Friday, February 24, 2012

yummy mummy cake

Clara has been fighting sickness since the end of January. She's on her second round of antibiotics for infection and has regular breathing treatments for her bronchitis.
Eventually the other two came down with sickness and we parents did too.
More than once I walked in to find Clara like this in her beloved Jumperoo.
Breaks my heart. Poor, sweet, neglected baby girl. I was so worn down & sick myself I could have stopped mid-bounce & fallen asleep too.
Carter's double ear infections had cleared up in time for Valentines Day, which with all its candy confection & fanfare is still only the eve of the day he's been waiting 364 days for: his 6 y/o birthday.
I wrote a post all about my boy's only request & how illness was threatening it's realization here.

Well, his wish came true: we went to NY for the weekend.
Nearly every day he was whisked away for a gift-shopping trip or adventure and it was capped off with a party at a germ-infested kid wonderland with family & friends. It's no wonder the kids live for those trips!
My favorite part was surprising him with a custom-made mummy cake. He learned about Ancient Egypt last year and ever since he beelines toward mummy exhibits in museums and reads everything he can find on the topic. He's also a big fan of Cake Boss. So it was the perfect surprise.
A big thank you to the talented, Christina of Baby Cakes for realizing every detail of my vision for the cake.
Gummy worms are his favorite & for further impact we went with Red Velvet cake & like I'd hoped, upon cutting into his neck he exclaimed, "That's his body in there! Is it really his flesh?". This mummy was super yummy too. Notice the worms are all missing. Carter requested the head. Daddy (enthusiastically) obliged. Gross.

We took advantage of free babysitting at my mom's house & ran off for grown ups only time at night. I hit the salon where I had my hair washed for the first time in several days & went back to black. Don't you just love getting your hair done? The silky, smooth blow-out that lasts for days...ahhh...

As usual, we came home with more than what we had when we arrived: gifts, a Nana, a 3 y/o with a fever and another trip to the pediatrician for a wheezing, cranky baby .
You only turn 6 once. It was worth it. Pin It

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

celebrating 6

He filled out his valentines wish such careful attention. 
We had a one-of-a-kind homemade craft planned until he saw his sister's choice from the $1 store & decided he wanted something pre-fabricated. In his typical decisive fashion, he chose Scooby Doo and sour candy to attach.
When the nurse called because he was too sick to stay at school last week and the Dr confirmed ear infections in both ears, I knew filling out valentines was the perfect activity for him. 
He knew exactly which one would be perfect for this friend and that. I enjoyed every bit of him being so deliberate and watching him hand-write each card. 
I thought we wouldn't recover when he realized "you're by best friend" and "be mine" would have to go to more than one classmate. 
We quickly ran out of valentines with benign phrases and when came to a certain name, his face when stiff. 
Me:       "How about, this one for her? it says "it's no mystery you're a great pal."
Carter:   "no. mom. it is a mystery. she's mean." 

On Monday night he stopped me, as I was reading to him, looked up at me and said, "Mom, I cannot wait to give my friends their valentines." When he got home from school last night he put them in his backpack almost immediately. He had his coat, shoes & backpack on for over half an hour before it was time to go to school this morning. 
Sometimes I'm so afraid to send such a tender-hearted boy into this world. I can't tell you.
Tomorrow is his birthday. I can't wait to celebrate him all day. He is compassionate & loving with un-jaded vulnerability. He sings to baby Clara and tolerates Lilah's impulsive outbursts. He helps and obeys. He makes it so hard not to be that mom that thinks her kid is better than your kid.
Looking at his beaming face this morning before the sun came up when he came to me saying "mom, tomorrow is my birthday!"  nearly made me forget how sick I am and how his baby sister with bronchitis is threatening our big weekend travel plans. Oh, Lord, I couldn't bare to tell him the trip and the party are off. Please, please heal us all & give this boy with the big, tender heart what he wants for his birthday: 
"a party with Grammie and Selah" (his cousin, both in NY) 

*top photo by sj bridgeman

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Thursday, February 9, 2012

being mom; impossibly & irreplaceably mom

This week I nearly wrote a post titled: 
'Let's have kids': what a misconception!
Because, let's be honest, the woman has kids.
The man is asked to watch them from time to time while mom takes leave, he is thanked when he bathes them, praised when he combs their hair & gets them in pjs without request.  
Typically, I don't bemoan this inequality, rather I embrace it as best for all; thank the man! Praise him for his marvelous deeds! Why not?
If you want him to stop helping, add something like "I haven't gone to the bathroom on my own in 5 years!" or "welcome to my life, babe."

The longer I've been a mom, the more accustomed I've become to the selflessness required of me. Through the exercise of naming the moments that bring joy & jotting them down I enjoy the long days. I have taken ownership of motherhood as my job and pride in investing my abilities to enrich our family life.
But, this week I am feeling every bit of the weight of motherhood.

The post I've been formulating wouldn't have been diplomatic. I would not have added: "Yes, I choose to be a stay-at-home-mom, counting it a privilege in today's economy."
Not this week. I haven't slept through the night in weeks. I'm too raw to be prudent.

It started when the baby came down with a fever 2 weeks ago and currently all three of our kids are sick.

