Monday, December 22, 2014

Merry Christmas, Blog Friends!

I never get the mail. 

David picks it up when he comes home from work, sorts it, takes care of the necessary stuff, and throws the rest away. I generally never even see our mail. And I'm fine with that.

Until December. 

In December, I am Queen of the Mailbox.

Because, you guys, I FREAKING LOVE CHRISTMAS CARDS. 

I. Love. Them.

I watch for the mailman in December. I get the mail AS SOON AS IT COMES. If for any reason, David gets the mail, he knows absolutely not to open ANYTHING that looks like it could possibly be a Christmas card. 

Every year I get sad about taking down our Thankful tree, but this year, I was ready because it was standing in the place where I wanted to put up the Christmas cards!! MOVE IT, TREE.



I'm telling you about my fanatic love of Christmas cards, (because I secretly hope that you will send me one, but also) because for the first time EVER I sent out my OWN Christmas card.

I've always wanted to do it, but, you know, time, money, christmas, busy, kids, babies, oops! it's January, and I missed out again; repeat for 7 Christmases.

BUT THIS YEAR. This year, against all odds, I got it into my my little head that I WAS GOING TO DO IT, DAMMIT.

I think I was drunk on holiday spirit at the time, but once I start talking to myself in all caps, my chances of success go up dramatically.

I dressed the kids in clean clothes, brushed their hair, bribed them with M&M's and took 237 pictures of them, before getting a decent one.

Now, remember, i said it was DECENT, not professional.

There are some shadows, the baby has drool on her face and her tummy is showing, and the background is not a grassy field or a lush evergreen tree, it's just our porch.

But I sent it to a friend who always takes amazing pictures of her kids, and she said it was totally good enough, so CHRISTMAS CARDS, WHEEE!!!

It's not half bad, yes?

Here's the runner-up:
Look at those adoring little sweeties!!!

Merry Christmas, blog friends! Consider this post my Christmas card to you. I'm thankful for your readership and your comments and the fact that you are even remotely interested in our lives!

But mostly, I'm thankful for your solidarity, because I'm pretty sure that "me too" may be one of the most therapeutic things we can say to each other. (EXAMPLE: Are you already completely exhausted by Christmas? Me too. Are your kids being so insane you're not even sure you should give them presents? Me too. Is your one Christmas wish that everyone stays NOT SICK and sleeps a MODERATELY NOT AWFUL amount while visiting family? Me too!!!)

On to 2015!

Friday, December 19, 2014

Good Luck, Santa

I tried to dictate their letters with as much accuracy as humanly possible. It was hilarious.

Here are my personal faves:

Henry: "I really, really want a platypus, Mr. Santa. A stuffed platypus."

Maggie: "I want a dollhouse that I can live in... I want a heart."

Good luck, Santa. Good luck.



Thursday, December 18, 2014

Humor Over Dignity

It's a thing for mommy bloggers to be concerned about how their posts will impact their kids once they're all grown up. 

We're supposed to set limits and ask ourselves questions like, will they be embarrassed or hurt by the things we've said? Will we have shared too much about their personal life? What will they think when they look back and read the things we wrote or the pictures we posted? The internet is a big, twisting, unknowable blob of a place, and it's reasonable to be thoughtful and concerned about what we put out into it.

But unfortunately, I've always been one to prioritize humor over dignity, and I'd like to think that I'm installing that in my children as well, so today, I bring to you a photo of my children in the bathtub, and another of them using toilet in tandem.

You're welcome.



Will they be embarrassed one day? Maybe.

Are this pictures adorable/hilarious now? Yes. Yes, yes, yes, yesyes.

And, just to prove to you that I DO have some restraint, I also have a picture of Henry, completely naked, but also dressed as a pirate (eyepatch, hat, sword, etc) and I am NOT posting it on the blog. I HAVE SO MUCH SELF-CONTROL.

But I will show it to all of his girlfriends one day. And probably include it a slideshow at his wedding rehearsal. And maybe frame it and give it to him as a gift at a major life event. I plan on getting LOTS of mileage out of that one, for sure.

But not here. See? I can be reasonable. Sometimes.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Maggie's Third Birthday

Maggie turned three this past week.

This is simultaneously an impossible violation of the laws of time & nature AND totally old news.

It's impossible, because I'm sure that I was nursing her to sleep and swaddling her tiny little peanut body, like, a few weeks ago.

