Monday, December 27, 2010

Popping In

So.   We had a great Christmas day.  We celebrated with family, loved on babies, and apparently Jack learned to do a full fledged running tackle on his cousin, who luckily is also all boy and thinks routinely getting flattened by a 25 pound one year old is hilarious. He refrained from tackling his cousin Bella, but he did hit her in the head with a toy broom.  Twice.  It was an accident, we think he might have been trying to brush her hair.

I have pictures. Oh so many pictures, but right now I am still recovering from all the peanut butter balls I ate tonight at my grandmothers house (because in this family, Christmas doesn't end on the 26th) and trying to find a home for all the amazing gifts we were given by our families.

I promise to be back to regular posting soon, but until then, here are a few things for you.

1. Jack's birthday party is being featured at Party Like a Kid.  Hop on over to check it out!

2.  I am guest posting at Mountain Mum on the 28th.  And since it is about ten'o'clock on the 27th, most of you won't see this until tomorrow anyway!

3.  Our niece Addison was born on the 22nd.  She is beautiful and sweet and smells just perfect. 


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Big Helper

I apologize for my absence in the last few days, I'd like to say I have a good reason, but the truth is I just have been having a ton of fun during the busy pre-holiday days with Jack and Matt, and haven't even turned my laptop on for two days. 

So, in bullet form, here are a few updates. Most important update is at the bottom! SCROLL DOWN!!

-We finally got a pretty dusting of snow, and while it melted off the next day, it was cute to see Jack see snow. He was here for the snowfalls of last year, but he was only a few months old and really wasn't aware of them. 
-Jack has also discovered the joy of helping me fold laundry.  Despite the fact that this makes the folding process take much longer, seeing his little smile as he throws random socks onto the couch while he says 'help' is totally worth the time it takes to refold everything.
-Jack got called a girl yesterday.  Am I wrong in thinking that he totally looks like a boy?

- Matt had his last day of school today, so he is home until January 3rd! I'm so glad he has a job that gives him time off like teaching does.  It is great to know that he will never have to work over a holiday.

- I never showed you our tree, and after a three hour excursion to find the darned thing, I really have to show it off.  Do you see that nice, unlit patch right in the middle? For some reason we have two strands of lights that randomly come on and off, and not in the blinking way, it's more like on for a week, off for three days, on for a day, off for two days.  Very strange, but...honestly? It figures.
- Also, Bruce the Blue Spruce is getting into the holiday spirit.
- Last, but certainly not least, MY SISTER-IN-LAW IS IN LABOR.  Like...right now, she is in the hospital, having their second baby girl.  Addison should be here soon, very very soon, and we can't wait to meet her! Please pray for Liz as she powers through labor as only she can! And also for the rest of the family, as they prepare to meet the newest little one, who will no doubt be just as beautiful as her big sister, Izabella.
Photo courtesy of Trinity.
Phew.  So..that about catches me up.  Now...I need to go catch up on all of you!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

A Man of Many Faces

Mornings with Jack are one of my favorite times of the day.  He looks around with wonder at the same things that he saw yesterday, but to him, they are just the best things ever.  That ball that he threw under the couch last night? A treasure waiting to be found in the morning.  The dog? His best friend in the world.  The Spongebob balloon we got him at the Dollar Store?  A-mazing.

He makes the funniest little faces, and as he grows and changes I find myself needing to document those faces.  Especially the beauty of his tiny little lips.  My goodness are those kissable or what?
Those faces were all made within about 30 seconds or so.  I so want to know what he is thinking.

And don't even get me started on the eyebrows! Just like Matts.
Oh my bleedin' heart can't take it!

Thank you all very much for the prayers for my dad.  We went over to see him last night, he is doing well.  Today he said he is sore, but fine. 

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

My Dad

Today, actually right now, my dad is having surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff in his shoulder. We would all really appreciate your prayers.  Even though this is not a major surgery, and he will be home tonight, I am still having some 'My Daddy is having surgery' fears.

