A Little Christmas

Phew!  Where did the last few weeks go?

I don’t know about you, but for me, they’re buried under a trove of sweet memories mixed with a lot of cookies, a few tears and spats, and a host of eagerness to get back to regular life.  I do love the holidays, but as I’ve gotten older I’ve also come to love the fresh start of the new year.

We had a wonderful Christmas – how about you?  I took lots of pictures this year, something I don’t always remember to do, the only drawback being all the photos I now have to process!  I’m planning to recap Christmas as well as the requisite year-end reviews, but it’s all editing, all the time right now.  Not really, but it feels that way! ;)

Meanwhile, if you’d like to check out my year-end wrap-up series over on Loving Motherhood More, I’d be thrilled to have you!  I’m getting ready to launch a little project I’m super excited about, too, so hopefully that will be ready in the coming week or two.

For now, I leave you with a few pictures of our very merry Christmas…




Around Here…

This mid-December evening, I’m…

wondering || how I’m going to get it all done.  I’m feeling a little grinchy right now.  I should probably lock myself in the basement and live in a flurry of wrapping paper and tape for the next week and a half.

eating || chocolate-covered pretzels, which are totally not part of my eating plan


reading || Parenting Without Power Struggles by Susan Stiffelman.  Power struggles just stink.  We’ll get a bit of a handle on them, but it’s easy to be less vigilant as tensions diffuse. I needed this refresher course and I’m really enjoying this book!  Consider this quote:

“If you want children to be receptive to you, clean up what’s going on between your ears–the thoughts and stories that precipitate your anger, fear, or disappointment–before you try to have any influence over them.”

Also, because I’m super up with the times, I just started reading Gone, Girl.


watching || The Good Wife.  I can’t even…I just don’t even know what to say.  I know I just talked about it a few weeks ago, but it’s so good, and I’m so sad that I’m nearing the end of the episodes on Amazon, and Alicia and Will and Diane and Cary are my friends, you know!

wearing || mostly pyjamas. Boo!  It is really bumming me out.  My mornings just aren’t working out like I plan.  Namely, I sleep late because I’m overtired and don’t have time to get myself put together before it’s time to leave for school.

enjoying || the Serial podcast.  You guys!  Are you listening to this?  It’s so, so, so good!  This coming week is the season finale and I can’t wait to see what happens and how it’s concluded.

thankful || that today is over.  We hosted Gabe’s friend birthday party. Seven 4th grade-ish boys is…chaotic.  And loud.  And then, Jude threw up on me.  Like, full on throw up.  Twice. ON MY BARE SKIN.  <gag>

avoiding || going to bed, cleaning up approximately 100 Chrome tabs, wrapping presents, doing laundry, getting a box of donation stuff ready for Purple Heart, etc.

wishing || I’d already culled and decluttered our house.  I need to remember to do that around October next year.  If I wait until December, it’s just not going to happen!

craving || Aldi chocolate truffles.  I know.  Aldi sells truffles?  They do, and they’re divine!  And cheap!  And dusted in cocoa!

praying || the aloe juice we’re trying with Isla helps her digestive issues.  Anyone have any experience with aloe juice?

loving || this article on body image.  Very compelling.

December Goals



Um, yikes.

It’s December, and when did it get to be only two more weeks until Christmas?  I mean, I love it, but yikes!  Somuchtodosolittletime(tosleep)!  I’m sooooo excited.  I think this will be Isla’s first time to really “get” Christmas, and Gabe still believes in Santa, so it’s all really magical.  But my list is getting longer and the days are getting fewer at a very rapid pace.  Anyway, a blogger I read hashtags her monthly instagram photo of her goals with #makeitpublicmakeithappen, and I think there’s something to that, so I’m trying to keep up with my goals so I can stay accountable and make progress.

Here’s what I was hoping to accomplish in November:

1.  Kick off monthly newsletter on Loving Motherhood More – delaying until 2015

2.  Plan and host two kiddo birthday parties

3.  Create 2015 planning pages – in process; Tahd had a bunch of extra vacation days, so he’s taking one to give me an entire day to finish them up.  I’m super excited to share them with you, too! :)

4.  Flip-flop the kids’ rooms – this project is going to kill me.  Literally.

5.  Paint the %#^) dresser mirror (finally…after almost 3 years) – nope

6.  Buy ALL THE THINGS for Christmas (maybe not ALL the things, but most of them) – pretty much, yes.  And I’d say I’m at least 50% wrapped, including stocking stuffers. Which I just have to say is a complete load.  Who wraps stocking stuffers????  It’s a bad plan.  Don’t do it!  But my mom did it for me when I was little, and now it just doesn’t seem right unless they’re wrapped.  You’ll be able to find me covered in bits of paper and scotch tape for the next two weeks.

