Sunday, February 19, 2012

the red & pink dinner: what selfishness steals

 This year on the fourteenth, I was remembering two things in a big way with a very full heart:

1)  How much God has brought us through in the past year.  So much darkness and pain and fear.  He carried.  Last year when I wrote about love being more than red tissue paper my world was literally crumbling around me as I watched my husband's struggle to cope with his own grief and his own inability to save the world.   Someday. . . I'll be brave enough to spill it all out here.  But for now. . . my heart overflows with gratefulness to a God that is real and cares and rescues.  I have lived some of the darkest moments I could have imagined and at the end of that tunnel as well as the middle He is faithful and true.

2) Last year on the fourteenth, I went to Walgreens and bought one of those pink little $7.99 boxes that tell you that  life is going to change and another little person is on the way.  I cannot even begin to describe all of the emotion and anguish that went into those moments. . .  I did get pulled over on my way home from the drugstore by a nice officer from the MPD.  Good grief, I have so many unfortunate incidents with speed limits and my husband's colleagues.  They're so nice to me.  (Or maybe nice to Daniel.) 

February 2011 was a surreal mixture of hope and despair for me.

And this year I remember and ache with thankfulness that the despair didn't stay, that God is continuing to give hope and purpose to our days.
We tried to get a sitter for the red and pink holiday but our fave was under the weather with the flu and *call it old-married-itis* but we just didn't care that much.  Both of us are neurotically paranoid about leaving Eli right now and let's face it, romantic dinner out on the town + carseat, burp cloths, nursing, and baby giggles is just not a great combo.

And it doesn't matter.  

Maybe I am finally growing up?  I cringe to remember the hoops my poor man jumped through to dazzle his new bride and the unreal expectations I had.  Oh the selfishness our society promotes.  Oh how the poor guys can never measure up. 

At any rate, this was one of my brighter less selfish years and it turned out to be pretty amazing.

I sent the kids & Daniel brown paper bag invitations tied up with pink crepe paper:
Valentine Dinner 
our house
must wear red or pink
and did my best to transform our dining room into Restaurant H.  I stole Cambria's shell chandelier out of her room and managed to hang it over the table (very very cool effect:  now I want one in every room). 
And there were red construction paper place mats and real goblets and conversation candy hearts and menus:

Welcome to Restaurant H

Triple Layer Pizzeria Pepperoni
(in a heart shape)

Breadsticks Parmesan & Marinara

Choice of Drinks:

Cherry Soda or Sweetest Tea 

Dessert Menu:

Leave-it-to-Beaver Chocolate Chip Cookies & Milk

I didn't have time to run errands so I just made dinner out of what I had in the fridge.  It worked. No salad or greens was a little weird, but I think it only bothered me.  

Jacob, ever aware of trends:  "Dad, did you know that Happy Joes is even delivering heart shaped pizzas tonight?"

Cambria came to the table in a pink turtleneck dress with pink bracelets and a pink necklace and an awful lot of pink eyeshadow from a play make-up kit. 

I grabbed my standby black dress and tied a pink ribbon on my boring hairdo - voila waitress/hostess Hayley.  {I told the kids I wished I would have remembered my nametag from my receptionist days at the CPC Pregnancy Resources center; would have looked more official.  JD:  "We can imagine it on you, Mom."}

Oh such a fun dinner.  Something is very magical about changing up the ordinary.

And we even had a jukebox, something that intrigues the kids every.single.time we eat at the Texas Roadhouse.  *If you ever need a jukebox, Spotify is a fabulous stand-in.  The kids got to make requests and we had a pretty sweet playlist.

Oh How He Loves Us
(David Crowder)

O the Deep Deep Love of Jesus
(2nd Chapter)

What Love Really Means
(JJ Heller)

I Will Be Here
(Steven Curtis Chapman)

Still the One
(Shania Twain)

I told Cambria and Jacob that the very first time Daniel twirled me all the way around in a circle, we were seeing each other after months apart and

looks like we made it

look how far we've come my baby

they said we'd never make it

but just look at us holding on

still together

still going strong

 still the one i run to

the one that I belong to

still the one i want for life

was blaring over the airport sound system.

