Wednesday, November 23, 2011


Two years ago, on the eve of Thanksgiving, I wrote this little letter to Charlie (who was yet to be born!).

Last year, on the eve of Thanksgiving, I wrote another letter to 9-month-old Charlie.

Now, here's another letter to our almost 2-year-old!

dear Charlie-warlie,

You're delighted with blinking lights, evergreen trees, and all things Christmas. I took you to the mall today, and you smashed your face against the railing, staring with baby-wonder at the giant Christmas tree towering above you. Back at home, we put up our own Christmas tree, and you literally ran in circles, you were so excited. 

You woke up from your nap with messy hair and pink cheeks. You wore bright blue socks with skid protectors on the bottoms, because your feet usually move too fast for your body. I talk a lot about how you're a persnickety baby, and how you're a fussy napper (which is true)... but not enough about how smart you are. How funny you are. How handsome you are. How badly you need a haircut, but how I don't want to cut your hair, because you'll look too old. (Oy vey, tears. Really? I need to get to bed...)

Anyways -- I speak for your daddy and I when I say that we are thankful, thankful, thankful for you. It's cliche, but if you ever read this, you won't care. Kids want to hear how much their parents love them, right?


So, we love you. THIIIIIIIIIS MUCH. {{stretches arms out as wide as possible}}

(whenever I do that, you look at me sideways, giggle, and go back to playing with your trucks. all business.)


your momma.

p.s. here are a few pictures of some other things I'm thankful for. (I'm grateful for big, obvious things too, of course... but I'm also thankful that I've got the ability to be thankful for funny socks, and coffee, and big plans for a mantle that really don't mean too much in the light of eternity... and yet, they're still gifts, given to be enjoyed. What a huge blessing... 

Ok, sorry. On to the funny sock picture...)

Monday, November 21, 2011

monday morning

Monday's not hitting me too hard this morning. We left Charlie with my in-laws over the weekend, and I missed him. I didn't expect it -- FREEDOM FROM BABYVILLE had been calling my name all last week (it was a rough one) -- but all day Saturday, I heard his little voice in my head whenever we saw a Christmas tree (his current obsession), or when I watched little kids dancing at the wedding reception ("Marty! That'll be him someday. Awwwww!").

So today, when he woke up and climbed onto my lap with a book, I melted, and we snuggled. 

Apparently, getaways are good for a mommy's soul.

A few other items of note:

I really need to get new mascara (anyone have any good recommendations?). My current brand runs into my eyes and BURNS, causing giant, painful teardrops at the most inopportune times... like, for example, during the bride and groom's first dance on Saturday night. Yep, it sure was a touching moment. But the DJ was giving me the weirdest looks, because I was wiping my eyes and sniffling and blubbering all over the place. (It HURT. Stupid mascara.) Marty was shooting from another angle on the other side of the dance floor -- he came up to me later and said, "Wow, hun. You ok?"

Curse you, cheap tube of mascara.

Here's another good one: The night before the wedding, we ran over to the 24-hour WalMart at midnight because I needed a pair of pants for the next day. (I brought a skirt, but the forecast was chilly and windy. Not conducive to skirt-wearing.) Typically, I really, really dislike WalMart. (Trying to avoid the "hate" word here, but it's a close one.) Not for snobby reasons. (I've heard people say they won't shop there because of white trash, or because it smells bad. oh PLEASE.) Nope, it's not that. WalMart and I have a history of bad run-ins. I can never find what I want. I always run into crabby people there. The lines are long. Charlie threw his first shopping tantrum in a WalMart checkout line. etc. etc. (So really, WalMart, don't take it personally. It's not you. It's me.)

Anyways, I found one (count it -- ONE) pair of pants that might work. There were two different sizes that could have fit me... and no one in the place who could open the stinkin' dressing room. (It's midnight, people. Come on, WalMart employees, get on it. Doesn't everyone go shopping pants-shopping at WalMart, at MIDNIGHT?)

So, I bought the smaller size.

