Posts filed under ‘Life’

HELP! HELP! I think I’m stuck back in 2009…

I know I’ve completely dropped off the map in 2010…

I know you’ve been wondering if:

  • I ate so much holiday food that I’ve literally popped and vaporized?
  • I got trampled when some post-holiday shopping madness went terribly wrong?
  • There was some horrible glitch in the matrix and I’m frantically banging on the window of 2010, stuck on the other side, in 2009?

Truthfully, it feels like I’m stuck a few days behind, just waiting for the energy to officially enter into 2010.

Someone call Keanu.

January 4, 2010 at 4:03 pm 12 comments

Thanksgiving Knit-Up and Wrap-Up

I’m getting this post up during the final minutes of Thanksgiving 2009!

My mother-in-law posted a video of some of our racous family moments today if you’re curious. (Bonus! You’ll see footage of Morrow walking and dancing. Aaand… you’ll get to see my awesome dance moves during a kiddy dance party with Orison and his cousin Grace.)

I mean, who wouldn’t want to see that?

I decided to finish the night quietly, knitting a pair of mittens for Morrow. The weather’s gotten really cold, really fast! So while Abraham sleeps (the lump in the back of the picture) I post on my blog and knit.

I’m thankful for a quiet end to Thanksgiving 2009.

November 27, 2009 at 12:02 am 9 comments

Reentry Sickness

No matter how much I wanted to, I didn’t wake up in El Salvador today. My week with Compassion International is over, and I’m grieving that.

I got home Friday night around 11pm and woke Orison (our then-4-year-old) and he greeted me very drowsily. In the morning he didn’t even remember it! But when he woke up Saturday morning, he was FIVE! That’s right, I got home just in time for his birthday.

We spent the day pretty quietly together as a family. But Abraham and I were so tired that by about 5pm we both knew we needed to get out of the house or we were going to be miserable until bedtime. In some random moment of insanity, Abraham suggested that we take Orison to ride a few rides at the Mall of America (something he’s only done a couple times and would be totally thrilled by).

So… it was Saturday night at the Mall of America. Not for the faint of heart, my friends. I don’t think we’d ever been there on a Saturday night before. It was so.stinkin’.busy. So full of people with waaaay too much.

As we were talking toward the amusement park area, I told Abraham, “I’m feeling a little sick to my stomach.”

“Literally?” He asks. (All too often I’m actually sick to my stomach, so he has to make sure….)

“No… more heartsick.”

“So, you’re sick to the stomach of your heart?”


I mean, the day before I was still seeing tin-roofed, dilapidated shacks that people call homes. The day before I was still in the thick of El Salvador and it’s poverty. And I was still there in my heart and mind. But somehow my body was travelling through the Mall of America.

Walking paradox, no?

I keep thinking about objects in space, and how they have to very carefully calculate how the object will reenter the earth’s atmosphere, or else any number of catastrophic ends will result (blowing up, exploding, catching on fire). Perhaps a trip to the Mall of America wasn’t the best reentry strategy.

I’ve already cried a few times today, my emotions just barely below the surface. I feel okay with that, though. If I were just pushing it all down and refusing to let it touch me, that would be unhealthy. My mentor tells me, “Don’t be afraid of tears. Tears are often a sign that the Holy Spirit’s at work.”

So that, for now, is my reentry strategy. Try to let the tears come as they need to. Remember what I saw. And try to avoid the Mall of America.

My El Salvador Posts

November 16, 2009 at 3:26 pm 37 comments

Compassion Countdown: 4 days til El Salvador!

*Warning: this is a disjointed, brain-dump post as I try to organize my thoughts and life before my El Salvador trip*

In some ways, I’m totally in denial that I’m leaving the country and my family in four days.

In other ways, I’ve been anticipating and preparing. For example, I’ve been trying to make some freezer meals for Abraham and the kids to help them along the way. They should be well-stocked with spaghetti sauce and wild rice soup. I figure if I get one more meal made, that should be sufficient (taking leftovers into account). I mean, I’m only gone for five days. And if they get really desperate they can always order pizza or make scrambled eggs.