(Poor TSA agents.)

I happened to glance at Cambria's face and her eyes were shining.  I was caught off guard by her interest.  Oh. . . what a feeling to know that your mommy and daddy love each other.  I think of all of the yuckiness and the mundane that she hears out of my mouth and I resolve that she will hear more of this, more of the love stuff.

In the joy of preparing beauty for my children and my man I actually forgot about myself

and lo and behold I got surprised too.

They had little packages for me, lovingly wrapped in brown paper sacks.

50 tea light candles (from Jacob)

Triple Berry (think pink) candle (from Cambria)

gorgeous roses from my man

a card that they all signed 


and Jacob Daniel

and Cambria 

and Gabe

and Eli

and seeing all of those precious names and knowing my husband knows my heart so well. . . yep, the tears overflowed.

Tears because they love me so much;

Tears because God is so good;

Tears because of all the years my selfishness ruined and stole moments like these;

Tears because I have been given so so so much;

Tears because he loves me so much.

Best February 14th ever. 

*And FYI, you don't have to go out on the town to love your man.  You knew that, though.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

attempted sunday restfulness

 Ahhh. . . . Sunday afternoons.

I love them.  If Daniel is home I usually escape to the library and lose myself in the labyrinth of books and hushed voices.  (What are hushed voices?  I don't hear those very often.)

Today is a Sunday afternoon sans Daniel so  I gotta create my own respite.  I poured myself some coffee and even though my screen keeps getting covered up every two minutes by the American Girl Doll catalogue {"Mom, look at this one.  This is the one that has a tipi."}  I'm hoping to log some moments and quotes from the week that I don't want to forget. 

For Cambria, each day begins with the crisis of what to wear.  On Tuesday, I heard her muttering to herself as she stuffed something back in her drawer, "Well, can't wear that cuz Clare's gonna be there."  I never did find out why that mattered, but a bigger problem was her choice of outfit for gym class on Friday.  Polka dot dress + Cambria - leggings or bloomers + tumbling + exasperated, judgemental glances at me from the instructors = bad mom moment for the week.

JD is always thinking deeply.  It is disturbing sometimes, especially to someone like me who doesn't tend to take life too seriously.  Yesterday:  "Dad,  I have just been wondering this.  Does Satan smoke?"  I laughed out loud which didn't help Daniel respond with the gravity the question required, I'm sure. 

Other thoughts from Jacob:

"Is there a word made with only vowels?  No, I don't mean "I" and "A", I mean with several vowels, Mom."

*standing on stairway after being tucked in for the night* "Mom.  Hi.  Do anteaters eat ants?  That question has just been sitting in my head."

To Cambria:  "Be careful when you swim in Hawaii.  I've heard there are killer whales there." 

He delights in keeping tabs on current events, news and weather, and then name dropping.  This is hilarious to me because he usually gets something wrong.  Cases in point:  Justin Biever, Nitt Romney and Moot Gingrich are a few recent goof-ups.

Today, riding the wave of my praise for good behavior, he tried for some further brownie points:  "Mom, I don't really enjoy watching videos anymore.  I just like playing with craft popsicle sticks and being creative."  {This smacks of the smashingly popular "Homeschool Ryan Gosling" to me.}

 Cambria is reaching for one of these little yummies;  I made them yesterday for a snow tubing get-together at our local midwest ski lodge  mountain  resort  hill. I think I did something wrong to the caramel, because it was crunchy instead of chewy but other than that they are pretty addictive.

Speaking of Cambria. . . I feel so tested as a mom by her style of learning and her needs right now.  She is so sensitive and if not handled correctly and gently, quickly becomes pouty.  She needs so much cuddling and time and love and endless reading of books.  She wants so bad to be with me.  If I start make supper I find myself wincing as I hear the inevitable scccr-scraping of pulling a chair up to the counter. 