He is a tough guy(you can read about his run-in with a jet-ski here if you need proof), but he isn't great at following doctor's orders to refrain from physical activity following his surgeries.  So, DAD, here is the mess up your shoulder, and I'm sending Jack over to lay down the law.  Trust me...he is bossy, you DO NOT want that.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Stream of Thought

And by stream of thought, I really mean stream of urine. You'll see. It involves two out of the three in this photo.

Friday night, we couldn't find Jaco's leash anywhere in the house.  He is pretty good at staying close when we take him out, so we weren't overly concerned about it, and Matt took him outside to go potty quickly before we went to bed.

Matt came inside with his 'something bad just happened' eyes, and Jaco sheepishly trailed in behind him.

'He peed on the lights!'  Matt whispered.

'What lights?'

'The neighbors lights around the light pole.'

Oh, no big deal, I thought.  We don't typically let him relieve himself on other people's things, but it happens once in a blue moon, and since it's outdoors and it rains regularly...I figured it would be okay,

'They all blew out!  There was a pop and they were all gone.' Matt told me.  Not just the light pole lights, but EVERY SINGLE OUTSIDE LIGHT they had put up was out.

We went back and forth between going over right then and fessing up, or just hoping that the lights came back on.  The next day Matt and Brandon (our brother-in-law) pulled off a covert reset-the-breaker operation and voila! The lights are back.

Fast forward to last night, and mid diaper change, Jack wrestled himself away from me, toddled over to the wooden manger scene we have out for him to play with, and christened the whole shebang, looked down, and said 'Behbeh' like, oh look...I just peed on Baby Jesus. 

Lesson learned? I have no idea.  But I'm keeping my eye on Matt, this inappropriate urination location disease might be catching.

Monday, December 13, 2010

That's the Power of Love

My friend Beth posted a video on her blog today, and I was so excited to see it! Why you might ask? Well, because that tall drink of water on the bass?  That would be my husband!

This was a few weeks ago at church for Married Life Live...a fun night out for couples! Are they awesome or are they awesome?!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

The Living Manger

Saturday night we took Jack to a living nativity set up in barn not too far away.  Between the three wise women, the tin foil helmets of the Roman soldiers, the shepherd girl with braces, and baby Jesus sporting a pink striped sleeper and a yellow pacifier, we were charmed.  It may not have been what one would call historically accurate, but it did make me think.
 As I walked through with my son wrapped in a blanket on top of his coat, snuggled in his bear hat and mittens, I couldn't help but think of Mary.  Can you imagine?  Giving birth in a stable?  Bringing your tiny, vulnerable baby boy into this world in a place full of animals?  When I had Jack, I don't think I let anyone within 3 feet of him if they hadn't basically bathed in hand sanitizer.  And if you had a cold?  Oh heck no, get out.  
Jack thought this was a 'dog' and started woofing at it, and got so excited that he grabbed onto the edge of the pen and wouldn't let go.  As I tugged his little hand away, I wondered if he had picked up any weird little lamb germs, and if I should wipe him down with a baby wipe.  How must Mary have felt, laying her newborn in a manger that animals had been eating out of only minutes before? 
So, despite the fact that Mary sported her glasses in the stable, or that 'Jesus' wore a Winnie the Pooh hat, it did make me think of the story of Christmas with a new outlook.  I guess I have heard the story so many times that I romanticize it a little (or maybe a lot, contractions while riding on a donkey? Oh heck no).

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


Before Lois Lane came along, before Lex Luther started causing a ruckus, The Man of Steel spent many a happy morning reading with his mommy.
Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Remember Pearl Harbor

On this day in 1941, my grandfather woke up in his barracks at Pearl Harbor to the sound of explosions.  He looked out his window to see the rising sun emblem on the side of a plane and knew that something was horribly wrong.
 The next day the United States entered World War 2.   69 years later it is all too easy to forget.  