I’m going to meet our family’s sponsor child while I’m there! I’m so excited about that. I have yet to get gifts for him and his family. What I learned in our team meeting the other day is to think practically, and to think about the whole family. Toothbrushes and toothpaste, soap, deoderant, and maybe some small items like photo albums and little toys for the kids.

I think I’ll get our little guy a soccer ball with a pump for a special gift. That way he can use it with his friends and siblings and everyone can enjoy it.

I had a good idea last night to bring some of my extra stashed yarn and needles along to give away to women/moms there who knit! And if they don’t know how to knit, maybe I’ll give a knitting lesson! Good thing I’ll have a translator! And some things can be done through demonstration, so how cool would that be???

And of course I chose yesterday to paint my laundry room. I am such a random weirdo. I mean, who does that? Apparently I do. I think I respond to stress by choosing to take on more stress. Actually, painting feels more like an accomplishment. So maybe it’s that I take on projects that I can control when there’s so many other things out of control.

And who psychoanalyzes their painting? Apparently, I do.

November 5, 2009 at 11:54 am 23 comments

Need to trick your kids with new shiny toys? I do!

What kid doesn’t like a new (to them) toy?

My friend Susan wrote a great post about how to keep things fresh for your kids when they start getting the toy doldrums. It’s kind of like the break-glass-in-case-of-emergency solution. I really like her practical (and frugal) suggestions, and I think you will too!

As I read her post I kept thinking, “Yes! It doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. It doesn’t even have to be new (thrift store, baby!).” But there’s something about a novel, engaging toy that might redeem the day if you or your kids are in a slump.

September 25, 2009 at 9:03 pm 13 comments

I’ve Figured Out How All of Us Women Can Get More Done

Please read the following segment in the most cheesy infomercial voice you can muster:

Ever feel like there aren’t enough hours in a day?
Do you struggle to get through your to-do list?
Are all those tasks piling up on you and making you feel perpetually behind?

Well… do we have the answer for YOU!

It’s called “Start Living in a Different Time Zone!” With “Start Living in a Different Time Zone!” there’s no need to move, just adjust yourself to the time zone one or two behind you and—BAM!—instant time! Now you can give yourself the gift you’ve always wanted… more time!

[end cheesy announcer voice]

We got back from our  California trip on Thursday night. Every night since then I’ve been up until at least 1am. I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m just going to start living on Pacific time.

I mean, it’s not working out as well at the morning end of things, but hey, I’m always tired then so… it’s cool.

Here’s how it works: when I wake up I’m living in Central time (real-time for me). I do all my normal tasks in my actual time zone. Then, after the kids go to bed, I just started telling myself, “Well, it’s only 6pm California-time.” I’m seriously getting so much more done!

Just wanted to impart this amazing discovery to all of you.

We’ll see how it works out tomorrow at work.

September 21, 2009 at 12:08 am 14 comments

I’m a compulsive unpacker.

We arrived home in Minneapolis last night after what felt like a never-ending flight. A movie would’ve sped things along, but alas, no movie.

After we reconnected with the kiddos and got our suitcases into the house it was already 10:30pm. Most people would’ve just called it a night, but not a compulsive unpacker.

I don’t know, but there’s something about getting home and getting all that trip stuff out of my life. I want to be able to start the day fresh the next morning, focusing on being back at home.

It sometimes annoys Abraham, who would rather just let the suitcases lie until the next morning (or maybe the day after that, or until he realizes he no longer has any clean clothes). 🙂

But getting the dirty clothes out of the suitcases and into the washing machine, getting all those toiletries put back in their right place, etc. just makes the next day so much better.

What about you?

Are you like me—gotta do it right away? Or do you need a night to readjust and you’ll think about the suitcases tomorrow? Or are you like Abraham—you’ll unpack when you can’t scare up any more clean clothes?

September 18, 2009 at 3:48 pm 53 comments

Welcome, and let me introduce you to a friend of mine.

So I had a few new visitors to the old bloggy-blog yesterday. Welcome. Thanks for visiting.

Not every post is about the loss of our daughter. I do a little of everything, and I sometimes share things from day-to-day life.

