Sunday, July 31, 2011

I stressed a little yesterday... (and MM 744-757)

I stressed a little yesterday.
We invited people over for dinner - this is the second time we've done this (different people) in just a few weeks. One of my new goals is to become more hospitable.  I have always been pro-hospitality, and I love people and being around them. Yet my fears and insecurities have hindered me more than they should have. 
In the hours leading up to their arrival I worried - about the trash from the house behind us that blew into our yard, about the lack of playroom or basement for the kids (of a variety of ages) to play in, about my potato dish didn't turn out so I had to change my plan to minute rice, etc.

But when they arrived a few minutes late because my new friend confessed she had dropped something on the way out the door - and so she finished up her offering when they got to our place- I felt at ease. The kids (though girls and mostly older than my boys) played beautifully, we ate and chatted, and I forgot about the size of my house and location of my neighborhood and just shared life for a few hours.

When it was all said and done, The Hubs and I looked at each other and said, "That worked out.  Let's keep doing this." 

Joining with Ann's group to give thanks for gifts 744-757
the chance to work at home this fall ~ reminders everywhere that life is FULL ~ free DVDs from the library ~ the sound of Bugaboo laughing at Bubby ~ weekend for the first time all summer without The Hubs having homework ~ amazing mentor meeting at church ~ hearing a friend's good news ~ koinonia ~ tears that flow freely with hymns and a Revelation song ~ something new on the horizon for intergenerational connections

Friday, July 29, 2011

five minute friday - "still"

I still hold out hope.  Even after all this time. I can't help it. There are still situations I do not understand and about which I am still holding my breath, even though I often tell others I'm not.
Still, after days and weeks and months...
Still, after hurt and tears and lies...
Still, amidst seeing others benefit from our losses...
Still, aching for retribution and restoration and rejoicing...

I wonder why I still care and am still affected, but I don't think I'd like the person I'd be if I didn't hold out hope ... still.

Edit: oops! I meant to type restitution not retribution, but if I'm honest I struggle with wanting that, too.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

a trio of highlights

It is amazing how an hour or two of conversation with another adult can rejuvenate me - even if that conversation takes place while kids run amuck and have toddler tantrums over toys. (pretty nifty alliteration there, eh?)  I was able to visit with two different friends and their kids over the last two days.  Happy summer vacation to me. :)
Note to self: start taking pictures of self with friends. Or at least of friends.  I realize I never take pictures of my friends or me or us together.  I'm not sure why this is, so here is an oldie but goodie of a friend I don't get to see very often. (I only see this friend once a year at the most, so sadly she was not one of the friends I saw this week.)

In other happy news, I am lined up to do childcare for two little ones whose parents go to the same church as us. Their kids are similar ages to mine, so it may feel like I have two sets of twins at my house some days.  Pray for me.  :)  Just kidding - - I am pretty excited about this opportunity and how it seems to be coordinating itself for both my family needs and theirs.

The best news of all today, The Hubs is done with his eight weeks of summer classes.  He has three (I think) weeks off of class, though he still will be working in the afternoons/evenings.  I think Bubby will be thrilled to have Daddy around more in the morning, and perhaps I can send the two of them to the pool once or twice before summer ends.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

what are the MacBoys up to and a sidenote up front

 I have ideas and words and thoughts scribbled in my notebook (yes, I still use pen and paper) - the more I read and jot, the more things pop into my head. The learning process never ceases to amaze me.  I am looking forward to sharing more with you on these thoughts in just a few days.

but for now... the "obligatory" update post.
This post is mainly for the grandparents and the aunties and such - and for me - because I don't keep a baby book on my boys - just this blog and some shutterfly albums that I work on in spurts.

