Friday, December 30, 2011

Snow Globe

I'm not sure who is happier about today's snow, Monte and me, or the little ones. It's the pretty kind of snow too... the fluffy flakes that slowly drift to the earth. This is what it must feel like to be inside a snow globe.

It finally feels like it should this time of the year, so to celebrate, we decided to go for a little walk... which is never as idyllic as the scene unfolding in my minds eye... but it was nice to be outside nonetheless.

We still don't have a lot of snow, but it was enough to get the sled out. We walked to the round bales that Benett likes to climb in the summer. I think he must like the higher vantage point... for one small moment being the tallest.

Maybe my favorite part about being out in the cold air and snow is coming inside, to snuggle under a thick blanked and drink something warm. I'm liking my warm little spot in the living room... and I may not budge for the rest of the day.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011


One of the best things about this time of the year, for me, is the tradition of it all.

There are so many things that I recall as a child that define Christmas for me. Some are as simple as the food prepared and eaten at Christmastime. Some sights and sounds, like our little church on Christmas eve, have this ability to bring so many memories flooding back.

Monte and I are trying to carry on those traditions and experiences from our childhoods, as well as establishing some of our own.

This year, Ryan brought Christmas Crackers for the little people. I'd never heard of them, but instantly loved them, when these little wrapped tubes had the ability to make three very excited little ones sit still and quiet.

I loved how they forced us all to sit together, in a circle, crossing arms and linking each of us to the next... the little people and the adults alike, leaning forward in quiet anticipation.

The crackers weren't elaborate... filled with paper crowns, small candies, fortune fish... and the idea of a new tradition.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011


If shopping were only this idyllic... a relatively quiet store, with a compliant baby who is happy to be buckled into the cart.

I'm sure that in this lovely store I'd be able to find all of the things that I'm looking for, and a few that I didn't know I 'needed.' In this store there are no unhappy children to be toted along. In this store that woman who walks slowly and erratically in front of you, obliviously chatting on her cell phone, blocking the isle and not allowing anyone to pass... in this store she doesn't exist.

Alas... I don't think such a place exists for adults. But in Miss Ellie's store, she happily shops with a cart full of babies and what ever she can manage to pry away from her brothers. Thankfully, she hasn't attempted to talk on the phone while pushing her cart around the house. You'll be happy to know that I will intervene if that ever happens.

Monday, December 26, 2011


The holiday weekend seems like a blur. Seldom are they not... but that constant motion goes with the territory in the place where three little people and the most magical day of the year come together.

A little like this picture, blurry because he got just what he wanted most and standing still wasn't an option. Gavin is a happy child. He usually has a smile on his face and tries to make the best out of most situations. But this picture is pure joy. I love to see him so genuinely happy.

The little ones contented themselves with their own toys and each others. They were happy to share with each other, which was a Christmas miracle.

The night got to be quite late... but true to form, the little ones were up by 7 am. As you can see by the looks on their faces... they were all tired on Christmas morning. (Although... Ellie has that look on her face frequently... not sure what that's all about.)

If you think they look a little bleary-eyed... you should have seen the photographer. Yikes. Tired doesn't come close to describing Monte and me. Waiting up for Santa is a tiring business.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


Christmas is right around the corner. As we make our preparations and celebrate our traditions, it's fun to see each of the little people enjoying the activities from their unique vantage points. But it's especially exciting to watch as Benett grows to understand the magic of this holiday season.

He's excited and cautious all at once... decorating the tree, opening the advent calendar, making cookies, and even doing crafty projects... he's soaking it all up with a special brand of gusto that's all Benett.

Ellie follows along, excited because her brothers have set that tone. Gavin is starting to be skeptical, yet still holding out hope for the REAL Santa. But Benett... he's genuinely enjoying the newness of this thing called Christmas. It's infectious, listening to him sing holiday songs. One can't help but smile to watch as he carefully adjusts ornaments on the tree and examines the carefully wrapped packages below.

The twinkle in Benett's eye and all of the excitement that the little people have, has helped remind me of the meaning of Christmas... that the love God has bestowed upon us is the love for one another. The greatest thing that we've each been given is the gift of those we love and hold dear. And our ability to enjoy seeing those we love most, delight in the traditions that we've created is indeed something to treasure.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011


There are a number of things about being a parent that have the ability to send a cold shiver of fear down one's spine. I've come to realize that one of the scariest things for me involves the phrase, "I want to pour."

As soon as any one of them picks up the ketchup, syrup, ranch or any other liquid; Monte and I rush to the offending little person... in sync, urgently saying "Be careful! Not too much!"

To which the offending little person says, "I am being careful!"

I think it must be my sharp inhalation/gasp that makes the offending little person dump what always amounts to be "way too much" of whichever liquid they're "helping" to pour.

In the end, the puddle of liquid ends up getting happily sopped, scooped and slurped. Or in Ellie's case with ranch... she'll use her 'ranch spoon' which is more commonly known as a carrot... to clean up her plate.

