Saturday, January 31, 2009

Family day

So, with the big guy back home again, we decided to do a little family day together...mainly because we needed to get some good feelings between us flowing again. For some reason, we inevitably get into a fight 3.5 seconds after he comes in the door from a trip. I think it's because of the expectations. I've cleaned the house, cleaned myself (that's huge right there...and this time I had the new rollers to top it off!) and usually stocked up on food he likes. So, if any kind of criticism comes out of his mouth...whatsoever...I'm crushed and devestated. Granted, I can get crushed and devestated pretty easily, but it happened. Then, because I had pictured a totally romantic happy reunion, if things don't go as planned, I can't recover. It's ridiculous, I know. But that's me. get the good loving feelings flowing again...we went on a family date.

Downtown Oak Park never disappoints. It's just a few minutes away from us on good ol' 290 West, and there is one beautiful thing in this neighborhood that we never get in the parking. That's right. There are actual spots to put your actual car. We love that. We also love...
Gepetto's Toy Box, which I mentioned back around Christmas time, because it has all these wonderful naturally/non-plastic/non-battery-operated toys. And the people are really nice, and even if you buy a tiny $10 toy, they wrap it up all pretty for you so the recipient of the gift is impressed. This time we were buying for cute little Nora, who is one of our favorite curly-haired sisters that I mentioned back in my tea-party post. Her birthday party is tomorrow. Then, we headed across the street to
New Pot and had a little Pad Kee Mao and Pad Thai. We got the kids sweet and sour chicken but they both kept begging for our noodles. That Pad Kee Mao was REALLY good and had tons of basil in it. Sammy ate most of mine, but what I had of it was good!

After heading back home, we put the kids down for a nap, managed to mend our relationship, and then laid around reading until Claire came up looking for some attention. Sammy also woke up and joined her on our bed. They borrowed this toy princess computer from a friend and it has a game on it where you spell 3-letter words and then the princesses say things like "marvelous" or "splendid" if you spell an actual word. Well, Claire typed in "B-U-T" to which the princess replied: "You spelled Butt....that's lovely!" At least, that's how my kids interpreted it. They laughed so hard Sammy was choking. Repeating this over and over again kept them happy pretty much until dinner. And guess who made dinner! That's right...the big guy himself.
He makes really good's the only thing he cooks, but it's really good. And I had purchased a bunch of good toppings like sundried tomatoes, giardiniera peppers, pepperoni, spinach, and mushrooms (my favorite combo). He made the crust really thin, like I like it, and we were all happy to eat it.
Especially the mommy, who was happy to NOT cook for a night. He even did the dishes afterwards which was a good husband thing to do. I think he decided he loved me again. :)
And, last, but not least, my new laptop came in the mail today!!! Granted, it has no internet access yet, because we are in discussions over whether to get REGULAR wirless access or to take the plunge and get CABLE, which is against his religion (of fuddy duddy-ness). Of course cable would make it all faster, which would be nice. But we'll discuss that later. For now, look at the big nice screen! Claire said to him that it is the "girl's computer" and that he and Sammy would have to use the other one. She said " I can lay in your bed and do!" Could we get any lazier? But I totally know what she means...

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

I Heart Faces....

A few other people whose blogs I have read have been doing this "I heart faces" photography contest thing. You can send in a kid entry and an adult entry. There is a theme each week and this week it's "joy". This evening on the beach last summer captures Sammy in all his joy. The picture isn't perfect because I think they like the face to kinda fill the frame, but it's his face, nonetheless...with his body buried by big sister.

Don't you wish your girlfriend was a freak (thrifter) like me...dontcha?

Well, I did it again. I hit the Salvation Army...hard. I don't know what's with me, but I fantasize about that thrift store. Maybe I have a shopping addiction, but yet it's an affordable one so I'm probably going to keep having it for a while. It is getting me through the boring, cold winter.