  • Bubby is getting too grown up. The Hubs and I just want to write everything down that he says and does or video it.  Sadly, Bubby always stops his cute antics when the camera gets going.
  • "Boggle-gul-gul" is sounding more like "gobble" (a game Bubs plays with Daddy), "lo-lo" is now more often "oshen" (lotion), and he answers "yeah" or "yes" to questions.
  • He's doing better on the phone with Babu, and he shares pretty lovingly with Bugaboo.
  • He loves giving his baby brother kisses, and is always very concerned that Bugaboo is going to bed soon, too. "Baby nighht-night?"
  • Bubby loves "retelling" his favorite books from memory, often out of nowhere, as well as climbing on the coffee table to play the piano. (I accidentally taught him to do that one day.) On the upside, his climbing has enabled him to climb into his booster seat and buckle it all by himself. Not bad for a kid who still gets P.T. once a month!
  • He's still asking to use the Elmo seat (potty), but only a couple of successes so far.
  • Mr. Smarty-pants is memorizing the order of songs on his favorite cds, especially the Laurie Beckner one from the library. His favorites are the Dinosaurs Marching song, Down, Down, Baby, and I Know a Chicken.  We have lots of fun dancing to them in our house.
  • Poor little guy is begging to go outside daily, but his request often denied due to the heat advisory, his fair skin, and my love of the A/C.
  • Bugaboo is growing by leaps and bounds - just how much I do not know since we don't go back to the doctor till early September. BUT he is almost out of his 6-9 month clothes. The only reason he isn't in the 9-12 month is because I haven't taken the time to get them out of the tote in the garage and go through what we have. It is too sad for me.  I want him to stay little.
  • The Bugster is ALMOST an independent sitter. Some days he can sit longer than others before toppling over.  He takes his tumbles like a champ, though.
  • We are hopeful that this kiddo will get to bypass physical therapy - the signs so far are looking good because able to bear weight on his legs very well for significant time.  I am a little concerned he is not using his arms much/reaching out to get things.  We had the vision concerns earlier, but I am not sure what the deal is with this lack-of thing I have noticed the last few weeks.  Maybe I am just a little paranoid.
  • Bugaboo eats like a champ. He has not found a food he doesn't like yet.  He's still on stage two, but has eaten pretty much everything there is to offer at that level.
  • He likes his binky on carrides, for really cranky moments, and sometimes for falling asleep.  This whole binky-kid-thing is new to me, but we limit it overall.
  • He still has yet to do the "fall asleep on his own" really yet.  Sharing a room with big brother complicates things, and having a mommy who doesn't like "cry it out" also complicates things.
  • Bugaboo had his first "haircut." Daddy trimmed off the really long wild hairs, but as you can see he still has plenty of stinkin' adorable crazy baby hair.

    Tuesday, July 26, 2011

    top ten ways I want my life to be full

     I can't get the word "full" out of my head.  Ever since several months ago I saw this here (and later on I saw it on pinterest)

    I've had many conversations about what a full life is/looks like.

    "I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." (John 10:10)

    Then Friday's topic was full.

    Tossing and turning last night, I kept visualizing/brainstorming "full" words.

    I can't escape it. I want my life to be authentically full, and I am sensing I need to write and share about what IS and ISN'T a FULL life.

    Top Ten Words that have come to mind as I reflect on how I want a FULL Life:
    1. hope-full
    2. joy-full
    3. thank-full
    4. wonder-full
    5. beauty-full
    6. prayer-full
    7. grace-full
    8. faith-full
    9. mercy-full
    10. worship-full 
    Top Ten {Tuesday}
      I hope you'll join me in August as I take some steps toward a full life.

      Sunday, July 24, 2011

      word sprinkles and MM 727 - 743

      A weekend with conversations and quiet moments and words from strangers which sprinkled the parched ground of my soul like the rain that fell to the earth on this hot July evening.

      The wandering is getting better.  I still don't know where I am going, but I am getting glimpses of
      who I am
      who I want to be
      how I am going to become that person. 
      I am humbled and overwhelmed and thankful and inspired by just the little bits of something that keep crashing into me, even though I don't know exactly what it is or what to make of it yet. I know more is coming. I have words, ideas, dreams floating, jumping, pounding, leaping around in my head. Where is this leading? I am not 100% sure.

      In this world of brokenness and loss and pain there is still joy and good and hope. For all this and more, I pause and do my best to say Thank You.