It's old news, because Maggie is not just 3, she is 3 going on 13, and she has been giving us three year old chatter and sass for months now, and she's so tall and her hair is getting so long, and she says things like "Mommy, Rosie spit up. But I am taking care of her, so give me a burp cloth please."


For her birthday this year, Maggie settled on a blue princess theme. When pressed, she can tell you that the blue princess is Cinderella, but she prefers to refer to her as The Blue Princess. This is because she is only sort of into princesses, but she is REALLY into her favorite color, and her favorite color is now blue. Blue, and light blue, and dark blue, and sometimes yellow, but NOT PINK AND PURPLE, I DO NOT LOVE THOSE COLORS ANYMORE, GOSH YOU GUYS.

Mumsie pulled through for us again with a lovely blue princess cake, and my sister brought blue frosted cookies and Maggie was thrilled, because blue, blue, blue!

We had her party the Sunday after her birthday, which was a fun way to do it, because we had all day Saturday to celebrate her with just the five of us. We took her out to breakfast and then made a family trip to CMOR for the morning. In the afternoon we gave her our gift (a new twin bed) and made spaghetti, her always-favorite, for dinner.

I sort of flaked out a little on her birthday party this year. I have already confessed to feeling a little overwhelmed and tired and oppressed by the holiday season, so a week before her birthday, I emailed the people related to us by blood, marriage & vows sworn in middle school, and told them to come over for pigs-in-a-blanket (Maggie's request) and cake. 

And they did, and Maggie was queen for an afternoon. She truly beamed through the entire party. Her love language has always been in the "quality time" category, and an even better way to understand her would be to say that her love language is "absolutely undivided focus, attention, and praise; fanfare also appreciated." I understand this, because it is also my love language.

Here's the birthday girl, soaking up her day in the spotlight:











Henry's gift to Maggie was a yellow robot. SHE WAS THRILLED. He gets her.










Dear Maggie,

You are three!!! Say it ain't so, girl. You're growing up so fast.

It's no secret in our house that I love birthdays. I love the fanfare. I love the special. I love the excuse to eat cake and ice cream and buy gifts. But, mostly, I love the chance to celebrate. To celebrate another whole year, with this incredible tiny person who is ours. Another whole year with you!

You do seem so much bigger this year. In some ways it feels like a whole new person has emerged in the past 12 months! You have so many opinions and insights and opinions and questions and opinions and emotions and OPINIONS, and honestly Maggie, you make us laugh every single day.

Recently, you have been talking about two imaginary friends that you're (of course) in charge of, named Ogre and Jelly.

Ogre.

And Jelly.

That alone is funny enough to make up for about two dozen temper tantrums.

When people have asked us what you wanted for birthday and Christmas gifts this year, I suggested craft supplies. You LOVE cutting, gluing, coloring, and creating masterpieces.

When people asked your Dad what you were into, hoping for some gift inspiration, he told them your favorite thing these days is "putting things into things." It's funny, and weird, but it's SO TRUE. You are a collector.

There are always small things in your pockets, and if you don't have a pocket available, you are not above storing things in your underwear.

Daily, I find you filling a box or bag or tabletop with things that you need for some imaginary play. You collect rocks, acorns, crayons, erasers, measuring spoons, leaves, small toys, my jewelry; it might be more accurate to say, not that you are a collector, but that you are a gatherer. A gatherer of small, discarded, unnoticed things.

You are so creative and imaginative, and I'm constantly impressed by your ability to entertain yourself. You pretend all sorts of things all day long (refer back to exhibit A: Ogre & Jelly.) You also love to pretend that you are going somewhere, often your grandparent's house, but the pool, the zoo, the park, school, whatever, you just like an imaginary outing. Yesterday, you were pretending an old receipt was a book and you told us that the title was "Everything You Ever Knowed About a Tree." We have no idea where these things come from. Your mind is constantly spouting out new things.

You are also the queen of negotiating. It's been months since you just DID WHAT I TOLD YOU TO DO. (Okay, a slight exaggeration, but, like, BARELY A TEENY TINY LITTLE BIT OF AN exaggeration.) There is always a discussion. There are always nuances. There are always options to be explored before you condescend to cooperate with us.