I got this sweet stool so that Sammy will stop spitting halfway onto the counter while brushing his teeth. $2
I got this bookshelf which I intend to fill with art supplies and homeschool books. Granted, when I bought it, Sammy was with me so he had to ride in the front seat on the way home so we could fit it in the back. He kept saying to me: "Mom...are we going to get a ticket for me sitting up here? If we get one, can we just rip it up? Let's rip it up mom!" Oh dear. It was $30
I got this cute shirt for myself at $.90
This cute shirt for Claire so she can embrace her inner cow girl. $.90
This shirt for Sam. $2 I think. And, drumroll please...
These hot rollers! I know, I know...grose to buy them at a thrift store but they were new in the package so I figured: "what the heck". And I've been wishing I had big hair again lately. I miss it. Just the smell of these rollers heating up reminds me of beimg 16 again.
I rolled my hair for so many years that it was like going back to an old friend. It tooke me about 2 minutes to get it all up. Then, I did what you are supposed to do and hairsprayed the whole helmet so that it would really stay. Don't act like you don't know what I'm talking about ladies.
And then I got to do this. Look out Farah Fawcett. You have competition now.
Then I made it normal again. Don't worry.
And just so I don't leave you with that bad "big hair" image in your brain, I'll show you the last thing I got at the "SA". It was this American Girl-like doll for $1! She caught my eye because she looked exactly like Claire's Josephina doll. Except, at the time, she had huge matted hair and she was naked and had pen marks on her face. But she cleaned up pretty and we put Josephina's clothes on her and now, Claire says she's Josephina's sister. Not bad for a buck.

Happy thrifting! I gotta get an actual hobby. But what would it be? I don't like anything except drinking coffee and wine...are those hobbies?

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Daddy's gone for the week...

Well, Matt's outta here for the week, so I've got the kiddos every night by myself, which is always a little lonely for all of us. We miss daddy, that big hairy dark guy who plays rowdy stuff and lays in the middle of the living room floor at night while Claire tells him stories and Sam drives trucks on him.

When Matt's gone, I tend to fry stuff. Like, I just pull meat out of the freezer and whatever it is, it gets fried. So, tonight I had these turkey cutlets so they got fried into tiny little turkey nuggets. The kids loved them.

And they especially loved getting to eat their dinner in front of the tv...a big no-no when Matt's home. Don't tell anyone that Sammy's favorite show is Madeline.

Then we busted out some YouTube videos and played a little band. I was supposed to be on drums while Claire sang and Sammy did guitar. This went on for quite a while...poor the guys upstairs (we have students that live above us in the other condo). They must have heard us blasting Cecilia on repeat about a dozen times.

Sammy loves this song because he has a little baby crush on the teacher's daughter, Cecilia, who is coming over for a playdate on Thursday. I think Sammy's practicing some moves so she'll think he's a cool band guy. And yes, I realize that this song is completely inappropriate for small children, but I can't help singing it myself whenever Sammy mentions just gets stuck in my head. I promise that they don't listen to anything else inappropriate.

I tried to Simon-and-Garfunkel Claire up a little bit for a costume, but it ended up a little not-quite-right. Oh well, she doesn't know the difference.

Then we got ready for bed...and now I'm kinda lonely. And I'm cold. I always feel cold when he's out of town. Come back big hairy guy!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Who am I???

Today was going to be my post about having a boy, complete with funny pictures of Sam-Sam, but instead I'm going to share my anxiety attack about life. Lucky you!

Here are the cast of characters which are rolling over and over in my mind trying to fight it out for a winner:

#1: My baby sister's best friend's blog. She has seriously gone to the serious place on Biblical womanhood. Submission, head coverings, bread making, natural child-birth having, staying-at-home, sewing....the works. She also reads a ton of stuff on all these subjects and makes you squirm with her knowledge. She's hardcore. My dad wishes he had a girl like this for his daughter. She's all he tried to teach us. :) I also can identify with her on her all-the-way mentality. I'm like that. I like taking things all-the-way (that's what she said.....oops...sorry). It's hard for me to do things part-way, which is where I feel like I am now. In the middle somewhere. So I'm jealous of her decisiveness in what she believes.