Parenting is a fearful business. I knew this. I just had NO IDEA that most of that fear would happen at the dinner table.

Monday, December 19, 2011


We used to have a fish tank. In that small tank, we had a not-so-small fish, to eat the algae. If that fish were a person, I'm pretty sure this is exactly what it would look like... 

This picture is also a prime example of why you should use hand sanitizer anytime you go near a daycare... and with two out of three of the little people who live at my house doing this... the same could be true for setting foot into my home.

Sunday, December 18, 2011


I'm considering using this method to tuck the little people in for the night... rolling each of them into a blanket, so they can't climb out of bed sounds like a perfect plan for a full night's sleep.

Benett is a midnight marauder. Unfortunately, I'm getting used to him, standing silently beside my bed between the hours of 3-4am. I hardly ever scream anymore.

Now we have to contend with Ellie, who is going through a fearless streak. This little daredevil has started to scale the side of her crib to liberate herself. At least she has the decency to wait until 6-ish

But Gavin... there's a boy after my own heart. He sleeps like a rock. Even when we wake him up, I'm not entirely sure he's really awake.

Back when I had the opportunity to delight in a lengthy slumber, I was just like Gavin. But now... well now I think I'm in a constant state of awake. Even when my eyes are closed, I feel a little too close to being alert. I know that someday I'll get to practice regular sleep again. But until then, I'll be considering this new technique.

Friday, December 16, 2011


There are quite a few things left on the list that need to be checked off, in order for us to be "ready" for Christmas.

Truthfully, I love preparing for this holiday. I always tell myself that I'm going to get an early start... that I'm going to do more activities with the little people... that I'm going to make more gifts for giving.

But I have this little problem. I'm a person who doesn't procrastinate over the things that I don't want to do. I prolong the process of the things that I want to do most. Weird, I know. But, to me it's like dessert... saving the best stuff for last, in order to savor it more...

So I've procrastinated a bit too long... and now it's boiling down to easy. Finding the easiest things to "bake" and quickest projects to make with the little people. I'm confidant that we'll have a few Christmas cookies on the platter, even if they hardly qualify as baking.

These little bit-sized sweets are a prime example. Pretzel. Rolo. Candied pecan. Done. It doesn't get much easier than that, which is just what the doctor ordered on December 16th.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


Things with Santa are touch and go at our house right now. Gavin really wants to believe... but he's getting suspicious. Benett, on the other hand, is suspicious of just about everyone.

So last night, when I asked B if he wanted to sit on Santa's lap, he said "sure." He sat perched, neutrally... took the requisite picture and then promptly asked if he could please have a candy cane.

Santa always wants to know what little boys and girls want most for Christmas, so that's precisely what he asked Benett... to which he replied, "Only a candy cane. Please."

With the goods in hand, he jumped off Santa's knee to find someone to unwrap said candy cane.

I thought we'd made it. Skated through another Santa moment without any beans being spilled.We made it out to the van, got everyone buckled in... and that's when he saw it... Gavin saw Santa getting into a car. "There he is. He's getting into a car, Mom." His voice, thickened with suspicion.

I had to hustle. Think... think...think... In a moment of panic I said, "Of course Santa is getting into a car. He's using that car to get back to the reindeer who are in a field somewhere, eating hay and oats, no doubt."

Gavin's reply, "Uh-huh..."

Benett was too busy eating his candy cane, to care how Santa was getting back home. I don't think he cares if Santa is "real" or not... he's just in it for the candy.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


It could have been much worse. 

I know little ears are always listening... and that we need to be careful about what we say, because those little ears are connected to big brains... big brains that tend to soak up just about everything. (Except of course the stuff we need them to hear.)

What it all boils down to, is the fact that censoring is not easy. I'm not talking about the 'big' words... those are easy to not say... but the little phrases that just come out... those are a bit trickier.

So, it didn't surprise me yesterday when Ellie told me to, "Calm down." I wasn't particularly wound up when she said it... but I instantly became very aware of what I was doing. I was put on notice by a not-quite-two-year-old.

It could have been worse... it may still get worse... but until then, I'll be trying a little harder to A.) stay calmed down and B.) never use that phrase again.

Monday, December 12, 2011


People are a lot like quilts. Stitched together, all of the different pieces have the opportunity to collectively make something very beautiful or unique.  Some quilts are orderly… neat and tidy with a predictable pattern. Others are random… haphazard and crazy, but beautiful nonetheless.

I’ve grown to consider all of the people that I work with as one of these haphazard quilts. We are a collection of people from different walks of life, interwoven with a common thread, which is a passion for the work that we collectively do... and a genuine admiration and appreciation for one another.

As the business dismantles the quilt and different pieces are removed, those remaining becomes incomplete. Forever changed, those who remain feel such loss. We lose friends, with the realization that we may not have the opportunity to cross paths again. We mourn even those that we know we’ll see again.