Monday, December 6, 2010

The Parade

We had such a great time on Saturday, I wish you all could have been there! We were slightly disappointed by the parade this year, it seemed kind of unorganized, which was surprising because this event typically rocks.  But even that couldn't scare away our good time.
 My boys were spell bound, at least for a while.  Eventually all Jack really wanted to do was climb up and down the curb while holding Daddy's had.
Right after I took this photo I saw a man knelt down taking pictures of Matt and Jack.  He stood up, explained that he was from The Washington Post, and interviewed Matt on his feelings about the Kiltie Society of Alexandria passing a new law stating that men must wear underwear when wearing a kilt.  If you could have seen Matt's face when the man went on to ask what Matt was sporting under his kilt! Oh boy! Wouldn't you like to know mister!
Ahem...anyway. As I was saying...we liked the parade.

The city of Alexandria dons it's finest for Christmas and boy to they know how to do it up right!  There are no blowup Santa snowglobes to be found, no Santa legs sticking haphazardly out of chimneys here and there. 
I always leave with a bunch of new ideas to try, but I never actually get around to trying them! For instance...this was outside!
They had hung bunches and bunches of Christmas tree ornaments from their windows, and it was just so pretty and festive.  And oh hey look!
Actually, that is one of the only pictures that I got of myself there.  Matt and I had grand plans of getting a cute family photo taken, but, well...Jack was mostly doing this every time we picked him up.
Oh well. Still a great time! Also, I have to show off this picture even though my mom is going to be livid.
Isn't she just beautiful?  She needed a recent photo because the young lady she donated her kidney to will be holding it when she is in the Rose Parade on January 1st!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Jack and the Stomach Bug

Well, as I mentioned before, Jack seems to have come down with some kind of little stomach bug.  We took him to the doctor on Tuesday, and it is something that just needs to run it's course.  He is definitely on the mend though.  His fever is gone, but he is still creating some pretty foul diapers, if you know what I mean. 

But.  We can rally. 

This weekend is the Annual Scottish Walk in Alexandria, and barring an unforeseen yuckiness with Jack's little tummy, we will be there with kilts on! Well...the boys will be there with kilts on, I will be wrapped in a blanket, holding a hot cup of coffee, because it's December and COLD.  I am a little flummoxed by how to dress Jack. I'm thinking lots of layers, with his snowsuit, blankets, and jacket along for when he is in his stroller?

I gotta admit, I am really excited! We missed last year because Jack was only a 4 weeks old and it seemed unwise to try to brave the elements with a newborn.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Candy Cane Rag Garland DIY

'Cause it's my birthday, and because I really like the way this project turned out...I'm sending a tutorial your way today!

I have always harbored a love of rag garlands, but they look kind of intimidating to a girl who can basically make a bobbin pop right out of a sewing machine with a single glance.  So much fabric must involve sewing right? actually.  I looked closer at one in a store not too long ago and oh, hey! Rags = frayed edges, which in turn means no sewing.  So, I rummaged in my basement once again to see what I could come up with, and found a stained tablecloth, and an old pair of red yoga pants that may or may not have had words across the bum.  (Seriously...why was that ever a good idea?).

I avoided the whole 'red and green' color scheme simply because my drapes are a light greenish color, and I didn't want to clash too horribly.

I started cutting strips about 8 inches long and 1 inch wide, then when I had two considerable piles of rags, I started knotting.
I knotted then in different directions on a long piece of jute, and since I wanted my garland to have a little bit of a striped effect, I used 4 white strips, then 2 red, and just repeated the pattern until I had a long enough garland.

Now...I think this garlands rightful home is draped along a mantel, but we do not have a mantel in this house, so I draped ours over the door, which I still loved!
It was so easy, and I didn't pay a penny for any of the supplies! Not a bad deal if you ask me!

Monday, November 29, 2010

A Griswold Family Christmas Tree

Determined to make this Christmas tree excursion the best yet, Matt had been going back and forth between tree farms for weeks. You guys, I married Clark Griswold.  We debated a hay ride, cut your own, precut, pointy needles, soft needles, dark green, blueish green, etc. He finally settled on one tree farm he had only heard of, and around 11:00 AM we headed off to fetch our tree.