#2: My friends at church. Most of the women at my church work. Most of them work in various ministries, but they work "outside the home". And they are all good mothers too....concerned with their children's hearts and minds and all that. Lots of good stuff there. And they seem to have good marriages too. I'm sensing that since they aren't all together all the time as a family, that the time they do spend together is pretty "quality".

#3: Women from various blogs I've read (and some I've known) who are kinda the perfect stay-at-home mom type. Decorating, cute-clothes-wearing, possibly homeschooling, healthy-dinner-on-the-table moms. It sorta seems to be the new Christian mom way of being the "keeper of the home". I mean, we want to create this good environment for our husband and kids so we obsess about things like nutrition and organic foods, micro-managing our children's education, trying to stay fit and attractive for our husbands and decorating our homes to make it a peaceful haven for our family. For these women, they are often doing this more out of their own preference than because they consider "being home" a Biblical issue. Lots of stay-at-homers nowadays aren't doing it because they feel that they are mandated to. It's more like a backlash against growing up in the 70s and 80s when lots of the women became career moms and their kids (my contemporaries) were shuffled off to daycares or nannies or other childcare agencies. Some of these stay-at-home women are just trying to give their kids the family-oriented childhood that they feel like they missed out on.

#4 Last week I listened to a program called Midday Connection on the Moody radio station. Granted, I didn't hear the whole thing, (I was in the car) but something the women said stood out to me. It was something about how the Titus 2 scripture about women being keepers of the home makes a lot of modern women feel like they need to just be home all the time and the women on the program were sorta challenging that idea. They referenced a book called Ten Lies the Church Tells Women that suggests that when Titus was being written, it wasn't a call for the women to get out of the workplace, (since none of them would have been allowed to work out of the home anyway) so it was actually a way of honoring what women were doing...a way of saying that what they did mattered. It was meant to build women up, not to limit them, because women weren't able to do anything out of the home anyway.

In the Biblical culture, women had so much more that they had to do: beating their clothes on a rock, grinding the grain, baking the bread, working in the fields, living an agricultural lifestyle. "Women in the home" meant women were doing creative and industrial work. Their work had a sense of necessity and contributing to the families livelihood, (whereas, you know, scrapbooking would be what you call a non-necessity). Now, we have this sense that Christian women need to just be home tidying, baking muffins, micro-managing their children's lives, and having each other over for coffee and scrapbooking...the June Cleaver model. And if a woman wants to do that and enjoys that, that's fantastic, but if there are women who are gifted in other areas, they should be free to do that. That was the gist of what I heard in that program anyway.

SOOOOOOOOO....what's a woman to do? I feel like a crazy person that can't decide who she is. I feel like I could jump into any one of these camps at different times (depending on who I'm thinking of or what I'm reading). I want to create a nice home environment; I want to have a close relationship with my kids; I want to homeschool because I like teaching and I think school is boring for a lot of kids. But...I hate crafts (all of them...really, truly) and I'm only so-so at keeping this place clean and organized, and sometimes I want to run away and not be with my family for a few hours. Is that okay?

And I try to order some food from a locally grown organic farm sometimes, but a lot of nights I feel like giving the kids macarroni and cheese and ordering sushi for Matt and myself. And although I really want to make sure I am discipling my own kids so that they will know and love the Lord, I'm also an outside-the-home type who feels like my kids will survive a few mornings a week in preschool so that I can tutor...well, someone else's kids. I guess what I'm saying is that I'm not your "career woman" but I often feel like I don't I fit in with the typical Christian "stay-at-home" model either. This not-fitting-in makes a woman feel very, well....medium.

Well, Claire and Sammy are taking a bath together and I just heard Sammy say "lets pretend I'm nursing". Awesome. Better go.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Having a girl means....