On Friday, more of our friends moved on to new adventures. Each on a new path, to become part of a new patchwork quilt. I miss those people... some of them are dear friends who have changed me forever... Friends I'll never forget. Others, acquaintances who I didn't know well enough... yet still hugged me close... our simple quilt being enough to bind us together.

Life goes on for all of us... but the lesson for me is to appreciate everyone in my quilt. To recognize that each patch is beautiful and interesting... and without each, there would be no whole.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


For as easy as the words come sometimes, there are other moments where they flow much less freely. These days I find myself in a place where words don't flow.

I find myself in a place of denial... not wanting to face the fact that change is coming. It's so much easier to walk down that familiar path than it is to step out and into the weeds in search of something new.

That denial has kept my words at bay... kept those words cloistered in this quiet void. It's easier to be silent that to admit fear.

I've never been one of those people who can compartmentalize work. One of those people who can come home and leave that other part of life tucked away in a place that doesn't interfere. I'm just not wired that way... but I suppose it's also because for as long as I've known him, Monte and I have worked together.

Our entire life together, we've worked for the same company... seeing each other throughout the day... working together and helping each other... driving to work together... dropping off and picking up the little people together... we've never known a life where this wasn't the case.

On Friday all of that changes. We'll step off of that well groomed and familiar path, into the unknown. Life will go on. Life will be good. Life will be different. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't scared.

Life is always filled with firsts and lasts... the new path will eventually grow to be familiar and we'll step into a new kind of comfortable routine. But I'd be lying if I said I wasn't scared.

Monday, December 5, 2011


Benett has a mind of his own. Sometimes that little mind decides that there is no way he's going to go to sleep. We'll negotiate. We'll plead. We'll bribe. But when his little mind is set on something... none of these techniques work.

He'll creep up the stairs as quiet as can be, to see what kind of fun stuff is going on after he's been tucked into bed.

Some nights he's really quiet and we don't know that Benett's up until he walks around the couch and scares us. Other times, if I'm tapping away on my computer in an otherwise quiet room, I'll hear some rustling on the stairs. That's when I say something like, "Whoever is on the stairs had better get back into bed!"

The usual response to my statement is a tiny little voice saying, "Mamma, I just want to kiss you goodnight." (He knows I'm a sucker for that kind of thing.)

But on this night, he knew there was no getting around the fact that I was mad. So, he hunkered down and eventually gave in to a precarious place to sleep. Like some kind of mountain goat, he looked perfectly comfortable perched on the middle of the staircase.

I did consider leaving him there, just to save him the trip back up the stairs, in the middle of the night... that's when he usually crawls into bed with me... But I decided to take what I could get, and enjoy the satisfaction of tucking this little boy into bed, enjoying the fact that he wouldn't be following me back up the steps.

Sunday, December 4, 2011


The ground and everything else has been covered with a layer of white. It's amazing how all of the mundane things that we look past each day, take on an interesting new light when covered in snow.

We hardly noticed the crab apples, when the Maple trees are showing off their fall color... now all of those beautiful leaves have blown away and the quiet little apples that we didn't notice before, look like jewels adorning the cold and snowy branches.

Those little apples remind me of my children in some ways. I feel like sometimes parts of them get overlooked. especially when life gets hectic. Today Gavin and I enjoyed the sacrament of penance. It's a lovely opportunity to begin anew, to look at my life in a new way... It was a lovely experience, out of which I'm choosing to see the best of the little people... to see past the frustrations... to notice the little jewels even when there is no snow.

Friday, December 2, 2011


He lost his coat today. You know, the brand new one. The one he's worn three times.

How someone loses a down-filled winter coat... when it's freezing - literally freezing - outside... is beyond me.

He walked into the house coatless and cold, with eyes averted and a sheepish face. He knew I would be furious. After all, he misplaced his brand-new-only-been-worn-once-boots yesterday... forcing us back to the school, retracing his steps last night.

I'm still mad, but the extent of his compunction has helped to cool me off. He's a little boy... these things will happen... I understand that. But I don't understand how do you lose a coat, in 25 degree weather? Why does the lost article have to be brand-new?

Tomorrow will be a new day... it will be cold and snowy, keeping the coatless boy inside with me, instead of outside playing. That might be punishment enough.

Thursday, December 1, 2011


We've earned the upcoming weekend. At least it feels like we've earned it... getting back into the swing of things after the Thanksgiving holiday required conscious effort.

All at once things have started to stack up... maybe just mentally, but it feels like the stack is getting higher and higher. Work... school... holiday... stuff... some things are easy, some not so much.

It seems like a small thing, but as each day passes, and the weather gets wintrier our routine becomes more... involved. The art of getting bundled up is something that we're not well versed in... yet. Coats and hats and mittens and boots... oh my...

Earned or not, the weekend is almost here and I'm grateful for it.