We drove, and we drove...then we got lunch (during which our car got bumped in the parking lot and now has a chipped bumper), and we drove a little more.  But still, no tree farm was in sight.  Finally, around 2:00  (as in THREE HOURS LATER) we gave up and settled on the only tree source we could find...a grocery store 5 minutes from our house.   That'll teach us to forget the GPS.

We walked the aisles with Jack, looking for the perfect tree.  We found it pretty quickly, but turned around to stop Jack from walking under the tree displays.
Note the sweaty head from several hours in the car.
 As we got Jack, two men came, picked up the tree we had chosen, and promptly walked up to pay for it.  It was just too funny in an ironic I can't believe that just happened kind of way. Dudes swiped the tree right out from under our noses!

We quickly found another one...strapped it to the roof of our car before someone else could grab it, and headed home. 
We (and clearly by we I mean Matt) brought the tree inside, and started the decorating process.

Unfortunately, right around this time Jack developed diarrhea, as well as a 101 degree fever.  Ya know...because the day had gone so smoothly up until that point.

He is a trooper though, after a nap, a few minutes of The Wiggles, and a round of Pedialyte, he couldn't help but be awed by the eight foot wonder in his living room.  He helped Daddy string the lights...
 ...and he helped Mommy put out more decorations.
And then?  Then he decorated the tree.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

It's the Holiday Season

I am rousing myself from my turkey induced slumber to check in, however briefly.  We had a busy but great holiday, and since Matt has off tomorrow for break we are celebrating my birthday a little early with my usual gift.  Every year he asks me what I want, and every year I tell him the same go get our Christmas tree!  The stockings are hung, just waiting patiently for the rest of the decorations to join them.
I just love the feel of picking the perfect tree (even though it usually turns out about 8 inches too tall), strapping it to the roof of the car, hauling it through the front door, and finally decorating it as it's heady scent fills the house.  I am super excited for this year's tree because it is the first time Jack will really notice it.  Last year he was a little...well, little.  I'll admit though, I am still trying to figure out the logistics of keeping a rambunctious toddler away from the most interesting thing in the room.  Any advice?  Please?

Are you starting to decorate for the holidays yet?

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


1: the act of giving thanks
2: a prayer expressing gratitude
3: a public acknowledgment or celebration of divine goodness

I have a lot to be thankful for these days.  A wonderful family, a loving husband, a beautiful child, an understanding support system,  a slightly braindead but still cute dog, food on the table, a roof over our heads...the list is unending, really.

And I still struggle to remember this on a daily basis.    I get caught up in the dishes, and the laundry and the oh-my-gosh did you really just spill your juice again? and I forget to say a prayer of thanks.  I don't write about it here, but my childhood had some really rough patches, and I know that I am so blessed to have ended up where I am today. But do I remember to thank God?  Rarely.  (I deleted that sentence twice, because I don't really want to be honest, but I know that I need to be.)

"Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever." Psalm 107:1

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you, I hope that you are remembering your blessings, no matter how small or large they may be. 

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Rundown

Our weekend was great, but like all weekends do, it went way too fast.  Friday evening we went out to dinner with my family, then headed to the store to fill our shoe boxes for Samaritan's Purse Operation Christmas Child.  It is such a cool idea, and such an easy way to make a child's Christmas just a little brighter.  If you haven't checked it out yet I urge you to follow the link and read all about it.

Saturday we got up bright and early, dropped Jack off with my Dad and Ann, and excitedly headed up to the Imax theater to see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.  Oh yes, we are THAT dorky.  We even got there an hour early to insure a good seat.  But, um...we MAY have overestimated the dorky-ness of other people...because this was the line when we showed up...

In other words - there was no line.  Only my siblings, their other halves, and Matt and I.  Eventually other people did show up and the line made it to the corner, but we probably could have saved ourselves a few frozen toes and come a few minutes later.

Still, it was SO fun, of course we all loved the movie.  Except for maybe Brandon, who kept asking who Valdavore was and why his nose looked like that (He meant Voldemort for all you other Potter nerds).

Sunday was the Thanksgiving service at our church, and you guys, it was amazing.  And so encouraging for me right now.  Our church does something called cardboard testimonies, and their impact is just incredible. Here is the video...

We also dropped of our aforementioned shoebox, and it was amazing to see the generosity as the gifts piled up.  Think about all the smiles those simple boxes will bring this holiday season.
After church we headed out to my Dad's house for lunch, where Jack serenaded us with a beautiful piece on the piano.

It was too cute.  He would stop playing, point to the music until someone turned the page for him, then continue banging away on the keys.

I think he will have his Daddy's musical talent (of which I have NONE by the way, as you may remember from this post, so hopefully he inherited that from Matt!).

How was your weekend?

Friday, November 19, 2010

What a Week

Jack has come down with one of the worst colds he has ever had, so between the runny nose, the fever, and the rattly little cough we have been doing a lot of this.

While snuggling on the couch with my little love is always fun, I gotta say, this week has been long and draining.  I'm looking forward to a weekend (Matt and I are going to a movie! First time since I was seven months pregnant!).

We will be back next week, hopefully healthier and happier! 

Later 'gators.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

My Village

You know that oft quoted saying 'It takes a village to raise a child'? Well, not only do I think that is very true, but I think it can be taken a step farther to say 'It takes a village to raise a mother'.  And you guys? You are a big part of my 'village'. 

After I published my last post, I immediately felt doubt.  I contemplated just deleting it, because I felt like I was such an anomaly for feeling this way, that other people don't feel like this.  I quickly shut my laptop, because I honestly just felt like if I deleted it, that was letting my feelings take control again, and publishing it was kind of my way of giving anxiety the ol' middle finger. 

About 15 minutes later I folded, I was going to delete it before any 'damage' was done, before you found out I was flawed. I logged in, and you, my village, had already stepped up big time.  I had no idea so many of you would share your stories with me.  I received comments, emails, Facebook messages...and I feel so much better.

Not necessarily anxiety-wise, that is definitely still here.  I mean I feel like I took a step in the right direction there, but I feel like I am not so alone.  I'm still weird, sure, but I've got you, my village.  I have been incredibly blessed with a wonderful real-life support base of women who teach me and share with me, and I feel like I have been doubly blessed to have so many women that I have never even met who are willing to share their stories and their advice with me.

Matt and I are still looking into counseling options through his employer, and are also looking into options through our church (which, duh, somehow I didn't even think of until Flamingo Mama mentioned it).
We decided to hold off on the medication, at least for now.  Years ago, I used to look at medication as a crutch, but then I got to thinking and really, what is a crutch for?  To help you walk until you are healthy enough to do it on your own.  Right now, I feel that, with a some guidance, I can walk on my own.  If I find that I can't, then I will explore that option further. 

I guess this is my way of trying to say thank you for something I really can't even express, and one week from today, when we gather around the table to gorge ourselves on turkey and stuffing, you better believe I will be saying a prayer of thanks this village.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

I am a Fake

A Fraud.  A Failure. 

Let me start by saying, I have always been a worrier.  I just have.  I was a nervous kid, and I am a nervous adult, and when I have said on here that I am shy, that is an understatement.  However, in the year since Jack was born, it's been worse.  It started to get better, but then we found out that our house was basically poisoning us, and ever since, I just really have been having some trouble.

I am scared.  All the time.  And I don't mean nervous.  I am straight up terrified that everything is going to fall apart right in front of my face.  I feel like everything I am doing, I am doing it wrong.  I am scared because I don't know what is in the walls, in the air.  I can't protect my son, or my husband, or even myself. 