      727. Farmers' Market
      728. summer meals of good, local produce, sweet-tea, and grilled chicken
      729. telling the voice of doubt to shut it
      730. very probable childcare job
      731. diapers on my doorstep twice a month
      732. the bluest blueberries ever
      733. white sheets hanging up to dry
      734. toddler fingers composing music and self-applause
      735. learning the process of true change
      736. milkshake split three ways
      737. husbands publicly bragging on wives within one of my favorite communities
      738. sound of crickets and other creatures - outside :)
      739. Bugaboo falling asleep as I read to both boys

      740. first haircuts but still lovable wild baby hair
      741. Anne of Green Gables on a Sunday evening
      742. memories of the many friends who have watched Anne with me
      743. bosom friends

      Saturday, July 23, 2011

      when hope feels a little deferred

      "Unrelenting disappointment leaves you heartsick,
         but a sudden good break can turn life around."
      Proverbs 13:12

      Do not open medical mail on the weekends.  That was what an older friend of mine advised me with all of the hospital bills we have had the last two years.Yet today I opened one from our insurance company because we have automatic withdrawal,
      so surely it wasn't a bill.
      Instead it was a letter saying insurance for The Hubs and I is going up X-amount per month in September. The amount is just slightly under the amount we just cut out of our budget if our re-fi goes through.

      Discouraged doesn't even seem to begin to explain what I felt, but the good news is I did not cry or say something I shouldn't or even get crabby and take it out on those around me. Instead there was just a car ride conversation with The Hubs about the mysteries of faith and the world and blessings and disappointments.

      All around me I see friends and loved ones of mine, friends much better people than I am, whose hope seems to be deferred.  I don't understand.

      And then I read this and the tears well up.

      As I type and think simultaneously, I start humming "His Eye is on the Sparrow."  I can hear the first two verses in the voices of the girls' ensemble I was in during high school.
      Did you know there is a third verse? I didn't until just a few minutes ago.

      Whenever I am tempted,
      Whenever clouds arise,
      When songs give place to sighing,
      When hope within me dies,
      I draw the closer to Him,
      From care He sets me free:

      His eye is on the sparrow,
      And I know He cares for me;

      "I draw the closer to Him." Which starts me on another song:

      I am Thine, O Lord, I have heard Thy voice,
      And it told Thy love to me;
      But I long to rise in the arms of faith
      And be closer drawn to Thee. 

      Draw me nearer, nearer blessed Lord,
      To the cross where Thou hast died;
      Draw me nearer, nearer, nearer blessed Lord,
      To Thy precious, bleeding side.

      Which reminds me of this verse:
      "I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death," Phil. 3:10

      The mail is not suffering.  It was disappointing. But it is teaching me to draw close to the One Who will never disappoint, Who will be my constant Hope.

      There are depths of love that I cannot know
      Till I cross the narrow sea;
      There are heights of joy that I may not reach
      Till I rest in peace with Thee.

      Oh growing pains, you are worth it, I know.

      Thursday, July 21, 2011

      what a difference a day makes

      This is my baby.  Sitting up almost independently for longer periods of time.

      This is my toddler.
      His new favorite thing is climbing on the coffee table.  It probably doesn't help things that today I used it as a piano bench while we played and sang.

      Here's that same sweet boy totally ticked off that we weren't going outside to play today.  Toddlers do not understand "heat advisory."  Plus he thinks when I get out the camera a) I am going to only take pictures of him and not his brother and b) we are going outside because somehow he knows that mommy takes much better pictures outside where the lighting works for her less-than-amateur skills.
      But thanks to Shannan's advice, I am now able to get a shower in even if The Hubs is gone for the day.
      Oh Big Bird - you are so much better than Elmo's World and Abby's Fairy Flying School.  Please bring back classic Sesame Street with Kermit the Frog as a reporter instead of this new stuff I must endure.

      This is my husband. I took this picture of him right before I got on the computer.  (Notice the lovely lighting with my wonderful camera work. Sarah Carter, I am not.)
      This sweet man texted me this morning asking if the boys and I wanted to grab lunch during his break. It is amazing how a greasy burger and fries can help improve my mental health.
      He is also the one who enabled me to go by myself to the library this evening - not the library drive-up window (which I do love so much at this phase of my life) - but actually thirty minutes to peruse and check out a couple of novels AND one of my favorite movies which will transport me to the "Lake of Shining Waters."

