last new year with a baby

next year, we'll ring in 2014 with a two year old. and that just doesn't count as a baby in my book. it was a bittersweet bedtime with rodney tonight.

and look, a gratuitous photo of our laundry room. 
Happy New Year!


Christmas 2012...a small recap, but not too much.

Christmas this year in pictures...we're having too much fun lying around in pj's and watching movies together to post anything else.
 after opening stockings
 our first trampoline, lots of jumping going on here
 and reading our new books (success!)
 and legos....
 legos. (I owe my holiday sanity to LEGOS)
 the aftermath
 rodney is getting tall you guys
 hanging with uncle taylor (and aunt sarah!)
 and the millers
 yup, rodney wears his bosox hat every day now.
 phoebe helped peel the carrots for soup last night, every single one.
my baby is growing up. how do you make it stop?


Merry Christmas from us!

we hope you have a peaceful holiday filled with family and friendship.


almost there

phoebe, 2012

We are enjoying the holidays full throttle around here, and the fact that daddy is home for 5 days in a row! Every night we light a fire and spend time together watching a movie or finishing up to do lists listening to music. I stayed up till 2am wrapping a few days ago, so I am done and can exhale.

I also minimised what I am doing and giving this year and am enjoying is 100%. No neighbor gifts. No baking sessions, which the girls' haven't seemed to mind. No last minute gift purchases, just peace and family time (notice i didn't say quiet?). 

This is also our first year without a credit card, and although things are difficult to get used to, it is making this Christmas much more enjoyable. I would say 1,000 times more enjoyable, but I am an exaggerator. 

And thanks to Grandma Curtis, we made our annual gingerbread houses and the girls' haven't touched theirs once, at least not that I've noticed. (we wait until New Year's day to break them apart and eat them). They are 100% edible, and fantastic.


right this very minute

i think one of the greatest lessons i have been trying to learn these past 2 years is living in the present. being aware of what is going on and being there for the people and things around you. no more wishing, or wanting, or waisting my time pining for more or different.

today was abby's class Christmas presentation, and it was perfect. the angelic kindergarteners were on their best behavior (as always, their teacher is amazing) and sang wonderfully. i didn't stop smiling the entire time. I love my children, i love our school, i love our teachers we've had, I also love that tomorrow is the last day of school for two weeks. My own Christmas spirit has been full these past few days.

Quite the turn around from a few weeks ago wouldn't you say?

 abby and our favorite mrs. h
 my baby abby
 jara and abby
a little glimpse of my mornings with phoebe and rodney. phoebe's new attention trick? being pouty, shy and quiet (hey aunt sarah, where'd she learn that one?)


fear and faith

trying not to ask the "why's" about the Connecticut tragedy this past week is difficult for me. I'm not a cryer, so my kids don't really know how much has been going through my mind every night and day. Picking them up from school,  watching all the little kids play in the playground. Walking through the elementary school halls, seeing all those blessed teachers giving their lives and hearts to all those tiny children. It's sobering and humbling and absolutely terrifying. 

Last night Ty kept the girls up a little later to play Candyland with them before bed. Just 20 simple minutes, and it made his day with them that much sweeter. We are trying to say prayers together every morning, kissing and hugging and 'iloveyou'ing more. Softer replies, kinder faces, quiet happy homes. I believe our homes are one of the most sacred places for our children, where they can grow up strong and safe and happy. 

I haven't had the heart to see all the faces of the victims yet, I saw a few and my spirit just shattered. Those are my children, my sister (1st grade teacher), my nieces and nephews, neighbors, primary children, community. It's just too much for me right now. But I do know this, there is a God and He still loves us. 

Here are found a few articles that Have helped me with all of this:

other than this post, i have one of our Christmas card and then I'm taking a break for the holidays.


We will hear the bells

Yesterday, in church, we sang one of my favorite Christmas poems, I hope its words bring as much peace to your heart as it did mine. I could barely whisper the fourth stanza,.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, one of my favorite poets, wrote this shortly after his wife died in an accidental fire and receiving news that his son was severely injured in the Civil War.

I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day
Their old familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet the words repeat
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

I thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along the unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

And in despair I bowed my head:
"There is no peace on earth," I said,
"For hate is strong and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men."

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
"God is not dead, nor doth he sleep;
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail,
With peace on earth, good will to men."

Till, ringing singing, on its way,
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime, a chant sublime,

Of peace on earth, good will to men!

(Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882), 1867)


testing, testing, 1,2, 1,2, 1,2

dear little blog, i have been neglecting you. in my defense, it is the holiday season and it takes a lot of time and energy making things jolly and bright. i've found myself slowly warming up and feeling little bits of Christmas cheer and goodwill all every now and then.

first, the Christmas cards. nothing says I love you, I care about you, you are my friend, more than something in the mail. of course i'm old fashioned at heart, but no matter how digital this world gets, nothing compares to a handwritten card of friendship. we've received several Christmas cards and i just smile and beam seeing the name on the sender corner, and opening it, and having the girls clamor all over me to go, "who is it?" "oh! it's them!", and we all ooh and ahh and then i place them somewhere where i can look at them lovingly throughout the day. and of course, our cards won't be mailed out till the end of next week, i'm awesome like that.

secondly, the little gifts. the sweet bread from a friend, cake bites for the kids, an emergency first aid kit for our car (best gift ever!), and today perfect little ornaments from my friend Emily. i was so proud to tell Lucy, these are from my friend Emily, and we met when we were 8 too! little things like this make my heart grow liek the grinch, there are wonderful people out there, there is so much love out there, we just have to show it.

we read The Paper Bag Christmas, on our annual 'cut down the tree trip', out loud. my parents gave it to all of the kids, with money to give service to others. we have been brainstorming on how to spend it and who to give to, and it's been fun watching the girls think out loud. the main part of the story that i like, is that none of the gifts involved money, people gave of themselves, which is, after all, the only true gift we can really give. man, i'm getting sappy here.

anyways, the Christmas music, wrapping presents for the kids has been fun.  watching the girls every morning make a mad dash for the advent calendars.  waiting for Sarah to come down from Utah (sqweeeee!), planning a trip into town with the kids (we think they are old enough this year, crossing fingers). looking at lights, dance recitals, music class break, class parties, pajama days, Christmas parties, watching movies together, spending time with family that is in town. it is all wonderful and glorious and merry and bright. It's the most wonderful time of the year!

The Terril's joined us this year for our tree cutting, i think it's tradition now. 


an ounce of prevention is worth...

christmas morning last year...
For over a month I have been pumping our family full of vitamins, probiotics and echinacea. Trying so hard to keep away the sickies. And of course, i thought that cleaning and mopping more would keep us less germ attacked. But I got sick last week, and now lucy has little cold (really little...so i should just stop talking right now).  I'm done though, no more sick kids, sick days, tv marathons. NO more!!!!!

And we haven't even been that sick this year, but it seems as though I tell people we are sick they reply, "again?". Ugh, i guess we are the "sick" family. Oh well.

ps- we went and sang christmas songs to some of our elderly friends last week, and the girls even accompanied with the piano (2 chords!). Abby had so much fun that she has asked to go back every day since. For our Christmas service she wants to visit more "old people that don't have kids". ha! i think she likes the non-competition clause that comes with that scenario.

pps- anyone looking to give me that amazing gift? i really would like one of these calligraphy address stamps. beautiful!
and last but not least, my baby boy turned 18 months this morning. How on Earth did that happen?


what i learned from Barney yesterday

Lucy and me, 2007? 2008? I can't even remember!
Yesterday I thought I was feeling so much better...and then I was back to feeling blech. In the middle of all of that we watched a Barney christmas special. Yes I let my kids watch TV when we're sick and yes I let them watch Barney.

So, i'm lying on the couch watching it with them, and the "parents" come on screen. And of course this was filmed in the mid 90's so the mom is wearing the best pair of mom khackis these eyes have seen. And the thoughts that followed are still bugging me, "see, now that's just not fair. look at what moms could wear back then!" No skinny jeans, no tight shirts, no plastic chest, lips or face. Just... a mom. I was lamenting to another mom last week that being pregnant these days has so much more pressure than even when I had Lucy. She didn't believe me and I said, "that's because you weren't pregnant back then." Lucy, in 2004 was still close enough to the 90's that gaining 50lbs, wearing large blouses and full paneled gap maternity jeans was en vogue.  Even just 2 years later when i was pregnant again with Abigail, pregnancy had hit Hollywood full throttle and we had 7 for all mankind pregnancy jeans and pea in the pod $85 shirts that were what every mom should wear. i won't even tell you how many times I looked at clothes on NOM. ridiculous.

post script: not pregnant, i promise.

Anyways, long story short,  moms have it tougher and tougher every year. not only from the world and media, that we must always be attractive and sexy, we must be fit and trim, we must make all homemade organic healthy snacks, homeschool, homebirth, achieve post graduate degrees, lecture, blog, write books, and head up the local soccer carpool, be active in church and profess our feministic ideals.  Because, didn't you know, if you don't tell people you are a feminist that it means you think all women should be married to a drunken wife beater and receive no social equality whatsoever? I've heard it's true.

But then, after and before all that, we have to deal with crap from each other. Women are awful to EACH OTHER, especially moms! Just get a group of moms together and ask them what pediatrician they recommend. Be advised, you will have to listen to a lot of arguments from everyone of how "theirs" is the best.  I follow nienie on instagram and am appalled at the stuff mothers attack her about. I am positive any one of you could walk into my home and point out all of my faults and shortcomings as a mother. I think that goes for everyone.