Why do I brace myself for it?  I asked Daniel one day as I found myself clenching my teeth while giving instructions to stir and be careful and not to "lick and stick" fingers.  I should be rejoicing to have a little girl who wants to help me and wants to be near me.

There are all sorts of reasons for my exasperation (the main one of course, being sin)  but what it all boils down to for me is my selfish heart.  My friend Wendi wrote about this humanness on Thursday and helped me feel less alone.   I am not the only mamma who feels so inadequate to reach and meet all of these needs.

I  am off to try and win over the unending laundry battle;  then off to surprise my man by showing up at his Financial Peace University class.  [He's been requesting that I come.  I said no.  I said absolutely no.  I said I don't have time for one more Dave Ramsey class.  This week I've been -once again- humbled by my own selfishness and the grace of God in my life.  A tiny bit of unselfishness is not going to hurt me.  So I told the kids I was going to show up at his class today and not to tell Daddy and there might not be childcare for them today so would they be okay playing with the iPad and sitting quietly?  Jacob:  "Oh, sure, Mom.  Actually I have always wanted to sit in on an FPU class."]

*** news flash.  just talked to Daniel and he isn't going.  Grrreat.  That means that I have to come up with another Valentine's Day gift for him. Ha ha ha.  Although I am glad I found out.  Showing up at his class with three children and no Daniel would be an even greater exercise in unselfishness and grace.  ***

Well. . . the laundry hasn't changed plans, it's still patiently waiting for me. 

Thursday, February 9, 2012

February Thoughts

 So I made a coffee filter wreath.  It was really easy; basically just poking coffee filters into a foam wreath with the end of a small paint brush.  I used a whole package of 4 cup size filters (accidentally bought by me. . . . who in the world would bother making only 4 cups of coffee?).
 It's cute if I have the front door open. . .
but since we can see through our glass door I should have put more filters on the back so that you don't see the green foam.  I should do that soon.  Someday.  Before I take the wreath down.  Time, time, where art thou? 

Looking at the above pictures make me want to change the paint color in our living room.  I've been toying with the grey idea.  And the next minute I feel exhausted by the idea of painting and decide that tan is fine.  Sometimes I wonder where the girl who loved to flip houses went.  (Maybe she is turning thirty?!

You can also see that window on the wall; it's from my mom and dad's farmhouse.  I'm in the middle of wiping off the Christmas song my mom wrote on it, mulling over what I should write on next.  Thinking about this quote:

I will confess

I do not see Who I believe

but I have a choice to make

and I choose to believe

until someday I shall see

(taken from Little Mama's blog)

And then, of course, my Eli. . . oh such joy he is. So many rolls!  Squishing him is. . . like dessert.

 "Hi, Mamma. . . I do believe I've outgrown these 0-3 month onesies."
(could he be any more bald?)
 Game invented by JD & Cambria:  Eli - Eli - O (to the tune of Old MacDonald)
 Oh the endless entertainment of having a sister who does your own personal puppet shows.

"Oh, no.  Seems like I got too many friends!"  (that caption courtesy of JD)

 This little hat (I bought it from this Etsy shop for $12) just never gets old.  I think it's the cutest baby thing I've ever bought.
 I'm in the middle of this book right now. . . so thankful that God gives me grace; how often I fall short in giving grace to my children.  This has been a refreshing read for me.  Many parenting books leave me overwhelmed with "things to do" and "ground I've lost."  Dr. Kimmel's approach is hopeful and uplifting.  I love how he applies this passage on grace to parenting.  I've never read Titus 2:11-14 through "mommy lenses" but I'm glad I have now!

For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men.

It teaches us to say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and teaches

us to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age,

while we wait for the blessed hope - the glorious appearing of our great God

and Savior, Jesus Christ, Who gave Himself for us to redeem us from

all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are His very own,

eager to do what is good.

Underneath the busy and the crazy, I struggle to find the balance between life and actually living,

between being married and having a marriage,

between housekeeping and making a home,

the balance between caring for my children and loving my man.

(If I ever find the secret, I'll be sure to pass it on.)