I'm absolutely learning to pick my battles, because while there are some things that you unwaveringly must do, like eat vegetables, share toys, wear warm enough clothes, there are so many ways where I really do want to cultivate your independence and your bright personality. I also do not want to fight with you every day, all the live long day. So, although I'd probably prefer it otherwise, your clothes are often your own unmatching creations, you ALWAYS have a toy packed in your pocket (or your purse, or your cupholder, or in my diaper bag, which you view as your personal toy-suitcase), I let you decided how we'll do your hair everyday, and I have at least 17 dozen conversations with you explaining WHY we are/are not going to do something a particular way.

Your dad joked this week that you don't know the word 'no'. You think the word is "Nonononono," because, you always say it multiple times before telling us WHY we're in the wrong.

You love your brother fiercely. Your favorite things are his favorite things- you talk about superheros and dinosaurs and ninja turtles fluently, you rip off your shirts so that you can pretend to be the Hulk together, you whisper together in the dark before going to sleep (or before NOT going to sleep), and you fight and play together in equal proportion.

You also love this new tradition of dropping your brother off at preschool. You are so excited to see your friends there, dropping off their big brothers, too. Often when we get back in the car, as I buckle you into your seat, you will announce "It's just da girls now! Dis is a special day!"

You love your baby sister too, and you LOVE to be the Big Sister. You can always be counted on to bring toys, spoons, bibs, burp cloths for her, you love to hold her and be silly with her. You CANNOT be counted on to play with her gently, but honestly, that seems to bother me more than it bothers her. She adores you.

Your favorite song is Jesus Loves Me. Your favorite show is BusyTown. You know all the words to Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. You are so tall, and on your third birthday are wearing mostly 4t clothes. You still love to be 'uppied.' You hug like a spider monkey with your arms and your legs and your whole little body. You remind me to pray with you every night, and sometimes call me back in for an encore prayer. You love to snuggle together- your bed or mine, either are fine, as long as our faces are less than 2 inches apart. You request to be put to bed when you are tired. You still love to have your paci at naptime every day. When you are hungry you dissolve into a gooey puddle of whining. You still somehow believe that the water in MY water bottle is superior to the water in YOUR water bottle and you constantly remind me to SHARE IT.

You are emphatic in the extreme. You are emotional and tenderhearted. You are strong willed and short tempered. You love the spotlight, but can easily become embarrassed. You are ferociously loyal. You are my daughter, my first baby girl, and I love you more than I ever thought possible.

Every day with you, even the exhausting ones, are a gift. But I worry that I don't always act like it. I worry that I'm not finding the right ways to communicate to you how thankful I am for you. I am easily frustrated these days, and I often find myself feeling regretful.

Regretting that I lost my temper, or spoke to you sharply, or passed by yet another opportunity to show you grace, or fussed at you instead of remembering and appreciating the wandering, childish, innocence that seems to get you into so many messy situations.

I am praying, almost every day, for our relationship together. That as you grow and change, I would continue to find new and meaningful ways to show you how much I love you. How much I cherish you and appreciate you and am thankful for you- just the way you are.

I am praying that as I try to love you well, that I would also be pointing you to Jesus. That by loving you and caring for you, I can help point you to the One who loves and cares for you the most.

So, I'm writing you another birthday letter. I know you can't read it this year, and chances are you won't actually read it for many years, but I'm writing it anyway. So that one day when you do read it, you can know that when you were two-turning-three, your mommy loved you.  Your impatient, messy, short-tempered mommy loved you with every last bit of her incapable heart, and I will keep doing it, every day, because of Grace, and because your little Maggie-heart melts my mommy-heart. Even when we're driving each other crazy.

I am so thankful for you, Maggie. So thankful that you are my daughter. So thankful for every day together. So thankful for all you have to teach me. So thankful for Ogre & Jelly, and all the ways you make me laugh, and all the ways that you remind me that there is joy, joy, joy to be found all around us.

Happy birthday, little blue princess.

xoxo,
Mama

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Thanksgiving 2014

So despite all the whining in my last post about not feeling very thankful, we did have a pretty slammin' Thanksgiving this year. We overdid it in every possible way. We overscheduled, overinvited, overate, overindulged, and honestly? We overenjoyed every second and plan to do it all again next year.

We had Friendsgiving with a crew of friends that we're more thankful for with each passing year, we had the Williamson side of the family over for a Thanksgiving Eve pizza night, ate Thanksgiving One with David's parents & his brother's family on Thursday, and then headed up to my parent's house for Second Thanksgiving on Saturday. We ate a lot of turkey, you guys.

Here's the joy & chaos of Thanksgiving 2014, from our vantage point: