with someone, yelling rarely accomplishes anything.
  6. Many of the smartest people are the best listeners.
  7. Arguing with your boyfriend after 10 p.m. is just completely counterproductive.
Read the entire post here. Pin It

Monday, March 14, 2011

hello warm weather! hitting the beach & the trails nearby.

yorktown beach, va

the kids are still tired this morning from all the family fun this weekend. but i'm completely rejuvenated. 
talk about a winning (& rare) combination!
it was a full weekend, in the best way. i can't pick a highlight. 
beautifully weather: sunny & high 60s, low 70s was perfect for hiking in a VA state park nearby. we got out the buckets & shovels & did our first digging in the sand at the beach (above) a few miles from our house. what a charming waterfront! i can't get over how white the sand & how blue the water is there. i'll get a photo next time to share with you.
can i just tell you how at home i feel when there are large bodies of water surrounded by tall trees nearby?

dan gave me some alone time on saturday. does anyone else love/crave alone time as much as i do? good Lord, i'm so grateful for those hours i had alone on saturday.

we even got a date on friday night! ahhhh....
with 13 weeks left in my pregnancy, i was tempted to suggest dropping the kids off & coming home to crash on the sofa with a redbox DVD. thankfully, i didn't settle for what we can do any day of the week without a sitter & we had a great time out in town. the kids came galloping out of kids night out at 10pm with big smiles on their faces & loads to fill us in on!

we went to one of those theaters that serve a meal while you watch. ever been?
we saw the adjustment bureau (which was so much more of a love story than it looked to be in the trailer. the chemistry between those two made the movie. wow! i won't be surprised if i see them paired in another film. do you ever think about the spouses of these actors? this one made me think of matt's wife at home with their children. i wonder if the millions make it worth it.)

keeping the italian tradition, our sunday pasta dinner was delish! 
completely recommend buddy's pasta a la vodka (no vodka)
holy moly! it's one of those dishes that kept all four of us silent until nearly all the rigatoni was gone & we were soaking up the remaining sauce with our bread.

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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

wrapping my mind around his 2 announcements

Today, Carter (5) made 2 big announcements, from my point of view. From his, these were just passing comments.
The first came before I'd taken my 3rd sip of coffee & barely had my eyes opened. Thankfully Dan was still home & within earshot.
"I wanna be baptized"
Parents exchange did i hear him right? does he know what that means? glances.
So we asked. And yes. He knows exactly what that means.

Carter: "to tell people I love Jesus & He's in my heart."
Us: "Do you know what Jesus did for you, pal?"
Carter: "He died on the cross...And got risen..."
Us: "Do you know why?"
Carter: "To forgive my sins."
Us: "Sins?"
Carter "Bad things I do."
Us: "Like what?"
Carter: "Lying."

Parents exchange I guess that answers that. How can he really be saying this right now? glances. Guess we better get on that. For starters, we need to choose a church out of the few we've visited since we moved here.

Second announcement came this afternoon. He brought me a People magazine.
Pointing at her picture, he said,
"Mom. I'm a fan of this girl."
"Can we hang her picture on my wall?"

So there you are folks. 
He knows Jesus & the girl who sings his favorite GLEE songs. 
For the record, he's only seen her on tv briefly once or twice yet, recognizes her everywhere. 
He's listened to the (G rated) music (over & over & over) and can tell when she's singing. 
(Side note: SO not a GLEE show watcher. Bad, bad writing direction considering the age of the audience)

I'm proud that he knows who Jesus is and has decided He loves Him because it's the one thing I want more for him than anything. Surprised it came this early, though. Took me most of the day to process how early it came. 
This. The "I'm a fan of this girl" announcement is going to take longer. 
Actually, I've decided to document it here & forget it til he's 14 & I can't deny it.
 I was much happier with him being a fan of his cousin, Selah & gal pal, Avery. 

Remember this announcement?  Pin It
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