All three kids have gone with me to walk-in clinics and drug stores. I've been stared at, judged, embarrassed and every bit of my patience has been tested.
We've crammed into waiting room bathrooms because an accident would be worse. While consoling a crying infant, correcting an old-enough-to-know-better kid for superfluous foaming soap & pleading with everyone not to touch a bloody thing, our name is called. 
Perhaps I just need someone to be mad at and it can't be the kids, but I think of my husband in these impossible moments.
He would never do this. And if he did, he certainly wouldn't remember to call for a referral beforehand or bring a bottle along. My husband wouldn't have the coupon with him to use at the pharmacy & remember to grab the supplies for the kindergarten project that can be completed while Carter's home sick from school.
I had to go to an appointment this morning alone because children aren't welcome for x-rays. Alone. Alone!
Driving home I was drafting this post I'd been creating in my head all week.
But then,
I walked in the house and saw my husband holding the baby while unloading the dishwasher.

In a moment: clarity.

I chucked the ideas for the post & decided my time would be better spent searching for a contest in which to enter him so alas, he can be awarded for his domesticity. He's a certifiable gem.
And in the end, who doesn't love being irreplaceable?

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Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Valentines cards, tips, double dates

Have you started Valentines cards?
Do you shed Valentines love on your kids too or is it just a couple thing?
My mom always made a fancy dinner for us, served on her mom's china. Memorable.
Most memorable Feb 14th for me will always be 2006. I was in labor. Once I got my epidural, everyone was at ease & I vividly remember a Dr Phil love special with Paula Abdul was on the TV. I couldn't bring myself to ask for someone to change it because I anticipated needing them to do more important things for me as labor progressed & didn't want to waste their graces on that request. Carter was born early morning Feb 15th. And indeed, it got a whole lot more complicated than I anticipated.

This card made me giggle. (Read: kids' naptime) Though I do love my sleep, I'm not a napper.
It inspired me to make this one that captures one of my favorite things about my relationship:
(click to print free PDF)

I want what every teenage girl in the world wants this yeart: to sit next to my man at a screening of The Vow.

Whatever your plans, consider this tip for keeping yourself in the fun & flirty mood when you get home.

maybe a fun double-date? ice skating or bowling?
Spending time with another couple has always been good for my marriage.
For this one reason: I walk away twitterpated that the best man in the room chose me. Me? me.
Turns out recent research promotes double-dating for this & other reasons.

Speaking of fun & flirty: this big wavy hair & 5 min makeup will be sure to put you in the mood. Pin It

Friday, February 3, 2012

what I can, where I am, w/what I have

For you: whether you need 
a challenge
a dose of grace today. 
For me it's a bit of both.
I've been boiling inside over the human-trafficking expected surrounding the Super Bowl, feeling helpless since I read this article.
On the same day I got a prayer request via text for a seemingly impossible situation. I prayed.
Hours later, the prayer was answered. 
In my current position what I can offer is often just prayer.
This was a timely reminder: a prayer, offered in faith, well isn't just praying after all. (James 5:15 says it will make the sick person well & forgive sinners.)
It's the song our family has been singing for weeks:
"if you have faith as small as a mustard seed you can say to this mountain 'move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you." (Matt 17:20)

Doing what I can, with what I have, with where I am. 
I'm challenged as well to assess what I have that I can share to meet a need or bless a friend.
My time, for example. Offering to pick up a kid at school, take a load off the teacher by cutting & tracing for a project, make an extra batch & deliver it to overloaded parents, you get it. 
This, by the way, is one of my New Years Resolutions. 
So, tell me: 
how do you do what you can, 
with what you have, 
where you are?  

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Thursday, February 2, 2012

thankful for...

1. long letter from "my Diana, bosom friend". Actually, it was an email & her name is Kate but it was lovely.
2. "for worse" because I know I've been a pill this week
3. out 'til midnight on a date, mid-week. even if the vouchers we rushed to use before expiring, had already been used last month. my bad.
4. 45 minutes on the phone with one of my favorite friends
5. sick baby falling asleep on my lap
6. hearing Lilah singing "I love you a bushel & a peck" to her sister
7. clementines
8. business cards & fax # all set
9. Pandora on the treadmill. Rhianna for running/Adele for cool down
10. Feb & still running every other day. Still hate it. So hard. Loving the challenge & the proud moments afterward.
11. This devotional. Concise. Just enough to gain perspective.
12. enough time to squeeze in a gel manicure while waiting on Rx fill for the little one
13. uninterrupted time with Carter, working on homework. answering life questions.
14. Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong station on Pandora. Makes the simplest tasks feel enchanting.
15. 5 y/o son (out-of-the-blue) "Mom, I already asked Jesus to live in my heart.
Me: "Really, pal? (coyly) When?
Carter: "Right now; in my brain."
16.  Seeds Family Music, for bringing me moment #14

Why the list? Pin It

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Easy Valentines Breakfast | Birthday Breakfast

Happy Birthday to my brother, Nicholas!
I made this for you. Wish you were here to eat it.
You are many things that I'm thankful for but lately I'm most grateful for all the effort & enthusiasm you put into being an uncle to my kids. Our visits wouldn't be as worth it or memorable if you didn't spend your free time making memories with us. Enjoy your day!

Make "egg in a heart" for someone you love:
1. Tablespoon of Butter (the real thing) in a non-stick pan on med-high heat
2. Cut-out the center of your bread (I used Trader Joes Sprouted Rye Bread)
3. Put your bread into the pan & swish it around to coat in butter.
4. Then, if you want it really tasty, add another pad of butter & flip the bread to the other side.
5. Crack an egg into the cut-out. Let it fry.
6. Flip & Fry a min more.
*How long you let it fry is up to your preference in yolk done-ness.

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