Maybe Christmas, Perhaps, Doesn’t Come From A Store…

but given the number of Amazon boxes kicking around my basement, apparently I tried to ensure its delivery via 2-day Prime shipping???


I’m always a bit sad at this time of year. I spend 8 months looking forward to it and 3 months planning it, and the 1 measly month left over in which to live it doesn’t seem like it lasts nearly long enough! This is, I’m sure, in sharp contrast to the many others who are finally breathing giant sighs of relief that they can put this all behind them, so I’m a little bit happy for your sake. But mostly sad that magic and belief and twinkly lights will all be coming down in the next few weeks.

Goal-setting and fresh starts are fun, too, but I want to revel in the season a little bit longer. So I’m soaking up some of the pictures I managed to remember to take amidst the chaos.


I had this grand, Pinterest-inspired idea to get black wrapping paper and doodle the nametags directly on the packages. Loved eliminating the need for bows and tags. I actually like doodling, too. Doodling on that many packages? Um, a ton of work! I don’t see me repeating this as a wrapping scheme anytime soon!  They did make pretty packages, though!





We did my family’s Christmas on the 23rd so it would mesh well with my sister and brother-in-law’s travel schedule.  My nephew loves babies, and we got him the cutest doll themed for boys. It’s a superhero and comes with superhero accessories for the child, too. Seriously cute!



Minecraft gear…much coveted by the tween!



You guys, I kind of want a dog. Specifically, their dog if I can figure out a way to steal it. But I’m thinking that’s probably not going to happen…He’s just so cozy!  This is a bad idea on so many levels…



I mean, if this isn’t the cutest!!!



My family loves puzzles! Which seems lame to type out, but it’s one of my favorite things – you can have the best conversations, laughter, and snacks over a good puzzle!



Gabe had quite a haul of Legos. He does love them! But at 11, I wonder how much longer this will last. I’ll be sad to see it go. On the other hand, he does want to be a Lego engineer, so maybe it’ll never end?


This might be my favorite picture of the day, and Tahd might kill me for posting it, but he was demonstrating his Chandler Bing engagement photo smile. Spot on!


Then… ’twas the night before and I obsessively stalked Santa on NORAD’s Santa tracker; probably more obsessively than the kids…



Want to know a bad plan? Taking a toddler and a talking Woody into a Christmas Eve service…




Christmas Eve involved sleeping in front of the Christmas tree. We tried with Jude, but he wasn’t ready for the unconstrained life of a sleeping bag. Isla did pretty well, but I’m quite sure Gabe was up most of the night from 1:30 on. Which makes it very hard for Santa to deliver his presents…I think Tahd and I collectively slept 5 hours that night?



But it was worth it in the morning! :)



The rest of the day was spent with playing and cuddles and tasty food, and I took hardly any pictures and just relaxed. Delightful!

I hope your Christmas was merry and your New Year full of hope and fresh energy!

What I’m Thinking About Right Now

get ready…there is no rhyme nor reason to this…


|| grown-up coloring books. i don’t get this thing. there’s a whole cottage industry of this stuff. which means there are enough people with enough spare time to support this industry. WHERE ARE THESE PEOPLE WHO HAVE THIS MUCH SPARE TIME? and will you please come help me do my laundry instead?

|| i went to target today in a t-shirt. it’s december. in wisconsin. i love this so hard.

|| do you leave reviews on amazon? sometimes i do, but usually i don’t. but i almost always read them thoroughly before purchasing. maybe i should be doing this.

|| macaroni & cheese at midnight.  yyuuummmmm!


|| today, one son barked at people and the other son counted to 9. i’ll let you guess which was which…

|| there are TEN DAYS until christmas. so i have to wrap an average of approximately 280 presents each day…

|| side note: maybe i should stop wrapping stocking stuffers…

|| i made almond roca this weekend. i used to try every year, but since each pan takes a stick of butter, a cup of sugar, a bunch of almonds, and–most notably–six chocolate bars, it’s not exactly a cheap recipe to screw up. which i did. multiple times every year. so i quit making it. until this year because tahd wanted it. and it totally turned out! and between the two of us, we ate the whole pan in 24 hours!  do you know how many calories are in that? i don’t think i want to figure it out…


|| jude has screamed so much the last few days that…well…i don’t know what. but i’m losing my mind. this afternoon, he screamed, “HOLDME!HOLDME!HOLDME!HOLDMEEEEEEEEE!!!!” basically the whole time we were in the car picking up gabe. it was delightful.  sorry, dude. seatbelt laws and such.

|| side note: my mom thinks this “hold me” plea is adorable. i think maybe she should do the school pickup for a while and i’ll work at her dental office and she can reassess later.


|| “it’s probably a bone bruise,” they said. “those take a long time to heal,” they said.  at the beginning of 2013, i fell down the stairs and basically rode several on my elbow. it hurt like h3!! and looked even worse. i didn’t go to the doctor, but i think i maybe should have. i just tried to rest my elbow on my knee and it totally still hurts. that’s not normal, right? we’re working on 3 years.


|| i’m in love with my living room christmas decorations this year. like, swooning. i’m still not in love with real trees, though. needles. ugh. someday i’ll even take real pictures!

|| i’m nearly done with my christmas shopping – just a few more things to order. and i’m maybe 1/3 wrapped? probably more like 2/3 if i don’t count those darn stocking stuffers.

|| speaking (again) of stocking stuffers, tahd and i decided to do used books for each other for stocking stuffers. did you know you can get books for a penny on amazon? bless them…i’d rather have a stocking full of books than a stocking full of candy and tiny-and-basically-useless-crap. which is basically what the kids will be getting. which probably won’t help with the screaming thing, will it?

|| i’m so dying to try bullet journaling. but i’m not sure how to get started. starting makes me a little panicky. has anyone done this? do you give tutorials? it looks so perfect and organized and pretty and, maybe most importantly, like the way my brain works.

|| that’s all. to bed with me.