(Wrong move, chica. Lay off the pop tarts.)

I wore my skirt the next day.

And that, my friends, is the sum total of my slightly-awkward weekend wedding moments. 

Wedding pictures, coming up soon!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

on: how I don't have it all together.

See this bowl? I really love this bowl. It was a wedding gift from a sweet coworker. It's been on my table ever since we got married. I really love this bowl. (Did I mention I really love this bowl?)

I think God noticed my love affair with that silly bowl, and decided He needed to teach me a teensy lesson. But first, a quick side-story.

I've been reading Loving the Little Years: Motherhood in the Trenches. It's so, so good. Reading it makes me feel like I can do this whole momma thing. I got to this chapter where the author talks about stopping sibling fights (as if that's a problem for us right now... still, I liked what she had to say). Basically, instead of sending kids to their respective corners when they're fighting over a toy, or trying to get the "He Said, She Said" story out of each individual... what this mommy does (my paraphrase) is talk to them about the importance of people over things. She says that the emphasis should be placed on "maintaining fellowship" with each other -- and so, she asks her children, "Is that toy worth breaking fellowship with your brother/sister?" or "Isn't your sister/brother more valuable than that toy?" The point is, considering others is more important than getting your own way.

Alright. Back to the bowl.

Marty was fixing our dining room light the other night. He was fiddling with the cord, doing some rewiring. And then, CRASH! Down came the (heavy) chandelier. Right onto our dining room table. And, fatefully, sitting on top of our table was the aforementioned bowl... except now, it was shattered into a thousand tiny pieces.

My reaction was a bad one. I'll spare you the details.

But listen, here's the point: I was all proud of myself after reading that chapter in the book. "I'll just file that tidbit away for when my kids are fighting over a toy. Come on, kids. This is an important life lesson. No breaky-breaky the fellowship between you two. Cut it out, grow up, etc. etc. {all said in a wise, sage-like parental way}."

And here I was. Breaking fellowship with my husband, over a broken bowl.

I'm not sure how to wrap this story up... except to tell you that my love of pretty things is now 
(1) out in the open,
(2) one of my vices,
(3) in the works of changing.

Because people (particularly, husbands) are much more important than things.

Glad we got that all cleared up.

Also. If you happen to see a bowl like the one above... don't tell me about it. I'll be buying something unbreakable, or very ugly, instead :)

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

an introduction.

I met Cathia during a one-semester stint at Olivet Nazarene University. We were both living on the same floor in the upper-classmen dorm. I was on my way to the dining hall with a friend, and as we passed Cathia's room, I saw her sitting at her desk, laptop open in front of her. "Hey," I said, feeling uncharacteristically nosy. "Want to go eat dinner?"

"Sure," she said.

And with that profound exchange of words, our friendship was forged forever.

I ended up switching my major twice during my time at Olivet (twice! in one semester!). The downside was, it was really stressful. The upside was, I ended up transferring into a lit class that Cathia was taking. Twice a week, before listening to our sweet prof talk about American Literature, we'd have cheeseburgers and fries together at the Tiger Grill. (They were, for real, the world's greatest cheeseburgers. I can still taste their greasy goodness. I should mention, that's also the semester I gained the Sophomore Sixty...)

Over burgers and fries, we'd talk. Cathia was in a photography class, and she'd tell me about how her prof hated pictures of leaves... because in the fall, that's the only thing students took pictures of. (That's stuck with me for forever.) Cathia is in the Air Force, and at the time, she had already been deployed once to Iraq. We'd talk about what it was like, living over there. She told me about giant tarantulas that lived in her tent. I cried.

Cathia introduced me to Tomb Raider and Cirque de Soleil, and I introduced her to the fact that girlie girls could successfully play hockey. We rode around in her sporty Honda (as opposed to my sporty Crown Victoria).