I don't have a teenager yet, or even a pre-teen, so I don't know what exactly to expect from having a daughter during those years (hopefully they'll be less dramatic than my teen years). But so far, having a 5-year-old daughter is delightful. I'm trying to prepare myself for the fact that she will inevitably hate me at some point in her teen years, but honestly I'd rather not think about that now. Right now, I'm enjoying the fun parts of a girl, which for now means:
1. Collecting all that fun American Girl stuff.
I used to think that AG store was ridiculous with it's overpriced tiny doll clothes and moms and daughters who traveled from across the country just to step inside. But then Aunt Rebecca gave us her hand-me-down Josefina doll and now Claire and I go there and "ooh" and "aah" over the cute tiny ice skates and all the other overpriced tiny clothes. Whatever. If you can't beat 'em, you gotta join 'em, right?
2. Dressing up.
Here, you can't really tell, but she is dressed up as Josefina for a little party we went to together. If I dug through my old pictures, I could probably find 1,000 pictures of her dressed up,(usually as a princess or fairy or fairy-princess) because this is another favorite activity around here.
3. Sitting still.
Sammy and I don't do that very often, but with girls you can read and do crafts and color or even just sit for a moment for the sake of sitting. You can also actually take a picture of a little girl because she stays in the frame of the picture for longer than .8 seconds.
4. Emotions
Since I grew up with sisters, I certainly planned on my daughter being "emotional" from time to time. But I didn't know it would start so early! Claire can literally break into sobs without any warning. In this picture she's crying because I had just said that I didn't feel like walking upstairs to get her Hello Kitty toothpaste, so she would have to use Sammy's spaceship toothpaste. If I had known she was going to have an emotional breakdown over that, I probably would have gotten the friggin' toothpaste...but the tears came so fast and with no warning!
5. Toe and Nail polish
I tried to suggest to Claire that although mommies can wear bright red on their toes, pink is a better color for little girls. But after one of the above-mentioned emotional breakdowns on her part, I "compromised". I mean "caved". I'm in for it, aren't I?
6. Tons and tons of coloring.
My daughter can pump out about 150 pictures a day. Sometimes I leave her at home with Matt for the morning when he's working from home so that I can get some errands done. When I leave, she's coloring; when I get home, still coloring. In this picture, you will notice that I am huge. In fact I'm much bigger than Matt even. Hmmm...
7. Babies
Claire has loved babies of all shapes and sizes since the moment she could hold a toy in her hand. We have cloth babies, plastic babies, caucasian babies, african-american babies, babies that pee, babies that drink from a bottle, babies that open and close their eyes, babies from grandma, naked-and-moldy-inside babies from garage sales, babies that go into the bath, etc, etc, etc. And, of course, we have all the stuff that goes with babies like strollers, clothes, cribs, diapers, pacifiers, potties, etc. etc. etc. Claire takes her baby playing very seriously.
8. Hairdos
Every morning, we have to braid Claire's hair so it will be out of her face. But sometimes we switch it up and do two braids or ponytails, or two braids hooked together in the back, or two braids with a hat. The possibilities are endless. I like doing her hair. It's kinda like having my own real doll to experiment on. Except, occasionally, tangly morning hair leads to having a hard time brushing through it, and we end up with another emotional breakdown. But isn't she precious?! I love her so much.
Claire: Please, please, please don't ever grow up and be a teenager! I'm enjoying this time where I can fix most of the little problems that come up in your little life. I don't want you to ever feel embarassed or broken hearted or self-conscious or betrayed! Just stay a little girl, ok?

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Sneaky Sam...

So, last Thursday Matt went to basketball, and I prepared to go into a tv coma for the night. I don't watch much since we get about 4 channels, but on Thursday nights, I spend a half hour adjusting the bunny-ears antenna on my television, pour a glass of wine, and retire to my bedroom to watch Grey's Anatomy, The Office, and Thirty Rock. This is tricky because they are on at the same time on different channels, and since I don't have cable, you can imagine that I don't have tivo or dvr stuff either. So, I have to tape one on our downstairs tv, and watch the other one upstairs. It's sad really.

Well, I forgot to turn off the downstairs tv while I was watching upstairs, so when Sammy popped back up out of bed and wandered into the living room, he decided to watch a little tv himself. Since I didn't emerge for quite a while from my own watching, it was pretty late before I finally figured out that Sammy was still up. He came into my room and said: "Whew...I just watched a looooong doctor show. And now I'm hungry."

What? Terrified, because Matt freaks out when they watch ANYTHING that isn't on PBS, I started questioning him about what he saw. Turns out it was ER, which I don't watch, so I had no idea how much trauma he witnessed or sex or other weird stuff. Sounds like he wasn't too traumatized. After making sure he was not going to be scarred from watching blood and guts, I shot this (very bad quality) video. Kinda funny.

too much tv from Susan Harris on Vimeo.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Surviving the long Chicago winter

It's friggin' cold around here. It's the kind of cold where if you breathe in too quickly when you go outside it feels like your lungs just crystalized into icicles. And, for that reason, we are all experiencing various forms of cabin fever...except Claire of course, who could sit quietly inside for the rest of her life happily, if her scrappy little brother would just leave her alone.

So, in order to keep the natives from killing each other, we have had to make up some post-Christmas festivities. One of the things we did was to host a small tea-party for a few of Claire's friends and her old teacher. We had apple cake, whip cream, fishy crackers, animal crackers, and peppermint tea, which Claire picked out. Claire and I even made a last-minute run to the Salvation Army for a set of tea cups since we only had the very very tiny kind.

There is a Michael's craft store across from my new gym, so Sammy and I ducked in there for a few craft ideas for the party. We found these cool gingerbread kits for $1.99 on clearance, so we got some for the girls to make. We also bought tiny wooden treasure boxes for everyone to paint. Sammy picked out tiny wooden airplanes for the 2 boys to paint. They never got around to painting them though, because they had eaten so much of the candy off of the gingerbread houses that they were pretty crazy and unable to sit still by the middle of the party. The girls did the craft though, of course. Nice sweet little girls. The girls above are our favorite little curly haired sisters from Claire's school.

A tea party isn't enough to keep the boys occupied though, of course, and Sammy has suddenly had a renewed interest in his instruments: particularly his old guitar which has but two strings left on it. Claire and I came home from Trader Joe's one night, though, to this scene of the boys jamming to Beach Boys songs that Matt had gotten from YouTube. His favorites are "Surfin' Safari" and "Barbara Ann". He particularly thinks the line that goes "bushy bushy blonde hairdos" is hilarious.
Last night, we went out to our friend Julie and John's house in the suburbs and they had bought tatoos for Claire. Sammy had to get in on it to be even more "rockstar-ish". He said "mommy...put it on my muscle." Haha.

Then Matt decided he wanted one on HIS muscle. We're seriously getting desperate for entertainment around here. Well, as long as he uses those big strong muscles to unload the dishwasher, he can decorate his body however he wants. And I have to's kinda cute.

Here's to staying sane for a few more loooooooong winter months in Chicago.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Marriage counseling and the Myer's Briggs test

Don't let the below picture fool you. I'm not getting a puppy. But, apparently, according to our marriage counselor, I AM a puppy...a frisky puppy at that. Matt, on the other hand, is a mad scientist.

We took these Myers-Briggs personality tests a while ago and our counselor reviewed them with us today. So funny, I laughed the whole time. Not really funny haha...but it just rang so true!

Apparently, I'm ENFP. Here is what it says on the Myers Briggs website about ENFP:

"Warmly enthusiastic and imaginative. Sees life as full of possibilities. Makes connections between events and information very quickly, and confidently proceeds based on the patterns they see. Wants a lot of affirmation from others, and readily gives appreciation and support. Spontaneous and flexible, often rely on their ability to improvise and their verbal fluency."

I agree with the imaginative and making connections quickly (Matt might say too quickly). Spontaneous and wanting a lot of affirmation: yes. Relying on my ability to improvise and verbal fluency: yes, (good at BS'ing my way out of things I guess). I'm not sure I'm as optimistic and warm-fuzzy as the description says though. I'm a little darker and more critical. Another part even said that I avoid conflict, which isn't true (with Matt at least) but it can be true with some people in my life.

Matt's personality description is, however, right on and, not surprisingly, the exact opposite of me: the INTJ.

"Have original minds and great drive for implementing their ideas and achieving their goals. Quickly sees patterns in external events and develops long-range explanatory perspectives. When committed, organizes a job and carries it through. Skeptical and independent, have high standards of competence and performance – for themselves and others."

I guess we do have the "N" (which stands for iNtuitive) in common, but we are apparently intuitive about different things. I'm intuitive about people's motivations and feelings, while he is intuitive about "external events".

Here are the highlights of MY personality type from the sheet she read to us, (the ones that I actually identified with, at least):

*They prefer the start-up phase of a project or relationship, and are tireless in

the pursuit of new-found interests.

(True, but I do tend to hang in there for the long-haul on principle...I don't mean you are not a project. You are a husband. I mean more like any pet-project I homeschooling.)

* It is not uncommon to hear stories of ENFPs who have established themselves in a career and who, when faced with the daily routine of maintaining it, leave it to start another.

(I went from accounting to realtor to almost-school-teacher to mother

in about 6 months at one point)

*For an ENFP, work must be fun and must contribute to something larger than merely collecting a paycheck.

(It's probably good I'm not the primary bread-winner)

*ENFPs find it particularly difficult to estimate accurately how long an activity will take. Because people's needs are more important than schedules, ENFPs are often late and characteristically full of apologies for their tardiness.

(Oh man is this ever me. Poor Matt.)

*ENFPs are energetic and enthusiastic leaders who are likely to take charge when a new endeavor needs a visionary spokesperson.

(not that anyone's asking me to lead their company or anything, but I do tend to offer to
lead things so that I can get people on board with how I think things should go)

*For ENFPs nothing occurs which does not have some significance, and they have an uncanny sense of the motivations of others.

(much to Matt's annoyance, I do tend to think that everything means something,
especially everything he says. And I'm pretty sure that I know what that something
means, too! That may be one reason we're in counseling, but I can't help it if I know
exactly what he's thinking and why!)

*ENFPs consider intense emotional experiences vital.

(yeah, I'd probably rather fight than be bored...I need intensity man!)

*Because they tend to be hypersensitive and hyper-alert, they may suffer from muscle tension.

(just ask my chiropractor)

*They are not likely to be interested in the less-inspired routines of daily maintenance and ever will be seeking new outlets for their inspirations.

(My greatest wish would be to have someone clean my house for me. I'd much rather
do the more interesting parts of motherhood. Matt also reminds me that I should
shower a little more often...also not a very interesting thing to do.)

*As parents, ENFPs are devoted although somewhat unpredictable in handling their children, shifting from a role of friend-in-need-rescuer to stern authority figure. They may not always be willing to enforce their impulsive pronouncements....

(and this, my friends, is why my children will be in counseling!)

*underneath this effervescent enthusiasm is a person fiercely dedicated to "meaning" in life and reminiscent of the INFP crusader. Only the ENFP neither crusades nor meditates, not for long anyway. The ENFP is into everything, frisky, not unlike a puppy, sniffing around to see what's new.

(that's the frisky puppy part I mentioned. Matt keeps laughing and "woofing" at me)

*Who else is attractive and attracted to our curious journalist? Strangely, the abstract scientist: INTJ. Lost in his abstract world of hypotheses, he finds anchorage in the person who knows what's going on in the real world!

(that's you babe! Thanks for keeping me around.)

Here's Matt, the INTJ:

*They are insightful and mentally quick

(freakishly mentally quick)

*They are very determined people who trust their vision of the possibilities, regardless of what others think. They may even be considered the most independent of all of the sixteen personality types. INTJs are at their best in quietly and firmly developing their ideas, theories, and principles.

(the strong silent But imagine me, the frisky puppy, in the background
going: "What are you doing? What are you reading? Dooooo something with me!)

*INTJs learn best when they can design their own approach and when they are able to absorb themselves in an area that interests them.

(poor guy...I gotta get him out of that job he's in. He's definitely too innovative to be an
auditor for the rest of his life.)

*INTJ teenagers may be seen as serious and reserved young people who are labeled as bookworms by others.

(that's alright babe. God was just saving you for me! All the hot girls didn't know what they were missing!)

*For INTJs, love means including someone in their vision of the world.

(I voted Ron Paul for you honey...but sometimes your vision is a little "out there")

*Fellow workers of INTJs often feel as if the INTJ can see right through them, and often believe that the INTJ finds them wanting.

(and you wonder why I'm so insecure! Would you mind telling me that you approve of me once in a while? Then I'd just know!!!!)

*The emotions of an INTJ are hard to read, and neither male nor female INTJ is apt to express emotional reactions. At times, both will seem cold, reserved, and unresponsive, while in fact INTJs are almost hypersensitive to signals of rejection from those for whom they care.
(oh no, I KNOW what you're thinking (being the intuitive ENFP that I am) ....and trust me, I already knew that your defensive reactions were just because you wanted more attention and approval! And who better to give it to you than your "frisky puppy"...woof woof!)

*As parents, INTJs are dedicated and single minded in their devotion: Their children are a major focus in life.
(seriously best father in the world. He's really, truly the best)

*The INTJ "scientist" is also attracted to the ENFP "journalist," probably because of the enthusiastic, effervescent, and apparently spontaneous enjoyment and wonderment this type exudes-the very antitheses of the careful, thoughtful exactitude of the INTJ.
(so even though I drive you crazy, you basically need to me to enjoy life! I knew it!!!!)
So, that's us. And that was today's marriage counseling.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

More favorite things...

I'd like to write about great resolutions I'm making, as many others are doing right now, but it seems that the devil can hear my thoughts and the second I make a resolution, it gets ruined somehow, so I dare not even think them, let alone share them on a blog. The second I resolve to read my Bible more, I become a complete narcoleptic and pass out on the couch with my Bible on my lap. When I resolve to clean my house during Sammy's naptime, he inevitably wakes up from his nap in half the time. I tend to do better if I just pick a few things and subtly try to do a little better and then sometimes it sneaks up on me and I do just that: a little better.

But, until I become a better person, I thought I'd at least share what things I like right now about life. Because not being completely pessimistic or generally discontent would be a good resolution for me to have (if I were to have resolutions).

For one, I still like the Salvation Army. Even with Christmas just behind us and plenty of new toys, Sammy is still generally discontent with life unless he is being 100% entertained by someone. That is why on Tuesdays I take him with me to the gym and then to the Salvation Army. Sometimes I find something funky for myself, but he almost always picks up a $.50 something or other, like this little truck thing that he is playing with here. And when it's hot off the press, it's the best toy ever, even if it's just a little metal digger like this one. He played with it and even got Claire into it for a good while. I'll probably end up taking it back to the Salvation Army in a few weeks, but it buys me a few hours of content playing once a week.

Hard boiled eggs. We can't get enough of them. We actually call them "Frances eggs" because of this book called "Bread and Jam for Frances" which Claire and I love. In the story, Frances actually doesn't like eggs at all, but it was the first time Claire had seen a picture of a hard-boiled egg, so when I actually made them, she called them, of course: "Frances eggs". I've just realized that they are the quickest best breakfast, snack, lunch, whatever! And my kids love them...with salf of course, the only good way.

My new travel coffee mug. I lose them all the time, but this one has stuck with me since Christmas and having coffee-to-go again is making me a much more energetic mom in the morning. My kids will probably remember me with disheaveled hair and coffee breath driving them to school in the morning, but isn't that how you're supposed to remember mom during the early years?

This turtleneck which I bought with my Express gift card at Christmas (thanks mom) is awesome and I'm wearing it way too often. I also got it in plain black. For some reason, I just feel a little bit together when I put it on in the morning. It has become my end-of-winter mom shirt. I wore one sweater way too long in the fall and I knew I had worn it too often when my kids would say things like "get your sweater on mom...let's get going!" Like I only had the one thing to put on or something.

We have all had various colds and other ailments this winter (ear infections, sinus infections, etc) so we are all religiously taking our "Isotonix" which I buy from my mom, who sells these great supplements. I take the multi-vitamin and an antioxidant, as well as Glucosatrine (great for joint health! My chiropractor promotes them too) and "Greens". Everyone needs greens right? My kids actually take other ones as well: multivitamin, a digestive enzyme (Sammy's lactose intolerant) and an antioxidant. Anyway, Claire has been staying home from school some this week with a cough and runny nose and we are all practically on an IV-drip of supplements to boost our immune systems. But even my kids love this stuff, and that's saying something!