Why do we attack each other so much? Why does it matter? can't we all just get along? (famous words from my own dear mom).  We are all moms, we are all trying to raise our children. Whether we stay at home, work part/full time, have sitters, nannies/never have sitters, never leave our children/always leave our children, go on vacations with our spouse/never go on vacations with our spouse, homeschool, traditional school, hospital planned c-section/homebirth, anitbiotics/no medicine ever, prescriptions/essential oils, nursing/formula, minivan/suv, cloth diapers/disposable, tv/no tv, movies/no movies, ipads, iphones, DS/ no handheld entertainment, movies in the car/ old fashioned coloring books, potty training, cry it out/ cosleep, wean/nurse till 5, too much discipline/too little discipline, parenting books/ free spirit parenting, Santa/no Santa, the list goes on and on and on!

Guess what?

None of it even matters. It doesn't matter one little bit what other moms are doing with their children. Why? Because all that matters is what you choose. Ty and I are accountable for our home, our kids and what we teach them. That's it. Nothing else. Isn't that a huge relief? What an enormous blessing from above. I know we all think we are should be in charge of everyone else, but the truth is we can't even handle our own thoughts for 24hrs. How could we even begin to take care of more than our own sphere of life?

And so, I'm asking this Christmas season that us moms all support one another. It doesn't matter our faith, beliefs, political ideas, parenting methods, life choices or dress size. We are all mothers, and we all desperately need each other. And maybe, just maybe, from the small amount of mothers who read this can reach out to more moms, and so on and so on and so on. We are women, we are all equal and we support each other, no matter what.


Christmas Wishes

 Christmas '06
Christmas '05

I wish we got two days of snow every year in our Valley.
I wish that I can give heartfelt presents to all that we love and care about this year.
I wish that we won't get pink eye (it's raging all over!).
I wish that I could spend Christmas evening with all of my siblings.
I wish that Ty could surprise me with one Christmas present, (he hasn't surprised me in years).
When i woke up this morning, I realized all I really want for Christmas was fruit trees, nut trees, chickens, a chicken coop, a small garden and a goat.

Oh, and to not have the stomach flu tomorrow, or any of my kids either.

Do you think this is all too much to ask for?


on giving

christmas 2004

How do you decide on what and how much to "give" at Christmas time?  When i see this picture of our 2nd Christmas together i just laugh. I had just graduated from college, Ty was working full time, Lucy was a newborn and I had post-partum depression and no idea. I survived my PPD by shopping. I shopped and shopped and shopped. We bought so much stinking crap for each other it's sick to think about. And you know what? It didn't make me feel any bit better, no amount of presents or the 'right' presents can ever change anything, isn't that bummer? 

Growing up we always had sparse Christmas'. It didn't really bother me, as I knew the next morning we would be packing up and driving down to Phoenix to visit with all the family. Those trips made the best christmas vacations ever. Aunt Lynne and Uncle Dan always hosted us and I can't imagine how much work that must have been! But you know what? those are magical memories, and I still am closest with the Curtis cousins over all of my other cousins.  

I do all of the shopping every year for Christmas. Who gets what? How many presents from us? how many from Santa? what to give friends, teachers, relatives? Some years things have been tight and our presents have been lame. But you know what? It wasn't because of the money, it's because we ran out of time and I didn't plan well enough.

I think it doesn't matter how much you spend at all, but the thought put into it. we give gifts because we love each other, we give to show that love, and I always have to remember I'm not giving to "buy" anyone's love. For the last 2 years we have done 3 presents from us, and 2 presents from Santa. that may sound like a lot to you, or very little, but it has been great for us.

Luckily we have girls, who love getting clothes. So of course we give them some needed clothing for one of their presents, and this year I want the other one to be books. I've never given them books as presents, as we just go to the library every week. but I read 50 best picture books on designmom and am trying to build up our collection of the classics, so that someday my grandchildren can stop by and read them with their chubby little hands. 

Some years I have spent a lot on family and friends, and then suffered in January when the bill came. But this year is our first Christmas without a credit card, so things have already begun to get "interesting". Hence the black friday disaster of shopping trying to "save" money, what a joke. But, I am having fun making things and planning, but we'll see how i feel in a few weeks. Any advice? Any problems with giving too? 

ps- It's getting harder the older lucy gets, because she's noticing how "Much" other people get and what we get, etc. etc. etc. How do you handle that?

pps- ty is the worst person to shop for! I always like to surprise him, but he doesn't consider a lot of the things I give as good gifts. Like, Church pants! Or an ipod!  
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