      Today was much better than yesterday.

      Wednesday, July 20, 2011

      when the refreshment melts on a July day

      I typed and deleted. Retyped. Hesitated.  I am trying to be positive and content and grateful, but I also want to be authentic and sincere and tell-it-how-it-is.

      The Hubs' schedule is exhausting with two little ones.  I am so proud of him for taking prereqs and working while I stay home with our babies. And it is my choice to stay home. But sometimes my choice is exhausting.

      The extreme heat.
      The boys deciding not to nap concurrently (or semi-concurrently or even at all).
      Seeing The Hubs about twentyfiveish minutes each day.
      Bugaboo teething.
      Two of Bubby's favorite cds played over and over and over and over.

      This morning's  visit with my friend seems decades ago now instead of hours.  A baby, two toddlers, and a preschooler needing our attention interrupted our visit several times, but we take what we can get these days.

      Refreshing for my mind and soul and achy legs came via the ninety minute talk/discussion with other women about mentorship. But all that refreshment seemed to melt away as I loaded up both boys after church by  myself tonight as we trudged across the parking lot in 100 degree heat. Then came Bugaboo's waling and gnashing of teeth - okay just waling since he has no teeth to gnash.
      all. the. way. home.

      In the time it has taken me to write this, Bubby has finally fallen asleep. Bugaboo is still awake on my lap, but at least he is quiet.

      Say a little prayer for me tonight. Even with my energy zapped, so far it's been a  good week  filled with Bubby singing, Bugaboo laughing, Mommy dancing, sweet-tea-drinking,  but I could use some divine intervention to get my batteries recharged for the next two days and the week after that, as well.

      Tuesday, July 19, 2011

      366 months

      This is me.  Halfway done with my thirtieth year. I know you all were hoping it would be a picture of me on the oversized chair with a stuffed animal, but this self-portrait from PhotoBooth is as good as it gets.

      I had a conversation with The Hubs a week or so ago, about how I wish I had done more in my twenties.  What exactly?  I am not sure. I have degrees. I traveled to a few countries. I moved out to a random place in this country all by myself.  I married a guy I met online who lived halfway around the world when I "met" him.

       I had two babies.  Sounds productive and reproductive and adventurous. But sometimes I think I may not have lived that decade to the fullest. I'm not sure.

      Now six months into being three decades old, I am antsy. Maybe it is the phase of life I am in. I don't want a "career" change - I love what I do each day (most days). But I want to be a part of something bigger than myself. I want to make a difference. And I want to be good at everything.

      I can't be good at everything.  So I need to simplify and focus on what is best for me. For my family. For my goals.

      The sewing machine thing - turned out to not be my thing. I wanted it to be my thing. Very much. Thankfully I have a mama who can sew anything, so I think I will be sending her my to-do list. (And this one, too.)

      So what ARE my things?
      I had a bullet list, but it didn't seem quite right.  My "things" aren't a check off list, but rather concentric rings of who I am/want to be.

      Stay tuned...the wandering is going to get even better around here.

      Monday, July 18, 2011

      oh Mr. Zuckerberg

      I'm sure Mark Zuckerberg didn't foresee how people like me would be using facebook.
      To upload a bazillion baby/toddler pictures for the grandparents. (Did he envision grandparents using facebook? Not only do my parents use it, but my Iowa grandparents use it. )

      Today my status discretely announced a major milestone in our house

      (drumroll please)

      Bubby told me he needed to use his Elmo seat on the toilet to go #2.  "Elmo po-po" was the exact quote. And he did - Bubby, not Elmo.

      We aren't really toilet training yet - just going with the flow (no pun intended. well maybe a little.) - but Bubs was rewarded with praise and a treat.
      This is the exciting life I lead.  I hope that doesn't sound sarcastic. Life with a toddler and a baby is never dull.
      To illustrate this fact, here are Bugaboo's seven month pictures which I am very late on.
       I kiss his cheeks at least three hundred times a day.

      In other news, I am 366 months old.  There are no pictures of me on a chair with a bear documenting this milestone.
      Maybe tomorrow.