So, I guess it's nothing too exciting: a thrift store, eggs, turtlenecks, travelling coffee mugs, and vitamin supplements, but sometimes it's the little things in life that get us through the day, right?

Monday, January 5, 2009

There's no place like home, there's no place like home

So, Matt and I were very excited because we put an offer on a foreclosure in our area about a month ago. Now, Matt would have you believe that he was not quite as excited about it as I was, but that is only because when we put the initial offer down, I was so excited my skin almost burst. And Matt doesn't get excited about things unless I seem NOT excited about them. He's always afraid I'm doing things based on an emotional reaction rather than a reasonable one, so if I seem excited he gets spooked. That should tell you how excited I was about it, though. I completely forgot to pull out my reverse psychology trick where I act like I don't think I want the place that much, which causes him to rub his chin and say "Hmmmm...seems like a good place to me."

This house may not look like a lot to you if you live in a normal part of the country (or world for that matter) but this home would have been our first single family home yet! We've owned two other places so far, but both were condos. This house would be our own little place with a yard. It's about 100 years old, and has all this old world charm, but actually is in MUCH better shape than you would imagine and really only needs minor "fixes". It's also across the street from a very good friend of mine and her daughter, who is Claire's best buddy.

But then, as we waited for the bank to reply to our offer (apparently banks take a long time to respond to foreclosure offers) we got a call from Kansas. That's where I'm from. Good ol' Wichita, Kansas, where the air is warmer, the lawns are bigger, and you can get from the east side of town to the west side of town in 15 minutes flat. The call was from a bank that Matt had applied to work at a year ago. Apparently, the guy who was supposed to retire at the end of next year decided to retire early, and they wanted Matt to come in for an interview when we were there for Christmas. WHAT?

I used to want to move "home" so bad that I dreamed about it. But just in the last year I've really kinda settled. I mean, trust me, it's still a dream to move there, but all of a sudden I felt less excited than I used to about the prospect of moving. What about the house we are trying to buy? What about our first tiny Chicago yard? What about finally feeling like an adult here in the city? I was just starting to....

But as we drove west towards my old hometown, the air got warmer. Somewhere around St. Louis we had to take off the coats and snowboots we had been wearing when we left Chicago (it was negative 7 degrees when we left) because it was in the mid-60's! Oh my. It felt so fabulous.

And then, when we hit the Flint Hills on our drive from Kansas City into Wichita, the sky got so huge and beautiful. We watched the sun set, and you couldn't see anything except for fields for SO FAR! For a person whose kitchen window is 2 feet away from her neighbors brick house, looking out onto nothing for miles is heaven.

And then we got to my parent's house, where there was a REAL fireplace and a REAL backyard. There is also a living room, family room, and playroom. We have only one room for all of those rooms. The ceilings were tall and the whole house smelled like some kind of pot roast or something. One of my guy friends in high school used to tell me that my house always smelled like a cow just came into our house and crawled into the oven every afternoon. That's right baby. My mom can cook some serious beef...and that's how it should be.

Sammy got his bow and arrow for Christmas (Claire got one too) so they shot them in the backyard. And the arrows could fly forever and not land in the neighbor's yard! We've never heard of such a thing! The kids also rode in the trailer behind Grandad's riding lawn mower, which they have enjoyed doing since last summer. I know you're getting the point by now, but can I just say that at OUR house, you can basically turn on the lawn mower, do a half turn, and turn it off because our yard is so small!

So, Matt did the interview (on the 29th...our 7th anniversary) and we'll wait and see now. I'm not convinced that I'm ready to leave Chicago. I just lined up my whole life for at least a year out with homeschooling plans and our little Waldorf school the new house and friends and church! I just don't know.

Granted, this situation happened again (doesn't he look good in purple?)....but you can't hold that against Kansas. This has been happening regularly lately. Hmmm.....