And today is one of those days, because I had one of the best nights of my life last night, and I just have to share.

Abraham and I were offered 2 tickets to see one of our favorite musicians in concert last night. None other than the amazing Lyle Lovett!!!

Most of you probably know him as the funny-looking guy who used to be married to Julia Roberts. If that’s true, I feel sorry for you and I want that to change. 🙂

One of the things I love about Lyle (I like to refer to him on a first-name basis, just to pretend that he and I are friends) is that his style is so diverse—gospel, country, folk, blues. So if you like any of those genres of music, chances are you’ll like something of his.

He often tours with his “Large Band,” meaning that there was anywhere from 4 to 13 people on the stage last night during any given song. It was pure musical excellence.

I have to admit that I’m primarily a sucker for his croony, buttery ballads. And I love story songs, so I’m usually drawn into his music for that reason as well.

Last night, my favorite song they played was called “I Will Rise Up/Ain’t No More Cane,” which is a medley of Lyle’s original lyrics and melody and a South Texas folk song from the early 1900s, “Ain’t No More Cane on the Brazos,” a chain-gang song.

I found this video of Lyle and his Large Band performing it on Leno, so here it is. Enjoy!

And if you’re new to this blog, I’d love for you to subscribe. And I always welcome comments from new readers. Thanks for visiting.

July 24, 2009 at 2:36 pm 19 comments

I’m 30… finally.

Today is my 30th birthday. Really, I’m cool with it. I’ve felt 30+ for a long time; it’s about time my chronological age matched up with my mental age.

As we reflected last night right after the stroke of midnight, the tears came. It wasn’t about being 30. It was lamenting the change in us that’s happened over the past 20 months. We’re no longer those happy-go-lucky, vibrant people we used to be. We’re haggard and weary and completely transformed. And it happened in an instant.

It’s as though when the doctor looked at us and said, “I’m afraid this baby is no longer living,” that a huge boulder dropped down onto the timeline of our lives, marking the point from which everything changed.

But, like I said in my post-Mother’s Day report, there’s sadness and joy on the same day, sometimes in the same minute.

Like last night. Right after this tearful conversation with Abraham, I popped over to his blog and saw a video that I could watch continually today. Everything inside of me that is joy rises up when I watch it.

And last night, before the tearful conversation, Abraham took me out for a wonderful birthday date. It was creative, surprising, sacrificial… I have an amazing husband.

And tonight is a dinner party with some of my closest friends. I’m really really excited for that.

So here we are again—joy and sorrow, sorrow and joy.

I’m thankful for waking up today to the faces of 3 of my family members. I’m thankful for the loving parents and parents-in-law who love me so well. And sisters and brothers and friends.

It’s a good day to be 30.

May 23, 2009 at 11:18 am 45 comments

Mother’s Day 2009

In my post about Mother’s Day, I made quick reference to some of the sweet moments of Mother’s Day. I thought I’d let you all in on a couple of them. There really were many, all things considered.

First of all, we had Morrow’s dedication at church. When I think back to last Mother’s Day, when I couldn’t even bring myself to go to church, knowing it would be too painful, and compare it to this year (being able to not only go, but stand up in front of people and participate in a dedication service), I realize that God has done a lot of healing work in my heart.

Morrow dedication

Of course I cried. That’s part of what I do. And that’s Morrow’s Granddaddy doing the dedication—another sweet moment of the day.

The words of dedication go like this:

Morrow, together with your parents who love you dearly, and this people who care about the outcome of your faith, I dedicate you to God. Surrending together with them, all worldly claims upon your life, in the hope that you will belong wholly to God forever.

One of the things our church does to recognize the heaviness of a holiday like Mother’s Day is distribute white roses. They have vases of them at the front of the church for people to take to commemorate their losses—whether it’s your mother, your children, your desire for children….

Doing it this way means that no one is singled out or told their pain isn’t significant compared to another person’s pain. Anyone can take one—I love that.

Here we are with our red rose (given for the dedication) and our white rose (to remember our Felicity).

Morrow dedication

Ater a Mother’s Day lunch and hanging out with Abraham’s mother, we went to the cemetery as a family.