That Moment When…

Christmas Tree Bokeh

You know that moment when you call your husband to find out if your one child’s finger could be broken because the other child bit it? Hard?

No? You don’t know that moment?

Or how about that moment when your husband, recently placed on-call for jury duty, casually emails you that there was a mix-up and he was actually supposed to be there today, but he wasn’t, and hopefully he’ll like his cell?

No? You don’t know that moment either?

Nah, neither do I…

#nobodyhasabrokenbone #nobodyisgoingtojail #Ilost10yearsoffmylife

Dear Jude

Dear Jude,

After 3 hours of this cursor blinking at me across a blank, white page and mindless tv distracting me from this, I’ve finally found my way out of this procrastination enough to start this letter.  You see, it’s your birthday. Your second birthday! And it’ll be many years and probably a child or two of your own before you understand how bittersweet these days can be.


It’s especially bittersweet with you this year, you who might likely be our last baby.  You who, at 2, can no longer legitimately be called a baby. I’m going to anyway, though, just so you know. You are my baby–my delightful, funny, colicky, angry-elf baby, and I can’t even remember life before you came.

It’s funny, though, because before you came, I couldn’t fathom a life with a third baby in it. So hectic were my days with Gabe and Isla that by the end of my pregnancy when I was sick, everything just seemed…well…surreal. Is this really happening to me, I wondered.  I did exactly what I’ve since learned about in Brene Brown’s work: I numbed.  I disconnected from the depth of the present moment so I could merely survive through each day, not realizing that when you numb the negative, you also numb the positive.


When you were born, there was a brief moment after they pulled you from my belly that lasted a silent eternity.  You didn’t cry, not right away, and I didn’t know if you were okay. So many things raced through my heart during that moment, things that have lasted long past that day. But the biggest and most important was this–no more numbing out.  I want to be here, there, wherever I am, fully present.


This, however, has been a tall order.  Your screaming and determination and neediness made many of the present moments awfully hard to endure.  But now, you’re two! And I see a light at the end of what has been a tunnel fraught with very loud colic.  You sleep–real, legitimate naps and nearly a full night’s worth every night. You even spontaneously started falling asleep on your own recently! You play, my favorites when you and Isla “chase” each other hand-in-hand around the dining room, little laughing hyenas that infect our home with joy. And your humor–how can a 2-year-old have comedic timing? But you do! And a coy little smile and a relentless willingness to pursue the laugh. How you delight me!

I wish I could redo these past two years with the knowledge that we really would come out on the other side.  (Scathed, perhaps, but intact and pruned for growth.)  Of course, logically I knew this would be the case. The cries of a colicky baby haven’t smitten anyone yet.  But at 3AM, alone with a screaming newborn and a traveling (and, therefore, alone and asleep) husband, that reality seemed as elusive as unicorns and world peace.

But wishing doesn’t get me back these two years. So I need to put that energy to better use.

Jude face 3

Jude, you and each of your siblings taught me something about myself. You, sweet boy, taught me to be brave–and not just to be brave, but to keep being brave. You are how I know I can do this, that I can learn to revel over worry, to dwell rather than perseverate, to be here, right now, in all things.

With you–enjoying you, especially, my little wild thing.

I can’t wait to see who you become in this, your third year. I can’t wait to explore the world with you and watch you learn to master it. Thank you for who you’ve helped me to become and for how you keep growing my heart.  You are a treasure!

All my love,

What I Learned From 31 Days of Getting Things Done


Whew – October is over! I got everything done on my list!!!  Woot!

Wait…um, that’s so not true. I got, like, 15/50.  Here are the things I got done:

  • Painted fireplace
  • Painted living room
  • Painted nursery
  • Updated gallery photos
  • Hung nursery art
  • Organized nursery shelf
  • Cut my hair
  • Made a calm-down basket
  • Fixed the cafe lights
  • Took care of school meeting
  • Hung play tent in nursery
  • Finished editing photos
  • Ordered Halloween costumes
  • Scheduled doctor appointments

In addition to these, I made progress on these projects:

  • Patio
  • Living room work space
  • Happy mail package
  • Christmas blanket
  • Life Plan class

I didn’t finish any books this month, but I did stumble into a book I’m almost done with – Change Your Brain, Change Your Life.  Interesting read!

So…still a lot to go but some progress. I’ll take it.

So, what did I learn this month?  A few things I’ll take with me…

1. As a starter (rather than a finisher), seeing things through to completion isn’t my first instinct. But it feels really good to cross things off my lists.

2. I need a list, and it helps if it’s visible. This is the only way I use – rather than waste – my pockets of time.

3. I’ve mentioned this before, but for me, the antidote to overwhelm is gratitude. I can either be overwhelmed by my overflowing list or can be grateful I have the

4. I need to more carefully select my projects, and I need to consider my priorities. Otherwise, I wind up in the middle of projects which are fine or even good, but they’re not the best use of my time and energy.

5. A few well-planned chunks of time create momentum. I’d love to have multiple chunks of hours each week to accomplish what needs to be done, but that’s not my current life phase. One or two chunks can feed the need and create momentum in other areas.

I decided to keep my list hanging on my wall a little longer. I’d like to knock out a few more things before I turn my energies to the holidays. Namely the patio. I’d really like to get the patio done before it snows.  You know, so I don’t have a giant mud-and-sand pit in my yard this winter…

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