For (the rest of) December, I’d like to:

1.  Finish 2015 planning pages

2.  Flip-flop the kids’ rooms

3.  Go to a Christmas light drive-thru display

4.  Host our holiday party

5.  Address, stamp, and actually send out Christmas cards

6.  Go to bed before 11:00 at least twice

What are you up to for the rest of December?

Jude’s First

Jude face 3

Dear Jude,

I’m sitting here tonight staring at a fresh white blanket of snow, fitting since one year ago today, I was staring at a fresh white blanket around my brand new baby, a miracle who surprised me at every turn.


First, given our past struggles we didn’t know if we would ever get pregnant with you.

Next, you persisted through tremendous anxiety and dropping progesterone and abnormal genetic screenings.


I thought we were finally reaching the safe point when my blood pressure began to rise, and when I went on to develop preeclampsia I feared for both of us, not just you.

Then, I unexpectedly went into a short and fast labor that ended up in prolonged heart decelerations and loads of fear and an emergency c-section and worries that you hadn’t made it.

last babies

But you did, and I thought we were done with all of that, only to have you land in the NICU due to unstable blood sugars and on phototherapy due to rising bilirubin and the exhilaration of your birth was quickly replaced with an emotional gutting I wasn’t prepared to sustain.  I desperately wanted to crumple into a desolate heap, but with three little people depending on me and calling me mama, I kept going because it was the only thing to do.

small cry

Finally, life started to find a new normal with a baby whose traumatic entry into the world had left him colicky, with a feisty persistence I can only imagine must have come from everything you endured during the 8 difficult months it took to get here.


I’m so glad you’re here, but this first year has not been easy for either of us.

You’ve surprised me in so many ways, but the way you’ve surprised me most is what you’ve taught me about myself.  At every turn, you showed me how strong I am, that I have what it takes.  Do you know what a gift that is?

photo 2

I’ve never considered myself strong.  Smart, empathetic, and introspective, perhaps, but not strong.  In fact, the most difficult experiences for me have always been made more difficult by my anxieties that I didn’t have the strength needed to persist, that the difficult experience would destroy me.  I’ve felt vulnerable and weak all the time.  This new-found awareness of strength is a welcome reversal in my thought patterns, and I’m glad I have you to thank for it.

photo 3

Know one thing.  Even though your first year has been hard, it has been worth it.  You are worth it.  I am so in love with you and am enchanted by watching you continue to discover your world.  You navigate things a little differently than either Gabe or Isla did, and I’m learning so much from seeing how you think, and even how you problem-solve some of the situations that annoy or bother you.  You are clever, bright, persistent, snuggly, affectionate, energetic, and funny.  I love the way you’ve changed our family to make space for yourself.


I really can’t believe you’re turning one.  Your birth feels like it was about five months ago, not a whole 365 days!  I would love to find a way to roll back time and slow it down, because much of this year has been caught in the haze of sleep deprivation and colic.  But since I can’t, I’m trusting that the memories I have of you and the lessons you’ve taught me are the things I need to take with me as we enter your second year, and I’m lucky I get to watch you continue to grow and develop.


Happy birthday, my sweet wild thing!  I love you so much!



(Jude turned 1 on November 15, and I’ve been writing this letter since then.  Just didn’t want anyone to think I was confused about his birthday!)

What I Learned In November

Emily at Chatting At The Sky often does a monthly link-up where she shares what she learned during the month.  I don’t know if she’ll be doing one for November, but I kept track of some of the things I learned and wanted to share.  I know this is probably more riveting information than you’re used to from me, but try to contain yourself.  ;)

Things I Learned in November

1.  A turkey can appear to measure as “done” on your thermometer but not actually be done.  Ask me how I know.  Boo.



2.  The Good Wife is basically the best drama ever.  And it just keeps getting better.  I want to watch it faster so I can see what happened, but I want to watch it slower so I don’t catch up to real-time and have to wait for new episodes.



3.  Pyrex isn’t shatterproof.  Not that I thought it was completely indestructible, but I didn’t expect it to dissolve into a billion pieces when I accidentally knocked it off the edge of my counter on Thanksgiving eve.  I also didn’t expect that stepping one of said billion pieces (see above) could make my foot feel so awful for so long.


4.  Apparently blue used to be a girly color and pink was for boys.  Not that long ago, either.  Who knew?


5.  Kindness and generosity are the traits most likely to predict a successful relationship.  This makes sense, but it’s interesting to see it quantified.



Apparently Americans have a lot of different pronunciations for a lot of different words.  Take “been,” for example.  I didn’t even realize there were multiple pronunciations.  And yet, here I find myself in the blue minority!

Did you learn anything fun/important/relevant this month?

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