I didn't write about it, because I didn't want it to be a real problem.  I have been telling myself that this is just a phase, a season of life, that it will resolve itself.   That I will get better, but it has been a year, and I am not getting better.  In fact, if I had to choose, I would say I am getting worse.  I can't really fall asleep, and when I do I wake up sweating because I don't know how we would get Jack out of his room if there was a fire (etc. etc,).

I have written about my struggles with depression in the past, and this?  This is not depression.  It's anxiety or something.  I am incredibly happy, if that makes sense.  So happy that I am afraid it will all be taken away from me in the blink of an eye.  I don't deserve this happiness (and yes, I do realize how flawed my logic is here, but I can't seem to rationalize my way through this one).

I finally worked up the courage to call the doctor, and to be honest, I am incredibly disappointed at how the appointment went.  I tried to explain how I was feeling, but I felt like she thought I was just another crazy person.  Her, with her eyebrows raised as I tried to explain that I get dizzy until I realize that I, inexplicably, have been holding my breath randomly.   She asked me some questions, and I told her that I would rather go to some form of counseling or therapy, with medication being a secondary option.  She seemed fine with this, but then wrote me a prescription she said would be fine with breastfeeding, then left.  No referral to a counselor, no actual diagnosis, and I have no idea where to start. 

I picked up my prescription, and right on the back it says not to take it if you are breastfeeding. I asked the pharmacist, who looked it up and said that according to her information, that drug is potentially toxic in breastmilk. we are.  I am willing to wean Jack if that is the only way I can be the best mom and wife that I can be, but I, with my limited knowledge and resources, have already found two other drugs that are deemed safe for breastfeeding infants and will be calling the doctor back tomorrow, and we will also be calling the counseling services offered through Matt's employer. 

This post is awkward, and jumbled.  And not nearly as eloquent as I would like it to be, but this is where I am.  Sitting at my laptop, staring at a little brown pill bottle, tears running down my face. 

I hate that I can't pull myself out of this on my own. 

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Skinny Jeans

Please take note of the fact that my son is wearing slim cut jeans (I have been calling them his 'skinny jeans' but Matt isn't a huge fan of that term).  And yes...his legs are rather short in comparison to his big ol' belly!  I could have just stared at his bod in those pants for hours, but unfortunately all he really wanted to do was eat that rock you see him holding.
This isn't much of a post, I know, but I am feeling a bit under the weather.  I am in a bit of a funk today, so unless you want to read a post in which I rant about how angry my hair makes me, I think I will just leave it at a cute picture of my kid.  I'm not sick, I think I am just overwhelmed.  I either need to yank myself out of it, or...something.

Oh P.S. voting ends Monday at midnight, so this is the last time you will have to hear me beg shamelessly for your votes! I promise.

What is your remedy for a funky day?

Friday, November 12, 2010

Attack of the Cousin

I had the pleasure of watching my nephew Emerson for a couple of hours this morning while my sister went to an appt. to hear their new baby's heartbeat...did you catch that? MY SISTER IS PREGNANT! Okay, sorry, I have been waiting and waiting for her to make it public and she just did a few minutes ago. 

Ahem...anyway...I say pleasure because, seriously, when these two are together it is actually easier than just one at a time.  They play together, they wrestle, they read books, it is adorable.

Emerson is nine months older than Jack, so while he has the upper hand in dexterity and attitude, Jack is a bruiser and has the upper hand in brute strength.   The running joke in my family is that when they are older Emerson will get them into trouble, and Jack will get them out.

Today, we built a fort, and the boys had a good old fashioned throw-down with some pillows and a blanket.
 What started out as relatively low key book reading, quickly turned into this:
No babies were harmed in the making of this photo strip.
I had to laugh when I transferred the pictures from my camera to my computer and found this little gem, I think it really does a good job of capturing their relationship.


And that, folks, was our morning! High energy, but lots of fun.

Also, just a little is still open for the Mommy Blog Awards! Hmm..okay well the button below is only going to the main category page, so if you are looking for Country Mouse Tales we are under 'Stay at home Mommy Blogs'.

Thanks to those of you who have already voted!

Have a great weekend! 

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