      MM 715 - 726

      He smiles at the greeters, holding a hand in the parking lot, walking in as if he owns the place - taking the "ramp" past the welcome center towards the nursery.
      He loves church. He loves the dear older ladies who rock him and tell me as they pass me in the halls how sweet he is.  He loves a couple of his little friends whose names I try to decipher on the rides home on the days when it is not my week to volunteer in the nursery.  Throughout the week he asks if we are going.  

      But this week both on Wednesday and Sunday he has cried at the end of nursery - both instances around "Ring Around the Rosie" time. The tears haven't been enough where I have had to be pulled out of class, but it still makes me sad that he was sad.  Today he even had the chin quiver on the ride home.  "Church." "Ashes" "Fall Down" "Cry" was our conversation several times this afternoon.

      Yet, even with this mysterious sadness at the end of nursery time, he still asks about church excitedly.  He apparently isn't holding the imperfections of his time in the nursery against the church.  He's still saying "Jee-jee" (Jesus), "Bible," "Amen!" and even "Church!" with an enthusiastic smile.

      My two year old illustrated a sermon without preaching a single word. "Don't hold the imperfections of the church against the Church, the Body, and most importantly, The Savior."
      Simple. Painful. Beautiful.

      giving thanks for:

      homemade peanut butter puddles ~ taking pictures of my babies ~ grilled cheese with tomato, bacon, and ranch ~ an earlier bedtime ~ afternoon visit with friends ~ women interested in mentorship ~ Titus 3:3-7 ~ delicious summer fruit (worth every penny) ~ great-grandma celebrating 97 years ~ Bubby's delight with ice cream ~ boys in Illini shirts ~ Bugaboo being a good "errand buddy"

      Friday, July 15, 2011

      five minute friday - "loss"

      Joining with The Gypsy Mama for Five Minute Friday - writing for five minutes on a given topic without editing. Five minutes only.  Today's topic is loss.


      The first thing that comes to mind with the word loss is death - loss of a baby, a grandfather, childhood friends.
      But right behind it today comes thoughts of lost relationships.  People who have left, disappointed, abandoned, rejected, betrayed.  This is hard loss because I do not understand disloyalty.  I do not understand the doing what feels better or convenient or easy instead of the doing of what is right.  Most my losses in relationships have happened because of the "head in the sand like an ostrich" way of life. Refusal to confront. Refusal to repent. Refusal to reconcile.
      It is hard to mourn these losses like mourning a death.  A death is awful, tragic, and final. The brokenness of the other type is confusing and frustrating and without closure.
      And I find myself even at a loss for words now.


      Tuesday, July 12, 2011

      grilled cheese and doors

      Nothing pretty or poetic tonight. Just a cute moment and a plethora of other snippets of our life around here.
      Bubby, in the zone halfway between awake and asleep tonight, starts talking in his crib.  I tiptoed to his door (which being a toe-walker, I actually do regularly so this was just exaggerated tiptoeing). I heard him saying, "grilled cheese. grilled cheese? grilllllled cheeese." New word combo for him today.  I should mention that I had a fabulous BLT/grilled cheese with ranch concoction for dinner tonight because it was the coolest thing to make on a hot and humid day like today. Fabulous. I am sad I didn't take a picture. The Hubs did a good job grilling it for me. And roma tomatoes are the best tomatoes. I can't eat the regular ol' garden tomato. I am a tomato snob. And with cheddar. I am a slight cheese snob, too.

      And on a serious note -
      I am knocking on a figurative door.  I need prayer that the door would slam in my face or that I would have peace to walk through it if it opens. Or that God would open in even better, more obvious door soon would be excellent, too.

      Speaking of doors, Bubby is obsessed with the closet doors. Always has been.  And the shoes that are inside. He usually just likes to take them all out and then put (some of) them back.  Today he put on daddy's shoes.

      I just happened to have my camera handy because I was taking pictures of Bugaboo in the mirror since out my bazillion pictures of him, I don't have  many mirror ones.

      Here's a few more cute pictures of my kids because I am that mom who posts way too many pictures on facebook and Shutterfly and her blog because family doesn't live near us. Not even Me and Chow any more.  We are family-less here. Who wouldn't want to live by these adorable faces? (cough cough guilt trip cough)