We decided to get "involved" on campus, and joined the Olivet Geological Society. It was basically a bunch of science majors who got together in a gloomy lab and talked about rocks, but they told us they'd plan camping trips, so we signed up together. Tents! Camping! Adventure! Oh yeah, we were cool now. Except, when time came to actually camp with said Geological Society... Cathia couldn't go. (She was "busy." Right. I still don't believe it.) As a consolation, Cathia lent me her military boots for the trip. They inspired a bit of courage in my timid literary self... and so, I went alone -- a weekend camping trip with a bunch of science majors. (We ended up sleeping all piled into one tent, because the temps dropped below freezing at night. It was the BEST. EVER.)

So, you know, Cathia and I have a long history together...

And now, this Saturday, I get to shoot her wedding.

{Insert a thousand exclamation points here.}

The end.

Monday, November 14, 2011

How to help a mom with a sick baby

If you're a parent, you know the signs. Runny nose. Tears, for no reason at all. Eye- or ear-rubbing. Sleeplessness. When Charlie's about to get sick, I can see it coming from a mile away... and, did I mention that I want to run a mile away? Caring for a sick baby is hard. (Or, at least my baby is hard. I've heard of other kids that just want to snuggle the day away whenever they get sick. Ha. Ha. Ha.)

And so, from my own experience, I've come up with a list of a few ways you could help out a mom with a sick child, should you ever feel inclined to do so:

*Offer to come over and hold her little one while she gets a bit of a break. (Lots of times, sick kids just want someone to snuggle with them or occupy them, and if they're not partial to momma, anyone with creativity can fit the bill. Stack blocks. Draw pictures. Make a tent. Play with the knob on the humidifier.)

*Bring momma a {large} cup of coffee. (Bring a donut, too. At least, I'd want a donut. I love donuts.)

Wow. Moving on...

*The one's simple: Send her a text, write her a card, pound out an e-mail... It always helps moms (and dads) to know that they're not alone.

*Bring her flowers. Flowers make lots of things better. They're pretty, and they smell good. Enough said.

*Go to the dollar store. Buy a bunch of little novelty toys. Bring them over to Mom-with-Sick-Child's house. (New toys are really helpful when kids are sick -- they're looking for distractions, and there's nothing more distracting than a handful of parachute army guys, or a wacko light-up toy that runs into the wall. Trust me. Mom-with-Sick-Child will thank you, even if you think it's weird.)

*Clean the bathroom. Or the kitchen. When someone's sick in my house, the first thing to go is the housework. If someone came over and cleaned my sink (when I wasn't looking, since I probably wouldn't let them if I caught them), well, I'd be really happy. So happy, in fact, that I'd kiss their toes, or do some other random awkward/extravagant thing.

*Call and see if she needs anything from the drugstore. I'm always out of baby tylenol. Seriously. I buy boxes and boxes of the stuff, and I'm still out of it when I need it. And taking a sick baby out for a Target run is probably just about as much fun as trying to brush a piranha's teeth. (As in, not fun at all. Sorry, weird analogy.)

I wish someone would have given me a list like this before I had kids, because (1) I'd know what to expect when my own kids got sick (i.e., REMEMBER TO STOCK UP ON TYLENOL, SILLY WOMAN), and (2) it would have started me thinking about ways to bless other people. (I was ridiculously self-absorbed before I had kids -- another way God has used Charlie to change me for the better!)

Any other ideas that you can think of? I'd love to hear them.

Happy Monday :)

Friday, November 11, 2011

parks, procrastination, and so on

The work you do while you procrastinate
is probably the work you should be doing 
for the rest of your life.
-Jessica Hische

(That little quote is code for, "I'm procrastinating, but I don't feel very bad about it.")

It's silly, but I sometimes forget to take pictures of my own family. (I've talked to other photographer-people, and they say the same thing.) And so, with big, nerdy excitement, I'm posting these pictures that Marty and I took at Charlie's favorite park, just the other day. I love them, because they pretty much capture what Charlie and I do most of the day... minus the whining and crying, of course. 

(Charlie's whining and crying, that is. Not mine. Oh dear.)

Sunday, November 6, 2011