Mother's Day Look at Morrow

I even laughed and had some fun on Mother’s Day this year.

silly cemetery

It’s not abandoning her to smile and laugh. It doesn’t mean I’m over her death if I enjoy certain aspects of motherhood.

I hate that she’s dead. I hate posing by a gravestone for Mother’s Day pictures. But I love her. And I think it honors her to laugh sometimes, just as it does to cry sometimes.

Mother’s Day, all in all, was better this year. Of course it had it’s tearful moments and heartaches. Of course it had laughter and enjoyment. All of it mingles together for a mother who loves her dead and living children.

May 18, 2009 at 2:10 pm 25 comments

50 Things About Me: More stuff than you probably ever wanted to know.

1. I always have a glass of water by my bed at night but rarely use it.
2. I was the last kid in my class to lose their first tooth. I think I was in 3rd grade!
3. My favorite flowers are lilies. The stronger the smell, the better.
4. My favorite junk cereal is Peanut Butter Kid’s Crunch from Aldi’s.
5. I’ve only broken one bone in my life—my arm when I was 4 or 5.
6. I used to always get the Presidential Fitness Award when I was in elementary school. My best event was the sit-ups.
7. I think I hate asparagus, but I actually like it.
8. I don’t like raw tomatoes on anything other than a BLT.
9. I had my braces put on and then had my wisdom teeth taken out within two days of each other. It was a rough week for my mouth.
10. I’ve been wearing glasses since sixth grade. I was really excited about it back then, but now it’s not so great.
11. I once sang the National Anthem at a Minnesota Twin’s game. However, it wasn’t as cool as you might think. They pre-record it and you just lip sync because of the reverb in the Metrodome.
12. I grew up in Erie, Pennsylvania.
13. My dad is a retired high school music teacher, and he was my choir director in high school.
14. Abraham and I get addicted to TV shows via the internet.
15. My first job was when I was 13 years old. I worked full-time during the summer at the local amusement park.
16. I’ve only been stung by a bee one time in my life, and that was on my tongue. I was walking and talking and before I knew it there was something weird in my mouth that I spit out. And since it was my first bee sting I didn’t know if I was going to have an allergic reaction, so I was basically just sitting there waiting to see if my tongue was going to swell and choke me to death.
17. In high school I sang Alto II in choir and Soprano I for my voice lessons.
18. I used to HATE mayonnaise. I like it a little bit now, but only on certain things.
19. I only had one pet as a child, a cat named Mork.
20. I’ve never been to Florida. Weird, right?
21. I love staying at hotels with a pool, even now as an adult.
22. I don’t really like eating salad at home. I like it out at a restaurant or even at other people’s houses, but it just tastes different at home.
23. I am really bad at painting my nails. I’m also really bad at remembering to take it off—I just let it slowly chip off.
24. I think my least favorite job would be a waitress/server.
25. I wish I were charismatic/skilled enough to have a TV show. I don’t know what it would be about.
26. I love picking blueberries. I wish I could do it for my job. Just kidding.
27. My favorite fruit is fresh pineapple.
28. I never went off the continent until I was 26 years old, when we traveled to England and Scotland. And I haven’t been off since, but not by my choice. If anyone has an extra house in England/Scotland/Wales/Ireland/Australia (or really anywhere) that they want to let us use, let me know. 😉
29. My favorite salad dressing is probably ginger sesame.
30. My eyes are green, but Abraham says they change color depending on the scenario.
31. I really like putting lotion on my feet.
32. I like it even better when Abraham rubs lotion on my feet.
33. I have only owned one car. It’s a 1996 Honda Accord and it’s been the best car in the whole world.
34. My favorite Blizzard at Dairy Queen is Butterfinger. I think it’s been my favorite since the Blizzard was invented.
35. My hair is naturally curly/wavy, so I have to blow dry it straight. If it’s humid in the summer, I let it go curly.
36. I hate going to bed with wet hair, unless it’s really hot.
37. I loved being in musicals in high school. I wish real life were more like a musical; everyone would just randomly bust into the same song and choreography together.
38. We kind of have a weird, quirky language that we use at home. Even Orison uses some of the vocab we’ve invented.
39. I used to love New Kids on the Block as a kid. I even went to one of their concerts. My mom is amazing; I’m not sure I would do the same for my kids.
40. I don’t know how to snap my gum, which is probably better, because it would annoy people.
41. I never had guacamole until I was probably 25 years old. Now, I love it!
42. I don’t think I would go out of my way to go see the president, any president.
43. My favorite chain restaurant is probably Chili’s.
44. I have 8 nieces and nephews.
45. I’m not a big pet person.
46. I always talk about wanting to live in the “fake country”—I want the scenery of country but also be able to get to Target in 10 minutes, tops.
47. I over-pack for every trip.
48. I’ve only been camping one time in my life—last summer. It was definitely car camping, where your car is within 50 yards and you have fully-functional showers and flushing toilets. I liked it a lot more than I was expecting to, and we’re even talking about doing it again this summer.
49. I keep my external hard drive in a fire-proof box. If I lost my pictures, I think I would cry for days.
50. My favorite music is probably alt. country/folk.

April 15, 2009 at 1:22 pm 39 comments

A Less Painful Exercise Solution: Community Ed!

A couple of my girlfriends asked me to sign up for a Community Education fitness class. I agreed because:

  1. I need to get out of the house more.
  2. I just had two back-to-back pregnancies.
  3. It would be funny to do this with friends.
  4. Morrow’s getting too old to use the “I just had a baby” excuse.

Last night was our first class. Here are some observations about why I like Community Ed. exercise classes:

  1. People were in real clothes. I honestly have 3 pairs of workout shorts, and I’ve had all of them for at least 6 years. I own no stylish workout clothes. I feel like I’m doing pretty good to have a few semi-stylish choices in my regular clothes. But here I didn’t feel the same fashion consciousness that I usually feel at other fitness venues. It was refreshing!
  2. The instructor was really good. And yet, a real-looking woman. At this point in my life I’ve realized that I won’t have the body of a 21-year-old. For pushing 3 kids and pushing 30, I think I’m doing pretty okay. I didn’t feel like I was being judged by a fitness goddess. Again, refreshing!
  3. No gym-class heroes! Instead, there was a chorus of assenting groans every time she called out, “Are you feelin‘ it?” We were all being similarly tormented and there was a camaraderie in it, not competition. I hate when you go to a fitness class and you’re looking around the whole time wondering, “Does anyone else feel like they’re about to die?!?!” The answer is yes.

But next week I’ll put on my ancient workout clothes and we three moms will make another fitness pilgrimage to the nearby high school. If I’m lucky, I’ll get over the muscle soreness by then. We’ll groan our way through the seven weeks of pain together… in community ed.

February 4, 2009 at 2:22 am 15 comments

Countdown to Spring, Minnesota-style

It’s the end of January.

About this time of year in Minnesota people start counting down to spring. Here’s how it goes:

Well it’s already the end of January. And February’s a short month. And then it’s March! March comes “in like a lion, out like a lamb”, right? And then it’ll be spring!

I do this too. But what we all tend to forget in our longing for spring is that this whole promise of better March days is kind of a crapshoot in Minnesota.

We forget all too easily that it snowed in May last year. MAY!!! I remember it particularly because my birthday’s in May. And even in all my Pennsylvania winters growing up, it never snowed in my birth month.

Perhaps it’s good that our memories fail us this time of year. Perhaps the cold freezes our hippocampuses or something. If we kept a record of wrongs against the weather here, we’d have all hit the road long ago.

Perhaps we’re gluttons for punishment. Perhaps we have martyr complexes.

But perhaps there’s just something so comforting about the warmth of a necessary hot beverage. Or cozy about the fleece jammies we clothe our children in at night. Or awe-inspiring as we catch snow on our tongues, remembering the purchase-price that made all our evil deeds just like those floating flakes.

Don’t get me wrong—I’m excited for spring. But I want to revel more in those moments that make what’s left of winter magical. They, like everything else, will be gone too soon.

January 23, 2009 at 11:58 am 30 comments

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